Saturday, September 29, 2012

Breastfeeding 101

I thought I'd write about something that I am really passionate about and has really changed my life and that is breastfeeding. I wanted to share some of my tips and feelings on the subject, but by no means am I an expert.

First of all breastfeeding is a choice and a choice I believe should be made by the mother. If you don't want to breastfeed, that's your choice and don't let anyone make you feel like less of a mother because of your decisions. I think that goes with any parenting choices we make along the way.

Benefits of Breastfeeding (There's some good ones!):
-You save money! You won't be buying formula which is VERY expensive. I did however, have to give Mason some formula from time to time, but wasn't spending nearly as much as an only formula-fed baby would have.
-Of course it's the best choice for your child. Your milk is specially designed for your baby and can help reduce illness and allergies.
-Helps the Mommy lose weight. This is a definite benefit in my eyes! The average mom nursing a newborn baby burns 200-500 calories a day just from nursing! I was lucky and lost most of my baby weight in about 3 months (sadly didn't stay that way though lol).
-Bonding time with baby. It's a great time to just relax and be close to your baby. It's such a wonderful experience!

The list could probably go on and on.

Now, my Top 5 Tips for Breastfeeding

1. Stay hydrated. Breastfeeding can take a lot out of you. I mean, the baby is sucking liquid out of you so it seems right that you should be drinking a lot more water. I try to keep a bottle of water with me everywhere I go. Also, it's a great idea to continue your prenatal vitamins or an everyday vitamin.

2. Don't get discouraged. Breastfeeding can be hard. Not every mom is lucky enough to have a baby that right away latches on and can nurse with ease. There can be issues with your milk supply and with the baby wanting to nurse. Whether you nurse for a week, month, or a year be proud of the fast that you tried and DON'T FEEL LIKE A FAILURE! I know I had many issues at first and I felt like a horrible mom because I thought I would have to stop nursing. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't stressed so much.

3. Do your research. When I was pregnant I really didn't think much about breastfeeding. I figured if the baby wanted to we would. What would be so hard about breastfeeding? Looking back, I wish I had learned more about the whole process. I know my hospital offered courses about breastfeeding, but I just wasn't that interested. Now I would recommend them to any mom wanting to learn more. Once I had Mason I got a lot of help from thebump.com. They have community boards where all types of moms can answer your questions and help you out of almost anything. I found out a lot of their Breastfeeding Board.

4. Find support. When I started nursing I felt all alone in the process. My mom didn't nurse and none of my friends really did (Most of my friends are still babyless). I had not idea what I was doing! I did find support on thebump.com like I mentioned before and I began to just do a lot of research online. I found out about La Leche League. It's a great group for nursing mothers. They have lots of information and groups you can join that meet locally. Their website is lllusa.org. Also, if YOU need support I would be so honored and glad to help anyone out!

5. Do what you want to do. Like I said before it's YOUR choice! You do what fits you and your family's lifestyle. Yes, it is the most natural thing to do, but it doesn't always feel so natural to all moms.

Hope this was some help to anyone who needs it. Mason is 15 months and I am still nursing. I never imagined nursing this long! I only nurse him to sleep at night and sometimes before a nap. Weaning isn't as easy as I thought. Breastfeeding is definitely an on-going learning process. I learn something all the time!

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