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What Happens to Your Body After Childbirth

What Happens to Your Body After Childbirth

Nursing is not necessarily easy

Many new moms are distressed to discover that breastfeeding may not come as naturally as they'd anticipated, but there are things you can do, both before and after your baby is born, to increase your odds of success. "Breastfeeding needs attention and women need as much support as possible," says Dr. Greenfield. "If you want to breastfeed in our culture, you need to prepare ahead of time."

The best way to prepare is to talk to friends who have breastfed, attend a breastfeeding class, watch other women breastfeed, and plan on talking to a lactation consultant as soon as you can after giving birth. If you have any problems breastfeeding, it's important to get help as soon as possible.

Some women find their breasts become extremely engorged and uncomfortable around the third or fourth day after their babies are born, although engorgement usually diminishes within one or two days. To ease discomfort, the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation recommends applying ice packs or wrapping your breasts in green cabbage leaves for about 20 minutes. You may find expressing some milk will help make it easier for your baby to latch when your breasts are engorged.

"It's not normal for breastfeeding to be painful," Dr. Greenfield says. "In cultures where women breastfeed naturally, new moms don't accept pain–they simply change their position, or the baby's, if it's painful." Breastfeeding pain could be caused by a poor latch or an infection, which is why it's important to get help right away if you're having trouble.