Lactation is for Lovers!
Here’s a bit of honesty for you…before I was pregnant with Eisley, I wasn’t even sure what ‘lactation’ meant! Formulas and breastfeeding didn’t really matter to me since they hadn’t yet affected me personally. A few of my friends already had babies and I knew they typically drank from a bottle. Not once did I question what was actually IN the bottle, or how it got there. My lack of knowledge along with my urge to research everything led me to taking a variety of classes during my pregnancy. Many soon-to-be parents take the typical birthing classes, but we also took Parenting Basics (I learned how to change a diaper and about weird things like Cradle Cap), Prenatal Yoga (hello Kegel exercises), and best of all, a 2-day BREASTFEEDING class.
Here is a list of resources that I hope will help you prepare for your new baby, improve your current breastfeeding situation, or for you to pass along to a friend that may be struggling:
How did I have NO IDEA all there is to learn about nursing? No wonder new moms have such a difficult and often painful time. The Center for Disease Control’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card shows 49% of babies still breastfeeing at six months old in addition to supplementing formula, and only 18% of babies EXCLUSIVELY breastfeeding at six months old. Only 26% of babies are still breastfeeding at twelve months old. I believe that breastfeeding classes should be available to ALL soon-to-be moms, either on a sliding pay scale or better yet, FREE. Hospitals, birthing centers, pregnancy clinics, churches, or even non-profit organizations would be great platforms to educate women about nursing and also educate their spouses/partners with ways they can support the process.
|Our first attempt to nurse!|
Did you know about the numerous positions to try while nursing, such as the cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, football hold, reclining back, or side-lying position? What about the importance of ensuring a proper latch to reduce nipple pain and to make sure your baby is swallowing correctly? I was surprised to learn that majority of insurances will provide you with a breast pump for FREE or that hospitals will let you rent one! I also discovered many natural methods of improving your milk supply including certain foods or herbs, which I will write an entirely separate post about. There is an abundance of helpful information to help you approach breastfeeding with confidence. If you are able to meet with a Lactation Consultant, please do so! They are specialists who can help you individually according to your unique body and baby. I nursed Eisley exclusively until six months old, then continued to nurse until she was 23 months old. We definitely had our share of struggles, but the bond we created and our health benefits are totally worth it.