I really felt like I needed to do a post on breastfeeding. I am not an expert, but I do have 6 children with another on the way in a few weeks and and have spent many years nursing. Everyone wants what is best for their baby. There is no doubt that breastfeeding is absolutely the best food choice for your baby. Why?
1. God can make it better than we can, and there is no formula that supplies the same amount of nutrients as breast milk. It is also easier for babies to digest.
2. There are immunities that your baby needs in your breast milk that you pass on to your baby that your baby can't get from anywhere else.
3. It's Free!!!
4. It's always at the right temperature.
5. It doesn't have to be shaken or stirred.
6. No bottle required. (My 4 youngest have never drank anything from a bottle)
7. If your baby sleeps close by at night, night time feedings are much easier with less interruption in your and your baby's sleep.
There are things that you should know before breastfeeding to make it easier on yourself. Read some books, talk to your doctor, take a breastfeeding class, contact a breastfeeding support group for even more information. Talk to a friend with experience. There are many people out there who can help! Here are some things I think is important to know.
1. Nurse your baby for the first time as soon as possible after their birth. Babies are very alert when they are born and you will have better success with an alert baby. Let the nurse know you want to nurse as soon as possible after the birth and that you made need some help.
2.If you are unsuccessful during the first couple tries, try the football hold (this always works for me) It is just like it sounds. Hold your baby like a football with his feet tucked under your arm toward the bed and line his nose up with your nipple.
3. Nurse your baby every time he is awake during the first few days. This serves many purposes. It will help your milk to come in faster, prevent you from becoming engorged, and help flush out the babies system. My babies usually develop jaundice, and the more they are nursed, it flushes out their liver and helps get rid of the jaundice.
4. Drink lots of water. Not only is it good for you, but it will help to get your milk production to increase.
5. Do not let the nurses give your baby a bottle or a pacifier. Every time your baby has the urge to suck, you should be nursing. If you want your baby to have a pacifier, you can always introduce it in a week or two.
6. Do not let the hospital send you home with formula. Sometimes we get frustrated, and it is very easy to change your mind in a moment of frustration if you have baby formula available.
7. You will not starve your baby. Except for in very extreme cases where there is a specific medical reason why a woman is not producing milk, you were made to be able to nurse your baby. Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand schedule. The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body will produce.
Just remember that your body is made to nurse your baby. You can do it!!! Practice makes perfect for both of you. Newborn babies need to eat every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, so don't think that you don't have enough milk because the baby is hungry all of the time. It is perfectly normal. There are also times when babies go through growth spurts and need to nurse more. This is also normal. Remember to take care of mom too. Your baby is dependent on you just like when he was living inside of you. These things will help with your milk production: gets lots of rest, drink lots of water, eat healthy foods, and keep taking your prenatal vitamins.
A question everyone wants to know is will breastfeeding hurt? In the beginning breastfeeding does hurt. Your baby has very strong jaw muscles (and lets face it our nipples are sensitive.) It usually takes a few days to get used to it, and after that it doesn't hurt any more. This is not just true for first time moms, but every time you begin to nurse a new baby. There are things you can do to ease the tenderness: nurse whenever your baby will nurse (to prevent from being engorged), there are nipple creams that are safe for baby, cold ice packs can help, and Tylenol or Motrin. Also, breastfeeding stimulates uterine contractions in order to help your uterus return back to its normal size. This is a very good thing for you even though it can be uncomfortable at times and can be more painful the more children you have. I have found that Motrin helps with this. Remember this is a small amount of discomfort for a few days and worth the sacrifice to ensure your baby is getting the very best.