There was so very much I did not know with breastfeeding. And while I was recovering from her birth, I was faced with a pretty intense learning curve. Add to that a girl child whose passionate personality was shouted immediately upon exiting the womb and lactation consultants who called the same child “fussy.” What you get is a storm of emotion and mostly irrational tears. All of which serve to work against breast feeding.
Despite the crazy post birth, despite having a “fussy” newborn, we managed to figure it out. And to this date, we have been one of those pairs. I say “those” because I feel like caring for ones child is very personal and very, VERY complicated. I have a strong feeling about saying we are lucky or blessed. Yes. These are true. But I would feel the same way about any method of feeding an infant. Science allows us as a culture to have many options to care for our tiny shadows.
However, if one does want to breastfeed, I do feel that there are certain things that would have made a difference.
First, it’s a learning curve. You may not know how exactly to nurse and your bundle of joy sure as heck does not know how. It’s the blind leading the blind. It’s damn hard to figure out! And that’s okay. Give yourself plenty of leeway. Don’t stress. Healthy babies can learn. Your milk will likely come in. And baby tummies are incredibly small, so a little will go a long ways.
But! don’t be afraid to use help! Ask the pediatrician, ask the lactation consultant, consult Pinterest. Look up diagrams and videos. Dude. Skulk around on Pinterest! Make the mechanics make sense so you know how to help your mini. Then asked for help again. And keeping asking.
Third. Be. Flexible. There are many ways to skin, well, anything really. We did self express and use a syringe. We did that a lot those first 48 hours, We did use a nipple shield. And that helped. I feel like that made a difference in what we are doing today. Understand that your baby may not latch immediately. Or every time. Or even at all in the first 3 days. But it’s okay. Express. Use a syringe. Repeat and repeat as needed. Have faith that the process will right itself.
Use nipple creams. Get damn good breast pads. Invest in nursing bras and tank tops. Get something like a Boppy. But don’t buy all the hype. I did not need creams, but need the high priced lansinoh pads. I have a Boppy but the free nursing pillow is what I use 99.9% of the time. I bought generic nursing bras from target and I LOVE them. Look up reviews before you purchase crazy things in your sleep deprived state. And also dont go all cray and buy all the supply enhancement pills. In general, I certainly was not married to anything but was flexible for what worked.
Foot the bill for a good pump and for good storage bags. It’s worth the freedom of leaving your baby if needed. Breast milk is like gold and it’s seriously worth it to collect and store it properly. This is truly an investment. Also most insurance companies will foot the bill, so be sure to check!
Don’t stress!! I’ve said this before. But I mean it. If BF is causing you to lose your mind, ask for other methods. Asks for hybrid methods. Ask. For. Help!!! Don’t be shy and don’t feel guilty. Or judged. It’s fine, as long as baby is getting fed and you are healthy, mentally and otherwise.
I’m secretly shocked that we are still nursing. This relationship almost did not work out and I am eternally grateful that the cards just fell in the right place. I only hope that Pinterest will come to someone else’s rescue too!