Being well educated on breastfeeding during pregnancy is more important than most women realized. I’m thankful to Lauren from NY Mommy Chic for guest posting today about how she is preparing to breastfeed during her second pregnancy after she was only able to for a short time with her first baby. I also wrote a post on finding breastfeeding support if you are struggling.
So many mamas-to-be plan to breastfeed their babies. They know how healthy breast milk is for the little bundles of pink or blue that they are about to meet and they are sure that they will nurse their children. But what many women don’t realize is that while breastfeeding is perfectly natural, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. I was one of those women. When I was pregnant with my son in 2012, I was completely set on breastfeeding him. I looked forward to holding him in my arms, his eyes gazing up at me while I provided him with all the nutrients he would need. I figured it would be so simple – put the baby to breast and he will eat. Right? Sure, for some babies. But for many, many others it takes hard work.
I experienced a difficult and traumatic delivery that ended in our baby being born naturally (a miracle) after four hours of pushing. FOUR HOURS. The labor and delivery struggles and complications resulted in my baby landing himself in the NICU and staying there until we were discharged two days later. We never experienced skin to skin after birth, we were separated most of the time, he was fed formula in the NICU (in part because I did not instruct the nurses to call me for feedings), we didn’t establish a great latch, and my supply was never very good. We came home from the hospital and after each nursing session, my son was screaming in hunger and so I topped him off with formula. I nursed, formula fed and pumped for one month before calling it quits. I went into breastfeeding grossly undereducated and very much unprepared. My son is now 23 months old and very healthy, highly intelligent and, if I may say so myself, quite handsome. He speaks in sentences and has me running after him ALL DAY LONG. Although he was a colicky, (very) fussy, gassy infant with acid reflux, you would never know it today. I do believe that babies can thrive on either breast milk or formula and develop into healthy, strong, intelligent toddlers. That said, I want nothing more than to successfully nurse my second child – which leads me to my “lactation preparation” for baby #2 on the way!
Our second baby is due in early September and this time around we are expecting a beautiful bundle of PINK joy. Before I even became pregnant with her, I started prepping. I wrote lists for all of the things I would do differently with my next baby, starting with my pregnancy. During these eight months, I have purchased a couple of highly recommended breastfeeding books and have read them cover-to-cover. I know that reading isn’t going to teach me how to breastfeed but these books have given me some wonderful guidelines and tips that I absolutely plan on implementing when I start to nurse baby girl. Next, I have an appointment set up with a certified lactation consultant recommended by my wonderful team of obstetricians. She is going to go over nursing positions for baby, correct latching, normal amounts of milk that new mamas produce in the early days and more. She will also address any problems she foresees me having and will give me tips to overcome them. The best part is that she is available to chat over the phone free of charge, and she may also come back to my home after baby is born if I need some extra help. Another thing that I’ve done is I’ve gotten my hands on a Moby wrap. I was going to purchase one until a friend of mine gave me hers after having only used it once with her baby girl. The Moby wrap will allow for more skin-to-skin contact with my baby while also tending to my little man and may even allow me to do some hands-free nursing.
When baby girl arrives, I will be sure to make it clear to the hospital staff that she is exclusively breastfed. The hospital where I deliver is very supportive of breastfeeding, so that certainly makes things easier. Before leaving the hospital, I will be sure to have a good latch established. And if by chance our little girl has a NICU stay like her brother, I will let the staff know that I am to be called every time she wakes to nurse. When we come home from the hospital, baby girl will be sleeping next to me in her cozy mini crib. This way I can have easy access to my little girl in the middle of the night. I also have the support of other breastfeeding mamas, including a close friend of mine who is going strong with her baby for over a year now.
Even though I haven’t had much success breastfeeding, my previous experience has taught me so much about nursing and I am very excited to have the opportunity to try it all over again. When it comes to successful breastfeeding, it is all about preparation, preparation, preparation.
My name is Lauren and I am a stay at home mom to my little man and soon-to-be little lady. I am married to a wonderful man who, lucky for me, happens to be an exceptional father. I own an online nautical baby boutique called Baby Nautique and on my down time, I share my parenting adventures, favorite baby gear and more on my blog NY Mommy Chic.
This post contains affiliate links.