Nursing is the best way to feed your baby, and the benefits you will both get from this relationship are numerous! But if you think breastfeeding is a piece of cake, don't be discouraged when it proves to be harder than it looks. Educate yourself ahead of time by reading books and talking to other nursing moms. Here are just a few pointers to get you started in the right direction-
Establishing milk supply:
You'll need just a few things for building up a great milk supply to nourish your baby; skin-to-skin contact, letting your baby nurse as often and as much as he wants, and paying attention to your baby's latch at all times for the first few weeks. Other ideas include getting enough rest, nourishment and drinking herbal tea with “galactagogue” herbs-fennel, fenugreek, blessed thistle.
Feeling comfortable while you nurse:
You will spend a lot of time nursing, so get a comfortable chair and support for your body and baby's body early on. Learn to nurse laying down so that you don't miss too much sleep. Finally, invest in some clothes that make nursing easy for you to do, especially when you are out in public. That may mean shirts that button, nursing bras, nursing pads for leaky breasts, etc.
Know the signs of trouble:
Pay attention to how you feel, how your breasts feel (nipples too) and how your baby is acting. A baby that is satisfied usually acts that way, and is regularly pooping and peeing. Signs of trouble for you include sore or cracked nipples, sore, red, painful breasts and/or fever and chills. The best way to head off and resolve a breast infection is rest, rest, rest and nurse, nurse, nurse. Go to bed with your baby and nursing will likely make both of you feel better!
Nursing is wonderful but can be difficult and trying at times too. Know that your baby's health (and your nursing relationship with him) is the long-term goal and try to look past the occasional hurdles. Better yet, find support. Whether it be a friend, sister, midwife- find women who understand nursing and who will listen while encouraging you. Find a La Leche League meeting in your area and meet other new moms.
Working and nursing:
This is difficult but it can be done. Buy a quality breastpump, learn how to use it and start pumping and freezing way in advance of going back to work. When you are with your baby, nurse as much as possible. Sleeping with your baby will help your milk supply and also keep a strong nursing relationship.