Breastfeeding is a very long and elaborate topic that I will cover through many blog posts but I want to start here with the basics. I have helped hundreds of mothers nurse their little ones in the hospital. However, even though I have the “book knowledge” and the training, it wasn’t until I breastfed my own little one that I fully understood the beauty and the challenges that come along with it. For many new mothers it is not smooth sailing when it comes to nursing but it is an amazing journey to be on once you and your little one get the hang of it.
Benefits for Mom
Most moms who choose to breastfeed are well aware of the saying “breast is best”. Honestly, that saying could not be anymore true but most people don’t know that they are talking about mom too! Here are a few benefits for mom:
- Burns Calories! (Help lose that baby weight!)
- Lowers your risk of breast cancer
- Lowers your risk of ovarian cancer
- Your body releases oxytocin which causes your uterus to contract. These benefits are 2 fold- It helps stop/reduce postpartum bleeding as well as helps shrink your uterus back down to pre-pregnancy size
- No waking up at night to mix formula! 🙂
- It saves you money!
- It creates a bond between you and your baby that is INCREDIBLE!
Benefits for Baby
- Optimal Nutrition perfectly designed for your baby
- Easy to digest
- Ready at anytime!
- Get sick Less
- Respond better to immunizations
- Reduced risk of SIDS (Some experts say by 50%)
- Lower risk of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of obesity
- Less likely to get respiratory infections
- The lists go on and on…..
I want to share something very cool with you that I see all the time at the hospital! When baby is sick, your body actually makes antibodies to fight the infection and delivers them to your baby through your breast milk. This causes your milk to change colors and become super packed with nutrients and things that your baby needs to get better! I have seen moms come in for admission with their little ones having dark yellow milk and by the time they leave their milk is back to pearly white! It is absolutely amazing how our bodies naturally know what to do.
If your baby does not latch
The first thing that I would advise you to do would be to go see a professional. Try to find a lactation consultant if breastfeeding your baby really is your true goal! It is a struggle and can take a lot of adjusting for mom and baby so try to stay patient! Don’t give up!
There are a wide variety of things that can be done to try to establish breastfeeding with your little one! I will go into detail throughout different blog posts about these sorts of things.
If you do not want to breastfeed because you simply just do not want to, I urge you to try to pump! From experience, however, I will say that nursing is a lot more enjoyable than pumping! But pumping will still give your baby the best nutrition possible.
If you have a Premature Baby or C-Section
You CAN still breastfeed! I have seen 27 week old premature babies born at the hospital eventually become exclusively breastfed once they were big and strong enough. If something happens and you cannot nurse right after birth, say you are delayed a few days or even weeks, you CAN still nurse. Just keep your milk supply up and pump, pump, pump!
*If your baby is premature* Your baby can get your milk through nasogastric tubes until they are strong enough for a bottle. Then once they master the bottle and the concept of sucking/swallowing/breathing all together then you can put them to breast! Maybe for “non-nutritive” sucking at first but eventually to take full feeds at the breast!
Non-Nutritive sucking is when the mom pumps or expresses out all the milk and then puts the baby to breast to suck so that they can get the hang of the concept without getting any (or very little) actual milk.
*If you have had a cesarean* Don’t fret if you cannot start nursing quickly. It takes time to get you sewn up and situated to get back to your baby. Your situation may be one that involves health problems for yourself or your baby. However, in most situations once you are reunited, you baby instinctively knows just what to do! And there are plenty of people available to help you get on the right path.
Supplementing with Formula
Ladies, this really is not the end of the world. I know many of us, including myself, go into this with the thought process that we will have nothing to do with formula! However, if it is in the best interest at the time for your babies health, I am begging you to please not let this eat you up inside! There is a huge array of things that can warrant the use of formula.
Sometimes you can try supplementing your breast milk with some formula if your baby needs to gain weight or needs a little caloric boost. This is done just by adding a couple scoops of formula into your breast milk.
You could also have to fully supplement with formula for a while and then eventually switch to breast milk.
I could literally go on for pages and pages talking about reasons that make this necessary. All I want to really get across is that IT IS OKAY! You are an awesome Mama! This is the last thing you need to worry about if other things are going on. Breastfeeding is and will be possible in these situations if you just keep at it and work with someone that can help you through it.
Breastfeeding and Postpartum Contractions
Let me just warn you, if you have not experienced this yet, OUCH! When you are nursing right after delivery you can actually feel your uterus clamping down and contracting as your baby sucks. Now…this is actually a very good thing! It will help stop the bleeding and return your uterus to normal size. However, I wish someone would have warned me that it was not going to feel pleasant! AT ALL! Oh, the joys of womanhood 🙂
Common Feeding Positions
- Cross Cradle Hold
- Cradle Hold
- Football Hold
- Laid Back Position
- Side-Lying Position
- Upright Position
I will do separate posts for each of these positions and there are others! Also, there are many different considerations when feeding such as reflux, gas, after c-section, large breasts and others. Don’t let this overwhelm you! I will try to get all of this information out in the most manageable way possible.
We will stop there for this post because it is a lot of information so far! I will now start breaking things down piece by piece! I really hope that this is helpful!
In the meantime, keep your supply up! Try my recipe for Lactation Cookies!
Breastfeeding Basics #Youcandothis! #Milkybabies #MamaStrong!. Click To Tweet