Top 9 things to know before breastfeeding
1. They help with breastfeeding education, entertain older siblings, and ensure a mother is fed, hydrated, and comfortable (which can be very helpful in the event of a surgical birth).
Consider doula care.
Doulas are trained support people for labor and postpartum.
Use of birth doulas has been shown to considerably reduce labor time and interventions; they are associated with fewer c-sections and an increase in positive birth experiences.
Postpartum doulas help families adjust to the transition of a new family member; they are physically and emotionally supportive during this sensitive time.
Both birth and postpartum doulas can help you sort out what is normal and what is not, and help you quickly connect to qualified assistance should it be needed.
2. Find a class that is taught by a qualified breastfeeding professional who has had personal experience breastfeeding.
Take a good prenatal breastfeeding class.
These are especially helpful for moms with known special situations such as expecting multiples or a health history that includes things like breast surgeries, hormone/endocrine/blood sugar imbalances, or a history of infertility.
Independent classes taught in locations besides hospitals often focus on prevention of problems and provide more practical breastfeeding information.
Hospital classes tend towards promoting what is allowed per a particular hospital’s policy and are occasionally taught by individuals who lack proper training in lactation.
Consider a private class to get the most customized experience.
Attend it early footin your third trimester.
3. Sometimes it is called Natural Breastfeeding.
Sometimes it is called Biological Nurturing or Laid Back Breastfeeding.
This technique has a few names.
Learn all you can about these instincts and techniques and how they can help with feeding, rest, and recovery.
It harnesses the amazing power of skin-to-skin.
Both you and your baby have instincts to breastfeed.
Mother Nature is no dummy.
At birth, and even for some time after birth, your baby is capable of latching and feeding well at the breast if you know what to do to support them to do so.
Use your instincts!
4. Research shows that many women quit nursing earlier than they intended to due to lack of support from friends, family, and spouses/partners.
It is actually a good idea to attend one or two meetings before baby arrives!
Click here for our local directory).
Some meetings encourage spouses/partners to attend too.
Find your closest independent breastfeeding support group early.
Independent (and free) mother-to-mother support groups, run by peer counselors or organizations like La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA, are a valuable resource for help and emotional support.
5. Your baby is gaining weight well after a period of initial weight loss.
Normal weight loss is in the 5-7% range by day 4, but perhaps up to 10% if mom had lots of IV fluids in labor.
Your baby nurses somewhere between 8 -12 times per 24 hours.
You hear or see baby swallowing as they feed.
You are not in pain and have strategies for management of engorgement.
By day 4, you notice the color of your baby’s stools are changing to a mustard yellow color.
Learn about how to know your baby is feeding well.
You feel your milk increasing in volume in your breasts around day 3.
One of the biggest concerns new mothers have is whether or not their baby is getting enough from breastfeeding.
A sign breastfeeding is going well is a regain of birthweight by at least 2 weeks postpartum.
Following are some signs to look for:
Your baby wakes frequently to nurse on their own and is alert and active when feeding and is satisfied and drowsy after a feeding.
6. Here’s a great one to print and post on the fridge).
If visitors must come in the early weeks have a list posted on the refrigerator of small tasks that YOU would find helpful and reduce your stress.
Make a list of things people can do to help you when they come to visit.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help; your job is to spend time with your baby learning about her, feeding her, and resting.
Usually someone else holding the baby is not as helpful as someone running a load of laundry, fixing a meal, or changing the sheets on your bed.
7. These sites are very well known, so fill your feed with encouraging and evidence-based information by following these organizations online:stopwatch
Lots of “new baby” phone apps track things that aren’t very helpful or sometimes even provide information that is downright undermining!
Research also shows that your time on social media will increase after your baby is born, so use your time wisely!
Use technology wisely!
Breastfeeding USA maintains a great list of phone apps that are actually useful for breastfeeding moms.
8. Make yourself a portable nursing basket.
Clean diapers and wipes – for the inevitable diaper change.
Here’s a list of things you may want to include in your portable nursing basket:
Healthy snacks – High protein, low sugar, high fiber, tasty snacks to keep you satisfied.
Cell phone – You wouldn’t be without it anyways!
Burp cloth – For little spits and leaking milk.
Relaxing music – increased relaxation helps those breastfeeding hormones flow better.
Whether you decide to have a special place to nurse your baby or nurse in different locations throughout the house, having a basket of self-care items within hand’s reach is invaluable.
9. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the highest accredited breastfeeding helper and has proven skills to assist in many of the common breastfeeding challenges.
Click here for our local lactation consultant directory).
Your local La Leche League Leader, a peer-counselor, or a Breastfeeding USA Counselor can also be valuable resources for help and support.
Many times minor issues can turn into major problems if help is not found early on.
Many moms are reluctant to get help or not sure where to find help with breastfeeding issues, but getting help early is so important!
But not all Lactation Consultants are IBCLC’s so be sure to ask!
Get help early on if things are not going well.
Getting qualified help is the key when facing challenges.