5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Breastfeeding
I’m not going to lie … I love breastfeeding. I think it’s an amazing way to bond with your child, and can be emotionally and physically beneficial to both mother and child. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (yes, it’s a thing), I’m sharing five things I wish I would have known about breastfeeding, prior to actually breastfeeding. And yes, the term “breastfeeding” is used at least 37 times throughout this post. 😉
1. It can be difficult.
I’ve mentioned before that my first child was born five weeks premature. Because her sucking reflex was not yet developed, we had to tube feed her, then bottle-feed her my milk, to ensure she was getting the volume she needed.
Consequently, I wasn’t positive I would be able to breastfeed. Thankfully, after a lot of patience, coaching and hard work, we were able to work it out and successfully nurse.
2. The right equipment is key.
I cannot stress this point to you enough! When my baby was in the NICU, the nurses thrust a pumping kit at me and sent me to the pumping room, where you hook your kit up to the hard-core pumping machines. I realized then that buying the right pump for home and work was pretty dang important. Not to mention the fact that you need an amazing pumping and nursing bra. And nipple cream. Don’t be afraid to invest in your breasts. Trust me, they’re worth it.
3. Supplements can be your friend.
Sometimes you need a little boost to help your milk supply along. Whether it’s finding the perfect herbal tea, or (my personal favorite) some great lactation cookies, there are so many great, safe products that can help you build and maintain your milk supply. (Also, please make sure you consult with your doctor and/or lactation specialist before you try something you’re unsure about.)
4. It might not work out, and that’s okay.
I know this post is all about breastfeeding, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s not going to work out for everyone. There are a lot of amazing resources out there, and if you’re determined to make it work, you’re most likely going to succeed. However, there’s nothing wrong with you if your body decides it doesn’t want to produce milk, or if you just don’t want to breastfeed. You’ll know what is best for your and your baby, and you should trust that instinct.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When my daughter was at the hospital, I spent a lot of time consulting with one of the hospital’s lactation specialists. This was so helpful, and gave me the knowledge that I needed to start breastfeeding on my own. While still at the hospital, whenever I would have the chance to try to nurse, I would make sure she was there helping me. I also asked for tips and tricks and opinions about specific holds. Someone close to me had the hardest time breastfeeding at first, but thanks to a patient and caring nurse, she was able to figure it out. So don’t be intimidated or think you’re bothering someone. Expert coaching can make all the difference.
What do you wish you would have known about breastfeeding?
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