An acquaintance who is currently pregnant asked me for some tips on breastfeeding, and she’s suggested I post the list. I don’t imagine it’d be universally applicable; but it’s stuff I wish I’d known.
1) Breastfeeding is a learned skill for the baby, as well as the mother. Some babies learn more quickly than others, some mothers learn more quickly than others, some baby-mother pairs struggle more than others. If breastfeeding is really important to you but it’s hard at the outset, don’t despair: get some help.
3) There are some things that I’d suggest buying while pregnant. A breastpump (manual is fine, mine is this one but I think they’re all basically the same. I had to get one 3 days postpartum to clear blocked ducts and prevent mastitis, wish I’d had it beforehand so it didn’t have to be One More Thing when we were in newborn haze), breastpads, a good nipple balm, fenugreek, a comfortable night nursing bra, and a large stock of your favourite snacks.
4) As much as possible, arrange to have other people helping out in the first few weeks so you don’t have to do anything except feed the baby, and rest. You really shouldn’t be expected to do anything more than that.
5) Discuss breastfeeding with your partner in advance, so that he or she knows how important it is to you. Your partner’s support is a make or break if you have a rocky road at the beginning.
6) KellyMom has answers to everything (blocked ducts, nipple thrush, milk blebs, etc).
7) If you have difficulty with latching, but want your baby to be exclusively breastfed, the most important thing is to protect your supply. This is one reason to have a pump on hand.
8) Don’t worry too much about strictly remembering to alternate which side you feed on, and foremilk and hindmilk, and length of time feeding at a session, and numbers of feeds during the day. It makes it sound more complicated than it needs to be. Trust that you’ll soon get to know the rhythms of your body and your baby’s appetite.