Breastfeeding; I remember the first time I breastfed, well actually I pumped because my premie son would not, and did not latch on. I remember thinking, and saying ‘THIS HURTS’! My mom was present for this and simple stated, ‘what did you think it was going to feel like?’ Wise words… Breastfeeding is best for baby, and you (it helps you lose your baby weight) AND its also FREE!
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when beginning to breastfeed:
- Yes Breastfeeding does hurt…alot….and for awhile, until you nipples toughen up. To help with sore nipples try Lanomin oil or natural nipple butter. I have tried both, I actually like the natural nipple butter better, you can use it on your sore nipples, its natural, AND it also make a great lip balm for dry lips. (Breastfeeding also makes you very thirsty).
- Stick with it. If you want to breastfeed your child then you will have to keep at it. That means dealing with sore nipples, waking up to feed exclusively until you introduce bottles, and dealing with cluster feeds. If this is what you truly want for your child then stick with it. It will get a lot easier.
- Skin to Skin or Kangaroo time. Who doesn’t love the smell of a new baby, or the feel of their baby soft skin. Take time to cuddle with your baby. Although my first son did not latch on I constantly had skin to skin time with him. When his skin touched mine my milk started to flow. Skin to Skin helps not only increase milk production but it also comforts and calms the baby. Hearing mom’s familiar and rhythmic heartbeat helps them feel safe and gives them a sense of peace.
- Drink plenty of water. I know there are tons to products out there like lactation cookies, or eating certain foods. Honestly none of that worked for me. I had to make sure I ate a health diet, and drank water constantly. I would drink while feeding my second son to help.
- Consult with a lactation specialist if you have concerns, and even if you do not have any concerns. With my first son I did not see a lactation specialist. In fact when we let the hospital with our son we had to buy a deep freezer because I had a surplus of milk. Now I know for a mom who is struggling with milk production that makes it seem like its you. It is not. When my son was born I pumped and made sure to deliver his milk several times throughout the day. I was told by a few nurses that I was not supplying enough milk and that my son needed more and I should switch him to formula. I cried after hearing this news, repeatedly. But I did not give up, I kept at it. And he did have enough. Seeing a lactation specialist can help with making sure your child is latching on correctly, they can help you decide when your child is ready for a bottle (I received the go ahead at 4 weeks!), and answer any questions you have. A lactation consultation is covered by most insurance companies and most doctors recommend that you have one completed after your child is born.
- Breastfeeding is not for everyone. Yes breast is best, but if its too painful or if you just don’t want to do it, then do not. I have had friends tell me they tired and it really hurt, and they are shamed by other moms because they gave formula. Where to breast feed or not is an important decision to be made by every mom. Whether you decide to or not is up to you, and no one should shame you for your decision.