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***Disclaimer- I do believe FED is best, but I have breastfed my two youngest boys and formula fed my oldest. You feed your children however in the way that works best for you and your situation.***
Breastfeeding has so many benefits.When done the right way and consistently, you and your baby can enjoy a lot of bonding time together.
So here are some truths about breastfeeding (in no particular order).
1. It hurts. It does at first. Sometimes it hurts just that first time, other times it just hurts and keeps on hurting. Some babies catch on a lot quicker than others. Remember: It’s a learning experience for both of you, especially you first timer’s. Don’t hesitate to seek out some help from a Lactation Consultant or a “seasoned” mommy friend. With practice, it will get better.
2. Your breasts will feel sore and sensitive to touch. For those first few days, you will feel tender and probably experience some swelling. It’s OK. It will pass once your breasts get used to producing milk. Taking a warm shower always helped relieve some pain for me.
3. Cracked and bleeding nipples will happen. Again, you may get lucky and your baby may catch on to breastfeeding a lot quicker than others. You are blessed if you do! However, if your nipples get to the point of cracking and bleeding, DO NOT GIVE UP! That’s where I was with my oldest when we were two weeks in to our breastfeeding relationship. It just wasn’t happening. I got so frustrated and did not have any support to encourage me. I didn’t seek out a Lactation Consultant and just said, “forget it, I’ll formula feed him”. That’s OK, by the way. If you can’t find support, you have to do what’s best for your situation.
4. You will be thirsty ALL THE TIME. Breast milk’s primary ingredient is water. Have a water bottle handy or within arm’s reach all day. This way, you will be able to stay hydrated and make lots of milk for baby.
5. You will lose weight. Be sure that you are eating healthy and drinking lots of water to keep the weight off. Research what foods would help with milk production and also be healthy for you to eat to keep your energy up.
6. You will feel like baby is feeding every hour. In the first few weeks and even months, it is critical for your milk supply for you to fee on demand. Yes, it will seem like the baby is always attached to your breast, but this will help establish your milk supply and set you and baby on track to being a breastfeeding dream team!
7. If you are married, or your partner is around, be sure to pay attention to them too. Too often, breastfeeding moms get caught up in taking care of the baby, that you spouse or partner may feel left out or neglected. Let them spend some time with the baby and change diapers for you. Sneak in a short nap if you can while they spend time with your baby.
Now I want to share some breastfeeding products that helped my baby and I on our breastfeeding journey…
Having a good quality breast pump really helped me establish my milk supply. I was able to pump and save back some milk for those times that I have to have someone else watch my baby. I am lucky enough to be a stay-at-home-mom for now, so I enjoy being able to breastfeed and pump when I need to. Don’t let the price of a good pump turn you off! Most insurance companies can cover most of the cost for you; in some cases your insurance may cover up to 100% of the cost. It never hurts to call! Do yourself a favor and contact your insurance provider, you may be surprised!
Storing your breastmilk is another important thing. I used these Lansinoh bags and they have worked great. I freeze mine on their side, laying flat inside of a baby wipes container. See next picture.
There are roughly 8 packs of milk in this container all ranging from 2.5 oz-4.5 oz.
Leaks will happen, it’s inevitable. I use disposable pads for convenience. There are options for cloth pads that can be thrown in the washer and dryer.
For sore nipples, I used this lanolin cream in the beginning. You can also just rub in some of your own breastmilk to sooth sore nipples, but I found that the lanolin worked better for me.
Breastfeeding is such an amazing bonding experience with your baby. I wish you well and hope you have much success with your breastfeeding journey!