Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers {World Breastfeeding Week}

I'm suddenly a huge advocate for breastfeeding.  I didn't know that this was going to happen.  It's something that I became passionate about when I became pregnant. I always knew I would do everything in my power to breastfeed because it was normal to me.  My mother breastfed all 11 of us so I watched her nurse my younger siblings.  Growing up on a farm I watched the farm animals nurse their young.  There was no doubt in my mind that what came naturally was what I was going to do.  But that doesn't go to show that I didn't have my own struggles, heartaches and issues with nursing E. I nursed him for 16 months and I am proud of that, but a part of me also wishes I nursed longer.  In those 16 months I learned so much and I love sharing my experiences with other mothers who ask.  To me, being able to support or assist a new mother in breastfeeding is amazing.

To contribute to the communication of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would share my Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers based on some of mine and some of my friends experiences:

10. Set yourself up for success.  Much like educating yourself about natural birth, you must educate yourself about breastfeeding. Sure, it's supposed to come natural, but it helps to know the insides and outs and be able to troubleshoot if issues should arise.  Read books, take classes, ask other mothers' experiences, watch breastfeeding in person or through video.  Learn about potential booby traps. There is so much to do to prepare yourself. 

Some of my favourite books on breastfeeding that I read and highly recommend are:
9. Seek out a support system. Attend La Leche League meetings or breastfeeding classes.  Join a support group like Ottawa Breastfeeding Buddies. Ask your mother or others that you know that breastfed.  Contact a Lactation Consultant.  Attend breastfeeding drop-in clinics at your local community health centre or Ontario Early Years Centre.

8. Make the first hour after birth part of your birth plan to help start you on the right path.  Learn more about the "Magical Hour". This is something I didn't have and attribute some of my early breastfeeding struggles to.

7. It's all about supply and demand. The more you let your baby nurse, the more milk you will produce.  It is nearly impossible (unless you have medical reasons) for a baby to drink you dry.  The more your baby drinks, the more your body knows to produce more in the future. It may take a few days to notice the increase in supply and your baby will by instinct nurse more to prepare for a growth spurt. Nurse on demand. Don't limit your baby to a feeding schedule, it may make for a very unhappy baby and will cause issues in your supply.

6. Nurse often when your milk comes. It will not only encourage your supply, it will help relieve pressure and tenderness. The more you nurse, the better for both of you. You may also want to invest in a quality breast pump to help.

5. Allowing your child to nurse for comfort can be a good thing.  Not letting them "pacify" can damage your breastfeeding relationship.  Breasts are not only for milk, they supply comfort too.

4. Be adventurous.  Sounds funny, doesn't it? Try different holds - you don't always have to use the cradle hold.  Nurse while lying down to get some shut-eye.  Try nursing while carrying your baby in a wrap.  Nurse in public. Find comfort in your own way.

3. Always offer your second breast when sucking slows or stops on one side.  Try not to pull your baby off if they are not done.  If your baby cries when pulled off they are most likely still hungry! Don't stress if they don't drink from the second breast - sometimes they just need a snack!

2. If your baby spits up often or is fussy after nursing they may be sensitive to something you are eating.  Monitor and eliminate foods that may be triggering discomfort. 

1. Always do what you feel is naturally the best for you and your baby and take advice (including mine) with a grain of rice.  Find what works for you and enjoy and embrace this special bonding time with you baby.



I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.
(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

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