I have talked with many mothers over the years about breastfeeding and find it so interesting how no two women’s stories are the same. Some had it easy with a that baby latched on the first time, they produced more than enough milk, and it was a blissful bonding experience. While others found it excruciating, chaffed nipples, painful masses, or couldn’t produce milk no matter how hard they tried.
I have known some women who view breastfeeding as a beautiful, natural part of motherhood, and a few that were so grossed out by the concept they made the decision to use formula instead.
There are very strong opinions on this topic, and my intention is not to say which way I think is “right” or “wrong”, but instead give pregnant women and new moms information to allow them to make their own decisions.
Like most other topics that have to do with pregnancy, women, and motherhood there is a lot of biased, conflicting, and flat out wrong information that gets shared. It is important to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding and then make your own decision about what is right for you and your baby.
Reading books and blogs can be informative, but it might also be helpful to talk to friends, family, and other women who have been through it. If you have access to a lactation consultant they are also a great resource.
Let your OB/GYN know if you plan to breastfeed so he/she knows that you would like your baby put on your chest immediately after birth if possible. Babies have the instinct to suckle on their mother’s breast when they are first born. Getting your newborn to breastfeed in the first few minutes could make feeding much easier than trying to teach them later.
If you have the opportunity to keep your baby with you overnight this is also a good idea. Not only will it hopefully add to the bonding between mother and baby, but it will also help if you can breastfeed consistently from the beginning. Try not to allow nurses to feed your baby formula while they are in the hospital nursery if you plan to breastfeed. Have them bring the baby to you, or if you are able to pump and provide them with breast milk, that is an option.
In the beginning, it is sometimes normal to not produce much breast milk. Don’t worry, your baby is still getting nutrients and antibodies from whatever you are able to feed them. They are tiny, and do not require much in the beginning. Try to stick with it and most likely your milk supply will increase within the first few days.
What was your experience like? Any words of wisdom for new moms? Please share any other suggestions or tips that you can offer about breastfeeding.