Although nursing is natural, it is a difficult process. According to the Centers for Disease Control 83 percent of mothers start breastfeeding shortly after birth, and 57 percent continue to breastfeed six months after giving birth. This is a very low number considering the fact that experts recommend continuous breastfeeding for a full six months. Some mothers underestimate the importance of breastfeeding, it has significant health benefits including decreased risk of SIDS, infection, obesity and allergies. Some mothers don’t like the idea of breastfeeding because it can be painful and uncomfortable; however, with some careful planning and a determined mind, you will increase your chances of success with breastfeeding.
Get Some Help
Contact a healthcare expert like a lactation consultant before giving birth to get some advice on the best way to breastfeed your child. They will provide you with plenty of helpful tips, and once the baby is born, you can contact them if you are having any problems.
Do you know anyone who is breastfeeding a child at the moment? Ask them if you can watch or join a breastfeeding support group where you can learn from other mothers as they breastfeed their children.
Create a Nursing Space
Before the birth of your baby, create a nursing station, this is an area in your home where you will breastfeed. It should have a comfortable chair, a side table for water, snacks, a book, your phone, burp cloths, nursing pads and a breastfeeding pillow. You will spend a lot of time here, so make sure it’s comfortable and you have everything you need.
At the Hospital
When you are in hospital after giving birth, ask the nurses if you can share a room with your baby. This will help you to bond, learn when the baby is hungry and establish an early breastfeeding routine.
If you are still feeling uncomfortable when breastfeeding but the nurse is telling you your latch looks good, contact a lactation expert. If your doctor says that your baby is underweight, contact a lactation expert. If you are feeling pain in your nipples contact a lactation expert. If your instincts are telling you that something isn’t right, say something. You will save yourself a lot of pain and trouble by speaking up instead of remaining passive.
Nurse After Delivery
Nurse the baby no later than one hour after delivery; if you wait longer than this, you will find it difficult to rouse the baby. In the beginning, it might seem as if you are not producing enough breast milk but it’s important to remember, that a baby’s stomach is only the size of a marble 1-2 days after birth.
Get Your Partner Involved
If the father of your baby is around, bring him along when you have hospital appointments and when meeting the lactation consultant. Men are good problem solvers, and you might find that you are so exhausted and overwhelmed that you will find it difficult to process the information you are being told.
Position is important when breastfeeding, make sure that your stomach and your baby’s stomach are touching. In this way, the child won’t need to turn its head to latch. Don’t point your nipple towards the mouth, but towards the nose so that the baby will lift its head up and open the mouth wide for a deep latch.
Most mother’s will push the back of their child’s head onto the breast, this triggers the instinct to chomp down and resist, Instead, position your hand on the nape of the neck and swiftly bring the baby to your breast.
Lie on your side when feeding, this will allow you to rest your lower back and your shoulders if you have a bad habit of hunching over. This is also a good idea if you are exhausted, suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, or if you had a C-section. Place a pillow between your knees and let your arm rest under your head, pull the baby towards you so that you are facing each other. This might be a bit difficult at first, so you might need someone to help you.
Pacifiers suppress hunger cues; therefore, it is advised that you avoid using one for the first month. Your baby will spend more time on the breast without a pacifier.
Use a Nursing Stool
A nursing stool will make you feel a lot more comfortable when you are breastfeeding, it will give you additional lap, this is especially true if you are short. If you have had an episiotomy, it will take the pressure off.
Your baby will feel very relaxed when being breastfed which can make them fall asleep and stop feeding. Stroke under the chin, tickle the feet, or touch the baby with a wet wash cloth to keep them awake.
There are very few mothers who master the art of breastfeeding as soon as the baby is born. It takes time and patience. You will need to practice and try different strategies until you find what works for you. However, don’t give up on breastfeeding because there are so many health benefits that you will be depriving your child of if you do.