When I was about seven months pregnant I decided I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I had read about all the benefits of nursing and even took a breastfeeding class to help me get prepared. It seemed pretty easy enough, but little did I know how challenging it would be. Fast forward to one week after giving birth and there I was sobbing on my glider with my crying baby in arms.
My milk hadn’t fully come in and I felt so confused. Is my baby getting enough to eat? Is he starving? Why isn’t my milk in? I ended up having to supplement to make sure he was getting enough. In all honesty, I felt like a failure. I felt like I couldn’t feed my own baby.
Looking back now, I was being so hard on myself for no reason. But nobody ever told me that what I was going through was normal. Truth is breastfeeding is not easy for everyone.
My mom kept telling me how at one week she was overflowing with milk, which really didn’t make me feel any better (thanks mom!) I tried drinking tons of water, Mother’s Milk Tea and even drank my mom’s concoctions, a barley drink, that was suppose to help my milk come in. I didn’t want to give up. After the first week, things started to get better. We hired a lactation consultant and she was so great at answering all of my concerns and developing a nursing plan. Little by little I started getting the hang of it. My nursing sessions went from lasting one hour to about 30 minutes.
For my baby’s two-week check-up my husband and I were so relieved that he was gaining weight. In fact, he had already gained one full pound. My milk had come in and I was so happy. My husband was doing one bottle-feeding at night (with my breast milk), which allowed me get some sleep at night. When my baby turned one month, we were faced with another roadblock.
I landed at the doctor’s office with a fever of 104 and a huge boob. At first I was scared that it might be the flu and that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. Fortunately, I was just engorged from all of the milk I was producing. I say “fortunately” because at this point I was just so happy to even have milk. Overall, with each passing day breastfeeding has gotten easier. It takes a lot of patience and that’s important for new moms out there to know.
In case you’re struggling with breastfeeding. Here are some quick tips from Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Faith Ploude:
- Relax; it takes about two weeks for you and your baby to learn the art of breastfeeding. It is like dancing!
- If nursing hurts after the first 30 seconds of sucking, take the baby off and start over. There is no pain.
- You are not nursing a clock so understand your baby’s feeding cues. You know your baby better than anyone.
- Once breastfeeding is going well; put 8 clean diapers on the changing table around midnight. By noon the next day, the baby should have soiled at least 4 diapers, if not; the baby may not be feeding enough.