How to Get Started Breastfeeding
This month started off with World Breastfeeding Week, and it got me thinking about the fact that it would be a wonderful time to share some tips I've gathered over the nearly 9 years I've been breastfeeding, and the experiences of moms I've helped as a birth & postpartum doula.
1) Find Other breastfeeding moms
Whether you find a local La Leche League meeting, join a local breastfeeding Facebook group, or just know a couple of mom friends who are currently breastfeeding, I highly recommend surrounding yourself with a least a couple of moms who have been there, done that, and are currently in the trenches of breastfeeding. Women you can reach out to with questions or concerns, and women around whom you'll feel comfortable breastfeeding your own babies.
2) Learn what a good latch looks like & how to achieve it
Don't rely on books with B&W photos to show you what a good latch looks like. Ask one of your new-found mama friends to let you see what her baby's good latch looks like and how to get such a latch, or look up videos on Youtube. I know this sounds strange, but this is the #1 thing to which I attribute my own success and the ease with which I started breastfeeding. I knew what a good latch was and how to achieve it, which made all the difference in the world when getting started myself.
3) cull your guest list
Let's be real, the first couple weeks of breastfeeding generally include a lot of toplessness, leaking, and discomfort as you and your baby learn the ropes and figure out what you're doing. As such, it is 100% okay, and even beneficial, to be picky, about the guests you have in the first few days/weeks after baby comes-- and especially how long they stay.
Frankly, most of us aren't going to be comfortable nursing openly in front of our fathers-in-law or other men in our friends/family group, so remember that your breastfeeding journey is of upmost importance the first couple of weeks, and therefore limit guests who would interfere with breastfeeding.
4) Recognize the importance of the 4th trimester
Your body just spent 9 months growing an entire human baby, and now you're preparing to embark on the journey of nourishing that child through your own body. Don't rush yourself to get back to "normal". Breastfeeding actually takes a substantially larger number of calories than actually growing the baby during pregnancy, so be sure to nourish your body properly, get plenty of rest, and hydrate. Nourishment, hydration, and rest are the 3 key ingredients to a healthy milk supply!
5) check for lip & tongue ties
Painful latches are common, but not normal. If you have been latching as well as possible and it still hurts, immediately get your baby evaluated for a lip, tongue, and cheek tie through their pediatrician, a lactation consultant, and- if they can't find anything- a pediatric dentist who specializes in ties. Ties can be tricky to find, but they can wreak absolute havoc on a breastfeeding journey due to the horrific pain they produce due to a bad latch.
I hope these tips are helpful! If you have any more questions or tips I didn't share, please don't hesitate to reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org
Breastfeeding Mini Sessions
Now I'd love to share the first breastfeeding sessions I ever shot! These beautiful mamas were so gracious in allowing me to honor of capturing their breastfeeding relationships with their gorgeous babies. I simply can't thank them enough for allowing me to document their sweet, tender mother-baby bonds. ❤️