My husband and I are expecting our first child in December. Over the past 7 years I have I have helped countless moms and dads on their breastfeeding journeys, first as a postpartum hospital nurse and now as a Public Health Nurse with Halton Region.
It’s one thing to help a mom to latch her baby and a whole other thing (far as I know anyway) to latch your own baby. For one, the view is different! Making the switch from nurse to parent should be interesting…
My biggest concern is breastfeeding. I wonder if I will be able to follow my own breastfeeding advice. So, with all of you as my witnesses, I’m going to outline my advice to myself. Please feel free to add your own advice to me below!
Get educated. While I might know plenty about breastfeeding, my hubby might not. So we have signed up for Halton’s Online Prenatal Program. What I’m most excited about is the in-person breastfeeding class taught by a local lactation consultant. Another great resource is the Baby Friendly Halton website.
Prevent problems before they start. While breastfeeding is natural, it’s not always easy. I can write a whole other post on potential issues, but for now, I’m just going to worry about preventing problems in the early days.
- I believe in the Lamaze approach of birthing. The women’s body is made to birth! The less interruption during my labour (interventions) the more breastfeeding hormones my body will produce and the better transition my baby will have to life out of the womb.
- Breastfeed as soon after delivery as humanly possible.
- Breastfeed often. Very very often. Pretty much anytime I see baby starting to wake. Wake baby if it’s been three hours since the beginning of the last feed.
- Keep baby skin-to-skin with me (or with daddy!) as often as possible. Especially during breastfeeding.
- Get support right away if we are struggling. Have a list ready of people I can call for help: Public Health Nurse, Hospital Breastfeeding Clinic and other community supports, Halton Breastfeeding Connection (Mother to Mother telephone support), and any friends who have successfully breastfed. Studies show that women who have a strong support system in place have greater success with breastfeeding their baby – both in terms of exclusivity and duration.
- Plan for baby to have a difficult second night of life. Not all babies go through this, but I do know that knowing about it and having a little bit of sleep squeezed in before it starts can go a long way with preserving sanity.
Take care of yourself and try to relax and enjoy the experience!
- To my hubby: Watch my shoulders! If I’m tense, massage my shoulders. The last thing baby needs when she’s trying to figure out how to get her milk is to be held by a stiff mommy. Second note to hubby: Ever wanted to be a bouncer for a bar?? Here’s your chance – please limit our visitors!
- Embrace the art of napping when baby sleeps. I’m going to declare here and now, my priorities for the first few weeks will be taking care of baby and myself. Not my visitors. Not my housework. That’s for someone else to worry about!
Wish me luck!
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For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000