Whether you’ve already had your baby or are still pregnant, successful breastfeeding requires preparation and knowledge. Lactation consultants Corky Harvey and Wendy Haldeman answer questions to help you get it right.
When Cheryl Hendricks learned she was pregnant with her first child, she had no doubt that she’d adore being a mother. What took her by surprise was how much she loved breastfeeding. “It was such a powerful feeling to be able to do something for my daughter that no one else could do,” says the mother of three from Fishers, Ind.
Breastfeeding may be nature’s way of feeding babies, but not all new mothers and infants take to it naturally. In fact, for many, the whole process is so challenging that it can only be compared to using a computer while riding a unicycle. (Cirque du Soleil’s got nothin’ on us!) But that’s not to say that it can’t be done; with a little preparation and a few tricks from a professional, the vast majority of women are able to breastfeed their babies successfully.
when I was pregnant, I heard many a story about problems other women had with breastfeeding: bleeding nipples, painful engorgement and inadequate milk supply, to name a few. I knew I wanted to nurse my baby and felt confident I could, but I wondered: Will this happen to me, too?
Your baby. She’ll have your smile, his eyes and, ideally, your breast milk. To make that milk the best it can be, you may think that you need to follow the same stringent guidelines as when you were pregnant. The good news is, now you can relax a little.
It's as simple as this: the best way to feed your baby is to breastfeed. The benefits are numerous, chief among them being that breastfed babies are healthier—as infants and in later life—than their formula-fed counterparts. But babies aren’t the only ones who benefit from breastfeeding: Moms enjoy perks, too, post-delivery and even years later.
The day after I came home from the hospital with my brand-new daughter, I found myself sitting in an armchair with the baby nurse, my husband, a neighbor and a chirpy doula named Lori all leaning over me, staring in wonder and cooing encouragement. It wasn’t my baby they were looking at; it was my breasts. As they poked, prodded and discussed the shape of my nipples, I began to feel my breasts take on a life of their own. Maybe it was from lack of sleep, but I swear I saw them float up in front of me and say, “We’re in charge now, honey. Get used to it.”
If someone were to offer you an elixir that could help protect your new baby from bronchitis, ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea and urinary tract infections, would you want to know more? If you knew that the effects of this concoction would last into your child’s teen-age years, reducing his risk for obesity, diabetes, allergies, asthma and high blood pressure, would you just have to have it? If the same potion might boost his IQ, wouldn’t you rush out to find it now?
Should you breastfeed? Yes. Nothing is better for your baby than breast milk. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants consume breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life. Thereafter, breast milk combined with slowly introduced solid foods is recommended through the end of the first year.
Caring for a newborn can leave you with precious little time or energy to devote to eating right. But it’s important to make good nutrition a priority, especially if you’re breastfeeding—after all, your baby is relying on you to supply all the nutrients he needs. Here are 7 simple shortcuts and guidelines to help you get the maximum nutrition with minimal effort.
When I was pregnant, I heard many a story about problems other women had with breastfeeding: cracked and bleeding nipples, painful engorgement and inadequate milk supply, to name just a few. I knew I wanted to nurse my baby and felt confident that I could, but I wondered: Will these things happen to me, too?
When my daughter Willa was an infant, she loved to nurse. Every hour on the hour. And never more than a nip at a time. She also hated to nurse in public, preferring a quiet room alone with me.
My son wasn’t even 3 months old when people began quizzing me about how long I planned to breastfeed. I quickly realized that these weren’t casual inquiries, and there was no correct answer.
Some people couldn’t believe I still was nursing, acting as if my son were 16 and not weaned. Others seemed to question my adequacy as a mother when I wavered briefly in my commitment to breastfeed for at least a year.