Happy Belated Mother's Day! How exciting that you are embarking on a new adventure - the journey of motherhood!
How are you feeling? Excited? Tired? Worried? Just remember that you are among friends. There is support for all those middle of the night quandaries here at the Catholic Nursing Mothers League.
First make sure someone is helping care of YOU so you can nurse your little bundle of joy. Your church may have an Elizabeth Ministry chapter that arranges meals for new moms. Check your local bulletin or the Elizabeth Ministry website.
Next, sit down on the couch, put your feet up, and ask your husband or mother or older children to get you a tall glass of water and a nutritious snack. One of my favorite self care/nutrition books for breastfeeding moms is Eat Well Lose Weight While Breastfeeding. Don't let the title intimidate you; it has great info about self care for those who are not wven thinking about weight loss yet.
While you nurse your sweet baby, peruse the Catholic Nursing Mothers League website and Facebook group. Post a question or even just say "hello" and share a pic of your new baby. We also have a few podcasts if you would like something to listen to. A new mom doesn't have time for a 5 decade rosary, but maybe your heart would like to pray for a few minutes? Ask us for a one decade rosary nursing mother's gift bag and we will get one mailed to you soon. Or if you would like to read more about ecological breastfeeding, email us and we can send one of several books on the topic. CNML also has several copies of Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood to offer, too. This book will remind you of the beauty and importance of Motherhood and breastfeeding. Are you new to breastfeeding or a seasoned mom having some breastfeeding difficulties? If so, ask us for the book, Getting Started with Breastfeeding: For Catholic Mothers. It contains info about different breastfeeding concerns you may encounter and also lots of inspiration from a Catholic perspective. Also, there are several in person CNML groups around the country who would love to encourage you.
Keep your baby close to you night and day - that is exactly where he desires to be! Watch for early hunger cues and nurse your baby sooner rather than later. If baby is already crying, it can be a little more challenging to get him to latch well and to nurse. Here is a FAQ that might help:
Early Hunger Cues
Also, nursing on demand and letting baby lead is best for your milk supply and for baby's contentment and growth. I know it can feel overwhelming nursing so much during those early weeks, but it will get easier! Also, as time goes on, babies often become more efficient nursers so they do not need to spend quite so long at the breast for a nursing session.
When your baby exhibits hunger cues, bring your baby close and latch him on. You will want your baby to be tummy to tummy with you and in a comfortable position so that he does not need to turn his head. There are a variety of nursing positions you can try out. See what is most comfortable for you and baby. Wait until your baby opens his mouth wide and then latch baby on. If the latch feels painful and not quite right, you can gently break the suction and try again until it the latch is correct.
Latching and Positioning Resources
Are our breasts engorged and your baby is having a tough time latching, you check out this webpage :
Another common issue is baby being sleepy and not waking often enough to nurse.
Techniques on waking a sleeping baby
Are you wondering how you will know if your baby is nursing often enough and growing well? Take a look at this webpage for lots of good info:
Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?
Now it is getting close to bedtime. Where should baby sleep?
Cosleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes?
Safe Cosleeping Guidelines
I hope we were able to get you started nursing with confidence! If you have any breastfeeding questions or you just need a little bit of support or encouragement, you are more than welcome to email CNML (catholicbreastfeeding(at)yahoo(dot)com) or to ask fellow moms on the CNML Facebook group for their thoughts. If you are experiencing more complex breastfeeding issues or your baby is losing weight, having atypical symptoms or doesn't seem to be thriving, please call your health care provider and also your local lactation consultant for help.