1. Try to feed your baby as soon after birth as possible. Most babies are awake and alert for the first 1-2 hours after birth. The best time to start breastfeeding is during that alert time right after they are born.
This will teach them how to suck and latch on properly. They may not do it again for a day or two – but getting them started right away is the best way for successful breastfeeding.
2. Take advice from as many different people as possible. Every baby is different and every person you talk with has different experience and different advice.
3. It takes about 2 SOLID weeks to become good at breastfeeding. Stick with it – it’ll work.
4. Ask to talk to a lactation consultant while you are still in the hospital. Ask to talk to them several times if you need to.
5. Talk to every nurse you get. They each have different advice. It is difficult to breastfeed at first, so get as much help as possible.
6. Ask for a nipple shield if you are having trouble getting your baby to latch on. However, keep in mind that you should only use the nipple shield as a last resort because it is difficult to get the baby off of it once you start using it.
7. Use lanolin cream after each feeding. This will help your nipples to remain supple and will reduce soreness and dryness. Keep a tube of lanolin in multiple locations for convenience: near your rocking chair, downstairs, in your diaper bag, in your purse, by your bedside, etc. Keep the tubes around even after you have stopped using it on a regular basis. You may need it again when the baby starts to teethe.
8. Drink a lot of water. Breastfeeding can be extremely dehydrating and you will need to make sure you have a lot to drink so that you don’t get weak and so that your milk comes in strong. Keep a full glass of water by you at all times. Put water in the nursery so that when you feed the baby during the middle of the night you can drink some too.
9. Get a bra or nursing tank that you can sleep in. You will need one because your breasts will get very heavy when your milk comes in – and they may leak! Whatever you end up getting, you don’t want to use an underwire bra for sleeping.
10. Buy some nursing clothing. It is the easiest way to breastfeed in public without having to “bare it all.” Many mothers wear the nursing clothing when pumping at work because it keeps them from getting cold and feeling “exposed”.