What New Moms Should Know About Breastfeeding
When I first started my breastfeeding journey over seven years ago, I didn’t think much of it. It felt like the right thing to do and I wanted to do it, so I went in without preparing to breastfeed (or even worrying too much for that matter, an anomaly for me!).
Like many moms, I thought it was just something that came as a given after the pregnancy journey because I knew it was the best nourishment I could provide my baby with. So I went ahead and learned to breastfeed day-by-day.
And while I have absolutely no regrets in choosing to breastfeed all three of my children, I do wish I had known a little more of what the breastfeeding life would entail. Not just how to be successful at it, producing enough milk or finding ways to make breastfeeding easier, I also WISH I had been given first-hand accounts of everything breastfeeding could entail — the good and bad from moms themselves. Because although the lactation consultants at the hospital were helpful, I could truly be ready for the day-to-day life of a breastfeeding mom.
Things Every New Mom Should Expect While Breastfeeding
So what are a few things that moms can expect as they begin to breastfeed? Well below are a few starters to shed light on some of the realities of breastfeeding early on. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were out-of-the-ordinary. But the reality is, they can be quite common.
Breastfeeding will take some practice early on. Although it shouldn’t be excruciating, the early days will be a bit painful as you learn how to properly latch and position the baby to the breast. Your nipples will also get sore from the feedings, cracking and sometimes even a little bleeding can occur as you learn to get it right.
No matter how hard you try, you are bound to have some milk leakage. While you breastfeed from one side and let down begins on the other. When your body is telling you it’s time for another feeding session. When you are away from baby and missing her. Just be prepared for the unexpected.
The first time your bundle of joy sleeps through the night or you’re away from baby and can’t pump, you will experience a bit of engorgement in your breast. Keep something handy for on-the-go relief or get baby to feed as soon as you get home to reduce the likelihood of mastitis.
Most people expect a big appetite during pregnancy, but what they don’t always know is that you will be even hungrier while breastfeeding. A breastfeeding burns calories fast and therefore needs to keep refueling herself with plenty of water and healthy foods throughout the day.
The Biggest Piece of Advice I Wish Someone Told Me About Breastfeeding
I often think back to the very first days of breastfeeding, what I wish I could go back and tell myself as a first-time breastfeeding mom struggling to feel 100% confident. Surely, I’d want to give some tips and tricks to breastfeeding.
But the ONE piece of advice I would want to whisper into my ears more than anything to shed some light on the reality of breastfeeding is simply this:
You are NOT alone in your breastfeeding struggles.
Not just the physical struggles, but the mental exhaustion you feel of having to be the sole source of food and nutrition for baby. Because the truth is, so many new moms (and repeat breastfeeding moms) struggle along the way. Feeling lost or afraid to talk about how they truly feel.
How no one around them truly gets how much she wants to be successful at it.
How they have no breastfeeding support around them, are made to feel guilty or even shame for choosing to breastfeed past the one year mark.
How they want to beat the odds against them and breastfeed or pump breast milk for their new baby.
How they wish they didn’t have to hide or cover-up when feeding baby in public.
How they just wish they could get a break some days.
How they want to keep going to reach a breastfeeding milestone but also are tired of the long journey.
How they just want to take more time to care for themselves and appear less frumpy.
Because the truth is every mom struggles to breastfeed…her struggles may be less, her struggles may seem different, but they are there. And she either learns to better problem-solve or understands when it’s okay to stop breastfeeding when she wants to.
That’s what I would tell myself…and every other breastfeeding mother wondering if she’s the only one. Because she is NOT.
If you want to read a true accounts from other breastfeeding moms sharing first-hand stories about their breastfeeding journeys, including the successes and failures check out our Breastfeeding Anthology which includes 16 stories to touch your heart!
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.