Breastfeeding Resource Page

There are lots of great sites online about breastfeeding which is good news since there is so much information a breastfeeding mama might want to know! This page gives you a starting place for information about breastfeeding and points you towards a lot of other great resources so you can dive in and learn as much as you want. Let me know if there’s more information you’re looking for that I can include here!

La Leche League International is the #1 source for breastfeeding information. If you are looking for in-person assistance, you may also be able to find La Leche League meetings near you. In person meetings with other breastfeeding mothers can be enormously more valuable than online information, especially if you are new to breastfeeding, having any issues, needing some friendly support, or just want to be in company that understands you. Even if there are no meetings near you, the La Leche League Leaders listed on the meeting pages will all be happy to talk to you on the phone or through email if you need breastfeeding support.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • See this La Leche League page for many articles on the benefits of breastfeeding.
  • Breastmilk has just the right balance of ingredients, providing all the nutrients your growing baby needs.
  • It is easier to digest than formula.
  • Breastmilk contains hormones and antibodies that protect your baby from illness, which cannot be replicated by formula. Formula-fed babies have more ear infections and respiratory infections, among other illnesses, as well as more cases of SIDS.
  • It’s easier on you. There’s nothing to sterilize and nothing to prepare.
  • It’s cheaper. Formula supplies cost hundreds of dollars a year plus increased medical care costs.
  • The physical contact of breastfeeding provides emotional benefits to both mama and baby.
  • If you need more reasons to breastfeed this page lists 101 reasons to do it, everything from the nicer containers to reducing greenhouse gases!

Preparing for Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is “natural”, it’s true, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily come naturally to you. In times past mothers would have had a lot more exposure to breastfeeding examples and information prior to doing it themselves. These days our relative social isolation means that we’re kind of starting from scratch with this essential skill. The information you need is available, but you have to do a little more work to access it. Here are some options to consider:
  • If there are La Leche League meetings near you, you can go even before you give birth. Just hearing other women talk about breastfeeding will give you confidence.
  • If you have relatives who breastfed, ask them to share their experiences with you. Guide them towards sharing positive stories with you, if you can. What did they like about breastfeeding? What tips can they offer you?
  • Your local hospitals/birthing centers may offer breastfeeding classes. Check with your health department about possible low-cost or free classes, too.
  • Add a good breastfeeding book to your shelf before you need it. There are lots of good options, but The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is the gold standard.
  • Consider what accessories might help you out, like a Boppy pillow, a nursing cover, or nursing bras.

Breastfeeding How To

If you give birth in a hospital or birthing center, there may be lactation consultants on hand to help you with your first steps into breastfeeding. Take advantage of them! They are there to help, and while it may seem awkward in those first couple of days, the assistance will be so valuable!

You will develop your own breastfeeding patterns as you and your baby learn together. Here are some of the basic steps to start off with:

  • Get comfortable. Support yourself with pillows if you want to, and have anything handy that you might want like your phone or a glass of water.
  • Support your baby’s head with one hand and your breast with the other. Bring your baby to your breast; don’t lean over to bring your breast to your baby.
  • Touch your baby’s lower lip with your nipple until your baby’s mouth opens up wide. You want your baby to get a big mouthful of areola.
  • If you feel pain past the first few seconds or something else seems off and you want to try to re-latch your baby, first break the suction by putting your finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth or by pressing down on your areola right next to your baby’s lips.
  • When you are starting out, feed your baby every two to three hours or whenever your baby seems hungry.
  • Here is a guide to breastfeeding that includes some sketches to help you visualize the process.
  • And here’s a guide to help you determine if you have a correct latch.
  • It can be extremely helpful for new mamas to see examples of breastfeeding. This site has several videos, including examples of different problems.

Common Breastfeeding Issues

There are some common issues that you might encounter while breastfeeding. Don’t let these problems deter you. There are only a handful of potential issues, and there are lots of strategies for avoiding and managing them.
  • Engorgement is when your breasts become overly full and swollen. This can happen in the beginning when your milk supply is first starting, if you go a long period without feeding, or if there’s a sudden change in your baby’s feeding habits.
  • Sore nipples can occur as a result of a bad latch.
  • A plugged duct is when your milk flow gets blocked by a buildup of skin cells and milk.
  • Overactive letdown is when your milk comes out too fast for your baby to manage, leading your baby to gag or refuse to feed.
There are many places online to get information on these issues and others. Try this link for more information on their causes, how to avoid them, and what to do when they occur all on a single page.

Pumping and Work

I haven’t pumped breastmilk or breastfed while working out of the home, so this is an area where I don’t know a lot. I’d like to grow this section over time, but I have more learning to do. Here are a couple of good pages I found:

I’d love to recommend products that help facilitate pumping. Can you recommend any that you found useful?

