The Moment Has Come
You have spent months preparing and waiting, now this precious little gift is in your arms. After reading books and taking Childbirth Education classes, you feel ready to start this journey with your newborn. You have decided to breastfeed and are looking forward to enjoying this time together. How hard can it really be? It is totally natural...right...
It is very important that you realize that yes, "it is natural", but this is new for both you and your baby. There will be a learning curve and with the right support and knowledge, you will both be pros in no time. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or reassurance from friends, family and professionals. Its unreasonable to expect you to know and do everything on your own in the beginning.
You can start preparing by taking classes, such as a Bradley Method Class or a breastfeeding class in your community. Hiring a Doula can also be helpful if wanting to breastfeed. Labor Doulas are trained in helping support initial latch and breastfeeding and will typically stay with you until after you have completed your first feeding. Postpartum Doulas can also be amazing in offering support, education and helping you find the extra help if need be during those critical first weeks. I would also start researching local support groups such as La Leche League International
After Giving Birth,
If you are concerned with breastfeeding and whether your baby is getting enough milk, call the doctor and a lactation professional. A Certified Lactation Counselor(CLC) or an IBCLC will work with the doctor to determine if there is a problem and what steps should be taken to make sure you both are physically and emotionally taken care of. While most women can breastfeed successfully, many will need some extra support.
Who is in your support system? Is it your mother, sister, friend? Have you interviewed and hired a Doula that you connect with and feel comfortable reaching out to? Have you discussed any concerns you might have with a caregiver or pediatrician? There are so many people in your life who are excited and ready to help, just reach out.
Here are some online resources that might help you along the way:
Here are my two favorite books to recommend:
Breastfeeding Made Simple
by Nancy Mohrbacher IBCLC and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett PhD IBCLC
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West and Teresa Pitman