Seeing breastfeeding in our families and communities can help inspire the next generation of moms to breastfeed. Watch how Dara recalls watching her mother nurse her younger siblings and how that influenced her decision to breastfeed.
10 Things to Know About Breastfeeding
1. It might not be what you expected. (And that’s okay!)
The first few days might not feel magical. They may feel overwhelming. But it will get better!
2. Breastfeeding has to be learned.
Your baby is learning, you’re learning—this isn’t something you’re both born knowing. But once you two figure it out, you can enjoy those special breastfeeding moments.
3. Lactation consultants can help.
Working with a lactation consultant right away can help you learn the basics quickly and give you the best start possible. Try our tool to find an LC near you, or submit your question online with our Ask the LC tool.
4. You might get cramps while you nurse.
In the days after giving birth, you may experience cramps while breastfeeding. That’s because during breastfeeding, your brain releases the hormone, oxytocin, which helps your uterus contract back to its pre-pregnancy shape and size.
5. Pumping isn’t just for working moms.
Even when you’re at home with baby, a breast pump can help give you flexibility if you need to be away to run errands or even if you want to give your breasts some relief.
6. It can be a team effort.
Partners can help with breastfeeding. Whether it’s making sure you’re hydrated, cleaning pump parts, or giving a bottle when you’re not with baby—ask them to support you!
7. You’re going to be thirsty and hungry.
In the first 3 to 12 months postpartum, your body burns between 300–500 calories a day producing breast milk, so it’s no wonder you’ll be hungry and thirsty.
8. You can eat (almost) anything you want.
After nine months of avoiding certain types of foods, you can finally chow down on all the sushi, lunch meat, and soft cheese you want. Just watch for extra fussiness or gassiness from your baby, as some babies can be sensitive to your breast milk after you eat certain foods.
9. Uneven milk supply is normal.
Your body isn’t perfectly symmetrical, so it’s no surprise that many breastfeeding moms report uneven milk supply. This is very common, and if you and your baby are comfortable, it’s not an issue.
10. Breastfeeding is a journey you get to control.
Every single drop of breast milk you provide for your baby is amazing. How long you decide to nurse or pump is totally up to you. You know your baby and body best—the choice is yours to make.