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Lactation

Breastfeeding Basics

How’s It Going
Handling Advice
Breastfeeding Support

There are many resources available to women seeking help with, advice for, or support while breastfeeding. All this outside help can be both a blessing and a burden. Sometimes it is difficult for nursing mothers to tell the difference. There is no doubt, medically, that babies and mothers are better off breastfeeding. All the medical evidence, and more, confirms this. But, breastfeeding is not for everyone. Sometimes a mother and a baby just can not make breastfeeding work, for all sorts of reasons. And thank goodness for bottles, formula and breast pumps in those situations.

Empty Breast and Wet Diaper.

Women should be reminded that breastfeeding, at the most basic level, is a physically intimate interaction between TWO people: the mother and her baby. Remember, the essentials of breastfeeding are: empty breast and wet diaper. Everything else is a detail. Position, timing, frequency…these are all very personal issues, and the right combination depends upon each individual situation. There is no single “right way” to breastfeed. [There is another physically intimate interaction between two people that all pregnant women have already figured out. Couples generally don’t seek, or accept advice on position, timing or frequency of the “other” physically intimate interaction.]  Many new mothers find themselves overwhelmed with very detailed advice, coming from all sorts of people and medical providers, on EXACTLY how to hold the baby, EXACTLY when to feed the baby, and the potential perils of not doing all of this JUST RIGHT. It is not fair, and it is not realistic.

How is Breastfeeding Going?

“How is breastfeeding going?”  This is a question that new mothers begin to hear within minutes of putting the baby to breast. Everyone wants to know. Even the new mother wants to know “how she is doing.” Remember, the milk does not really come in for 48 to 72 hours after delivery. With so little milk around in the first few days breastfeeding can be Really Challenging. It does not have to be, but it can. My advice is:  Don’t even consider “how things are going with breastfeeding” for at least 10 days, maybe even two weeks.  During that time you just have to ‘do it.’ During that time you and the baby will also figure it out. And, as everyone asks you how things are going, your answer should be “Fine, thanks for asking, we are doing just great.” And, you will most likely find that somewhere between 7 and 14 days after delivery, its True.

Handling Advice

Be cautious of advice. (Hey, I recognize that some of what I am saying here can be construed as advice.)  Sometimes advice is someone else saying: “This is what worked for me… why doesn’t it work for you?” Breastfeeding is a Very Personal process. Be patient as you and your baby figure it out together. And give it time. In the meanwhile, remember:  Empty breast, wet diaper… everything else is a detail.

 


ADDITIONAL TOPICS

Breastfeeding Class

Designed for both new and experienced parents, this class will take you step-by-step through breast- feeding basics and beyond. Learn proper technique…[read more]

Mommy & Me Class

Being a new mom can be challenging and uncertain for some. Learn, laugh, and grow with other new moms just like you. Network and discuss…[read more]

Contraception

There are many choices for postpartum and lactation contraception, including the simple and (mostly) reliable condom. Women who don’t want to get pregnant MUST do something to prevent pregnancy (nature’s rule)...[read more]