Since I am often asked: short, sweet, and to the point – my own top 5 ….
1. Resources – before you have your baby, know what your local resources are! Consider taking a private prenatal breastfeeding class. Lenora and I are happy to come to your home while you are pregnant and help you understand what changes lay ahead for you and what the first weeks may be like. Have info on hand for your local La Leche League group, new mother’s group and of course know the hospital or birth center breastfeeding support & policies where ever you are giving birth.
2. Understanding Latch – babies instinctively know how to open up wide to latch. But looks can be deceiving and before you know it, in those first few days you may have cracked and painful nipples. If you suspect at all that your baby is having difficulty latching, reach out for help. I like this video that shows simple latch technique …
3. Nurse Frequently – lather, rinse, repeat. A newborn should feed every 2 -3 hours. This is normal! Even before milk comes in, when the magic of colostrum is all baby is getting – baby still needs to be at the breast frequently, or “on demand”. This will best stimulate milk production in order to ensure an healthy and abundant milk supply. Remember, “the economics of supply & demand” – the more baby empties the breast, the more milk you’ll produce!
4. Comfort – too often I’ll pay a visit to a mom in her home for a lactation consult and I’ll see her sitting on her couch looking like Quasimodo! She’ll be kind of hugging her baby, knee up in the air, unsupported, back hunched, shoulders up to her ears, neck tight. Positioning is important, but so is comfort! Set up your nursing station with everything you need at hand (water, phone, ipad, tv remote, book, glasses, snack, etc.). Remember to let baby come to YOU, rather than you hunching over to come to baby. Try laid back breastfeeding (BE the Diva laying on the couch) and let baby find the breast while you relax in a more reclined position. And drop those shoulders, roll your neck a few times and remember to breathe.
5. Trust and belief – the first weeks can be so overwhelming. You’re flooded with joy, elation, doubt, panic, calm, exhaustion, pure love! Remember to trust those instincts. If you feel something isn’t working right, trust that – get help, find support. If all is going great, trust that too! You will get into a rhythm and stride as a new mom. It gets better, easier, more familiar! Hang in there and believe.