I'm now breastfeeding my 3rd baby. (3?!?!?) When it's all said and done I will have spent more than 3 years of my life nourishing my babies with my breast. I've definitely learned a LOT since my first baby almost 8 years ago. I thought I would share some tips that helped make my breastfeeding journey a success.
1.) Decide & Commit
I LOVE to breastfeed my babies! It has been one of my favorite parts of being a mother. With that being said, it can be difficult the first few weeks. When the adrenaline has worn off, the sleep deprivation has set in, your body is sore and your breast are engorged, and your hormones are trying to level out, it's just too easy to give up. Breastfeeding is not something you can go in to saying, "I'll give it a try and see how it goes." You have to be 100% committed to it. When that feeling of "something's gotta give" shows up, you have to be willing to give something else up. I promise if you commit and stick with it you will not regret it.
After you've committed to breastfeeding and BEFORE your baby gets here, prepare yourself as much as you can. Read all the books,articles, blogs and Pinterest pins you can get your hands on. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but it usually doesn't come without a few problems and a lot of learning for the both of you. Knowing what to expect and knowing that what you're going through is completely normal makes everything so much easier.
The best thing I did for myself before my first baby was taking a breastfeeding class at one of the local hospitals. It was a one day "hands on" class taught by a nurse/lactation consultant. It was so informative and it gave me everything I needed to commit. I would strongly encourage any mom-to-be to take one!!
Most likely at some point during the early days of breastfeeding you're going to find yourself up in the middle of the night crying while holding your screaming newborn. You've tried everything you know to do and even though you've committed and prepared yourself, you're at a loss about what to do and your convinced your failing at being a mother and your baby is surely going to starve. That sounds dramatic, but thanks to your postpartum hormones that will be a very legit concern. Having a support system is crucial to your success!
When I had Ezra 2 months ago he had a slight latch problem a couple of days after he was born. I had given birth to him just 4 days earlier with no pain medication and didn't shed a single tear, yet I found myself nursing him and bawling because the poor latch he had made it so painful to feed him. Without the support of my husband I would have for sure given up.
I know not every woman has a partner or even any family to support them, but there are so many other people and resources that can be utilized! Midwives, nurses, lactation consultants, your local LaLeche League, and even Facebook breastfeeding groups are all there to help and answer any question you have. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Believe me, they've heard it all!
4.) Days 3 & 4.
If you think of breastfeeding, in terms of challenges, as a roller coaster, days 3 and 4 are the very highest and most difficult days. That is when most women throw in the towel. You're tired, your nipples are sore, your breast are engorged and you've got milk pouring from you like a waterfall. If you can push through and make it past those days it will be down hill from there!
5.) Get Ready and Get Comfy.
For the first few weeks of your baby's life you will spend a lot of time breastfeeding. I mean a LOT! If you're going to be spending so much time doing something you may as well be comfortable. When your baby shows signs of waking up to eat get yourself ready. Go to the bathroom, get something to drink, and sit down in a comfortable chair with your baby and nursing pillow. Also make sure you have the remote, your phone and whatever entertainment you desire. Most newborns can take their sweet time when it comes to dinner time.
If you have older children then it's also important to get them ready before you sit down to nurse. Ask them if they need to use the bathroom, get them something to drink and/or snack on and find them something to do that will keep them occupied. This is important because without fail they will wait until you've sat down and gotten really comfy before they will ask you to get them something to drink or suddenly be unable to hold their bladder another second.
Even though the first few weeks can be hard, soak it up. It is such a special time in your life and no matter how many people tell you, you wont believe how quickly it goes by. Take time to watch your baby nurse and memorize all of their sweet features. Talk to them, sing to them and let yourself love what you're doing for them. During those first days use your baby's meal time as an opportunity to steal your baby back from all of the visiting admirers and sneak away and love the precious time that you have them all to yourself. Sometimes it can feel like a chore and sometimes you'll feel like you've had a baby attached to you every second of the day, but remember to take the time to enjoy it. It will be something you cherish the rest of your life.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Our sweet boy is 2 months old already! He is growing like crazy! He weighs over 15 pounds and is 24 3/4 inches. He is >97% in both his height and weight!
This month has brought lots of sweet smiles and lots of "talking". If you're a parent you know how exciting this milestone is! Waking up to his smiles makes being up all night totally worth it :)
Speaking of sleep, he has gotten a little better. He has one good stretch from about 10:00 to 2 or 3:00 and then he's up every 2-3 hours. He does like to sleep in though. He's not ready to be up for the day until around 11:00 and takes really good naps. He also puts himself to sleep, which is really nice. So other than his frequent waking at night, he is a great sleeper!
Breastfeeding is still going great. He has become very efficient and can finish in about 10 minutes. I've also been able to pump quite a bit and I've now got a good amount of milk saved up in the freezer.
He is such a sweet baby and really easygoing which is a huge help to me! His two energetic sisters keep things going and he's always happy to just go along with what ever is happening.