The first few days of breastfeeding I became so discouraged I wanted to give up. My milk wasn't coming in as fast as I would have liked it to and my sweet baby wasn't latching on very easily. I felt alone and like I couldn't do it and just thought it would be easier to simply bottle feed. A friend of mine who nursed 4 of her children gave me endless tips and encouragement. Finally, it became very easy and was a joy. The key is to not give up. Here are some of those tips that I learned and used on all my babies:
- It's important to make yourself as comfortable as possible before breastfeeding. If you are uncomfortable, then it will become difficult to achieve the proper milk flow and your baby will sense you are not comfortable and will also become uncomfortable.
- After you achieve your comfortable place of nursing, make sure your baby is latching on correctly. You want his mouth to be completely covering the nipple and areola. If you hear a gulping sound, it is working swimmingly!
- Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. I learned that water helps with your milk supply!
- Refrain from pacifiers or bottles for at least the first month of breastfeeding. You want your newborn or preemie to adjust to one nipple - your own.
- There are special lotions you can apply to your nipples since they can become cracked, raw and sometimes bleed. Taking care of yourself will help everything become easier than you could have imagined.
- Hang in there for at least 6 weeks. If it doesn't become better after those six weeks, consider another method, but at least try pumping before giving up altogether.
After breastfeeding became easy for the first three months, I was very frustrated! Why? My sweet babies, all three of them (different ages), decided to completely stop at three months. Strange isn't it? They preferred bottles after that, so I pumped my milk for 6 months and gave it to them in the bottle. At least they were still getting the best milk a mom could ever give them, mother's milk!
So, hang in there! You can do it! You are never alone in the breastfeeding world. You can always talk to a friend or a family member who is experienced or search for online support groups. There are even books that make it so much easier.
If you have any breastfeeding tips that worked for you that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!
Image: Wikimedia Commons