Advice from a Nursing MomJeanna Taylor
It's been eight months since I last breast-fed my son. He weaned himself almost right at his first birthday. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life!
Before I begin, I want to tell you that the purpose of this article is not to give you actual tips on how to breast-feed. Instead, I want to tell you how to become a successful breast-feeding mother. Since I have breast-fed, I am assumed by friends and family members to be an expert on the subject. I did successfully breast-feed for one year and I even wrote a booklet about my experience. However, it has been a long time since I experienced those first few days and weeks of difficulties. I cannot recall in detail all of those daily efforts in overcoming different breast-feeding problems. Nor can I diagnose and offer solutions to those who are now going through it. On the other hand, I can tell you how to prepare and get the help you will need to breast-feed and I consider this the most important information a perspective breast-feeding mother can get.
During your pregnancy you must get prepared to breast-feed. It's easy to do. Read all the breast-feeding materials you can get your hands on. You should be able to obtain pamphlets and the like from your gynecologist's office and pediatrician's clinic. Access the Internet. Take a class in your area. However not absolutely necessary and only if you have the funds to spare, you can invest in a breast-feeding book and/or how-to video. Ensure that the pediatrician you choose will support your breast-feeding decision even throughout the difficult times. Lastly and most importantly, be sure to get to know a lactation consultant (LC) whom you can contact at any time. A LC is a professional medical person who is familiar with the day to day process and problems of breast-feeding. She is in the best position to answer all questions you will have about nursing. When I needed my LC, I put in a call to her beeper and she always responded within a half hour.
Aside from your own breast-feeding self-education, please know this: You will have problems and there will be those times when you are sure you cannot continue breast-feeding. Your female ability to produce breast-milk is natural, however the actual breast-feeding process is not. You and your baby will have to learn how to breast-feed and make constant and necessary adjustments as time passes to remain successful. There will be many obstacles to overcome.
The good news is that this difficult period, depending on the person, will not last long. Very quickly breast-feeding will become second nature to you and your child. It will become such a part of your life you will surely miss it when it ends.
If you plan to breast-feed, I know I do not have to tell you why you should. I am sure you are aware of the advantages, but do not take it lightly because you may give up as many mothers have. You must be focused on your goal and realize there are different steps to reaching it. Stay in constant contact with your lactation consultant while breast-feeding. Call her with all your problems, and even occasionally when everything is going well -- just for measure. There will probably be several occasions when it is her advice alone that will save you from quitting breast-feeding. And as always, monitor your baby's well-being by consulting your pediatrician. Make all recommended check-ups and definitely have your baby weighed. You must be certain that your child is gaining weight and being well-nourished by breast-feeding.
In ending, and aside from the above advice, there is much value in learning from someone else's breast-feeding experience. I wrote my booklet for this reason. If you know someone who has successfully breast-fed, by all means seek out her advice. However, do not base your breast-feeding success on her experience alone. Make it one part of your breast-feeding self-education.
You can learn about my breast-feeding experience by visiting http://ourworld.cs.com/jeanna500.
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