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As all of you know, I breastfed Kye exclusively for 10 months (and had enough milk frozen to last him until a little over 11 months old). I was not a natural when it came to breastfeeding. I had just about every issue you can have! I’m VERY proud of myself for never giving up as I feel very passionately about the importance of breast milk for my babies!
Since I’ve been through it all before you’d think I’d be a “pro” right? While I’m hopeful it’ll come easier this time around, Zach thought it was important for us to take the Breastfeeding Basics course at the hospital again. I’m SO glad we did as we learned some new tips that I wish I’d remembered the first time. My goal this time is to make breastfeeding priority #1 from birth and to establish a positive experience from the start. When you’re a first time mom things are crazy and it’s hard to really focus on it the way you need to. Here are the notes I took from the first time around, the class really helped me then but after taking it again I did see some flaws in it.
To me, the instructor made it sound too easy. I get that they want to be positive about breastfeeding since it is so important for the baby and they want people to want to nurse, but I think the reason that MAJORITY of women try breastfeeding then give up early on is that they feel like failures. When ALL you hear about is how natural it is, how easy it is, how pain free it should be you can easily feel horrible about yourself and like you aren’t doing something right when you don’t have the natural, easy, pain-free experience. My experience was one where things didn’t come naturally, it wasn’t easy and I had a lot of pain…I wish the class (and the general media) would discuss those points and explain that it may be hard but it’s STILL WORTH IT!!! I am so glad I pushed through and think if more moms knew that the tough parts pass and it becomes wonderful that they wouldn’t give up so easily.
Here’s some of the things I found interesting from the class:
- You can eat pretty much anything in moderation while breastfeeding and it actually helps the baby to know a variety of flavors
- A good latch should feel good and will increase milk flow. It’s important that the baby has the FULL nipple in the mouth, not just the tip
- When you do the cradle position, you want to make sure the baby’s body is in a straight line with the entire body facing the breast
- When they hand me the baby in the delivery room I need to UNSWADDLE him or her to nurse as the skin to skin makes a HUGE difference!
- To get the baby to latch you tickle the upper lip with the nipple then when the baby opens wide you bring the mouth to the breast
- Make sure to keep the nose clear so he or she can breathe
- Ways to tell the baby is in a good position: mom is comfortable, baby is in straight line, baby is held close (take off the blankets), baby at breast level, baby’s chin in with head tilted back, baby has a wide mouth
- Wait to introduce a bottle for 2-3 weeks and the same with a pacifier
- If pumping is not comfortable then I need to buy larger breast shields (I have the Medela Freestyle and it’s AWESOME)
- A newborns stomach is as small as a shooter marble – do NOT worry that you aren’t “making enough”
- Breastfeeding saves a TON of money..in the first year you save about $2,000 in formula and $300-$400 in healthcare costs!!!
Zach and I have talked about why I had so many struggles with breastfeeding the first time around. I for sure had hyper-lactation (where my body produced WAY more milk than my baby needed) so that def caused some issues. We stayed after the class to say hello to the lactation specialist (who taught the course) as she and I got to know each other very well during my nursing troubles and preparations for our Paris trip (she always remembers me when I say “I’m the girl who went to Paris when my baby was 6 weeks old” haha). I wanted to ask her if it was a bad sign that I’ve hardly had any leaking this pregnancy when last time I started leaking at 6 months! Also my breasts have only gone up one bra size when last time they were huge. She said both are very normal for second pregnancies because my body knows more about what it actually needs to do. But she also said that it doesn’t mean I won’t have the hyper-lactation issues again since I had them the first time (and I don’t mind that…yeah it was a tough thing but gah I had SO much frozen milk which was a blessing!).
I think one of the BIGGEST things that got Kye and I started off on the wrong foot was how long they waited until they gave him to me to nurse when he was born. They delivered my placenta (which broke into a bunch of pieces and took forever) then stitched me up (which I was cut then ripped allllll the way to my “second hole” so that took 45 min) then gave me Kye to nurse and told me to hurry b/c my family needed to come in so they could move me to postpartum. THEN they kept him in the nursery over night and were supposed to bring him to me for all his feedings but “let me sleep” for several hours straight and told me the next day that it was okay for him to go a 4 hour stretch without nursing. They didn’t give him a bottle or anything, but they SHOULD have woken me up to nurse him!!!
Our plan this time is to let Blitzen lay on me until the cord stops pulsing, Zach cut the cord, they wipe him or her off then I nurse RIGHT away. In talking with the lactation specialist, she said they shouldn’t have a problem with that and that nursing will actually help my placenta detach and be delivered! We also plan to have the baby stay IN the room with us. I know it may mean less rest for us, but I don’t want anyone skipping any feedings or letting my kids face get all scratched up again (Kye came to us the next morning with scratches ALL OVER his little face b/c they didn’t put any mittens on him!). I also plan to stay in the hospital for 48 hours and leave at a better time of day. I stayed 24 hours to the minute with Kye (I HATE hospitals) and we got discharged at like 8 pm. Um, bad time to go home with a newborn. It was an AWFUL night (he cried all night, I didn’t get to get my prescription since it was so late so I was in mega pain and Levi almost died…). While I loathe hospitals I think staying the 48 hours will let Blitzen and I bond and allow me to nurse a TON without being distracted by the business of home ya know?
More than ANYTHING else I’m so so eager to nurse my baby! Our bodies are naturally designed to breastfeed and I feel that instinct kicking in! I hope and pray that I have a better experience with it this time from the beginning but even if it’s tough again…I will NOT be giving up 🙂
I’m thankful Zach and I took the class again as we both picked up on things we didn’t know the first time around and it gave me MUCH more confidence!
Do you have any good breastfeeding tips for me???? I know stuff has changed in the past 2 1/2 years! I bought some Milkies b/c I heard they were awesome to save milk that leaks while feeding…anything else worth getting or tips for a more enjoyable experience from day 1?