What's so great about breast milk?:
Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It is made specifically for each baby you have. If you have a premature baby, your body makes the milk differently. Breast milk is easily digested and carries your antibodies to your baby. Breast milk can increase your baby's IQ, protect them from ear infections, respiratory infections and other life long problems like diabetes and obesity to name a few.
Preparing to Breastfeed:
Taking a good class before you have your baby is a great idea. That way you can know some of the basics of breastfeeding. It gives you an opportunity to ask questions about things you may have heard about breastfeeding, breast milk or even newborn babies and eating. Some hospitals offer classes or you can attend free classes at your local La Leche League
Your Newborn Baby's First Feeding:
The good news is that your baby really does know what he is doing. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that your breastfeed your baby within the first 30 minutes of life. This helps the baby learn more quickly. If something happens and it takes awhile longer, don't fret! Some babies and some mothers aren't ready. Keeping your baby skin to skin at the breast will not only help them prepare to nurse, but will keep them warm.
Good Positions for Breastfeeding:
Choosing a position for breastfeeding may be a an issue of comfort or necessity. But simply knowing that there are many different positions that you can use for breastfeeding may open up a whole new world for you. Try several positions until you find the perfect one for you and your baby. The biggest thing to worry about in feeding your baby is getting a proper latch. This will help you avoid sore nipples. This can be related to positioning.
Avoiding Problems Breastfeeding:
Sometimes breastfeeding isn't going smoothly. If that happens you may need some professional support from a knowledgeable person. That may not be your pediatrician, but rather a lactation consultant, someone who specializes in breastfeeding. Ask your pediatrician or hospital for a referral.
Finding Help and Support for Breastfeeding:
Having support for breastfeeding is very important. The influence of those around you is tremendous. How your husband or family reacts to breastfeeding really does influence how well your breastfeeding relationship goes. Be sure to explain to those helping you how important breastfeeding is for you and baby. Ask that they provide you with love and support and not criticism. One way to do this is to have them go to class with you or learn about breastfeeding.
Breast Pump Basics:
Many moms will use a breast pump. Some mothers need to use it for a brief period in the beginning because of baby or breastfeeding issues, other mothers use it to provide breast milk for their baby when they are away, and other mothers out of necessity or choice provide all of their baby's breast milk by the use of a breast pump.
Sometimes seeing what's going on can be helpful. Here are some breastfeeding videos: