1. You are literally on call 24/7. Seriously! Especially in those first 6 weeks and during growth spurts. You are going to feel like your little one never leaves your boobies sometimes. I went through a lot of this! My little girl was always attached. She wanted the boob for food, for comfort, to go to sleep, etc. Sometimes I got so frustrated because I couldn’t get anything done around the house or have some mommy and me time with my 6 year old son that I would cry.
Don’t worry though. Not all babies are like this. Some will take to a schedule and follow it. Others will just eat when they want and then be done with your boobs. They won’t want that extra comfort from them like mine did. But for those that do here are a few tips to get through it.
a. Remember that you are providing the best nutrition for your little one and to add the cherry to the top. ..it’s free and ready-made! No formula to buy and make. So don’t think about throwing in the towel yet! It will get better and you will have up and down days. Just keep going and keep giving yourself some nice little pep talks.
b. Try to keep calm with breathing exercises, herbal teas, and possibly basic yoga when you do have time. Even simple stretches can be calming and quick. Take a simple search around online and you can even find simple stretches you can do right from bed.
c. Don’t add to your frustration at the time. Have everything you usually need or want during feeding times right at your side when you start. Not having to get up during a feeding or sitting there wishing you had something at that moment can really take away from some of your stress. Some woman feel tied down during breast feeding but having everything you need and want right at hand is really a sanity saver. Try making your own breast feeding basket. You can view my basket HERE and get a list of everything I keep in it!
d. Get plenty of sleep. Or as much as your able. And drink plenty of water. Lack of sleep and dehydration are always leading culprits in mood disorders. Keep your body healthy so your mind stays healthy. Doing this will help fend off those bouts of frustration or any other not so wonderful emotions you may encounter when being tied down most of the time.
e. Try to ensure your baby is definitely full so that you are not just getting her halfway full and then she falls asleep or falls off the Nipple. Then wakes up shortly after or wants the boob back again. Making sure she is full will give you better chances at being able to get her to sleep or let her have belly time or play time on a mat for a little bit where she isn’t crying for the boob straightaway. A few tips to help with this.
– Let her feed as long as possible. If she falls asleep I use this time to change her diaper or clothes if I have to. Doing this almost always wakes her back up and then when we’re done I latch her on to the other breast.
– If she’s falling asleep or keeping latched but not actually eating anymore try playing with her a little. Try tickling her feet or neck slightly. Rub her back or scratching it usually worked better for me. Try talking to her in a slightly louder voice just to get her attention. Or if you feel like getting even more invasive try taking her completely off your breast and pick her up for a minute. I did this every now and then and it was always a major wake up call for my little one. She woke instantly up when I would sit her up.
2. You are going to feel like you are starving and completely depleted of water! As I said before this will mostly happen during the first 6 weeks and during growth spurts but you may encounter it throughout your entire breastfeeding experience. To help with this make sure you are eating at every meal drinking plenty of water! You will be snacking all the time as well. The only way I have kept up with the hunger is by eating every meal and having large snacks in between meals as well. Not to mention all the snacking at night time. This may seem counterproductive towards losing the baby weight after pregnancy but you are still feeding for two and your body needs that nutrition! Keep all of your snacks and a water bottle in you nursing basket. You can check out my post for creating your very own nursing basket by clicking on the words nursing basket before.
The best advice I have ever gotten when it came to drinking water and how much is that you should be drinking half your weight in ounces.
Example: I weigh 124 lbs. That means I should be drinking 62 ounces of water per day. (That’s almost the 8 glasses of water per day. )
This made way more sense to me when I was first introduced to this idea because that whole drink 8 (8 Oz. ) glasses of water per day thing was so generic to everyone. But each individual person weighs differently. So how can you just give a blanket answer for everyone to drink 8 (8 Oz. ) glasses of water per day. What about someone that is super small. ..they could be basically drowning themselves drinking that much water. Or vise versa someone who is very large could not be getting enough for their body. So sorry for the rant but I thought I’d share how much better this makes sense.
So to sum up-drink half your weight in ounces BUT since we are breastfeeding and basically still feeding for 2 I always say drink another 8 Oz glass on top of that. Our bodies are constantly replenishing our milk supply and since our milk is made mostly up of water, your water intake is not going to waste. And by all means if your still thirsty please keep on drinking! Your body let’s you know when you are dehydrated. So if you are drinking what you need to for your body size but you are still thirsty or noticing any signs of dehydration then keep drinking. There’s nothing wrong with drinking more when your body is telling you that you need more! Tend to your body! Don’t ignore the signs.
3. You may feel strangely happy for someone that is sleep deprived and overwhelmed. Why? Because breastfeeding does this wonderful thing to our bodies when we provide nutrition to our little ones. During breastfeeding our bodies release chemicals to our brains that basically make us happy! I won’t go too much into the science of it but here’s a little bit of knowledge for you.
When breastfeeding a hormone called oxytocin is released to the brain. This hormone is sometimes referred to as either the love hormone or the happy hormone because it induces the feeling of love and happiness in a mother. Because of this hormone it is much more unlikely for woman that are breastfeeding to experience any postpartum depression. I highly recommend breastfeeding for this benefit alone as it seems to be our countries greatest problem in new mothers these days. With the demands for woman to work and the availability to so many formulas more and more woman do not breastfeed, causing more woman to be at risk from all the ailments that breastfeeding actually helps with.
4. Try to fend off the almost unavoidable discomfort of engorged breasts from the get go! Drink Pineapple juice! And nurse as often as possible. For most woman engorged breasts are completely unavoidable when your milk supply first comes in after having a baby. But there are a few things to help you out and ensure that you don’t experience too much of the agony.
Drink Pineapple juice: I suggest start drinking it the day after you have your little bundle of joy because most woman will have their milk supply come in anywhere between day 2 and 4. Pineapple juice has anti inflammatory properties and will help with the swelling of your breasts. Bonus this will also help with your healing body after having the baby as you are likely to be swollen in other places as well.
Nurse often! As much as she will latch; let her nurse! Emptying your breasts as often as possible will help ease the engorgement when your milk supply does come in.
5. This one is probably what bothered me the most. Part because I’m ocd and part because I thought I looked funny. You may encounter the problem of one breast being larger than the other. Some woman encounter this because baby prefers one side over the other so they will eat more from one breast causing your breast to produce more milk in the side that is being emptied more often. In this case my only recommendation is to keep trying to alternate breasts. Don’t give up.
Other woman encounter this issue for no other reason than that is just how your body reacted to breast feeding. For me this is the case. I produce milk in both breasts but on one side I just don’t produce as much as the other. So if this is your case as well, try my method for getting even.
Alternate baby at each feeding. Keep track of which breast you are feeding on and for how long each time. For every one session of feeding on the side that is larger, feed twice on the smaller side. If you can not get baby to feed on that side then I suggest pumping or expressing milk by hand. So just to give a handier example just in case anyone is confused.
Say the left is the smaller breast.
Right 1:00 pm
Left 3:00 pm
Left 5:00 pm
Right 7:00 PM
Left 9:00 pm
Left 11:00 pm
Or if your baby eats on both sides during each feeding then let her empty both sides but start with the breast that is smaller. Then once shes done eating, pump again on the side that is smaller. That way the smaller side is still getting emptied more often than the larger one.
And that’s how it goes. You should see the smaller breast grow in size as your body will think that this side is being emptied more often so it will produce more. If you don’t see a difference and this is really bothering you I suggest talking with your doctor or lactation consultant as they may have other solutions.
6. You will want a burp cloth for everything she spits out. Seriously! She’s not exactly miss clean eater yet and will likely be letting a lot of milk slip out of her mouth during feedings which will end up sliding down your breasts and onto your bra or tank top. Unless your completely naked this tends to be a problem for me. I don’t like coming from a feeding and end up changing my bra and shirt because its covered in milk and right around my breasts. Talk about drawing attention. To avoid this mess I use a burp cloth and tuck it into my nursing bra under my breasts during each feeding. While it doesn’t always catch everything she spits back out, it definitely has helped in having less wardrobe changes. If you don’t want to use a burp cloth I suggest a wash cloth or any smaller towel.
7. I know this is mentioned a lot to everyone but I do not think it is stressed enough to parents. I decided to include this in this post specifically to stress it more. Siblings get jealous of a newborn! Especially with breastfeeding because the baby is holding moms attention only as she is the only one that can provide the food for baby. To ease some of the tension and help your older child(ren) with breastfeeding times try making them a breastfeeding basket. Check out my sibling breastfeeding basket post to get some ideas!
There you have it! Everything I learned on my breastfeeding journey that I had never come across before during all my readings and research. If you have any more tips please be sure to share! I’d love to hear any feedback!