Everyone says breastfeeding is an instinctual process and to some, it may be but to others, it is not always the case. Women should prepare their goals before birth if they can....
Ways to do this include...
Letting your doctor/hospital know your plans to breastfeed after the birth so they can foster that environment
Speak to a lactation consultant before or after the baby is born so they can support you through the process.
Talk to friends who have successfully breastfed, they may have great troubleshooting tips to pass along!
Be prepared with supplies such as nursing bras, covers, and pillows.
Breastfeeding ideally should begin within the first few hours of delivery if no other issues are going on
Now to the harder part, breastfeeding. First find a comfortable position for you and baby (I have sent a visual, which I am not sure if we can use without permission). There are various ways to hold the baby including the football position, the cradle hold or side lying position. But choose one that works optimally for you
Next, the baby has to latch on so that there is a tight seal around the nipple and most of the areola. This is important because it allows the baby to get an adequate amount of milk and prevent trauma to the nipple
In the beginning, babies feed a lot! They usually feed about 8-12 times per day and sometimes they do the dreaded cluster feedings. Feeding times vary significantly and can last from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, you have to go with the cues from your little one
Most parents are concerned about giving enough to their infants because they don't see how much they are taking in. If the baby is growing and having enough wet diapers you are probably doing a good job. If there are any concerns you should always discuss with your doctor.
Above all, know you're not failing if it's not easy! You're not alone, everyone's bodies and motherhood journeys are different.