Breastfeeding Basics with Megan Tucker

Megan Tucker, RN, certified Moms on Call and lactation consultant shares breastfeeding basics from preparation to establishing and maintaining your supply.

While we all know the benefits of breastfeeding for mother, baby and family, NO ONE ever says it’s easy! What are a few things that can help early on? Megan Tucker, owner of Baby Basics Atlanta, registered nurse, certified lactation consultant, certified Moms On Call consultant and certified childbirth instructor shares her guidance to help set you up for success if breastfeeding is part of your feeding plan!

Preparation

Education BEFORE baby arrives is key! While it is a natural process and both baby and mama are armed with instincts, statistics show that mamas are significantly more successful with breastfeeding when prenatal education is completed.

There are many ways to achieve this which includes private classes, hospital provided classes, virtual classes, books, online tutorials and even small handouts that cover the basics. ANY information you can arm yourself with prior to giving birth will help you feel more confident. 

Supportive team 

Statistics also show that people around a mama who understand and support her goals make a huge difference in the outcome of breastfeeding. Partners, grandparents, friends, spouses, you can make a HUGE difference. However, they often feel helpless.

What can you do to help?

  • Fill mama’s water bottle
    • Hydration is key to milk production.
  • Grab her a snack
  • Assess positioning to make sure she is sitting in a way supportive to bringing baby to the breast
  • Burp and change baby
  • Hold baby and help gently wake them up.
    • Next to mama is a baby’s favorite snuggly, safe spot to doze.
    • Expect a struggle the first few weeks keeping baby awake while nursing but know they’ll probably wake right up when handed off to you.
  • Tidy up so mama can focus on themselves and baby
    • It can be a struggle for some to rest when they see a mess around them. 

Establishment of supply

It takes about 3-7 days for full milk production to kick in after your first baby. Arm yourself with knowledge on how to promote this. And if milk isn’t coming in as quickly as you’d like, a lactation consultant will partner with you to come up with a plan and help you execute it.

Once your milk comes in, maintaining that supply is the priority. (Did you know you establish your breast milk supply blueprint for your entire journey in the first 8 weeks?) Remember that equal time on each breast is not the focus once milk comes in. Instead, we focus on emptying the first breast before moving to the second. (I like to call it ‘dinner and dessert’.) 

Remember, at the end of the day, I want a mama to feel supported through this feeding experience. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and it’s ok to be ok with this! Fed is best and there isn’t just one way to do that. A good lactation consultant can help you reach your feeding goals whether it is breast, bottle and breast, exclusively pumping OR formula fed. There is nothing more wonderful for me than helping families find what works for them! Don’t compare yourself to others, mama. Find what works for YOU and your team.  

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