We have successfully been breastfeeding since Dominic was born. We definitely had to figure things out at first, but it got easier as we both got used to it. I plan on doing a post on my thoughts about breastfeeding, but for now I wanted to share some of the things that I wish I had known before I started to nurse.
1. First up, give yourself credit! You are feeding your baby with your body! Breastfeeding may not be a natural thing for mom & baby & it does take some practice. I read all about breastfeeding before I had Dominic, but nothing really prepares you like actually starting to nurse your baby. Give yourself a break & don't be so hard on yourself if you have some struggles in the beginning.
2. Breastfeeding is time consuming. In the beginning, babies will nurse for 40 minutes & sometimes up to an hour. I never considered this as newborns are small & they have such small tummies that I never thought that Dominic could possibly nurse for that long. The truth is they fall asleep sometimes while nursing so there is the constant waking the baby up if they do fall asleep & getting them to re-latch to eat. We had to feed Dominic every 2 hours during the day so if he nursed for 40 mins, we then had about an hour and 20 mins before the whole process began again. It's amazing how fast your day goes by when you are feeding this often!
3. Nursing is a journey that you & your baby have to figure out together. Like I said, I read so much about breastfeeding before Dominic was born, but there is no better learning experience than actually breastfeeding your baby. I think that if you are on the fence about nursing, try it out & see what happens. Our breastfeeding journey has definitely evolved from when Dominic was born. We have an understanding now & I know what positions work best for us & how to best nurse him. Every Mom & baby is different so you have to find out what works best for you & your little one. Sometimes that means switching positions to make yourself/baby more comfortable. Sometimes that means using a nursing pillow & sometimes not using a nursing pillow. Sometimes giving baby a longer/shorter break in between each side. Sometimes your baby will nurse quicker than normal & sometimes slower. You do whatever it is you need to do to make nursing successful for you & your baby.
4. It won't hurt all the time. I feel like I read so much about nursing hurting. Was there pain for me? Yes. Does it hurt every time? No. It only really hurt a little bit in the beginning when Dominic was nursing every couple of hours. It wasn't even that bad for me either. Of course this will be different for everyone, but if you are like me & were almost "scared" about the pain of nursing, don't be! I just birthed a baby which was way more painful to me than nursing ever has been! Plus, this nipple cream (HERE) helps out a lot & almost instantly made the pain go away for me.
5. Utilize a lactation consultant. This is one that I look back on & think I should have utilized her more in the hospital. The hospital stay for us was kind of a blur & we were in such a baby daze that when the lactation consultant did come in to speak with me, I feel that I didn't take full advantage of her. Looking back now, I would have had her sit with me for a lot longer to teach me everything she knows. The nurses were helpful too, but the lactation consultant is a specialist in this area & gave us some helpful tips, but I know we could have used more. My advice, ask her anything & everything! She can really assist you & why not take advantage while you are in the hospital?
6. Have a nursing station set up for you. This has been one that I learned early on. Sitting down to nurse can take up a lot of your day so having all the essentials within arms reach is so important. I have sort of a makeshift station downstairs in the living room & then one in Dominic's nursery. (When Dominic was sleeping in our room in the beginning, I had one in our bedroom as well.) Now, what I mean by this is have everything you need ready to go so that when it is time to feed the baby, you will not be running around trying to grab all the things. My station includes, burp cloths, a water bottle, pacifier, nursing pillow(s), & blanket. When I am downstairs in the living room, I make sure that there are pillows behind me on the couch so that I am comfortable. When it is time to feed Dominic, I grab all these things so that I am prepared. In his nursery, I have them set on the side table next to the rocking chair. Easy access to everything makes nursing much easier! I will put some links to things we love below that you can click on to shop :)
These are just some things that I think about now & wish I would have known before having Dominic. Most are simple & some may be common knowledge to people, but as a new Mom, I wanted to share my thoughts on what I wish I would've known 4-5 months ago. Hopefully this helps some new Moms out there too :)
If you know any new Moms or soon to be Moms, I would love for you to share this post with them!
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