Breastfeeding, lets get this off to great start!
Posted on December 27 2015
How you get started is super important. I know that this affected me with not being able to breastfeed with my first son for longer than a month. These tips really worked well for me with my chunk.
You did it! You gave birth and now you have this cute little person who depends on you for everything! Even supplying them with food that only you, super mom, can produce.
My little chunk Avery
Be prepared, you are going to be super tired from what you just went through with delivery. Then as you try to relax and grasp what's going on the nurse is going to ask you if you plan on breastfeeding. You say yes (hopefully). Well there's no time like the present, time to get started.
Then suddenly all those lessons of how to get your baby to latch on correctly become sorta vague.
Don't even worry about it. It's completely ok to ask for help, this is your first time. Forget that, I even asked for help the second time around. I mean it was 3 years later.
Well I hope you're ok with a nurse grabbing your nipple, because she will in fact grab your boob like it's no big deal and literally show you how to do it. Didn't bother me. I mean I was just naked in front of a room full of people with a baby coming out of me.
This isn't as easy at it sounds there are different techniques and positions to having your baby latch on correctly. It will take a few times to get a hang of this, and it's ok to ask for help a few more times. Take advantage of having the nurses there to help you as much as possible.
Try not to get worried or overwhelmed when your baby is crying and you're just trying to get your boob in his or her mouth quickly. Relax your baby doesn't know what the heck he or she is doing either. But if you do get overwhelmed don't feel bad about it. It's normal. I remember freaking out in the hospital nursery because my chunk was flipping out and I couldn't get him latched on. Then BAM there was the nurse to the rescue again. Thank God for nurses!
I know everyone says breastfeeding hurts. Well...yes, it hurts if the baby isn't latched on correctly. It also hurts in the beginning for the first few seconds when they latch on. Your nipples will get sore after a few feedings. There are also things you can use to help soothe them. I bought the Medela Lanolin cream. You can try different things for relief. But I promise eventually it'll be better, so don't give up!
Your baby needs to feed every 2 hours, some babies even eat every hour. It will literally feel like your baby eats every 30 minutes. You are pretty much a boob slave to your baby. But this is good, because you are teaching your body that it needs to keep producing milk. This way you will always have enough. Make sure you switch off from one boob to the other during feedings as well, so both boobs are producing milk. If you don't you will end up with one boob bigger than the other.
I know one of the reasons I didn’t successfully breastfeed the first time was because I thought he wasn’t getting full off the breast milk. I hear this a lot from moms. Don't worry your baby will drink enough. So even though it may seem like they're never full because you feel like all you do is feed them all day, they are. Breast milk actually digests faster than formula. You will notice this when your baby literally poops this crazy watery mustard looking poop after every eating. Fun times.
The more you try to feed him the more milk your body will produce. Keeping that in mind, if you start substituting feedings with bottle feedings throughout the day, and you do this for a few days straight, without pumping during this time. Your body will think you don't need as much milk, and your supply will slow down.
I feel the best advice I got this time around was not to introduce the bottle until at least a month. A month of exclusively breastfeeding (not pumping) was great because it gives you both a chance to really get a hang of latching on correctly and get's your body on a great schedule for producing enough milk.
You may not even choose to ever pump. But for some of us it's not a choice, if you need to go back to work and you still want to give your baby your precious boob milk, you're going to have to pump it up hunny! Plus you need to try to introduce the bottle at 4 weeks. If not your baby could reject the bottle, and then it's "Oh oh- how am I going to go back to work?". Not going to lie, secretly a part of me wanted this to happen so I couldn't go back to work buahaha. Then I remembered I have bills to pay.
With my first son I did try to pump after a week of giving birth. I know that screwed me all up. First of all the pump I used was a piece of crap, so it actually messed up my body's milk producing schedule. Guess what? Your body knows the difference between your baby and a pump. It is important to get a good pump.
The only reason I tried to pump so soon was because your boobs will get engorged after a few days. This SUCKS. You just gotta get that boob milk out girl. Your boobs will look like porn star boobs, and get lumpy. It is painful. I suggest trying to get your baby to suck most of it out and put frozen bags of vegetables on your breast. Worst case scenario pump it out and freeze your milk. You don't want to get mastitis.
Another reason I tried pumping was because I wasn't comfortable (and I'm still not but I'm working on it, we'll discuss that in another post) with breastfeeding in public. Much respect to all the breastfeeding moms who don't have this problem. You are awesome! Well since I wanted to escape the house, I needed some bottles to go.
Drink, drink, drink! Sorry not alcohol, but lots of water. You don't like water? Well you better pretend it's vodka, or throw some Crystal Light in there. I tell you there is nothing worse than being dehydrated. Remember your body is producing this liquid gold off what you put into your body. So you need to drink enough water for yourself and for your boob milk. Same thing with food, you better eat healthy because your nutrients are literally being sucked out of you.
I didn't drink enough water the first time around. I got dehydrated I won't tell you all the details...it was...not pretty. Plus I hate IV's so I refused to go to the hospital like a dummy. I suffered for about a week. This also affected my milk supply, sure enough it decreased. Trying to breastfeed while you're constantly vomiting, not cool. I sent my husband to the store and Aaden got his first bottle of formula. That was pretty disappointing, but a lesson learned.
My top suggestions on getting off to a great start are keep hydrated, get your latch on, feed as much as your baby wants to get your supply up, exclusively breastfeed for at least a month before you introduce the pump and bottle.
Breastfeeding is a lot of work. But it really is worth it. I don't think there is anything wrong with the mom who chooses to formula feed their baby, especially because some moms aren't able to breastfeed. If you can breastfeed, just take a moment to think about how special this sacrifice is for your baby. It's the best gift you can give your baby. Why not give it a good try?
Next post will be about pump-pump-pump it up-or should I say out lol
As always feel free to comment or leave me any questions :)
P.s. Please keep in mind that this is just what worked for me. I am not a doctor or a lactation specialist. Please contact your doctor or lactation specialist if you have serious concerns.
Melinda Rodrigues from HappySoiree.com - a site for creative ideas on DIY’s and parties!
Mother of 2 boys and breastfeeding advocate.
Melinda had a breastfeeding website called Spilled Boob Milk.
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