Dear Pregnant Friend,
I'm just a couple of months down the road from where you are now, and out of sisterly love I'm gonna give you some tips that will hopefully help you as you prepare to step into the Great Unknown of Breastfeeding a Newborn.
Here's the number one thing I wish I had done before my baby came: GO TO A BREASTFEEDING GROUP (such as The Breastfeeding Cafe at AustinBorn, or a La Leche League meeting). I know it seems weird to watch another woman breastfeed her baby, and you're so focused on the labor and birth and how that will all go that you're really only barely thinking about breastfeeding right now, but listen to me. Just go.
I don't mind if you look, and I'm encouraging you to look really, really closely. Whatever hangups I had about my boobs and feeling modest about anyone viewing my nipples have long since vanished. I want you to come, look closely, and ask any questions you want. Not sure what to ask? Here, I'll keep you get started:
- How did you get started breastfeeding in the first few days? Were there certain positions or pillows or tips that you found useful? Can you walk me through exactly where to put my hands to hold a newborn while breastfeeding?
- How has breastfeeding changed for you since then?
- Do you have any suggestions for breastfeeding products I should have on hand?
- Where did you go to find good information about breastfeeding--books, websites, classes?
- Can you give me any tips on sleeping--both for you and for the baby?
- --plus any other breastfeeding- or newborn care-related questions you might have. Really. Fire away.
Bring a notepad. Take notes.
Here are a few other tips I'm going to go ahead and share (but you should still come to a group):
- Invest in QUALITY breastfeeding tops & bras. Sign up for zulily. Go to a maternity boutique such as Special Addition and get them to help you figure out what size to buy.
- Read up or go to a class to learn the basics of milk production and how feeding and/or pumping influences your supply.
- Be choosy about your guests in that early postpartum period. Are you going to be comfortable breastfeeding (maybe mostly or completely topless) in front of this person? No? Then politely but firmly let them know that you need this time to figure out breastfeeding, and they will need to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice (or not come at all for the first weeks).
- Find support. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. If it does, find someone who can give you some solid breastfeeding support (a lactation professional or a breastfeeding group) ASAP. And even if things are going reasonably well, staying home with a newborn can be kinda lonely. So as soon as you are ready (two weeks is not too early, BTW), come to a breastfeeding group. I'll save a seat for ya.
A Newly Breastfeeding Mom