Breastfeeding can be challenging, that’s true. It can take time to establish the breastfeeding relationship between you and your baby. Most women find the challenging parts to be in the beginning and early weeks. Once breastfeeding is established, it can be a breeze and any hiccups can be addressed with little fanfare.
So how can you make it through those early weeks?
First, start with uninterrupted skin-to-skin with your baby immediately following her birth until she latches and feeds successfully.
If she needs to be separated from you for emergency medical reasons, begin this uninterrupted skin-to-skin time as soon as you are reunited.
Skin-to-skin isn’t just for right after her birth. It’s for all the time! Whenever is convenient, placing your baby skin to skin for feeding will help you both. It triggers hormones that help you to relax, feel close and make milk.
Next, put your baby to your breast often!
At a bare minimum, your baby should feed at your breast eight times per day, but 10-12 would be ideal.
Lastly, get help.Your partner, if you have one, and/or support system of friends and family should know that establishing this breastfeeding relationship is the most important thing right now. Bringing meals, cleaning up, keeping you supplied with snacks and water and telling you what a great job you’re doing are the best ways to offer that support. If you are lucky enough to have a postpartum doula that can help you with these things, that is a great option too.
If you are experience challenges with breastfeeding, we can’t stress this enough: get technical help if you need it.
Call in the specialists. Go to a breastfeeding support group. If you’re in pain, there is a problem. Let’s fix it. With a little help from trained and knowledgeable professionals you could be well on your way to have a smooth and easy breastfeeding journey. But sometimes that little bit of guidance is really needed! Don’t hesitate to get the help you need.