Breastfeeding is a really hot topic right now. Women on social media are trying to normalize breastfeeding in public. Doctors are telling their patients that breast is best. The American Academy of Pediatrics is saying that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of their lives. With so much pressure to breastfeed, it is important to make sure that every mom has the resources available to successfully breastfeed if that is her choice.
I do believe that breastfeeding is a choice. I also believe that fed is best – whether your baby is fed by breastmilk or formula isn’t the most important thing. What is most important is that every baby is getting the right nutrients needed to help him or her grow.
I did a combination of breastmilk and formula in the beginning. Then I switched my son to formula around 3.5 months. You can read my breastfeeding story here if you would like a little more background. If I had done more research into breastfeeding before trying it, my story may have gone much differently. I was under informed about the idea of exclusive pumping and breastfeeding as a whole. Now, I am hoping to help other moms do the research that I should have done.
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Here are some great resources for pregnant mamas who are planning to breastfeed and mamas who are currently breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Class at your hospital
I skipped this class because I was too busy. I also expected breastfeeding to be something that I would learn from reading about it and trying it after baby was born. Now I know that the couple hours time and small fee would have been a very worthwhile investment. Ask your OBGYN how you can enroll in a class.
Most hospitals have a lactation consultant on staff that you can see while you are in the hospital recovering. Make sure that you see one and ask any questions that you have. If you have a question while he or she isn’t in the room, make sure to write it down! (welcome to mommy brain) Before you leave the hospital you should know how to contact the lactation consultant for any issues that pop up down the road. In most cases they are available both by phone and by office visit. Gerber also has a team of feeding experts available by phone.
Kelly mom is a great compilation of resources. There are more articles than you can imagine and you can search by topic. It’s a great place to check when you want a quick answer instead of calling the LC. Everything here has already been source checked by a board certified lactation consultant, so you don’t have to worry much about credibility.
I joined Enfamil Family Beginnings for the freebies. When you sign up you get formula samples, coupons, and a few little gifts. Most importantly you get a short guide that is one of the most thorough overviews that I have seen about breastfeeding basics. I never would have thought that a formula company would be the best place to find information about breastfeeding, but many of them have great educational resources available.
I wish I had read this book before or during my breastfeeding time! I found it recommended on Kelly Mom, and I will definitely be investing before my next baby. Low milk supply is such a common struggle for women, but there are things that you can do to help with milk production. Knowing in advance how to keep your supply up will give you a great advantage.
There are also plenty of resources and blogs available on Pinterest if you just do a quick search. Be careful and make sure to check the credibility of your sources. If you see any tips that seem like they may have some risk associated with them, always always make sure to check with your doctor or lactation consultant before trying them. You do not want to harm yourself or your baby.
All of that being said, here is my unqualified, anecdotal advice – invest in a good nipple cream and some washable nursing pads. If you are pumping, you want to use nipple cream before and after pumping to prevent chafing and blisters. (yes, blisters! ow!). I loved the washable nursing pads because I don’t like to waste money or resources on anything disposable when there is another option.
No matter how long you end up breastfeeding or how much milk you are producing, remember that any breastmilk that you give your baby is a wonderful gift. Do your research, be prepared, and don’t stress about it. As long as your little one is fed and loved, you will both be just fine.
Any other mamas have a favorite breastfeeding resource?
Happy feeding, all!
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