Best way to get started breastfeeding

Jesi - posted on 06/04/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I am pregnant with my first child now; my due date is June 26. I plan on having a natural birth and I want more than anything to be able to breastfeed. I am getting nervous about being able to breastfeed successfully. Is there anything I can/need to do to prepare for breastfeeding and to ensure that my son and I will be successful?

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Amy - posted on 06/06/2010

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1) Keep him with you.
2) Nurse as soon as he's born.
3) Protect your nipples and back by latching properly - bring baby to breast, not breast to baby, and keep him tummy-to-tummy with you. Be patient, and look up videos on latching if you think it will help - there are plenty on www.breastfeeding.com
4) It's normal to only produce colostrum in the first few days. It's all your baby needs.
5) Breastfeeding is a natural act but there's a lot of misinformation about infant feeding that confuses the issue. Don't believe everything you hear from medical professionals and other mums.
6) Sometimes your baby will feed constantly and you'll feel like you have nothing left. This is normal. It's how your baby stimulates your supply.
7) Don't keep formula in the house.
8) Join a La Leche League group - it helps to familiarise yourself with supportive people before you need help.
9) Have faith in yourself. If you can conceive him and carry him for 9 months, you can breastfeed him. The vast majority - and I can't state this enough - of breastfeeding 'failure' stories are due to misinformation or a lack of reliable information. You can always seek a second opinion. You're not going to starve or harm your baby.

Jacquelyn - posted on 06/04/2010

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I agree with most of what the others have said but I never pumped with my forst two because I was a stay at home mom and I hate pumping, babies are much better at getting the milk out and if you nurse frequently and you won't need a supply a pump isn't necessary, I will say be prepared for it to hurt (all women are different) for a couple weeks even if you have a good latch and don't worry about how much your baby is getting, if they are having 6+ wet diapers they are doing well, get som lanolin and try and relax :)

[deleted account]

I understand how you feel. No one on my side of the family ever breastfed. So when I started, I had no idea what I was doing. I have now breast fedmy 4 precious little ones. Here's are few tips that I have picked up

1. Although it is natural to breastfeed your babies, it doesn't mean it will come naturally. Both you and the baby will have a learning curve. Relax and feel open enough to ask for help. I asked the nurses a lot of questions and had them show me how to do things. Try to find someone that you feel comfortable asking questions to help.

2.In those moments (and there will be a few) that you want to quite try to remember WHY you made the choice to breastfeed. It is the best thing you can do for your little one and the longer you do it the better. It helps to have a supportive spouse or loved one to encourage you to keep trying.

3. Lanolin cream helps with the sore nipples at the beginning. I would buy some and take it with you to the hospital.

4. Buy a electric breast pump. The manual pump is slow and tedious. I resisted buying one with y first child. I said it would make me feel like a cow. However, after buying one for my third child, I don't know how I lived without it. It was worth every penny.

5. If you start to get a sore lump on the breast this is a clogged duct. Deal with it immediately by feeding and completely draining the breast often. If you don't clear up the clog it will turn into mastitis (a breast infection).

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Jesi - posted on 06/08/2010

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I just wanted to thank you all for giving me your advice!!! You all have helped to give me more confidence in being able to breastfeed with success as well as great resources to use if I have questions or concerns! Once again, THANK YOU all so very much!!!!

Jacquelyn - posted on 06/08/2010

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Kathy - yeah I just have to remind myself how much easier and betterit is after those first weeks :)

[deleted account]

Jacquelyn, you're right - I missed that bit! Thanks for pointing it out! No, definitely no cow's milk until at least 12 months.

Ouch, your poor nipples!

Jacquelyn - posted on 06/08/2010

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Kathy - nice link - the I haven't read it all but I like most of it - I however have very sensitive nipples so despite a good latch (even with my third baby) my nipples get very sore until they "toughen up" and that takes a week or two, and also it says that babies can have cows milk after 6 months and I just don't agree with this :)

Susan - posted on 06/08/2010

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my daughter had the hardest time latching on i bought a nipple guard (i know they say don't do that) but it helped her latch on i used it about a month and then weaned her off of it and now she is a pro at nursing and is almost a year!

Kathleen - posted on 06/08/2010

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my advice would be to not give up!! i stopped breastfeeding my first son because i had no idea what i was ment to do. i couldnt figure it out and i had no help and i was to embarressed to ask. i did read books but they didnt really help me. my milk never came in properly because i kept giving him bottles of formula and by around 6 weeks my milk had completely dried up and ive felt terrible ever since. i didnt feel like i had bonded with my son until he was around 3 months old whereas my second son who is now 4 months i feel like i bonded with him instantly because i was determined to breastfeed him and i am i also had midwifes come visit me at home for a few days and showed me how to breastfeed properly and they gave me lots of information and pics etc which helped allot!!. just dont keep formula in your house because then you wont be tempted. buy a breastpump because you can use it to help your milk come through and ask for help.

[deleted account]

One more important thing - join a breastfeeding support group - La Leche League or similar. Surround yourself with breastfeeding mums!

[deleted account]

Hi Jesi, congrats on your pregnancy!

