Breast feeding is not for the faint of heart. (Disclamier: neither is having a baby no matter how you choose to nourish them.) Wilder is six months old and we managed to EBF (exclusively breast feed) with a little blood, sweat and tears. (No actual blood but we still have six months to go …)
This post is my official how-to EBF with as little blood, sweat and tears as possible.
1 – Be determined. This was the best advice my sister (who nursed her LO for a year through an inhospitable work schedule and illness and a nasty bout of mastitis) gave me. If breastfeeding doesn’t matter much to you then don’t sweat it. If it’s something you really want to do for a year or even six months don’t think it’s just going to happen. It’s a marathon. You have to prepare. To think it’ll just happen is like never studying for a test and really really hoping that because you really really want an A and really really love the subject you’ll succeed.
People don’t succeed at breastfeeding because they love their babies.
How to prepare – go to the class at the hospital AND make your husband go. You need two cheerleaders. One at home who’s there at 2 a.m. to encourage you although they have no idea what you’re going through. And a woman who has done it to call when said husband “encourages” you and you’re thankful but thinking yeah right easy for you to say what if I woke you up every two hours and rubbed sandpaper on your nipples.
This brings me to my second point …
2 – Support system. If you choose to EBF do not listen to people that tell you your baby isn’t sleeping because they’re hungry or that life would be so much easier if you quit. See above. There is no easy way to nourish a baby.
3 – Education. Understand how your body works. This can mean the difference between a supply that’s adequate or not. It’s supply and demand. The emptier you are the more you produce. There’s no saving it up.
4 – Never skip. Whether it’s eating, drinking or nursing. I drink a gallon minimum a day to keep my supply up. (yes, I pee constantly) I pump as much milk as he would use whenever I’m not with him. I pump every night before bed. I pump in the morning on the side he doesn’t feed on, which brings me to 5 …
5 – Nipple preservation. And engorgement. You need three supplies: hydragels, lanolin and breast pads. Bring all to the hospital along with a sleep nursing bra. Put the hydragels in the fridge. They will change your life. Use lanolin after every feeding and before bathing. It will change your life. Never face the spray of a shower. Never turn up your pump until you can handle it.
When your milk comes in it might feel like someone crammed 54345677 marbles under your skin. For the discomfort I wore a regular nursing bra topped with a sleep nursing bra topped with a super tight tank.
Learn about block feeding. Feeding on one side at a time can give your nipples twice as long to recover between feedings.
6 – Latch. Call the lactation expert while you’re in the hospital and make sure you fully understand the difference between a proper and improper latch. It’s the difference between ooooouch and all that’s holy toe curling trying not to cuss at your baby pain.
I have a million other words of advice that may or may not help. And I’ll keep posting. When in doubt go to Kelly Mom. And don’t give up.
Supplies I love
Nursing bra for day
Nursing bra for night
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