Breastfeeding: What You Need To Know

Photography: kadeklerk Photography | www.kadeklerkphotography.com

By Fiona Chapman

Breastfeeding is best for you and your baby. We know that. There is no denying the amazing benefits. There are also circumstances when it’s not possible. If you are able to breastfeed, there are a number of things to remember when you first have your baby that will help you on the road to success.

The most important advice I can give you is that it gets easier and you need sheer willpower and determination especially if you have some difficulties. If you have a premature baby and have to express or you are struggling with attaching your baby, you can do it, I promise you.

I do advise that if you have any medical conditions that may affect breastfeeding such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, that you seek medical advice. This will better prepare you for the circumstances that may evolve such as the possibility of low milk supply.

It is hard work breastfeeding. At the beginning you and your baby are learning. The baby automatically has the sucking reflex, but they usually need some guidance to attach properly to the breast. Breastfeeding is natural but you do not ‘naturally’ know how to breastfeed. You need to learn how to do it. Let’s look at this further.

Breastfeeding analogy

When you are learning to drive a car, you first have to read the manual. When you get in the car, you know what you need to do but you have to physically practice to get it right. Practice increases your confidence and competence to drive and decreases your stress and anxiety.

You can apply this directly to breastfeeding. Some people may relate better to this analogy.

Do not have high expectations that you cannot reach. Don’t set yourself up to fail. No one expects you to drive a car like an expert if you haven’t driven one before. You need to have lessons and experience first to be able to gain confidence and competence.

Perseverance is the key and the more support you have, the more successful you will be.

This is the same as breastfeeding, you can gain knowledge during pregnancy, but it’s not until you are ready to start when your baby is born that you can put that knowledge into practice. The more you do it, the more confident and comfortable you will become. Perseverance is the key and the more support you have, the more successful you will be.

I have had many years of experience, educating and helping women breastfeed and also preparing women to breastfeed during pregnancy as a Midwife and Child and Family Health Nurse. I have gained a lot of insight and knowledge into what you need to be able to successfully breastfeed.

I’m not going to talk about the ‘how to breastfeed’ here although this is very important. There is already plenty of information on this and l will list some great links at the end.

Breastfeeding tips for success

Here are some more tips from my professional practice and personal experience (four years combined) to help you on your successful breastfeeding journey.

Be positive. When people ask you, tell them you are ‘going to’ breastfeed instead of ‘going to try’. You have just grown a baby and given birth! Have confidence in your own abilities. You can do it!

Find out what supports are in the community to help you. In Australia we have the Australian Breastfeeding Association. In the USA there is the La Leche League. Check to see if there are any Lactation Consultants in connection with Child and Family Health services or at your medical service. There are also some Lactation Consultants in private practice.

See page 2 for the rest of the article…

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