Hey, mama. I hope you find these resources useful. These are the 10 essential things I wish I knew before I started breastfeeding my first baby.
When I taught high school I couldn’t stand when my kids would say things like, “haters gonna hate.” And yet, when it comes to breastfeeding, never have I found that phrase to be more true.
For some reason, when you’re pregnant, people come out of the woodwork with horror stories. People just feel the need to tell you awful things that happened to their friend’s mom’s co-worker’s sister, and you’re like, thanks? Before summer rolled around at work, people would randomly stop me to ask about how I was feeling and my plans for the baby. With that always came questions about breastfeeding. Why did people want to know this? Not a clue. So they would ask if I planned on breastfeeding, and I would say, of course. The reactions. Oh dear friends, the reactions.
“That’s what you think” – “Good luck with that” – “I thought I was going to, too”
And I’m sitting there 8 ½ months pregnant, thinking, what is wrong with you? The only response here is, “haters gonna hate.” Breastfeeding is all about perseverance. Don’t let anyone try to talk you out of it.
So when your little blue alien pops out and you attempt a feeding only to feel like: holy bananas this creature is ripping off my nipple, you could imagine why most people would call it quits. But don’t. Call a momfriend for support, meet with a lactation consultant. Google it (WebMD doesn’t count). Just promise yourself you won’t give up.
More Essential Breastfeeding Tips
10 Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding
Today I’d like to share these pieces of wisdom I so desperately wish I knew beforehand, because sharing is caring and because breastfeeding is a beautiful experience.
- There is no single correct position to feed. Laying side-by-side was a lifesaver during the first few weeks of recovery because sitting was so not my jam.
- Just because you’re doing it “right” doesn’t mean it won’t be extremely painful. Like toe-curling, tears dripping painful.
- It can be REALLY hard to feed a newborn baby because they are SO sleepy. Most new moms expect that a baby will just immediately latch and know what to do. Not always the case. If you’re having trouble getting your newborn to breastfeed, check out how I did it.
- Enlist your spouse because at first, breastfeeding is a 4-hand job. Your newborn is like, “mom, my hands are delicious” and it’s hard to compete with their delicious little hands.
- The never-wake-a-sleeping-baby thing? What my lactation consultant told me: in those first few days of life, the goal is for your baby to gain weight. If your baby is super-sleepy and not waking AT ALL to feed, they can’t gain the weight they need or have wet/poopy diapers. Def consult your own pediatrician, just sharing what I learned.
- Coconut oil can fix pretty much anything. Amen.
- At first, going anywhere, and/or leaving the house takes 3 times as long. Doesn’t matter if you’re going 5 minutes down the road, if your baby is anything like Harper, you’ll be stopping to feed and change multiple times, turning even a quick trip to the doctor into a 3 hour adventure.
- You can breastfeed anywhere. I used to try to plan everything I did around getting back home to nurse my first baby. In the beginning, it was so hard to feed her to begin with, I just wanted to be on the comfort of my own couch. Now? Looking back it seems silly, but hey, first time mom.
- Breastfeeding a newborn is a round-the-clock, 24-7 job. When everyone wants to “see the baby,” be sure to tell them that the baby is attached to your boob. We’re being real here, remember?
- I know you’re hoping I’ll end this with a cheesy one-liner like, “breastfeeding is the greatest bonding experience” (which it is), but this is not that kind of post, so here’s my last tip: if someone comes up to you at work, in the grocery store, in line at TJ Maxx, and asks you about breastfeeding, just say “do I know you?” and walk away.
I recently came across this Breastfeeding Course and I had one of those laugh-until-I-cried moments, because, honestly – it was just everything. Everything I wish I knew the first time around (and even some things I still didn’t know!) Breastfeeding is easy to give up on if you don’t have the support and the know-how to continue on. Just promise me you’ll check it out!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor (although I’m 99% sure my Jewish parents wish I was one…or married one?) so please consult your pediatrician or lactation consultant if you have any questions. This post contains affiliate links.