If you’re getting close to your due date and are wondering about breastfeeding, now is a good time to think about it. Once that little one is born, you’re going to be too tired to think about much besides when you’ll get your next nap. Most of the experts say that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby and if you’re committed to giving it a try, there are some things to know. Here they are.
1. It’s Natural, but That Doesn’t Mean It’s Easy
I’ve breastfed three babies and they were each different. My first had some trouble, but my third was a breeze. Your body has some sense of what needs to be done and your baby’s instincts will help too. However, breastfeeding can be hard as you get used to it. It might be difficult, but you will get better at it and soon you’ll be nursing in the middle of the night without even waking all the way up. Stick with it!
2. Breastfeeding Can Be Painful
Yes, you read that right. At the beginning, nursing doesn’t always feel good. In fact, it can be excruciating. Your breasts need a bit of toughening up to get them used to the constant pressure caused by nursing. If the pain is unbearable, talk to a lactation specialist to make sure your baby is latching on correctly.
3. You Have Lots of Support
There are lactation specialists at virtually every labor and delivery center so if you need some help, there are lots of women that can assist you. Chances are, a lactation specialist will come talk to you in the hospital when you give birth. Keep her card on hand so that you can give her a call anytime you need to.
4. It’s Legal in Public Places so Go for It
I remember nursing my first baby at the mall, completely covered up, and still getting dirty looks. It is legal to breastfeed your baby in public so DO NOT fall for the idea that you have to sit in a dirty public bathroom. Use discretion by covering with a blanket, but don’t be afraid to feed your baby when he gets hungry, no matter where you are.
5. It Can Help You Drop the Baby Weight
Breastfeeding burns an extraordinary number of calories so it can help you shed the baby weight and get back into shape. Combine breastfeeding with a healthy diet and as much exercise as your doctor recommends. You’ll notice your pre-baby body coming back sooner than you expected.
6. You Need to Eat More Calories and Drink Lots of Water
Yes, breastfeeding can help you lose the weight, but you must take in more calories than you might expect to support it. Those extra calories help your body produce the milk for your baby so don’t be tempted to skimp on them. At the same time, make sure you drink lots of water when you breastfeed. I used to get a big glass of water just before sitting down to nurse. It will make you thirsty so be prepared.
7. It Might Not Be the Right Choice for You
Yes, doctors encourage breastfeeding, but that doesn’t guarantee that it’s right for you. My first son weaned himself once he started eating jarred food, my second had nutrition issues and had to eat a special kind of formula, but my third might still be nursing if I hadn’t weaned him just after his first birthday. Every baby’s needs are different so if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you, it’s fine to make the switch to formula without guilt.
Do you plan to breastfeed?