Congratulations on your new bundle of joy and your decision to breastfeed! What an amazing gift you are about to give your child (or children). This is a journey that is filled with so many twists and turns, but you are in great company. I am sure you are wondering what are some things that you should or should not do while breastfeeding. I am glad that you have asked. If I may, I want to share some things that I have learned along the way. I am currently nursing my second child (I nursed my two-year-old until she was 15 months) and while I do not consider myself an expert, I am pretty great at what I do.
DO find a supportive group of family, friends, etc. to help you in this journey. Let me put this out there: Breastfeeding is tough. Especially in the beginning as you’re learning your child, you’re sleep deprived, and needing a shower. You will want to give up! But do NOT give up. Set in your mind that you can and will do this. Remove the negative thoughts and people from your mind. I have joined an amazing online community on FB, surrounded myself with women who have breastfed, and my husband is my number one supporter. You need support in this journey because as I said before, breastfeeding is tough. But it is doable.
Do NOT take supplements to increase your milk supply. It’s common for mothers to think that they have a milk supply issue when little Timmy cries all. day. long. The first assumption is that he is starving, because why else would he be crying like this? Ladies, may I submit a few suggestions as to why your child may be crying? Babies go through growth spurts at various stages. During these growth spurts the baby will eat more and fuss more. This usually lasts for a week or so. Babies also cry because they want to be comforted and held close to their mother. Another reason your baby maybe crying is because they are tired and want to fight their sleep. There could be an issue with the latch. There could be a host of reasons. Be mindful and aware. If you believe you have a supply issue, I would recommend seeing a professional lactation consultant. In the interim pull out your breast pump and bottle feed your child, until you can get to the root of your issue.
DO have that glass of wine, and do NOT dump it! This is a controversial one, I am aware. But there is plenty of research out there that says it is perfectly fine to have a glass of wine. The golden rule to follow is if you are too tipsy to drive, then you should dump. Otherwise have a glass of wine and relax when you put the baby to bed. Trust me I am sure that glass of wine is warranted. Along that same line, DO be mindful of the medications you take. Make sure your medical professional is aware that you are nursing in order for you to be prescribed medicine that won’t affect your milk.
DO NOT feed your baby on a structured schedule. Feed your baby on demand. Breast milk is gentle on a baby’s digestive system, and thus breaks down easier in their system. Eventually your baby will eat on a schedule that you will know. Same thing with their sleeping patterns, as they mature and get older, things began to click. It is easier for you to follow your baby’s cues, then it is for you to create “cues” for them. Also, let me say that formula fed babies do not sleep better. All babies, especially in the beginning, eat every one and half hour to two (sometimes three) hours. It is normal. I promise you! Adding cereal to their bottles, which you should absolutely NOT do, will not keep them fuller longer. Do not believe the hype! Feed your baby, mama!
DO NOT beat yourself up if your journey does not work out. It is okay. Sometimes it doesn’t work and it does not matter the reason. Do NOT allow anyone to make you feel bad. If your baby is happy and healthy, that is what matters most.
For those of you who love to google information, check out www.kellymom.com. This website has a tremendous amount of information for breastfeeding mothers. If you want to read a book I recommend, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I hope your journey is a great one! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please share them below.
Keep on nursing, mama! You got this! #NormalizeBreastfeeding