Out of everything you need to think about and plan for when having a baby, how you plan to feed them is one of the most important. I was like most moms…. it’s easy, right? I simply pop out the baby and then start feeding her… it’ll just come to me… mom’s have been doing it since the beginning of time.
While breastfeeding was one of the most wonderful things I have ever done in my life for many reasons, no one could have prepared me for the challenges I would embark on this feeding journey. My daughter didn’t “latch” until she was 7 weeks old. I was on the verge of giving up, and every feeding was incredibly frustrating. Without the support of my lactation consultant, my mom, and my mom-friends, I would have for sure given up. There were a lot of tears, a lot of doubts, a spur of postpartum depression, but I am so glad I battled through… because after she finally latched, we were able to breastfeed until she was 14-15 months, and I have never felt more proud of anything in my life!
The craziest thing about breastfeeding, is that everyone’s experience is so different. You never know if you will face a challenge, or what that challenge will be. It is the beauty of the story. If you want to breastfeed, I would truly encourage you to push through the tough stuff…because one day you will both get it!
Here are some of the most common misconceptions and secrets about breastfeeding a lot of first time moms aren’t aware of (well, I wasn’t anyway!) until I became part of the baby community.
1. Breastfeeding can hurt initially.
Your nipples aren’t a part of your body that gets a ton of attention until you start feeding a baby so expect some soreness at first. Because of the issues my baby had with latching, I was in a ton of pain folks. My nipples were super sore, even to the point of bleeding. Don’t freak out though, some bleeding is normal (again your nipples aren’t used to being needed 8-10 times a day), but if you ever have any questions or concerns, ALWAYS voice them to your lactation consultant or doctor.
2. Ask to see a lactation consultant (LC) right after delivery.
A lot of times, nurses double as LCs. So right after delivery, they will be able to guide you into feeding your baby. Breastfeeding is the first skill you will ever teach your child so there is no shame in asking for help or in needing it. It takes some serious practice to hold your brand new baby in the perfect position while getting them to latch.
3. You’re going to be HUNGRY AND THIRSTY.
Like, HANGRY, HENGRY, HONGRY… I could not believe how much I ate while nursing. You are burning 380-600 extra calories each day to produce milk and feed your baby. What I am saying, is get ready to eat and drink a ton of water, my friend.
4. Be patient with yourself.
This little piece of advice was one I needed to hear, a lot. Milk usually takes a few days to come in so don’t stress about it. The beautiful thing about having babies in the 21st century, is we have help and guidance to get our babies nutrition…and their stomachs are so small initially, that if they are latching and eating well so far…they are getting what they need and your milk will be in soon. Patience, also, with yourself learning the ropes. Newborns are peculiar creatures and they do not come with manuals. It takes time (A LOT OF TIME) to learn what your little one needs and when.
5. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of your pump, up to 100%.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), your breastpump is most likely covered. A lot of women don’t know this or take advantage of it, but I have not ran across an insurance company or policy yet that does not honor this, and I have worked in the baby industry for a long time. A pump is a lot more vital in feeding your baby than I considered it would be. For me, it helped keep my supply up while my baby wasn’t latching. For working moms, it provides their babies breast milk while they go back to work. They are needed, and if you can get one provided for free — you should definitely research and take advantage!
This list does not encompass the entirety of breastfeeding but hopefully it provided you with some (non-scary, slightly scary, terrifying) truths about breastfeeding and helps you on your journey.
THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN BY A GUEST WRITER AND EDITED BY RACHEL RISING.