Hey there, mama! Are you breastfeeding your baby currently, or are you expecting and thinking you want to breastfeed your baby? Then keep reading, because I have some great info for you! As an AZ maternity and newborn photographer, I get to talk to a lot of new and expecting mothers. The topic of feeding babies always comes up! This blog post is the first in a new series – Breastfeeding 101. Now, please don’t get me wrong:
A WELL FED BABY IS A HAPPY BABY
If that means bottle fed, then so be it. If that means breastfed, that’s great, too. I am not a hater of formula or bottle feeding. Not at all! I just know that breastfeeding can be tricky and want to offer some helpful info for anyone who wants to try it. I want to clarify that right away!
Now, moving on to what this blog series is about! These Breastfeeding 101 posts are intended to provide some tips, information and encouragement to breastfeeding moms.
I AM NOT A DOCTOR, NURSE, OR PROFESSIONAL LACTATION CONSULTANT.
I have collaborated on these posts with a Certified Lactation Counselor, as well as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. (who have also nursed their own babies, as have I.) The goal is to share accurate information from knowledgeable resources that I trust, with YOU!
In talking with my amazing and resourceful Counselors, the biggest and best tip I can give you first is:
TIP #1: Prepare for breastfeeding BEFORE you have your baby.
Picture this: you are a new mom who has just delivered her baby. You are tired, your emotions are running like crazy, the realization that you now have to keep this little human alive is starting to settle in on you. You decided to try and breastfeed thinking, “It’s NATURAL. Surely it will be easy and the baby and I will figure it out right away.”
Um… You could run into trouble here.
Let’s start over and replay that scenario. Going back to before your beautiful baby is born. You are expecting and thinking you want to breastfeed your baby. Great! NOW is the time to research, talk to people, and get some supplies. A great resource is KellyMom.com.
KellyMom.com has a lot of great pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting helps. Find a lactation counselor in your area or at your hospital and see if they have any classes or info to give you. If you are using a doula or midwife I bet they could recommend one to you.
Here are your first few things to do if you decide to breastfeed your baby:
- Inform the people around you – husband, grandparents, aunts, bff’s – that you want to breastfeed your baby and ask for their support.
- As a new mother, especially if you are a first time mom, remember to trust your instincts. You will probably get an overload of advice about everything regarding your new baby, but remember to TRUST your own instincts!
- Read some articles about breastfeeding. Especially about getting a proper latch, because this is important.
- Don’t try to “prepare” your nipples by roughing them up in any way.
- Remember that the first two weeks are a critical time in breastfeeding. You are new at this. Even if you have nursed a baby before, this baby is new at it. Give yourself at least two weeks to try it. These can be painful weeks, to be honest. There is a some initial discomfort involved when you start nursing. A properly latched baby will mean minimal pain, but be prepared for it. It WILL get better quickly! Keep your goal in mind when it gets tough in the first couple weeks.
Here’s a little shopping list for you:
- good nursing bra
Get a soft nursing bra that you can operate with one hand. Skip the underwires. Make sure it’s a nice, stretchy material that will accommodate your expanding and decreasing size. Start with at least three bras.
- a container of disposable nursing pads, or a good supply of reusable cloth ones
- medela Tender Care lanolin ointment
- nursing pillow
There are many nursing pillows out there these days. Boppy (or boppy style), My Brest Friend, Ergo Baby, and more. A good place to research nursing pillows and all topics related to babies is babylist.com.
- You may also want to get a cute nursing cover. There are TONS out there that are super adorable! Let’s just say they have come a long way since I nursed my babies, and that wasn’t even that long ago!
There you have it! Plenty of great info to start with as you prepare to breastfeed your baby. Keep an eye out for the next blog post in the Breastfeeding 101 series!