So how do you get started breastfeeding your baby? Most women are able to start breastfeeding within an hour after giving birth. Here are some tips from the March of Dimes:
- First, make sure you are comfortable — whether it’s in a chair, on the couch or on your bed. Lay your baby between your breasts so that your tummies are touching. Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby get comfortable.
- Gently guide your baby’s nose close to your breast. With one hand, support your baby’s head and with the other hand, hold your breast and tickle your baby’s lip with your nipple.
- When your baby’s mouth opens gently bring your infant to your breast. Don’t lean into your baby. Your baby should get a good mouthful of your areola (the darker coloered skin around your nipple). That’s called latching on.
- For a good latch, you should feel your baby’s tongue pull your breast deep into his mouth. If you feel only a tongue at the tip of your nipple, it’s not a good latch.
- To stop nursing, don’t pull your baby off your breast. Use your pinky finger in the side of his mouth to release the latch.
- If you have problems breastfeeding, ask for help. Call HomeSafe at 561-383-9871. Other local resources include:
Bethesda Memorial Hospital Breastfeeding Resource Center
561-737-7733 ext. 84162
Breastfeeding Coalition of Palm Beach County
La Leche League Breastfeeding Helpline
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT BREASTFEEDING
How do I know I’m doing it right?
Breastfeeding is natural and most basic way to feed your baby. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. Lactation consultants (breastfeeding experts) exist for a reason. If you can’t afford to pay a lactation consultant, then ask friends who have been through it or call HomeSafe at 561-383-9871. HomeSafe will have tips on increasing supply, soothing sore nipples and answers to all of your other questions. They have been there, too.
Is my baby getting enough milk?
Your breasts are designed to feed your baby. Don’t get worried and give up because it seems like your baby is so hungry. Babies are hungry! Their main job is to eat. And eat. And eat.
What about breastfeeding in public?
Florida law allows a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is authorized to be. There always will be people who judge moms who nurse in public. They aren’t your concern. Your hungry baby is your concern. If breastfeeding in public is a concern, buy a cover. Know your and your baby’s rights!
How can I go back to work if I’m breastfeeding?
Many working moms pump and bring breast milk home in bottles. If you receive services from WIC (the federal special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children) you may be eligible to get a pump for free! The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to allow unpaid break times for employees to pump breast milk until their child’s first birthday. Employers also must provide a space, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view. For a workplace to be exempt from the law, it must have less than 50 employees and demonstrate that complying with the law would impose an undue hardship.
What about dad’s role?
Don’t fall into the formula trap because dad wants to feel a “part of it all.” Your milk supply will dwindle. Let him hold the baby and burp the baby or have him bring the baby to you to nurse. Once you start pumping, he can give your baby a bottle.
Should I rely on a clock to let me know when my baby is finished?
The clock won’t tell you when the baby is done. The baby will tell you when feeding time is over by pulling away, falling asleep or becoming disinterested. Babies have different needs, so don’t watch the clock.
What about my relatives saying I should use formula instead?
There are always going to be people who are against breastfeeding. Their reasons will be varied. Some might say your child is too old to breastfeed. Others might say your child isn’t growing fast enough or isn’t getting enough food. Don’t listen. For breastfeeding to work, you need to do it and you need to do it often. Others will say what they want. Your job is to ignore them. If you have concerns about your child’s growth, consult your baby's doctor.