I am excited to share my breastfeeding journey with you guys! The good, the bad and the ugly. Trust me, you will be dealing with plenty of ugly. All of the rough moments of screaming, crying and mental break downs are just a drip in the bucket compared to the good that you’re about to experience!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE NIPPLE EXPOSURE IN THIS POST. These photos are in no way “sexual” and are for examples only! Also, this post contains affiliate links. If you buy through them, I may receive a commission. Please remember, I only promote items that I fully love and trust – especially when it comes to breastfeeding!
My sweet baby girl was born here in Guam. That means that we are nearly 6,000 miles away from the love and support of our family. This has been a burden in itself, but it has been manageable. With that being said, not many people back home have much experience with breastfeeding. My mom wasn’t able to breastfeed my brother or myself as babies. That is completely okay, however, it has been difficult finding other people I trust to confide in. I have turned to lactation consultants, Dr. Google and online breastfeeding support pages.
Even though I am not a licensed physician, I do have a bountiful supply of information! I am more than happy to share the resources that I turn to. Also, I’ll be mentioning what I had to learn on my own and why this has been the best fit for us.
There’s something incredibly rewarding when I give out tips to a mom in need. Double the reward when they take my advice and tell me it worked for them!
Always remember. . .
- You are not the only one that’s had issues related to breastfeeding.
- No mom is a well seasoned milkie maker right off the bat. This is a learning experience to you AND your newborn.
- There will be awesome days and there will be beyond terrible days.
- Every mommy-baby relationship is different – that’s what makes the bond so magical!
- It’s okay if breastfeeding isn’t for you. Your baby needs their mom more than they need a boob. I fully believe that fed is best.
- If your family or SO isn’t supportive, there IS countless online resources to turn to.
- If you ever have a concern, it is best to consult a lactation specialist.
This is what Evelyn has to say to those that don’t support breastfeeding 😉
What is colostrum?
It’s important to know the difference between colostrum and milk. You know that weird cloudy white stuff that started to leak out at the end of pregnancy? That’s called colostrum! Colostrum is your baby’s first source of superfoods and is essential for post delivery health. Even if it doesn’t seeming like baby is eating much, it’s okay. Remember, your newborn’s stomach is only about the size of a cherry. Consuming colostrum coats your baby’s intestinal track, promotes poo flow and protects overall immune health.
When will my milk come in?
Some people get colostrum and milk confused. Your colostrum will be your baby’s food source for the first few days after birth. Your actual milk will start coming in between 3-5 days postpartum.
I’m depressed and do not have the desire to breastfeed.
Yes, this is actually a common thought that breastfeeding mothers have. I have had it on multiple occasions. In fact, there has been moments of such devastating depression that I actually despised my daughter due to breastfeeding.
Fact: breastfeeding actually stems chemical reactions in your brain, making you more relaxed and at peace.
There are ways to help eliminate these ideas. Check out Mental health when you’re a new mom for further information.
I had a cesarean section, can I still breastfeed?
Yes, of course!
Fortunately for me, I had a smooth and easy labor. But did you know that nearly 1/3 of births are via C-section?
I’ll use one of my friends as an example. She recently just gave birth to a beautiful premature baby girl. Fortunately for her, her milk came in with ease. She is not currently able to directly breastfeed, but she is pumping and offering her baby a bottle. It may seem stressful, but in the long run, it’s all worth it.
Some moms don’t have that initial supply come in since their bodies don’t “register” that they just gave birth. It is important to encourage your baby on your breast and stimulate your nipples. Repetition is key. Before you know it, you’ll be breastfeeding! If you have any concerns or notice that you’re not making milk, consult your family’s doctor.
My milk came in. I am engorged and in pain!
I would be surprised if I met a mom that didn’t experience pain when their milk came in. I remember yelling at my husband while driving because the bumps in the road were nearly murdering my boobs.
Things to do to relieve engorgement pain
- Hand express into a cup, bottle or the sink.
