5 things about breastfeeding I didn’t know before

I have always been looking forward to breastfeeding — there was no question for me personally whether to breastfeed or not. During my pregnancy, I’ve read, in many various books, about benefits of breastfeeding both for my baby and for me. So I was highly motivated, but also a bit naive (as I can see now, after 13 months of breastfeeding my daughter). Here are some points I would like to share with every new mom.

The most important thing ever:

Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful things about maternity. The feeling of intimacy and well-being is just awesome! You can read about it, hear about it, but if you don’t experience it, you will never understand it…

Me and my daughter have had two “breastfeed crises” so far. The first one was when she was 2 weeks old, the second one when she was almost one year old. We overcame both crises thanks to the support of my husband and my lactation consultant. My daughter is 13 months old now and we are both still enjoying breastfeeding very much! So the next important point is:

Never give up breastfeeding if there are some troubles — do not hesitate to ask the right people for help.

  1. It’s not given to have milk (colostrum) immediately after birth. Don’t panic as I did. My daughter had no problem to take my nipple into her mouth immediately after birth, but she was actually not able to drink as there was no milk ready yet. After 48 hours of her thirsting I was already very scared as the situation did not improve. But there was a happy-end: my breasts just needed time to start producing enough milk and my baby needed time to learn how to drink it. Be patient and do not compare yourself with the other mothers. Every woman and every baby are unique, so relax, give it some time and soon you will be a great breastfeeding-team!
  2. My nipples hurt! Breastfeeding is a completely new experience for your nipples — and it can hurt. In my opinion, the best and cheapest “medicine” for your poor nipples is breastmilk. Just put some drops of it on your nipples after every breastfeeding. After few days they will be ready for their most important mission ever!
  3. Help, my baby always falls asleep during breastfeeding / bites harmfully into my nipples / doesn’t want my milk anymore! Yeah, I know these problems very personally. When my daughter was 2 weeks old, she would always fall asleep during breastfeeding. The result was that she put on only 30 grams (1 ounce) weight in a week. I have also experienced biting and a three-weeks long breastfeeding-boycott. It can be caused by many reasons, every mom & baby are unique as well as the solutions for them. So if you have a problem, stay calm and do not hesitate to ask the right person for help. I am very grateful to my husband for supporting me to continue in breastfeeding during the crises. How can actually your partner or other people support you? Sometimes, it can be very simple — my husband, for instance, has persuaded me to call a lactation consultant when I was desperate. But I will focus more on this topic in my next post.
  4. Your baby is not a machine. Of course! So do not look at your alarm clock — breastfeed your little one whenever he/she shows signs of hunger (yeah, it can really be every half an hour at the beginning!). Unfortunately even if breastfeeding on demand is officially recommended by WHO, many pediatricians still consider scheduled breastfeeding a better option. Follow your instincts on this, breastfeed as often as your baby needs.
  5. Everybody will give you “good” advices about breastfeeding. Trust me. Your mother, mother-in-law, your partner’s ex-girlfriend, neighbor… and if your dog could talk to you, I’m sure you’d receive a great advice from him/her. Are you not interested? Doesn’t matter, they will give you advices anyway — ’cause everybody is an expert and has an opinion, even women who breastfed the last some thirty years ago. And sometimes men, the human gender without functional nipples, have ‘guaranteed’ advices too. I don’t have to say that 99 % of these advices are confusing, unproven, nonsense, or myths, do I? For instance, I have met my 85 years old neighbor on the street and she immediately started to tell me a long family trouble story about “light milk” — that all women in her family could not breastfeed because of breast milk being low in nutrients. She was sure it’s also my problem. I could not persuade her that this is really a myth and breast milk is not a Coca-Cola. Again — trust your instinct, not self called “experts”.

Last but not least: as I’ve already mentioned above, your baby is not a machine. It means she doesn’t have to grow as the charts say. It has no sense to weigh your baby after every breastfeeding — because than you might focus more on numbers instead of your baby and its needs. So don’t be stressed if your little one puts on 300 grams one week and just 30 grams the next one. Stay relaxed and breastfeed as often as your baby needs.

— SAHMom