August is National Breastfeeding Month and if you're a nursing mom you know how breastfeeding can sometimes feel like the most frustrating and unnaturally difficult things you ever have to face as a parent. Well, I have some stellar advice for new moms from the people who are changing the way we do it. I spoke with the people who are helping new moms feel more confident about getting the most out of that precious nursing time with their little ones.
How do you keep your supply strong?
Helen Anderson- Creator of Milkies milk-savers that catch every last drop of your liquid gold says,
"Breastfeeding often keeps your milk supply strong on its own. If your baby is fussy, don't reach for a pacifier - breastfeed instead. When your breasts are empty, your body says, "Make more milk - baby is hungry!" When your breasts are not emptied completely or infrequently, your body says. "Slow down production - baby doesn't need this much." It is normal to breastfeed ALL THE TIME in the first weeks - plan to focus on caring for yourself and your baby and ask for help if you need it."
What if I just can't do it?
Melanie Herschorn, creator of Udderly Hot Mama Nursing and Pumping Wear, says,
"Remember that even though breastfeeding may look easy if you watch other moms doing it, it can be really hard at the beginning. Don't shy away from asking for help if it seems too hard for you to master on your own. There are lactation specialists everywhere who can help you through the tough times."
What can I do to prepare for breastfeeding?
Kate Doti, co-founder of jay elle by J.L. Childress, a line of chic breastfeeding totes and accessories, says,
"Prepare and practice. I really benefited from reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding before my first baby."
Kimberly Schram, VP of Marketing and Communications for UpSpring Baby, creators of Milkflow healthy milk supply tea, says,
"New moms can't rely solely on the breastfeeding information you may, or may not, get in the hospital so take a breastfeeding class before baby arrives from a certified lactation consultant. A breastfeeding class will help you be better prepared and will provide you with a resource to reach out to if you have trouble once you start breastfeeding."
Personally, I found that teas and oatmeal cookies, massage and pumping during nursing and in between feedings was all very helpful in increasing my milk supply. Also, the lactation consultant was a total lifesaver. I learned that the hospital hadn't taught me the best positions for me and my baby and that there were lots of positions to try in different situations. Mastering the "dream feed" where you both are practically asleep and lying down is one of the greatest gifts a nursing mother can give herself.
And, register for a housekeeper for those first few weeks. In fact, a theme of not being afraid to ask for, and hire, help during the early breastfeeding days is the one thing that all of these ladies mentioned and rings true in my own personal experience. The lesson here is that nursing is a full-time job! Don't make yourself crazier than you have to.
What other breastfeeding advice do you have that worked or didn't work for you?