Breastfeeding is meant to be an easy and natural process. However, this is not always the case. It takes work and practice and is generally not for the faint of heart. Here are some tips to start you on your breastfeeding journey if this is what you choose.
- Get help early.
Start researching and take a class while you are still pregnant. Habits form quickly and in the beginning you might struggle to get your baby to latch properly. You might have a fast let-down reflex, you might get clogged milk ducts, or you might even over/under-produce milk. If you can afford it, a lactation consultant will be your best investment.
- Be sure that you get the right latch.
This is KEY. Not getting a proper latch has plenty of awful consequences like sore, damaged and cracked nipples. There is a ton of information online about how to get the correct latch, and your consultant would also be able to give you excellent guidance in this regard.
- Experiment with different positions.
Part of getting the correct latch is experimenting with positions that make this possible. The breast crawl is excellent and intuitive for babies – they will literally latch themselves. Other positions to consider are the football hold or the cradle position. Here’s a link with more position ideas to try.
- Use all the props
There are plenty of props on the market that can assist you on this journey. Examples of these include breast pumps, nipple shields, pillows and a good nipple cream. Again, your consultant will be able to assist you to find the correct prop for any issue that may arise on your breastfeeding journey.
- Expect that you may find breastfeeding a challenge.
Try to stay positive and have a good attitude. Celebrate small successes. Take deep breaths. Try to relax into it. Don’t be discouraged. It takes time and it is an adjustment, but with time and practice, you will get it.
If nothing helps and if you are feeling completely disillusioned, then do contact the closest La Leche League in your area for support and assistance.