Information About Breast-Feeding

Information and basic suggestions on how to make breast-feeding work, and what to expect.

After nine months of nourishing your baby in your womb, it only seems natural to continue nourishing your baby after birth with your own body! Breastfeeding is the natural choice for feeding your baby, but it doesn't always come easy at first. However, it is worth all the effort in the world to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. The following tips will help you to do that.

1.) Banish the bottle (and the pacifier too)! Don't set yourself up for failure by having an emergency stash of formula and bottles on hand "Just in case" breastfeeding doesn't work out. When you hit a few bumps in the road, it will be all too easy to turn to a bottle instead of working on the problem at hand! Not having any breast substitutes in your house those first few weeks will eliminate your ability to give in to temptation in a weak moment and compromise your nursing relationship.

2.) REST!! Giving birth to a baby is a big event. Even if labor and delivery was easy it will still take a little while for your body to get back to normal. Your hormones will be in overdrive, life as you know it will be turned upside down, and to top it all off you'll have a little one demanding attention and food every hour or so. You need plenty of sleep to keep up your energy, maintain your milk supply, and keep your sanity!

3.) Have realistic expectations! Nursing a baby is a combination of instinct and learning. Some Moms and babies hit it off easier than others. Don't feel bad if it takes you a little bit of time and a few tears to master nursing your little one. In no time at all you'll be nursing like a pro and so thankful you stuck it out.

4.) Realize that there is no normal. If you start trying to fit into "normal" guidelines you are setting yourself up for doom. Some babies nurse every hour, some every 30 minutes, some every 3 hours! Some nurse for 30 minutes at a time on each breast, some only nurse for 5 minutes on one breast at each feeding. Point being, there is a huge range of normal. As long as your baby is having frequent wet & dirty diapers and is gaining weight you are doing a great job!

5.) Nurse on demand! Breastfed babies should not be put on a schedule. Unlike formula fed babies, you never know just how much your little one is getting at each feeding. It's important to let your baby nurse as often, and for as long as they require at each feeding. This cannot be emphasized enough! Feed on demand!!! Demand feeding is the only way to maintain your milk supply, and increase it as your baby grows.



6.) Watch your latch. One of the most common mistakes new moms make is not getting their baby latched on properly. Try to center your nipple in your baby's mouth, and make sure as much of your areola (the dark skin around your nipple) is in your baby's mouth as possible. The milk ducts are actually behind your nipple in the areola area. These must be compressed as the baby nurses for her to get milk. If her mouth isn't compressing these ducts, no milk will reach your baby! In addition, if your baby is latched on poorly it will result in very painfully sore nipples for you!

7.) Try different positions. The positions you can nurse your baby in are only limited by your imagination. You can nurse standing up (this is easiest while carrying your baby in a sling), lying down on your side, sitting, reclining, you name it! The traditional cradle hold most often illustrated is only one of many nursing positions.

8.) Drink, drink, and drink some more! It's vital that you keep your fluid intake up in order to keep your milk production up. Water is the best liquid you can drink, followed by fresh juices. Avoid drinks with lots of sugar and/or caffeine.

9.) Watch your diet. What you eat, your baby eats. To one extent or another everything you put in your mouth reaches your baby. Some babies can have negative reactions to things their mothers eat (some babies have bad reactions when Mom eats a lot of dairy for example). Keeping your diet healthy will boost your milk supply and keep your baby happy. Keep an eye out for any foods that have upset your baby (usually noticeable by crying and stomach upset a few hours after eating the offensive food).

10.) Get help! Talk to other nursing mothers. Sometimes the best support is just talking to someone who has walked in your shoes. Visit your local La Leche League, or search online for breastfeeding support groups.

Most importantly, don't let well meaning but uninformed people try to dissuade you from nursing. Follow your instincts, not a textbook or pediatricians advice. If you try, and try again you will succeed at breastfeeding!

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