What tips do you have for surviving the first few weeks of breastfeeding?
Maren: Lots of skin to skin to get those endorphins going so you can take advantage of all that delicious oxytocin (which will make you want to keep breastfeeding, even with things might be tough!) Take advantage of all of the support you can – it will help normalize the experience so that you feel totally confident in your decision to breastfeed. And know ahead of time that there is definitely a learning curve, but it only gets better and better, so hang in there!
Amanda: Make sure to talk to your partner about how you need him/her to support breastfeeding and encourage you, even when you get discouraged and feel like giving up!
Jamie: Get the latch correct right away! Take advantage of the lactation consultants at the hospital and ask for a referral even if you don’t think you will need one.
Andrea: Trust your body! Skin to skin, lots of water, and lots of rest.
Heather: Surround yourself with at least one supportive person. I would never have made it through those weeks without the support of my husband.
Alicia: Hire a postpartum doula.
Juli: Surround yourself with women (and men!) who support breastfeeding. It gets easier – it is definitely worth pushing through the tough parts in the beginning!
Billie: Make really good friends with the lactation consultant and local breastfeeding support group before delivery. They will be able to offer so much support in those first few weeks. Trust your supply. Make sure you are comfortable!
Monica: I went to classes and read books, which helped, but nothing prepares you for the real thing. Get help early, if you need it. Hiring a lactation consultant was the best thing I did. Keep telling yourself you will try it for one more day and one day it will become second nature. Coconut oil worked wonders on sore nipples.
Christine: OMG… best advice I got was to rub breastmilk around your nipples after every nursing session! My cracked tatas healed within 2 days of doing that!
Chelle: If it hurts and you are dreading the next nursing session, don’t just tough it out! Get help ASAP before it gets worse or turns into an issue that makes you quit! Take a prenatal class. Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean you will naturally know what to do.
Sarah: Don’t expect anything else from yourself. Set up what you can ahead of time and find someone else to do everything else that needs to be done. Establishing your breastfeeding relationship is your job.
Jen: Get a Netflix subscription and ignore the dirty dishes!
Danielle: Don’t do anything but rest, breastfeed, nap, and eat. Nothing else matters right now.
Abbey: Celebrate every success, no matter how small it seems!
Desiree: Find support! And be patient…it’s not always easy, but it’s most certainly worth it!
Sofia: Learn the basics! Before birth is possible! Proper latch, how milk supply works, most common myths about breastfeeding, how to know if your baby is getting enough, why it is REALLY important to feed on cue rather than a schedule, why baby doesn’t need ANYTHING else but your breastmilk, etc.
Amanda: Don’t give up! Get help and support! Spend as much time as you can with your baby (in bed if you can.)
Priscilla: Relax. Don’t listen to anyone that’s not helpful. Determine your own needs for comfort.
Joanna: Expect to care for your baby and get others to help with meals and housework.
Thanks to everyone who responded to our questions on our San Diego Breastfeeding Center and The Boob Group Facebook pages. Check back every Tuesday for a new Help a Mama Out tip!
To find an international board certified lactation consultant, visit www.ilca.org
Here are a few more articles on our website, specifically dealing with breastfeeding a newborn:
Advice for a Newly Breastfeeding Mama’s Partner
Breastfeeding Expectations for the First Month
Newborn Hands: Why are they always in the way while breastfeeding?
Advice for the New Breastfeeding Mom