Priceless advice from real breastfeeding moms
When people find out you are pregnant, everyone has a bit of advice to share. Some is good, some makes you scared, some makes you think “I’m never going to do that,” but some advice helps prepare.
Whatever advice you receive, one thing is for sure: Everyone is different, everyone’s journey is different and at the end of the day you have to find the routine and habits that work best for you, your baby and your family.
We asked a group of moms to offer up their best piece of breastfeeding or pumping advice. Here’s what they had to say.
- Use the lactation consultants in the hospital. I’ve had two babies who were great breastfeeders and I still saw the lactation consultants two or three times with each baby. They are so helpful and will improve latch, positioning, etc., even for a pretty good eater.
- Put together a caddy of “essentials” to carry around with you. Lanolin, burp cloths, snacks, a bottle of water, phone, remote control — whatever it takes to get you through! The worst feeling in those early days is settling in for a 30-minute-plus feeding) and realizing you forgot something important and now have to wait until your newborn is finished eating to get up.
- Nursing covers are great, but I found I preferred to wear a nursing tank with a scarf or sweater that could be adjusted and draped over baby for coverage. The scarf is a little less obvious, and half the time people can’t tell what you are doing, especially if baby is in a carrier.
- Purchase everything you may need to make pumping in the car possible: outlet adapter or battery pack for an electric pump, possibly hands-free pumping accessories and/or nursing cover, milk cooler and wipes or cleaning supplies that can be used without water. I have pumped so many times in the car and it has offered peace of mind knowing no matter where I find myself, if there are no other viable options for pumping, I can go into my car.
- If you are returning to work or plan to breastfeed for a longer period of time, build up your freezer stash early and often. In my experience, you can never have too much frozen milk.
- No matter how much you are able to breastfeed, it is amazing to be able to provide that nutrition to your munchkin even if it isn’t the only thing they are eating.
- Go to breastfeeding classes before your baby comes. The class discussion and understanding various situations you may find yourself in when trying to feed was helpful. Nipples inverting, sucking problems and different positions — who knew? By attending the class ahead of time, I was more prepared because I knew what to expect.
- On your worst day, never give up. Kids go through nursing “strikes,” teething, illness and all-night nurse-a-thons, but it never stays that way. It always gets better, even if in the moment it doesn’t feel that way.
- In public, do what is comfortable for you. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is a “way” or a “place” that you should feed your baby. There’s no shame in doing what feels right to you. Every baby is different and some like a cover some don’t; some like a quiet place and some don’t. For me, it was easier to follow my baby’s lead than to try and fight it.
- My best advice is to make breastfeeding a priority as long as you are happy with that choice. If you plan to return to work and pump at work, I recommend to pump at home and build a supply before returning to work. Just once or twice a day will work. That way, when you return, you have a “freezer stash” and that makes it easier not to stress out about whether you have enough.
- When pumping at work, bring one of your baby’s blankets and record a video of your baby to help with let-down. Pumping outputs will vary depending on what your body and baby need. Trust your body. Trust your baby. Follow your instincts and everything will be fine.
- Lay your freezer bags flat instead of upright to create more storage space.
- Always carry extra pump parts. Always!
- Enjoy every moment of bonding, closeness and love that comes with breastfeeding. Never again will your child be so dependent on you, and those snuggles are priceless. Nursing your baby to sleep is the best feeling in the world, and those days will be over way too soon. Just always remember what a great start you are giving your baby and that the time and sacrifice are so worth it.
Do you know about the Baby Bistro & Boutique on the Norton Healthcare – St. Matthews campus? Find everything you need for breastfeeding all in one place, including access to lactation consultants.
- Convenient one-stop shopping for breast pumps and parts, breastfeeding bras, nursing pillows and many other items that make life easier for breastfeeding moms
- A certified lactation consultant available by appointment to answer questions and educate new moms on how to properly use the equipment
- Breastfeeding services, including individual counseling, breast milk analysis to determine fat and caloric content, and follow-up for infants with poor weight gain
- Services for moms with special needs, such as feeding multiples, hearing impairment, vision impairment and needing language interpretation
- Services for babies with special needs
The Baby Bistro & Boutique is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (502) 899-6530.