While Breastfeeding can be a pretty charged topic, I’m not here to debate how you should be feeding your child, but I would love to offer some tips and tricks to the mom who wants to attempt breastfeeding.
Whether this is your first baby or your second, whether you’ve experienced a positive experience with breastfeeding or negative and want to try again, I hope this information will leave you feeling encouraged and informed.
- Colostrum comes in first: The more fatty breast milk will likely take a few days to come in. What comes first is colostrum. This is the perfect first food for your baby as it is high in protein and produces antibodies. A tiny amount goes a long way to keeping your baby healthy.
- Expect engorgement and back pain when your milk first comes in: I remember with my first marveling at how much my back hurt and thinking I hurt myself somehow. Obviously your chest will hurt. I also experienced feeling feverish the first few days. It will get better as your milk supply adjusts.
- Babies nurse all the time: And I mean ALL THE TIME. Do not be worried that something is wrong with your baby or your milk supply. This is called cluster feeding and it will occur many times throughout your nursing journey. Your baby nursing signals your body to produce more milk. Babies also like to nurse for comfort and to be close to mom. As long as your baby is gaining weight at their check ups and the pediatrician has no concerns then let your baby nurse freely.
- Pumping is helpful, but not necessary: Before investing in a breast pump you may want to check if your insurance will cover the cost of one. Also know that you do NOT have to pump. If you want to pump to try and increase your supply even more or to freeze some breast milk to bottle feed, then more power to you. Also know that your body can respond differently to a pump than to your baby nursing on your breast. I never had much luck with pumping, but breastfeeding was problem free.
- Breastfeeding should not be painful: I think if breastfeeding or not is painful can be debated among certain circles, but if your baby is latched on properly it should not hurt. The key is to make sure the baby opens their mouth wide and latches on not just over the nipple, but over the surrounding areola. It can help to aim the nipple toward the roof of baby’s mouth. Baby’s chin and nose should rest on your breast. It may take a few tries to get a good latch.
- Breastfeeding is not what determines your worth as a mother: Some women do not want to breastfeed period. Some try it and decide it’s not for them. Others desperately want to, but in some cases cannot establish a milk supply. Whatever your reason for choosing to breastfeed or not, it is your choice alone and you do not have to defend it to anyone. What matters is that your baby is fed.
- Breastfeeding can be a beautiful bond between mother and baby: I loved breastfeeding all of my children. It was a special time between the two of us and it was something that mattered to me. It is time consuming. It can be frustrating at times. It helps to have a supportive network of friends and family.
- Lactation Consultants exist for a reason: If you need help or support do not hesitate to contact a Lactation Consultant. If you are concerned about your latch and positioning they will be happy to help show you comfortable, effective methods to feed your baby.
- Invest in some basic supplies to support your nursing journey: Breastfeeding essentials include nursing pads, nursing bras that you can sleep in, and lanolin cream for sore/cracked nipples. I never invested in a boppy or breastfeeding pillow. They are expensive and you likely won’t use one. I also would not worry about ordering a ton of bottle supplies unless you want to formula feed or plan to in the future. Pacifiers are optional. I will provide Amazon links to these basic supplies down below.
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I will be compensated at no additional cost to you the reader*
Were these basic tips helpful to you? What else would you add for a mother who is curious about breastfeeding?
For nursing pads click HERE (200 count of Lansinoh Nursing Pads)
For nursing bras click HERE (4 pack of maternity/nursing sleep bras)
For lanolin cream click HERE (one tube of soothing balm)