Planning on breastfeeding? Not sure what to expect? Well, you've come to the right place! Breastfeeding is one of the most difficult tasks I've ever accomplished. It takes strength, patience, diligence, and will power. After much trial and error, I have been successfully breastfeeding for almost 9 months now. Here is a list of 10 tips to help you prepare for this new journey:
1. It hurts (at first)
I won't lie to you, breastfeeding HURTS in the beginning. The first month and a half were the hardest for me. My nipples were cracked, raw, and sometimes would bleed (YES, BLEED). I remember one night I was up and all I could do was cry because of how painful it was. I called my husband and told him that I just couldn't do it. Being the supportive man that he is, he told me to do what I thought was best. Looking back, I am so glad that I pushed through the pain. I am 8 months in and it isn't painful AT ALL anymore. So, I promise it DOES get better.
2. Persistence IS Key
No matter the difficulty, DO NOT GIVE UP! If you have too, periodically use a breast pump for the first couple of weeks, or months, as well as putting the baby on your breast. It gives you a break from the pain while you still give your baby the nutrients he or she needs.
3. Invest In Nursing Friendly Clothes
From the moment I had my son, I wore nightgowns. They are extremely comfy and so easy to pull out your breast whenever your baby is hungry! I also bought a TON of nursing bras. You will definitely need them while you are out of the house!
4. Use Nursing Pads
Your breasts WILL leak. It is inevitable. Mine still leak whenever my son needs to feed, if they get squeezed too hard, or even if I hear a baby cry (yes baby cries will signal a letdown). So, I bought a pack of washable nursing pads to put in my bra. They are so convenient and the ones that I bought were comfy and they had a cute design!
5. Coconut Moisturizing Cream
Whenever I was in the hospital the nurses gave me Lanolin to put on my nipples to help with cracking and pain. I wasn't really a fan of it and neither was my son. So, I went to my local Sam's Club and I found a bottle of Coconut Moisturizing Cream and decided to give it a try. I cannot rave enough about this product! Not only did it help moisturize my nipples, Rayne also liked the taste of the coconut instead of the gross, basically vasoline, cream that I received from the hospital. It is a great ALL-NATURAL alternative that truly does help.
Quick Tip: Your breastmilk will heal cracked or bleeding nipples!!!
6. Nursing Pillows
After you have a baby, your body truly is exhausted. I mean, you just finished carrying a tiny human for almost ten months and then pushed that little baby out of your body. There is a reason your doctors tell you the recovery time is at least 6 weeks! Through all of the afterbirth exhaustion it really is hard to hold a newborn for 20 to 30 minutes up, so they can eat. Nursing pillows are a great way to support your baby and give you a break. They also help position the baby, so you can focus on getting a proper latch without worrying about holding them.
7. Create a Breastfeeding Station
You are going to be spending up to ten hours a day breastfeeding. You are going to want an area that has everything you need. I had a bin that I received at my baby shower and I filled it with books, snacks, water, my moisturizing cream, my pump, milk bags, and a sound machine on the table beside my rocking chair. Make sure you keep it filled with things you like to give you something to do while baby eats. I got so bored once, I read the manual for my breast pump three times in a row! A breastfeeding station is truly convenient.
8. Look Into Lactation Consultants BEFORE Baby Comes
Fortunately, I never needed a Lactation Consultant. From the moment I first breastfed Rayne, he knew what to do. However, many women have a very hard time breastfeeding and a Lactation Consultant helps so much. Not only do they help with getting the baby to latch, they also give tips for breastfeeding, show you what different positions you can put the baby to breastfeed, and so much more! I tell all moms to talk to one before you have a baby, they are trained and know how to help!
9. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
When you are breastfeeding, you burn an average of 500 EXTRA calories per day. You need to stay hydrated not only for yourself, but also so the baby can stay hydrated. Remember, the baby eats what you eat and drink! Also, if you don't hydrate, you will lose your milk!
10. Lastly, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BREASTFEED IN PUBLIC!
I don't care what anyone says, your baby needs to eat. Remember, it is a beautiful bond between a mother and a child, don't be embarrassed. Many people don't care anyways!
Please leave a comment with your tips for breastfeeding! I'd love to read them!
Down below are the links to the moisturizing cream, breast pump, nursing pads, nursing bra, and pillow!
I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope it helps!