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When a new mom is considering breastfeeding it’s usually not without a lot of questions. Will it hurt? Will I be able to? Will I produce enough milk? What if my baby gets hungry while we’re out?
I had all of these questions and more when I was pregnant with my first child. As it turned out, I was fortunate that both of my sons were breastfeeding champs and other than sore nipples for about a week, we didn’t have any problems. I realize that this isn’t the case with everyone and there are things that can get in the way of your breastfeeding success. But they don’t have to.
1. Have a good support system. The biggest contributor to being able to breastfeed my second son for almost two years was the support of my husband. My oldest son’s father wasn’t very supportive and I only lasted for 6.5 months.
2. Make sure that you have a good latch as this will help with sore nipples. If you need to, have a consultation with a lactation consultant. If your nipples do get sore and cracked just know that it’s temporary. Apply some nipple cream or lanolin and after a week or two you should be fine.
3. Breastfeed on demand instead of trying to schedule feedings, especially if you suspect supply issues. This way your body will produce the amount of milk that your baby needs.
4. Don’t fall for common booby traps. Even your pediatrician may try to get you to supplement. Follow your gut. There is no reason for a thriving mother and baby to have to supplement if you don’t want to.
(Our first pediatrician offered me a can of formula “just in case” even though the baby was thriving and I never mentioned having difficulty. We left that practice soon after)
5. Keep the negativity away. Whether it’s a friend, a mother in law, or anyone else who makes comments or gives unsolicited advice, don’t let it get to you and make you anxious. It’s your baby and you know best.
6. Wear easy clothing for breastfeeding and a good nursing bra. Button down shirts, loose t-shirts with a nursing cami, and nursing tops are excellent choices.
7. Use a soft structured baby carrier or sling for discrete nursing in public.
8. Leave the formula samples at the hospital or donate them to a shelter or food pantry. In the middle of the night when you’re exhausted and have sore nipples those cans can be mighty tempting.
9. Lastly, trust yourself and your body. You know best and in most cases your baby is getting enough milk.
Additional resources for all of your breastfeeding questions:
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