When I became pregnant with my daughter over a year ago, the decision to breastfeed her was an easy one. After three unsuccessful attempts to exclusively nurse my older children, I was determined to successfully breastfeed my little girl for at least one year!
With the celebration of my daughter’s first birthday a few weeks ago, came the realization that I’d succeeded in accomplishing the breastfeeding goal I’d set for myself. I’m overwhelmed about having met such a huge milestone in my breastfeeding journey!
The road to breastfeeding success was rough at times. Growth spurts, teething, pinching and biting threatened to derail me from meeting my goal a few times but the following tips kept me on track.
Twelve Steps to Breastfeeding Success:
- I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, proper latching technique is key. Ensuring that baby is latched on properly will save you a lot of pain!
- Holding techniques vary. Whether it’s the football hold or the cradle hold, don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. Find what works best for you and your child.
- Arm yourself with as much breastfeeding knowledge as possible. Educate yourself about the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and baby. The benefits are astounding and encouragement enough to give breastfeeding a valiant effort.
- Confidence is an important tool to have in your breastfeeding arsenal. Whether it’s confidence in your ability to provide the nourishment that your child needs or the confidence to nurse in public with or without a cover, the fact of the matter is you can do it!
- Be sure to eat a well-balanced meal to keep your milk production and energy level up. Now is not the time to go on a diet!
- It seems getting lots of rest these days is easier said than done, but make no mistake…you need all the rest you can get. Those first few weeks can be physically and emotionally taxing on a nursing mother, as are growth spurts. Conserve your energy and sanity by getting lots of rest.
- Suffering from a twelve hour bout of the stomach flu taught me one thing – having expressed breast milk on hand is important during emergencies. Had I religiously expressed my milk, I wouldn’t have had to sit on a toilet for hours while breastfeeding my infant. Folks, it was not a pretty sight.
- Enlist the help of your spouse and family members. My husband and older children have played an important role in my breastfeeding success. Having the extra help with household chores was a lifesaver. My time and energy were best spent focusing on my daughter, not the massive pile of laundry with my name on it.
- Prepare yourself for the bumps along the road. Breastfeeding is tough. It’s hard work and it’s not always fun, however the rough patches are temporary and brighter days are ahead!
- Find your tribe. Having a support system is so important. The encouragement I’ve received from my tribe of breastfeeding mamas on Twitter and in the blogosphere has been overwhelming. These fabulous women have been an influential part of my success.
- Seek the help of an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). These awesome women are in the business of breastfeeding and are a wealth of knowledge.
- Remember that you’re not alone in this breastfeeding relationship. Your little one is new to this too. Be patient and commit to learning and growing together. You’re a team!
Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding baby for the first six months and encourages women to continue for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child. Additionally, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding to two years of age or beyond.
Author Bio: Kristi Bonney is a crazy busy wife and mother of four ranging in ages 15 to 1. She’s navigating a sea of teenage hormones, dirty diapers and a family with ever-changing needs in Columbus, GA and blogging about it all at Live and Love…Out Loud (http://liveandloveoutloud.com). Email her at kristinohea(at)gmail(dot)com.