Yesterday as I sat in the waiting room at the Doctor's office, I overheard part of a conversation from a woman who was there for her 6 week check-up with an adorable baby girl. She told a lady with her that she had started out wanting to breastfeed, but when the baby wanted to nurse every 1 and a half hours she decided that she didn't have enough milk and switched to formula. I have heard similar comments from many first time moms and think this is sad. A newborn baby's stomach is the size of their fist and because breast milk is so much easier to digest than formula, breastfed babies do eat more often then formula fed babies. This does not mean you are not producing enough milk. Actually, the more your baby will nurse in the first few weeks, the better it is for you. Frequent nursing helps shrink your uterus after giving birth, helps prevent engorgement, and increases your milk supply. Not to mention all of the medical benefits it has for your baby. Here are a couple of tips to make breastfeeding more successful.
1. Read books about breastfeeding to educate yourself about what is normal and the How To's of breastfeeding.
2. Nurse your baby whenever they will nurse.
3. Get plenty of rest after having a baby. Sleep when your baby sleeps (especially if you only have one)
4. Eat well-balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
5. Drink lots of water. Breastfeeding makes me very thirsty. I always keep a large thermos full of water and have it beside me while I am nursing.
6. Expect that your baby will lose a little bit of weight after he is born. It is normal for them to lose 10% of their body weight, and they start gaining again after a couple of days.
7. The nurses in the hospital are there to help you. Ask for help to get the baby to latch on or for any questions you might have.
8. Avoid giving the baby a bottle of a pacifier for the first couple of weeks.
9. If the baby is having a hard time latching on, try the football hold (this always works for me)
10. Don't give up! Breastfeeding is best for you and your baby. Any time you try something new you have to practice before you know what you are doing. In a couple of weeks you will be an old pro at this parenting, breastfeeding thing. You are doing a great job so hang in there!