Top 5 Things to Help You Succeed

By Krista Gray, IBCLC. Last updated February 5, 2013.

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BreastfeedingBreastfeeding is natural and, unlike bottle-feeding, there is very little you need.  In fact, you only need a breast and a baby to nurse!  But, there are a few things that could help make breastfeeding easier.  Here’s my “Top 5” list of things that can help you succeed with breastfeeding.

  1. Commitment
    That never-giving-up desire that sticks with it even when the going gets tough.  Because the simple truth is that, while breastfeeding is natural, it is not always easy.  Sometimes it is downright hard.  But you can do it if you are committed.  When a difficult situation arises, commitment finds a way to get through it and you’ll be stronger because of it.
  2. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
    This book is an incredible resource for every aspect of breastfeeding – encouragement, getting starting, weaning, trouble shooting, and everything in between.  It is a wonderful resource to read while you are pregnant as well as refer to as individual issues arise during your breastfeeding journey.  Click here to buy the book or read reviews.
  3. Nursing Bra
    Ideally, you should have at least one on hand before your baby arrives.  And while there is truly very little you actually do need to breastfeed, a nursing bra makes life easier.  You should be fitted so make sure you have the correct size and never, ever use a nursing bra with a wire.  During the first 4-6 weeks after having your baby your breasts will be larger so keep this in mind as you decide on bra size.
  4. Support
    Finding support and encouragement during your breastfeeding journey is critical.  You are not alone!  And any issue you face will not be unique to only you.  Ideally, your partner, family, and friends will support you, though this is not always the case.  Additionally, finding a breastfeeding moms group, such as La Leche League, is a wonderful resource.  Have fun getting to know other breastfeeding women as well as gaining invaluable encouragement and support for yourself.
  5. Losing Time
    Yes, that’s right. . . one of the most helpful things you can do to aid breastfeeding is forget about the time and follow your baby’s nursing cues instead.  Don’t worry about how long it takes to breastfeed. . . if your baby is ready to nurse then go for it.  It is perfectly normal for your baby to nurse every hour, two hours, cluster feed, etc.  And, unlike formula (which is difficult to digest) breastfed babies want and need to nurse more often.  Not only is the nutrition important but so is the cuddling.  So now is the time to get rid of your watch and just go with your baby’s needs!