I’m only 7 1/2 months into breastfeeding my first child, but it’s gone pretty well, so I have a few tips to offer. I was going to share 10 tips, but after sorting through my thoughts, I found I only have 5! Also, I am not a doctor & I am not an expert. Definitely talk to your doctor or other experts about breastfeeding. I can just offer what has worked or been true for me.
1. Work for full feedings from the start
I believe there is great benefit to making sure your baby gets a full feeding each time they eat. This helps to make sure they get the nutrient-dense hindmilk that is released at the end of the feeding and it also makes sure that they are emptying your breast, thus promoting more milk production! Also – it can help them be able to go longer between feedings because they were full. Definitely a benefit later when they can go longer. In the beginning, though, you’ll be feeding every couple hours around the clock no matter what.
2. Study up!
There are lots of great online resources with info on breastfeeding! Kellymom & La Leche League are probably the best ones! Just make sure that you make some effort to get informed on latching techniques & other info. It’s also great to find places you can go when you have questions – which you absolutely will have – when you start!
3. Don’t stress if things don’t go according to plan
While I definitely recommend learning what you can (see #2), it’s also important to remember that things aren’t always going to go the way you expect. Sometimes milk doesn’t come in. Sometimes the baby has trouble latching on. Sometimes it’s more painful than you expected. Be prepared to just do the best you can. Know who you can call – La Leche League, the lactation consultants at your hospital, a friend who had success with breastfeeding, etc.
4. Don’t freak out about green poop
Basically, don’t assume that what you are eating is affecting the baby negatively. This is something I had to calm down about from the beginning. I heard stuff from several different people related to what I’m eating & how it could affect Isis – don’t eat cheese, don’t eat spicy foods, don’t eat broccoli, stay away from chocolate! I felt so stressed & worried about what was in everything I was eating in the beginning. When I finally talked to my doctor about it, he said that these are all old-fashioned views that have been disproved for most women in more recent years. Apparently, it’s actually rare for the food you eat to affect the baby negatively unless you or your husband have a major food allergy. Be looking for frothy poop & blood in the poop, but as long as it’s not frothy, any color of the fall leaves is ok except red.(Again, I am NOT a doctor. If you really think your baby is having an allergic reaction to something you ate, go with your instinct & call your doctor! You won’t ever regret finding out for sure.)
5. Be aware of the normal breastfeeding problems
By “normal” problems, I mean cracked nipples, plugged ducts, mastitis, etc. Even a mom who is successfully breastfeeding can have these issues. I didn’t study enough about this. Things I learned were that breastmilk is actually a treatment for cracked nipples. Seriously, it’s crazy how that works! If you notice that your breast is hurting, it could be a plugged duct, but if your breast is tender & pink or red or purple, GO TO THE DOCTOR. This is just something I didn’t really know much about, but I got mastitis when Isis was 4 weeks old. I’m going to write a separate post about this in particular, but basically – pink or red, go to the doctor. Maybe you’ll avoid a 101+ degree fever & feeling like you have a really bad flu for 3 days.
What worked for you when breastfeeding?
What tips would you add to this list?