Breastfeeding seems like it should easy because it is the natural way your baby should be fed, and sometimes it is, but there are many times it pays to be prepared before your baby is born. By the time you are busy trying to keep a new baby fed, it is hard to find the time to find the information that you need.
Before my oldest son was born, I knew that I planned to breastfeed. I bought nursing bras. I read books about. I subscribed to a magazine from La Leche League. After he was born, I went through the usual first several days of toe curling pain when he latched on, then it started to improve, and I could enjoy snuggling him without pain while I nursed him. Then it started hurting again. The pain was different though, and I could see white patches on his tongue and the inside of his mouth. From the books I had, I was pretty sure it was thrush. I took him to the doctor and he got a prescription, but the doctor refused to give me one. I knew that I needed to be treated too, but I had to switch doctors before I could get treated too. If I had been less informed, I may have quit breastfeeding because the pain from the thrush would not have gone away.
I would recommend starting with La Leche League, and their book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger and Diana West, along with The Ultimate Book of Breastfeeding Answers by Jack Newman, M.D. and Teresa Pitman. They are some of my favorites to turn to when I have a question. Both Dr. Newman and La Leche League have Facebook pages that can help you find more information and breastfeeding support groups on Facebook. Kellymom.com also has a lot of information on breastfeeding. Finding a community of supportive women, whether it is in person, through La Leche League meetings, or on Facebook, can be crucial to both breastfeeding success, and to enjoying the experience with people going through similar struggles to make it work, and later to decide how and when to wean. If you are not successful, you will also have a community of women to support you who have also been through it themselves. It is much harder to feel alone when you are struggling if there are others who can tell you their story and how similar it is to yours.
There are many issues that can come up while breastfeeding such as mastitis, the baby having a tongue tie, issues getting the baby to latch, and problems making enough milk. Being informed will make it easier to be your own advocate in getting the help that you need to solve any issues so that you can enjoy feeding your little one.
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