Re: Advice for a very nervous newbie?!
Preparing to Breastfeed
Even though breastfeeding is a completely natural way of feeding your baby, knowing how to do it properly is a learned skill and takes practice. How can you prepare for a successful nursing experience?
Take a class.
Most hospital’s and birthing centers offer a variety of classes to new mothers on parenting, birthing and breastfeeding. Check your local offerings and sign up in advance. Classes often fill up rapidly, so don’t wait.
Read good books.
Many excellent titles are available to answer all the questions you forgot to ask your health care provider (and those you were too embarrassed to). Consider, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” by Gwen Gotsch, Anwar Fazal, Plume, Judy Torgus.
Think about what you’ll need to make life easier.
Breastfeeding has the advantage of being the most simplistic way of feeding a baby—no bottles to wash and carry or formula to buy. But that doesn’t mean a few well chosen accessories can’t enhance the experience. Will you want others to be able to help with feedings, or do you have plans to return to work after your baby’s birth? A hospital-grade breast pump might be in order. Might you be more comfortable during long nursing sessions having a nursing pillow or foot stool? How about breastfeeding in public? Consider the options of a sling or nursing cape for discreet public feedings—and don’t forget to be sized for a properly fitting nursing bra.
Birth and Beyond
Your baby has arrived and you’re ready to put all your months of preparation to the test. Remember:
The lactation consultant is your friend.
Many hospital’s and birthing centers (and pediatrician’s offices too!) have lactation consultants on staff that will be happy to get you and your baby off to a healthy start in your nursing relationship. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet with a consultant for practical, hands-on advice about the mechanics of breastfeeding.
Unlike bottlefeeding, you can’t measure how much milk your baby is getting through breastmilk, so keep count of your baby’s wet and dirty diapers to make sure he or she is receiving adequate nutrition. Although it is very rare a mother does not produce enough milk to feed her baby, if you have any questions, be sure to contact your pediatrician.
Give it time.
Nursing your baby is a dance that takes time to learn. Though some babies are champion nursers from the beginning, many new moms find it takes some effort to perfect the skill. The first few weeks are often the most difficult, but if you experience problems, don’t give up. Given the right assistance, the vast majority of woman can successfully breastfeed their babies. Meet with a lactation consultant or attend a local La Leche League meeting. Utilize the support of other nursing mother’s.
Most of all, pat yourself on the back for making the choice to give your baby the best start in life you can offer, and health benefits that will last a whole life through
Married mama with 4 kiddos...2 girls (11 & 6) and 2 boys (21mo & 3mo)