9:37 AM Posted by Erin
Recently, I met Judy Masucci, Phd. mom and owner of A Mother's Boutique and writer of the blog Mommy News and Views, on Twitter @mommynews. I truly enjoyed reading her encouraging and informative updates during World Breastfeeding Week and appreciated the information she supplied on her blog. I was thrilled when she agreed to write a guest post for this weeks series and I hope you'll find her Tips for Breastfeeding Success as useful as I have.
I am a strong proponent of breast feeding. It is the best thing for the baby and for you. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast feeding for at least 1 year and longer if mutually desired by both the mother and child. The World Heath Organization recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years. The truth is – any amount of breast feeding will be beneficial for you and your baby: two days, two months or two years. Stick with it as long as you can and know that you are doing the best thing for you and your baby. Breastfeeding mothers loose weight quicker, get protection against certain cancers and have a host of other medical benefits. Breastfed babies are healthier and studies have shown that there are increases in their IQ scores as well (for references please visit http://www.breastfeedingtips.net).
Breastfeeding is also easy – no need to think about packing bottles and no worries about staying out longer than planned – your food supply is always with you. It is especially easy for feedings during the middle of the night – you hardly even have to wake up to feed the baby! However, breastfeeding isn’t always easy to learn how to do, especially in the beginning. And if your baby has complications such as delivery via c-section or suctioning at birth, it can be even more difficult. Stick with it, it will work and you will enjoy it. It is an incredible bonding experience for both mother and baby.
My Tips for Breastfeeding Success are:
• Try to feed your baby as soon after birth as possible. Most babies are awake and alert for the first 1-2 hours after birth. After that they may be groggy for a few days (they went through a pretty traumatic ordeal coming into this world!!). The best time to start breastfeeding is during that alert time right after they are born. This will teach them how to suck and latch on properly. They may not do it again for a day or two – but getting them started right away is the best way for successful breast feeding.
• Take advice from as many different people as possible. Every baby is different and every person you talk with has different experience and different advice. Don’t be disappointed if you have difficulties at first. Something that someone tells you is bound to help.
• It takes at least 2 SOLID weeks to become good at breastfeeding. Stick with it – it’ll work.
• Ask to talk to a lactation consultant while you are still in the hospital. Depending on where you deliver, they typically only come to visit you on the day you are leaving, so tell them if you are having difficulties getting the baby to latch on and they will come sooner. Ask to talk to them several times if you need to.
• Talk to every nurse you get. They each have different advice. It is difficult to breastfeed at first, so get as much help as possible.
• Drink a LOT of water. Breastfeeding can be extremely dehydrating and you will need to make sure you have a lot to drink so that you don’t get weak and so that your milk comes in strong. Keep a full glass of water by you at all times.
• Get a bra or nursing tank that you can sleep in. You will need one because your breasts will get very heavy when your milk comes in – and they may leak!
• Buy some nursing clothing. There are a variety of manufacturers out there. It is the easiest way to breastfeed in public without having to "bare it all."
• Keep nighttime feedings all about business. When feeding your baby during the middle of the night – don’t talk to him or play with him. Make your feedings as “business-like” as possible and do it in the dark with just a night-light. I even recommend that you change the baby’s diaper with the lights off. You want your baby to learn right away that he should sleep at night and that he shouldn’t be waking up to play during the middle of the night. Feel free to play with him and talk to him during daytime feedings so that he quickly learns the difference.
• If you are planning to go back to work, you will need to build up a supply of breast milk for your baby to have after you are at work. It may seem impossible that you will ever be able to pump because you spend so much time breastfeeding. Read this article for tips on pumping and working.
• Have everything you need within arms reach while breastfeeding – phone, TV remote, computer, books you want to read, cell phone, water, pacifier for the baby, burp cloth, nursing pillow, something to put your feet up on, etc. That way you don’t have to disturb the baby to get up and get something.
• Don’t leave any questions unanswered. There aren’t any dumb questions when it comes to being a new mother. Call up your local La Leche League leader, a lactation consultant, a friend or any other breastfeeding resource. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – something very complicated may be simpler than you think. Ask away
• Direct your breastfeeding questions to a breastfeeding expert. Many moms ask their pediatricians when they have breastfeeding questions. While some pediatricians can be very helpful, many inadvertently give poor advice. Unless your pediatrician is also a certified lactation consultant, leave the baby questions for the pediatrician and the breastfeeding questions for the lactation consultant. Always get a second opinion if you get advice that you don’t think sounds reasonable or correct. And get a breastfeeding friendly-pediatrician too!
No matter how long you end up nursing, always keep in mind that you have given your baby an incredible gift. This article by Diane Wiessinger is a great article that summarizes all of the benefits you and your baby get from breastfeeding – whether it is two days or two years. Take a look!
Dr. Masucci is a mom to one beautiful boy and a business owner. She lives in Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh where she operates a maternity and breastfeeding boutique (A Mother’s Boutique) and writes about parenting and breastfeeding on her blog Mommy News and Views.