Don’t get me wrong, I am no pro nor am I stating I know it all.
I had a difficult time being a first time mom venturing into the breastfeeding world in the beginning. I thought it would be easy, but it is/was the hardest thing I have done, AND yes, that includes giving birth.
I had a really bad couple of days at first, so much so that I would break down into tears from the sheer terror of trying to get my baby to latch on correctly while I cringed in pain. I wished I had done more research since no one around me breastfed effectively before I had given birth, but as I said before, I thought it was going to be a piece of cake.
One of the first things I purchased for myself since I knew I wanted to breastfeed was a boppy breastfeeding pillow. Trying to get a good angle without this pillow is frustrating to say the least. Believe me, I am truly upset when I forget it at home and have nothing to aid me. LOL
The easiest position for me and baby is cross cradle. She still feeds like this 4 months later on this pillow. It truly has been a life saver since I don’t have to hold her up myself or bend too far down to position my breast near her mouth. It has lost some of it’s fluffiness but that’s cause she’s used it since birth and weighs 18.4lbs now.
You will be sore, I am not even kidding. At first you may blister, and probably experience pus and blood around your nipple, and the only thing that helped give me some relief when I wasn’t feeding her was applying this Medela Tender Care Lanolin Nipple Cream before and after every feed. I found that the Lansinoh brand was a little too thick, especially when you’re dealing with sore nipples, because the last thing you want to do is irritate them even more.
A lot of latch consultants call this one a band-aid, at least the one who was consulting me since I had a hard time getting my baby to latch correctly. I honestly say it’s because their mouths are tiny. Once they’re around a couple months the pain really does start to lessen. But this Medela Contact Nipple Shield helped me in the process when I needed to heal. I was actually given one of these in the hospital but it was a size large, not sure why they would have large on site for newborns, which is way too big in my opinion. I actually opted for the small one since my nipples are not super huge and it actually fit/worked a lot better in my newborns mouth. She was kind of “meh” at first but she got the hang of it once she started realizing milk was being delivered thru this plastic contraption.
One thing you’ll experience if you don’t get these Medela Softshells is irritation from your clothes/bra touching your raw nipples. These things may seem funky or bulky to the eye, but they really are wonderful. I grabbed these because I needed my nipples to heal without anything touching them. They do end up moving a little bit out of your bra and/or causing marks around your areola area but I was willing to put up with that for the healing effect. Milk does collect in the sponges that you insert which can be used or discarded. Just make sure you wash these with soapy water each time you take them off.
Last but not least, you’re going to need a breast pump. Most insurance companies will provide one for free, but if you do not have insurance, I recommend the hospital grade Spectra S2. My sister used this one and loved it.
My insurance covered the Medela pump in style breast pump which worked as intended. My little one was not effective at emptying the breast and would fall asleep quite a bit at first, so in order to make more milk, your body needs to know the milk in your breasts are being used. If they don’t get emptied, you won’t make more milk. The more the baby sucks, the more you will produce even if your breasts are empty. At first I thought I had low milk supply because I had to supplement with formula since she was drinking 4-5 ounces each from from 2 weeks to 1.5 months. Then, she decided she wanted to stop taking the bottle and wanted only my breasts, so I had to cluster feed, which is why I rarely have time to get on here anymore. She still cluster feeds at times, but apparently this cluster feeding helped boost my milk supply since she’s growing off the charts and rarely gets additional formula except 1 bottle at night when supply is the lowest. I was worried that she was getting very little from me, but the check ups at the doctors office proved me otherwise.
If you do have low supply, I suggest getting some goat’s rue. Although kind of expensive for what you get, it really does help if you really do have low supply.
If there are any other breastfeeding tips or questions you may have, don’t hesitate to post in the comments section. I’ll be glad to share more of my breastfeeding experiences with you.