5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Breastfeeding
June 1, 2015
Learning about your baby as you bond through breastfeeding can be surprising, interesting, occasionally challenging, and always worth it. There are some things you may never even think to consider before you begin and here we discuss some of those items so that perhaps you may know more and will be able to concentrate fully on enjoying all the benefits of breastfeeding from those first moments of your baby’s life.
Your Baby Doesn’t Know How to Eat
When first born, your baby has to learn to latch on, suckle, and get used to the flow from your breast before it becomes easy for them. In the first few minutes of life, a baby may instinctively crawl to your breast while on your chest but that doesn’t mean they know automatically how to do everything. It will take some time, encouragement, and probably a few breastfeeding accessories for them to get the hang of it.
You Will Feel Like You’re Nursing Constantly
During the first few weeks, a newborn will nurse approximately 8-12 times a day and in the beginning the newborn may be nursing for 30-40 minutes each session as they are becoming accustomed to the process. Every couple of hours, you’ll be pulling your breast out again to let them eat, and this is normal! Actually, the benefits of breastfeeding are crucial in these first few weeks so the more you nurse (or pump if your baby is having trouble), the better it is for establishing flow and for mom and baby to bond and learn.
Your Time Breastfeeding is Special and Should Be Treated as Such
It’s going to hurt, your nipples will get sore, and you’ll prop up your breastfeeding pillow every which way to find the best position [interlink to article ‘The Best Breastfeeding positions’] for you and your baby. You might receive strange looks from people when you breastfeed in public or hear all kinds of talk from parents and non-parents alike but above all you should remember that the benefits of breastfeeding are not only physical but also emotional for mom and baby. Take pictures, smile at your baby while it suckles and be proud to feed your baby in this way because not everyone can do it, and you are awesome for remaining diligent and committed to your breastfeeding goals!
Breastfeeding is Not Easy
There are stories you’ll hear of women who breastfeed that tell about how it comes naturally to them like they were always meant to be milk-bearing goddesses that never feel pain. These stories are not of the average experience and if your milk doesn’t come quickly and easily or you feel pain, have to deal with clogged milk ducts, your baby’s troubles with latching on [interlink to article ‘Top Techniques to get your newborn to latch-on], and a number of other common difficulties, do not be discouraged! Breastfeeding requires commitment, a lot of work and a lot of help. It’s okay if things don’t work perfectly right from the start or even a few weeks down the line.
You Need a Solid Support System and Several Breastfeeding Resources
Breastfeeding is exhausting for mom as it takes up a lot of energy as well as time and emotional effort. A solid support system doesn’t only include a lactation specialist or a doula but also family, friends, and/or your partner in parenting to help with other children and things around the house like cooking and cleaning. Breastfeeding essentials such as a good breastfeeding pillow (or two or three), nursing bras, breast pads, nipple butter, and other products will work wonders as mom and baby both learn and get used to breastfeeding.
As your baby gets older, breastfeeding needs will change as will the way your body reacts to the process. Continuing education is important in understanding these changes so ask questions, utilize all the breastfeeding resources you can find, and stay committed!