Tips for Breastfeeding
by Torrie Smith
Hey y’all. While the state is slowly opening, it is still important for us pregnant mamas to take those extra precautions to keep ourselves and our baby safe. My mission during this extra time at home is to provide support for us that we could normally seek through other means. While I am not an expert in these matters, I am relying on my mommy friends to provide tips from their personal experience.
Welcoming your baby will be one of the best times in your life. But there are tons of decisions to make even before your bundle of joy gets here. One of those decisions, is the choice of breastfeeding your child or not. Sometimes that choice might be made for you after your child arrives. If breastfeeding is something you are interested in, you should be prepared before your child arrives.
First, I want to introduce you to my two breastfeeding mommy champions. Anna Harlan is the County Agent for FCS in Stone County. She has a 5-year-old daughter, Whitney, she was able to breastfeed for 16 months. Anna was also able to donate 40-50 gallons of breast milk while feeding Whitney. You all are familiar with my second mom friend, Julian Carpenter. Just as a refresher she is the Independence County FCS Agent and she has a 2-year-old daughter, Harper, she breastfed for 10 months.
Do research beforehand and find support. Waiting until your baby is here may not be the best time to start researching and learning about breastfeeding. A good piece of advice is to find an online breastfeeding/pumping forum. You can find these through the different social media outlets. Here you will be able to find moms that are going through similar issues you may be going through, and they can help you find solutions. You also want to find a couple of good friends that will support you and provide you advice when requested. You can also talk with a lactation consultant. This may be a valuable resource for you to use when trying to breastfeed. On the downside of breastfeeding, you will have some naysayers. Expect some women, friends, and even family members to not support your choice on breastfeeding.
Remember each child is different. Each child and set of circumstances is unique and you should remind yourself of this often. Continue to offer your breast to your child even if you are having to use bottles at first. They may eventually come around. Don’t give up easily because this can be a very frustrating process.
Drink lots of water and other tips. While you are breastfeeding, you need to stay hydrated. Set up a breastfeeding/pumping area in which you feel comfortable. Have a table nearby with snacks and water, comfy pillow, and blanket. You also want to swap breasts each feed or during feeding if your child doesn’t protest too much. Your child might not like breastfeeding when they are around loud noises and fun things, so find a quiet place to retreat to for feedings.
Pumping. You may have to start pumping as well as continuing to breastfeed so you can go back to work. Make sure to drain the breasts fully between sessions. When you are relying on pumping, pump every time your child would typically eat to keep up with supply (about every 3-4 hours).
There may be some discomfort. Use lanolin or coconut oil after each feed before your nipples become sore. Prevention is better. It will feel odd when the milk pulls through the breast. At first it was uncomfortable but then you will get used to the feeling of the child feeding and not notice it as much. You are using your breasts for something they haven’t been used for before so it may hurt at first. If pain continues for more than a couple of weeks, consult with your doctor.
I hope these tips are helpful for you in preparing to be a new mom. Consult with your doctor/lactation consultant if you are having issues. If you would like more information about breastfeeding check out these resources.