[home]Breastfeeding Basics: From Birth to Back to Work
As comforting and healthy as breastfeeding can be, it is not always easy in the first few weeks while recovering from birth. With the information in this class, you can prepare to get breastfeeding off to a great start and look forward to the many benefits that breastfeeding can provide to you and your baby.
31 Breastfeeding Secrets
Nursing your baby is no easy feat. Luckily, we’ve rounded up the only breastfeeding tips you’ll ever need, from the experts who’ve figured out the smartest tricks, shortcuts, and solutions.
I didn’t bother buying bottles before I had my daughter, Stella. Believe it or not, I’d been dreaming of breastfeeding since I was a little girl, and I was sure I’d be able to nurse. But my new baby and I had a surprisingly tough time. Before I even left the hospital, my nipples were chapped and sore, and I faced the hard truth familiar to so many new moms: Nursing may be natural, but it’s also downright difficult. So difficult, in fact, that many moms just give up. While 79 percent of mothers breastfeed soon after birth, only 49 percent are still nursing six months later, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a surprisingly low number considering that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months. What’s more, evidence shows that nursing lowers your baby’s risk of ear infections, stomach viruses, asthma, the flu, and diabetes.
I eventually got much-needed help from a wonderful lactation consultant, Jan Ellen Brown, and I breastfed Stella until just after her first birthday. To help other struggling moms, I persuaded Brown and nine other experts to share their most effective techniques for mastering nursing.
Line up help. “Consider meeting with a lactation consultant or another nursing expert before you have the baby. She can share tips that will help in the beginning, and you’ll know whom to call if you have a problem. International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, or IBCLCs, have had the most intensive training.” –Dee Kassing, IBCLC, a lactation consultant in the St. Louis, Missouri, area
See the real thing. “If you have a friend who’s nursing, ask if you can watch. If not, attend a La Leche League meeting or another breastfeeding support group where you can see moms feeding their babies.” –Jessica Claire, IBCLC, a lactation consultant in Los Angeles
Tell the hospital what you want. “Ask whether you can keep your baby in the room with you at all times if possible. Rooming in will help you bond with your baby, learn feeding cues, and better establish breastfeeding.” –Laurie Jones, M.D., IBCLC, a pediatrician in Phoenix and founder of DrMilk.org
What to Do in the Hospital
Don’t wait to get help. “If the nurse in the hospital says your latch ‘looks great’ but it still hurts, call a lactation expert (IBCLC). If your doctor says your baby is not gaining enough weight, call. If your nipple is injured, call. If your gut says something isn’t right, speak up. You can save yourself weeks and weeks of pain and trouble.” –Jaye Simpson, IBCLC, lactation consultant in Sacramento, California
Try to nurse within the first hour after delivery. “Two hours later, many babies will be hard to rouse. It may seem like you’re producing very little at first — maybe just a few drops of colostrum — but a 1- or 2-day-old baby’s stomach is only the size of a marble.” –Jenny Thomas, M.D., IBCLC, a pediatrician in Franklin, Wisconsin, and author of Dr. Jen’s Guide to Breastfeeding
Enlist Dad. “If possible, your partner should be there when you meet with the lactation consultant, both in the hospital and afterward. Dads can be good problem-solvers, and you may find yourself feeling so overwhelmed and sleep-deprived that it will be hard for you to process information.” –Jan Ellen Brown, IBCLC, lactation consultant in Charlotte, North Carolina, and coauthor of 25 Things Every Nursing Mother Needs to Know
Focus on those little feet. “Babies always seem to nurse better when their feet are touching something, like your leg, the arm of the chair, or a pillow tucked next to you. It makes them feel more secure.” –Veronica Jacobsen, a doula and lactation counselor in Richfield, Minnesota
Avoid formula at first. “Even if you’re not sure how long you’ll breastfeed, go all in while you’re in the hospital. Any formula that’s not medically necessary can affect your milk supply.” –Dr. Jones
How to Get a Deep Latch
Position yourselves nose to nipple, belly to belly. “Make sure that your baby’s stomach is touching yours, so she doesn’t have to turn her head to latch. And point your nipple at her nose, not at her mouth, so she’ll lift her head up, open her mouth wide, and latch on deeply.” –Jacobsen
Encourage a mouthful. “If you’re breastfeeding sitting upright, bring your baby to your breast once his mouth is completely open. Press between his shoulders firmly to