I was speaking with a friend about how life with baby is going. I told her if and when she gets pregnant and if and when she decides to breastfeed that we need to have a talk. A nice, honest, down-to-earth talk.
You see, I didn't have much information to go off of regarding breastfeeding outside of the one class we took two weeks before giving birth and information I found on the internet. None of that could prepare me for how hard breastfeeding was (and still sometimes is).
If I'm being completely honest, breastfeeding is a heck of a lot more difficult than giving birth was. Seriously. Below are my seven tips to you new momma's to be before starting the journey of breastfeeding (or not).
No class will really prepare you for breastfeeding.
I am an avid note taker in all areas of my life. My note taking abilities span from grocery lists to workouts to to-do lists. So when we went to the breastfeeding class, I was ready with pen in hand. Ha! The notes I took are meaningless, for real. It takes real world experience to really grasp the concept of breastfeeding. The questions you asked in the class will not even be close to the questions you will want to ask after you start breastfeeding.
Cluster feeding is a thing.
You will learn this by day 2. Apparently it is a known fact that babies cluster feed from day 2-3. So, prepare yourself. Wanna know how often Mark fed during that time? (Yes, I have lists of all his feeds and diaper changes from birth.)
8/15/16 - 14 times! - 5:50, 9:40, 10:05, 11:15, 1:15, 2:55, 4:05, 5, 6:05, 8:15, 9:05, 10:15, 11:02 and 11:30
8/16/16 - 18 times!!! - 12:30, 2, 3:25, 3:45 4:25, 4:40, 7, 8:05, 9:25, 9:45, 11:33, 1:30, 3:38, 5:57, 7:58, 9:45, 10:36 and 11:10.
Compare those feeds to yesterday (7 times) and today (10 times).
Schedule time with a lactation consultant.
Depending on the hospital or place you give birth, you might meet with a lactation consultant upon giving birth. Chances of you actually remembering what this LC says is slim to none, especially if this is your first baby. You are so enamored with your baby and preoccupied with pain in parts of your body you didn't realize could feel that level of pain. I endured 2.5 weeks of VERY painful breastfeeding, and then found the light at the end of the tunnel upon scheduling time with an LC. That changed EVERYTHING!
Ask your partner to go to the lactation consultant appointment with you.
This might be the most important one. Dustin was there with me when we took Mark to the LC. He was standing over me alongside the LC when she was showing me how to hold Mark's head for optimum results during breastfeeding. I could see him taking mental notes when she was telling me that it is OK to practically shove his face on the boob. After all, he does have a soft landing spot. And, most importantly, he was able to relay my struggles to the LC so she could better understand what we have been going through. Then, after we left the LC appointment, he was able to take what we learned back home. So when I was struggling at a 2 a.m. feed, he was standing over me telling me the latch looked good. Or reminding me that I needed to align his body better.
I can't reiterate this enough. BE. POSITIVE! On the days that it was most painful, before meeting with the LC, I would have to give myself and my son words of affirmation. Some examples - you are the cutest baby; you are doing so well; this will not last; we ARE getting better at this. I credit my positive and good mental attitude to my husband. He was my rock those first two weeks. He endured many nights of tears, and reminded me that we had to be positive. Mark can pick up on our demeanor and we don't want him seeing me get aggravating with breastfeeding when it's not his fault that we were struggling. Yes, breastfeeding is a two way street that needs to be learned by both parties; however, he is a newborn. Remember that.
This one is simple. The boob is for eating. Not sleeping. As cute as it is when baby falls asleep at the boob and you can stare so closely at their beautiful sleeping body, DON'T let it happen. If you continuously let your baby fall asleep at the boob, they are going to think that they can eat and sleep in the same place. If you want to be most efficient when breastfeeding, they need to know that once they fall asleep, the boob goes away.
Regardless of what you read on the internet, or hear from the people that know best, you do you. Do you want to breastfeed for a month? Six months? A year? Do it! Do you want to supplement formula? Do you. There is no right or wrong answer. Seriously. Yes, there are benefits to breastfeeding, but think of all the people who were not breastfed that turned out a-OK. There are so many factors that go into breastfeeding, whether or not you can or whether or not you want to. My only recommendation would be to at least try it.
Dustin has such a sense of humor, that is one of the things I love most about him. He always knows when and how to make me laugh. And, he can even make me laugh when I've been a real B-word. He can bring me back to reality when I'm an idiot. Knowing how rough I had it in the beginning, he found a way through humor to help lighten the mood.
He calls me the Bed & Breakfast of Kara. I'm Mark's food source, and boy loves to fall asleep on me.
When Dustin is holding Mark and I am eating, he will say, "Is your dinner eating dinner?" It gets me every time!
I'm happy to be my son's bed and breakfast. Now that we are 7+ weeks in to this, I feel 100% more confident in breastfeeding. I've gotten stronger mentally and Mark is really getting the hang of it. From my little notebook of the list of his daily feeds, they are getting shorter in minutes with more time in between. Little man IS getting more efficient, and it is so amazing to see. It took us both a while to get the hang of breastfeeding, but we did it!
What tips do you have for breastfeeding?
Hi there! I'm Kara, of taking KARA myself! I've dabbled in blogging off and on for a while now. Mostly off. But I'm trying to change that and make a dent in this side of the world wide web. Enjoy!