When I had my first child, I knew I wanted to nurse my babies. I had a little support, but I still had no idea what I was doing really. I did know a little bit, thank goodness. A little bit isn’t enough though. If I could go back in time and teach myself what I know now, I would do it in a heart beat. The following list is based on my own personal experiences.
1. Do not supplement with formula, unless you are weaning and no longer want to continue your nursing relationship. Supplementing is a great way to abruptly end breastfeeding. I actually had a nurse try to tell me to supplement when I was in the hospital with my eldest. A nurse! Medical professionals should know that breast is best, but, hey, surprises do happen.
2. Do not introduce a bottle until your milk supply is well established (popular opinion is around 4 weeks postpartum). Introducing a bottle before that time could cause nipple confusion . Besides that, after having it easy [with the bottle], who wants to work to get their food?
3. Pacifiers (soothers, binkies) are okay to use at any time. If anyone tells you different, they are lying.
4. Buy lots of burp clothes. Trust me, you will never be sorry you did.
5. Buy nursing pads. With my first child, I used disposable nursing pads, but I soon regretted it. I developed mastitis a number of times. It is so painful! I highly recommend investing in some danish wool nursing pads. I purchased two pairs with my second nursling, and I never got mastitis again! They are worth every single penny!
6. Buy a Boppy Nursing Pillow. It will make nursing easier on you and baby.
7. Find a local La Leche League group, if possible. It’s helpful to have women who are in the same boat, so to speak. Women helping women. If it’s not possible, invest in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It is filled with factual information and is a true guide for breastfeeding.
8. Avoid wearing underwire nursing bras, at least until your milk supply has been established. I have found that the underwire can apply pressure; and as a result, the breast does not empty fully, causing clogged ducts. Again, painful.
9. Be prepared for some pretty explosive bowel movements (BM). Breastmilk has laxative properties. Also, breastmilk is easily digested, so don’t be surprised if your nursling doesn’t have a BM every day.
10. Listen to your gut. Take outside advice, even this list, with a grain of salt. Only you know what is best for your child.
Enjoy your nursing relationship. 🙂