"Open Mouth, Insert Boob" - Or is There More to the Story?

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How to Set Yourself Up For Breastfeeding Success

Like many other moms, I know what it's like to be shocked that my beautiful newborn does not simply latch onto my breast perfectly after birth and go on to feed like a champ the rest of his nursing days. Did nobody really tell me that there was a learning curve to breastfeeding, that there could be potential struggles, or that I should try to learn about the process beforehand?

Perhaps you're a first-time mom like I once was – desiring to nourish your little one at the breast, but right now you don't know how much you don't know.

Or maybe you're an experienced mom and were not successful in breastfeeding the first time – and now you want to know what you can do differently this time to reach your goals. These are my tips for prenatal breastfeeding preparation based on my experiences both as a doula and as a mom who worked night and day to climb out of all the booby traps, overcome struggles and successfully breastfeed for a year and a half.

  • Start Reading

Yes, there's nothing like the actual experience of breastfeeding, but learning as much as possible before the birth can really help you to set goals, establish a plan and be prepared for anything. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a great book that belongs on every nursing mom's shelf, and www.kellymom.com is one of my favorite websites containing answers to countless breastfeeding questions with plenty of links to sources.

  • Start Attending La Leche League Meetings Prenatally

Your local La Leche League chapter is a great resource for all stages of breastfeeding. Don't wait until your baby is born and any problems develop – pregnant women are always welcome to join in the meetings. You'll become comfortable with the meeting place and your fellow moms well before the big day when you bring your new baby for the first time. We have some wonderful La Leche League meetings in Wichita that are very helpful and welcoming.

  • Choose Baby's Care Provider Wisely

When selecting the doctor who will see your baby after the birth, be sure to find out how supportive they are of breastfeeding – they should not just support, but encourage your goal to breastfeed for at least six months or however long you and baby choose. Make sure they will be using the WHO growth charts for breastfed babies and that they do not push formula supplementation unnecessarily.

  • Build a Support Network

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and sometimes in this day and age that's what we need to successfully breastfeed. Create a sheet of numbers to call if you need help – an experienced friend you can call in the middle of the night if you have to, a lactation counselor you can hire to help you work through issues, and anyone else in your circle who is ready and willing to help. As a postpartum doula, I love that breastfeeding support is a big part of what I do, whether that means providing basic troubleshooting, directing parents to helpful resources, or even just bringing you your glass of water and nursing pillow to help you be as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

I love to spend time with my doula clients helping them to prepare for breastfeeding while they are still pregnant. Although I sure hope they are blessed with an “open mouth, insert boob” baby, they know I am right here for them if they need my help!

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Did you have an easy or difficult time breastfeeding? How could you have benefited from lots of support?

Source: New feed