You have endured a lot throughout your pregnancy. We all know delivery isn’t a picnic, and now you have to be brave and attempt breastfeeding?! Well mama, you are not a lone! We are often led to believe breastfeeding comes naturally to moms, but that is not the reality for a lot of mothers. I do not say that to discourage you. Quite the opposite, I say that so you can be prepared. Now if you are wondering what specific items you need to purchase to make your breastfeeding journey go a little smoother, HERE is a post I wrote earlier this year with a list of must have items. One huge thing I want you to keep in mind as you read on is that these newborns don’t have a voice yet, they cant communicate to you how much they need your breast milk, but please know they do! If you feel like giving up, push a little harder mama, reach out for help, shoot me a message, anything, just please keep pushing!
The main reason why I wanted to create this post is because I have chatted with several friends and there seems to be a lot of confusion and unknown behind the whole breastfeeding subject. Some women have been exposed to more information than others. Some have been served a whole lot of misinformation and fear. Others have been in the dark for a while or still consider talking about breastfeeding taboo. I am here to tell you breastfeeding is natural and the most beneficial thing you can feed your baby. I hope this post helps at least one mama out there questioning breastfeeding.
First things first, every breastfeeding journey is different. Every. Single. One. Even between your own children! What worked with one baby, might not work for the next. Please remember to keep an open mind and try to be flexible.
Before baby is born
- Your breasts just like everything else in your body will change before baby arrives. You may start leaking from your boobs and that’s ok! On the other hand, if you don’t notice any leaking, that is NOT an indication that you will not have milk come in. Relax and take time to prepare and read up on the other changes coming.
- Classes- Whatever your budget may be, please invest in breastfeeding classes. There are many that are free or low cost as well! There are classes that are online and in person. Find whatever fits your schedule and budget and please consider learning more about breastfeeding before your baby arrives. This will help ease a lot of anxiety trust me!
- Books- I know technology has taken over, but there is a lot of quality literature out there that will go into detail to help you understand breastfeeding better.
- Spouse- as you prepare for nursing, make sure your spouse is also on board. Have him learn with you! I remember attending a breastfeeding class at Babies R Us when I was pregnant with my first baby. It was wonderful because baby brain would get the best of me and I’d often miss some of the details being discussed. Fortunately my husband was there to pay attention and take note of the information being shared!
- Family and friends- Like I mentioned before, you don’t have to be alone in this journey. Reach out to family and friends, they have been through this before and will be glad to help. Also remember, every experience is different, so things that worked for them may or may not work for you.
- La Leche League- I cannot say enough great things about this organization. Everything you can think of regarding breastfeeding is covered by them! You can find LLL at an international, state, and even city level! You can visit them online or you can attend their in-person meetings! Whatever is most convenient for you.
- Social Media- I hesitated to suggest this mostly because social media can sometimes turn into an ugly comparing fest, but don’t let it do that! Use it to your advantage. Use it to meet and talk to other moms out there going through the same as you. There are many wonderful FB groups that help you stay informed and positive. Sure I had my mom who breastfed 4 kids successfully, but that was in the past, she knew nothing about pumping. That’s when fb groups came in handy for me!
After delivery in the hospital
- As soon as your baby is born, many hospitals like to practice The Golden Hour. This is when you and your baby are left alone to enjoy skin to skin and bond. Your baby may or may not want to feed right away. Do not be alarmed if you’re not supplying milk right away! That’s actually normal and how it works. Your actual milk will not come until a couple days later, for now you will have colostrum. Liquid Gold! Everything your baby needs is in that colostrum. You carried a baby in your womb for months and now you can keep nourishing it with colostrum. Amazing isn’t it?!
- Spouse- your partner’s role is HUGE during your first hours of breastfeeding at the hospital. Whether you delivered vaginally or through c-section, chances are you will still be too exhausted to do things alone. So please make sure ahead of time your spouse knows he’s going to have to step up and help with everything AND anything.
- SUPPLY AND DEMAND- this is one of the most important things I wanted to cover. Breastfeeding is ALL about supply and demand. The more your baby feeds, the more you will produce. It really can be that simple! That being said, don’t let others and fear get to you thinking you are not producing enough.
- Nurses- nurses are not just there to help you deliver the baby, they can also help with breastfeeding! Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. I admit, not all nurses are trained at the same level when it comes to breastfeeding, so if you are not satisfied with the help and answers a nurse is providing, do not be afraid to request someone else!
- Lactation consultant- many hospitals now have lactation consultants on the spot ready to help you. USE THEM! Do not be afraid or shy. That is their job! Just like with nurses, every lactation consultant is different, so if one isn’t cutting it, feel free to request a different one!
- Family and friends- now that baby is here they will be more than eager to help out, but only have them stay around if you want them to!
- Getting home from the hospital will definitely be a relief because now you can relax a little more and focus more on your baby in the comfort of your own house. That being said, there will not be any medical staff around to help and that may increase your anxiety. Don’t freak out, you have prepared for this and you can still ask for help if needed!
- Spouse, family, and friends- they are all there for a reason, because they love you and baby! Don’t even think about housework! That can all wait. Focus on nursing your newborn. The first few weeks are the most crucial!
- Lactation consultant- consultants are not just available at hospitals. There are many that can even come to your house. I struggled quite a bit with my first nursling so I researched a local consultant and she came to my house. I have to say she was a huge help and definitely played a big role in saving my breastfeeding journey.
- La Leche League- like I mentioned before, LLL is very helpful. Depending on your area, there may be weekly or monthly mom group meetings where you can gather and discuss anything breastfeeding related.
Mama, motherhood is a difficult thing, but breastfeeding doesn’t have to add to that! Take the time to ask questions and get informed. Reach out and ask for help, but please don’t think you are alone in this!