Now that you have seriously considered or are committed to breastfeeding because of the benefits to both you and your baby, we would like to provide you with the following important pointers to help you better achieve your goal.
1) Stay focused and don’t get discouraged- You have made a commitment to breast feed because of the benefits. Like other important endeavors, breastfeeding takes a certain amount of effort and adjustment. Keep in mind that the first 5-6 weeks are an adjustment period and can be discouraging unless you keep focused on your long term goal. Keep reminding yourself of all the benefits and that it is only for 5-6 weeks because by 7 weeks breastfeeding, is faster than bottle feeding, costs less, requires far less preparation. An added bonus is there are fewer bottles to clean!
2) Relax, rest and sleep- Adequate rest and sleep will positively affect your stamina, and mental outlook. Relaxation will help you to focus better on breastfeeding and improve bonding with your baby.
3) Pump frequently and breastfeed on demand– During the first 5-6 weeks frequent feedings and pumping is essential to stimulating and increasing milk supply and will help your baby better acclimate to breastfeeding. It is not unusual to pump or feed 10-15 times per day. Don’t be discouraged during the first three days of your baby’s life. You don’t notice much breastmilk coming down, but it will start doing so by the third day! Even if the baby is crying during those first days, continue to breast feed and stimulate your body’s breast milk production. Try to resist the temptation to give you baby formula during those times.
4) Preparation- Get the needed supplies(see our concise list) and watch the videos we have provided while you are still pregnant. You will have the supplies you need and the videos will provide you with a better understanding of the mechanics of breast feeding before you even start.
5) Try to limit the number of bottles– Once you have reached the 7th week, breast feeding becomes much easier and faster(half the time) and you will be able to introduce bottles more frequently without disrupting the breastfeeding rhythm you’ve established with your baby. During the first several weeks you and your baby will better master the mechanics by breastfeeding frequently and limiting bottle feeding.
6) Develop a good support system– Make certain your mate is on board and is well educated. He/she can be your most valuable supporter. Take advantage of any family help to free up more time for yourself and your baby. Take advantage of breastfeeding consultants, both through the hospital and the private consultants we have provided. Find a Pediatrician that is pro – breastfeeding. Many pro breastfeeding pediatricians and lactation consultants can introduce you to Supplemental Breastfeeding systems that will help you supplement at the same time as breastfeeding.
7) Avoid smoking and certain medications– See our list of commonly used medications. During the early weeks of breastfeeding you will want to limit the use of medications that can reduce breast milk production or can cause the baby to be sleepy. These include narcotic pain medications, antihistamines, and psuedoephedrines (found in most cold remedies).
8) Incorporate proper pumping– Use a hospital grade pump, reducing time and effort. Pump both breasts at one time. Try massage, warm compresses or showers prior to pumping; this may help improve pumping results.
9) Make certain your baby is latching properly– This is of utmost importance in avoiding trauma and ongoing irritation of the nipples.
Your effort will pay off in oh so many ways!