9 Breastfeeding Habits That Show You've Got This Nursing Thing Under Control
While breastfeeding is beautiful, it's not always easy. I experienced problems with my baby latching and had to supplement and pump; an exhausting regiment that left me with barely enough energy to continue caring for my baby, let alone myself. However, once we developed a routine and got back to exclusive breastfeeding, my son and I enjoyed a relatively smooth breastfeeding relationship that lasted over two years. In that time I've discovered more than a few breastfeeding habits that proved I had everything under control.
One of the reasons that breastfeeding can seem so intimidating is often the lack of support and education available to moms-to-be. The movement to normalize breastfeeding seeks to make the general public at large, and moms in particular, feel more comfortable in doing something that, ironically, has been made to feel "unnatural." Another barrier to breastfeeding? The "all or nothing" mentality that leads women to believe if they can't breastfeed full-time then they should just "give up." Any amount of breast milk is beneficial to a baby's health and formula can be used to supplement, not only to replace breastfeeding. Add normal "new mom" feelings — like feeling isolated, uncomfortable or touched out — and feeling like you have everything under control isn't just nice, it's necessary.
Once you have conquered any of the, often inevitable, problems that confront many breastfeeding mamas, and developed any of the following habits, you'll know you're a breastfeeding boss.
When You Can, Literally, Do It In Your Sleep
Once you get used to night feeds, and especially if you bed share, you can latch your baby on without even opening your eyes. Sweet!
When You Can Feed On The Move
By loosening the straps on your sling, wrap, or soft carrier, you can easily baby wear and nurse at the same time. I always found my baby would have the longest snugly naps after feeding this way.
When You Can Breastfeed Anywhere
Once you become a breastfeeding pro, you'll be able to feed your kid anywhere. At the beginning of my baby's life, I had to use a breast shield to help him to latch. It was fiddly and could be messy, which meant I usually felt a little uncomfortable nursing outside of my home.
Once he was weaned from the shield, however, I found freedom in being able to feed him everywhere and anywhere.
When You Immediately Know When Your Baby Is Hungry
When you have been breastfeeding for a while, you'll easily pick up on your baby's signs and cues that tell you they are hungry Honestly, noting those signs way before the usual behaviors, such as gnawing on their fists or crying, will make all the difference.
When You Can Talk And Nurse Simultaneously
Experienced breastfeeding moms don't even need to take a breath or pause at all in conversation while they expertly rearrange their clothes and latch their baby on to their nipple. I always used my nursing sessions as a chance to chat to friends and family on the phone.
When People Can't Even Tell You're Breastfeeding
Many moms don't care one bit if a stranger can see them breastfeeding. Other moms, however, may feel uncomfortable. One of the benefits of becoming an experienced nursing mom is becoming so quick and functional when feeding your baby, that people don't even realize what you are doing.
When You Can Undress Real Quick
Nursing moms usually need to be able to feed their baby ASAP, which means they become really adept at the speedy removal of clothes. This is made easier by making or buying some nursing clothes, especially nursing bras with easy access front clips.
With the help of my crafty dad, I made little loops on all my tank tops so they could be peeled down along with my bra cup, yet still covered my tummy (keeping me warm and comfortable while I nursed).
When You Can Multitask
You really know you have this breastfeeding thing down when you can do other things while you nurse your baby. Providing you use your common sense and practice some basic safety tips, it's possible to do a range of things while you breastfeed, up to and including: work, cook, clean, surf the internet, chat to friends, or read.
When You Breastfeed In Front Of Unlikely People
If baby is hungry, baby's gonna eat. When I nursed my baby in front of my dad without giving it a moment's thought, I knew breastfeeding had become second nature.
If you practice any of these habits, or other multitasking feats that prove you have this breastfeeding business under control, go right on ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. You got this, mom.