You’ve planned out your pregnancy and birth and know you’re going to breastfeed your newborn (at least to start with)… and then your baby arrives and you’ve got a tiny, wriggly, red-faced bundle screaming at you and depending on you totally and completely while you try to learn how to breastfeed, plus care for this tiny human (all while recovering from birth!)
Breastfeeding a newborn isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be.
There’s a LOT that no one tells you before you have your own baby and have to work things out on the go.
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But, there’s a few things you can do to get prepared:
- you can take an online breastfeeding course and learn about breastfeeding before your baby arrives. This is my favorite! It’s so affordable and very thorough!
- you can learn from other mom’s experiences!
Here 12 moms share what they wish they’d known before they were thrown in the deep end with breastfeeding!
Breastfeeding in General
I wish I’d known more about breastfeeding – latching, reflux, bottle preference… that kind of thing. Also, that your breasts will leak and breast pads kinda suck! ~B
It’s a great idea to learn about breastfeeding before your baby is born (before the pressures on!) The easiest way to do it is online – I love the Ultimate Breastfeeding Course by Milkology. It’s a video based online course by a Certified Lactation Expert (and former teacher) and will give you the best, most thorough crash course in everything you need to know about breastfeeding before your baby gets here. (And it’ll still be amazingly helpful when your baby arrives too.) Did I mention its only $19? Go check it out!
I wish I’d known about cluster feeding. It stressed me out so much! I thought there was something wrong with me… or with my baby. It was a relief to learn that it was normal and expected! ~J
Cluster feeding is when your baby wants to feed frequently – usually this occurs when they are going through a growth spurt and works to increase your milk supply to keep up with their new demands.
When Your Milk Comes In
The first milk your breasts make for your baby is called colostrum – it’s thick and yellowish and full of antibodies… there’s also not much of it but your baby’s stomach is only small at this stage.
Your mature milk comes in around day 3 – that’s when your milk will look more like milk… but when it does:
Your milk coming in HURTS! Your breasts get hot, heavy, lumpy and sooo sensitive and sore. I had no idea this was what it was like and it kinda scared me. I’m sure my midwife was secretly laughing at me when I asked her about it… ~M
When your milk comes in other people’s babies crying will trigger your letdown and make your breasts leak… gotta wear those nursing pads ladies! ~I
I thought breastfeeding would just happen easily… it didn’t. My nipples felt like they were on fire and it was so painful. I ended up pumping… found out later that my baby had a tongue tie. ~M
Perhaps because of the breastfeeding promotion campaign, there’s not much awareness for expectant and new moms around what breastfeeding issues can occur and how to get help for them.
Many moms (like me!) get the impression that breastfeeding is natural, normal and that it will happen without too much trouble.
That’s not always the case.
My baby boy had a tongue tie and we ended up having to get it corrected when he was 12 weeks old. Why’d we wait that long? Well, the lactation consultant we saw at the start said ‘he’d probably grow out of it’… so I put up with 12 weeks of toe-curling pain before finally giving up and getting the (5 minute) surgery he needed. ~C
My milk didn’t come in. At all. I was told to keep trying and pumping, but baby wasn’t getting enough to eat. We tried everything but decided to use formula as nothing was working. ~K
Breastfeeding wasn’t working and I was under an extreme amount of stress about it. Until one of the midwives sat down with me and said ‘look, why don’t we give that baby some formula.’ My baby chugged it down and I was finally able to rest. I never looked back. ~A
Leaking, spraying breasts come with the breastfeeding territory… but you might’ve not known that!
My boobs leaked constantly and I had to live in nursing pads and bras 24/7 for the first six months! ~P
Normally, your supply will regulate to the point where you won’t leak so much after the first 2 months or so… but it can last longer for some moms!
I hate wearing a bra… so I never bothered to look into nursing bras. But, then I started breastfeeding and sure enough… nursing bras are NOT optional – they are essential just to hold your breast pads in. ~E
Nursing bras will make you much more comfortable and give you a place to put your nursing pads.
I slept on a towel rather than sleeping in nursing bras… and I soaked that towel often! ~C
If you sleep on your side and your breast gets a little bit squished, you can wake up in a puddle. Nursing bras or tanks and nursing pads are essential (or sleep on a towel). It’s probably also a good idea to keep your waterproof mattress protector on your bed still (that one you got just in case your waters broke overnight.)
What Does it Take to Succeed At Breastfeeding?
When it gets right down to it: what does it really take to succeed at breastfeeding?
If you really want to succeed at breastfeeding, just follow the mantra: if in doubt, whip it out! There’s no point trying to stick to a schedule, it just makes baby (and mama) cranky and leads to supply issues! ~J
You really need to get some nursing appropriate clothes if you want to breastfeed successfully. Nursing bras plus easy access tops are absolutely essentials. ~S
How About You?
What did you wish you’d known before you started breastfeeding your baby? Share it with the community in the comments below!