Breastfeeding advice for athletic mothers:
You may have heard many times that breastfeeding is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation. You might think that it’s only because of the risks associated with having your baby under the same conditions as you are going through. However, there are other reasons why you shouldn’t do so. For example, some women feel uncomfortable with their nipples being exposed during labor and delivery (LBD). Others believe that they need to avoid contact with their nipples at all costs.
There are other reasons as well. If you’re one of those women, then you don’t want to read any further!
However, if you still haven’t given up on breastfeeding during LBD, then I’m here to tell you that it isn’t impossible! It just takes effort and determination. And trust me – it will pay off in the long run!
Here are 5 tips that will make your experience much easier.
1) Don’t worry about what others think!
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how fit you think you are; everyone has their own ideas about what constitutes good parenting. That’s fine, but don’t let them affect your decision to continue breastfeeding. Your goal is to feed your child and nothing else!
2) Do NOT skip your workouts!
I know you’re worried about leaking and all that stuff. However, the best way to increase your milk supply is by pumping (or manually expressing). The more you pump, the more you will produce! Keep in mind that excessive physical activity will decrease your supply, so save the intense workouts for after you feed the baby.
3) Wear loose clothing!
Even if you aren’t leaking right now, that might change at any moment. It’s better to play it on the safe side by wearing clothes that won’t get in the way if disaster strikes. Comfortable and loose is the way to go!
4) Get a hands-free bra!
Even if you aren’t working out right now, you still need to go about your day. That includes driving, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of your other children (if you have any). You need a bra that allows you to do all these things without having to struggle with hooks or pulling it up every two minutes.
5) Watch your posture!
A lot of new mothers end up with a slumped over posture due to the added weight in front. This can cause a lot of back aches and pains down the road. Be sure to stand up straight and always wear a supportive bra when you’re not actively feeding your child.
Breastfeeding in public might be against the law in some states, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise common sense! If you see someone giving you a dirty look for exposing your chest, just walk away. It isn’t worth making a scene over.
Breastfeeding Advice for New Moms
This next set of tips are for mothers who have already given birth and are struggling with breastfeeding their babies:
1) Make sure your baby is latched on correctly!
No, a C-Section doesn’t make it impossible to do this. A lot of first time moms think it’s okay if the baby just has a little bit of the areola in his mouth. This isn’t true AT ALL! The mouth should be wide open and the entire areola, as well as a bit of the actual boob, should be in the mouth.
2) Don’t give up too easily!
This is the problem with a lot of moms. They think they aren’t producing enough milk, so they start supplementing with formula. However, if they would just give the breastfeeding a little more time, their milk production would increase.
3) Pumping is NOT the same as breastfeeding!
A lot of moms think that pumping their milk and having someone else give it to the baby is the same as directly breastfeeding. This is NOT true. While it’s much healthier than giving your baby formula, you’re still not getting all the benefits of a mom who is actually breastfeeding.
4) Get help!
This is the number one thing I wish I did, but didn’t. Find a local La Leche League Group and attend a meeting. You can also search online for other local support groups. Don’t be embarrassed, this is perfectly normal and many women struggle with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Problems and Solutions
It’s very common for new mothers to experience breastfeeding problems. Whether a medical professional trained you or not, there are still things you can do to help increase your milk supply and prevent pain and infection. Here are some common issues and how to deal with them:
Issue: Trouble Latching On
This is when the baby is having a hard time attaching to the areola to begin feeding.
Solution: Make sure the baby is latched on correctly. You can also pump your nipples a bit to get them hard before putting the baby on, this sometimes helps them to latch on better.
Issue: Inverted Nipples
This happens when the nipples evert (turn inward). It makes it difficult for the baby to latch on correctly, plus it can be painful.
Solution: Use an oil (like coconut) to massage the outside of the nipples to try to get them to stick out. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t you’ll have to use a tube or cup to feed the baby.
Issue: Not Producing Enough Milk
Sometimes despite your best efforts you just can’t produce enough milk for your baby. This is very common among first time moms, especially those giving birth prematurely or having multiple births.
Solution: This can be very frustrating, but sometimes you need to supplement with formula if you want to keep your baby healthy. Don’t feel like you’ve failed as a mom, there is nothing wrong with supplementing!
