Self Care for the Breast Feeding Mom

To breastfeed successfully, you really don't need anything more than your breasts and your baby. That being said, breastfeeding isn’t always easy and it's even easier for mothers to forget that they need to care for themselves as well as their baby! It’s important not only to be informed on what breast feeding might look like for you, but also how you can take care of yourself during the process. Here is a quick guide on types of nursing, breast milk vs. formula, proper latching, and ways to take care of yourself.


Types of Breastfeeding

First off, all women, children, and families are different. Therefore, breast feeding can look different to all Moms. Not every mother will nurse in the same way, for the same amount of time and with the same success.  Some women breastfeed fully, some breastfeed partially, and some only when absolutely necessary. Here are some of the ways women choose to breastfeed:


A Little About Breast Milk

For years and years, breast milk has been the ideal source of nutrition for babies. From colostrum to transitional breast milk to mature breast milk, it provides the nutrition your baby needs at every stage for healthy growth and development.

Breast milk is made up of an incredibly unique combination of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that adjust with your child as they grow. It also contains immune-boosting antibodies, white blood cells, and enzymes that can help protect your child from certain common childhood illnesses.


A Look At Formula

While baby formula is a perfectly safe alternative for babies who cannot breastfeed, sadly it is not a perfect match to your body’s unique breast milk. Scientists are still continuing to discover new components in breast milk and why they're important. When considering exclusively formula feeding your baby, the most important thing is to do your research so that you can make the most informed decision for yourself. Then you can focus on nourishing and nurturing your baby — instead of dwelling on any negative emotions you may experience in the process. You should also never hesitate to share your feelings with your Doctor, Midwife, or Nurse. Also friends and family you consider to be a part of your support circle.

Remember, parenting is an adventure that requires choices and compromises. What counts is doing the best you can as you face this new challenge!


Breastfeeding Positions and Latching On

When you're just getting started with breastfeeding, your baby's position and the way they attach to your breast are very important. A good breastfeeding position encourages a proper latch, which is necessary for breastfeeding success.

When your baby latches on properly, they are able to remove the breast milk much more effectively. A correct latch allows your child to get ample breast milk and also helps in preventing breast issues such as sore nipples or mastitis.

Don’t worry if you feel some odd or uncomfortable sensations. It can take some time for your breasts to get used to feedings, but it should not cause you any intense pain. If you experience pain when your baby latches on or attempts to, and it does not go away within a minute or two (or with a change in position), talk to your doctor, your child's pediatrician, and/or your lactation consultant.

Caring for Yourself and Your Breasts While Breastfeeding

It’s so easy for breastfeeding mothers to forget that they need to care for themselves as well as their baby! There's so much to think about with remembering when the baby's last feeding was, making sure the baby's positioning and latch are correct, that you can easily leave your own well-being at the doorstep. Here are some ways you can care for yourself while nursing:

When you take care of your own needs by eating well, getting some rest, having some time to take a shower, and spending time with a friend, it can help you feel healthier and happier. And, when you feel good, you'll be ready and able to better care for your baby and your family.

"Ultimatly, we care that your baby is fed and loved. We are here to help you no matter how you decided to achieve that goal." -Bethany Mainville, SNM,FNP

Looking for more information on breast feeding? Schedule a visit with one of our skilled Doctors, Nurse Midwives or Nurse Practitioners to get support and guidance on all of your questions when it comes to nursing. Virtual visits are available! 


Bella Women's Care Blogger

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