Making the decision to breastfeed isn’t just as simple as saying, “Yes, I’ll do it.” Breastfeeding, like anything else, comes with its pros and cons, as well as its hardships and joys. However, once you’ve decided that you do want to take this step when your baby is born, there are a few things every mom should do to make it easier on you. Read up on them all below!
First things first, you need your tag team. Being a new mom is hard enough as it is, but having to balance that along with multiple nursing sessions, when this is all very new to you, can be overwhelming. So get your team together. Get your husband on board, your mom, family, friends, even your doctor! And if you’re part of online parenting, motherhood, or breastfeeding groups, you just might find a very supportive community there as well.
You do have to know what you’re getting yourself into. It isn’t going to be all rainbows and unicorns–hello sleepless nights!–but there are a multitude of benefits for your baby if you do choose to breastfeed. If you’re a working mom, it also doesn’t hurt to think about how you’re going to manage feeding while working. However, there are a few tips and tricks to make things easier for you, so don’t fret!
Now that you’ve mentally prepared yourself, it’s time to read up on some basics. Things like what happens from day one onward, things no one tells you about breastfeeding, myths you shouldn’t believe, and the rights you are entitled to as a breastfeeding mom in our country. Try to read gradually, digesting information a day at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you want to get the info firsthand, you can always hit up a friend or family member who has breastfed or is currently breastfeeding, set up a date, and just talk about it.
Preparation is everything, and of course, you can’t breastfeed without some much needed items like nursing covers when you breastfeed outside the house, breast pads to prevent embarrassing wet marks on your outfit, breast pumps and storage bags if you’ll be pumping at work, and even lactation treats and malunggay supplements like Natalac to give your milk supply a little boost.
Moms are notorious for thinking they have to do everything on their own. But momma, there’s no harm in asking for help. In fact, the people who love you will actually want to help you out. I’m sure your husband would love to be given something to do, instead of just watch you feed. And if you need help in terms of proper latch or you have some questions about your milk supply, it never hurts to ask a lactation specialist too.
Did you know that there are more than just two or three angles or positions to feed in? Have you tried the side lying position? How about the laid-back position? The clutch? The cradle hold? Finding a position that suits you and your baby (you can also be more comfortable in varying positions depending on where you nurse) will go a long way in making feeding sessions a more enjoyable experience for the both of you.
There will always be someone who will give you their unsolicited advice–whether about how you’re doing this, why you’re breastfeeding, or even your parenting style–there will always be a comment or two you just can’t help but hear about. If there are some people who don’t support your breastfeeding decision, they’ll most likely let you know about it. What do you do? Be the bigger person. You can gently explain your own reasons for doing what you do, you can simply ignore them, or even lodge a witty comeback or two.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Surprisingly, a lot of moms forget this. They work all day, busy fixing everything around them, that they forget about themselves. This isn’t necessarily a good thing as it can lead to stress, sickness, and fatigue. As a breastfeeding mom, taking care of your own health should also be a priority. Try to make it a point to take some time out for yourself. Eat balanced meals and hydrate. Watch a show, exercise, smile, laugh. Don’t let feelings of guilt, insecurity, or doubt cloud your mind. They’re emotions that keep you real, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of them.
It may seem like you’re in your own little bubble, but there are other moms who are going through the same thing. Only they will understand the moments you’re going through. If you need some extra motivation, read up on real moms’ stories about their breastfeeding journeys, their tips and advice for dealing with a lack of milk supply, and their challenges and how they overcame them.
The trick to breastfeeding? Finding the simple joys in what you do. If you look at breastfeeding as a painful chore, then you probably won’t get far. Instead, look at the bright side–what do you enjoy about it? How has it changed the relationship between you and your baby? What is the most satisfying thing about it? Love and motherhood are powerful things, but when you add joy to the picture, it is unbeatable.