If you take the tatas out, the baby will automatically latch on, right? One could only hope.
Breastfeeding is a magical experience full of bonding time, spills and misadventures, but it’s definitely a time you don’t want to miss out on based on fears or misconceptions. Here are the 10 best pointers for new breastfeeding mamas:
- Practice, Practice, Practice
You know the saying: Practice makes perfect. If Baby is having problems latching, or is fussy with other issues, the answer is more nursing — but don’t wear those nipples out!
Reach out and get the support you need. Talk to your mom, other breastfeeding moms and professionals. Log in to online forums if you’re stuck at home. Keep practicing, and you’ll get there!
- Lactation Consultants Rule
You may not feel the motivation to shell out another hundred or so in cold hard cash for more baby stuff, but the advice of a lactation consultant is priceless. Source the number of the best lactation consultant through your mommy-to-be resources now.
Get this resource in order soon, before you run into problems. When you’re tired and frustrated, you’re not going to want to waste precious time searching the Internet. Compared to formula prices, investing in a lactation consultation now is worth it.
- It’ll Hurt at First
Some people will tell you to do formula to avoid the pain of breastfeeding. However, the pain will subside as you get in the habit of regular feedings. As your nipples adjust, they may be raw and cracked. The first two weeks will feel like the worst, but over the coming months, you’ll adjust.
Your boobies will be sore, but boobie balm and breaks will be your “breast” friends. The best boobie balm is lanolin cream. Get it ASAP. Hint: It also doubles as lip balm in a pinch.
In place of store-bought items, you can also use your breast milk (yes!) or olive oil to soothe and heal painfully chapped nipples. Olive oil seeps into the skin layers more easily and provides excellent nutrients for the skin. Nipple shields are also helpful!
- Live in Comfy Bras and Nursing Tanks
Better start now! Build an impressive inventory of nursing bras and tank tops like aliens are coming to take over the world. Soon, you’ll be living in these bras and tanks, and you want to be as comfortable as possible.
Pulling up your shirt sounds simple enough, but nursing bras and tanks make it so much easier when normal effort becomes too much in an exhausted mama’s eyes.
- Calm Your Over-Pumping Tatas
Hold your melons, Mama! Don’t over-pump too soon. It’s understandable not to want to waste a drop, but breast milk expires, and you don’t want to wear your boobs out.
Wait until the supply gets established before you pump, or you’ll have an oversupply of milk and experience plugged ducts or engorged painful breasts. It sounds good to have an oversupply, but no, don’t do it.
- Start a Station for Breastfeeding
Do you have all your baby supplies set up for breastfeeding? Nipple cream and pump are nearby? Got a new tank to change into? Great.
Now what about you, Mama? Yes, you’re an intrinsic part of that station, too. What do you need?
You’ll be at this station for hours at the start. Do you have good tunes, games, snacks, water, a journal and a way to control temperature? Get the fluffiest pillows and blankets. Get your Netflix or Kindle in order. Be prepared for nursing time, and make your breastfeeding station suited for you, too.
- Conquer Fears About Public Breastfeeding
It’s understandable not to want to offend anyone in public or feel like you’re baring it all, even though you totally know in your head those are ridiculous notions. Do your best to conquer public breastfeeding fears early.
You don’t want to worry about making sure you’re covered, are in the right spot to feed your baby or end up leaking everywhere when you need to pump. Feeding your baby around others is a natural, beautiful experience that shouldn’t feel like another chore to do. Be as comfortable as possible with a cover-up, if you prefer.
Once you get used to it, public breastfeeding won’t feel like a big deal. Instead, you’ll feel free to feed your little one anytime he or she needs.
- Eat, Mama
You’re spending hours a day feeding your baby, but don’t forget to feed yourself. Eat, Mama!
Don’t worry yourself, Baby and others when you get woozy after breastfeeding. It takes a lot out of you when you need to be putting more nutritional goodness in your gut.
Replenish your reserves with proteins, fruits and vegetables. Noshing on nuts — such as dark chocolate-covered almonds — gives you a quick nutritional boost. Yummy! In your pump bag, include plenty of nutritious snacks.
- Hydrate, Mama
That’s right! In the pump bag, have a water stash, too. Get your eight glasses’ worth, at least. When you wake up in the morning, make the first order of business a tall glass of water, and stay hydrated throughout your day.
- Get Your Shuteye, Mama
Sleep? What sleep? Go ahead and laugh it out.
Your baby’s sleep schedule will evolve over the next few months, and you may feel like a walking zombie surviving on decaf. At least you have a semblance of a coffee ritual. Yay, placebo effect!
When baby sleeps, you sleep, too. Do your best to get your sleep in, and ask for or hire help to give you time to sleep.
It’s tough being new at breastfeeding, but it gets easier over the next few weeks, especially with practice. Nursing pain typically goes away after the first few weeks. Boobie creams and nipple shields will be invaluable.
Remember to do the basics — eat, hydrate and sleep — whenever possible. You can’t take good care of Baby unless you’re taking good care of yourself. Invest in nursing tanks and bras, and when setting up your breastfeeding station, think of yourself, too. Don’t let others’ opinions or prejudices about breastfeeding convince you to go the formula route. You can do this, and so can Baby!