Breastfeeding your baby is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. The vast majority of women are able to successfully breastfeed their babies. The key to success is knowledge and preparation. The best time to start preparing for breastfeeding is during your pregnancy. This is the perfect time to gain knowledge and information.
Breastfeeding classes are offered at most hospitals and birthing centers. Ask your health care provider for information about classes in your area. The typical class offers information about the benefits of breastfeeding and helpful advice for getting started. A good class will cover different ways to hold the baby during feedings and how to be sure you have the baby latched on properly. The class should offer information about common road blocks, such as sore nipples and how to be sure baby is getting enough milk.
You will need a good, comprehensive [tag-cat]breastfeeding[/tag-cat] book. There are many books on the market. Browse the selection at your local bookstore. Read a bit of each book to find one that you like. Look at the table of contents for the subjects covered. A comprehensive book should address a wide variety of issues. Some to look for include nutrition, getting started, increasing supply and common problems.
Support is important for mothers who are breastfeeding for the first time. Ask if your hospital has certified lactation consultants on staff. The lactation consultant will visit you in your room, help you with latch or holding positions and answer any questions you may have. When the baby feeds for the first time, the lactation consultant may not be available. A nurse should help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, if needed.
Surround yourself with people who support your desire to breastfeed your babies. In some families, there will be people who may not know anything about breastfeeding. Sometimes negative comments from friends or family are enough to sabotage the nursing relationship. It’s important for you to find people in your life that will support your decision to breastfeed.
If you are lucky, you have friends and family who breastfed their children and a good support system. If you don’t have that support, you can find it outside your circle of friends. La Leche League is the major organization dedicated to breastfeeding advocacy and support. Your health care provider may be able to direct you to your local chapter, or you can visit La Leche League’s website to find your local group. Attend a meeting or two during your [tag-ice]pregnancy[/tag-ice] for great advice, information and support.
When the baby is born, you can get breastfeeding off to a good start by nursing the baby as soon as possible. Many hospitals offer rooming in, which allows the baby to stay in the room with you during your stay in the hospital. This is the best choice for nursing mothers. When the baby is sharing your room, you will be able to feed on demand. This is great for building your supply.
Avoid [tag-tec]pacifiers[/tag-tec] and bottles for the first month to get the best possible start. This allows your baby to learn how to breastfeed and avoid nipple confusion. There is a big difference in sucking between breast and artificial nipples. Too many bottles or heavy pacifier use can also be detrimental to your supply. Breast milk works on the principle of supply and demand. The more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk your body will produce.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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