5 Tips For Making Breastfeeding Easier
In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, I’ve decided to compile a small list of things that made breastfeeding easier for me. These may or may not work for you – just some tips from someone who has struggled with breastfeeding – twice.
1. Don’t let anyone convince you that you are “starving” your baby.
After the birth of my first child, I had a wonderful lactation consultant that really helped ease my mind in those first few, harrowing days of breastfeeding. She informed me that most babies are born “waterlogged” and really don’t need much in terms of fluid for the first few days. Babies almost always lose weight after they are born, and as long as the don’t lose more than 10% of their body weight – don’t worry. You probably won’t produce much until your milk comes in. You aren’t starving your baby – they are getting colostrum which is produced in very small amounts but is very nutritious and good for baby.
2. Don’t obsess over the hospital “feeding chart.”
Good God. The nurses and that damn feeding chart. How long did you feed? How often did you feed? How much did he poop? How much did he pee? Don’t forget to write it down! Where’s your chart? Are you writing it down?!
I really believe the first few days of breastfeeding will make or break you. You just need to feel supported – not pressured and freaked out. Is your baby latched on and sucking? Good. That action alone will help you produce milk. Don’t let the nurses freak you out with the obsessive charting. Everything is going to be okay. As long as your baby is sucking and peeing – don’t panic.
3. Use Lansinoh or some other nipple soother.
This stuff really helps prevent chapping and cracking. Use it. You may even want to start using it before your deliver your child to prep your nipples.
4. Remember that there will probably be pain and it will probably pass.
For a lot of us, breastfeeding is painful. It sucks. It will usually go away. The Lansinoh helps and so do cold compresses. If it seems unbearable get your doctor to look at it. You could have thrush which causes sharp shooting pain but is easily treatable with prescription ointment.
Look, this isn’t the suffering Olympics. If the pain is too much for you – don’t feel bad. In my experience it passes, but if you are miserable get help or consider formula feeding.
5. Realize it may not be as easy as it looks.
For most of us – at least the first time around – breastfeeding is really hard. I know there are some women who seem to float around effortlessly with babies wrapped around their torsos, sucking away peacefully. This may or may not be your reality, and that’s okay. It may be easy for you or it may be clumsy, painful, and difficult. You’re not a failure if you fall into the latter category.
If breastfeeding is something that you want to do, realize that it may take a while for it to be a comfortable experience. And if you ever feel like it is just too much and you don’t want to do it anymore – don’t beat yourself up. A fed baby is a happy baby and a sane mother is a happy mother.