Getting the hang of the whole nursing thing was a challenge for me, in fact it’s still a challenge. You can read my full story of the struggle I had with it, here. Today though, we’ve teamed up with Dr. Browns and I’m going to share the five things I learned from breastfeeding and how I got/get through the harder days breastfeeding.
Like I said, breastfeeding was always a little on the difficult side for me. Not because I was against, in fact I wanted to nurse and still do, but latching was a mess, Blake wasn’t into and a lot of tears were involved. Long story short, it was a mess, but we’ve made it through the really hard parts and I want to share the five things I learned and wish I had known while going through, so that hopefully it will help at least one of you!
1. Do YOUR thing. – Don’t let other people stress you out or get you down. When I was in the hospital (and this was my experience, obviously it’s not going to happen to everyone), I could not get Blake to latch and she was pretty small when she was born, so they were checking her blood sugar every 2 hours. The nurse kept coming in and telling me she needed to eat more. I had just had a baby–OBVIOUSLY, I was emotional, in pain and a mess AND I was doing the best that I knew how to. I couldn’t get Blake to wake up long enough to be interested in trying to latch, the nurses were expressing milk into a spoon to try and feed her and it hurt, nothing was working and Blake’s blood sugar levels weren’t where they wanted to see them. THEN, the nurse said this if you don’t feed your baby she’s going to end up in the NICU. I instantly burst into tears. I was a new Mom, had no idea what I was doing and that was the final straw. I now know it was definitely inappropriate for her to say that, but at the time I had no idea and felt like a failure. So my point is, don’t you dare let anyone tell you anything that’s going to get you down and if they do ask them politely to leave. If you have to supplement with formula or anything to keep your babe healthy while you’re working on getting the hang of it, then do it. Do what works for you!
2. Use a Nursing Pillow. – I did not use a nursing pillow for the first month and the minute I used one I regretted the decision of not using one the last 30 days. Seriously, at least for me, it was easier to get everything situated and in place while your little babe lays comfortable on their little pillow. Plus it props them up in the right position and height to eat easily. I recommend the Gia Nursing Pillow from Dr. Browns because it’s angled and seriously makes a huge difference. Plus it’s a lot easier to fit in places since one side comes to a point and it’s made to help digestion and reflux while your babe eats since it is angled. If you ask me, win, win all around.
3. Ask for Help. – Don’t be afraid to ask for help, this was an entirely new concept to me. I’m very independent. I felt like this was something that should come naturally and I should just be able to do it. However, it didn’t and that was a challenge for me to come to terms with. I had to take Blake into the doctor 24 hours after we left the hospital since she had a few things they wanted to check on and her weight was much lower than the percentage they want to see them drop. Once I saw that I was more than willing to seek help since obviously I want my baby to healthy and what I was doing wasn’t working. I met with a lactation specialist, that day and she guided me in the right direction and got me started on a nipple shield to get the hang of it. Which leads me to my next point…
4. The Nipple Shield. – If you use a nipple shield, that’s fabulous and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you don’t know what it is, Google it. However, I used it for a long time, still do sometimes if she won’t latch correctly. I didn’t realize that it was more of a temporary thing and Blake got super attached to it and it was a hard break. So if you need to use it, HAVE AT IT and if you use it long or the entire time, that’s fine, like I said you do what works for you! If you’re able to transition off of it though, make it happen because it’s much easier to breastfeed in public without it!
5. Take a Class. – If you’re a first time breastfeeder or experienced, I really recommend taking a class. Even if you don’t want to go in person, do it online! Lactation Link offers great online classes and Lindsey is super easy to talk to if you have questions afterwards. I took these classes when Blake was almost 3 months old and instantly regretted not taking them before. They make a huge difference and I think I would have been a lot more prepared and comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding.
What breastfeeding tips do you have? What worked for you? Tell us in the comments!