Tips and Tricks On How To Have A Successful Breastfeeding Journey
I hadn't breastfed since Janya was born, 11 1/2 years prior to Jai being born. I felt like a first time mom all over again. Today, there are way more resources for breastfeeding than there was back then. So while I was pregnant with Jai, I took it upon myself to study lactation and become a lactation educator/consultant. Mainly because I had been out of the loop for so long. Then when Jaida by the time Jaida was born, I was a pro.
My decision to breastfeed wasn't necessarily a decision, it was more like a basic, maternal, human/mammal instinct. Although I was only 18 when my daughter was born, I felt like it was the only option. When I was nursing Janya, I had no issues at all. My supply was plentiful, in fact, I had an oversupply. But at that time, I had no breastfeeding education. Nobody gave me ANY information, I didn't even know lactation consultants existed. I didn't know pumps existed, hell, I didn't even know nursing pads existed. I used to use socks and washcloths in my bras to soak the leaking milk. All I knew was boob and baby, and I'm surprised my nursing journey lasted a year with my lack of knowledge.
Here are my top 10 breastfeeding tips to help you have a successful breastfeeding journey.
Do your research, but do so carefully, because there is a lot of bad information floating around on the internet. Make sure you are getting information that is updated and from a reliable source. Like L.L.L.I (La Leche League International), W.H,O (World Health Organization) or the A.A.P (American Academy of Pediatrics). There are also a lot of reliable lactation consultants like Kelly Mom and Shari Criso.
Easier said than done, I know. But trust me, trying to relax is very beneficial. When you are stressing, baby is stressing, because they can kind of sense our emotions. That's when all hell breaks loose. You'll be upset and overwhelmed, you'll have a hard time latching your baby and it's all downhill from there. Take your time and remember, this is new for your baby. It's a learning process. Even for you if you've never breastfed before.
3. Don't EVER take breastfeeding advice from someone who has never breastfeed before
This even includes people on only breastfed for a few months. Believe me when I say that those people will most likely give you the WORST advice EVER! And guess what, that includes your doctor. Which leads to my next tip...
4. Find a breastfeeding friendly doctor
I hate to break this to you, but chances are, your doctor knows nothing about breastfeeding, and they often times give out outdated information. Doctors do not study lactation in med school. Their scope of practice is nothing more than what they majored in, pediatrics. And just as often as they refer you to other specialists (dentists, cardiologists, podiatrists), they should refer you to a lactation consultant. Think about it, if you wouldn't get dental work done by you OBGYN, then don't get breastfeeding advice from your pediatrician. Makes sense, right?
5. Speak up/Stand your ground
If you are giving birth at a hospital, constantly remind the staff that you plan on breastfeeding, to NOT offer you any formula and DEMAND that they have a lactaion consultant come to your room once baby is born. Not a lactation nurse, a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). Many hospitals are notorious for sending moms fake lactation consultants. If you are giving birth in a baby friendly hospital, you most likely won't have any issues.
And make sure you are surrounded by people who support you. Dwight knew nothing about breastfeeding, but with me helping him learn what to do and what not to do, he was very helpful.
6. Nurse anywhere
Your baby is not going to care where you are. If he/she is hungry, they want to eat. Doesn't matter if you're eating at a restaurant or standing in the isle grocery shopping. FEED YOUR BABY!
7. Eat well
Eating well is for YOU, mama. Not your milk. You need to eat well in order to have the energy to take care of not just your baby, but yourself. Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day, on top of the calories you already normally burn throughout the day. Especially if you're an active mom like myself. Since I'm tandem nursing, I have to eat even more food. Otherwise, I'll be sluggish.
8. Massage, massage, massage!
Massage your breasts. you won't regret it. Massaging them often helps prevent AND relieve engorgement. The stimulation also helps trigger a letdown.
9. Don't go crazy on breastfeeding supplies
Just buy what you need. Don't overdo it. I'm a stay at home mom, so I knew that I wouldn't have to pump out of necessity. But I bough a bunch of milk storage bags that I didn't use. I still have storage bags from when Jai was born. Now they're just taking up space.
10. Baby wear
It's going to be hard getting things done around the house or when you're out and about. Baby wear. You can nurse while wearing your baby and have two free hands to do whatever you need to do.
I hope these tips help. Good luck on your journey, mamas!