I remember two things very clearly about my own nursing experience. First, it was so much more rewarding than I had anticipated. I didn’t go into my first pregnancy feeling strongly about breastfeeding one way or the other and really hadn’t given it much thought until my OB mentioned it to me. The other thing I remember - it wasn’t easy.
Hang on! Don’t stop reading just yet. I don’t say that to dissuade you, but I do want to give you the truth. Of course, it’s not like that for everyone but it took a minute (well several actually) for me to really get the hang of breastfeeding. So if you’re thinking of nursing, I say go for it and try these tips.
* BE PATIENT: Get this in your head right now. Even though you have the “equipment” you might not have the know-how, yet. That will change if you just take it one step at a time. I remember thinking nursing was going to be as easy as popping a breast into the mouth of a hungry baby and it would be the most wonderful, fulfilling experience in the world. That was true, but not right away. My daughter was a fussy nurser. Ultimately I had to hire a “lactation consultant” and three of us (my mother was in the mix too) would be hovering over one engorged breast, begging this baby to eat (okay, I was begging). After about a week or so, something miraculous happened; like learning the steps with a new dance partner, Casey and I figured it out and it was smooth sailing from that point on.
* FIND NURSING-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENTS: My favorite time to nurse my kids was at the end of the day. I was able to get completely in the moment and enjoy my baby; everyone was relaxed and it was a wonderful time of bonding. But relaxation is key and that’s hard to do when you’re trying to feed your baby in the stall of a public restroom because there’s no place else to go. Yes, I did that. Yes, it was not pleasant. So if you’re going to be out and about with baby, keep an eye out for places that have nursing friendly environments. Big department stores typically have a lounge area with comfy sofas that will work perfectly.
* PLAN AHEAD: I had to return to my life as a busy news anchor while I was still nursing and everyone knew it too. Why? Because the contraption I used to pump was ENORMOUS! And it came in a HUGE blue, hardcover case. Once, while going through security at the airport, I had it on my shoulder and when I bent over, it fell and hit an elderly woman in the head. I was mortified because it almost knocked her out! Yes, it was that big! Thank goodness they aren’t anymore. Breast pumps today are better designed to make pumping a breeze and they’re often small enough to fit in your diaper bag so you don’t have to juggle three bags and a baby! That’s what I call convenience with a capital C!
One last tip: Don’t worry about what everyone else says about how it “should” be done. Listen to your gut, be patient and work with your baby until the two of you figure it out. You may ultimately decide that nursing isn’t for you and that’s okay too. I hope these tips help, if you do decide to give it a go.
Best of luck, mommy!
By Evenflo Savvy Parenting Expert Rene Syler, founder of Good Enough Mother