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Successful Breastfeeding from the Start
As a mama of three, I can honestly say that breastfeeding my babies has been one of the best parts of motherhood. It is a gift that I am so thankful I was able to give my girls, and it is something that gave me so much more than I ever could have imagined. That being said, breastfeeding is also one of the most challenging things I have ever done as well. I had to work at it like nothing else, but it was completely worth it each time. If you are pregnant or have recently had a baby, know that there are women all over the world working hard to feed their babies. When the going got tough, I took comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone. Here are some of my personal tips for successful breastfeeding from the start…
- Decide that you’re going to do it. I know this is a lot easier said that done, but it’s true. If you want to breastfeed your baby, then do it. If you say that you’re going to “try it out” or “see how it goes,” chances are, it’ll be easier to give up with the going gets rough.
- Prepare ahead of time. I know it’s hard to think about breastfeeding when you haven’t yet given birth, but attending a breastfeeding class or reading a few books about nursing never hurt anyone. There’s so much to learn about the mindset of a breastfeeding mama – not just the technique itself.
- Put the baby on the breast all the time. After your baby is born, keep trying to get a latch. Some latch on within hours of birth, while some babies take days. The more you try, the more likely you’ll have success!
- Get help from a lactation consultant. These people know what they are doing! They can help you with everything from positioning to proper latch and more. I owe a lot to the women that helped me in the beginning.
- Keep at it. I promise you, the first few weeks are the HARDEST. I am in the thick of it right now. (Engorged breasts, sore nipples, etc.) But this is the worst of it. In a matter of days, your body works out all of the kinks and that little baby gets better with more and more practice.
- Don’t offer pacifiers or bottles. In my experience, we’ve had much better success in the beginning by holding off on pacifiers and bottles. Once the baby has a good latch on the real deal, then you could offer a pacifier or a bottle of pumped milk.
- Don’t listen to the haters. There will always be someone telling you it’s okay to quit or that they weren’t breastfed and they “turned out fine.” Your baby will be fine no matter how you feed him or her, we all know that, but if you want to breastfeed them, then do.
- Seek support of other breastfeeding mothers. If you have friends or family members that are nursing their babies, seek support from them! If not, consider joining a support group or even utilizing an online community.
- Remind yourself of WHY. When it gets hard, remind yourself why you want to breastfeed your baby. It might be because of the nourishment it provides your baby. It might be because of the special bonding you feel while nursing. Whatever the reason, the WHY can be great encouragement when things get rough.
- Know you’re not alone. Women all over the world are nursing their babies. RIGHT NOW. Women all over the world are up three and four times a night, putting their little ones to breast. This image always gives me comfort.