I wish I had breastfeeding tips to look back onto when I first fed Ian many moons ago. We didn't even have text messaging to text someone for help at 6 a.m. We had books, which you don't feel like looking through at 1 a.m. when the baby is screaming bloody murder, and you are shooting daggers at your husband's soft rise and fall of his chest.
You probably have tons of questions swirling through your head and wondering how you will make it through those first few months. Thoughts of diaper counts and breastfeeding schedules will soon monopolize your brain. But for now, let's tackle some basics to help you with half the battle that's coming your way.
Ok here's my number one piece of info that you have to absorb. I mean take this in deep down and accept it. Breastfeeding isn't easy. If you have watched birth movies and the mom just falls back and the baby latches, while dad smiles, then you've been duped. TV is edited. They edited out the mom crying, the nurse icing her back from an hour hunched over, and the dad sleeping for the first time in hours. Take in the fact that it most likely will be difficult. This is a start to keeping yourself from becoming too upset and quitting before you begin.
It hurts like hell. It's true. I won't sugar coat it, and if you know this ahead of time, then you will be halfway prepared to stick it out. Your nips will be raw. Like on fire, rolled over, and baked RAW! We already learned that breastfeeding isn't natural, so add in that it most likely will hurt and you have won. Its super hard at times and frustrating at others. However, once you get past this stage, it's the most rewarding, wonderful experience ever. Read this post on nipple pain for some more detailed help.
Utilize the help that the hospital offers! Insist on breastfeeding in the first hour as this is when that baby's suck reflex is the strongest. Read here all about the first feed which is vitally important for your breastfeeding success. Take a free class, like this one that is a perfect free class by Lactation Link, and meet with a lactation consultant before birth. As soon as possible after birth, ask for the lactation consultant to come to your room. If you meet resistance, remember the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Also, keep in mind that some hospitals do not have a lactation consultant on the weekends. In this case, ask if there is a nurse on that has taken special classes or certifications in breastfeeding. If you need to continue to meet with a lactation consultant after you are discharged then do it.
Your breasts will leak and will leak OFTEN. Be sure to buy nursing pads. I preferred the washable ones over the disposable. Although I kept both handy, I most often used my softer, washable ones. The disposable feel like you put a pantyliner in your bra. This is not fun or recommended. Word of warning: Your breasts will fill when your baby cries and also when your neighbors baby cries. This fact is amusing, especially when you are sitting at the mall food court and a million babies are crying. Your boobs also know when it is time to feed and respond by "letting down" milk. You need to get to the baby and take advantage of this fun freebie asap. Be prepared to be exhausted to the point that you someone else has to let you know that you have two large wet spots on your shirt.
Stay hydrated! This probably should have been tip number one. A breastfeeding mom has to stay hydrated to produce milk. My mom told me to drink when he drinks. I kept a cup of water with me at all times. Fast forward to Greyson, and I kept a Corksicle cup with me at all times. I am a huge fan of these cups. They cost a bit more than your average water cups, but they are amazing. This cup keeps drinks hot or cold for hours. When I say hours, I mean that you can forget it in the car and take a nice cold sip of water a day later.
Sleep when your baby sleeps in the first few weeks. Ok, this isn't only for breastfeeding moms, but it's imperative. You are going to be more exhausted than ever before. Think back to your party days when you partied all night got 30 minutes of sleep and headed to work or classes. That's less tired than you will be now. You are expending energy that you do not have. Take advantage of a large amount of sleep the baby will do during the day and nap. Dishes can wait. Visitors can wait. Yes, they can wait. Let your supportive tribe do the buffering for you and sleep.
I hope these Breastfeeding tips for first time moms helped you out some. Welcome to this journey! For more breastfeeding help read this posts: Breastfeeding Myth Buster Nipple Pain: Breastfeeding Tips As always, Comment and let us know your questions!Just a little Disclaimer: As always, I am just writing my thoughts and what I’ve learned along the way. Although I am a labor and delivery RN, This is not medical advice. You should always seek and follow the advice of your care provider. This post may contain some affiliate links (which means if you purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Thank you! For our full disclosure read here)