Nursing in Public (NIP)

In the US, you have the right to nurse your child in public, anywhere you are otherwise allowed to be, and you don’t have to be “discreet” or take any special steps on behalf of other people if you don’t want to. You can read more about the legal side of nursing or look up the specific laws in your state.

The Carnival of Nursing in Public is a wonderful resource for endless reading on this topic from multiple writers. The carnival posts are separated into five days and topics:

KellyMom

Along with La Leche League, the other stand-out online resource is KellyMom. KellyMom is a trustworthy site, well organized to address many different issues. You could spend all day reading about breastfeeding!

  • Getting Started Breastfeeding: What to expect, how to prepare, common concerns, etc.
  • Safety While Breastfeeding: Covers medications, herbs, vitamins, and illnesses.
  • Nursing the Older Baby: Common baby concerns like teething, and mama concerns like supply and fertility.
  • Breastfeeding Past a Year: Myths, facts, common concerns, and answering criticism.
  • Weaning: Extensive information on the end of the breastfeeding process.

And MORE…

This excellent 40+ page PDF is an overview of these and other topics and offers a helpline – 800-994-9662 – where you can talk to a breastfeeding peer counselor. Breastfeeding can seem like a big or complicated topic, but there is lots of help and information out there for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support when you need it.

Here is another comprehensive online guide to breastfeeding. Check it out if you want to see a lot of useful breastfeeding information presented in a clear, easily navigable form.

This resource page on breastfeeding will grow over time, as I find more useful information and links to add.

What other information about breastfeeding would you like to know or what other information would you add to this page?

Comments

  1. Molly Bussler says:

    A lot of great information, I am expecting my first baby in May and I am going to try to breastfeed my baby, I have a few books and my mother will help me. This covers every question that I would have on the subject. Thanks for posting.

  2. How about adding some resources, if available, about when you are done breastfeeding. My Dylan just up and decided he was done and I wasn’t sure if there was something I was supposed to do for myself or what. Turned out there wasn’t and within a couple of weeks the Girls felt relatively normal again :)

  3. There are so many breast pumps on the market and new ones come out every day but what are some opinions for some reputable breast pump lines from regular people and not just regular blog writer reviews( a panel of sort)

  4. Great overview and list of links!
    The only important thing you forgot to mention is a shout-out to lanolin or nipple cream – a must-have for breastfeeding IMO. I don’t know anyone who didn’t use it at least at first. I slathered it on for 6+ weeks.
    As a full-time working & pumping mama, the only issue I could think of to add is about laws relating to pumping in the workplace. A good site with that info is http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx.
    As far as products that help with pumping – I LOVE my Medela steamer bag for sterilizing my pump parts in the microwave. I’m sure there are other brands as well. Also, there are hands-free pump bras that are supposed to be awesome, though I’ve never tried any.

  5. Elizabeth E says:

    Great info! I might expand the section on common problems and really encourage moms to get help right away if they are struggling…so often moms give up during those initial bumps because they are in pain and they don’t know that help is available. I’d suggest that women contact LLL, an LC and note that some hospitals even offer free breastfeeding support on a weekly basis (the one near me does free weighing and is staffed by an LC). Also, nipple cream and something like a lansioh soothie gel pack can really help the 1st week or 2…I was so sore and cracked I cringed every time my nipple rubbed my shirt, but the soothies made it much more bearable.

  6. Anne Lehnick says:

    Great resource pages! I wish every mom would breastfeed. Too many women are being shamed and embarassed about using their breasts to feed their babies, but if they only knew how rewarding it was…

    • It really is so rewarding. I was completely committed to breastfeeding, but I thought it was going to be a chore. I’ve been really delighted at how much it nurtures me, too.

  7. As a pumping at work mom, I definitely recommend the hands free pumping “bra” (more of a harness) and can’t say enough good things about taking lecithin to ward off plugged ducts. I think when I don’t go hands free I compress a duct or something by pressing too hard, but 2-3 capsules each day and I don’t have plugged ducts any more. I’m weaning now and think I’ll step it up just to be on the safe side.

    My nipples were so damaged at the hospital that I have a prescription for one step past lanolin: All Purpose Nipple Ointment. If your LC recommends it, take her up on it, it did wonders for healing.

  8. You should definitely mention how challenging breastfeeding can be for some mothers! From no supply to insufficient supply, sore sore nipples which some ladies already mentioned above, blisters, sores, i can go on and on.

    Personally, i had no supply in the initial stages. Since i’ve always wanted to breastfeed, this was a huge blow, coupled with post natal depression, i practically cried myself to sleep every night and in the shower everyday. Thank God for the Medela Pump In style. My milk finally came in after about a month, and I’ve been breastfeed since. 17 months so far and hopefully til she turns 2!

    I have nothing against formula, but I do hope that more mothers would be well prepared, mentally, physically and even equipment-wise, so that their journey would be smoother and less depressing!

    Thanks for your compilation of resources! I’ll definitely refer to it when i’m expecting no 2. :)

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