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Breastfeeding is a great thing that you’re able to do for your baby. It has a ton of benefits for both of you, plus it saves you some money too! I breastfed and pumped with all three of my babies and had a different experience each time. Over the years I learned more and more about ways to make breastfeeding easier so today I want to share what I learned with you!
First things first is to realize that it can take a few days and sometimes even up to a week for your actual milk supply to come in so don’t feel discouraged if you’re not getting a ton of milk at first. Just make sure that you’re letting your baby latch on as much as possible for as long as possible so your body can realize that it needs to make more milk. So the more you latch the more milk you get! With my most recent little one I walked around our house with him attached to me basically all the time. I told everyone that normally came over to visit that they better give warning before coming in or they might catch a sight of me they didn’t want to see!
Also can we just take a minute to appreciate how amazing our bodies are?! Our brains will change so much about how we function to accommodate for our growing babies before and after they’re born! So even when your little one is sick your body will sense that and send more antibodies to your milk to help your baby getting better quicker. Our brains are also able to adjust our milk on its own so we never have to worry about if they’re getting all the right nutrients and vitamins their little bodies need!
Another big part of breastfeeding is your diet. Oats and lots and LOTS of water! The more hydrated you are they more milk your body will be able to produce. When that’s not enough you can add other things like vitamins and lactation cookies! I’m not really a big fan of the taste, but they get the job done! I would also take fuengreek capsules. I won’t lie to you, they make you smell like maple syrup like crazy, BUT they worked extremely well for me! I would take 2-3 in the morning and the same again at night. Three days after I started taking them I went from getting four ounces (two ounces from each side) to about 10-14 ounces each feeding! Which was great because we live a crazy life and were always on the go so having a stockpile of milk was a life saver!
Cluster feeding! Get yourself a great nursing pillow and get ready for it! It seems exhausting (mainly because it is), but they’re actually a great thing because it increases your supply as well! A lot of moms will look at cluster feeding like they’re doing something wrong or maybe think the baby isn’t getting enough milk, but I highly suggest you keep at it and try not to supplement if possible. If you’re feeling any doubts about your baby getting enough to eat or if what you’re doing is right, don’t hesitate to call a lactation consultant or your pediatrician! They love to help with anything they can! You can also keep an eye on the amount of wet and poopy diapers your baby has. This will tell you a lot about how much they’re getting even when it feels like it’s nothing at all. Keep in mind that this is temporary and your baby is just trying to get what they need from your body by telling it they want more!
With all of these new things going on in your life it’s easy to get stressed out. And you guessed it, stress DECREASES your supply! Try and relax as much as possible and keep in mind that you being stressed isn’t going to help you or your baby, but only make things harder. Once you accept this new change in your life and adjust your schedule accordingly everything becomes a lot easier. Try not to overwhelm yourself and think that you have to jump right back into your normal routine. Let others help you clean the house or maybe even go to the store for you! Instead of worrying about all of the things you can’t do right now try enjoying the little things. Have someone bring over some dinner and get comfy on the couch with a great TV series to watch on Netflix! Now you can still enjoy yourself while giving your baby everything they need. For those of you that you absolutely cannot stay on the couch all day invest in a Baby wrap. They can be a little tricky to learn how to use at first so take your time with learning because at the end of the day they’re awesome for on the go mamma’s and you’ll be so happy you have it!
Clogged milk ducts will put a damper on your breastfeeding experience for sure! They’re really painful, but can easily be fixed. Try and feed your baby on the side with the clog every two hours and you can even turn him so that his chin is facing toward the clogged duct. This will focus his sucking and help the milk start flowing like normal again. If this doesn’t work try taking a hot shower and after you get out apply a cold compress if you’re still having any swelling or pain. Avoid taking ibuprofen because this will affect your supply also. Stick with Tylenol if the pain gets to be too much.
Sometimes you can do everything right and it just still won’t work. And that’s okay, too! Don’t feel defeated if breastfeeding just doesn’t work for you. At the end of the day the most important thing is that your baby is fed and taken care of.
Don’t worry, mamma. You’re doing great! <3
What are some things that helped you during breastfeeding? I’d love to hear all about it!