There are a number of important things that you have the opportunity to learn while you are in the hospital.
You probably won’t have people volunteering to teach you these things, but make sure you ask!
- Learn how to properly hand express. Have a nurse or lactation consultant teach you the proper technique. Have someone watch you to see if you are doing it properly.
- Learn how to use a breast pump. Even if you don’t need to pump in the early days, have a nurse or LC teach you how to set it up, how to check that your nipples fit properly in the flange, and how to adjust the settings.
- Have someone watch at least one entire nursing session on both breasts preferably three times a day but at least once a day. Make sure if the nurse/LC latches the baby for you, you unlatch and latch again so that she can observe you doing it. Each professional has differing advice and tips about breastfeeding. Instead of seeing this as frustrating, see it as an opportunity to learn a lot of different perspectives. Take some tips, ignore others. There is no one right way to breastfeed.
- It doesn’t matter if a nurse or lactation consultant can latch your baby. You must be able to latch your baby comfortably yourself!
- Find out who to call and where to go if you have breastfeeding difficulty after discharge. Where and when are support groups? Is there a phone number to call for advice? Is that a 24-hour hotline? Can you make an appointment with a LC you liked in the hospital?
Above all, if you don’t get the support you’d like from the hospital, make sure you keep fighting for breastfeeding by finding the right help. The best place to start is with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Another good resource is your pediatrician, but make sure you understand that although he is excellent at his job, he is not a breastfeeding expert.
If you aren’t able to join me live, check out the online education program I created- The Pregnant Mama’s Guide to Breastfeeding Success
Come see me or one of my fabulous colleagues at The Birth Center in Wilmington, DE. Let us take the time to teach you about your own unique baby and breastfeeding relationship during a one on one consultation.