How to Master Breastfeeding
I recently announced my partnership with the team at Fairhaven to spread the word about their amazing line of fertility, pregnancy, and nursing products and to bring you information and giveaways. Today, I’m discussing the products and tips that have helped me overcome those early breastfeeding challenges.
If you want to breastfeed, the most important thing is to first surround yourself with the support and the tools you need to give yourself the best chance at mastering breastfeeding and that, secondly as you learn you are kind to yourself and understand that everyone and every baby is different. Know that however much or however long you manage to do it, you are a great mom. Whether you are nursing or bottle feeding exclusively, pumping, or combining breastmilk with formula, remember to feed with love and use it as a time to bond with your baby. The first thing if you are having trouble is to make sure you have the support of a great lactation consultant in your community that is nurturing and understanding, and to make sure you get that support early. Don’t wait until the problem is so bad that it feels impossible to overcome, but instead get help in the first few days. Even if you think everything is going well in the hospital, it might be worth having a lactation consultant visit you just to make sure you are doing things correctly so bad habits don’t get worse over time and create problems that are more difficult to deal with as they progress.
It is also important to take care of yourself and nourish yourself so that you can produce enough milk. Despite what people say, breastfeeding is really not a great time to diet. My friends at Fairhaven Health have a wonderful nursing blend supplement for post-pregnancy to help you get the nourishment you need for your milk and thus for your baby. When you are having trouble breastfeeding, every drop of milk that you produce is literally gold and you won’t want to waste any. While I don’t think you should obsess over how to pump extra milk and store it in the early days, as you get into the swing of things you will be able to start producing extra milk and storing it for the times you aren’t able to feed your baby or for the weeks/months after you have stopped breastfeeding. In the early days, however, and as time goes on, it is possible to start collecting extra breast milk without worrying about pumping and storing just yet with the help of this innovative product: The Milkies Milk Saver. As you will find out, when you are nursing or pumping milk often leaks from the breast that is not currently in use. This product allows you to collect the milk leaking from the other breast when you are feeding your baby so that you don’t waste any drops. With all of my children I had to return to work immediately after giving birth. That often meant bringing my baby with me but sometimes that wasn’t possible, for example when I am on live TV or need to travel by air before the baby was old enough. The tricky thing about babies and boobs, though, is that they don’t care whether you are on live TV or half way across the Atlantic. When the milk thinks it’s time to come out, or when your baby is hungry, it’s time regardless of where you are! I got into the habit of pumping and freezing to keep the demand on my breasts in sync with my baby’s even when we weren’t together so I could keep my supply at the right amount.
I also found that as I eventually got into the swing of breastfeeding, I could pump at the end of the day and start to store milk. If you’d like to build up a collection of stored milk, the timing of your extra pumping is really up to you – do what works with the schedule you’ve developed with your baby. If you are doing this it is important to make sure you are storing the milk correctly. I love Fairhaven Milkies Freeze because it works on the “first in, first out” philosophy so that you know which milk needs to be used first and can easily label the bags with dates so things don’t get cluttered and confusing in your freezer. It’s also important to remember how long you can keep milk on hand. Here’s a quick reminder on storage times for each method.
So good luck on your breast feeding journey and most of all don’t forget to be kind to yourself and give yourself the support you need to learn.