It's true — breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for your rapidly growing baby. It wards off infection and sickness for your baby. Breastfeeding helps you lose weight and it guards against postpartum depression and cancer. And it's free.
But even with all the incentives, breastfeeding can be difficult. I heard that a lot before I had my baby, and always wondered what could be so hard about something so natural. And honestly, it was not as hard or painful for me as some people made it sound. But here are some difficulties I did have:
Soreness, but it wasn't unbearable and it didn't last too long — maybe a week or two. I remember my mom telling me it gets to the point where you feel no soreness at all and I was so excited for that day to come. It did! Also, I felt like I was a milk factory because of how often I was feeding my baby (about every hour and a half in the beginning). I remember thinking "Is this all I'm going to be doing for the next year?" but the feedings get much less frequent and less time-consuming. Overall, it just takes some time and practice to get the hang of it, but in my opinion, it is well worth any inconvenience it may bring. Here are some things that will help:
Get Support. If your husband knows how beneficial breastfeeding is and how important it is to you, you are much more likely to stick with it.
Get a Boppy pillow. This magical donut-shaped pillow will become your breast friend.
Love your Lanolin. It will help you avoid sore, cracked nipples. I recommend Lansinoh Lanolin. All you need is one tube. I didn't even get through half of mine.
Feed your baby right after birth. Your newborn's suckling instincts are at their highest right when they exit the womb and are placed on your belly. Let your baby bob his/her head around and find his/her way to the nipple.
Get all the help you can. Every hospital has a lactation consultant — a one-on-one breastfeeding expert to show you the ropes. She will help your baby latch like a pro from the start, and that is invaluable. Also, take advantage of workshops your hospital offers. Nurses are always right at your fingertips and can help you as many times as you need.
Pump it up. Get an electric or manual breast pump (depending on how often you are planning on pumping) and learn how to use it before baby comes. Pumping can relieve engorged breasts, and it's nice to have some breastmilk stocked up once you introduce a bottle. That way, your husband can feed the baby while you get some rest. Also, it comes in handy when you have a babysitter, you're driving, or you're out and about and don't feel like whippin' it out in public.
Go Under Cover. Get a nursing cover. That way, you can nurse comfortably when people are around and not have to leave the party. Check out this post too see my favorite (and free!) nursing covers.
Don't Give Up. There is always help. Find your local La Leche League group for hotlines, classes and other resources to help make breastfeeding a positive experience for you.
Read all about it. There are plenty of breastfeeding web sites and books out there. Speaking of which ...
It's time for the first (of many) Belly Mamas Giveaway! One lucky reader will win a free copy of Mommy's Little Breastfeeding Book by Michele Carnesecca, a nurse and lactation consultant at American Fork Hospital in Utah.
This little book is a quick, easy read and will get you off to a great start with breastfeeding. The giveaway ends March 15th and the winner will be notified by e-mail, with 24 hours to claim the prize.
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