Many women look to breastfeeding as a convenient way to provide valuable nutrients to their baby. Food is always readily available and at the right temperature, whenever baby needs it.
But in the days and weeks after birth, fatigue and other challenges may tempt women to give up breastfeeding if the process isn’t going smoothly.
We offer the following tips to breastfeeding moms who may need a little encouragement:
- Choose a health care provider supportive of breastfeeding – His or her attitude toward breastfeeding has a direct affect on your success level.
- Ask for help – Reading about breastfeeding and actually feeding your child are two very different things. As soon as you deliver, follow the advice of the obstetric nurses or contact a certified lactation consultant. For breastfeeding to be a natural and enjoyable experience, learning the correct technique is important.
- Breastfeed often – After delivery, you are tired and your body is in need of recovery time. However, plan to breastfeed every two to three hours around the clock. Frequent feedings stimulate your breasts to produce milk. If you have more milk than baby is eating, use a breast pump to remove the remaining milk and freeze it. The extra milk will come in handy when you cannot be with your baby for a feeding.
- Stay positive – Breastfeeding is not something to which you can set a clock. Your baby will determine his or her own pace. Enjoy this time with your little one and begin the bonding process. If breastfeeding is difficult, don’t get frustrated with yourself and quit. It takes weeks to become comfortable with breastfeeding. Seek the support from moms who have breastfed their babies, surround yourself with family, friends and professionals who encourage breastfeeding, observe a breastfeeding mother feeding her baby, and get help from a certified lactation consultant.
- Invest in a good breast pump – Hospital-grade breast pumps are available to rent or buy, and if you plan to return to work and continue breastfeeding, they are a good investment. Discuss your plans with your employer. Most employers are more than happy to accommodate breastfeeding moms, and will work with you to find a place and times for you to pump. If you notice your milk supply is dwindling, check with your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant for additional information and tips.
Lactation consulting services are available to all mothers, whether they delivered their baby at Winneshiek Medical Center or not. For information, call 563-382-2911.
For online resources on breastfeeding, visit http://www.llli.org/