5 Ways to Get Breastfeeding Off to a Good Start

by , 08/20/09

breastfeeding, get breastfeeding off to good start, how to breastfeed, breastfeeding tips, breastfeeding help for new moms

We all know that nothing beats breastfeeding in terms of feeding your baby Thanks to doctors, La Leche League, and lactivists around the world, this message has been drilled into our heads and breastfeeding is now happily experiencing a resurgence. But, despite the fact that all moms know that ‘breast is best’ – many women experience great difficulties nursing their babies and many give up on breastfeeding early on. I personally think that some of this has to do with the fact that many new moms typically don’t realize how difficult breastfeeding can be, and don’t have reliable sources of support when challenges arise – a function that in generations past was served by sisters, mothers and extended family. (More to come on this in my next post….)

I personally faced a ton of challenges breastfeeding my baby when he was born last year, and there are a bunch of things I wish I had known and understood before I started breastfeeding, that probably would have helped me get off to a better start. To try to help some of you new moms (and moms-to-be) avoid the pitfalls that I faced, here are my top five tips for starting breastfeeding off on the right foot. (aka top five things I wish I knew when I started breastfeeding):

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7 Responses to “5 Ways to Get Breastfeeding Off to a Good Start”

  1. krickitan says:

    Great article but I disagree with the nipple confusion. Certainly there are some babies out there that will get confused but all three of mine had a pacifier within the first two weeks and did just fine. They wanted to suck constantly even though they were feeding, peeing/pooping and gaining weight as expected. I felt very guilty doing this with my first child but gained confidence as a mother with the second and third and knew it was the okay thing to do. I also had to offer a bottle with each child within the first few weeks as I had sores and bleeding at start of breastfeeding. This allowed one breast to heal and they all went back to the breast just fine. My first two nursed over a year and my third is heading down the same path! Luckily, my husband grew up in a family of breastfeeders and was my main support system. Without him I’m not sure what I would have done!

    Again, I’m sure there are babies that do get confused but my point is that mothers should not feel guilty or stressed if they firmly a believe a pacifier or bottle is needed earlier then expected. And again, pacifiers are known to help against SIDS.

  2. Babypeanut says:

    I had a horrible lactation consultant with my first child. I felt like I was doing everything wrong. She was forcing my son onto my breast. He was wailing his head off but she refused to let up. We were exhausted by her strict regiment. I was engorged, too, and got an infection. I finally had enough after 3 weeks and gave up.

    For my 2nd child I found a great LC before the birth, went to a few La Leche meetings, and just tried to watch other moms breastfeeding at the playground. We were well prepared and determined to make it work.

    You really need to take the time to prepare and inform yourself and your partner and have a small group of supportive people around you.

  3. JocelynS says:

    This article is so helpful. Women need to share experiences. Prepare for breast feeding prior to giving birth. You deliver the baby once with a team of medical experts. Breast feeding happens multiple times a day, and it’s just you and the baby. I had my husband come to a class with me so he could help when we got home if I encountered trouble. One of the mistakes I made is not keep enough milk as a back up. Now the baby is in daycare I’m trying to increase my supply to feed the baby and increase my supply. It also helps if you get sick to have backup. I took sinus medication once and I went from producing a TON to none in a matter of hours. It took a few days for it to come back. And that’s just one dose of sinus medication.

  4. [...] you are probably well aware that breast milk is the best nourishment for a baby. We all know the advantages of breastfeeding: healthier babies, higher IQ, DHA, immunoglobulins, better attachment, saving money, easier on the [...]

  5. Jamie Hall says:

    Great article! After watching my sister-in-law go through a natural childbirth I’ll never forget watching her fall apart after two days of trying to breastfeed her new baby. It seems so natural…so effortless–but I’m glad, as I prepare for my first, I know better! I’m working to stockpile tips as I wait for my first to arrive next month! Any great books I should be reading, anyone?

  6. Hey @krickitan – I’m breastfeeding baby #2 now, and as I look back, my new theory is that there is definitely such a thing as “nipple confusion” – but it is more of an issue with bottles than pacifiers. I started giving my current baby – 7 weeks old – pacifiers, and it has not affected his nursing in the slightest. However, I can tell you that the nursing strikes and general refusal to nurse that I got with my first born after too many bottles were truly horrible and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The flow of milk from a bottle is just so much faster (and different) from a bottle than a boob, you can’t really blame a hungry baby for preferring the faster method of delivery. I standby my assertion that a breastfeeding mom should avoid giving bottles in the first 6-8 weeks, but I think pacifiers are less problematic.

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