Before I go to far on this I’d like to let you know that I’ve only been breastfeeding for 5 months and only 1 baby. So if your looking for advice on tandem nursing, or nursing a toddler or medical advice, I won’t be any help. However, if your pregnant with your first or a new mommy, I can definitely help you through the roughest part… The beginning!!
I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant I wanted to breastfeed, exclusively, for at least 6 months and continue to breastfeed until she weaned herself. My ego got all huge and I was sure it was going to be easy. I mean, its natural. I have boobs, the baby will be hungry, what more could happen??
After my obnoxiously long, slow, stupid labor, I was looking forward to my nice, easy breastfeeding adventure. I was going to be the girl whose baby just started eating and never caused a problem.
Tip #1- Cockiness gets you nowhere.
Delilah had a tongue tie that was undiagnosed by the hospital’s (not very smart) lactation consultant. Our very first breastfeeding session went smoothly, she was a natural, I was a natural, it was great! Our second, not so much. She was biting and pulling away and it hurt. I couldn’t get her to latch right and the nurses were no help. After 45 minutes, she ate a little bit and we went to sleep. The next 2 weeks were like this. It HURT!! Both of my nipples were dry, cracked, bruised blood blisters. Around 2 weeks old we saw a smart, kind lactation consultant and she scheduled a procedure to get her tongue tie clipped (not as scary as it sounds). So by the time she was 3 weeks old it was corrected. She finally learned a good latch at 5 weeks old.
But the pain up to that point was so unbearable I honestly wanted nothing more then to stop breastfeeding. I wanted to bottle feed. Being 100% honest, I would have stopped if formula weren’t so expensive. I hated it. She was super gassy, fussy, whiny, she screamed constantly, I tried cutting things out of my diet, nothing helped and nothing calmed her down.
Until 5 weeks, she screamed 4 hours straight every night before bed with no calming down.
I was sure she’d sleep if I gave her formula.
I couldn’t feed her without lifting my whole shirt up to my neck and having my whole chest exposed, and it was too uncomfortable to feed her in public. Going out was horrible and difficult. But I had stuff to do so I had to go out sometimes.
I hated it.
But somehow I managed to keep going and boy am I glad I didn’t quit! I love it now! If free, its the best nutrition for Delilah, its convenient and easy. Plus, you never go out and forget to bring your boobs along! So you can always whip one out and feed the baby!!
From 1 new breastfeeding momma to another, I bring you my top 10 tips for getting started!!
- Cockiness gets you nowhere. As I said earlier, don’t expect it to go smoothly. Plan for some bumps in the road.
- Do research before hand. Get familiar with different positions to hold the baby. Get to know what some of the different problems are and how to recognize them (i.e. Thrush, clogged ducts, mastitis etc.).
- Take a breastfeeding class. There was one included in my natural birth classes and I’m glad I took it! Take your partner along as well. Maybe they’ll remember something you didn’t!
- See a lactation consultant before hand. See one who is in a separate office then your hospital. If your seeing a midwife they may be able to suggest a good one. Look around for one who really loves her job and has good reviews. One who really truly cares about you and helping you feed your baby. She can check and make sure everything is in good working condition and answer any questions you have and calm your fears.
- See a lactation consultant after the baby’s born. The same one you saw beforehand. Whether you are having problems or not. Set up and appointment a couple days after the baby’s here to check how things are going. She may spot something wrong that you didn’t even know about that would cause troubles down the road. Or she could just give you some tips!
- Become familiar with your local La Leche League. Write down there phone number and stick it on your fridge. Figure out where the closest office is and get their info. They are very helpful and are very willing to help out.
- Have the baby checked for a tongue tie. Before your midwife leaves your house or you leave your birth center or hospital. I know if we’d had Delilah checked prior to us leaving the hospital, most of our problems could have been avoided. Its more common then most people realize, and the quicker its taken care of, the better.
- Mix up a double batch of these lactation cookies before the baby’s born and freeze the dough. They work super well for increasing your production and your probably not going to be in the baking mood with a new baby!
- Have a support system. Get your partner, your mom, your sibling, your best friend, or all of them on board with your goals to breastfeed. Let them know that’s what your going to do and if they don’t like it, its not your problem. If anyone isn’t supportive, ignore them. Your providing the best possible nutrition to your baby, remember that!
- Don’t worry and don’t give up!!! It can seem terrible at first or seem like your baby isn’t getting enough to eat. But as long as there are enough wet diapers, the baby’s fine! If you need extra support contact the La Leche League, your lactation consultant or an online breastfeeding group (more helpful then you’d think, I suggest this one on BabyCenter) and get some! You don’t need to feel alone. You can do it!
I hope you can love breastfeeding as much as I do!! And I hope this helped at least one mom out there!!
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~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent
This post was shared on Tuned in Tuesday’s!