August is National Breastfeeding Month! So, we wanted to share a few things about breastfeeding that every mom should know.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
During pregnancy, there are a lot of recommendations on what you should do and, more importantly, what you should eat. After your baby is born, those rules might go out the window for you. Your first thought is, “Bring on the sushi and caffeine!”
The only diet a breastfeeding mom should follow is making sure she gets proper nutrition. According to the La Leche League, good nutrition means eating a “varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.” That means there are relatively no limits to a breastfeeding diet. Just make sure everything is fresh and healthy!
Master the Hold
Breastfeeding can be tricky at first, but every new mom should remember to stay comfortable with her new baby. The more comfortable you and your baby are with feeding, the more natural the whole process becomes for both people involved.
Try a few different breastfeeding positions until you find one that you and your baby enjoy.
A few positions include:
- Cradle Hold – Position your baby so that her head rests in the bend of your elbow on the side of your body that you will use to feed. Support your baby’s head with that arm and turn her toward that breast to feed. Your other hand may be used to hold the feeding breast near your baby’s mouth. This is the most common position.
- Football hold: Tuck your baby’s legs under your arm on the same side of your body that you will use to feed. Place his head toward your breast, with feet facing toward your back. Tuck the same side arm under your baby to support him. Use the opposite hand to hold the feeding breast near your baby’s mouth.
- Side-Lying Position: Lie on your side with a pillow under your head. Place the baby in line with your nipple. The baby will be on her back or side when she is older. Scoot your breast or the baby toward you, whichever is easy, until the baby makes contact with your feeding breast. This is a common position for nursing in bed.
Have a Support Team
For some women, breastfeeding comes easy. For others, it’s very hard. All women should have a support team for any ups and downs they experience with their little ones. Support teams can be close, like a partner or parent, or some can be professionals like a lactation consultant, pediatrician or OBGYN. Friends and other moms can be great supporters, too.
Know Your Rights
It’s also important to remember that it is 100% legal to breastfeed your baby in public and at work in the United States. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. (Idaho’s only breastfeeding law exempts breastfeeding mothers from jury duty.)
At work, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires “an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk.” Though employers are not required to compensate breastfeeding mothers under the ACA for that time, they are required to provide them with place, other than a bathroom, to express their milk.
For more information about breastfeeding, visit mtauburnobgyn.com/breastfeeding or talk to your doctor at your next visit.