I can only remember bits and pieces from the first 48 hours after my son was born. I remember the collective cheer that went up in my delivery room when he finally (after four hours of pushing!) came out. I remember calling him by his name for the first time when they put him in my arms. And, I remember my doula, Elena Vogel, who also happened to be a breastfeeding expert, helping my son latch on for his first feeding.
The first days and weeks of breastfeeding often boil down to sheer survival: getting your baby to latch onto (and stay on!) your breast; functioning on what often feels like mere minutes of sleep; and willing yourself to keep going if you’re having problems.
Yet at some point down the road, when you and your baby have made it through the getting-to-know-each-other period, you’re likely to have different questions and concerns.
Once again, we’re all in a bunch about breastfeeding. It’s all over magazine covers, news stations, Facebook and beyond. I’ve been trying to keep my big mouth shut because seriously, haven’t we already covered this?
In case you haven’t heard, breastfeeding is a pretty rockin’ way to feed your baby. It’s cheap (no need to buy formula); it’s easy (no mixing or warming necessary); it’s “green” (no formula containers in the landfill); and it’s good for his body and mind (a lower incidence of short- and long-term health threats like diarrhea and leukemia, plus an IQ boost). It’s even good for you, conferring a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
You can give your baby one of the greatest gifts possible by making the decision to breastfeed. Relatively minor ailments, such as ear infections and gastrointestinal problems, are less common among breastfed children, but so are long-term, potentially dangerous conditions, such as obesity and some childhood cancers.
You've likely heard that breastfeeding can confer some pretty impressive benefits to your baby—reduced ear infections and asthma, maybe even a bump in IQ among them. Turns out there are even more perks for your little one, not to mention for you, society and even Mother Earth.
Breastfeeding is a good—no, great—thing. But as the saying goes, good things don't always come easily. Marathon feeding sessions, engorged breasts and sore nipples are some of the challenges you might face, especially in the first weeks, when you and your baby learn the ropes and your milk supply is established.
Common wisdom used to be that breasts of any size are capable of producing ample milk. But new research shows that, while that’s mostly true, certain breasts may have problems—particularly if they don’t expand much during pregnancy, as ample growth typically indicates that the milk ducts are multiplying and growing.