Hand expression is a great way to relieve a little bit of the pressure in your breasts with out messing up your supply. This method is easy! Simply shape your hand into an “U” or “V” shape. Place your hand under your breast, your hand should be touching your chest. Apply slight pressure, and squeeze/gently massage towards your nipple.
- Ice packs for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
Ice packs will help with the swelling. Either wrap an ice pack in a wash cloth or apply directly to the breast.
- Heating pad for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
Remember those terrible period cramps that you used to have? Remember how your heating pad (with a lot of chocolate) was your best friend? Use your heating pad on your breasts to help relieve pain and open your milk ducts!
My nipples freaking hurt!
This is totallllllly normal! Remember, this is a new and heavy stress that you’re putting on an incredibly sensitive part of your body. I experienced cracks, blisters and bleeding. This was by far my biggest struggle. I cried, screamed and was beyond frustrated that it wasn’t the beautiful, painless act that I thought it would be. I highly recommend Lansinoh Lanolin cream to help ease your pain. Apply to your nipples following a feeding. This will help the cracking and severe pain. Don’t have any on hand or need a little booster? Hand express a little bit of milk and rub that in to your nipple. Milk is loaded with medicinal properties – it even benefits you!
Is nipple cream just not fully doing it? Place ice packs wrapped in a washcloth on your sensitive bits.
My baby wont latch
Teaching your baby how to latch is THE most important thing to establishing a solid feeding relationship. Remember all of the crying I just complained about? Fixing Evelyn’s latch nearly diminished all of the excruciating pain. After 2 weeks of struggling and hating breastfeeding, we changed the game! I went to the lactation consultant a few times. I’m not going to lie, she actually made our journey worse. That’s not to say that your experience will be the same as mine though. We tried nipple shields, different holding positions and “sandwhiching” my boob. It’s not a bad idea to run through these ideas, but, I have quickly discovered the easy solution! After extreme frustration, I started doing my own research. I put in countless hours of surfing the web. Finally, I cam across the golden ticket. It’s called the flipple! Check out this awesome video by Motherfeeding Lactation on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXLFveF1FLA
This little trick seriously saved my sanity. I have suggested this to dozens of struggling moms. They all said it worked for them! One even called me their hero 😉
Using the flipple method is easy! Remember, it’s okay to not get it on your first try. Practice makes perfect! Hold your baby in your desired position. Once baby opens their mouth, push your nipple towards you with your thumb. “Flip” your nipple into baby’s mouth. In doing so, you will push baby’s bottom lip out and then their top lip as well.
Why is a good latch important? Not only does a good latch prevent damage to your nipple and babies mouth, it actually helps your little one get the milk supply that they need. If their lips are in the way, this can actually create a road block – therefor, you’ll be feeding for freaking ever and they’ll still be hungry.
This is what a BAD latch looks like. My poor baby actually got sucking blisters from having her lips tucked. Notice how her lips are tucked in?
This is what a GOOD latch looks like. Do you notice how her lips are flared? Do you see the difference?
I used the flipple for every feeding for nearly a month. I noticed that she was learning how to latch on her own. After a while, she learned how to latch all by herself! No extra help from momma needed!
How to unlatch baby
Curl your finger into a fish hook and insert tip of finger into baby’s mouth. Once breaking the seal, slide your boob out or just remove baby.
What is a letdown?
A letdown is when your milkie flood gates open! Did you know that it’s possible for a let down to actually shoot multiple feet in distance? Letdowns typically happen when your baby is breastfeeding. That doesn’t mean it wont catch you off guard occasionally. Let downs can happen when your baby cries, you brush your nipple on something, or…well….for absolutely no reason at all.
What does it feel like? Some women never feel their let downs! Others (including myself) describe it as dull needles rapidly tickling your nipple. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
How am I supposed to hold my baby while feeding her?
There is a few different ways to hold your baby while breastfeeding. The most commonly preferred method is the cradle hold. For the cradle hold position, your baby will be laying across your chest/abdomen region.
- Hold baby snuggly across your body. Imagine you’re holding loose tennis balls.
- With your outside arm, create a wall to support baby’s weight. Use your outside hand to support baby’s head.
- Your baby will be holding most of their weight on your inside arm.
