It’s true that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby—but being natural doesn’t mean it’s always easy. As a new mom, you and your newborn have to figure out how to make this feeding system work. You may be nervous, exhausted and uncomfortable from delivery, and your baby is trying to adjust to this whole daylight and hunger experience!
Fortunately, with education and support, you can feel confident in breastfeeding—and get the help you need when you don’t.
Preparing for a successful breastfeeding experience:
Before Baby’s Birth
It may seem strange to take action before the baby is born, but a little preparation can make the transition from being a pregnant woman to a breastfeeding mom a little easier.
Continue to get good prenatal care.
Take a prenatal breastfeeding class so you know what to expect. Although classes are available online, an in-person class allows you to get answers to your specific questions.
Plan to deliver at a hospital that offers lactation support. (Both Orlando Health South Lake Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies offer lactation support as well as pregnancy, childbirth and parenting classes.)
Arrange for good support after you leave the hospital, such as with a Moms Morning Out Support Group.
Getting the baby to latch on is the key to successful breastfeeding.
Once the baby is born, if possible, establish skin-to-skin contact for the first hour. Lay the baby on your chest. Newborns are hardwired to be with their parents, and this contact helps the baby prepare to breastfeed. Babies can often self-latch or latch with minimal assistance from a lactation consultant or nurse once early skin-to-skin contact is made.
Experiment to find the most comfortable position for breastfeeding. If you’ve had a C-section, for example, you might find the football hold more comfortable, putting less pressure on your abdomen—but whatever position works for you and your baby is a good one.
Expect to feed your newborn every one to three hours while in the hospital. Initially, your first breast milk, or colostrum, appears in small amounts. Your baby can only take in a little food per feeding, so frequent feedings are needed.
You shouldn’t have pain with breastfeeding—the latching-on or pumping process shouldn’t hurt. If it does, talk with your lactation consultant to learn how to improve the baby’s latch or positioning.
Once you and the baby are home, you will both still be in learning and recovery mode. As your milk comes in, feedings may occur every 2- 3 hours, and you may still have questions or concerns.
Look for private breastfeeding consultations—many are covered by insurance.
For quick questions or concerns, use the free breastfeeding phone line offered by South Lake Hospital at (352) 394-4071, Ext 4380, or Winnie Palmer Hospital. The Breastfeeding Helpline number is 321-THE-BABY, (321) 843-2229.
Find a support group. You may have looked up one before the baby, but now, it’s time to go. A Moms Morning Out Support group, a baby development class for newborns or a La Leche League meeting can help you find other new moms who are on the same journey as you and your baby. South Lake Hospital hosts a Moms Morning Out Breastfeeding Support Group each Wednesday, and Winnie Palmer Hospital hosts a mother-baby tea twice each week.
The health benefits breastfeeding offers have been well documented and are unmatched. With preparation, education and support, you can help your baby get the best start possible.
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