These breastfeeding secrets from experienced moms are the real deal! Breastfeeding doesn’t always happen easily and intuitively, but it is something you can learn and master. Below is a list of my best breastfeeding secrets that can help you breastfeed while keeping up with your busy life. These include a set of handy tools to make things easier. First, you must understand that the earlier you start breastfeeding, the better your chances of success. These best breastfeeding secrets are the tools and resources you can use before and while breastfeeding.
Get to know your Lactation Consultants
Nowadays, most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff. Visit the hospital and ask to talk to one. You may also find available classes, such as Lamaze and breastfeeding that can give you a pretty good idea of how everything will roll out. You could also contact a certified lactation professional (IBCLC) or doula privately to educate you on the best way and different ways you can start breastfeeding. Most health insurance plans cover this service. The secret is to interview as many as you need to and find the one you are most comfortable with. Here are some resources to help you find a local LC, try La Leche League or ILCA directory.
Choose the right breast pump
The best kind is the hospital-grade breast pump that you can usually rent month to month. Arrange to have one in the recovery room and ask if you can lease it while you are home. A breast pump is necessary if you need to stay away from your baby for more than two hours. Consider that sometimes a doctor’s visit can take you longer than that. It is also useful when returning to work or school. Using a breast pump can help you increase breastmilk supply if you use it in addition to breastfeeding. Pumping can also help to initiate lactation if you have adopted a baby or reinstate breastfeeding after an interruption.
Several institutions like the World Health Organization have proven that baby bottles can abruptly and permanently damage your breastfeeding relationship. A traditional baby bottle should not be used as a tool for supplementing if your goal is to breastfeed. This is one of those breastfeeding secrets that may be a bit controversial, but thankfully there are other options. Nursing feeding systems and the new Bare® Air-free feeding system safely supplement and help promote breastfeeding. Bare® is a tool that helps your baby learn the deep/wide latch a breastfed baby must develop to nurse properly. It is recommended to supplement if your baby is not getting enough milk, talk to your Pediatrician and make sure you monitor your baby’s weight closely. Proper nutrition during the first few days of a newborn is critical. Insufficient milk intake from exclusive breastfeeding is dangerous.
Prevent sore nipples! (one of my favorite breastfeeding secrets)
Make sure you have pure vitamin E oil available at any vitamin store and most drug stores. Remember, your baby will “break-in” your nipples so don’t wait until they are sore, irritated or bleeding. Keep your nipples generously coated with this amazing natural healing oil. Apply immediately after every feeding, even if you don’t feel sore. There are nipple ointments for this purpose, but I like to keep things simple and believe pure, natural ingredients are usually better. If you are in pain and feel like you need a break, don’t hesitate! Your comfort is as important. Use Bare® Air-free to feed your baby the milk you pump while you heal. Just make sure you pump regularly, so your milk supply doesn’t diminish.
Involve your partner, relatives and any friends who are willing to help. Take your time to breastfeed, don’t rush it, you will have plenty of time in the recovery room. Don’t think about work, don’t think about checking emails, someone else is taking care of it now. Treat the meal-times as fancy dinners, every single time. Once at home, get on your favorite rocking chair, fit your favorite pillows around your body to keep you comfortable, get your favorite relaxing tunes playing, try to relax and enjoy this priceless time with your baby. Invite your partner to participate; you should both look forward to it. Remember anybody can safely feed your baby. The proper feeding system should not cause disruption to your breastfeeding relationship.
Hydrate and eat healthy
Being well hydrated is essential to milk production, as well as eating healthy in sufficient amounts. A word of wisdom, don’t try to lose your pregnancy weight by dieting; you will only produce less milk, get lightheaded and very moody. Your baby will give you a work-out 24/7 that will keep you active, and there will be time to hit the gym before heading back to work. It is also well known that breastfeeding helps your body recover faster and lose pregnancy weight.
Infant colic is defined as the inconsolable crying for several hours. If your baby is in pain, there’s no need to wait “hours” to react, something is causing it, and you need to find out what that is. Pay attention to your baby’s moves, if she brings her legs up to her belly, most of the times it means the baby has gas pains. There are things you can do to prevent painful gas, fuss, reflux and “colic.” In our previous post Best feeding positions for babies with reflux, we talk about best ways to prevent them.
Keep your sanity!
Be sure to fit your girl’s night out in your schedule. Stress doesn’t help you or your baby. Pump ahead of time and store your breastmilk in the refrigerator or freezer. Get your partner to bond with baby while you go out with your girlfriends for a well-deserved break and share your labor/ delivery story over a tasty drink (yep, that’s what you’ll be talking about!). Just remember that whatever you eat or drink will be in your breastmilk so stick with non-alcoholic beverages.
Don’t forget the breastfeeding selfie!!
Be sure you get plenty of pictures of these moments because time flies!! Whether your selfie is while you breastfeed or Bare®-feed, you are doing it with love, and that’s what counts. Have fun, relax, be yourself, and enjoy the journey!