What were the things you knew or thought about breastfeeding before you nursed your child? The hoard of keywords such as ‘natural’, ‘best for baby’, ‘latching’, ‘proper position – cradle or football hold’, ‘storing pumped milk’, etc. from parenting literature, lactation consultants and popular media commercials that promote breastfeeding must have already registered well into your mind. There could be unexpected experiences that no one warned you about, possibly because they had not experienced them. Here are few things that a woman wished she had known about before she began breastfeeding.
1. Breastfeeding Could Hurt:
It might hurt initially irrespective of whether it’s your first or fourth baby. The hurt could be severe. All it means is that your nipples need to adjust to an aggressive suckling process. Within two or three weeks they would adjust.
2. Speak To Your Lactation Consultant:
Never settle with what your nurse tells you. They might be generous in their advice, but they are not specialists when it comes to lactation. Don’t mind to show your urgency to see the lactation consultant or LC right after you have popped out your baby. Rooming-in is the first thing to do post birth, so why not have the consultant by your side.
3. Ask Your Spouse To Be Present At Every LC Visit:
Though it might not be your first delivery, you could still miss out or not process the nitty-gritty of breastfeeding that your LC will impart. Having your spouse by your side during the LC meets will ensure that there is one more person to note all the important points. What’s more, he could even video the consultation session as a reference point.
4. Pain Could Be Felt In Other Places Too:
The pain associated with initial breastfeeding might be felt in other places too. The uterus begins to contract after the first two weeks or more of breastfeeding and this is why it could be painful even in the abdominal area, and also your back. Once the uterus shrinks back, the pain would subside.
5. Your Breast Could Be Trickling Milk:
Most first-time moms who have just delivered and haven’t settled in with the process might not understand the dampness around their thighs or lower regions. The milk trickles down and those who didn’t know about this might think their body is sweating!
6. You Will Be Hungry Most Of The Times:
No wonder, your body needs more energy when it is making milk for your baby. Also, there is the work of oxytocin and prolactin (the hormones) under way. So don’t be surprised that you will be hungry and thirsty more than often during breastfeeding – and in the first few weeks, you will be so tired, you will nearly doze off as you feed your baby.
7. Make Use Of A Pillow:
Especially for the C-section moms – use a pillow to support your baby while breastfeeding. Your pillow will turn out to be your ‘breast friend’.
8. Learn To Use Breast Pads:
You might be excused for the initial weeks, but as the days progress, you might want to use breast pads to catch leaks and prevent stains or smells on your shirts. Also, keep spare shirts handy if you are home and not using breast pads.
9. Lubricating Tubes:
If your breastfeeding sessions hurt, get a Lanolin and apply to your nipples after every feed. It alleviates pain tremendously.
10. Don’t Ignore The Red Blotches:
If you see something like that and the blotches are hot to touch, inform your LC at the earliest. It might be an indicator of mastitis. Early addressing might help control the infection before it can affect your milk supply.
11. Your Baby Needs A Few Drops Of Your Milk Initially:
If your milk isn’t oozing out as you expect it, don’t worry. It takes at least five days for the milk to flow out well. Most mamas also get concerned that their milk supply isn’t optimum. But the colostrum will take its course to come out like a milky stream. And the few drops that you can supply in the initial days are just adequate for your baby.
12. The Notion That Your Milk Isn’t Optimum:
As the baby suckles in the subsequent weeks, you will still be confused at how well you are making milk and if you are supplying adequately at all. You can judge it by two ways – one is that when you breastfeed your baby on one side, the other side also begins to trickle. The other is that your baby should pass urine, at least, six times a day as a sign of receiving sufficient milk. If your baby cries for milk every half an hour, it might just be a growth phase when the hunger pangs strike more than usual.
13. Babies Suckle Better Than You Pump Out:
Seriously. They know how to use their oral palette! So your notions around inadequate supplies will clear off when you make the next doc appointment and will feel proud that your baby is putting on weight – pat yourself for being the sole source of food for your baby.
14. Don’t Be Stressed At Wee-Hour Feed:
You will have to be up almost every two hours in the night to feed your baby. But embrace the change – it won’t last long, but it will do good for both you and your baby.
15. Breastmilk Is Best Milk:
Don’t ever consider using formula milk so long as your body can produce milk and you are able to feed your baby.
What were the other surprises you were met with when you began to breastfeed?