I wasn’t able to breastfeed my first son and so I was determined this time around to be successful at it.
I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. I couldn’t get him to latch every time on my own in the hospital & was still having trouble at home for the first few days and so we were supplementing with formula. My doctor gave me the encouragement while still at the hospital to continue trying. She told me the many benefits and why it’s so important to try to breastfeed if you can. (Post about benefits of breastfeeding)
I learned that your breasts supply by demand so the more I was supplementing with formula, the less milk I was going to make. I didn’t give up. After a week he was exclusively breastfeeding and has been since! (Nearly 1 month old as of right now) I’m pretty proud and excited. No one tells you just how difficult learning to breastfeed can be for some women. Most are under the assumption it just works & comes naturally… It’s what our breasts are designed to do, right? Unfortunately, some of them just don’t get the memo.
Things I’ve learned:
- Breast milk is the only food your baby needs for the first 6 months of life.
- Breast milk is made by how often & how long your baby feeds.
- Breastfeeding does not always come naturally. It can take time, patience research and some hard work.
- Learning to latch isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
- Nipple shields can be useful for latching issues and sensitivity issues and pain. (link)
- You can’t overfeed a breastfed baby. If you are breastfeeding exclusively, it’s recommended to feed on demand. Watch baby’s cues, not the clock.
- Exclusively breastfed babies need a vitamin d supplement.
- Your breasts may start off super sore. Almost unbearable. This will pass. It may happen again once your milk comes in full supply. Massage with warm and cold compresses help.
- Having a nipple butter is a lifesaver. I recommend Earth Mama’s (Canada link) (US Link)
- Things that you think would be healthy for you to eat, sometimes causes gas and a very unhappy baby belly. 🙁
- Cluster feeding is normal and you may spend days at a time where all you seem to be doing is feeding
- Reflux is an issue with babies. If they are spitting up (even through their noses) try things like laying back so your milk has to travel upward & make sure baby’s head is higher than his belly.
- Once your milk comes in full supply, your baby may gulp too much too quickly causing gas, hiccups and other reflux issues. Taking a burp break in between will help.
- Foremilk comes first, then hindmilk. (Foremilk is more watery, thirst quenching and hindmilk is more fatty and has more vitamins in it.) Some people say to switch breasts part way through the feeding but this causes the baby to lose out on the fatty content causing them to be hungry more often as well as other gassy / green poop issues.
- Babies can establish a strong latch in random places that can be next to impossible to break. I got some bruises in the first few days from him grabbing onto other parts of my breast.
- Pumping is sometimes easier said than done. The only one I’ve had any luck with is this Medela.
- Leaking in abundance all over the place is a real issue. You can buy reusable pads HERE or toss away ones HERE.
- Leakage hardens so be careful removing stuck on bras / shirts. Ouch!
- Babies little fingernails like to scratch your sore nipples.
- Co-sleeping / feeding is often the only way you’ll get any sleep at all. You may learn to sleep sitting up. (Just always make sure baby is safe if attempting this. If you tend to move about in your sleep this is probably not a good idea. A bed on the ground so baby isn’t going to fall out)
- A mom drink can give you many needed vitamins for breastfeeding. Similac Mom is available in Vanilla & Chocolate!Otherwise, it’s recommended to continue taking your prenatal vitamins.
- The right to breastfeed in public is protected here in Canada. ↓
- There are plenty of resources for Breastmilk donors if you are unable to breastfeed on your own. (Or if you’re looking to donate)
- You have to learn new positions to breastfeed as your baby grows. Positions that worked are no longer comfortable. ^_^
- Baby may favor one breast over the other, thus creating serious lopsided problems.
I’m sure I could add a ton more, too! What would you add to the list?
Check out the Dairy Queens groups on Facebook for lots of support!
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