Top 5 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
My name is Irma Sulejmanović-Bordeaux, and I am a pediatric nurse practitioner and board-certified lactation consultant new to the Portland area.
As a mother, I know what it’s like to struggle to breastfeed a newborn. Lucky for me, I received lactation support from the most wonderful lactation consultant in Nebraska for almost TWO months that resulted in a two-and-a-half-year breastfeeding finish line!
When I moved to Washington to build my practice, I quickly learned that support for lactation services was slim. I decided to take it upon myself to train and eventually sit for the IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) exam, so I could assist as many mothers as possible in providing infants with what’s best for their health: human milk.
Over time, I have learned there are several factors that contribute to a caregiver’s success with breastfeeding. Here are my top five:
#1: Commit to breastfeeding.
Like many things in life, breastfeeding requires a goal-oriented mind. If not, how will you succeed? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding your baby for one year, while the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years. I recommend setting a goal, and then going as long as possible. You may hit your goal or you may not, but be committed to doing your best.
#2: Prepare while pregnant.
There are several ways to prepare for breastfeeding, but the most effective way is through prenatal breastfeeding classes. These are offered by local hospitals, OBGYN/midwife clinics, or even through a doula. Local pediatric providers will often offer a prenatal visit, where you can discuss your breastfeeding goals and seek out local breastfeeding resources. There are also many helpful books and online resources on breastfeeding. I recommend reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Be sure to do your reading BEFORE your baby comes, as you’ll most likely find it difficult to find time to read afterwards.
#3: Gain support.
Breastfeeding success is more likely if you have support around you. Support can come from your partner, relatives, close friends, or other breastfeeding mothers. Even if these individuals may not have breastfed themselves, discuss with them why breastfeeding is important to you and your baby, and they will become your personal breastfeeding cheerleaders!
#4: Get help. Get help. Get help.
Once your baby is here, most hospitals have lactation providers on staff ready to assist you with the first latch. Even if you think you have it down, double-check with an expert to avoid any problems down the road. Then, continue to seek lactation help from a hospital, pediatric clinic, or independent lactation experts every few days until breastfeeding is well-established. This process typically takes one to two weeks.
#5: Join a breastfeeding support group.
Once your baby is here, adult social interaction becomes slim. Breastfeeding support groups are there for mothers to socially interact, nurse their babies, and get assistance from a lactation expert if needed. These moms will understand your day-to-day struggles and provide further support for your breastfeeding success!
If you are struggling to breastfeed or have questions, feel free to reach out, make an appointment, or ask your provider to send a referral my way. I am available for lactation appointments daily and located at Metropolitan Pediatrics Happy Valley – Sunnyside!