As a new doula, I have had a hard time figuring out what to tell new moms immediately postpartum about breastfeeding. What one bit of advice can I tell them to help them out the most? Other than physically helping her with positioning the baby and identifying when the baby is drinking, what can I leave her with that is important to know immediately postpartum?
Here are a few of the most useful bits of advice I can think of for a new mom that will help immensely with breastfeeding:
1. Surround yourself with supportive people. Make sure everyone you encounter encourages your breastfeeding efforts. It can be emotionally and physically rough. You will need every single kind word and reassuring statement from your husband, mother, sister, friend, etc that you can get.
2. Find a lactation consultant. Nursing shouldn't hurt, and if it does, get help with your baby's latch. An LC can answer your questions and help you in ways that your pediatrician who isn't trained in breastfeeding or even your friend who has breastfed before cannot. The best breastfeeding books, while informative, will also often refer you to an LC for help identifying problems.
3. Nurse on Demand. Follow your baby's cues, not the clock, and make sure you're both comfortable. Learn to nurse lying down so you can get lots of rest. The more you nurse, the more milk you'll make. Don't try to be superwoman right after you give birth - someone else can take care of the laundry and cooking!
Anything else you can think of to add? What helped you the most when you were new to breastfeeding?