Breastfeeding Tips for the New Mama

Monday, March 30, 2015

When I had Wyatt I was completely at a loss when it came to breastfeeding (you can find our breastfeeding story HERE). I knew it was something I wanted to do but I really hadn't done my research. Once Stella was born I felt a lot more prepared and ready to breastfeed. These are just a few tips that I've learned along the way. 

I would suggest to hold out on the pumping, at last for the first 10-14 days. (Unless you're exclusively pumping.) Everything I read said "keep feeding until breasts are empty". Well, that's dumb. Your breasts are a never really empty. So I would sit and pump, after feeding Wyatt, just waiting for my breasts to be "empty". Really all I was doing was making myself more engorged by making my body think it needed to produce more milk. So my advice is to wait until engorgment has ceased before you begin pumping. And also save yourself the pain of both breasts.

Now again, I'm no expert, just speaking from experience. I know that some women HAVE to use nipple shields, obviously or else they wouldn't have ever made them. My advice would be to really try to breastfeed without them or speak with a lactation consultant before using them. At my hospital I was handed nipple shields and told to use them without any other guidance. It did help him latch on but I would much rather have been given advice on how to nurse. I eventually, over the next two weeks (while fighting mastitis), had to re-teach Wyatt how to latch-on without them.

This kind of goes along with the nipple shields. I'm pretty sure if someone had suggested holding Wyatt in a different position while nursing he would have latched on much easier. Wyatt was pretty picky when it came to eating. He liked being held one way on one breast and a different way on the other. So if you find that your baby is having trouble latching on, try another position.

Most hospitals or medical clinics have a lactation consultant in-house. There is also LA LECHE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL which provides forums and answers to FAQ. They also provide contacts for resources in your area. Also, if you have friends who have had breastfeeding experience ask them questions. Sometimes just hearing someone else's struggles can make you feel better and more human.

 Breastfeeding is not easy. PERIOD. Don't let the pressure from your peers and the world make you feel bad if breastfeeding is not for you or doesn't work.