How to Improve Your Outlook on Breastfeeding Your Baby
When it comes to feeding your baby, breast milk provides the ideal nutrition (think: vitamins, proteins and fats) to help your baby grow. While breastfeeding may be the best and most natural way to feed your baby, it might not be your favorite thing, and that’s okay! Each parent and situation is different. If you’re not loving the experience, here are a few things to try to help make the feeding process a little more comfortable and enjoyable for you.
Upgrade Your Nursing Station
Where are you feeding your little one? While you may not have total control over your breastfeeding location while you’re out and about, at home you can adjust things slightly to make your nursing station a place you want to be in. Set up one or two irresistibly comfortable nursing stations so that it is a pleasure to take a break and nurse your baby (because you deserve it!).
- Look for a chair or a sofa that provides great back and arm support, as well as the option to have some versatility in your nursing positions.
- Invest in a nursing pillow or a flat firm sofa or bed pillow. This will help take pressure off your hands, arms, and shoulders.
- Utilize a footstool. Putting your feet up brings your lap and baby closer to the breast and puts you in a great position for breastfeeding.
- Have a water bottle, snacks, and entertainment on hand. Multitask while you’re breastfeeding. Stay hydrated and indulge in a tasty snack while you’re with your baby. Feel free to read the latest-page turner, tune into your favorite show, or catch up on the latest celebrity gossip—this is your time too, so use it how you want.
Master the Art of breastfeeding While Lying Down
Although it takes a little practice, and is easier when the baby develops some head control, nursing while lying down is often reported as “life-changing” by new parents. By perfecting this position, you can rest and nurse at the same time. Voila!
Don’t Put up With Pain
If pain while breastfeeding is causing you to cringe when your baby shows hunger cues, it’s time to get help fast. Pain necessitates assessment from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or healthcare professional. They’ll work to assess your situation and create a treatment plan to help you heal quickly.
Other signs help is urgently needed:
- Nipple redness, tenderness, open areas
- Breast soreness, redness, tenderness
- Any concerns about milk transfer or infant weight gain
Remember, there is no need to wait for a problem to schedule an in-home lactation consultation with the Lactation Network today.
Talk to Other Parents
Bonding over a shared experience like parenthood is a great way to talk about your journey, celebrate each other’s successes, and work through any hiccups. Networking groups and neighborhood meetups for parents are great ways to meet other people in your shoes. Parents with similar experiences have the best strategies and can often give you much-needed ideas, understanding, and support.
Focus on the Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding provides real, tangible benefits like a reduced chance of hospitalization and illness for infants and a potential decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers for parents. Plus, the longer you exclusively breastfeed, the benefits become stronger. However, this doesn’t mean breastfeeding or providing your own milk has to be all or nothing—even a little bit helps.
If the World Health Organization’s recommendation of breastfeeding for at least six months sounds daunting, make short-term goals. For example, non-exclusive breastfeeding for two months–meaning your baby gets some breast milk–already lowers their risk of SIDs by 62%. Meanwhile, exclusively breastfeeding for two months lowers that risk by 73%.The benefits of breastfeeding only increase over time, and with more breast milk consumed.
Celebrate as you achieve each milestone, and assess your situation as you go. Instead of quitting breastfeeding on a bad day, reassess in a day or two and see if time gives you a different perspective. Luckily, most lactation challenges happen early and most get better quickly.
The team at The Lactation Network is here to help you through your breastfeeding successes and challenges with helpful advice and an insurance-covered breast pump. Connect with our team to address any breastfeeding concerns, or schedule a lactation consultation to get one-on-one support for you and your baby.