How to Succeed at Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can be challenging for some parents, and easy for others. By following these simple, but sometimes challenging, tips, we hope you will be able to be successful at breastfeeding your baby. Our doulas are always available for support throughout the process, and are trained to help you succeed at your number one priority: feeding your baby. We are just an email or phone call away.
1. Understand There is No Right Way to Breastfeed
We see beautiful images of a parent and child in a field of colorful flowers with the sun shining off the nurse person’s long, shiny, freshly washed hair. Well, reality check: that doesn’t always happen. So if breastfeeding your baby naked on your living room floor with the lights off is the most comfortable, do it. There is no perfect way to nurse, except what is uniquely perfect for you and your baby.
2. Internalize There is No Time Requirement to Breastfeed
Be proud of yourself for nursing your baby for one minute, one day, one month, one year, or even five years. No two breastfeeding journeys look the same, so there is no need to compare. You are doing exactly what your baby needs.
3. Seek Help
We are lucky to live in an area that is rich with amazing, professional and competent lactation consultants, counselors and educators. Though the length of time determines their professional title, they are always able to help. They can help you learn what breastfeeding should feel and look like, and allow you to discover what is and is not working for you.
4. Listen to Your Body
If something hurts, it is not normal. If your body is telling you there is pain, it is not normal. Do not ignore sensations felt in your body because you want a certain outcome. Breastfeeding should not be painful. It may be uncomfortable and you may be sore, but your lactation team can help you learn how to work with your body to succeed at breastfeeding.
5. Learn From Your Baby
For a tiny person who cannot speak, they sure can tell us a lot about what they are experiencing. Learn his or her cues to make sure nursing sessions start on the right foot, and end with a happy, full baby and two empty breasts.
6. Find Peer Support
Diversity is great for building a healthy mind and spirit, but when it comes to breastfeeding, find peers who know exactly what you are saying so they can support you through the process. Nipple cream may not be the most fascinating question, but I guarantee anyone who has breastfed a baby can completely relate to how important it is to find the right cream. So find your tribe, and hold on to them tight.
7. Take Care of Your Body
We always tell our doula clients you cannot fill from an empty cup, and that transcends all aspects of pregnancy, birth and parenting. If your body is exhausted, sleep. Self care is not a luxury, but rather a necessity for everyone, but especially a new parent.
8. Learn the Routine That is Best for You, and Follow It
All parents need time to understand and learn what it is like to have a new person living in their home. But the breastfeeding parent, also needs to learn the routine that works best for having successful nursing sessions. Notice how your breasts feel at certain times of the day, and how your supply changes throughout the day. Learning this routine will help you plan and prepare for how you will feed your baby throughout the day and night.
9. Ignore People Who Do Not Support You
Whether it is coming from someone within your own family, or judgmental glares at the grocery store, learn to ignore it. No one knows your path except for you, and therefore, no one can tell you the right direction.
10. Stop When You Want
There is absolutely no reason to feel bad about stopping to breastfeed. Using donor milk or formula works amazing well to keep babies fed and health, and you do not need to feel guilty for saying enough is enough. You are allowed to stop breastfeeding whenever you want.