I knew that with baby #3 I was going to breastfeed. I had tried for 1 day with baby #2, but it just wasn`t for me.
Baby #3 was going to be my last, and I was determined to have this experience. I did a bit of light reading about breastfeeding, but nothing really stuck. Besides, it`s a natural thing that women can do, so it must come naturally, right?
Well, wrong in my case anyway.
In the last month of my pregnancy, it was a reoccuring topic of conversation with my midwife.
I was very clear with the fact that I was going to need help, and that none of this, or anything that I had read felt like it was going to come natural to me.
Well, #3 was born, and my regular midwife wasn`t present, but rather another one that I had seen a few times. I remember it all so clearly, but I don`t remember how long after the birth, she said…
`Okay, put baby to your breast.`
So, let`s just insert PANIC here. I had no idea how to do that. My body was screaming in pain, and I felt completely overwhelmed and like I had already failed.
In that moment, I remember feeling like I had never even held a baby. I didn`t know how, never mind how to put him to my breast.
In those moments, when I should have been bonding, and resting, I was devastated that I didn`t know how to do this breastfeeding thing. Again.
I hope you are never left to feel this way. But just in case, or just in case you have felt this way, I`ve compiled alist of things I learned throughout my breastfeeding journey to hopefully help you feel a little less alone.
Invest in good nursing bras.
It is worth the time and money to find nursing bras that are comfortable and supportive for you. I found cotton, wireless night time ones from Motherhood Maternity, and my regular daytime ones from Thyme Maternity. I liked that they were still very pretty, even though they were nursing bras.
It`s going to hurt.
If it doesn`t, of course that`s amazing and wonderful, and I will be so happy for you, but chances are there will be some sort of pain/discomfort feeling associated with breastfeeding.
I was under the impression that it would only hurt if baby wasn`t latched right. WRONG! Even if baby latches perfectly, chances are you are still going to experience some sort of discomfort as your body adjusts to this new function it performs.
This was awful for me.
So many times I wanted to stop. I was simply not prepared for this. My body already ached, because, well, I just had a baby, and now this?
I don`t write this to scare you. I write it so you know. So that you know you aren`t alone. I remember sitting in my rocking chair, nursing baby, just crying and crying. It can be a lonely and isolating journey, even WITH support people.
Make sure you have nipple cream.
I used Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream, but I do know there are many options. Maybe there are even natural remedies. It helped with cracking, and infections and pain. Don`t run out. Have a spare always!
Have a comfortable nursing space.
Whether it`s a chair, bed, couch, make sure you have a space that is already set up and cosy for you. Once you get the hang of it then you probably will nurse anywhere, but at the beginning when you are uncomfortable and learning, making sure YOU are comfortable is essential to have a good feeding.
It`s okay to be frustrated.
I felt so much guilt, because I would be so upset that he wasn`t learning, or I wasn`t learning. There are so many emotions and hormones going on after birth. However you are feeling is perfectly okay. Having a baby is hard, and hard on your body. Allow yourself time.
Breastfeeding is not for everyone,
and that is perfectly okay! As long as baby is fed and healthy, and Mama is happy and healthy, that is what is important.