I have always wanted to share a breastfeeding story, but only having breastfed for 6 weeks due to MSPI with my first child, I didn’t think I knew enough to be able to share my story.
Sure enough, after reading this great guest post from Nat with Simple Family Crazy Life, I knew she was the lady for the job!
So here is her wonderful story and her tips and tricks to help have a smooth transition into breastfeeding for you and your new little one. Nat is a mom of two boys (21 and 9 years old), a wife, and a new blogger who shares vegan recipes, home and garden projects, and stories of the family’s new life in Canada.
I hope these breastfeeding tips help you!
How to Start Breastfeeding Right – My Story
I am a mother of two boys. My older son was born in 1996 (no, I am not THAT old, I just had him when I was very young ;)), and back than we were not lucky to have the Internet with all those helpful blogs about parenthood and breastfeeding.
My younger son was born in 2008, and that was an era of forums and I was able to find lots of information on one of them dedicated to about parenthood.
Benefits of breastfeeding
I am in no way a breastfeeding consultant and will only be sharing my personal experience with breastfeeding. You might be wondering why you need to listen to me.
And maybe you don’t. But, I was nursing my older for 3 months and my younger son for 2.5 years.
3 months versus 2.5 years!
If you want to find out what made a difference, keep reading ☺ Since it was both a positive and negative experience, I hope you will find the information helpful.
If you are not sure if breastfeeding is for you, just watch this TED video.
Now, to my personal story. For the ease of the semantics, I would refer to the ‘baby’ as ‘he’ (well, I have boys, so that is easier for me) but of course it refers to both genders 😉
How we had it the first time
As I have mentioned, my older son was born in the era of no Internet (at least not at where he was born).
Many of ladies around me who had some (mainly negative experience with nursing) were telling me how important the regime is and insisted the baby only needed to eat every two or so hours.
As a good girl who listened to what older people told her, that was what I did. I looked at the clock, and if my baby was sleeping for more than two hours, I was waking him up and tried to feed them. Crazy, I know…
Trying to feed your baby “by the clock”.
Your baby is the best indicator whether he is hungry, comfortable, or not so much. If he is crying, probably the first thing to try is to offer the hug and your milk.
Yes, even if you had just fed him 20 minutes ago. Believe me, he won’t become obese from your milk 😉
Of course, if he doesn’t want to take it, then you should be checking for other things that might bother him.
Worrying he doesn’t have enough.
Remember, when the baby is just born and up to about 2 months of age, their stomach is really tiny. They only eat what they can fit in.
And that is possibly how much milk you will have in the first weeks. Don’t start offering him baby’s formula to compensate for a “lack” of your milk.
I am not talking here about starving your baby, if he is losing weight! It is normal for babies to lose some weight the first week they are born.
But if you see your baby does not gain weight, it is the sign you need to consult the doctor and find the reason.
This may include checking your breast milk quantity and quality.
However, if you offer the milk any time your baby wants it, and your baby is growing you should not be worrying about it.
My both kids were born very little (2.6kg or 5.6lbs), and they gained more almost 3 pounds the first month.
Well, I am that smart now but back 20 years ago at some point I decided that I didn’t have enough milk. So, I added the baby formula meal before the bedtime. That was the beginning of the breastfeeding disaster.
Offering milk from bottle and not directly from mommy’s breast.
This is more of a recommendation, as everybody’s situation is different. If you need to go back to work, of course, it is better to still offer your milk even from the bottle, than just switching to the formula.
Remember the scientists that are trying to mimic the breastmilk? If you can pump and give your own milk to your baby, you go for it! It is still the best food for your baby even if it is coming from the bottle 😉
However, if your baby is as lazy as my older son, they may not want to suck the breast even when you are back at home, as bottles are easier.
And you may get tired of all that pumping at some point, so you will probably end up with the breastfeeding sooner than if you were nursing.
