Most new mothers are interested in breastfeeding their babies, but many find it to be harder than they thought. While breastfeeding is a natural way of feeding a baby, it does take work and know-how to do it successfully. If you would like to breastfeed successfully, here are a few suggestions to make your nursing experience enjoyable.
- Recognize that successful breastfeeding is a big commitment. An exclusively breastfeeding mom will spend the greater part of her days nursing, especially during the first six weeks. This might be a big life change for some mothers, especially those who are leaving the workforce. If you are having a hard time adjusting to your new life, stop everything else and just spend a few days focusing on building a successful breastfeeding relationship with your baby.
- Become familiar with your breast pump. If you are breastfeeding and you plan to return to work, you will need to pump quite often during the day to provide enough milk for your baby. Using a breast pump successfully takes some practice, so be sure to get started using your pump at least a week before you go back to work. If you will be staying at home indefinitely, you will still want to invest in a pump. Using one, even occasionally, will help you to get a much needed break and continue breastfeeding successfully.
- Accept help from family and friends. As you devote more and more of your time to building your nursing relationship with your baby, you might find that housework and errands go by the wayside. If these responsibilities pile up, you might feel overwhelmed and consider switching to formula feeding to save time. Don't give up! Ask for your family and friends to help you out until you are breastfeeding your baby successfully. This will give you time to build your breastfeeding bond and to catch up on your other responsibilities.
- Be sure to eat and drink regularly. In order to produce a good milk supply, you need to consume enough calories and fluids daily. A good rule of thumb is to consume about 500 calories more than you usually would. This will allow you to keep your milk supply up, which is essential to successful breastfeeding. Drinking water throughout the day will also boost your milk supply. Regular breastfeeding tends to cause thirst, so keeping yourself hydrated will ensure that your energy level stays high.
- Look into WIC programs in your area. If you are in a low income household, you might qualify for WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Assistance. WIC provides moms who breastfeed with free food and free nursing support. These resources can be invaluable to helping women successfully breastfeed while living on a fixed income.