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Breastfeeding Tips From a Breastfeeding Mom
Breastfeeding has been one of the most challenging experiences for me as a new mom. I have managed to overcome these challenges, so I decided I would write as many blog posts as I could about the subject. I want to be able to help you overcome the challenges you face by hearing my story. Here is my story.
My Breastfeeding Story
My breastfeeding journey actually began 9 years ago when I had my second daughter, Emma. I remember wanting to breastfeed her but wasn’t really given the opportunity to breastfeed her from the time she was born. Basically, they rushed her away and shoved a bottle in her mouth as soon as I gave birth. I guess to give me time to rest. So when I made it back home and wanted to try breastfeeding, I didn’t really know what I was doing, the internet wasn’t as accessible for advice on where to begin as it is today, and I didn’t really know how much effort it took to breastfeed at that time. So I gave up pretty quickly at trying to breast feed Emma.
Five years later my son Daniel came along. I was determined to breastfeed him from the start. I spent hours on the internet researching exactly how I would accomplish my mission. From this I have learned in life things don’t always go as planned. Daniel was also rushed away soon after being born but for a different reason. He was born with a blockage in his urethra that prevented him from urinating the entire time that he was in my womb. He developed hydronephrosis and stayed in the hospital the first month of his life. I feel extremely blessed that he was able to come home so quickly. I know plenty of mothers who endure their child being hospitalized for much longer.
While Daniel was in the hospital, I pumped breast milk for him. I would use storage bags and mark the date and time. I would take them with me to the hospital everyday. The hospital was 45 minutes away from where I lived so sometimes the nurses would give him formula if they ran out of my breast milk. One time I tried to breastfeed Daniel in the NICU when I was finally able to hold him but I was worried about disconnecting a wire or hurting him. So I continued to pump. I also had an uncomfortable experience with a nurse. She asked if I wanted to nurse Daniel one day and I said yes. Daniel had a hard time latching probably because he was used to a bottle that gave him his milk immediately and with breastfeeding a baby has to wait for the letdown process. Either way I tried and the nurse wanted to see if I had milk coming out so she pulled and pinched my breast so hard that it brought tears to my eyes. From that day forward I never tried to breastfeed in the NICU again fearing they would hurt me. I continued pumping breast milk even after he was released from the hospital but my challenge with that was keeping up my supply when exclusively pumping. There are many moms that are successful at exclusively pumping but I unfortunately was not one of them. So I switched to formula when Daniel was about 6 months old.
Fast forward five years to March 23, 2017. I was again determined to exclusively breastfeed and told the nurses my plans while in labor. David was born at exactly 10:45 am that morning with no complications. As soon as he was born they laid him right on my chest for a good 5 minutes. They then cleaned him up, weighed him and all that good stuff, and immediately gave him back to me for skin on skin contact. I truly believe this is a major reason why breastfeeding David came so natural to the both of us. I got to hold him close to me for at least a couple of hours as soon as he was born. Once he started rooting for milk, I got him to latch on and he began to breastfeed for the first time. It was one of the most amazing experiences of motherhood I have ever been through. I felt very satisfied that I could provide the nourishment he needed without a bottle. Not there is anything wrong with a bottle. Breadtfeeding was just my personal preference. He is currently in his third month of life and I am still nursing him on demand. I actually had given up breastfeeding for a two week period and had begun exclusively pumping but went right back to breastfeeding right away because for me, it is just so much easier.
Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
1. Don’t Give Up. In the beginning of this journey, I wanted to give up so many times. Some reasons I wanted to give up were, I didn’t think I was producing enough or I thought I was over producing. What I have learned is that your body regulates the production of breast milk and magically knows how much to produce. So as long as your baby is still wetting and soiling the normal amount of diapers throughout the day then this means your baby is eating enough.
2. Breastfeeding is time consuming. If you are breastfeeding on demand like me, then it is very time consuming. I will normally wait for signs that my baby is hungry such is sucking his hands, rooting for a breast, or crying. Make sure to have a nice, comfortable, and supportive place to breast feed because it could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. It is best to allow your baby to feed until they are full which at that time they will let go of your nipple and probably fall asleep.
3. Burp them after feeding. This is something I wasn’t sure about when I first started to breast feed but it is necessary to burp the baby just like when you bottle feed. This prevents them from spitting up and getting gassy. Gentle pat or rub your baby’s back for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If they don’t burp within that time, that is OK, you can stop.
4. Buy breast pads for leaks. You will leak and if you are in public it can be embarasing. Even when I am at home sometimes I wear breast pads as well for leaks because it can be uncomfortable. There are both disposible pads and reusable. I like both types.
6. Talk to a lacatation consultant before leaving the hospital. They can help you with any questions or concerns you have about breastfeeding. They can also provide you with a phone number or contact information for a lacatation consultant that can help you with breastfeeding once you are home. It helps to have that support.
My Must Have Items for Breastfeeding Success
Here are some items I can’t live without when it comes to breastfeeding and I recommend you get them too! This will make the experience much less stressful.
I use a pump when I feel too full of milk either in the morning or anytime that baby isn’t eating as much and I need some comfort.
I use storage bags when I do pump and freeze my milk just in case I need to go out without baby or so hubby and I can get a sitter and have a date night.
I used this pump with Daniel when I exclusively pumped and it worked great
I use these storage bags when I can’t find Medula brand. They are also BPA free.
I have used these disposable nursing pads to avoid leaks and they work really well. I use them between washing my reusable breast pads.
I just started using this brand of reusable pads recently and love the convenience of being able to reuse breast pads instead of throwing them away after one use.
I used a cover when I first started breastfeeding and felt uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public places. Now I feel comfortable enough to breastfeed anywhere.
This is another type of design for a nursing cover for when you are out and about.
I recommend having a set of nursing pajamas because it will make it so much easier for nighttime feedings when you are completely exhausted and unable to function or think clearly.
I used a regular pillow at first until I found this one on amazon for only $19! This definitely is easier than a regular pillow and allows me to type on my laptop while nursing which is great.
Don’t forget to by a pillow cover for it too!
If there is something that has made your breastfeeding experience easier please leave it in the comments! Let’s help one another be successful at breastfeeding if that is something they are wanting to do. Again there is nothing wrong with bottle feeding I have successfully bottle and formula feed five children and they are doing just fine. Happy Friday!
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. These are items that I truly do use and enjoy. The small amount I make from these links can help me improve and keep my content enjoyable for you!