- Nipple soreness: Being a first time breast feeder my nipples were SO sore! In terms of latching and positioning you have to take the lead in the beginning, letting your little one take the lead is recipe for soreness.
- Save all the fancy advanced positioning for down the road. Keep it super simple in the beginning. Ex: Cross-Cradle Hold!
- Start out tummy to tummy.
- Start training your little one to open big and then YOU place the baby on your nipple with one hand. Little one’s chin should touch breast first.
- Get as much in their mouth as possible with your other hand, shoot for past the areola.
- Make sure the baby’s nose, your nipple and baby’s chin are in a straight line.
- Make sure your little one’s ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line.
- Turn out little one’s lips after latch.
- Discouragement from family and friends: I didn’t realize how much feedback I would get being a first time Mom. Everyone wants to help by offering advice. Not only was I a first time breast feeder, I was the first one in my family. So, I received a lot of discouragement I was unprepared for. I think preparing yourself mentally for naysayers, even ones closest is key. I had really taken the time to educate myself on all of the benefits of breastfeeding. Those facts were my rock when faced with adversity. My family thought I was making my life more difficult. The easier choice doesn’t always equal the better choice. I made the decision very early on that no matter how challenging it became or the negative feedback I received I was going to breastfeed! I wanted to give my child this gift. So many of our decisions are based on our feelings. Sometime we miss out on what’s better long term by letting how we feel in the moment influence our decision-making. I knew regardless of other people’s opinions or how I felt in any particular instance my mind was set to stick with it. So making your mind up early on is really important.
*GOOD NEWS! Breastfeeding becomes a lot easier. Come to find out it actually is a lot more convenient than bottle-feeding. No prepping when leaving the house, no cleaning bottles, you are essentially a breastuarant on the go. No clean up! Can’t beat that.
- Constant feeding: This was totally unexpected! I was under the impression that I would be feeding my daughter every 3-4 hours. In the beginning, I literally nursed her around the clock. I felt so conflicted because I thought she was only supposed to eat every 3-4 hours but that wasn’t what was happening. I didn’t know it then but what I was doing was nursing on demand. There were a lot of things I did because it worked. This is what worked for my daughter. Just a heads up, you could possibly have a little one on your boob 24-7 in the beginning. It’s not the end of the world, definitely an adjustment and something to prepare yourself mentally for!
- Milk supply issues: The reason my daughter likely nursed all the time was because of low milk supply. My breast never leaked milk, I didn’t fill up bottles when I pumped, I didn’t have an over abundance of milk. It was a struggle. The lactation teas on the market worked. But the Florida heat, my post-partum hormones, hot flashes and not being able to put my newborn down made brewing and drinking a hot tea 5 times a day troublesome. Hence, the conceptualization and development of our Plentiful Packs, a lactation tea in an on the go water-soluble instant stick pack. Best of all, NO HOT WATER REQUIRED! A lot of women battle with low milk supply and its not something to beat yourself up over. Thank God for those wonderful galactagogue herbs!
- Getting to know your breast pump: It took my husband several trips to the store before I figured out the correct breast shield aka flanges size! Yep, there are several sizes. This is the part of the pump that suctions to your breast and you put your nipple in. The pump comes with a standard size. But they run anywhere from 21mm-40mm. All of the articles I read said to go with the smallest fitting size. So I did. I faced a lot of uncomfortable friction! If you are new to using a pump, your nipples swell a bit with pumping. When fitting for your flanges remember whatever fits pre-pump is not your correct size. Give your nipples some room for that expansion. If you are having a problem with friction and haven’t found your perfect fit coconut oil or olive oil work great as lubrication and are safe for little nurslings!