With the passing of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7, 2013), there have been thousands of new mothers since then who are faced with the decision as to whether or not they should breastfeed their child or not. Breastfeeding is popularly not the option moms choose when it comes to feeding their new baby. Perhaps due to the lack of knowledge; the absence of family or peers who have breastfed; or the fear of the unknown. Breastfeeding comes naturally for some moms, but it is a learned activity for other moms. Still, when a child is born, there is a lot of learning and adjusting both baby and mom have to make to ensure a positive nursing experience.
The benefactors of breastfeeding include mothers, their babies and our society. It's the natural thing to do, but is not widely promoted by families or health care professionals, although more parents are seeking alternatives and healthier, "greener" ways to care for and provide for their families. Also, breastfeeding isn't like women's intuition for everyone, it is something you learn to do.
Other breastfeeding benefits:
- helps promote a strong bobd between baby and mother
- decreases health risks for babies
- strengthens a babies immune system
- promotes weight loss for mom
- protects mothers from some illnesses
There are some oddities that come with nursing too, such as:
- milk leaking and soaking clothing
- breast size may drastically increase
- it hurts in the beginning
- it may increase your appetite
Deciding to breastfeed or bottle feed is a major decision and should be made when thoughts are as clear as they can be. Decisions should be made as soon as you know you are pregnant. Barring there aren't any known medical conditions or problems with mom or baby, preparing to breastfeed is a process. Some moms may feel it isn't as natural to nurse a son as it may be when having a daughter, this is something moms can talk through with their doctor or organizations such as La Leche League.
Steps to take to have a positive breastfeeding experience:
- Learn about breastfeeding. Purchase or check out a book from the library like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.Or select any one of these top 5 breastfeeding books! Reading and learning will help you prepare your mind for the new job your body will perform.
- Prepare your body. While pregnancy will do some preparations for nursing, you will need to examine and prepare your breasts for feeding. Eating a balanced diet and increasing your fluid intake will help encourage your milk to come in once the baby is born.
- Buy a good nursing bra and comfortable tops that makes it easier to access your breasts for nursing.
- 4. Begin purchasing other supplies for nursing such as nipple cream, to protect the delicate skin; a nursing pillow; and a breast pump. Many hospitals and health care providers will give new moms a breast pump or cover the cost for them.
- Consider taking a breastfeeding class. Many local WIC (Women, Infants and Children) organizations will offer on site nursing classes for the mom to be as well as nutritional foods during and after pregnancy for mom and the baby.
- Get plenty of rest! It is important for moms to rest as much as they can because nursing can draw a lot of energy from you. Resting makes everyone feel more at ease. Attempting to nurse while tired or stressed may decrease milk flow and could cause both mom and baby to become irritated.
Breastfeeding a baby is hard work, but once you get the hang of it, nursing is one of the single most empowering experiences moms can have.