Breastfeeding is one of the best ways you can bond with your baby. Not only does breastfeeding help you connect, it has many health benefits for both mom and baby.
According the the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA), breastfeeding can protect your baby against a variety of diseases and conditions such as:
Breastfeeding can also help moms with decreased postpartum bleeding, reduced risk of breast cancer, earlier return to prepregnancy weight, and more.
Despite understanding the many benefits of breastfeeding, for both the mom and baby, breastfeeding is still hard. Many women suffer from painful, engorged breasts or not producing enough milk. The good news is that there's hope.
This is more than just finding a favorite chair. Practice holding your baby in different positions to find what is most comfortable for you.
Wear the right clothing. A comfortable nursing bra makes all the difference. It should be wireless and easy to open. It's also a good idea to invest in nursing tank tops for easy access.
Use plenty of pillows or try a nursing pillow like a Boppy that supports baby while you feed. It's important to make sure you are bringing the baby to your breast, not hunching down to the baby. You'll end up with a backache!
Use Happi Tummi for grownups to ease any tummy or back pains, or to calm yourself and relieve stress.
Co-sleeping is having your baby sleep in your same bedroom. Co-sleeping is not necessarily having your baby sleep in your bed (that can be unsafe). To make breastfeeding easier, your baby should sleep in your same room during their first year of life.
By co-sleeping, you reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Put your baby to sleep in a crib or bassinet, not in your bed. By having your baby in your room, it's easier to wake up to breastfeed. And breastfeeding at night, helps regulate your milk supply so you won't feel so engorged come morning time.
As mentioned earlier, a Boppy pillow can provide excellent support. A good breast pump is important if you'll be going back to work or needing someone else to feed your baby. Try a milk storage system like Kiinde that allows you to pump directly into milk storage bags - no messy transferring!
If you're dealing with sore nipples, try using cool, soothing pads or nipple creams. If you're engorged, try using cabbage to soothe your painful breasts. Tip: be careful not too over pump or you can end up even more engorged.
Keep track of feedings with a free app. Some of our favorites are:
Here are some other places to find support for your breastfeeding journey:
Anyone that says breastfeeding is easy, is kidding themselves. It's hard, painful and doesn't come easy for a lot of moms. Breastfeeding takes hard work and dedication.
If you're doubting yourself and think formula is best for you and your baby, then go ahead and try it. Remember, "fed is best". They say that whether your baby is breastfed or bottle fed, your baby will still grow up to chicken nuggets and french fries.
Focus on feeding your baby with love, whether that's from your breast or from a bottle. You've got this mama!