Disclaimer: Please note that information in this section may not be 100% correct, so please consult your health care provider if you have questions or concerns.
Breastfeeding your baby is a personal choice, so don’t let anyone make you feel bad for either breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. You do what’s right for you and your family.
Even if you choose to exclusively breastfeed your baby, it’s okay to change your mind, or to supplement, if need be. Do not feel guilty about not giving your baby “the best option”, because they’ll be eating gum off the sidewalk and sand at the playground in a few years anyways!
Before baby is born, you may want to stock up on washable or disposable nursing pads, because you will go through a few pairs per day. Having a good breast pump is another must-have, because it allows you to stock your freezer with milk, in case you need to leave the baby with someone for a few hours or overnight. It’s also a great way to build up your milk supply if you aren’t producing much - the more you pump, the more you’ll produce.
After baby is born, one of the first things you should do is check for a tongue or lip tie, since it is becoming more common, and it can be really frustrating to get a good latch if baby has a tongue or lip tie. To do this, just swipe your pinky finger under baby’s tongue, and make sure there’s an adequate space there, where baby has good tongue flexibility. You can also ask your health care provider to check for this.
Getting the first latch can be a bit tricky at first. What you’ll need to do, is grab your breast from the base, and squeeze to the nipple to get out a little colostrum. Next, while “sandwiching” your breast with one hand, bring baby up to the nipple with your other hand. Coming up from under the breast, you’ll want your nipple pointing to the top of baby’s mouth. Now, you can “tickle” baby’s bottom lip with your nipple, and then once his/her mouth is nice and wide, bring baby’s mouth up and around the whole areola. To know that baby is getting milk, you’ll hear a little clicking noise as they swallow, you’ll also see his/her cheeks sucking in.
If nursing feels uncomfortable or pinchy, you’ll need to adjust the latch by putting your finger in the corner of baby’s mouth, to break the seal.
When baby is latched on, make sure his/her bottom lip is out (not curled in). To do this, just put your finger on baby’s chin, and push down, to bring that bottom lip out.
A few nursing positions to look up, would be;
Biological nurturing, or laid back nursing
The first few days after your baby is born, you will be producing colostrum, which is a very nutrient rich substance, and because baby’s stomach is still so small, they don’t need very much to fill them up, so don’t be concerned if your milk hasn’t come in yet.
Once your milk does come in (generally a few days after birth), you might feel very engorged, this is a good time to stock up the freezer with extra milk (or even donate some) by pumping out some of the excess, just remember that the more you pump, the more you’ll produce. If your breast are hard and tender and you just need a bit of relief, put a warm cloth on your chest, this will help relax those milk ducts. You could even sit in a bath with baby, and just let some of the milk drain.