The B About Breastfeeding: Six things to remember while nursing.
For some, breastfeeding is a beautiful experience where it is easy to love and grow with your baby, but for others it is a complete b**ch. I have been going strong with breastfeeding for a little over four months and I will be the first to say it has not been easy.
To start off
While in the hospital things seemed ok, we had a good latch, a little colostrum but then came cluster feeding. For those who have yet to experience cluster feeding: it is a nightmare. However like all nightmares it comes to an end. In short, cluster feeding lasts anywhere between 4 to 8 hours. Your baby will cry and cry unless she is attached to your boob. Remember though breastfeeding is new for the both of you so just take a deep breath and keep going.
I think it is normal for many to choose not to breastfeed around this time which is totally fine! It is a lot to take in. Especially after going through hours of labor and the amount of exhaustion you feel is unimaginable. So, don’t feel like you are giving up if you choose formula, do what it best for you. But know you are not alone, and we mamas believe in you!
YO MILK WHERE YOU AT?
It took SIX days for my milk to come in. Making her weight drop greater than 10% of her birth weight. At our 2-day checkup the doctor said I needed to supplement with formula, but I refused. One thing about me, I do not give up. I have a very hard head, it takes a lot for me to stop doing something I have my mind set on. Rather than supplementing with formula I took two hours to hand express colostrum till I got a whole 10ml.
A time-consuming-frustrating task but hey it worked little girls weight started to rise. My milk came in just a few days later. At this point my nipples are toast, literally charred, burning cracked over-sized and my emotions are over the top (like crying over thanksgiving dinner).
Once we got into the swing of things, you would think it would become less stressful. No that is not the case. My little gal has a habit of falling to sleep when she eats so in most of the time we spend over an hour for each feed. It came to the point where my entire day was spent breastfeeding. I decided to try the pump, another huge discouragement. I would pump almost half an ounce each time, it took days to make one bottle. I started reading about what could help boost my supply and things started to look up. I even came up with this smoothie recipe that helped a lot.
Now I am happy to say my supply has reached to the point where I can pump up to three ounces at a time and have some milk stored in the freezer! Breastfeeding is still a mental battle I deal with daily but is also so rewarding.
To finish this glorious rant here are 6 things that nursing has taught me.
It is IMPORTANT to relax.
- A music playlist, a cheesy tv show, a guided meditation or just a comfortable chair next to a window whatever it is that helps you be less stressed!
Drink plenty of fluids, water especially.
- Whenever I think about nursing or pumping I try to drink a glass of water and always keep a bottle close. Try to stay away from caffeine if you can. Need a morning fix? Try this breastmilk boosting smoothie recipe to get your day started!
Do not compare your supply to others.
- I have friends who can pump over one bottle in one session. Know that your body is making what your body needs and by comparing yourself to others can be discouraging.
It is OK to feel uncomfortable nursing in public.
- There are so many articles coming out about how we should normalize breast feeding and when you become a mom modesty goes out the door. But there have been cases where I don’t want to nurse in public, although I’ve adjusted to it because when baby is hungry baby is going to eat! I know it is natural and most parents understand the beauty behind it, but I am not afraid to admit that I would rather hang by myself and nurse rather than pull my boob out in front of my fiancé’s friends during halftime.
Make short term goals.
- Of course, we can read the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for 2 years but that is 24 months, 104 weeks, 730 days! There is no telling what could happen in that amount of time. I set my first goal for 2 weeks, then 3 months and now I am working towards 6 months when we can stat solids. Take it one day at a time.
It is OK to have a drink every now and then.
- At first, I was terrified to intake any alcohol but the more I deprived myself the more stressed I felt. So yes, you can find me with a glass of wine in my hand every now and then and yes, I may just nurse shortly after. There are many studies showing it takes a large amount of alcohol consumption for it to affect your breast milk (One even said if you are sober enough to drive you are sober enough to nurse!). So, when bachelor Monday hits enjoy that glass of cab, you earned it.
May the power from the boob gods forever bless you with all the liquid gold, you got this mama!