Disclaimer: I have learned to be very choosy with my words when talking about breastfeeding! I chose to breastfeed my child and I know there are mothers out there who either chose not to or were not able to breastfeed. This post is not meant to offend anyone, so if something strikes you the wrong way I am truly sorry. Also, I do not claim to know everything about breastfeeding and a lot written in this post I had to learn through trial and error. Here we go..
First and foremost it is clearly documented that breast milk is better than formula. Period. Don’t get me wrong- formula has come a long way and is a wonderful thing! However, breast milk is God’s perfect formula specifically made for your child. Here is a wonderful link from the AAP that lists the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and mommy click here
Do I have you convinced yet?
The first month was the hardest for me. Chapped ninis, low milk supply, and a little dude that wanted to nurse all dern day and night were to blame! Here is how I coped with each issue. I used Vitamin E oil and let me just tell you it was a life saver. You can also buy vitamin E softgels and pop them open and rub on, but I found it easier to buy it in already liquid form. I rubbed them on mine after every nursing session. Side Note: They are only suppose to hurt for the first week, if they are still sensitive or scabby the baby may have a bad latch. Though not diagnosed, I am convinced that I had a low milk supply (which is common in a lot of mothers) Dude would never get full, so I pumped to get more milk. Breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. The more demand (nursing baby and breast pumping) the more supply (milk!!) We stored the milk I pumped and also used about 2 ounces at night to top him off and keep him fuller longer! After a few weeks, you can also pump and get someone to bottle feed so you can get a few extra hours of much needed sleep! My pump is a Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced with a shoulder bag. Sidenote: introducing a bottle too soon can cause nipple confusion so try to breastfeed with no bottles for first 3 weeks. Sidenote #2: Tommee Tippee bottles are the way to go! Babies latch onto the tommees almost like they latch on to the real deal, so it causes less nipple confusion. Ok back to pumping- If pumping doesn’t help your supply there are always prescription medications that you can take and an herbal tea you can drink. So don’t give up or get discouraged! Now, let’s talk about frequent nursing. Hagan has always loved to nurse. Some days he was nursing 15 times in 24 hours. Yeah you read it right 15 freakin times. Remember that newborn nursing sessions last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. I was literally nursing around the clock and it was wearing this little momma out! I mean I have other things to do besides feed a little bird all day. So we started a schedule that saved my life. We fed, kept awake for as long as possible, then put to sleep. It was the only way we could pull a 3 hour stretch. My friend Sarah who is a breastfeeding rockstar had her sweet nugget on a 3 hour schedule from birth and has had no trouble so far. I highly suggest trying to do this. Breastfeeding on demand can be done, but is very hard. Schedule is the way to go! This next picture pretty much sums up what I felt like the first month..
A dairy milk cow.
After the first month I started to enjoy breastfeeding. I feel that if you can do it for 1 month and work out all the kinks, you will be able to do it as long as you want. Try to shoot for 6 months though because that is when they get the most benefits!!
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW!!
When you are exclusively breastfeeding you do not have a monthly cycle. Would have been nice to know before I freaked out, sped to Walgreens, and bought a pregnancy test! Breast milk poo smells like popcorn. I still to this day cannot eat it because it reminds me of dude’s doo. Babies can smell breast milk, weird but very true. Exclusively breast fed babies have to get a daily supplement of vitamin D because it is not passed in breast milk. Breast milk changes to what your child needs. For example, the composition of my milk now (nursing a 6 mo old) is different than when dude was born (a newborn). Also if you have a preemie, the nutrients and composition of BM is different than if you carried your baby full term. Your body knows what your baby needs. How cool is that?
Things I wish I would have done differently: I wish I would have started a schedule from the beginning. I also wish I would have been more open to supplementing. I have supplemented here and there, but was a freak about not doing it in the beginning. I know I wouldn’t have been as stressed in the first few months had I been more open to using formula.
Things I’m glad I did: Nursing on one breast at a time. After your milk comes in (usually 3-5 days after birth) they tell you to nurse on one breast at a feeding and at next feeding nurse on the other. Some people feed 10 minutes on each side, but not this momma. When you do just one at a time the baby gets more hind milk (the good high calorie, nutrient filled milk) & I NEVER leaked. Which is so wonderful, no nursing pads for this little dairy… I"m also glad I stuck with it when people around told me to just quit.