First … a note from Jeanine …
August is National Breastfeeding Month. One of my biggest struggles as a new mom was breastfeeding. I thought it would be easy. Natural. I mean obviously the baby needs to eat, so why wouldn’t he just latch on and start eating? I wish I would have met with a lactation specialist or a doula before I had my son so that I could have been better prepared. The first two weeks of James’s life was an hourly struggle to get nutrition in his body. It wasn’t until I finally did meet with an expert that the tides turned and breastfeeding became my favorite times of day and one of the greatest bonding experiences I had with my son.
To help celebrate National Breastfeeding month we partnered up with Amanda at Sidekicks Lactation to share her TOP 5 Things You Should Know About Breastfeeding Before your Baby is Born! I hope these tips help the pregnant and new moms reading my blog.
Now … Take it away Amanda ….
Before my oldest son was born, I had virtually no experience with breastfeeding. I was not breastfed myself, and I didn’t personally know anyone who was breastfeeding. He decided to be born early, so I never made it to the required prenatal breastfeeding class. While there are many things that I wish I would have known about breastfeeding before he was born, here are the top 5:
1. Put the pump down!
While there can absolutely be a time and place for expressing milk, in the early days in most cases, it is most important for baby to be given the opportunity to latch early and often! Milk production is based on supply and demand–as the baby is given ample time to remove milk from the breast (demand), the body is signaled to make more milk (supply). Additionally, many families find that when returning to work or school, pumping one day for what baby will need the following day works as a seamless system–milk never even has to touch the freezer!
2. Rest when the baby rests.
No matter what the birth was like, growing a baby and delivering that baby are extraordinarily physically demanding! Thus, rest is a crucial part of recovery. Since baby needs to nurse frequently (it’s totally normal for baby to nurse all the time in the early days!), day and night, family sleep patterns will look differently once baby arrives. In order to achieve enough overall rest, it is important for new parents to take advantage of resting when baby rests. Put those dirty dishes down, and put those tired feet up!
3. Take a breastfeeding class!
Breastfeeding is a learning process–both for you and for your baby! While breastfeeding is absolutely natural, it is also a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. It takes some time for you and baby to learn and master the art of breastfeeding together. Taking a breastfeeding class before baby is born will help prepare you for getting off to a great start and develop your confidence in your ability to achieve your breastfeeding goals. Find a high-quality class with an experienced, well-trained lactation professional (check credentials–IBCLC is the gold standard in lactation)!
4. Find out where to get support before baby arrives.
Even with adequate preparation, the best-laid plans can still go awry. While many families are able to get off to a great start in their breastfeeding journey and to meet their breastfeeding goals, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. In these times, it is so much easier to pick up the phone and call someone who already knows you and your family than to be at the mercy of Google, bleary-eyed at 3:00 a.m., because you and baby haven’t quite gotten in sync yet and you can’t find the resource list from your healthcare provider that you shoved in the bottom of the diaper bag three weeks ago. Great help is out there–you just have to know where to look!
5. Find your tribe!
They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and that is sotrue! There is so much value in finding a group of like-minded families, who are in the same season of life or have gone through the same season of life! Meeting together in person builds a kind of camaraderie that is something unique in parenthood that simply cannot be found sitting behind a screen–especially with so much breastfeeding information (oftentimes grossly inaccurate!) readily available at parents’ fingertips these days. I did not venture out to find a breastfeeding group until my oldest was a few months old, and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t do it sooner! I was lucky to find my tribe; these connections have lasted over the years through countless moves, subsequent children, and many seasons of parenthood!
Amanda with Sidekicks Lactation is a local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has been helping families in the Tampa area with breastfeeding since 2013. In addition to being an IBCLC, Amanda is also a La Leche League (LLL) Leader and an experienced nursing mother of 4. She earned a BS in Health and Physical Education with a concentration in Health Promotion and a Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health, in addition to being Certified in Public Health (CPH). Visit www.sidekickslactation.com to learn more information and to view all the services Sidekicks Lactation offers!