Breastfeeding your baby can be an incredible, life-changing experience. There is no denying that breastfeeding has its own challenges compared to formula feeding, but it is worth trying if possible. Mom blogs like Milk Drunk provide an inclusive, welcoming space to normalize all feeding journeys. No matter the circumstance or how feeding happens, a milk-drunk baby is ultimately the goal.
The Beauty of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is beautiful and it can make mothers feel like superheroes. If pregnancy and birth didn’t make you feel a superwoman, your body creating invaluable nutrients for your child certainly will. It also gives mothers the appreciation of how our bodies accommodate and are designed for motherhood.
It is not easy and comes with its own challenges especially in a modern world, but women can find comfort in knowing our bodies are designed for this and trust your maternal instinct. You got this.
While breastfeeding is not for everyone, if possible it can create a strong bond between mother and child. This is not to say that bottle-fed babies do not have a strong bond with their parents. Because breastfeeding requires the child to be closely held to the mother, this creates a connection. This can be done with bottle-fed babies as well, but the parent holding the child and being responsive to cues.
As opposed to bottle-feeding, how your baby latches is vital to successful (and less painful) breastfeeding. Babies are not born knowing how to latch so moms (and yes dads, too) need to create and support babies as much as possible to ensure a proper latch. One way to know if a latch is successful if the baby’s chin and the tip of their nose are touching your breast.
Here are some breastfeeding tips to get you started.
- Prep, Prep, and Prep. Before the baby is born, go ahead and get things to help make your life easier and make breastfeeding as successful as possible. This could be a nursing pillow, nursing pads, nursing books, a large portable cup (you will want to stay hydrated), and possibly a breast pump if you know you will be away from the baby for a long period of time.
- Ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help when things aren’t going well and there are a ton of experts that can give you the advice or guidance you need. The lactation consultant at the hospital can get you off to a great start from birth, your little one’s pediatrician can give advice along the way to ensure your baby is gaining weight, and your primary care physician can lead to resources as well.
- Nurse within the first hour of Delivery. After birth, it can take time for your milk to come in. Take time to learn how to increase your milk supply. While your body is preparing to produce milk, you will begin to produce colostrum, the liquid gold your baby needs right after birth. Colostrum provides your baby with the vitamins and nutrients they need for a healthy immune system and supply their intestines with the right amount of protective bacteria.
- Learn your baby’s feeding cues. Baby’s body language can tell you all you need to know on when and how long to feed your baby.
- Relax. This is easier said than done, but if you create a calming, comfortable session for feeding time, this will become a time you and your baby will enjoy. Breastfeeding can feel like a chore, but if you change your mindset and look at feeding as the time to connect with your baby, this will lead you to look forward to feeding.
As hard and challenging as breastfeeding can be, there are definitely benefits to trying breastfeeding. It is not always feasible and in that case, know that it is okay if you cannot breastfeed.
All parents have the same goal of having a healthy, well-fed baby, and however that is achieved is a win for you and your precious little one.