Your first parenting decision has been made. You have chosen to breastfeed your baby.
Now you click away at links to gather information. You have never fed a human from your boob before. You discover a new vocabulary with seemingly unkind words like “latch”, “engorgement”, “let-down”, and “sling”.
“What in the hell is a nipple shield?
Nobody told me that my nips were going into a battle that would require armor!”
The inundation of breastfeeding information can drive your ta-tas to throw themselves into oncoming traffic. Beginning your nursing adventure with just the breastfeeding basics is the better path to breastfeeding bliss. Your baby knows what to do.
The journey begins after delivery.
The outlook for breastfeeding success is most impacted by nursing sessions from birth to two hours postpartum.
Your little newborn does not expect you to be a pro at this. Your baby’s instinct to root and suckle will take over. Couple that instinct with your knowing what a good latch is. That is undoubtedly where breastfeeding for beginners starts.
First Step: Read the article below.
Simply put, it is all that you need to know how to do to start breastfeeding your baby.
Breastfeeding Made Simple
Once you and your baby have figured out how to get a good latch, you are ready for the next bit o’ breastfeeding advice:
- Intentionally relax.
Your body has a difficult time initiating the let-down reflex in a tension state.
Sore nipples and a process unfamiliar to you can make you tense up. Focus on relaxing your shoulders and breathing naturally.
- Stay tuned into your baby. You will get to know your baby’s cries and patterns.
Related article: this is the only “How-To” guide that you will need: How to Kick Ass at Attachment Parenting.
- Nurture the nips. Improper latching (“shallow latch”) will cause a nip nightmare. Even when latching properly, nipples can get sore due to being sucked on constantly. Keep them patted dry, change breast pads often, and invest in nipple care products that will soothe the soreness.
Rather than researching possible scenarios that could go wrong…
Have a list of resources available that can direct you when you need breastfeeding advice.
- Supportive moms with breastfeeding experience can give you advice and talk you off of a ledge.
- La Leche League has a wealth of breastfeeding advice.
- Breastfeeding Helpline– Call 877-4-LA-LECHE for help. This service is free and open during regular business hours. If you call after hours, messages are returned promptly.
- Lactation consultants provide one-on-one support and guidance for breastfeeding beginners. Find a lactation consultant in your area.
Must-Haves for New Moms
Hover the mouse over each link to view my top product choice (or click the link).
- A breast pump for your needs:
High-quality double electric breast pump (essential if you will return to work)
Reliable, less expensive electric breast pump (for regular use)
Manual breast pump (for mom’s comfort when engorged and for occasional bottles)
Nursing tank tops (not a must, but you will thank me if you get one)
- Wardrobe for nursing:
- Breast pads: (I recommend buying both types to find your preference)
- Breast/nipple care: (You will need all of these.)
Hydrogel breast pads for sore nipple relief
Hot/cold packs specifically for breasts (cold for soothing, hot for stimulating lactation)
- Nursing pillows: (at least one Boppy and one body pillow)
Boppy for nursing from a seated position
Boppy covers (you will need at least two)
Nursing body pillow for nursing while laying down
- Babywearing (carrying baby close): (at least 1)
- Sleeping Safely: (one of these, not both)
- (Optional) Privacy for public nursing: (if you are uncomfortable, one of these may help)
- (Optional) Making life easier…
Related article for an in-depth look (including eco-friendly options): Breastfeeding Supplies for New Moms
The Most Valuable Breastfeeding Advice
Trust yourself and your instincts. You will learn more than you ever thought that you could. Relax, enjoy this time, and nurture your bond. Having read about how to get your baby to latch and having prepared your home for baby’s arrival, you are well on your way to breastfeeding bliss.