The key to surviving the first few months of breastfeeding is having support. Here's how to get it.
1. Find a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant provides instruction for women preparing for breastfeeding or during breastfeeding. Among other things, she can help with technique, positioning, breast care, and nutrition counseling. Request to meet with one at your hospital, ask your obstetrician to refer you to a certified consultant, or find one through the International Lactation Consultant Association (ilca.org or 919-787-5181).
2. Join a support group. Other nursing mothers can be a great source of inspiration, information, and camaraderie. Ask your lactation consultant if she holds support groups. Also get breastfeeding help or a referral to a group from La Leche League (lalecheleague.org or 1-800-LALECHE).
3. Get your partner involved. Make sure your partner knows he is an essential part of making breastfeeding work. Tell him specifically what he can do to enable you to nurse more easily, such as preparing meals, grocery shopping, keeping the house tidy, and, especially, giving you emotional support.
4. Rally family and friends. When loved ones come to visit, ask them to bring groceries or prepared food or to do a load of laundry. Most people are searching for ways to be helpful and will be glad you asked.