When my son was 1 week old I started going to a support group called La Leche League (LLL) and talked to other women who were in the same position as me – struggling with breastfeeding. Any issue you can think of, someone there was going through it – inverted nipples, cracked sore nipples, painful latch, low supply. Just going back to the group each week and discussing my pain and struggles gave me the strength I needed to make it through to the next week. I had developed a bleb on my right nipple. It basically looks like a pimple on your nipple. (Talk about painful!) Our LLL leader suggested pumping on that nipple and nursing on the other while it healed. I also learnt about Motherlove nipple cream. This is a breastfeeding savior and a gift I now give to every new mom. I applied it before and after every feeding. It’s completely safe for baby.
My mom came to visit 3 weeks after I had my baby. She saw how much I was struggling and kept telling me to try formula, but I kept thinking, “If other women can do it why can’t I?” I know this is something many of us have been through. I kept telling myself this is what our bodies were meant to do and kept going to the meetings.
Support, nutrition and hydration are key. Once we become mothers it’s so easy to neglect ourselves. I found it hard to find time to make food so hubby made me breakfast every morning before he went to work. I also stocked up on healthy snacks and fruit so when I couldn’t cook I could just snack. I ate a lot of hummus, almonds, bananas and apples. Breast milk is mostly water; if you’re dehydrated you can’t produce as much as your baby needs. I read somewhere that you have to drink in ounces (oz.) half your body’s weight in pounds (lbs). For instance if you weigh 150 lbs. you have to drink 75 oz. daily. Carry a large water bottle with you at all times. When I was pregnant I packed 3 full insulated bottles of water with me before leaving the house.
My initial goal was to breastfeed for 3 months. I ended up breastfeeding my son for 26 months and I am currently breastfeeding my daughter who’s 23 months. After the 6 week mark of exclusively breastfeeding it became easy and natural to me. Honestly, if you’re lazy and cheap like me this is the way to go. I didn’t have to wash bottles or spend money on formula. I could just leave the house with baby and diapers. I have to add that I didn’t work for the first 18 months of my first born’s life, so pumping wasn’t really something I had to worry much about the first time round. I did start working when my second was only 1 month old, but I was working for myself and only 10 minutes away from my baby, so I could leave to go and nurse her every 2 or 3 hours. We all do what works best for us. This is what ended up working best for me.
Initially we may worry that our baby is not getting enough food. For the first 3 or 4 days after childbirth we produce colostrum which may be very little but is packed with a lot of nutrients. Don’t be deterred by this “lack” of production. It is totally normal and typically, so is any initial weight loss you may have.
If you are struggling with breastfeeding and need help feel free to reach out to me.