Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding, with My First Baby.

A Monkey and His Mama

Now that Alice is 5 months, I can confidently say that we’ve made it past the hardest part of breastfeeding.  And of course, now that we’ve figured out her gas issues and have breastfeeding down, she’s teething.  Of course.  So that throws our groove off a little bit, but you have to be flexible with a baby.  As a brand new mama, five years ago, I felt totally unprepared for breastfeeding once we left the hospital.  The books and google did not tell me these 5 things that I wish I knew about breastfeeding with my first baby: probiotics for breastfed babies healthy baby breastfeeding is hard

It’s not easy.
I read a bunch of books and blogs and talked to my friends before Eli was born, but I was not prepared for how difficult it would be.  I always thought it was like a natural thing, that my body was created for, but it wasn’t.  It was hard.  So hard.  I had to use a nipple shield with Eli for months to get him to latch, and then it took so long to get him to latch without it.  It’s hard, emotionally and physically.  I’m so thankful for an amazing lactation consultant who was with me every step of the way, and for my husband who wouldn’t let me give me.  RJ encouraged me, helped position newborns, got me a million different things in the middle of the night, put babies back to be for me, and countless other things I don’t even remember because I was so sleep deprived.

Sometimes, it hurts.
I’ve heard the saying over and over “if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.”  I have to disagree.  It hurts.  I was brought to tears in pain so many times when all 3 of my babes were tiny.  I’d grimace and countdown from ten as they latched.  There’s mastitis, cracked nipples, engorgement…it all hurts.  But the plus side, in my experience at least, is that it’s generally the worst pain with a newborn when you’re still figuring each other out.  Talk to other mamas, find Facebook groups online to ask questions in, reach out to a lactation consultant.  There are so many ways to get help and figure out the pain from breastfeeding but don’t automatically assume you’re doing it wrong.

It gets easier.
In the middle of the night, with a newborn that wants to nurse every hour or so, it seems like it’s never going to end.  But, at least this time with Alice, I kept telling myself that this isn’t forever.  It does get easier.  So, if you’re a new mama and you remember nothing from this post, I hope you remember that.  It will get easier.

You need to take care of yourself to take care of baby.
I know firsthand how hard it can be to remember to drink water, or have a healthy snack, while you’re in the throes of newborn life.  I would leave water bottles or glasses of water at every spot in my house where I nursed so that I’d see it in front of me and drink it.  Otherwise, I surely would have forgot.  Staying hydrated and eating enough, healthy, foods are key to milk production... Read more on A Monkey and His Mama