Ashley Polimac, LPN CLC
Breastfeeding is such a hot topic in our society today. That is because it is truly the best nutritional source for our babies. With benefits ranging from nutritional to bonding to a protected immune system… and many more! I am going to concentrate on a few tips how to be successful at breastfeeding, mainly 3 ways to get off to a golden start.
Now, pregnant and new momma’s usually do plan on breastfeeding and a common question I hear is “how can I get off to the best start with breastfeeding?” or even “HOW DO I DO IT?!”. I mean, real talk here, many moms-to-be have asked me “how do I breastfeed, how did YOU know how to breastfeed?” It is an interesting part of motherhood because it is not an activity that we have necessarily viewed with our own mothers to learn how to do ourselves. Breastfeeding is natural however it is not instinctual, that has really resonated with me. So here it goes, 3 tips to get off to the BREAST start! See what I did there?
1) Educate Yourself
Figure out what you need to learn and how to go about learning that, I always find creating a list helpful. A good beginning point is a solid prenatal class, use that Google search engine or ask a trusted pro-breastfeeder in your life. There may be a prenatal class that will spend a good amount of time on breastfeeding. Perhaps a prenatal class that has a lactation specialist presenting the breastfeeding portion.
Attending La Leche League meetings is a great way to ask question to other breastfeeding mothers and the LLL leader, click here to find a group in your area. It is also a great way to gain a support system (spoiler alert, support is very important!).
Something I found helpful was watching youtube videos of “a good latch”. I was pregnant with my first baby at the time and had knowledge that “the baby needs a hell-of-a-lot more than JUST the nipple in their mouth” and that was all. So I youtubed, and since I am quite a visual learner that helped me. Here is a great video that might help you get a visual of a latch.
2)Skin to Skin
Right after birth have that babe naked on your chest, skin to skin is essential for breastfeeding. I mean, you have waited so long to meet that little love, you want them in your warm arms anyways! We may not have an instinct to breastfeed however babies DO have an instinct. They will find their way to the breast when left to their own devices and attach themselves for their first drink of colostrom. Optimally this first nursing will occur within the first hour after the birth of a healthy babe. Skin to skin should continue until the first latch and however long you want to thereafter, honestly the more the better in those early days.
Image: Two Point Photography & Design
3) A Support System
Necessary, so very necessary! You need your own cheer squad to root you on. I mean on top of having a needy newborn and the post partum hormones, you have to teach this baby and yourself how to nurse? Your partner and whatever nearby family and friends will need to pick up the slack during this time, be it housework, bringing the newborn to and from the crib to feed, or taking the other kiddos out of the house.
As I stated previously, La Leche League meetings are an excellent resource. If you are having a hard time leaving the house with that newborn it is also possible to call in to speak to a leader through the Breastfeeding Referral Line 1-800-665-4324.
Lactation specialists can also be a great support system. Many offer text, email, and phone support, whatever is easiest for you with a newborn. Also, a valuable option to hiring privately, the lactation specialist will come to your home. It is a way to be comfortable and in a familiar surrounding while learning the art of breastfeeding, plus it is way easier with a newborn to stay home! Have a peek at some packages I offer!
There we have it, the three golden tips for breastfeeding success.