Although, I am all for breastfeeding, I know not always it is an option! I will bring some more examples of when it is not possible. If that is your life situation, than don’t sweat it and don’t blame on yourself!
You have enough to deal with and to learn about, so just keep calm and accept the situation ☺
Offering other liquids besides the milk.
Nobody told me back then that mom’s milk is both the food and the drink for babies. Do you offer water to your babies? Don’t.
Your milk has the perfect combination of ingredients that the Mother Nature has created, and the scientists are still trying to mimic.
If you look at the consistency of the milk when you pump it, you will notice that it comes out very watery at first and then becomes thicker and thicker. That first watery portion is your baby’s drink. This is a very important part.
Here we come to,
Changing the side right after a few minutes of nursing.
We already know that the first part of the milk is the baby’s drink. The thicker part is the real food. The longer the baby is nursing at once (I am not talking hours here!), the richer the milk.
Of course, as your baby is growing, you will reach the age (usually after 3 months or so), when you will need to switch the side to ensure they get enough food ☺
I used a simple ponytail band on my hand to identify what side I used the last time I fed the baby. Left hand – right hand. Easy.
Just remember to switch it every time you feed the baby 😉 If you have twins, you don’t need to do that of course ☺
Now you know what not to do and are probably wondering what you do need to do ☺
How we did it the second time
As I have mentioned, we were luckier with the amount of information available with the second baby. I don’t want to say that we had no problems at all, and I will talk about them.
But it was so much easier this time to just be more prepared. Well, at least as prepared as we could.
I wanted to go as natural as possible this time. This included trying breastfeeding for as long as we could. No, we did not have a delivery at home. But that is not part of this story 😉
The second my younger son was born, the nurse gave him to me and he was so natural in taking the breast and sucking it!
Like he has been doing it for his whole life! Lol. And this was how our 2.5 years of breastfeeding journey began.
Being a natural milk sucker did not mean we had no issues at all!
While in the hospital, I mentioned to a nurse that I experienced pain during breastfeeding. She observed us for a few moments and then checked Alan’s mouth and his tongue.
Then she told me that it looks like his frenulum was too short. She offered me to talk to a doctor and see what they say.
Well, when I mentioned that to the doctor, she gave me a look “here is another smart-y trying to teach me” first. But when she looked checked his mouth she agreed that it was possibly the case.
She asked me to leave the room for a second and left the baby with her.
Two seconds later (literally) she called me back. I was so nervous and expected to see Alan crying but he was absolutely fine. She showed me his mouth and I could see the difference.
She cut a bit of the tongue tie and oh boy that made my whole nursing world so different since then. No more pain! If someone told me that, I probably would not believe it. But that is the fact,
It can be your baby, and not you.
So, do not always blame on yourself, but try to investigate and never be afraid to ask questions or tell if you are uncomfortable.
It can be you too – and that is not the end of the world
We always want the best for our kids. But if we can’t offer the best, there will be an alternative.
I have met a few women in my life who simply physically were now able to breastfeed. They had milk but it would not go through the channels and come out.
If that is you, stop trying right away and call for the doctor’s help. If nothing helps, you will probably need to take a medication to stop nursing.
Just find the formula that will work for your baby and keep on going from there.
Breastfeeding when having medical emergencies
I have a post about Alan’s heart surgery on my blog. I am talking about breastfeeding moments there as well.
I myself had an allergic reaction at some point and had to take a medication which would transfer into breastmilk. So I had to pump before taking the medicine and give the bottle to Alan.
He would not take it. It was ridiculous. He was crying and hungry but refuse taking the bottle! In this situation, I can only tell you to be patient…
Try giving it from a spoon. It did work for us, though I know it is more time consuming.
Other breastfeeding tips :and thoughts :
If you are worried that you aren’t prepared mentally, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
All you have to do is mix the probiotics right in with your breastmilk. Learn more about how probiotics are great for your baby.
Need some extra breastfeeding tips and information? Check out this awesome breastfeeding e-course from Milkology.