Okay, so I’ll breastfeed. But I don’t even know how!

Breastfeeding is not something that necessarily comes naturally to the new mother. Those of us raised in the bottle feeding culture may never have even seen a nursing mother before. We have not been raised around women who learned this art from their women, and so we do not have any examples to go by when it is our turn.

The first thing you must do is say, “I am going to breastfeed my infant,” not “I am going to try to breastfeed,” or “I’m going to see how it goes.” The latter two mindsets will set you up for failure. Do not rely on switching to formula when the going gets a little rough. Do not let it become an option and you will succeed.

Fortunately, breastfeeding is enjoying a revival, and there are numerous places the new mother can turn to for advice and instruction, as well as support. The foremost organization for supporting the new nursing mother is La Leche League International (LLLI). This is a group that was founded by seven mothers in the US during the 1950’s to help and support other nursing mothers, in a time when breastfeeding had all but disappeared. Today, they have chapters all over the world. You can contact your local LLLI leader / group by looking them up in the white (or yellow) pages, or by asking your midwife or obstetrician.

You may also enlist the support and advice of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Many hospitals have lactation consultants on staff, but sometimes, these are no more than staff nurses who have taken a class on breastfeeding. You may not find her helpful at all. Remember that almost all hospitals receive money and promotional materials from the major formula manufacturers, and that it is not uncommon for the nurses in the maternity ward to routinely give bottles to all babies, including those who are supposedly “breastfed.”

If you don’t have any access to these supports, then there are numerous websites (see Resources page) which show video and pictures of how to breastfeed properly, as well as books. One recommended book is The Breastfeeding Book by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. If that particular book is unavailable to you, you will get the same information and instructions from the more widely available The Baby Book by the same authors. Also, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International, and So, That’s What They’re For: Breastfeeding Basics by Janet Tamaro-Natt.

Source: Modern Muslima – http://www.modernmuslima.com/bffaq.htm

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