Having a newborn is already tough enough. Add breastfeeding to the mix and it becomes a lot harder and MORE exhausting. I decided to nurse my youngest. This was brand new to me as I did not breastfeed my first two sons. Bottle feeding was so much easier than breastfeeding. Why would I want to breastfeed? Well, there are so many benefits to breastfeeding and this time around I had the time to do it. You can read my experience with Breastfeeding vs Formula – My Experience to get a perspective of both! My first 2 sons are both under a year apart. Therefore, I was super overwhelmed and new to parenting, at the time. There are a few stages you go through breastfeeding newborn – 12 months.
Breastfeeding A Newborn
The minute your baby is born, he cries and the nurse puts him on your breast, if you have decided to nurse your baby. The first 24 hours, I don’t remember any pain. I just remembered a beautiful moment between me and my son. He was so tiny, it was hard for him to latch. The lactationist at the hospital came by during my stay. She assisted with latching, gave me information for a breastfeeding support group and answered any questions I had. The nurses were also very helpful. They too are able to assist with any breastfeeding difficulties. You leave the hospital with tons of flyers, with instructions on what poop will look like the first few days, latching, milk coming in, etc.
You will soon realize you will not be sleeping for the next few months. There is a thing called cluster feeding. When I bottle fed my first two, I put them on a schedule and that was it. Of course, every newborn is up all night, regardless if you bottle feed or breastfeed. With breastfeeding, a new baby will cluster feed, every hour or non stop. This caused me sore nipples. I nearly cried some nights because of the pain. After many painful nights, I decided to attend a breastfeeding support group, the hospital recommended.
Breastfeeding Support Group
When I was pregnant, I took a breastfeeding class. You use a doll and pretend to nurse. The instructor shows you different ways to hold the “baby.” But nothing prepares you until you have your baby. Every baby is different. Some will latch easily and some will not. And as a new mom you are tired and may have forgotten everything you learned in the class.
Joining a breastfeeding support group was so rewarding. You meet new moms and many have good advice. At the support group, there was a lactationist and a nurse. We would go around and introduce ourselves, our babies and explain why were there. The lactationist recommended I’d use a nipple shield so my nipples would heal. They were cracked and very painful from all the cluster feeding. I used the nipple shield and it worked! My nipples healed, using it day and night. Once my nipples healed I would only, use it at night, during the cluster feeding moments.
Nursing And Pumping
I hated pumping. I remember a mom once told me she felt like a cow since she was milking LOL. I still remember that. It’s true. I always wondered when do I pump. Once a day is fine, as long as your home with baby. If you are away pump, when your baby would normally eat. Pump once in the morning after you feed baby. Once you return to work, pump every 3 hours to keep your milk supply.
The first 6 weeks of breastfeeding were the most painful for me. Feeling my bra or the water in the shower on my breasts was unbearable. Even the air would make them feel tender and painful. After that your nipples toughen up and you become a pro. Don’t give up! Once you and baby become comfortable and your body has adjusted, it becomes so much fun! It’s such a great bonding experience.
The Beginning of Breastfeeding
You experience a number of things when you first start breastfeeding. In addition to a breastfeeding support group I saw the lactationist at the PCP office to assist me with latching. Get all the help you can get. I would even call my sister in laws for help! You need that motivation to keep going because the beginning is no fun.
Things I Experienced And Used To Help With Pain
- Arm pain – your arms will go numb from holding baby. I remember tingly arms and hands. Even when holding my phone.
- The first 6 weeks was a learning experience. Keep going. Your body will adjust.
- Nipple Shield – helps with cracked and bleeding nipples. Especially during cluster feeding!
- Nipple cream – to help heal the nipples. It is safe for baby to consume.
- Cold/Hot pads for breasts or even hot showers to help with milk ducts; massaging them as well.
Things You Need
- Breast pads – In the beginning you do need them. I remember picking my son from school and forgot the breast pads. Well it was a warm day and I did not have a jacket on. So a nice wet shirt on display!
- Nursing bras are a must. I like the athletic ones. Super comfy.
- Nursing tops were hard to find. For my style anyway. I had one but it was still too big. Wear button up shirts or crop tops and high waisted pants. Makes things easier.
- The Haaka is a must! I preferred this instead of my breast pump. It’s inexpensive and only one part to clean! Click on the link. You won’t be disappointed!
- A pillow will do when nursing. I found the boppy too uncomfortable in terms of height. Maybe because I am short LOL
There are plenty of things, I am sure I will remember, after I post this! Let me know if there is anything else, you’d like me to cover!