12 Tips for Better Breastfeeding

By Stacy Whitman

Breastfeeding might be the best thing for your baby—but getting the hang of it isn’t always easy. For many new moms, the problems start even before leaving the hospital or soon after being discharged. But it doesn’t have to be that way! We quizzed top lactation experts on how to get off on the right foot in those early days of breastfeeding (a real make-it-or-break-it time!). Read on to learn their secrets for going the distance.

Ask for a longer leave. Moms who take more time off from work tend to nurse longer than those with shorter maternity leaves, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics. While an extended leave isn’t always possible, it shouldn’t hurt to ask! Telecommuting may be another option that a boss would consider. And don’t forget: Many moms pump on the job and bring breast milk home to their babies—some states even have laws requiring employers to allow it.

Assemble a support team. While breastfeeding does get easier with time, those first few weeks can be a struggle. But those who get lots of support—from experienced moms, healthcare professionals, and especially from their partners—during this challenging period have much better odds of overcoming any problems and being successful, says Kay Hoover, IBCLC, a certified lactation consultant in Media, Penn. Find a support group before baby is born at La Leche League International or by asking your ob-gyn or local hospital.