Breast feeding at the breast is both a rewarding experience and a challenging one. It takes an extraordinary amount of time, effort and dedication. The mother should start offering the breast immediately after baby is born, sometimes you even get to see a tiny newborn crawl to the breast on their very own just hours after birth. Often mothers are not prepared for the enormous amount of time baby wants to spend at the breast in the first few weeks and months of babies life. With their bodies and brains growing faster than any other time in their life; This is very normal! Some babies prefer to suckle many times a day and others not so much. Just like adults, babies each have their very own nursing personality! Babies need to suckle, and they like to suck without any nutritional value in mind, they like the comfort it brings! It also helps Mother’s supply because of the way breastfeeding works, based on Supply and demand!
Supply and demand applied to this scenario makes sure baby will not go hungry. Your body will produce more milk the more it is stimulated, so take these moments however late and exhausted you feel and recognize that this is laying an amazing foundation for your future nursing supply and relationship!
Let downs can be a little strange or uncomfortable at first, especially if you have a strong let down reflex, sometimes it may help to have a towel or rag (or extra bottle) nearby to let down into before resuming feeding if your baby seems to be choking at the start of a nursing session often.
Lactation consultants are a fantastic wealth of knowledge, it is helpful to meet with one or take a class prior to birth to be set up with the best resources and feel prepared for the challenges and rewards ahead!
Pumping and Bottle Feeding
For those who wish to provide breastmilk for all its advantages but may be unable or unwilling to provide direct feeding; pumping and bottle feeding is a great option! Working moms often choose this route as your body can adjust to a pump and you can use supply and demand to your advantage to create an abundance of milk when you are away from baby. Some caregivers are utilizing donated milk and will only need to concern themselves with storing and serving the breast milk. There are Supplemental nursing systems that can be used by a caregiver to simulate nursing at the breast. There are so many options when it comes to feeding your baby breast milk, whatever way it happens will surely be a special bonding experience.
If you are having trouble with let downs, looking at pictures or videos of sweet times with you and your baby can help with the process. It is hard to be away from little ones, but knowing you are taking the time to provide them with nature’s nutrients can also be healing for mama.
Some mothers who have fed at the breast for an extended period of time may have trouble responding to a pump, a lactation consultant may be able to help with that. Make sure to utilize your local resources which most Pediatricians, hospitals, midwives and OBGYNs have resources in place for moms who need a little extra help with Breastfeeding and pumping. Don’t feel bad for needing help, our bodies are not one size fits all! We each have our own needs and setbacks. There is no failure when it comes to feeding your baby, all that matters is what works best for caregiver and child.
A disadvantage to this route vs at the breast is sterilization. You will have both a pump and bottles to sterilize after every pumping session as well as keeping the pumped breast milk at the proper temperature in storage until time for use. Many companies now are offering to pay for breastmilk to be shipped home on dry ice for mothers who travel for work needs, so the culture is slowly starting to accommodate these choices more readily, but we have a ways to go!