Breastfeeding can be the most rewarding part of having a new baby. The extra snuggles and the quiet moments that can only be shared between a mother and her baby are irreplaceable in your arsenal of motherhood memories. But in a world that’s slowly drifted from the natural towards the convenient, it can be increasingly difficult to have a successful nursing relationship. Common misconceptions and traps can easily break your nursing relationship.
Your Baby Nurses Too Much
Since breastmilk can’t be measured like a bottle filled with formula, new moms often worry about how much their baby is getting to eat. Babies who are fed formula don’t digest it as quickly as they would breastmilk, so a formula fed baby doesn’t eat as often as a baby who’s nursed. It often concerns mothers when their baby is nursing every hour or every two hours and they’re worried they’re not producing enough milk.
Experts say that as long as your baby is making active sucking and swallowing noises, they’re satiated after eating, and they’re having plenty of wet diapers, it’s likely that they’re getting more than enough to eat. If you’re unsure about their intake, you can always weigh them (in just a diaper on a scale with ounces) before they eat and then immediately after they’ve drifted off the breast and off to sleep.
You’ll Never Be Able to Leave Your Baby
It seems like a major milestone: your first night out after you’ve had a baby. In our society, people pressure new moms to get out as soon as possible after having a baby. What a lot of moms don’t say is that they don’t want to leave their baby just weeks after giving birth. Not only are you still bonding with your little one, your body is still healing. While it’s true you won’t be able to leave your baby as much as you would if they were formula fed, that’s okay! Those first few months are very important to bonding. And if you absolutely need a few hours away, nurse your baby right before you leave and leave a bottle of pumped breastmilk if they need a little topping off while you’re away. Do what’s right for you!
Take These Formula Samples Just in Case
While some hospitals are leaning towards becoming more breastfeeding friendly, but some hospitals still pass out formula samples to new moms “just in case”. While it’s nice to have something secure to fall back on, trust your body! It’s rare for a woman to not make enough milk, and having that can of formula will only tempt you to use it when you’re tired and frustrated. Instead, ask your nurse for a local La Leche League Leader or lactation consultant for some 24/7 knowledgeable advice both on the phone and in person.
If you’re set on having a nursing relationship with your baby, then trust your body! Experts agree that a lot of hindrances to breastfeeding stem from societal expectations and pressures. Let your body do its very cool thing and you’ll have a long term nursing relationship with that sweet baby.