Breastfeeding is such a beautiful gift and challenge that comes easily to some and with hard work for others. My experience as a midwife has taught me that women who get the support they need when challenges arise have breastfeeding success. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Guide is my gift to help you navigate through the peaks and valleys of breastfeeding from pain and frustration to breastfeeding empowerment. It is my sincere hope that The Ultimate Breastfeeding Guide helps you successfully nurse your baby!
Your baby will be here before you know it. You may have already started writing your birth plan, gathering your supplies, and getting the baby's room ready. Now is also the time to start putting your breastfeeding success plan in action.
In some ways, breastfeeding is an instinctual art, but in other ways, it is a learned skill that takes time and space to master. Have you ever looked in a breastfeeding book and the images looked blissful? Well those women have mastered breastfeeding. It takes time and lots of practice to master something. Have you ever looked at a yoga book and thought that the poses looked easy? What happened when you tried the poses for the first time? Did you wobble and topple over? Right! We all do. The woman doing yoga has mastered the poses. She practiced and practiced for months and maybe years before she got the confidence up to have someone photograph her for the book. It’s the same with breastfeeding. It looks natural and easy, but it is a learned skill that requires perfect practice to master. This type of mastery requires patience and persistence.
Here are 7 tips to help you cultivate a healthy breastfeeding relationship with your baby and establish an abundant milk supply.
When you’re new to breastfeeding or need a refresher, the amount of information can be both overwhelming and completely unhelpful. Everyone has an opinion, but few have real answers to offer. Sorting through it all can be frustrating when all you want are the basics. What do I need to know to take the next right step? Start here, with Breastfeeding 101, and I’ll walk you through just what you need to know to keep moving along your breastfeeding journey.
If you’ve never had sore and cracked nipples you might think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s one of the worst (physical) things a mom has to deal with. But for everyone who has had to latch a baby onto sore, bleeding, cracked nipples, you know it’s a pain not soon forgotten.
You cringe every time baby latches, bracing for the sharp, radiating pain. You hold your breath as baby sleeps, knowing that her waking up means another painful nursing session, and one slip up of the latch makes existing pain levels surge.
I know it’s hard. And I know you can get past it.
Each and every body is so completely unique in such beautiful ways. No two people are exactly alike. Yet, many of us share some similarities. When we come across a trait that isn’t part of the publicized sense of “normal,” we can be left feeling completely alone. Too many mamas with inverted nipples are worried that they are alone with this problem or that it means they are somehow broken and unable to breastfeed. In truth, inverted nipples or flat nipples are relatively common. Even better – you should be able to learn to breastfeed just fine.
The severity of complications from a lip- or tongue-tied latch can range from clear and frustrating to hardly noticeable. In generations past, wise women, midwives, and mothers knew to check the lips and tongues of babies at birth when they first learned to breastfeed. We lost some of that wisdom in the middle of the past century, so the most recent generation of care providers have fallen out of the habit of checking and correcting ties when helping a mama breastfeed. If you are struggling with your baby’s latch, your milk supply, or their weight gain, a lip tie or tongue tie could be at the root of the problem.
A low supply is frustrating at best and devastating at worst. Having a low milk supply at some point is relatively normal, though, and fluctuations can be attributed to a number of causes. Before throwing in the towel, read this guide to an abundant supply of breastmilk and consider some of the reasons why you might have a low milk supply. It could be a temporary problem to move past or something specific that you can remedy.
Breastmilk supply is possibly the most uncertain, concerning part of feeding our babies. We can’t see how much they are drinking, and what we don’t know can be worrisome. Many times, concerns about low breastmilk supply are just a mother’s heightened concern or someone else’s unfounded worry. But sometimes, we really do need to increase breastmilk supply quickly in order to fix or avoid a problem.
If you think you’re hungry while pregnant, just wait to keep up with breastfeeding nutrition! You may be surprised at just how much it can take to sustain your body while constantly producing milk and expending energy to nurse a little one.
It’s important to plan for the added nutrients and energy in order to keep on making that liquid love.
Fenugreek is an ancient herb with uses dating back to our earliest knowledge of human medicine – regularly centering around women’s health. Today, we use fenugreek to support lactation, carrying on the tradition of herbalists and medicine makers who came before us.
The postpartum phase is such a time of mixed emotions, from the bliss of getting to know your new little one to the struggles of learning to care for them. When you add the impending return to work, all of those emotions and stresses seem to be amplified. Many moms start pumping breast milk early so that their return to work is as smooth as possible. Along with that, though, often comes stress of its own.
Don’t let a fear of pumping keep you from continuing your nursing relationship. It can feel like a lot of work, but you can do it. Yes, you really can do it!
The early postpartum discomfort of nipple soreness and engorged breasts can be challenging to work through, and most moms see relief after getting a good latch established, learning their baby and their baby learning them, and simply waiting a month or two for everything to level off. But sometimes – around 10%, the WHO estimates – breast soreness returns and then turns into mastitis.
Breastfeeding is an incredible way to bond with your child and nourish them with exactly the components they need. And at the same time, that nourishment can eventually become an almost utilitarian task, one that is part of our everyday lives without a second thought.
All of us have kinks to work out as we get to that point -- learning our baby’s cues, checking latches, counting poopy diapers. And then, there are special instances where the learning curve stretches even further. Today, we’re going to cover a few of these special cases: breastfeeding pre-term babies, breastfeeding twins, and tandem breastfeeding with an older baby.
Bonding with your child and providing them with nutrition make breastfeeding a magical experience. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel all that wonderful. When you’re sick and still breastfeeding, you might feel drained and worn out. You might wonder whether it’s safe to keep breastfeeding while sick. The short answer is that – in the vast majority of cases – you absolutely can continue breastfeeding while sick. The long answer tells us a lot about breastfeeding and how you and your baby interact.
The intricacies of the human body are almost magical, with no one system or function working entirely on its own. Within a mother’s body, the processes that lead to menstruation, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding are all interconnected. Just a handful of hormones can dictate each of these functions, with different organs and actions responding in their own way. A fascinating and, sometimes, bewildering example of this is the relationship between menstruation and breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is an incredible journey. It not only nourishes your baby, but it bonds you in a way that is difficult to imagine before they are born. It’s challenging, sometimes painful, rewarding, peaceful, and beautiful. All good things do come to an end, though, and eventually it will be time to wean. When the end of your breastfeeding relationship is near, gathering some support, resources, and even a plan can help to make the transition toward weaning gently and intuitively for both of you.
Breastfeeding is an act of love!
Breastfeeding is such an amazing feat unto itself! Each of us have our own breastfeeding journey and it is alright. Weather you nurse for a few months, a few years, nurse while you are pregnant, or tandem nurse twins, you pump your milk or exclusively breastfeed, you use nipple shields, have too much milk or not enough milk, weather you love it or dread it breastfeeding is a powerful experience and relationship with your body and your baby. Remember breastmilk is ALIVE and it heals and saves lives. Be proud of yourself and where you are on your journey. Remember to let your love and your milk flow!