Breastfeeding is probably the most difficult and rewarding things you can do for your baby. It’s also a personal decision and no woman should feel like she is any less of a mom if this is something she can’t do or decides it’s something she doesn’t want to do.
Breastfeeding is a huge commitment and, for me, it didn’t come naturally. I spent a lot of time crying because my nipples were blistered and bleeding and baby was hungry and wasn’t cooperating. I was the sole food source for this helpless mini-me and I had very few moments for myself, most of which was concentrating on sleep.
1.) Ask to breastfeed your baby immediately after you give birth. This is a good way to bond with your baby and to use your baby’s natural born instincts to suck. This is important because this will help your baby learn to breastfeed and it will help establish your milk.
2.) Use the lactation specialists provided by the hospital. They helped me and the baby latch correctly and answered any questions I had. I felt a little embarrassed at first to have another woman maneuvering my breast but it was all for the benefit of the baby. Take their names and numbers down and don’t be afraid to call.
3.) Twenty minutes of nursing is enough time to feed baby; any longer and you could increase the possibility of damaging your nipples.
4.) It is completely normal for it to take two to five days for your breast milk to come in.
5.) If needed to (or ask the nursing staff), you can cup feed your baby formula to help keep the baby full until your breast milk comes in and you don’t have to worry about nipple confusion.
6.) Nipple shields are great to help prevent nipple damage or even give you nipples time to heal. Also, some baby’s have a hard time latching on and the nipple shield helps the baby latch on correctly. You can buy these at the store or you can request one from the nursing staff.
7.) Buy several comfortable nursing bras. I preferred something without underwire. I also highly recommend getting nursing tanks. Glamour Mom has a lot of nice options, but they are pretty expensive. I went to Target and bought a couple for less than $20 apiece.
8.) Mastitis causes swelling, redness, tenderness, and pain in the breast. There may be an infection, so it is wise to consult your doctor. I can speak from experience: If you are experiencing pain, don’t stop breastfeeding. In fact, try to have the baby feed first from the breast you are having pain with. Use cold compresses if needed.