We experimented with multiple feeding positions. My favorite “lazy mom” position is feeding while laying down. This was incredibly difficult for me to learn. I recommend waiting until your little babe is at least a month old and isn’t as delicate.
- Face each other laying down
- If baby is still fragile, support head with arm
- Ensure proper latch
- Feed baby, feed!
After a while, you’ll be having your baby climb all over you & honestly do whatever the frick they want to do.
How do I stay comfortable and entertained during breastfeeding sessions?
In order to be comfortable, you need to find a cushioned place to plop your happy little butt. Your couch, bed, or glider are all great options for this. I mean seriously, do you think you’re going to be happy sitting in that old bean bag chair or your wooden dinner chair? No, that’s what I thought.
BUT FIRST, MAKE SURE YOU FIND A SOURCE OF ENTERTAINMENT! You guys, I cannot stress this enough. Do you know how much it sucks to have your baby start falling asleep on you and you have nothing to do? Grab your phone. Grab your tv remote. Get some water (you’re going to be thirsty). THEN start feeding. Your baby can wait a second to feed. You on the other hand can not set yourself up for an hour or two of boredom.
With that being said, the first few months – I hardly needed the entertainment! I was still falling in love with this beautiful thing that plopped out of my hoo-ha not too long ago. There were definitely those feedings that I stared at her for the entire hour. Trust me, you’ll be doing the same thing too.
What about traveling and breastfeeding?
Guess what, it CAN be done!
For car travels- it is not safe to breastfeed and drive. Nor is it safe to hover over your baby with your tit pulled out while the car is moving. Fun fact- it is actually legal in some states to breastfeed while the vehicle is in motion. Check your state’s laws for further information. However, in case of an accident, this can be beyond devastating to your little one’s life. Instead, pull over and take a 20 minute break here and there to feed.
For airplane travels- Yes, absolutely! While I was doing my own research, there was something in particular that stood out to me. Airlines make it extremely evident that they DO NOT discriminate against the nursing momma! Read more on breastfeeding and flying here ==> Flying with baby
Products I love <3
I used my Bobby religiously for the first four months. After time, I just stopped using it. My baby girl was getting squirmy and more curious about her surroundings, so it just started to seem unnecessary. I can’t imagine not having this pillow though. Holding a newborn is scary. A Boppy keeps you and your baby comfortable. No wonder it’s one of the most popular registry items?!
This bad boy honestly didn’t get touched until recently. At almost 8 months, I finally moved Evelyn into her own bedroom. **cries** This has been great for those late night feedings. I used to just plop her in bed with me, but for obvious reasons, that wasn’t an option anymore. Having a comfortable chair that has a swaying motion isn’t only good for you – but it soothes baby as well.
What the heck is a Haakaa? Well, I’m glad you asked! It is a weird silicone contraption that was created by the Lord himself. Okay, not really. This thing is pretty nifty though! While you’re feeding, simply place this over your other breast. This pump is not only cheap, but incredibly convenient as well. Not only does it catch your lonely boob’s letdowns, but it promotes letdowns as well. You ever hear of two birds – one stone? Well this is exactly it.
5 Foot Charger
Call me crazy, call me what you want. I am one of those people that doesn’t grab their charger until I’m on less than 10%. Of course, the few places that I breastfeed don’t have an outlet nearby. Having an extended charger lets you keep your source of entertainment, while staying situated in your seating position.
My baby is cute and all…but how do I fix their face?
Two words: Breast milk. Release your inner beast and hand express directly to their face. You’re welcome.
What is block feeding?
In simplest terms, it when you offer the same breast each feeding. Block feeding is important to help your “slacker boob” catch up on it’s milkie making game. This will help increase supply.
What is cluster feeding?
According to Kelly Mom, cluster feeding, also called bunch feeding, is “when babies space feeding closer together at certain times of the day and go longer between feedings at other times. This is very common, and often occurs in the evenings. It’s often -but not always- followed by a longer sleep period than usual: baby may be “tanking up” before a long sleep. For example, your baby may nurse every hour (or even constantly) between 6 and 10 PM, then have a longish stretch of sleep at night – baby may even sleep all night.”
