I’m sitting here on my phone currently breast feeding my newborn son Baby G while I draft this, and I was thinking about how my ‘Pregnant Diaries’ were going to change into ‘New Mum Files’, and I was thinking about blog topics, even though I haven’t slept much since Baby G was born, I didn’t want to let my blog go to the weigh side just because I have a newborn. So I’ve collected some of my personal thoughts on breastfeeding
1. Breastfeeding is a lot harder than people make it out to be – you and baby are both learning, babies don’t always cooperate to latch, they are feeding A LOT at first, cluster feeding is emotional and spirit breaking, and sometimes you just want to quit!
2. It is very easy to feel like you’re failing – frustrations with latching, baby’s weight, how you actually feel about breastfeeding, etc. I find that initially breastfeeding was such an emotional experience, and it has just continued in ebs and flows, with good days and bad days!
3. Breast engorgment is very real, and very painful when your milk comes in – this really isn’t one that needs explaining, but ice, heat, anti immflamatories and pumping/self expression will be your breast friends!
4. Cracked nipples make all of your clothes unwearable – find a good nipple cream that works for you. TIP: find one that doesn’t need to be washed off before your next feed, no one wants to suddenly remember that at 3AM. I like THIS one.
5. Pumping is the literal worst thing – remember talking about engorgment earlier? One way to help alleviate the discomfort is to pump and excess milk out of your breasts. I’m not sure about anyone else but I feel like a cow when I’m sitting down for a pumping session. It’s uncomfortable, you can’t do much else while your pumping, and it takes quite a few sessions to yield any substantial amount to feed to your baby. I am currently using THIS pump.
6. Most of my clothes are not conducive to breastfeeding – I’ve taken to mostly wearing tank tops and bandeaus, but otherwise you’re flashing people in the room while you get baby situated. Granted, I haven’t been out of the house a ton, I’m probably going to start bringing a cover out with me – because I refuse to get a whole new wardrobe that I can’t afford!
7. Breastfeeding takes up a lot of your day! – I had a day recently where it felt like Baby G was attached to my breast almost the entire day! You really don’t get anything done while your breastfeeding, and especially at first, you spend so much time while your baby’s stomach is growing sitting down and feeding them.
8. It can feel very isolating – no one else has the goods to feed your baby if you choose to exclusively breastfeed. Yes you can pump, but it takes a long time to yield a good amount for a pumping session. Depending on your surroundings and your comfort level, you may be off on your own with baby to feed, and while sometimes it is great, we all need people around us at some point.
9. You’re going to want to quit – Baby G is only in his first couple weeks since birth and I have already had several moments where I thought ‘fuck it! I’ll just formula feed him!’ But with the help of my mum, Jared and our Public Health Nurse/Lactation Specialist Erin – I have a lot more confidence in tackling the issues that arose during my early days of breastfeeding Baby G
10. Finally, let’s not forget #fedisbest – a fed, happy and healthy baby is all that matters! Whether you breastfeed, pump, formula feed or any combination of the three, your baby being fed is the main goal! Do not let anyone guilt you in any direction for the decision YOU made to feed YOUR child, because your child will love you regardless.
– drink lots of water while you’re breastfeeding, and make sure you are eating properly! A lot of mum’s will set up water and snacks by where they primarily breastfeed. I haven’t done that yet, but I have Jared at home until Baby G is about a month old, and he has been super helpful!
– If you’re struggling, seek the help of a Lactation Specialist! They are a wealth of information! In my province in Canada, new mothers get home visits from Public Health Nurses to make the transition easier for Mum and Baby, so they don’t have to leave the house to get Baby’s weight checked and track any potential early issues! These Nurses/Lactation specialist are *currently* completely covered under our healthcare.
– Make sure you sleep! Whether it’s a nap on the couch while baby sleeps in their swing, or tag teaming with your partner. Well rested mum’s will have better success with breastfeeding.
– Don’t give up! You rock Mama!
Until next time,