Thursday, September 6, 2012

10 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

One more day until the weekend! EEK!;) I am ready for some time with the girls! I hope your Wednesday was as good as mine. It has been a busy week, but we have gotten a lot done. Today I am finishing up some yard work(embracing the love bug attacks;)) and getting prepared for tomorrow! MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers, starts tomorrow and I am so ready!! For my fellow moms out there, you should look up your local MOPS program and go check it out! Today, I thought I would share my tips on successful breastfeeding! These are the things I have found that work for me. There is no "scientific proof" behind any of them:) Let me start by saying that although I am a strong promoter of breastfeeding, I am also pro moms doing what is best for them and baby. There should be no judgement for Moms who choose other paths. A healthy Mom also means a healthy baby!:)  

10 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
1. Use your Lactation Consultant.  If you have the option to talk with one, even though they can put a little pressure on you, they do know what they are talking about. They can be there the first few days, which can be there hardest, and walk you through it. They have great tips and suggestions.
2. Stay Calm and relaxed. Yes, this can be quite challenging when you are SORE beyond description;) I have been there. But, I have found that trying to stay calm, not tense, and relaxed will keep baby calm and willing to suck.

3.  PUMP! PUMP! PUMP! I am telling you this makes a huge difference in your experience. One, it helps bring your milk down quicker, and is a great method to "release" when those things get stopped up. For those of us who have nursed, we know thats not a pretty situation;) I started by pumping in between feedings to bring in my milk faster, and then eventually to bring more in. Bringing more milk made it to where I could pump and freeze. That comes in handy when you leave baby for the first time. I wanted my babies solely on breast milk. You can also start pumping a few days before baby arrives to get the milk down sooner. Just remember to SAVE what you pump! The colostrum comes first and that is like GOLD! If you can't afford a pump, the hospital rents them out.
    4. Purchase a Nipple Shield. I don't know what I would've done without it! This is where I will say to remember this is MY advice, because your Lactation Consultant will tell you differently. I was given my first nipple shield by my consultant in the hospital. They are promoters of them,  they just want baby getting used to the breast and not spoiled to the shield. When you use a bottle or a shield they learn really fast how much easier they get their milk. So, sometimes it can make them become a little lazy at the breast. However, I  found that using the shield helped with my chaffing, soreness, and it took some of the pain out of a new baby trying to learn. (sometimes they latch a little too tight;) So, I used my for the first few months until I lost the soreness and baby was good and nursing. I didn't find it was hard to wean off of the shield. I just slowly took it away, one feeding at a time.
5. Stay Hydrated. My Grandma worked in L&D for 30 years and always told me to DRINK WATER! DRINK WATER! DRINK WATER! It helps with milk production and keeps you hydrated as well.

6. Pay attention to what you eat. Ok, moms. I am not going to tell you to eat perfectly. No. I indulged on some yummy foods;) However, overall, make sure you are hitting all the food groups! And remember to pay attention to what you eat that may affect nursing baby. Here is a list of some average foods that can affect a nursing baby...because remember everything we ingest goes right to them.

7. Take care of yourself. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest. Sleep whenever you can. This is much easier when you only have one child. However, eat well, sleep when you can, and let other help you. We can go back to being Super-Mom right away;)
8. Don't let nursing in Public scare you. If you decide to nurse, then you will have to nurse in public. Don't fret. Go buy a nursing cover and do what you have to do. I would also wear an easily accessible shirt that didn't reveal much when I lifted  it, but made it easy to get to when baby gets hungry. You wouldn't believe the situations I was in when I needed to nurse. Needless to say, I learned to be a little less modest;)

9. Naked baby means nursing baby. It is true when they say to take off the baby's clothes if he/she falls asleep instead of feeding. In the early stages of nursing, babies are still getting used to being out of the womb. This is truly the most precious time, but they can be a little lazy;) So, if you have a hard time getting baby to stay latched on, just strip 'em down!
10. Remember you are amazing! Don't compare yourself to other moms. It almost comes naturally to us women to be hard on ourselves. If you start breastfeeding and it just isn't working for you, for whatever reason, you shouldn't feel like a bad mom. If you don't want to breastfeed at all, thats okay too. At the end of the day, as long as you are happy and healthy, and baby is happy and healthy, that is what is important!
What breastfeeding tips do you have?!

I hope if nothing else this helps you to consider breastfeeding if your weren't, maybe go a little longer if you are, or gave you some tips for when you have your next baby!:) Have a great Thursday!
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