Cluster feeding can be extremely tiring. This usually happens when baby is about to hit a growth spurt! Around four months old, Evelyn started showing unusual behavior. We got into a weird cycle of cluster feeding like crazy over a 24 hour time span with no sleep. The next day, she wouldn’t feed at all and just slept slept slept!
My baby wants to feed literally all night long
Have you ever heard of dream feeding? Dream feeding is completely normal and is slowly becoming nationally accepted. This is the practice of letting your baby fall asleep on the breast. Previous generations strongly discourage such inappropriate behaviors. Rest assure, sweet momma, this is completely normal. Not only does this weave your bond to stronger heights, but it also gives your baby the nutrition they need.
When Evelyn first came home from the hospital, she was an absolute nightmare. We were still dealing with latch issues at this time. We were both exhausted and I was hitting the baby blues pretty bad. Almost every night, we stayed up from roughly midnight to 3-4am. My mental health could not deal with this anymore!
Please know, there is a difference between dream feeding and being a little booby heathen in the midst of the night.
To eliminate multi-hour long nursing sessions:
- Check your watch before feeding
- Offer one boob for 45 minutes, the second boob for an additional 45 minutes
- Go at your own tempo, but decrease this time to 15 minutes per breast
Don’t get me wrong, I am a full supporter of nursing for comfort. At the same time, you need to treat this like a business transaction. Let that little missy/mister know that this is NOT how this will continue to go. It’s not heartless to teach your baby mannerisms.
It only took about 2 weeks to train my baby girl to eat more efficiently. This was also made possible by establishing a good latch.
We don’t like lazy eaters over here, aint nobody got time for dat.
My baby uses me as a pacifier
So this ties into the nighttime information rather nicely. There are a few different routes you can go with this. I’ll talk about what I tried and why it worked.
Introduce a pacifier. I knew that I wanted to wait until Evelyn was at least a month old and had a strong latch before giving her a binki. I was terrified that by giving her something new to suck on would ruin her latch. I noticed that her lips would curl into the binki and therefor, mess up her boob latch. To promote a good latch, simply flare baby’s lips out. The rest is history.
Let her use you as a pacifier. Um, wait what? Hold up. Yes, you heard me. It is normal for your baby to seek comfort from you! Do you have any weird ticks that you do when you’re nervous? Mhmmm I’m sure you’re biting your nails and twirling your hair while you’re reading this! Baby’s are the same exact way! Sucking is their mechanism of comfort. Don’t worry about all of the “horror” stories that people portray. Honestly, they’re all a load of stinky blow-out poo.
I decided that I wanted to bedshare with my sweet baby girl and she was with me until only a few weeks ago. She is now 8 months old, self weaned from a binki and can sleep the entire night through in her own room!
If you’re concerned about what others are saying, you need to change that mentality fast. You are now a parent and your voice is the most important one to be heard! To each their own, but I personally do not agree with the traditional wave.
Will cereal in a bottle help my baby sleep?
Listen Linda, no! NO NO NO NO NOOOOO! This can possibly lead to GI issues and is a choking hazard. Babies should not be introduced to any form of food until at least 4 months, but preferably 6. This includes baby cereal in a bottle.
This is a widely practiced gimmick. Heck, I was given cereal in my formula bottles when I was only three months old.
However, there is no concrete evidence that supports this theory of helping baby sleep.
My baby only stays on the boob for a few seconds, what gives?
I was so excited on our breastfeeding progress! But then……. little missy wouldn’t stay on the boob. Fortunately for me, it was just because I had milk all over my nipple. Apparently slippery nips are hard to stay on. Simply dry your nipple off with a dry cloth and transfer baby to the other breast.
Other reasons that baby may not stay on the boob- tongue/lip tie, thrush, improper latch. Please consult your family doctor or lactation consultant if you think this might be an issue.
How do I establish a feeding routine?
