Starting anything new is scary, particularly if that new adventure includes bringing a tiny human being in the world! With so much to plan for and learn, planning to breastfeed can seem very daunting to an expectant mother. With so much information available, weeding through it all to find solid breastfeeding tips feels frustrating. So all of that advice has been condensed into these 5 essential breastfeeding tips you will want to know if you are planning on breastfeeding.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Yes, breastfeeding is natural. Yes, Women have been nursing their infants since the dawn of time. That doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is simple OR that you don’t need support. In the beginning, it will feel like you are nursing your sweet baby around the clock. Because of this, the first of the 4 breastfeeding tips I could give any expecting mother is to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your husband to bring you a full jug of water. Say yes if your mother in law asks if she can come and do some laundry. Tell your best friend, yes, you would absolutely love it if she brought you a hot meal and held the baby so you could eat it without dropping food on her head. (Don’t worry, we have all done it.) Find your Village. Find a Lactation Consultant who you love and trust, who can help you get the perfect latch and reassure you that your infant will not turn into a vampire because your nipples are cracked and bleeding. Look up a local La Leche League Meeting or find a breastfeeding support group online know that you are not alone. ASK FOR HELP.
Now, while many sources such as KellyMom.com states: Drinking more fluids does not necessarily mean greater milk production, unless a lactating mother is dehydrated. However, staying hydrated is still vital to a new mother (and lets face it, anyone’s) health. So that is why staying hydrated is such an important breastfeeding tip for expectant mothers. Dr. Sears recommends following the common sense “in and out” rule of hydration. If you excrete more fluid, you should take more in. Keeping a jug or bottle of water and drinking it down every time you go to nurse tends to be the easiest way to remember to drink water. As Dr. Sears says,
Get in the habit of drinking an 8-ounce glass of water every time you breastfeed, plus a couple more each day. When baby drinks, mother drinks. If you get into the habit of drinking an 8-ounce glass of water every time your infant feeds (which is usually 8 to 10 times a day), you will meet your hydration while breastfeeding needs”
Trust Your Body
You were made for this. Your body, since the beginning of time, was designed for you to nourish your baby from your breast. So much of milk supply is supply and demand. The more your pump, nurse, wear your baby, or do skin-to-skin, the more milk you are telling your body to make! Trust it! Do not trust your pump to be an accurate tell of how much you are making. Watch your baby’s growth and bowel movements instead. Don’t be so locked into the fear of failure that you don’t trust your body to know what it’s doing!
Easily, to tell a new mother to “relax” is one of the easiest breastfeeding tips to give- and the most difficult to actually follow.
When you’re in the middle of tough situations, it can be difficult to see the light at the end (cliché but so true). I think that being tense has a big effect on the connection between mom and baby . I used to feel immense amounts of guilt while breastfeeding… It’s hard knowing that you and you alone are solely responsible for some one else’s nourishment. The mix of emotions with being a new mom, and being out of work, etc… The resentment sunk in, and then the guilt for being resentful. The new mom vicious cycle. Now that my son is two, I realize one little decision isn’t going to make or break the end result (his happiness and overall health) so I wish I would have given myself some slack.”
– Jenni Effinger, Fine and Dandy Photography and a Breastfeeding World Volunteer Photographer
Your body is so designed to your breastfeeding success, that one of the hormones released when breastfeeding, oxytocin, is known as the “feel good” hormone. Your body WANTS you to relax and enjoy the bond with your baby! It may be easier said than done, but if you are trusting your body, staying hydrated, and asking for help, focusing on bonding and relaxing with your little one comes much more naturally.
Commit- Don’t give up!
At the risk of sounding like a self-help inspirational guru, mindset is key in most breastfeeding relationships. Research, read books, talk to your lactation consultant and your OBGYN about any breastfeeding tips and advice they may have. So much of powering through those early breastfeeding struggles is your mentality and determination to do so (while always following your lactation consultants advice.)
What are your big concerns in beginning your breastfeeding relationship? What breastfeeding tips would you give a pregnant mother who is committed to breastfeeding her newborn?
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