7 Important Lessons I Learnt About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be overwhelming, when I got pregnant I had to find out as much as I could get about breastfeeding before my baby is delivered, being a new mother is tough enough without having to struggle with breastfeeding issue and now that my son is 6 months I can’t say I’m an expert in breastfeeding but through the mistakes I’ve made and learnt from I often offer advice to new moms who are having issues with breastfeeding.

Here’s a list of things you need to know for a successful exclusive breastfeeding;

1. Do your research

Read up about breastfeeding during pregnancy, attend breastfeeding class in your hospital, get as much information as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born.

2. Nurse as soon as you can after delivery

If there’s no complication that has to be addressed first before you can breastfeed your baby, then start breastfeeding immediately your baby is born. That will help you bond adequately with your baby although if complication stops you, you have more time to bond.

3. Experiment with positions until you find the one that works

Try different breastfeeding positions and see which of them works best for you, if you had C-section the football hold is best for you or the cradle hold. And when you are resting, the laid back or side-lying positions is most comfortable.

4. Skin-to-skin is important during the six weeks

Skin to skin contact should be established immediately after birth, there are so many benefits to it, including temperature regulation and it will help your baby keep warm.

5. Bring a good nursing pillow with you to the hospital

When packing for the hospital, take along a good nursing pillow, you never know how long you’ll be in the hospital, so you can nurse as comfortably as possible.

6. Learn baby’s hunger cues instead of watching the clock

You don’t have to time your baby’s feed if you watch out for the signs that he’s hungry, instead of looking at the time and saying “again” when my baby shows signs of hunger I put him to my breast and let him nurse. Signs of hunger include; rooting, putting hands in mouth, restlessness.

7. Know if baby is getting enough

Being worried that their baby is not gaining weight is what makes most mothers supplement with formula. To find out if your baby is getting enough feed, count your baby’s wet diapers and check their weight gain.   

8.  Ask your husband for support

We all need support, if there’s no one else to call besides your husband then solicit his help, he can change baby’s diaper while you breastfeed, bring you water and snacks and do whatever will make breastfeeding easy for you.

9. Don’t worry about your milk supply 

You might have supply problem, but instead of spending so much on buying remedies, talk to your doctor so he can refer you to a lactating nurse who would help you find the cause, and if it’s no medical problem, then, simply nursing more frequently and doing skin to skin with your child more often will help. The more frequently your baby sucks, the more breast milk your body produces.

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What To Do When You Are Not Ready To Wean

For the first few weeks of birth, when I had my daughter I struggled with breastfeeding, first, my nipples were inverted so my baby could not latch on to it.

Then when I overcame that, I  struggled with lactation, so many times I would put her to breast and it would feel as if there was no milk coming out anymore, then as result of poor latching, I had sores on the nipple which made breastfeeding painful for me. If anyone had told me I would breastfeed my daughter till she was over a year old, I would call such a person a liar.

Fast forward to two months after birth, breastfeeding gradually became a second nature. To the point that I unconsciously associated carrying my baby in my arms with breastfeeding. She too became so used to breastfeeding that whenever I carried her she would reach for the breast. For me, it was an enriching time because I bonded well with my daughter.

Not everyone is eager to wean his or her babies off the breast, so if you are in this category read on. When you continue to breastfeed, it offers you the opportunity to nourish and nurture your baby and perhaps you have returned to work, breastfeeding enables you to reconnect with your baby.

Here are the things you need to think about when you are not ready to wean your baby.

1.The timing of weaning is personal. Don’t let anyone pressure you, the choice of when to wean your baby is yours to decide which is determined by what works best depending on your family dynamics. If you are okay with it, then continue breastfeeding.

2. Continued breastfeeding improves health outcomes and when you continue to breastfeed, your baby’s health gets better as the day goes by. So, babies who are breastfed longer are healthier than those who are breastfed for a short time.

3. Note your reason for wanting to continue breastfeeding and keep at it. Many women feel somewhat when their babies are over a year and they are still breastfeeding them. It is quite saddening that the people mounting this pressure are fellow women who should know better. They call the baby of about a year plus ‘old woman’, ‘old man’ and then ‘remain the breast milk for the others oo’ indirectly shaming the mother for breastfeeding.

4. It has been proven that the length of time a mother breastfeeds is socially driven not health driven. The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding until your baby is two years old. If you really want to keep breastfeeding stick to your plan and wait it out till when you feel it is right for you and your baby to stop.


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