We’re told all the time that one of the many perks of breastfeeding is that it’s completely free. While the cost of formula can really add up, with all of the breastfeeding contraptions and devices out there, so can nursing. There are simply many so products on the market, that are supposed to help with nursing a baby. And it can be so confusing for new moms, too, who are told they need X, Y, and Z. How do you know what to put on your baby registry when they are literally hundreds of gadgets designed for nursing. How do you know what you really need?
From modesty wraps, to teas, to nursing bras, to nursing pillows, and boppys, it may feel like you have to spend a small fortune simply to nourish your new baby. But the truth is, you don’t. While there are plenty of products that might make breastfeeding more comfortable or convenient, or help you in some unique way, the only thing that you truly need to have a successful nursing relationship with your baby is your breast and your baby. Women have been nursing their babies since the dawn of time without so much as a modesty wrap, a nursing top, or anything else for that matter.
Of course our modern conveniences are wonderful. Sometimes, they even help us to be more efficient breastfeeders. Certainly moms who are headed back to work need to make use of breast pumps and bottles, not to mention all the pieces and parts that go with each! But knowing that in order to nurse your baby, especially in the early days of postpartum, when in close contact with your infant, there are few material things you need, should ease your mind.
With that being said, there are a few (non-material) things that can help you achieve said confidence.
Support- Having supportive people around you is crucial when it comes to breastfeeding. Not only should you feel that your partner supports your choice, but having other breastfeeding moms to talk to can be a huge help. Also, having a lactation consultant can help work out breastfeeding issues you may encounter. Every baby is different, and so even experienced moms can benefit from the input of a trained and knowledgeable consultant.
Hydration- If you find you are constantly thirsty, there’s a reason! You’re body is using loads of water to make milk for your baby. Especially when baby is nursing near constantly, in the early stages, you need to be drinking round the clock, too, in order to keep yourself hydrated. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are already beginning to become dehydrated. Keeping hydrated will ensure that your body can keep up with how much milk your baby needs, too. So drink up!
Nourishment- It’s tough to make yourself a gourmet meal while you’re nursing on demand, but getting proper nutrition during postpartum, and then entire time you are nursing a baby is essential. Your body is powerful, but if you allow yourself to become depleted, your body will likely respond by feeling sluggish and overly exhausted. You also might find you’re hungrier then when you were pregnant! Nursing is a demanding job and in order for your body to make milk, like magic, you need those calories coming in, to get the milk out!
Rest- Ha. Ha. Right? During the early weeks and even months with a newborn, rest can be hard to come by. But when you are feeding a baby with your body alone, getting some sufficient stretches of sleep, or naps to make up for sleep lost, is essential. When you rest, your body has the opportunity to recharge, which means, it can make more milk. If you are seriously sleep-deprived, you will likely find that one of your body’s first responses is to make less milk. So do your best to take it easy, hand over the baby in between nursings, and let your body relax and rejuvenate.
Confidence- The most important piece of the puzzle, when it comes to nursing is simply believing in your body’s abilities. It’s having the same confidence to know that your body knows exactly what it’s doing that you brought into labor and delivery.
The body is truly an amazing thing and there is just not much you need at all, in order to feed your baby. Know that, believe it, and the rest will come to you. And if the going gets tough, there is always nipple cream.