Monday, September 23, 2013

Breastfeeding Tips For New Mothers

Whenever you see a photo of a breastfeeding mother, it is often a picture of tranquility and bliss. The mother would be looking down lovingly at baby, sometimes holding a tiny hand in hers. The baby would be looking right back up at mummy. The picture is one of pure love. It looks so natural and beautiful.

Well, it will be that way after a while but not at first. In order to make that blissful breastfeeding picture a reality for you MUST prepare yourself. Here are some breastfeeding survival tips for new mothers.

  1. Get practical help - This is very, very important. I can't stress this enough. Support is essential! Arrange for another mother, a friend or relative with breastfeeding experience or a lactation consultant to be by your side immediately after the birth and delivery. You will need someone to show you how. Breastfeeding requires practice.
  2. Arm yourself with knowledge - Unlike bottle or formula feeding, it is hard to figure out whether you are doing the right thing and whether your baby is getting enough milk at first. Find out how many stools a breastfed baby should be having a day. This is a good indicator. Find out the growth chart of breastfed babies. Do not compare it with the growth chart of a formula fed baby. They are different. These are just a few examples of the things you should know beforehand.
  3. Don't Give Up! - You may face difficulties at first. Don't give up. Keep on trying. Keep practicing and you will eventually get it right. If you can get it right after a few hours or days, well, then lucky you. If not, persevere. Don't give up!
  4. Be Clear Of What YOU Want - Do not be swayed by the opinion of others. There will be those who tell you that your milk is not enough and other negative things. Do not be influenced by what others say or stress yourself up over it. On the other hand, there will also be those who are strongly pro-breastfeeding, those who make you feel like a total failure if you don't try hard enough. They may push you very hard without realizing that your stress levels and circumstances are preventing you from enjoying your baby. Yes, you know that breast is best but be very clear about how long you want to breastfeed your baby. You may change your mind later about the length of time but that is okay too. For example, you may find that breastfeeding is so good for you and baby that you decided to extend your original intention to breastfeed for 6 months to 3 years. Don't let anyone tell you that it is wrong to breastfeed a toddler. It is YOUR decision. Be at peace with YOUR decision, whatever it may be. If stopping at 3 months is what you can manage because of your circumstances, then do not feel guilty about it or feel bad because you did not breastfeed for a certain recommended period of time.
  5. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Not everyone will have it easy breastfeeding so don't be too hard on yourself if you are having a hard time. Try again the next day if you don't succeed today. 
  6. Enjoy Your Baby - Don't forget to enjoy your baby. You may be getting very little sleep now and feeling some stress but don't forget to enjoy your baby and this precious time you have together.
I hope that all mothers who want to breastfeed will be able to succeed. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers old and new.

This article was written by Mimi Koay. Mimi is the author of "I Didn't Know It Was So Hard to Breastfeed", a booklet about her breastfeeding problems. She hopes that by sharing her story mothers will be able to learn from the mistakes she made. She also wrote "Mother, Wife, Myself" a collection of heart warming poems about finding yourself after becoming a mother and a wife.

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