Breastfeeding. Women have been using their boobies to feed their children for thousands of years. But what people lack to tell you is how freaking hard it is!
You've probably heard that babies naturally latch onto your breast when they lay your baby on your chest for the first time. Ya that's like the 1% buddy! I don't know a single person who has had an easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl breastfeeding experience. All of you who have. I seriously give you mad props. I am truly happy that you didn't have to experience hardship when it came to breastfeeding.
But for the 99.9% of women I know who have had cracked nipples. mastisis, yeast infections, thrush, lip/tongue ties, teeth biting off nipples. You know, #thestruggleisreal
Don't get me wrong I do enjoy and appriecate the fact that my body can produce milk for my baby and give him all the vitamins and nutrients he needs. But if you are a first time mom or soon will be, please please please find a breastfeeding support group. Find friends or family that know how to breastfeed and ask for help. Having these two things are so important and critical for you to have a successful breastfeeding experience.
So here are some tips to have a good experience while breastfeeding. Whether you're a working mom or stay at home mommy, you can do it and don't give up! It's hard but you've got this ;-)
1.) Find a local breastfeeding support group
I can't emphasize enough how much this saved my life. When you are home on maternity leave and you are struggling at the house, you really need encouragement and support from others. My friend (who was pregnant at the same time as me) told me about this breastfeeding support group that the hospital does on specific days. I went and it was so encouraging to me that I wasn't alone in the struggle, and even better was seeing moms who had older babies than mine that were still having issues. As your baby grows and changes so does breastfeeding, there's different stages that you go through that I didn't know about.
2.) Nursing bras
Dude. You need to invest in some serious nursing bras. Yes I know they are expensive but you will not regret it. Plus you can always give it a shot for like a week or so and if it's not working out for you make your husband take it back! Duh! Some of the brands that seem to be super popular and also that I like wearing are the following...Bravado, Motherhood Maternity, Target, Walmart. Try a bunch of different ones and see what works for you. If you tend to leak a lot I would recommend getting a few day time bras and then getting a nighttime bra from like Target.
3.) Disposable nursing pads vs. Clothe
Honestly I use both. The best disposable nursing pads I've found are Johnson and Johnson. They are comfortable, stay in place and soak up a lot of milk if you get engorged and are leaking like a fountain. Clothe I use during the day which keeps me fairly dry and the disposable I use at night. They work great for me and you should try both to see which is most comfortable and conveint for you.
4.) Be patient and give grace
Patience is not one of my strong giftings. I struggle with it everyday to not be critical of others and of myself. I tend to have high expectations for myself and project that unto others. So regardless of what people have said about the baby naturally latching unto your breast which is true in some but rare cases, your baby has no idea what it's doing. Just like you have no idea what you're doing with this creature you just made for the past 9 months. You must, must, must give your baby grace and just as importantly give yourself grace. You just delivered a baby, your life will now be forever changed with screams, cries, hugs and laughter forever. The times when you get super frustrated with yourself or your baby, take a deep breath and try again. If you are still struggling to get your baby to latch or whatever, ask your spouse (if they are there) to take the baby for a minute. Put a binky in there mouth or your finger and they will quiet down for a minute for you to gather your thoughts and calm down.
5.) Spouse support
Your spouse can't breastfeed your baby but he can help you with the baby. You can pump and have dad feed the baby while you go take a nap. When the baby is screaming and you are about to lose your cool he can stick he's finger in the baby's mouth and they will suck on that for awhile for comfort. He can encourage you or if you need to vent you can ask him to listen to you and hold you while you cry it out with how hard it's going. Your spouse can do a lot more than you think. Trust me. All the above I've been through it. I seriously would have given up if my husband didn't encourage me, comfort me or support me with breastfeeding. Even though it's primarliry a mom and child experience, your spouse can and should be very involved with the process. Our nightly routine is Jared gets Liam ready for bed while I get ready for bed and he gets me water, gets me my iPad (I like to play games on it or Pinterest everything) hands me the baby as I get situate for our last feeding of the night and we're good to go. This process has been so helpful after a long day of work and taking care of everyone else, he takes care of the baby and helps me out even for a few mins.
Again you can do this! It's hard but you will be so happy you stuck with it. I promise you. I don't know a mom who has ever regretted breastfeeding her baby. #gohardorgohome