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Breastfeeding Secrets

Breastfeeding is a topic that makes some people blush. So in case you don't have all the information you need, Laura Kalehoff of American Baby Magazine fills you in on a few nursing secrets.

You don't need to eat like a dietician. Your body is designed to make healthy milk, no matter what. So eating a well balanced diet is not so much a matter of producing quality milk as it is key to maintaining overall health and keeping your energy up. Fill nutritional gaps by continuing to take a prenatal vitamin which offers higher levels of calcium, vitamin D and iron than a multi vitamin.

You can welcome small amounts of alcohol and caffeine into your day. Just limit yourself to two cups of coffee and one serving of alcohol a day. Many moms have told us that having a glass of coffee or wine makes them feel like an adult, not just a mom. If you are going to drink, do it right after you breastfeed so your body metabolizes the alcohol before your next session. You can also pump before you indulge so that you have breast milk in the fridge ready to go.

Nursing can be monotonous. Some feedings last as long as an hour and you need to repeat the process every couple of hours at first. Nowadays it's hard to do one thing at a time, even if it is nursing. So go ahead and multitask while you're breastfeeding but resist the temptation to do so during nightly feedings. At night, change the baby, feed him and put him down, don't turn on any lights or TV. You're trying to orient your baby to day and night and create healthy sleeping patterns. Too much stimulation from light or sound in the early hours can get him wired up.

Breastfeeding might be painful. It shouldn't be, but it might. You can expect some irritation at first, but if you're in a lot of pain, there's probably a problem with the latch. Call a lactation consultant. Your OB or the hospital can give you a recommendation. Pumps can also cause pain if you're using yours at the highest setting. Pumps can express milk aggressively, so start with the lowest setting and increase it only to a level that's comfortable for you.

You may not be into it and that's okay. If you're not enjoying breastfeeding and it's taking away from enjoying time with your newborn, don't feel guilty about stopping. If you want to keep trying, get support from a lactation consultant. Your doctor can recommend a good one. Don't let other people make you feel guilty.

For more information on breastfeeding your newborn and other parenting tips, click here.