My breastfeeding journey evolved with each child I birthed. My eldest was breastfed for 5 minutes, the second for 4 weeks, the third for 22 months, and the last one is still going strong at 13 months. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That is, if breastfeeding is a part of your Mom Journey, of course. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Month, here are 4 tips to help you along the way.
1. Give Yourself A Break
While breastfeeding is a biological act, it does not always “come naturally”; there is a learning curve. You will need time to adjust to the act of breastfeeding and the many nuances of breastfeeding as a lifestyle. There’s learning your baby’s feeding cues and what position work best for the both of you, learning how to tell if baby is latched on well and a myriad of things to consider. If you were trying to learn anything else you’d give yourself some time to master it, right? Breastfeeding is no different. Settle in for a marathon; don’t anticipate a sprint.
2. Cultivate a Support System while You’re Still Pregnant
Get informed. Being armed with ACCURATE information is vital. There’s so much misinformation that’s widely circulated about breastfeeding. The Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition has FREE classes twice monthly every First and Third Saturday, and they also have a drop-in center available on the First and Third Thursday. The classes cover vital information from pregnancy through the toddler years. There is time to ask questions and each participant is assigned a Bosom Buddy to help guide them through the first six weeks of their breastfeeding journey. Often, the pair become close and remain in touch. A Support Group for breastfeeding families is offered the sane time as he class in an adjacent room.
Talk to your familial support system about the feeding option you’ve chosen. Our family usually means well, but there are certain actions they can take that may undermine breastfeeding success. They need to learn how to feed your baby when you aren’t around and understand how certain comments can derail the journey.
3. Let your personal convictions be you guiding post and NOTHING else.
Mommy wars. Need I say more? I seriously get so annoyed even saying those two words. Stand in your convictions and make the decisions you need to make for your family. No two moms will look the same. You rock, so stand boldly in that no matter what. If you see an off the wall comment and or post, stay committed and keep being beYOUtiful.
What are your personal breastfeeding goals? Write them down and adjust as needed.
4. Don’t get caught up in the quick sand of “I’m not making enough”
Breastfeeding is supply and demand. The more you empty your breast, the more it fills. If you are emptying your breast less often, you tell your brain that baby isn’t eating as often and you begin to produce less milk. Putting baby to the breast, especially in the early weeks, is the most important thing. Don’t introduce anything aside from your nipple for at least three weeks.
A lot of mothers start to pump too early. Some mothers begin to pump before we ever even leave the hospital. Then, we get discouraged about the amount of milk we see in the bottle. Pumping is not equal to the milk that your baby is drawing from your breast. If you want an idea of how much baby is getting, visit one of the drop- in centers. They will take a weight on baby before and after a feeding. I have pretty much been nursing for 3 and a half years and I still don’t get much more than 2-3 ounce when I pump. Even if I’ve been gone for 8 hours!