By Lyz Lenz
According to the World Health Organization, “Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers.” But just because “breast is best” doesn’t mean all moms are able to do it effortlessly. Here are three tips to help you be a proud breastfeeding mama.
Don’t let people discourage you
After having to put her first child on formula when he was three months old, Amber Tower was committed to breastfeeding her second child as long as possible. According to her doctor and the lactation consultant she was making the right decision for her child, but according to her mom, she was “weird.” Said Amber, “I had to constantly put up with family members asking me if I was done breastfeeding. My mom even told me that the ladies in her office thought I should quit. It was really discouraging.” Amber stuck it out and is glad she did. But she warns women not to pay too much attention to the criticism of others, “Talk to your doctor, your lactation consultant and a trusted friend, beyond that, ignore what other people have to say.”
The first month is the hardest
Dr. Deonne Brown Benedict, a family nurse practitioner, says that women who stick through the first hard month of breastfeeding are usually able to continue. “I would say that the majority of women quit during the first week or two, even when they planned on breastfeeding, They stop because it’s not intuitive like they thought, they encounter challenges, they worry their baby isn’t getting enough milk, so they supplement, which further lowers milk supply. Their breasts are sore and they are in pain from their C-section, and, they just aren’t getting the important support that a lactation consultant can provide. Once a woman gets through the first very difficult month, she is likely to go the distance for at least several months. If she knows up front that the first two to three weeks are going to be hard, and she may need regular lactation consultations for a couple weeks. However, this will be compensated for by greater ease of feeding (and baby benefits) later, she is likely to make it through that 1st challenging month. “
Don’t let supply get you down
Stress, working out, a bad cold, all of these things can tank your supply, but don’t let that be the reason you give up. There are a lot of simple steps you can take to get your supply going again. Mom of eight, Toni Rakestraw recommends fluids: “Drink plenty of fluids—water, juice, smoothies, whatever, just drink. Eat nutritious food. You will be hungrier than you were when you were pregnant. This is not the time to diet. When you’re nursing, you’re eating for two even more than when you were pregnant. I never had to use herbs to improve my milk supply; I just nursed my babies on demand. If the demand is there, most women’s bodies will respond in kind and produce more milk.”
About the Author:
Lyz Lenz is a writer, a mom and a midwesterner. Although, not in that order. She lives in Iowa and on the web at LyzLenz.com
Don’t let breastfeeding problems discourage you. Use these tips to help you succeed.