The Family Birth Center at the University of Chicago Medicine is internationally recognized for providing optimal care for breastfed babies and their parents.
Our doctors and lactation consultants understand that breastfeeding can seem daunting, even for a second parent. Breastfeeding can be especially difficult if your firstborn has not been breastfed.
As a Baby-Friendly USA Designated Hospital, we meet many parents who have not breastfed their first child and wonder if it is worth trying with their second child. Our resounding answer is always yes! While it may seem easier said than done, here are some tips we share with parents who didn’t breastfeed the first time but would like to try it with their next child.
Align your support network.
Now you know that it really does take a whole village to raise a child. If you did not breastfeed your first child or if you had difficulty breastfeeding your first child, it is important to talk to your obstetrician. Your doctor is the member of your village who can provide expert medical help.
Also, now that you’re familiar with the process, you may be able to pinpoint exactly what went wrong for you and your baby the first time around. Your obstetrician will be able to answer your questions and may be able to connect you with a lactation consultant ahead of time to prepare for the birth of your next baby.
Attending prenatal breastfeeding classes is another option. There are likely classes offered in your local community, including here at UChicago Medicine.
Also consider connecting with other breastfeeding parents. Through Baby Bistro, UChicago Medicine’s free weekly support group, parents can form a community with other breastfeeding parents while receiving professional guidance from lactation experts on personal breastfeeding challenges and successes. ‘feeding with milk.
Good for you, good for baby.
Breastfeeding your child has health benefits for you and your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first 6 months, then introducing complementary foods with breastfeeding at around 6 months, continuing breastfeeding until at age 2 and beyond, for as long as parent and child wish. .
There are many benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk helps strengthen and support your child’s immune system. Breastfeeding also soothes and reassures baby and creates a bond between baby and parent. Studies have shown that breastfeeding for more than 12 months decreases rates of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding also helps reduce postpartum depression.
Prepare to return to work.
There are a few barriers to breastfeeding that may seem out of your control. Returning to work without a safe space to pump or store milk is a real problem that can be difficult to deal with. Just like having a conversation with your obstetrician, have a conversation with your employer. Your workplace is required by federal law to give you a reasonable time off to express your milk until your child’s first birthday.
Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, out of sight and free from intrusion by co-workers and the public. If you need to request this place, request a space with a door and a lock. You may need to access an outlet if you need to plug in a pump.
At work, you will need to express your milk during the hours when you would feed your baby if you were at home. As a general rule, during the first months of life, babies should be breastfed 8 to 12 times a day. As the baby grows, the number of feedings may decrease. Pumping can take around 10-15 minutes once you get into a rhythm. Sometimes it may take longer.
It should be noted that under the Affordable Care Act, parents can get a breast pump for free under most health insurance plans. Call your insurance company to see what resources are available to you, from a hospital-grade rental pump to home breastfeeding visits once you and your baby are discharged from the hospital.
Remember that all babies are different.
What worked with your firstborn might not work for your next, and what didn’t work for your firstborn might work for your next child. If your first baby had trouble latching on, that doesn’t mean the next one will. Also, research shows that breastfeeding parents produce significantly more milk during their second pregnancy, which translates into more efficient feedings.
Finally, don’t give up. Breastfeeding can be a rewarding experience for you and your baby. There are a number of resources available to help you and your baby get off to a happy and healthy start.
Breastfeeding support and resources at the Family Birthing Center
Sign up for a free breastfeeding class
Join our Baby Bistro Breastfeeding Support Group