What new moms should know about breastfeeding...BEFORE the baby comes
Breastfeeding is a process. Milk letdown is a process. After the baby is born, the baby will be almost instantly put to the mother's breast. The baby instinctively should know how to suckle at the nipple. Though this is usually the case, often times babies take time to figure out how this whole sucking and swallowing this works. They may be uncomfortable in the position you hold them in or they may get frustrated that milk is not easily coming out. Factor in on top of this that many moms do not have milk leaking on day one (congratulations if you do!). So what do you do? Baby is here and baby is HUNGRY. You promised yourself you would exclusively breastfeed....but there is no milk.....yet. This is the part where you give yourself a break. New moms should not hesitate to give formula in the first few days (or weeks) of life while waiting on breastmilk to come in. Moms should also start pumping as soon as they are able. Milk production is driven by a hormone called oxytocin which is released by stimulation of the nipple. This means that the more the baby suckles at the breast OR the more you pump, the more milk supply will be made. So new moms, cut yourself some slack. It's OK to give formula to prevent the baby from getting dehydrated. It's OK to use a breast pump right away. Whether you are committed to breastfeeding or not, it is never ok to sacrifice your mental health. This process is HARD but it doesn't have to be as hard as we make it out to be. Trust that the milk will come. It almost always does. Whatever you decide, we are here to support you.