Issue: Painful Nipples
This is probably the most common breastfeeding problem. It’s incredibly painful for many moms and can really make them not want to feed their baby.
Solution: Try different breastfeeding positions to see if that helps. Also, make sure the baby is latched on correctly. You can also use some of the products designed to help with this, like gel pads or creams. If all else fails and the pain is just too much, supplement with formula.
NOTE: If you experience any redness or bleeding when breastfeeding, stop immediately and seek help from a lactation consultant and/or your doctor.
We’ve all heard of postpartum depression, but did you know many new mothers experience something called the baby blues?
This is a much less severe form of depression that will affect your mood for just a few days. It’s very common and basically just involves having feelings of sadness, worry, anxiety and being overwhelmed. You may also have a hard time sleeping. This will eventually go away on its own, but here are some tips to help you get through it:
Get as much rest as you can. Sleep when the baby sleeps, even if that means taking a nap during the day.
Keep a regular feeding and sleep schedule for the baby. This will keep your body on a schedule and help with those all-night feedings.
Talk to your partner and share your feelings. You may be a mom, but you aren’t Superwoman. It’s OK to admit that you’re struggling and need help.
Seek out a postpartum support group. You can find some online or there are even organizations that will visit new mothers in your area to provide support (check at your local hospital).
Do something every day just for you. This means no babysitting!
If your symptoms persist and/or get worse, talk to your doctor. You may need medication to help you through this difficult time. Don’t suffer in silence.
The last weeks of pregnancy are an incredible time for bonding with your soon-to-be newborn baby. However, you may find that you have some difficulty getting comfortable. This is completely normal and there’s a few things you can do to make yourself more comfortable.
Try these tips to get through the last weeks of pregnancy:
Get a full body pillow. You can place this underneath your belly and between your legs. This will help take some pressure off your back and keep you from sleeping on your side.
Place a pillow under your belly. This will take some pressure off your back and hips, which will allow you to get comfortable.
Find a position that’s comfortable for you. If lying on your side is what works for you, then do it!
These tips should help you get through those last few weeks of pregnancy. Remember, if you need additional support you can ask your doctor about special pillows and other devices that may help you.
There’s nothing like that exciting moment when the doctor announces that it’s time to meet your baby!
The birth of your baby can be a lot to take in, but you’ll eventually get the hang of it. Here are a few tips for you and your new bundle of joy:
You may find that the first several weeks are a bit hazy. So whenever you get the chance, take photos or videos of your little one. You’ll be glad you did!
Breastfeeding can be difficult at first. Seek out a support group or check out online forums where mothers can offer suggestions and advice.
Don’t worry too much about the umbilical cord. It will fall off by itself when the time is right. If it looks like it’s rotting or something else seems wrong, talk to your doctor.
Keep track of feedings and diapers. Go by the clock, not by how you or the baby feels.
Enjoy every moment with your little one. They grow up so fast!
Many new mothers have conflicting feelings when it comes to their newborn: love and joy as well as anger and resentment. Just remember, no matter how hard things seem now, they will get better. If you feel like you’re struggling with postpartum depression or something similar, talk to your doctor or get a referral to a therapist. There’s also a postpartum support group near you (check at your local hospital). You and your baby need you to take care of yourselves, so please don’t try to go it alone.
If you’re having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or your baby, contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency help.
Congratulations! You’ve learned everything you’ll ever need to know about taking care of your newborn.
You’re ready to take on this parenting thing!
Writing and formatting: threateny
Revisions: nathlessescapist, VampireHunter935, thevampirezombie, TheGalaxyCitizen, boombrocker87, and Decane
Special thanks to: Everybody who provided help in the past!
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Sources & references used in this article:
Managing the lactating body: The breast-feeding project and privileged motherhood by O Avishai – Qualitative Sociology, 2007 – Springer
Elite Distance Runners and Breastfeeding: A Qualitative Study by AR Giles, B Phillipps, FE Darroch… – Journal of Human …, 2016 – journals.sagepub.com
Managing the lactating body: the breastfeeding project in the age of anxiety by O Avishai – Infant feeding practices, 2011 – Springer