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We’ve all heard the phrase "breast is best". We know that breastfeeding has benefits to both baby and mom. Breastmilk is living food that cannot be duplicated. It’s natural and normal and all of that. At this time in our culture, most women are planning on breastfeeding at least some. Sometimes it’s really easy. But sometimes its not. At least at first. Here are some ways to set yourself up for better success.
1). Gain family support. One of the biggest factors in successful breastfeeding is support for you, the mother. Those early days at home can be hard and emotional. You’re adjusting to so many things, recovering from a major physical event, and often not getting much sleep. Without support and middle of the night encouragement, this is the time many moms give up.
(By the way, not breastfeeding at all or choosing to stop is okay if that’s your choice and what you think will be best for you and your family situation. I don’t know your history or your medical needs and neither does anyone else on the street. My breastfeeding goal for you is just like my goal for your birth. I want you to make decisions based on information, knowing that you have choices and to not look back on it with regret.)
Anyway, many in our parents generation did not breastfeed their babies and if they did, may still have outdated ideas about what works. Talk to your husband or partner about breastfeeding. Talk to the other people who will be helping you after baby is born. Talk to them about the research showing why this is an important part of having a baby. Explain that their support in this could make the difference in your breastfeeding relationship.
2). Read a book. Breastfeeding Made Simple by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Nancy Mohrbacher or La Leche League’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger and Diana West are both excellent choices.
3). Join a support group. Fortunately here in the Indy area we really have a variety of excellent options. Area hospitals with maternity units also have breastfeeding support groups run by their IBCLCs. Breastfeeding USA and La Leche League both have groups that meet all over the city. On-line there is the Indy Breastfeeding Moms support group on Facebook that provides moms with informed advice 24 hours a day.
4). Take a class. Ask at your chosen birth location about breastfeeding classes. Many hospitals offer them and they can be an excellent source of information. There are also online breastfeeding courses like this one that you can take in your pajamas.
5). Know who to call. Knowing who to call ahead of time if you need help, extra support, or suspect a tongue tie is a good idea. You may never need it but in the midst of that newborn haze, not having to research is golden. Find the name of a local private IBCLC or the number for your hospital’s lactation department. Your birth doula or postpartum doula should be a good resource for this as well.
Breastfeeding is amazing! It’s incredible that your body can grow, birth, and then feed a human! But it’s not always easy at first and sometimes interventions are needed to make it more sustainable. You can breastfeed your baby and you can meet your breastfeeding goals no matter what those are. Information is power!
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin