Three Phases of the Breastfeeding Journey
As you prepare yourself for the upcoming delivery of your baby, you might be considering breastfeeding your baby. Think about how long you would ideally like to nurse your new baby, keeping in mind your child will not be able to have dairy milk until they are a year old.
When I had my children, my goal for each of them was to nurse them until they were each a year old. With dedication and hard work, I was able to breastfeed each one until they were roughly 18 months old. I will share with you the tips and tricks that have helped me breastfeed my children.
The Initial Latch
The initial latch is fairly important when starting the venture of breastfeeding. The sooner you can get your baby to your breast, the better. Your breast milk will be their main source of nourishment as they grow until they reach an age where they can consume food.
There are a few ways to get your baby to initially latch. You can simply place your baby against your breast shortly after delivery and let their natural instinct kick in. By letting their natural instincts kick in, they will begin trying to suck. You could gently place your nipple in or near their mouth and hold it there until they start sucking. Sometimes babies might need a little nudge to get going.
For each of my children, moments after I delivered them, they were placed to my breast. By having them placed on me so quickly, their natural instincts kicked in. I did gently guide their mouths to my nipple and they were able to get that initial latch.
Bonding with the Breast
You have successfully gotten your baby to initially latch. Congrats! Now is the time where I like to call it bonding with the breast. The breast will become more than a source of nourishment, it will become a place of comfort as well.
I recommend being an on-demand breastfeeding mommy, especially in the first month of your baby’s life when you are still figuring out the different cries. By nursing your baby whenever he/she cries, will help you become more comfortable breastfeeding. Warning: you may begin to feel like a milk factory, just remember you are more than that!
You can simply cradle your baby in your arms, allowing their head to be supported by the crook of your elbow. As they nurse, often times babies will start to fall asleep. Instead of putting your breast away, allow your baby to snuggle against you. Again, your breast is becoming a safe haven, simply watch the adorable little human you helped create.
I have become exhausted having to nurse so often with each of my children. Then I look down and see this sweet precious little gift and everything else fades away. Hold onto those beautiful moments, in a blink of an eye they will be older and those times will become distant memories.
Pump, Pump it Up
You have gotten your baby to latch and have allowed bonding with the breast to happen. Fantastic! Now comes the dreaded part for many moms, returning to work after spending everyday with this precious little being.
First thing with pumping, make sure you have a great pump that works for you. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of a breast pump. You will need to check with your insurance carrier.
Going back to work does not mean you have to give up on breastfeeding your baby. Legally you are allowed breaks to express milk for your baby according to section 7 of FLSA. You will need to put forth a little extra effort to maintain your milk supply and those pump breaks will be vital.
When I returned to work, I had spoken with my boss about needing breaks at certain intervals to express my milk. I was given those breaks and a private room to pump comfortably (or as comfortable as pumping can be). Making sure your needs are met at work so you can supply your baby with milk is priority number one.
Breastfeeding is about dedication and hard work. You will need to make sure you take care of yourself so you can continue to produce milk for your baby. Breastfeeding on demand will help get your initial milk supply started and pumping will help maintain as you go back to work.
If you find you are struggling or just need to chat about feeling overtired with the new baby, feel free to email me any time! I am here for you mama!