Breastfeeding can be EXTREMELY difficult. I personally know many women who have wanted to breastfeed but just couldn’t. I nursed my oldest until she was 18 months but my son weaned at 9 months and it was the hardest thing for me. I had gone back to work for a few short months and pumped for him to eat with daddy and that was enough to mess with my milk supply.
I get this fear. This is a legitimate fear! What’s great about this though is there are plenty lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups all over the place. If you look, I am sure there is one right in your area. And at the end of the day remember that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again….and at least there is formula. Your baby won’t have to go hungry. Don’t get me wrong, I am very pro breastfeeding. I think we can all agree that it’s best for baby’s health. But there is only so much you can do, and reality is you don’t have long to do it. So put your best foot forward and then if you can’t get it, try again on the next kid! (Or maybe if you’re done having kids help some other desperate young mom nurse her kid).
On a more serious note there are a lot of things you can do to help with breastfeeding. Some you may have heard of and some you may not have known. Either way its great information to be reminded of. These are some that I have learned from various lactation consultants
1.CIRCUMCISION- For boys, it may help to delay circumcision until 3 weeks of age. A new baby having to get used to the world, his mom, his surroundings, AND the pain of circumcision can have a more difficult time nursing. If you wait it gives time to strengthen the breastfeeding relationship.
2. SKIN TO SKIN- Skin to skin contact with your new baby helps encourage “the breast crawl” which is a babies natural ability to find the breast and initiate breastfeeding all on its own. If a cesarean is performed you can request a “gentle c-section” where you are still allowed to have skin-to-skin contact after delivery. Dad’s can perform skin-to-skin too! I passed out right after having my oldest and my husband jumped right in to hold my daughter.
3. NO DISTURBANCES- Try to have unlimited undisturbed breastfeeding immediately after birth. Nothing is more important than the baby feeding. Weighing, test, and anything else that requires the baby leaving the mom really can wait. The first few hours after birth are crucial for the breastfeeding relationship.
4. PACIFIERS- I’ve always heard to not use pacifiers but recently I attended a class where the teacher recommended delaying using a pacifier at least 21 days. I can live with that because my babies LOVED pacifiers which means I love pacifiers. She said some midwives recommend waiting 6 weeks. Either way nipple confusion can hurt the breastfeeding relationship and some babies are more sensitive than others.
5. GET HELP!- The reality is a first time mom doesn’t know how to breastfeed. You’re gonna need some help! The birth center I had my daughter at scheduled me to come in a week after she was born to see their in house lactation consultant. They checked to make sure she was latching right, that I was holding her correctly, that I had remedies for my sore and cracked nipples. Help is readily available you just have to seek it out. You don’t have to do it on your own!
I hope this helps any soon to be first time mom out there! Also don’t just believe what I say, make sure to look it up on your own!
Here are some great resources
Lactation consultants in the DFW area
-Kathy Obrien (a personal friend of mine who is AMAZING)- 817-924-1773 email@example.com