Do yourself and your precious little one a favor and start off on the right foot with breastfeeding. If you’ve done any reading about it then you already know that it’s “a learned skill” and “if you’re doing it properly it shouldn’t hurt.” These statements (although vague and not helpful at correcting a problem) are VERY, VERY true. It takes time, practice and help. Yes, help! Its one thing to see a diagram in a book or online, but it’s much more effective to have someone with trained hands at your bedside. You have to be in the right position. The baby has to be in the right position. There are different holds to experiment with. If you don’t get things down right from the start you and the baby could develop poor posture and latching habits. Take it from me. I’m the queen of sore, cracked, bleeding nipples. I held that title for more than two months before we got it right and it didn’t happen on its own. I spent hours on the phone with a lactation consultant. It wasn’t until I actually went to see a consultant (twice) at a nearby hospital that I had any success.
I hope the following tips help. If anyone has any other suggestions, please share!
Find a lactation consultant in your area. LLLI has leaders that host monthly meetings. Attend some before and after your baby is born.
During your tour of the hospital ask about lactation support. What days and hours does she work? Is this person a nurse? If so, is she only available during her shift? (That happened to me. When I was settled in my room and asked if they had a lactation consultant I was told, yes, but she wasn’t working again until Saturday. It was Thursday when I was admitted.)
Even if the hospital doesn’t have a lactation consultant ask the nurses for help at EVERY feeding. They’ll know what to do. Once you leave the hospital you’ll be on your own so take advantage of their knowledge and support.
Ask the staff for lots of extra pillows. Hospital pillows stink. They’re flat and plastic-y. You and the baby need to be well supported on all sides when you nurse.
Nursing in bed can be difficult. If you’re hospital room has a chair, try that. Again, support yourself with lots of pillows and use a foot stool. You need to feel “locked in” and comfortable at all times to nurse properly.
For home, have some lanolin, ibuprofen, a soft nursing bra and the number of a professional to call if you run into any problems.
Breastfeeding is demanding when you’re caring for a newborn. You’re exhausted. Don’t add pain to that equation. Ask for help in advance to avoid problems.
TGIF and have a great weekend. See you next Friday.