Breastfeeding Can Be Hard!!
Breast feeding your baby is a natural thing and will help you with bonding with your baby, but it can be hard! Your baby is learning a new skill and so are you! Even if this isn’t your first baby, each baby is so different it is like you are having to learn how to breast feed all over again.
The best advice I can give is to try and stay relaxed and patient with yourself and your baby.
Here are some tips to help make things a little easier:
Let Your Baby Decide How Often and Long
This is something a lot of moms have a hard time with, because they are always told to feed their baby every 2-3 hours. Your baby knows their needs better than you do at first. It is important to not deny your baby food because it hasn’t been 2-3 hours. Also, there is no need to wake up a sleeping baby if 3 hours has passed. Let your baby sleep and feed them when they wake up.
Let your baby decide how long to nurse. A lot of time I hear people say babies need to nurse 15-30 per side. This isn’t the case. Remember your baby knows how much he or she needs. Don’t worry if your baby only nursed 10 minutes or if the nursing session lasts for 45 minutes or longer. Some babies are fast eaters and some like to take their time.
Let’s face it, you will be spending A LOT of time nursing your baby! It is important that you find a place that is going to be comfortable for you and baby. Most of the time this is in a comfortable chair or on the couch during the day and in your bed at night. Having a nursing station set up is very helpful.
Some of the things I suggest you have are:
This can help you bring your baby to your breast without having to sit in a weird position. You don’t want to be leaning over or sitting funny because you may be there for a long time and no one like to to get a kink in there neck or back.
You will want to have some extra on hand. There is nothing more uncomfortable or annoying than putting a soggy breast pad.
This is important have so that you do not get cracked nipples! Nursing with cracked nipples is VERY PAINFUL!!!!
This is nice to have just in case your baby spits up or if you start leaking breast milk while nursing.
Water Bottle and Water:
You will want to stay hydrated throughout the day when you are nursing. I find it easy for moms to drink quite a bit of water while they are sitting and nursing their little one.
You will not want to be searching for the remote while you have baby latched on. This can cause them to get frustrated which can cause you to become tense.
If you like to read a good book while you are nursing you will want to make sure it is places at your nursing station for easy access.
Phone and Charger:
We all know we LOVE social media and staying up to date on what is going on, so having your phone near by is nice to have. Remember you will be doing a lot of nursing, so having your charger near by isn’t a bad idea either, because we all know when that battery dies it kinda feels like we have been cut off from the world and we don’t want this to happen.
It isn’t a bad idea to have a snack or two ready too. Some of my go to’s are: trail mix, protein bars, apples, bananas, carrots, and nuts. You can put these in your nursing station each morning so that they aren’t sitting out all the time.
In addition to making sure you and baby are comfortable while nursing, it is important to be relaxed as well. Your baby can tell if you are tense or nervous about breastfeeding, and if they sense this they will not latch on correctly. Remember, your baby can’t relax if you’re not relaxed.
If you find that you are in a place that makes you stressed out, move! Go somewhere that you feel relaxed and can focus on nothing other than breastfeeding your baby. Sometimes it helps to take a few minutes prior to nursing to take a few slow deep breaths before you start nursing. You can also envision a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed. Remember, this is suppose to be an enjoyable bonding time for you and baby not a stressful one.
Finding a Comfortable Position
Sometimes the hardest part of breastfeeding is finding the RIGHT position for you and your baby. Some babies like the cross body hold, and some like the football hold, while others like the There are a quite a few positions you can choose from.
Clutch or Football Hold:
This is great for moms who have had a c-section or mom has large breasts, flat or inverted nipples, or a strong let down. This is also a great position for babies who like to be in a more upright position when they nurse.
Cross Cradle or Transitional Hold:
This position works really well for premature babies or babies with a weak suck because this give the baby extra head support and may help with baby staying latched.
This is the most common used hold because it tends to be the most comfortable for mom and baby.
Laid Back Hold:
This give baby a chance to be more in control of what is happening. You will be able to relax a little more in this position since you will be laying back either in a recliner. on a couch or in a bed.
Side Lying Position:
This too is a great position for moms who have had a c-section. This position allows you to rest while the baby breastfeeds.
Remember don’t force these positions. Your baby may prefer a slightly different position. Just let things happen naturally.
You Have Enough Milk!
I get asked all the time about milk supply. Milk production depends primarily on your baby’s needs. Your baby’s suckling will stimulate the release of the hormones prolactin and oxytocin which further stimulates milk production. The more baby nurses, the more milk you’ll have!
During the first 2-3 days of breastfeeding, you may notice a thick yellowish-orange fluid coming out of your breasts. This is what I like to call liquid gold others call it colostrum. This is all your baby needs when they first start nursing. Colostrum contains high levels of antibodies that boost your baby’s immune system so they can fight off any infections.
Ask For Help
It is ok to ask for help! Remember you and your baby are learning a new skill. In most hospitals a nurse or your Doula will be there to help you with the first latch. She may even offer you some advice and help you.If you still continue to have trouble, there is a lactation consultant that can help you further. You will need to ask for additional help if you feel like you need it.
When you go home if you are still struggling with breastfeeding you can call a breastfeeding educator or a lactation consultant to come to your home. She will evaluate how baby is latching on and she will be able to give you guidance and advice on how to position your baby and your body.
Breastfeeding might be uncomfortable at first when your baby latches on, but it shouldn’t be a painful experience for you. If breastfeeding hurts bad enough to make you cringe….ASK FOR HELP!