Although breastfeeding is natural, the early days are not always a cakewalk. “It just didn’t work out,” some moms say, or “I didn’t have enough milk.” When you consider that breast milk is the best possible food for newborns, the numbers are stunning: only about 15 percent of US moms achieve the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Why? Breastfeeding is definitely not right for all women. But often, mothers just don’t know what to expect, when to seek help -- or where.@x13">
I interviewed Pat Shelly, a board-certified lactation consultant and Director of The Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. She has over 25 years of experience in women’s and children’s health.
Here’s her 4-1-1 on how to prepare for breastfeeding ahead of time, frequently asked questions, common issues that may arise, and what to look for when seeking professional support.
- Prepare beforehand so you’re ready to hit the ground running after the birth.
- When to first place the baby on your breast.
- What to do if your baby is premature.
- How do you know if your baby is getting enough breast milk?
- The truth on breastfeeding and pain.
- How to breastfeed when you’re exhausted.
- Breastfeeding after you return to work.
Jessica Clancy is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Washington Parent, and LA Parent.
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