Getting Ready For Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding - Cheeky Monkey Blog

Expecting a new arrival and planning to breastfeed? Most likely you’ve heard a lot of different experiences about breastfeeding or pumping. Maybe hearing someone else’s negative experience makes you feel nervous about breastfeeding your baby? Do you have questions? Are you wondering if your experience can be different?

I’m here to tell you that breastfeeding should be enjoyable. Yup, it’s true. That doesn’t mean that people don’t experience difficult breastfeeding challenges. Not at all. I get it, because I experienced it myself with my first baby. Breastfeeding is a learned skill that mom and baby achieve together; kind of like dance partners. It takes a while to get the routine down, but once you do it’s enjoyable. Here are some of the insider tips and tricks to get breastfeeding right from the start.

  1. Attend a prenatal breastfeeding workshop before baby is born: This is a great opportunity to ask all of your breastfeeding questions or to voice your concerns in a relaxed environment before baby arrives. Most Prenatal Breastfeeding Workshops cover: good positioning, normal feeding patterns, how you can help prevent problems, milk expression, safe milk storage and much more.

  2. Partner support: It’s so important to involve your partner or support person while you are learning to breastfeed. I always encourage partners or support persons to attend prenatal breastfeeding workshops and home breastfeeding consults. A second set of eyes and ears can help recall breastfeeding tips later on. Partners or support persons may also have their own questions on how they can best support breastfeeding.

  3. Breastfeeding on cue: Breastfeeding when a baby cues to eat just makes sense. Follow your baby and not the clock, an app or what a book may suggest. If baby is cueing you to nurse, offer the breast. Early feeding cues may include: waking up, licking lips, sticking tongue out, smacking sounds, hand to mouth and rooting. Feed the baby before the last hunger cue – crying. Even if they are crying, it’s not too late! Calm your baby then offer your breasts.

  4. Set your own goals: The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. After that for 2 years or more with appropriate complementary feeding. It may be helpful to set short term goals in the early weeks of breastfeeding. Some mothers take it week by week or even day by day. Congratulations on whatever your goal is to breastfeed or give breastmilk to your baby. Every amount of breastmilk counts.

  5. Get expert breastfeeding support: An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential guarantees that you are being supported by a highly qualified professional who has the expertise to provide accurate, evidence based information to achieve your own breastfeeding goals. Find an IBCLC in your area.

  6. Attend La Leche League Canada meetings: La Leche League Canada provides mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and information to expecting, new mothers and their babies from birth to weaning. La Leche League offers local free meetings in which mothers can share their questions and concerns with each other and trained leaders. To find a meeting in your area.

  7. Trusted online resources: It’s the middle of the night and you’re looking for breastfeeding or pumping information. How do you know which website to trust for evidence based resources? Great websites I share with my clients are Dr. Jack Newman’s, and Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC’s, Dr. Jack Newman’s website includes printable handouts and valuable information for families and Kellymom has endless links to resources supporting breastfeeding, pumping and weaning goals.

  8. Thinking about pumping? Interested in pumping for your baby but not sure when to start or what kind of pump to get? Maybe you wonder if it is necessary to pump as a breastfeeding Mom? It depends on personal breastfeeding and pumping goals. Some Mothers may benefit from contacting an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to develop a personalized pumping plan or attend a workshop on pumping before returning to work. It’s important to know where to go for pumps and information.

  9. Super-mom myth: Expect a learning curve with breastfeeding and parenting. Be easy on yourself. Try to get a bit organized before baby’s arrival in order to plan for rest and relaxation time after baby arrives. Hire help if needed with cleaning and meals. Hire postpartum doula support for mom, baby and family. Accept or ask for help from family and friends. Remember, fatigue is a big problem as a new parent whether you are breastfeeding or not.

  10. Ongoing follow up: Know where to get support beyond the early weeks of breastfeeding. Many women are unsure where to go for breastfeeding questions on solids, teething and weaning. Visit a drop-in breastfeeding support group in your community.

Marijean Amesmann, IBCLC supports individual breastfeeding goals through prenatal breastfeeding workshops, home and hospital breastfeeding consults and weekly drop-in clinic.  Marijean is the proud mother of two breastfed daughters and loves to continue her passion of breastfeeding by supporting families and educating healthcare providers in the community.

- Marijean Amesmann, IBCLC, RLC, CLE

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