Breastfeeding 101

Mother gazing down at her nursing babyBreastfeeding: it seems like it should come naturally. After all, breastfeeding is a purely biological process. Somehow, your body produces the amount of milk your child needs when they need it. Breastfeeding has been around for as long as there have been women having babies. In fact, it wasn’t until the early 20th century when women gained rights (like voting) that they began to seek options (like formula) that would allow them more freedom and flexibility in feeding their child.

Although women have been doing it for hundreds of years and your body may respond by producing milk within days of your baby being born, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of breastfeeding. Maybe you are just not quite sure where and how to start.

First, remember there are many resources for new mothers. Even before your child is born, consider taking a breastfeeding class. Such classes are often offered through hospitals or local social service agencies.

Secondly, there are experts called lactation specialists who are specially trained in the breastfeeding process. Lactation specialists can often be found within pediatrician offices, or you may find a referral by speaking with your obstetrician and/or gynecologist.

Finally, be sure to ask if a lactation specialist will be available at the hospital or birthing center where you plan to deliver. Many times a specialist can plan a visit before you are released and head home, working with you and your newborn to help ensure success.

Now that you are aware of the resources available, here are a few additional things to keep in mind as you begin breastfeeding your newborn:

As soon after delivery as you are able, put your baby to your breast. Most babies will instinctively latch on. If not, relax, try again, and don’t forget to use your resources to help you trouble shoot.

You may be worried that you will not be able to support the nutritional needs of your child. Although most women can have success with breastfeeding, there are situations that may prevent a woman from being successful. If this is true for you, remember, it is okay, and your baby will be okay.

Before giving up on breastfeeding, remember that it may take a few days for your milk to come in. In the first few days after delivery, your baby will be nourished through colostrum, a substance created by your body. The small amount produced will be just what your baby needs.

Finally, as you get “up and running” in your new role, it’s a great time to consider using a breast pump and storing your breast milk for future use. Breast milk stores easily in the freezer and will allow you to provide optimal nourishment even while you are away.

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Breastfeeding 101

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16 comments

  1. kristi says:

    my baby is due in october this will be my first baby i breastfeed

  2. Samantha says:

    I breastfed my first son and will do so with this little man as well. My son never had a single drop of formula. I don’t judge those who do formula feed because some of them have a very good reason as to why they can’t breastfeed. I hope more young mothers (I was 19 and am now 22) will breastfeed their children. My son never got sick or had any health problems and is still very healthy. Props to us breastfeeding moms!

  3. MadisonCruz says:

    great advice i plan to breastfeed

  4. jautry says:

    I think every mom should breast feed, even if only for a few weeks. Some is better than not at all

  5. nichole says:

    i wish the info on it taking days for your milk to come in, and baby only needing the colostrum was something every pregnant mother was told repeatedly by their doctor before the baby was born. i have had several friends who said to me, when they found out i was nursing, that their milk never came in, they still wernt producing when they left the hospital, or that they didnt have milk and had to supplement. it irritates me to no end. especially the one person who told me that my kid wasnt getting anything to eat because my milk hadnt come in yet and i needed to give her formula.

  6. Heatherly says:

    What an awesome post! It should be put on top of this website!

  7. Heatherly says:

    This is great. I had no clue what to do about breastfeeding until someone helped me in the navy hospital I gave birth in. I even needed help with my 4th baby as well. They are all different! But it’s worth it! They thrive better!

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  10. Ja says:

    I think this is the best way to feed the baby because it will be everything the baby need. I was also told that this is the best way for a mother and baby to bond!

  11. Marilyn says:

    I hope I can be able to breast feed.

  12. 012mailee says:

    cant wait until my unborn 34 weeks is born so i can feed her….

  13. i cant wait for my baby to be born!! 🙂

  14. KJEs mommy says:

    I love nursing my six month old, but she broke two teeth threw last month and has had a biting problem when I’m nursing her. I’ve tried several ways to get her to stop and she won’t she even laughs sometimes when I tell her no. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • nichole says:

      i didnt get that exactly, my daughter was great about not biting, but at around 8ish months old, she decided that she wanted to see what was going on in her world along with nursing, and would turn her head to see things, while holding on to me with her teeth… thats when we had to start weening her.

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