• Mary, NP

Breast Is Best...

Yes, but sometimes that does not always work out as planned. I do encourage all new mothers to make an effort to breastfeed their newborn especially in the first hours of new life, and keep an open mind during the ongoing relationship. It will probably be among the more rewarding and challenging things you will ever do in your life. Take it from a woman who nursed four children for two years each.

Challenging, extraordinarily so! There are many obstacles that can make breastfeeding NOT work, and a lot of pressure is placed on new moms to perform this new duty. Some women become so distraught from the experience, that lose all confidence in being a mother at all. I tell these mothers, it has to work mutually for both you and baby, and ensure they are connected to lactation support in their community.

Be prepared for these obstacles:

  • Intense nipple pain upon latching for 3-5 days. (Occurs with each child.) Basically, you just had to tough this one out. If nipple get cracked, there are some balms and/or a little breast milk over the nipple after feeding can help repair the skin. Report redness, yellow discharge and scabs.

  • Sleepless nights, especially the first few months. Storing a little breast milk or formula can bridge a feeding for daddy to provide in the wee hours of the night. But, a full-time nursing mom will likely become engorged and wake anyhow.

  • Common fear that you’re not producing enough milk. Production is based on supply and demand, plain and simple. You have to be available to feed more often to produce more milk. If you’re not available, then you will need to supplement with formula.

  • Cultural stigma may be the most difficult hurdle for long-term success. Dr. Chelsea McKinney studied the lack of support African-American moms receive both in the hospital and at home.

A measure of breastfeeding success can estimated by baby’s weight gain and number of wet diapers. Use common sense when changing your practices, especially when newborns rely on nutrition and hydration to stay alive. It has to work for both of you.

#breastfeeding #parenting #infantcare

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