…from a mama who has both failed, and succeeded!
As always: I may receive a small compensation if you make a purchase through my links, but all opinions are 100% mine.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my kids, but when my first came at only 19 years old, it didn’t exactly go as I planned. I truly believe if I had been better prepared for what to expect, it may have gone much better.
Now, with my second, I was determined to make it work. I think I read everything there was to read about breastfeeding, and, thankfully, baby girl has thrived on mama’s milk!
So, here is what I wish I would have known the first go around…
1. Keep a burp cloth, receiving blanket, anything absorbent with you at ALL TIMES because there is going to be lots of milk. EVERYWHERE! Whether it’s from leaking boobs or baby spit up, it’s coming. Seriously you will wash your sheets more than you ever thought possible.
2. Invest in some reusable nursing pads (see #1)! The disposable ones are absolutely fine, but the reusable ones were just more economical and Walmart had them. I remember taking my first baby to her 3 day check up around the time my milk was coming in and my shirt was covered in milk. So embarrassing (Again, completely clueless!)
3. Your boobs will be uneven! One of them will probably turn out to be your child’s preferred side and it will cause you to be a little lopsided, mama! It will probably be noticeable to the eye, but even more noticeable when pumping! I tend to get much more from the right side than the left.4. Don’t supplement unless it’s absolutely necessary. And even then, make sure that you are pumping in place of the feeding or you will lose your supply! Often times, older people will tell you to give them a little formula–it’ll help them sleep! Well, it’s pretty much unnecessary if your body is creating enough milk for baby’s needs and actually creates an extra step for you because then you must pump in place of that feeding!
5. Don’t pump a ton in the beginning unless you want a huge oversupply of milk. Most people recommend pumping around six weeks when your body is adjusted to baby’s needs. I pumped much sooner than this because my boobs were insanely full and it was hard to get baby to latch onto a rock hard boob. The tricks to pumping without creating a huge oversupply is pump enough to make latching easier and keep you from hurting instead of pumping until you empty the breast completely! When you empty the breast your body makes more milk to fill it. It’s a supply and demand system!
6. Just as you shouldn’t pump a ton in the beginning, you also should not give a bottle too early. For mine, 3 weeks was the age to start a bottle once in a while. I began with one feeding every other day to get her accustomed to a bottle. At one point, when she was just two days old I was concerned that she wasn’t getting enough to eat. The hospital sent us home with a paper that said she should have two pee diapers on the second day, but she only had one. I didn’t want to give a bottle, but needed to make sure she wasn’t hungry. My solution: hand express into a syringe and drop small bits of milk in baby’s mouth. If you give more than a drop at a time, baby will probably just spit out that liquid gold, but now you know baby has food in her tummy.
7. Your boobs are going to hurt! A LOT! Possibly even crack and bleed. Just keep going! Don’t stop during this phase because it is absolutely the worst part and will pass soon. Buy some Lanolin cream and use it. A LOT! Even after your boobs no longer hurt, it’s seriously the beast lip gloss ever! Order Your Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve – HPA Lanolin Here
8. Find a pump that works for you. All pumps are not created equally and what works for one person may not work for you. I started out using a Medula pump, but have found that a Lansinoh seems to work better for me! Purchase Your Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump Here
9. With my first, I would always get up to nurse during the night. I was totally against bed sharing at all. With my second, I nurse in the bed at night. We don’t bed share, but I do lay her in the bed next to me while she eats, then back in her pack n play once she is finished. I love my sleep, and this saves my sanity.
10. Cluster feeding won’t last forever. As long as you can make it through those first few weeks of being used as a pacifier, you’re great. But until you reach that point, you will be drained.
11. Postpartum contractions are normal and they will eventually go away. If possible, go lay in a warm bath to help. (I know, who has time for a warm bath with a newborn!) They range in intensity, but some of mine got pretty bad. I almost wanted to cry at times. Every person is different but after a few weeks they will be gone. Keep reminding yourself that it’s your body returning to normal.
12. Nurse, nurse, nurse! This is by far the most important. When your boobs hurt, nurse! When your tired, nurse! When baby is fussy, nurse! When you feel your supply is dropping, NURSE! It’s time consuming, but worth it.
I’m sure there are plenty of great tips, but these are just the ones that seem to work for us! Unfortunately, I was not successful the first time, but thankfully, I learned so much from that experience that helped me the next time around. Is there any breastfeeding advice that you would give a first time mommy?