10 Expert tips for successful breastfeeding
Picture this, you find out you are pregnant, and along with the mix of emotions from excitement, surprise, and joy to overwhelming confusion about what to do next you start imagining how your pregnancy will be and how you will feel looking at your baby for the first time. But, did you think about what it would be like for you while breastfeeding? Some of us see it as a period of bonding as we sit in a super relaxing armchair when in reality there may be times you end up breastfeeding in line at the grocery store.
I knew from the get-go that I would breastfeed my children and although I had an idea of how to do it, I didn’t know the ins and outs of this trade. Luckily, I had expert help along the way, which is why it is highly recommended to consult with someone who is trained and has extensive experience as a breastfeeding consultant. You want someone who will not only teach you but also help solve the problems that may arise; because one thing is the theory and another the practice.
When I first started breastfeeding my firstborn everything was new. I was a new mom, I wore a new bra, and I got a new breastfeeding pillow. Breastfeeding was also new. I attended a virtual prenatal and breastfeeding course by Dr. Sonia Motolongo, MD, RN, RD, LD/N, ICBLC who has years of experience in teaching women how to breastfeed, plus she is also my mother. You can say I was dealt a winning hand, but we live far, far, far away from each other so the only best option to learn the tricks of this trade was to do it virtually. Let me just tell you this helped a lot! By the time my son was born, I was able to get the correct latch and not get sore or broken nipples. My biggest problems were with my c-section, and I’ll share all about it another time.
Flash forward six years later to when my daughter was born and I thought I had breastfeeding all packed and ready to go. To my surprise, this, too, was a new experience and this time around I had sore and broken nipples. Why? Well, on one hand, I didn’t consult my lactation expert thinking I had it all under control and, second, every breastfeeding experience is unique. Yet, each journey can be experienced following what I like to call my “10 Titstic Tips for Milk Flow Success.” These are 10 things to keep in mind and put in place to get that milk flow going smoothly and pretty much effortlessly. The knowledge I learned from the breastfeeding classes and the experience gained in the more than three years of breastfeeding my daughter has made this my proven “formula.”
10 Titstic Tips for Milk Flow Success
- No pain, you gain. Breastfeeding should NOT be painful! Whenever you hear people say that it hurts at first and then you get used to it, they are wrong, wrong, wrong. If you feel pain this means your child’s latch is incorrect. I mean, imagine you are new to this and all you feel is pain and you have to keep at it for however long it takes. No wonder many people end up quitting or not even wanting to try in the first place. So keep this in mind, if it hurts remove your child’s latch and try again or change the latching position until you feel no pain.
- Certified means qualified. You can listen to other women’s breastfeeding experiences. Take the positive things and learn from their toughest experiences, but always resort to professional advice from someone certified and qualified to help you throughout your breastfeeding journey. This lactation consultant will give you the tools and techniques you will need to master each session. It is very important for you and your partner to take prenatal and lactation classes. The information you learn is so valuable you don’t want to enter wombanhood blind.
- Your child is speaking, listen up! Although your child may not literally say words, they do “speak up” in their own way. That is, they will transmit signals that they are getting hungry. So, if you don’t want to feed a hysterical baby, then listen with your eyes. Babies will fidget with their mouths, head, hands, and feet as a way to announce they want to feed. They will also signal when they are done. Pick up on those cues and you’ll be prepared to breastfeed with ease.
- Love the clothes you wear. Who said you have to dress like you are still in the hospital? Don’t lose your identity because you are breastfeeding. Instead, keep your fashion sense and wear the clothes you love. Feel and look beautiful while you feed your child. Remember, you are the most beautiful womban your child can have.
- Drop the timer. You may be tempted to plan out your calendar with the exact times you’ll breastfeed and how long your child will take on each breast, but let me be honest, forget about it. We live in a world of “on-demand” so it only makes sense that your child will want to breastfeed at any moment.
- Comfort over sacrifice. You want to make sure that you are comfortable first before your child latches on. I’m sure you don’t want to get cramps while breastfeeding, so don’t sacrifice your comfort. Remember, you want this to be a memorable experience where you bond with your child aside from nursing and not a dreadful time of suffering.
- Know your rights. Do not let anyone tell you you cannot feed your child wherever you are. Don’t even allow anyone to intimidate you into going to a bathroom to breastfeed. Do you know how filthy public bathrooms are? I’m sure they won’t have their non-breastfeeding kids eating in bathrooms so you don’t have to take yours because they say so. In the US and Europe you can breastfeed in public, so next time someone tries to get you to cover up, hide in the bathroom or go away just act as if they are talking to themselves. Smile at the air you breathe and continue breastfeeding. (You may be tempted to argue, I know I would, but keep it cool your health will thank you later.)
- Catch up on your reading. I won’t be so strict as to tell you to drop the phone, but there is just so much you can gain from reading books, articles, poems, etc. that don’t involve electronics. Try it, you’ll see how you connect even deeper with your child, especially with yourself when you open your mind to reading wonderful things. Plus, you’ll be instilling positive behaviors in your child without even saying a word.
- Every drop counts. Some people don’t have access to a breast pump. These can be expensive or just a hassle to assemble and wash after every use. If you don’t need to pump, but still want to take advantage of every drop of the liquid gold, then grab yourself a Haakaa or any silicone pump you can attach to the breast you are not feeding so you can collect any letdown.
- More feeding = more milk. The more you breastfeed the more you will produce. You don’t need to take supplements to increase milk production. The best supplement is latching your child to your breasts and letting them feed on demand.