Studies show that breast feeding baby for as long as you can has many benefits to both Mom and baby. Being a breast feeding Momma, I highly recommend it, but I also know it’s a super huge commitment. Breastfeeding can be time consuming and a lot of work. It can be draining and sleep depriving and it can make hubby feel left out. The decision to breastfeed or bottle feed is a highly personal choice. You should NEVER make anyone feel bad over their choice. Many people try and fail because of reasons beyond their control. That being said this is what I learned. . .
1. Get a support group. Mine consists of the hubby, a few girlfriends with experience and a FB mommies group. I cannot stress enough how helpful it is having a community of women you can turn to when you first have a baby, whether it’s friends, family, or a virtual group. (Which is where I give a shout out to all the wonderful mothers of NHCM)
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (There will be questions many questions.)
3. Understand going in that it takes dedication to be successful. . .research tips and tricks to help. I immediately tried nursing the baby after he was born. All the tests they need to do in the hospital can wait a little bit. I also exclusively breastfed in the hospital. No bottles. I read that giving bottles too early can lead the babe to prefer the bottle because its easier to nurse from bottle than breast so I waited weeks before letting a single bottle hit his lips. (I also tried not to use a pacifier for the first few weeks for the same reason.)
4. Patience is key. Sometimes it feels all you do is nurse, it gets easier as time goes by. (I promise it does, but it takes patience and dedication and uh, more patience.)
5. Experiment with different positions to find what works for you. You’ll be surprised at just how many different positions there are to try.
6. Don’t be afraid to use contraptions to help you out. I used a nipple shield on multiple occasions to make nursing easier for both of us. The nipple shield can be helpful if you have a fast letdown (translated to English this means you have a strong spray when you first start nursing), it can help when you first introduce the babe to a bottle and are going back and forth between bottle and breast (and it can also help when baby is teething…as protection.)
7. Get a good pump if you planning on nursing while you work. (And watch the video that comes with it to make sure you are using it properly.)
8. To pump at work you need a quiet room preferably with a lock on the door (Or for those with a sense of humor, a sign of a cow that says milking in progress). I am lucky that I have a lock on the door to my office and that I could close my door for prolonged periods of time and no one bothered me. Pumping can take between 10-30 minutes. I pumped up to 5 times while I was at work especially towards the end when my supply started to drop.
9. Every time you think you’re not pumping enough double check all your pump parts. Every time I was having bad pumping results it turned out to be something silly with my pump, but until you figure out the pump is the cause (and you really aren’t defective) it is super frustrating.
10. A couple of good resources:
If you are up for the challenge of breast feeding, kuddos to you, cheers and good luck!