image via Jennie Quicksall Photography
Congratulations. You are expecting a new baby and among the many decisions you will make is how will you feed your baby. If you are considering breastfeeding you may be a bit apprehensive about stories friends and family members may have told you about nipple pain, low milk supply and difficulty with feedings. Questions abound as to whether it is actually possible to easily and successfully breastfeed a baby.
The answer is a resounding yes! It does take some preparation and knowledge but millions of babies are thriving at the breast. The first task in ensuring successful breastfeeding is to take a comprehensive prenatal breastfeeding class. Also important and very helpful is to bring your significant other to the class with you. It is so beneficial to have two people hear the same information and your significant other is going to be very important in helping to care for you in the first few weeks after the birth of your baby.
Next find a health care professional to care for your baby who is truly supportive of breastfeeding. A great question to ask a prospective pediatrician is what percentage of babies in their practice is exclusively breastfeeding. Along with a supportive health care professional you need to identify who in your circle of family and friends successfully breastfed. These are the women you will want to be calling in those first few weeks if you have questions and need support.
Establishing a great milk supply is pretty straight forward. Here are the steps you need to take to allow your body to produce enough milk so that your baby will thrive.
1) Latch and breastfeed your baby within 60 -90 minutes from birth
2) Beginning with the first day, your baby should be fed at least 8-12 times in a 24 hour period.
3) Ask the hospital staff to help you learn and practice a proper latch.
4) Room in with your newborn so that you are able to bring your baby to breast when they begin to arouse and show interest in feeding.
5) Assuming the breastfeeding is going well; try to avoid artificial nipples, i.e. bottle and pacifiers for about the first 4 weeks.
Another vitally important strategy to ensure successful breastfeeding is to get help as soon as you begin to have issues. There are a number of qualified professionals in your neighborhood that can assist you. Often new mothers think their problems are insurmountable or keep thinking if they just wait another day, everything will be fine. A qualified and experienced lactation consultant (look for the credentials I.B.C.L.C) can usually help you solve most feeding problems encountered by the breastfeeding mother/baby couple. The sooner you seek help, the more likely your issues will be solved.
Successful breastfeeding is not only possible, it is probable. The vast majority of healthy women are perfectly capable of producing an ample milk supply. Knowledge and support are key components to a healthy and happy mother/baby couple.
By Wendy Haldeman, MN, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder of The Pump Station & Nurtury
DISCLAIMER: This guest post was written by Wendy Haldeman of The Pump Station & Nurtury, a paid sponsor of the PAM 2015 Campaign. The opinions expressed by Wendy Haldeman and the Pump Station & Nurtury do not reflect the opinions of PAM, or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied. Always consult with your medical provider regarding any personal health questions or decisions (including nutrition, diet, and exercise)