The best thing I ever did was do a breastfeeding class. So informative. You need to know lots, as the other mums have sais. It's great that you're seeking information BEFORE your baby is born. Many mums don't realise that breastfeeding doesn't just happen - you need to prepare. We all know how good breastfeeding is, it's often the information and skills that mums miss out on!

You haven't got long to go now, so you may not have time to do a class, but do try to get your hands on lots of breastfeeding information!

http://tinyurl.com/39lkacp
This is a great way to start - Dr Newman debunks all the breastfeeding myths - and there's lots of them out there!

Other great sites are:
http://www.kellymom.com/
and:
http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/

This site has a video of correct attachment, which is important in successful breastfeeding:
http://www.ameda.com/breastfeeding/start...

All the best!

Victoria - posted on 06/06/2010

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i took a class on BF before i had my son. And while i was in the hospital i had a consultant with me anytime i needed. You just need to relax. try many positions. and keep it up. if you relax and stay persistent then everything should work out!

[deleted account]

You may want to consider putting baby skin to skin with you as soon as he is born. Hospitals are so quick to rush baby off to clean and weigh, but there's no need to take the baby from you unless there is a medical issue. Try to start breastfeeding within an hour (although if you can't this doesn't mean you won't breastfeed successfully). My lactation consultant called putting baby on your bare chest "putting baby in the kitchen." She said how many times are you hanging out in the kitchen and you don't want to eat? Plus having your new baby skin to skin with you is the most wonderful feeling in the world :). While baby is that close to the "kitchen" you will be able to see signs of hunger: lip smacking, fist chewing, restlessness, rooting, etc. So you can latch baby on before he/she starts crying. Nurse your baby frequently. My daughter ate every 1-2 hours for the first several weeks. This will help you establish a fabulous supply. I armed myself with knowledge. I read a TON of info on breastfeeding. I knew the steps to latching on a baby (tickle baby nose to chin with your nipple until baby opens wide, guide baby's mouth to breast making sure he takes in all of the nipple and all/most of the areola...) before my daughter was born. It was painful for me at first, but I also had a natural birth (and even if you didn't) just keep reminding yourself what you just did to bring that baby into the world. If you can handle that you can handle a few weeks of discomfort until your nipples adjust. Find some good resources in your area like a La Leche League group (http://www.llli.org) or a certified lactation consultant. Expect that there may be little bumps along the way, but you will do great. http://www.kellymom.com is a great resource. And if you have any issues come back here and the breastfeeding mommas on here will help you :)



http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/basics/...

Heather - posted on 06/04/2010

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The biggest thing I'd say to start with is this- Relax! Your body has nourished and grown this beautiful little baby all along- and it will not fail you when it comes to nourishing that same baby OUTSIDE of the womb!! There are VERY, VERY few women who cannot nurse successfully.

Now- to prepare, I'd suggest the following:
1) Buy a good book. I highly recommend one published by the American Academy of Pediatrics called "The New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding". It has a TON of great information and I referenced it regularly during my first several months of breastfeeding. (I have a 9 1/2 month old, my first, still breastfeeding.)
2) Locate a local Breastfeeding Support Group. MANY hospitals have them, and lots of them encourage moms-to-be to go ahead an attend one before the baby comes. Even if you don't want to go before baby arrives, you'll have the information in case you want the support after you start breastfeeding. Hearing struggles of other moms and how they've worked through them can be immensely comforting AND helpful!
3) Find out if the place you intend to give birth has a lactation consultant on staff and how often they are there. I would never have succeeded in breastfeeding were it not for a great LC. My daughter really struggled to latch at first, and was biting me to extract milk rather than sucking. I was torn up beyond belief after one night... talked to the nurse in the AM, who promptly called an LC and got everything straightened out. Thank goodness!!
4) Buy a good breast pump now. I had to use one as soon as I arrived home from the hospital- to keep my supply up while my daughter figured out how to do a good enough sucking pattern to get my supply up. Whether you plan to return to work or not, having a good pump can be invaluable! It allows you to pump for supply purposes if needed, as well as to pump so you can take a break and daddy can do a feeding. (They do recommend no bottles/pacifiers until 4 weeks of age if you breastfeed- so that they get used to the breastfeeding first.) I like mine a lot- it's a Medela pump n' style dual electric. My insurance covered the cost, too, so you can look into that.
5) Anticipate challenges! I think this is a big one. Yes, breastfeeding is challenging- and if you go in thinking it's easy as pie, it's going to be really discouraging when you hit that first bump in the road... so you might think, "maybe I can't do this after all". So, just know that you will probably hit a bump... but that's okay, it happens to everyone, and you and baby CAN overcome!!! Promise. =)

Best wishes to you, Jesi. I applaud you for seeking information now to plan for this. Breastfeeding is such a wonderful and amazing gift to give your little one, and I promise it's a wonderful and amazing gift to yourself, too. I love breastfeeding and tell people all the time that it's by far the most challenging- AND most rewarding- thing I've ever done. It's a truly special time in the life of mother and child.

Good luck!! You CAN do this!! =)

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