If you’re here because you’re struggling with breastfeeding then I want to start off by saying; hang in there. You’re not alone.
If you’re here because you’re planning to breastfeed and are curious, then I want to commend you by getting knowledge beforehand. I went into it almost blind because I didn’t want to be scared. I also thought that it would be so simple. Clearly, I have stories of struggles, so it was no walk in the park.
So skipping all the chit-chat, let’s jump in.
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1. Breastfeeding “Comfort Feeding”
You know how you smell food and it makes you hungry? This happens to newborns too. You are now their food supply. So apparently, your smell can make them want to eat. All the time.
I struggled so bad with comfort feeding my child. I fed her almost whenever she seemed like she wanted it.
I always thought that newborns were not capable of eating when they were not hungry.
I went the first week or two weeks feeding my little girl almost every time she cried. Which was A LOT.
The first time I took her to the doctor, he asked me how frequently I was feeding her. I told him that it was anywhere from 30 minutes apart to an hour and a half. I let him know that I wasn’t getting any sleep because she was up all night wanting to feed. He told me that she was “Comfort Feeding” and explained that she just wanted to latch because it was comfortable to her. He said that her even smelling me can cause her to want to latch on because she that’s where she has found comfort.
However, apparently you are not supposed to feed any sooner than every 2 hours – that’s what my doctor recommended, so please consult yours for what time frame they think is acceptable for your baby and your situation.
I was losing my shit at nights because my daughter would wake up every 30 minutes to every hour wanting to feed. I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t supposed to spoil her to this thing called “comfort feeding”, so if you want to keep your sanity while breastfeeding, then I recommend finding out the increments your doctor suggests feeding your child and learning about comfort feeding and how to avoid it.
Trust me, you want to avoid it at all costs!
Your child will probably cry and you’ll want to stop it by feeding him or her, but don’t.
It can just get worse if you do that.
If you “train” your baby to feed no sooner than every 2 hours, then it will be so much better on you in the long run.
2. Feeding in Public
For any new mom with emotions going everywhere and hormones bouncing off the walls, what people say can have a bigger impact on you than you think. When you are pregnant, you still have hormones, but you’re also not living what you’re thinking.
For instance, I was thinking about how I would feed in public before I gave birth to my daughter. I pictured myself being a little bit of a “Bad-A” and not giving any thought as to what other people may think. I pictured telling myself that she is my daughter and I will feed her when she is hungry, wherever that may be.
But after I had her…
…is when I started seeing all kinds of shaming to breastfeeding mothers who decided to feed in public. I did not have a cover of any kind and I didn’t exactly have the funds to buy the one that I wanted – I should have just found a cheaper one and dealt with it. Instead, I would go in the bathroom or another room that was separate from other individuals and feed her.
If you do this while breastfeeding, plan on it being a bit of a pain. It made me want to stop breastfeeding a lot more often than not. I hated having to stop everything I was doing and go into a bathroom to sit for however long she wanted to feed. I ate numerous cold meals at restaurants, missed out on funny moments of conversations between family members, and I almost felt like I was a nascence because we would have to stay somewhere longer because I had to stop and feed anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Ways to avoid this – Get a cover. Covering can make it a lot more comfortable to feed in public. I know that had I invested in something to cover, I would have felt a lot more comfortable feeding in a restaurant. Not like anyone can see anything – & if they do, then just tell them to stop starring so hard.
Another way is to join a support group. There are many groups online and within social media that help with fears of breastfeeding and more specifically, breastfeeding in public. I’m not one that found comfort in that, but it may just work wonders for you and give you the confident boost you need.
3. Low Milk Supply
This is not “supposed” to be a thing. If you read anything online, ask almost any doctor or read almost any breastfeeding book, then you will read that your body supposedly just knows how much milk to produce. That’s what I read over and over and what I was told by my little one’s doctor. I told her doctor that I thought she wasn’t getting enough. He is old fashioned and told me that she was getting however much she needed because my body knew how much to produce for her.
Why can it worry you? If for about the first 3 months you produce a lot of milk, apparently that’s normal I thought I was going to drown in my own milk! I highly suggest Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads to keep you from being embarrassed from leaking while you’re out. I leaked all the time. That’s why I adored and highly recommend nursing pads. I learned quickly to keep some in my purse – *hint-hint.
After those 3 months, my milk supply seemed to go down.
Or so I thought.
Just because you start out leaking milk everywhere for the first few months and all of a sudden it seems to go away, do not freak. It’s not a big deal. Your body is just starting to produce what YOUR baby needs. It will feel good to produce what your baby is eating instead of being engorged and in pain all the time.
5. Time Consuming
If you haven’t noticed already, being the stellar woman you plan to be and making milk to feed your bundle of joy can be really time consuming. I’ve come across many women who want to stop because of this. They may feel like they’re missing out on something because they have a baby who wants to be attached all the time, or because if they’re not nursing then they are pumping for when they go to work, or when they go to school, etc. Do not let this get you down. This is the time where having a set goal can come in handy.
Like I have mentioned, I had a baby who wanted to constantly nurse. I had no idea what to do. I wanted to give up. However, with my mind on my goal, I knew that wasn’t an option unless my milk supply totally dried up, and sometimes I even hoped that happened just so I could stop. Now I am thankful that I was able to breastfeed her for my year goal. Without that goal though, I would have given up. If I trusted formula companies and not seen so many horror stories about stuff being found in formula, then I would have went and bought formula after 6 months.
But if you do have a spouse that you don’t mind waking up at night and you have the milk to store for him, let your significant other help.
6. Sore Nipples
This is something that I heard about and was least looking forward to.
Some have complained about bleeding nipples even. I didn’t have any bleeding, but I did have some soreness.
I even had mastitis once because I had a clogged duct and it caused mastitis. I didn’t get it checked immediately because I didn’t know it could make you feel like you have the a serious cold – I felt like I had the flu.
There’s not too much to say about this subject other than one; you will get used to it.
You’ll never be 100% okay with your nipples hurting and being sore, and for the first few months you will think the pain will never end and you’ll never get to take a shower again without the water making you want to shed a couple tears. However, it, like all things, will come to an end.
Also, it should not cause a TON of pain if your baby has the correct latch.
You can read a little more on that here at UPMC HealthBeat.
My biggest suggestion is to get Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve. I think this stuff saved my life, yes, I’m being a bit dramatic, but wearing a bra and taking a shower for the first few weeks was sometimes HELL.
But when I had this, I would just apply this a few times throughout the day and it helped heal the soreness in no time.
Breastfeeding can be an amazing experience.
If you chose to take on the challenge, then I commend you for it.
I would do it all over again if I were to ever have another child.
These struggles have nothing on how amazing it is to do what is best for your child.
The main things I want you to take away from this is to have a clear goal of how long you want to breastfeed and stick to it. When things get tough, remember you have a goal and focus on it.
Also, join a support group or get support from your significant other if you can get them to understand what you are going through. You’re not alone in anything. There are other people out there who would be willing to talk you through whatever, including me – you can contact me any time. I’ve been there, done that and conquered it – and if I can, then you can too!
What is something that you are currently struggling with or something that you previously struggled with?
Or what is something that you are most fearful of?
Let me know in the comments below!