You’ve made the decision to breastfeed your new addition, congratulations, you are about to embark on an amazing journey with your child. Breastfeeding, regardless of how long you do it, is very beneficial to your nursling and as a postpartum mother, you will reap the rewards as well!
Breastfeeding your little one allows you to provide protection by delivering important nutrients and antibodies that can only be found in breast milk and it helps fight disease. Breast milk offers a unique protection that cannot be duplicated and has also been known to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) while protecting mom by lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression.
As a mother of 5, I have experience as both a
formula feeding and nursing mother and have seen the difference up close. Although I did try to nurse all of my children, I didn’t make it past the 6 week mark with either of the two oldest. After struggling for the first month, and finding myself afraid to ask others for help, I turned to formula and that was all they knew from that point on whereas my three youngest were exclusively breastfed past their first birthday.
I’m not going to lie; breastfeeding requires time to educate yourself, and you should be committed to the cause not just for your little one, but for you too. Breastfeeding can help shrink your uterus after birth and it can help you shed those unwanted pounds gained during pregnancy. Not only does breastfeeding offer you a great time to bond with your little one but it is convenient too. No need to run to the kitchen in the middle of the night to mix up a bottle, just offer a breast instead!
Be Prepared – Items to Have On Hand
If you have made the decision to breastfeed, you will need to arm yourself with some supplies to ensure you are prepared. First, you will want to invest in a reliable breast pump. I recommend a double electric pump as it will help you increase your milk supply, be sure to check with your insurance company to see if they will cover one for you before you invest in one. Along with your breast pump, you might also want to pick up a pumping bra so you can pump hands free, for me, this was a godsend!
In addition to the basic pumping supplies, I would also recommend a nursing pillow such as a Boppy, so you and baby are both comfortable at meal time and even a nursing bra or two to allow for easy access. You may also want to grab a nursing cover if you are not comfortable nursing openly in public and would like to keep yourself covered. Until I was comfortable nursing openly, I used either a nursing cover or a blanket to be more discreet.
Take Advantage of Your Resources
Breastfeeding should be a pleasant experience for both you and baby. It should never become something that is painful or scary for either of you. There are great resources available to you if you have any problems or questions when it comes to breastfeeding. Be sure to talk with a lactation consultant at your hospital after you deliver as they can be a great tool in getting you started on this great journey. You can also contact your local La Leche League, W.I.C. office, or you can also look for different resources online. I am also happy to answer any questions you may have as well.
Congratulations again, for making the decision to breastfeed and enjoy your journey!