Breastfeeding is hard. For some reason, people don’t tell you that while you’re pregnant. You see ads in magazines of glowing new moms blissfully nursing their babies and think “oh, this will be easy.”
For most moms, it isn’t that simple. Some women luck out and have babies that are great at latching. They have a steady milk supply and don’t run in to any nursing-related medical problems.
For the rest of us, nursing takes practice and a whole lot of patience. Here are 5 tips for moms that plan to breastfeed their babies.
5 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Learn about Breastfeeding
This sounds funny to say, but breastfeeding isn’t as simple as it sounds. A lot of women give up breastfeeding because they thought it would be easy to do but then discovered that it wasn’t.
I recently had our second child, a baby girl. I watched videos online about how to breastfeed over and over again when she wasn’t latching properly. I nursed our first child so you would think doing it again would be easy, but no 2 babies are alike.
You can learn about breastfeeding through books such as “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” by watching videos online, by taking a baby education class or by attending a breastfeeding support group. Talking to friends that have breastfed their babies can be really helpful as well.
Prep for Breastfeeding
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to breastfeed your baby, you’ll want to prep for it while you are pregnant. There are a few things to consider.
- Will you exclusively breastfeed or will you also pump?
- Will you be breastfeeding in public?
These questions are to determine what items you will need to acquire. If you plan to pump, then you’ll need to get a pump, milk storage bags, bottles and cleaning supplies.
If you are going to nurse in public, then you might want to consider how comfortable you will feel. Some people are perfectly confident nursing in public and some are not. Either way, your wardrobe will probably change. You will want nursing bras and nursing tank tops as well as nursing friendly tops. Some women like to have a type of cover to place over the baby for more privacy as well.
Get a Free Pump
Even if you aren’t sure you want to pump, get a pump anyway. A wonderful benefit of Tricare is that breast pumps are 100% covered and you can get a new one with each child you have. It’s simple to do as well.
All you need is a prescription from your doctor.
You do not have to buy your pump at a specific place. There are numerous stores, home health supply companies and online retailers that will give you a no-cost pump with your prescription. Many now offer free accessories.
Look around for the best deal and see what you can get. Once you have your pump, take it out of the box and read the directions before the baby comes.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
When the baby arrives, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with breastfeeding. It’s natural to worry if your baby is getting enough milk and if you’re doing it right. A lactation nurse should visit you in the hospital to help you get started.
Once you’re home things might go well for a period of time and then all of a sudden change. Don’t panic.
Tricare covers lactation consultations. You can get help. You can also join a lactation support group. I joined the one at our hospital. It’s a great way to meet other moms as well.
Enjoy the Experience
Breastfeeding should be comfortable, not painful. You should feel happy in the bond that you’ve created with your baby. Breastfeeding is a unique experience and once you’ve mastered it, you will be able to enjoy it.
There will be times that you want to cry or curse but there will be plenty more times that you look down at your baby and smile just like the women in magazines.
What tips do you have for new moms who are breastfeeding their babies? Share them in the comments section.