Are you just learning how to breastfeed your baby? Are you looking for information before your baby even arrives?
Here are 4 tips I want other new moms to know after my 2 1/2 years of breastfeeding:
1. Your Milk WILL Come In, And You Will Make Enough Milk for Your Baby
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! It breaks my heart every time I hear a new mother proclaim: “I so wanted to breastfeed, but my milk never came in” or “I didn’t produce enough milk.”
First of all, your milk will come in after a few days — it is very rare that it doesn’t — and if you don’t continuously keep breastfeeding with the conviction that your baby gets everything he or she needs, your breast will not learn to make enough milk for your baby.
The more you nurse, the more you will produce and the faster the jaundice gets flushed out of the baby’s system.
Don’t worry about not being able to see how much your baby actually drinks, as you can from looking at how much disappeared out of a bottle. If your child is gaining weight, peeing and pooping enough and thriving, he or she is doing just fine.
It’s funny, I never had that fear that Landon would not get enough milk — I trusted that nature would produce what he needed.
Maybe I also never worried because he nursed EVERY twenty minutes in the beginning! So how could he not have gotten enough milk? He was thriving and a happy little man. I never bothered to write down when and how long he drank, there was just no time to do that, he was nursing so much.
2. Forget Putting Your Baby On A Schedule! Forget it!
Schedules are for adults, not for babies.
Your baby will let you know when he or she is hungry, and it makes no sense to not fulfill that need. There are only a few things your baby wants from you in the beginning: being held, being changed, and a full tummy, so why would you put off or deny your baby’s nourishment?
I have always nursed on demand and I think partly because of that Landon was a very mellow, easy-going baby who didn’t cry much at all. We were able to take him anywhere because when he needed milk, I was right there to nurse him.
I personally have never felt annoyed by his countless nursing sessions — and they are countless in the beginning — but that is absolutely normal. I always enjoyed and still am very proud to be able to produce the food (well, drink) he needs to thrive.
One more thing I want to point out: I never put Landon on a schedule during the day, but I also never put him on a schedule during the night. I know some people believe in waking up a sleeping baby to nursing so he or she might sleep longer or through the night, but WAKING UP A SLEEPING BABY was the last thing I was going to do, because he was going to wake up by himself again just a little bit later anyway!
3. You WILL Get Your Sleep Back!
Once you and the baby figure out how to nurse while lying down, you will get your sleep back.
I’m a big believer in attachment parenting and co-sleeping, so L has slept in our bed from the first night on (even though he had a beautiful crib). But I made the mistake to sit up every time Landon wanted to nurse, which left me sitting hunched over for two weeks all night and with a stiff neck.
He would wake up, I would have to get the nursing pillow in position and him latched on — it was such a production every couple of hours!
Getting Landon to nurse while we are both lying down was a learning curve, but once we mastered that, I was sleeping just fine through the night. Since he was lying right next to me, I’d just latch him on when he stirred and we both went right back to sleep.
Oftentimes I don’t even remember nursing him at night — I don’t wake up completely. There is something build into breastfeeding that lets mommy fall asleep easily once the baby nurses. I can attest to that. Nature is amazing.
4. Breast Milk Heals and Cures (Almost) Everything!
Put breast milk on a boo-boo, and it heals just like that and doesn’t get infected. Nurse the baby while you are having a cold or are sick with the flu, and the baby doesn’t get it, or just a mild case.
Any germs that you come in contact with and that your body fights so you don’t get sick leads to your body producing antibodies for the milk that the baby gets to prevent he or she from getting sick. Isn’t that amazing?
No wonder breastfed children are sick so much less. Makes you want to pump some breast milk for your own coffee when you are feeling something coming on!
For more help and information on breastfeeding, contact the La Leche League. They have many local groups who meet for information and support. And when you are in a bind and need some help, the group leaders are there with answers at 5AM if need be.