Breastfeeding: Is short-term nursing possible?

I have always been set against breastfeeding because I thought I would feel uncomfortable. Now I am thinking of doing it for about four to six weeks because it is so good for the baby. Is this possible?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It's great to hear you're thinking of giving breastfeeding a try. Breastfeeding is not only a wonderful way of nourishing your baby, but is a great way to provide your baby with your closeness and your love. Breastfeeding should not be painful. In fact, the hormones released while nursing are extremely relaxing, helping a new mother to feel quite at peace while feeding her baby. Breastfeeding also provides you with the opportunity to get some rest following your baby's birth. Most newborns nurse at least 10 to 12 times a day. That's a great time to sit down, put your feet up and relax. Or even better, lie down and rest with your baby. Again, those hormones will be at work, helping you to slow down and rest.

The first six weeks of breastfeeding -- and mothering -- are a time of adjustment. Mothers and babies become more in sync with each other. Many moms who had planned on nursing for only a short period of time are surprised by just how much they enjoy the breastfeeding relationship they have developed with their baby.

It isn't necessary for you to make a long-term commitment to breastfeeding, if that is what worries you. Any and all breastmilk that your baby receives will be beneficial. Have a goal in mind, of let's say, breastfeeding during your baby's first six weeks of life (if that's comfortable for you). Plan on doing all you can during that time to assure the best start. Working with an IBCLC in the hospital or hiring a Lactation Consultant in private practice, once you're at home, would be very helpful. Avoid the use of bottles and pacifiers during your baby's first six weeks. Spend lots of time nursing and holding your baby. You may be pleasantly surprised that at six weeks, you aren't yet ready to wean your baby from your breast. Allow yourself to enjoy this relationship and just go one day at a time. Very best wishes for a great nursing relationship with your baby-to-be!

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