New moms need breastfeeding support
I breastfed all three of my boys. It was the most natural and easiest way to feed and bond with my children. However, it was not all fun and games. My first baby could not latch onto the breast due to a mild case of ankyloglossia, or being tongue-tied. This issue made breastfeeding very challenging for my newborn and excruciatingly painful for me. For the first week I would nearly cry out while feeding him. Besides the pain, I was terrified to leave the hospital. As a brand new mom, I felt totally inadequate to care for my child especially since he was having trouble getting enough nourishment. The caring nursing staff and lactation consultants diligently helped to position the baby and encouraged me to keep trying. I distinctly remember a sweet nurse saying, “If you want to breastfeed, then let’s do it!” She was letting me know that I was not alone and that she, and many others, were there to educate and support me. Before my son and I were released from the hospital, we had a scheduled appointment with the lactation consultant for about 34 hours later and had a few phone numbers if I needed support or encouragement.
Once home I was nervous about caring for my child, but I knew that help was not far away. Firstly, the lactation consultant contacted me almost every day for the first 2 weeks to help ensure that my baby and myself were doing well. They were so wonderful and I do not think that I would have been able to breastfeed my infant without them. I also joined a breastfeeding support group that was hosted by a lactation consultant where moms could ask each other questions and support one another. Not only did I find support there, but I also found assurance. Unlike feeding your child with a bottle, where you can see how much your baby eats, breastfeeding does not allow you to see how much your baby is consuming. So while I was at this group they had a scale. You would weigh your infant prior to feeding, then weigh him after and this would tell you how many ounces he ate. Being able to know that my baby was getting adequate nourishment was a huge comfort and encouragement. Secondly, my husband, my family, and my friends were supportive of my choice to breastfeed and provided ample encouragement and support. Take advantage of the help your family and friends offer.
During my pregnancy, I took every opportunity to prepare myself to best care for my newborn. I eagerly met with the lactation educator at WIC. She provided general information regarding breastfeeding and what to expect. She even shared some helpful tips and tricks. She also provided pamphlets, reading material, and resources to better prepare me for successful breastfeeding.
Although my first few weeks of breastfeeding were difficult--and this is not typical for the average breastfeeding mom--I was not discouraged and kept on breastfeeding. I even breastfed my two other children. My second baby was easy to breastfeed, had no difficulties, and caused me absolutely no pain! My third baby had trouble latching onto the breast, but I once again took advantage of all the resources and professionals available to help ensure moms, like me, are successful at breastfeeding.
I implore you to do the following things to ensure you have the best possible outcome with breastfeeding:
Meet with a WIC lactation educator during pregnancy
Read about breastfeeding
Surround yourself with people who will support your decision to breastfeed and encourage you
Receive a consultation with a lactation consultant shortly after birth while at the hospital (Many hospitals have a lactation consultant visit each new mama and baby in the hospital room)
Join a breastfeeding support group
Remember the key to confident and successful breastfeeding is knowledge and support. You are not alone and you do not need to do it alone.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Sara.
Hi! My name is Sara and I am a Dietetic Technician. I am also a mom to three sweet and rambunctious boys. I am always looking for ways to keep them healthy, happy, and safe. I hope to share with you my experiences, and the tricks, tips, and lessons I have learned from them. Let’s share and learn together.