Okay. Some other mamas have done posts about breastfeeding so I thought I'd try to do one too.
I've nursed 7 of my 8 babies.
If I've learned anything at all it's that I am definitely NOT an expert. So sorry to disappoint you! I'm not Michelle Duggar. Just because I have a lot of kids doesn't mean I know everything there is to know about babies and nursing! I've also realized that each baby is different and nurses different and has different needs. Hey, it only took me having 8 babies to acquire this priceless knowledge!! I'd say that that is one of the most important things you could know. Each child is different and your nursing experience is going to be different from anyone else's. With that in mind, let's get down to business.....let's call it The Business of Boobies, shall we??
The one piece of advice that I would advise you to act on is this: If your hospital or your pediatrician's office offers the services of a Lactation Consultant, TAKE IT!!!!! I have to say, this was my saving grace. I admit that, after Sara my 4th child was born, I am ashamed to say that I snubbed the lactation consultant. Yep, and I'm NOT proud of this. I thought that, since I already had 4 kids, I ought to be an expert now and I sure didn't need her help!! Yikes. How little I really knew!! Because when Kellie, my 5th child, was born, I needed help! (A small side note here: I came to my senses soon after Sara was born and was so embarrassed over my behavior that I made an appointment with the lactation consultant and apologized profusely to her for treating her so badly and in such an unChristian manner). So after Kellie was born, she sucked so hard that I became abraded and so raw and sore that I would cry every time she would nurse. Finally I called the lactation consultant and that was the turning point. She said that Kellie was my Barracuda Nurser and that it would get better, and she encouraged me to apply Lansinoh in copious quantities at the end of every nursing session, which brings me to my next point......
Get some Lansinoh. My hospital offers Lansinoh whenever a baby is born. Does yours?? I highly recommend it. I've tried other brands of lanolin cream, and Lansinoh is the very best. If your hospital doesn't offer it, please, do yourself a favor and buy some. OR you can put it on your baby registry when you register for gifts for your baby shower. It's a bit spendy, around $10 or so, but you will be SO glad you have it in case you get owies on your boobies from a Very Vigorous Nurser, and it lasts forerver. A little bit goes a LONG way!
Ask your veteran Mom friends for advice. Don't isolate yourself. Don't think you're the only one who has problems nursing. It ain't easy!! Just because it's a natural process of our bodies does NOT mean it will be easy! Ask your veteran Mom friends any question you can think of. If you need help or have a question, I'm available if you don't have any friends to talk to. Please, ask for help from someone you trust!
Try to establish a schedule early on by reading your baby's cues. Yes, your baby will give you hints as to how long/often/much they want to nurse. By about one month old, your baby should be establishing some sort of regular eat/sleep/awake cycle, and it's really great if you can tune in to them so that you can be on a regular shedule. It is my opinion that if your baby is on a shedule they will probably be a better nighttime sleeper. This is not a hard-and-fast fact, it is just a more-often-than-not observation.
Nursing bras or camis are a MUST! Yes, I know you think nursing bras are not sexy. I'll wager that you aren't feeling all that sexy right now anyway! Sexiness isn't the most important thing right now. Having easy and quick access to your boobies is! Nursing bra prices can run from super duper expensive (Elle McPherson nursing bras are at least $54) to super reasonable (Leading Lady nursing bras are $15). Do an internet search for nursing bras. There are nursing bras for every lifestyle/income bracket out there. Trust me, if you use your regular bras for nursing you will ruin them. They will get stretched out and if you prefer underwire bras, the wire will pop through the fabric. Just today I saw some really cute nursing bras from Leading Lady on Zulily for $14 or $15. You should get fitted for your nursing bras in the last trimester of your pregnancy, when your boobies are bigger anyway. You can either go to a mall, to a Motherhood Maternity store, or somewhere like Macy's, or a local department store that has a maternity section. I recommend having 4 nursing bras and maybe two cute camis that you can wear under T-shirts.
Well, I think that's all of the advice I can think of right now. One more thing you should know is to make up your mind that you're going to nurse and to stick to your guns. Nursing really IS the best and healthiest choice, both for your baby AND for you. I could go into how beneficial it is for you, but that's another post idea for another day!
Go ahead and leave any questions you may have in your comments!