"There are three reasons for breast-feeding: the milk is always at the right temperature; it comes in attractive containers; and the cat can't get it."
The difficulties that sometimes come with breastfeeding are not as often talked about as the benefits. When you're tired, stressed out and "new" at it, sometimes it can be an overwhelming experience. Personally, it was something I really struggled with and what helped was having someone to talk to that really could put themselves in my shoes and understand what I was going through. I have researched and thought about my own experience and put together a list of benefits, some tips and some essential items for the breastfeeding mom. Breastfeeding is something you should think about and learn about during pregnancy, do not wait till the baby has arrive to look into it because it's something you want to try and be prepared for.
Helpful tips for breastfeeding:
•If one position isn’t working, switch to a different position
•Good latch is so important, make sure babies mouth is open wide and get as much of your boob in their mouth as possible.
•If you can hear them swallowing and their ears are wiggling the latch is good. If you nipples get sore, the latch may not be good. Take the baby off and reposition.
•Breast feeding every 2-3 hours will help you keep a good supply of milk. With new babies you might even breast feed more often as their stomachs are tiny and can’t hold much so they get full faster but are hungry more often.
•Find a breast-feeding clinic, public health nurse or breast feeding specialist before you have the baby incase you encounter any troubles.
Benefits of breastfeeding for baby:
•Fewer infections, viruses and colds for baby.
•Less chance of SIDS
•More protection against vaccinations
•Breastfeed babies are usually leaner and so is mommy
Benefits of Breastfeeding for mommy:
•Break from your period
•Easier on the budget... breast milk is free! No need to spend money on formula, bottles ect.
•Faster recovery from child birth & pregnancy because the oxytocin produced when your baby nurses helps to shrink your uterus back to its original size (pear). This is why for the first few weeks some women will feel cramping when breastfeeding.
•Breastfeeding helps eliminate calories in your body. Some websites say that breastfeeding burns calories but what it is doing is putting those calories into your milk so they are being eliminating from your body and help provide baby with much needed calories to gain weight.
Essential items for the breastfeeding mom:
•Nursing bra – at least 1, but it’s nice to have a light colour and a dark colour
•Breast pump –manual or electric
•Bottles with nipples that will not cause nipple confusion (wait till breastfeeding is well establish to introduce, but good to have on hand)
•Nursing Pads – disposable or re-usable pads you wash and re-use.
•Nursing pillow – Semi circle shaped pillow to help position the baby while nursing and take the strain off your arms and back.
•Cream for cracked or dry nipples, such as Lansinoh.
•“Magic Bag” or some of other sort of bean bag that can be heated up or put in the freezer to use as a cold pack.
•Nursing tank top – not a necessity but definitely a great option for around the house. They have a built in bra (like a sports bra) and can be pulled down to nurse just like a nursing bra but without have to lift or pull down your shirt.
While there are many benefits to you and the baby if you breastfeed, do not let anyone make you feel guilty or ashamed if it doesn’t work for you. Formula is now made with many of the same nutrients that breast feeding provides. Formula feed babies can be just as healthy as breast feed babies. Many bottle feeding moms worry about not being able to bond with baby but you can make bottle feeding a chance to bond with baby as well. Do some research online to find some tips on how to bond over the bottle.
Always remember that the love you give your baby is the most important thing!