First off, this is completely different for every mommy-baby duo. You need to find what times work best for you. Make sure to practice repetition. Remember when your doctor told you to take your birth control pill at the same time every day? But you took it in the morning one day then at night the next? Yes, that is how I got pregnant. Seriously guys, repetition is key to any type of success.
Or, if you’re like me, we skip the routine! (old habits die hard)
SAHM- hahahahha you don’t! I am proud to feed on demand. Whenever and wherever my baby wants it. You are owned by a person that’s only the size of a bread loaf.
Working mommies- I have yet to go back to work. However, I do have breastfeeding friends that are in the work place. Make sure to check out your state laws in regards to pumping at work. Send your baby to daycare with your pumped milk.
Just a suggestion- feed during lunch breaks, as soon as you get home, before/after dinner, and before bed.
When will breastfeeding get easier?
Every mom has their own reasoning behind classing breastfeeding as difficult. First, establish what your biggest struggles are. Decide on how you can fix your issues or at least improve them. With anything in life, something can’t change unless you put forth the effort to make it happen.
Even today, I have my moments where I absolutely hate breastfeeding. I do miss having my body be MY body. It’s all about acceptance! I always give myself a polite reminder as of why I decide to continue my breastfeeding journey. Every bump in the road has just sculpted our success into a sparkling gem.
Do I need to pump if I’m a stay at home mom?
Technically, no. However, some SAHMs are not able to strictly give lil’ babe the tap. I recently read a story about one lady that was a stay at home mom. She never dealt with supply issues and she had a happily fed baby! Later that year, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she spent every moment she could with her beloved mom. Stress can diminish supply. Fortunately for her, she had over 200 oz of breast milk saved in case of emergency. It’s a good thing too! The stress was unborable and she completely dried up. Yet, she was still able to give her love bug breastmilk oppose to turning to formula.
Other reasons to consider making a stash:
- If you NEED to take medications that pose a risk of drying you up
- Date night/ going out
- Let daddy take the night time feedings every once in a while
Can I breastfeed in public?
Yes x1000! It is legal to breastfeed in all 50 US States. Stores and companies are not allowed to discriminate against a breastfeeding mother – including restaurants!
Just don’t be that person that gives breastfeeding mom’s a bad rep. I have never used a cover and have been feeding Evelyn in public ever since she was 2 weeks old. That doesn’t mean you should try to just have your boob hang out, especially if baby doesn’t even want to eat. I’ve seen it happen – and it’s completely unnecessary.
Why are my boobs STILL leaking?
On average, you can expect to wake up in a puddle of milk until 10 weeks pp. Make this less problematic by getting a bed protector, have a towel under you, or wear a bra with pads to bed.
Oh mastitis and clogged ducts, what a beautiful thing….not.
Mastitis is an infection in your breast. This can typically look like a large lump, redness, inflammation or even nipple discharge. When you’re dealing with mastitis, you might even feel severe flu symptoms. Symptoms include; fever, chills and overall fatigue.
Mastitis can occur from improper latch or missing feedings/ engorgement.
Try to prevent clogged ducts when possible! Things like sleeping on your belly and not hand relieving can result in this. I got a small clogged duct, luckily it never lead to anything serious.
Treating a clogged duct
- Breastfeed as usual. This might hurt, but it will help work the clog out
- Hot compresses to relieve the swelling
- Seek medical treatment if it develops to mastitis
My baby has teeth!
After being bit for the first time, I swore our breastfeeding journey would be over. But, there’s mom that breastfeed up to 4+ years old…how do they do it?
After taking that into consideration, I brushed my nipple pain off like the bad ass mom that I am.
Please do not discipline your children by smacking or popping them. Physical punishment does not register in baby’s brain and can lead to serious frustration for the both of you. Instead, try civil “punishments.”
Unlatch baby from your breast. Wait a few seconds, and reintroduce the breast. Letting Evelyn know that biting results in the boob being taken away, she almost instantly stopped biting me.
I absolutely love breastfeeding!
I hope all you wonderful mommas learned something of value! If you have any other questions, please feel free to comment below. I will try my best to answer your questions or aid in homework findings.
Happy feeding milkie mommas!
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