Breastfeeding is one of the many challenges that new moms, at least those that choose to nurse, face. Thankfully, most hospitals and birthing centers have a lactation consultant on staff to help with this specific aspect of motherhood. When you give birth to your baby, be sure to take full advantage of this resource. Here are four questions you should ask your hospital's lactation consultant before you head home.
Do I have a good latch?
Nursing is all in the latch. When your baby locks onto your nipple properly, the entire process will go smoothly. If your baby's technique is off, however, feedings will be a pain -- literally. Poor latching will cause damage to your nipples, which in turn will hurt and make future feedings even more difficult.
Be sure to make sure your know what a good latch is before you leave the hospital. Your lactation consultant will be able to tell you when your baby is latched on properly, and how to encourage a good latch if the initial attempt isn't quite right.
Can you show my husband the baby's bottom lip?
You'll be able to see whether your baby's top lip is latched on correctly, but you won't have a view of their bottom lip. You'll have to rely on someone else to make sure your baby's lower lip is properly positioned. If you're married, this person will likely be your husband. It may be your significant other, mother or friend, though.
Whoever will be helping you at home should know how to position your baby's bottom lip on your nipple. The lactation consultant can show them how to do so.
How might I position myself at home?
Your lactation consultant will initially show you several nursing positions. KidsHealth lists four:
At the hospital, you will have a chance to try all of these and find out which ones work the best for you.
When trying positions at the hospital, you will probably prop yourself up with anything in your room. You may reposition your bed, sit in a special chair or use pillows.
While you should feel free to use everything that is at your disposal in the hospital, you will not have all of these resources at home. For instance, your bed at home probably cannot be positioned in numerous different configurations. You also likely do not have an endless supply of pillows.
Ask the lactation consultant for tips on how to replicate the positions you prefer at home, using only items you have. See how they might modify the position to work on your own bed or couch.
How do I pump?
Most new moms focus on breastfeeding at the hospital. They don't think about pumping until they're home. If you're going to be pumping, ask your lactation consultant for tips.
Pumping is different from breastfeeding, and many mothers struggle with it. You may have difficulty with the way the pump latches, or your milk might not let down because there isn't a baby in your arms.
See how your lactation consultant recommends dealing with these issues, before you are pumping on your own at home. You may even want to bring your pump into the hospital and try it out there.
Nursing is a great joy, but it can also be a source of frustration for new moms. Make your transition to breastfeeding as smooth as possible by asking your lactation consultant lots of questions. Once your home, you probably won't have anyone to ask who is as knowledgeable as your consultant. Take advantage of them while you're at the hospital. Click here for info on how a lactation consultant can assist you as you begin breastfeeding.
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