Any new mom knows that breastfeeding can be a little bit daunting. Â When I was pregnant, it was something I didn’t really worry about. Â I thought it was a natural process that my body would just know how to do it. Â While that is true, there is also lots more to know about it. Â Once I had Aiden, the frenzy began!
I realized that I had about a million questions from the get-go, but I was in the hospital and they were telling me when to feed him pretty much, so I was okay. Â The real fear set in when I got home.
How often do I feed him? Do I wake him up at night? Â How much is he getting? Is that enough? Is he latching correctly? Â What if he chokes on his spit up? Â Can I drink any alcohol? Should I only eat organic? Â What does mastitis feel like? A blocked duct? Â Why does this hurt so bad and how long will this last? Â Is he peeing and pooping enough? Â Is he gaining weight? The list went on and on and on….
I never felt like I had a huge problem with breastfeeding, but there were definitely obstacles.
The first one was thatÂ Aiden didn’t pee from day 2 to day 4. Â I was really nervous about this so I called the pediatrician and they told me to come in. Â They determined that he was dehydrated and that I needed to give him a little bit of formula after each time I nursed. Â We only did this for about 12 hours and he was all caught up.
Secondly, his weight gain was a tiny bit slower than they would have liked in the first 3 weeks. Â He had gained all his weight back from birth and more after we supplemented with formula. Â At the next pediatrician appointment, he had only gained about 3.5 ounces in a week. Â They are supposed to gain 0.5-1 ounce per day at this age. Â He was gaining enough weight a week by about week 3 though.
Third, my boobs hurt. Â Lactation consultants say that it shouldn’t hurt, but man, I was in pain. Â Aiden had a tongue tie so we got that cut to rule that out as a cause. Â I remember having to breathe through the latching process each time Aiden wanted to eat. I lathered lanolin on them, but there was no getting around it. This got better after about 2 weeks. Â Then at 4 weeks, I started having this burning in my boobs. I figured out it was a blocked duct. This also took about 1.5 weeks to feel better. Â I used the Ameda hydrogel pads and realized that I should have been using them all along! Â They are great!
Lastly, for me pumping was a beast of it’s own. Â I actually started out with a hand pump and quickly realized that wasn’t going to cut it. Â I sprung for the Medela double electric pumpÂ and it worked so much better. Â I still was very inconsistent on the amount I would get. Â Sometimes it was like a tablespoon that would come out! I realized that for me I could get the most milk out when I followed a little routine. Â I generally get the most in the morning after I’ve fed Aiden and waited about 30 minutes and have eaten breakfast. Â I don’t ever get anything if I haven’t recently eaten. Â I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but it’s something I’ve observed. If I do that, I can get about 3-4 ounces.
We are now 10 weeks into the process and it’s going great. Â I finally feel like my milk supply is well established. Â Aiden now feeds on demand and I’ve realized that’s the best way to determine when your baby needs to eat – don’t look at a clock after the early newborn days. Â At about 8 weeks, I was concerned that my milk supply had dropped because I wasn’t getting much out of the pump and Aiden wanted to eat every hour. Â I went to a lactation group and unbeknownst, he had gained 13 ounces that week!
Breastfeeding is definitely a lot more work than I ever expected. Â You are solely relying on yourself to keep this little person alive and thriving, but it’s definitely worth the early days of discomfort. Â I heard it time and time again when I was struggling that it does get better and most women are so glad they stuck with it! Â The bonding is like none other.
I love going to my breastfeeding support group. Â It gives me a peace of mind every week that what I’m doing is working. Â The La Leche League is in every city and they are free! Â I highly recommend going to a group or meeting with a lactation consultant.