Even the most determined mom will likely struggle and may even give up without this very important key to breastfeeding success.
Breastfeeding has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve been fortunate enough to experience, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally.
Yes, the act of breastfeeding is natural but its such a myth that breastfeeding “should come naturally.” Because of this myth many moms are confident in their ability to breastfeed but oblivious to the learning curve that most definitely comes with it.
I’m not saying that confidence is a bad thing. It’s so very important!
During one of my later prenatal appointments I remember my OB asking if I planned to breastfeed and I told him, “Yes, I’m going to try.” He said, “Don’t say try. Say I WILL breastfeed.”
That conversation never left me and I remember thinking back to it during times of struggle and desperation. “I WILL breastfeed!” Confidence is essential to a good breastfeeding experience, but its not enough.
Knowledge Is Power
I’ll say it once and I’ll forever keep telling moms the key to breastfeeding success is knowledge and a good support system. Nope, not lactation cookies, herbal supplements, and special milk making teas. You can drink all the tea you want but it won’t do a dang thing for your milk supply if you are only breastfeeding twice a day.
When your nipples are blistered it’s easy to feel like throwing in the towel and trust me, I know the feeling! However, if you had known the difference between a good and a bad latch that may have been the key to saving your sanity.
I’m not one to judge and I get it, we all have to start somewhere. To truly give yourself the best chance at breastfeeding success you need to be educating yourself before the baby arrives.
If I go could go back to my first pregnancy I would definitely do things differently. Like a lot of other moms I resorted to Google and Pinterest for breastfeeding information but that eventually lead to a problem.
1.) It was very overwhelming.
2.) Information was inconsistent
Ladies, I know the internet is a quick way to get information and I’m horribly guilty of this myself but please hear me out. Be careful where you are getting breastfeeding information because it’s not always accurate. Knowledge is key to breastfeeding success but it won’t get you anywhere if the information is wrong.
Thankfully though, there’s many good options for you!
Attending a breastfeeding class is a great way to get an overview of the basics. Things like latching/positioning, feeding cues, pumping, and how to tell if baby is getting enough are all topics usually covered. Some classes go further into depth but it all depends on the instructor.
Benefits To A Breastfeeding Class
1.) It provides organization. It can get quite overwhelming trying to google every little thing. There’s a ton of info out there!
2.) You can bring Dad along and get him on board. Be sure to remind him to pay attention!
3.) You may get freebies! Some classes give out handy pamphlets and fridge magnets. I have one I referred to frequently with my first.
4.) It’s the perfect opportunity to ask questions.
Where To Find A Class
Locations for a breastfeeding class will all depend on the resources in your community. A larger town or city will probably have a better variety but that doesn’t mean small communities have lucked out.
1.) Check the surrounding hospitals for dates on a class. They are usually free and from my experience quite helpful too!
2.) You can find several classes online. These are usually paid but may be worth it if you prefer to learn at your own pace!
3.) Private classes with an IBCLC. These are sometimes more pricey but you would get one on one assistance and plenty of hands on practice.
Support From Experienced Moms
Don’t go at this alone! There are TONS of experienced breastfeeding moms out there who would love to help you out. It is crucial though to receive your support from a trusted source because there is such a thing as bad advice. It’s probably not wise to ask breastfeeding questions to a mom who had a bad experience because you want positive advice!
Family members and friends are often a good support system because they love you and want you to succeed. Sometimes though, they are less than supportive. When engorgement is in full force and your nipples feel like fire it can be hard for loved ones to see you in pain. Some may suggest that you switch to formula or let them feed a bottle so you can heal. They mean well but it sure puts a damper on the support, huh?
For this reason it’s helpful to talk to moms that you don’t know on a personal level.
A peer counselor is a support person who gives basic breastfeeding information and encouragement to pregnant and breastfeeding moms. It’s offered through the WIC program and can be a great resource for moms who are seeking support and breastfeeding success!
Support groups can be in person or online and are typically formed by other moms who also are looking for breastfeeding support. Some moms like to join Facebook groups and others prefer to meet weekly or monthly with a group of other moms in the community. It’s good to have others to ask questions and likely someone else has had the same experience and hopefully a solution!
Speak To A Lactation Consultant
Sometimes a mom will have specific concerns that only a lactation consultant can answer. If you are taking certain medications, have had any breast surgeries or medical concerns I would highly recommend making an appointment with a lactation consultant before your baby is born.
Sometimes medications can be switched and even if you thought breastfeeding wouldn’t be possible you may be surprised!
If you are breastfeeding and having major latch and supply issues a lactation consultant may just be your saving grace. Don’t give up on a bad day. Make an appointment and talk over the problems and see if you can together form a solution.
Some of these are affiliated links which means if you make a purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for the support!
I’ve put together a list of helpful resources. I wish I had this list during my first pregnancy because it would have saved me a ton of time and headache. You live and you learn though!
International Breastfeeding Centre This one’s great for videos of real babies latching on!
Check Out My Other Breastfeeding Posts
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