infant holding mother's finger

How to improve your outlook on breastfeeding your baby.

When it comes to feeding your baby, breast milk provides the ideal nutrition (think: vitamins, proteins and fats) to help your baby grow. While breastfeeding may be the best and most natural way to feed your baby, it may not be your favorite thing. And that’s OK! Each mom and situation is different. If you’re not loving the experience, here are a few things to try to help make the feeding process a little more comfortable and enjoyable for you.

Upgrade Your Nursing Station

Where are you feeding your little one? While you may not have total control over your breastfeeding locale while you’re out and about, while you’re at home you can add a few items and make a few slight adjustments to make your nursing station a place you want to be in. At home, set up one or two irresistibly comfortable nursing stations so that it is a pleasure to take a break and nurse your baby (because you deserve it!).

  • Look for a chair or a sofa that provides great back and arm support, as well as the option to have some versatility in your nursing positions.
  • Invest in a nursing pillow or a flat firm sofa or bed pillow. This will help take pressure off your hands, arms and shoulders.
  • Utilize a footstool. Putting your feet up brings your lap and baby closer to the breast and puts you in a great position for breastfeeding.
  • Have a water bottle, snacks and entertainment on hand. Multitask while you’re breastfeeding, mom. Stay hydrated and indulge in a tasty snack while you’re with your baby. Feel free to read the latest-page turner, tune into your favorite show or catch up on the latest celebrity gossip—this is your time too, so use it how you want.

Master the Art of Nursing While Lying Down

Although it takes a little practice, and is easier when the baby develops some head control, nursing while lying down is often reported as “life-changing” by many moms. By perfecting this position, you can rest and nurse at the same time. Voila!

Don’t Put up With Pain

If pain while breastfeeding is causing you to cringe when your baby shows hunger cues, it’s time to get help fast. Pain necessitates assessment by an IBCLC or healthcare professional. They’ll work to assess your situation and create a treatment plan to help you heal quickly.

Other signs help is urgently needed:

  • Nipple redness, tenderness, open areas
  • Breast soreness, redness, tenderness
  • Any concerns about milk transfer or infant weight gain

Remember, there is no need to wait for a problem to schedule an in-home lactation consultation today.

Talk to Your Mom Friends

Bonding over a shared experience like motherhood is a great way to talk about your journey, celebrate each other’s successes and work through any hiccups. New moms’ groups such as La Leche League International or neighborhood groups are great ways to meet other nursing moms. Other moms with similar experiences have the best strategies and can often give you much-needed ideas, understanding and support. At Ashland Women’s Health, we’re real moms too, so feel free to connect with us.

Focus on the Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding provides real, tangible benefits for both mom and baby, and the longer you exclusively breastfeed, the benefits become stronger. However, this doesn’t mean breastfeeding or providing your own milk has to be “all or nothing.” If the health benefits interest you, one maternal benefit is the potential decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. One benefit for baby is the decreased chance of hospitalization and illness.

If the World Health Organization’s recommendation of breastfeeding for at least six months sounds daunting, make short-term goals. For example, breastfeeding for four months lowers a baby’s risk of SIDS, and babies breastfed for six months have fewer problems with allergies.

Celebrate as you achieve each milestone, and assess your situation as you go. Never quit breastfeeding on a bad day. Instead, reassess in a day or two and see if time gives you a different perspective. Luckily, most lactation challenges happen early and most get better quickly.

The team at Ashland Women’s Health is here to help you through your breastfeeding successes and challenges. Connect with our team to address any breastfeeding concerns, or schedule a lactation consultation to get one-on-one support for you and your baby.