Did you breastfeed your babies or are you planning on breastfeeding? I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my babies. I knew that it was a natural way to feed my baby. A way that only you and your baby will bond. The connection you get with your baby is indescribable.
When I started breastfeeding my first son. I really didn’t know what to expect. Was it was going to hurt? I really didn’t know anything other than my mom telling me she breastfeed me and it’s a natural way to give your baby what he needs. Breastfeeding didn’t come very natural for me.
If you haven’t read Bradly’s NICU story, check it out here. We stayed in the NICU for 10 days and I had a lactation nurse help me for at least a good five days. I know not all the woman will be able to get a lactation nurse to help. I’m going to give you some ideas on how to help with nursing and what to expect.
Honestly, This was very hard for me. I had just had a C-section so it was very hard to get comfortable. Try to recline in a chair (not completely flat) with a pillow under your elbow. Boppy pillow worked amazing plus you can use this pillow to help them learn to sit (around 5 months.) I found this way the most comfortable starting off. After a few months, laying down on my side with him was much better. When you get home don’t be scared to try new positions.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR NIPPLES
I remember having a conversation with an older woman that breastfed her children. She told me while I was pregnant to toughen up my nipples to get ready for the baby. When I was in the shower I would squeeze my nipples. Once I got out of the shower I would rub the towel on my nipples back and forth. This did truly help me. My nipples cracked a little in the beginning but they never bled. I’ve heard woman icing their nipples before feedings to help with any pain. When you feed your baby make sure your baby’s mouth opens up wide before you let the baby on your nipple. If it feels uncomfortable insert your finger in the baby’s mouth to release the suck and try again.
FEED THE BABY WHEN HE IS HUNGRY
Sometimes it will seem as if you are nursing all day long. That’s okay! You will not believe the baby is getting enough but don’t worry, your baby is getting plenty. Cluster feeding is completely normal. The more your baby sucks the more milk you will produce. They are growing and will get hungrier. But don’t worry your milk supply will grow as well.
IF YOU GO BACK TO WORK
If you have to go back to work or leave your baby for a long period of times. Make sure you pump from day one. Pump after every feeding. Yes, I know it can feel like a lot but it will get easier. Here is a good tip to know. Your baby gets what he needs after about 20 mins, after that he is just sucking. At the beginning, I would nurse him 30 mins. on each side then pump. It felt like something was attached to my breast all the time. Medal pump is what I used and it was AMAZING!!! Absolutely worth the money. (I’ve tried other ones)
SAVE SOME OF YOUR BREASTMILK
If you are going back to work or not, make sure you save your milk in the freezer when you might need it. I used my extra breastmilk to make food for my boys. We used the baby bullet and I loved it. I liked how it came with all the storage containers and it had a dial at the top, you can spin it to the date you made the food.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
You have to take care of yourself first if you are going to take care of your baby. Quick story, I ended up getting pneumonia because I didn’t want to take medication when I had a cold. It got worse until I was hospitalized. They had to give me medication through IV. I told them I was nursing but in the end, I had to PUMP AND DUMP for 24 hours. That was so hard for my second son. I never bottle fed him. He was 7 months old but didn’t really have any interested in solids. Needless to say, that was a BAD night for daddy.
So, take care of yourself right away, get to a doctor to take care of you before it gets worse. Eat healthy, whatever you are eating the baby will get it. Stay away from gassy foods, Your baby will get gassy. DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!! So important to drink lots. Whenever my baby would eat I would make sure I was eating a snack and drinking. Please don’t worry about losing weight. Right now you want your baby to get what he needs to grow properly. After a year I lost all my weight and some so don’t stress over it.
If you are feeling down and depressed please talk to somebody. Please let your doctor know if you are having any problems. Take a look at Lorena and her story over at Motherhood Filter and see how she dealt with postpartum depression.
There will be a time where you are going to nurse your baby in public. Respect yourself by covering up. I had a nursing cover that was light and comfortable for baby and me. There is nothing wrong with feeding your child in public but you don’t need to throw your boob out to the world. Nursing is a way to feed your child and bond with them.
Okay, some might not agree with me on this but I slept with my baby. That consist of him on my nipple most of the night. (Five years later my son still makes sucking sounds in his sleep.) I actually slept better with my first son. My second son was a mover, he didn’t like to stay still. Most night I would nurse him in the rocker and put him in his bed. Try to create a bedtime routine that will work best for you. This little video reminds me of my little babe:)
With my first son it took me time to adjust to breastfeeding but with my second son it was so easy. Shortly after my second son was born the nurses had him sucking on my breast. He was a little pro at it too. Don’t give up, it takes practice. If you are having problems call the health department in your area and see if they have a Lactation consultant you can talk with. Two years later, when I see a baby I feel the urge to nurse. I loved nursing and was very sad when they grew out of it. Hope you learned something new. Love ya, Mary xoxo
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