My breastfeeding journey started thirteen years ago when my first son was born. And let me tell you, it got off to a rocky start. Soreness, bleeding, latch problems and SO much pain. (ouch) It hurts just thinking about it. Mine was definitely not a pain-free experience.
I remember crying in frustration and pain wondering why something that came so easy for others was so hard for me. What was I doing wrong?
After several months of unbearable pain, I finally got some help from a lactation consultant. But unfortunately by this time, my son had settled into some bad habits and it took a while to break them.
But with some perseverance, we overcame and I finally understood what an amazing, bonding experience breastfeeding is meant to be.
Through it all, my goal was to not give up. I know there are extenuating circumstances that are out of your control, but for me it was a latch and pain issue for me. My son was healthy, happy and growing well.
There are several reasons I chose to push through, including:
1. Breastfeeding Benefits for your Child
We know the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous. Breastfeeding helps support your child’s healthy immune system development, by providing and boosting antibodies that help to fight disease. It’s also a wonderful way to bond with and comfort your baby at the same time as nourishing him/her.
There have been so many times when my little ones were sick, where nursing became their only nourishment until they were feeling better.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies have an overall lower risk of obesity, higher IQs and lower incidence of certain infections, such as ear infections.
2. Breastfeeding Benefits for the Mother
Breastfeeding is a great way to settle a cranky baby, and it also releases hormones which help mom get back to sleep during night wakings, too. Breastfeeding can also reduce mom’s risk of certain cancers, and this benefit is increased the longer she breastfeeds.
When you breastfeed, your uterus is able to return to its pre-pregnancy size quicker. Big plus. 🙂
Breastfeeding Tips for Your Newborn:
As I mentioned above, breastfeeding didn't come easily for me. It took some work. Here are a few tips for breastfeeding your new baby:
Ensure you breastfeed somewhere quiet, with minimal distractions.
Take the time to ensure correct positioning and that your baby’s latch is correct.
(Super Important!) You will know your baby has a good latch if breastfeeding is pain-free (there may be pain for the first few seconds but it should subside), and you can see and hear your baby swallowing milk. Your baby should finish a feed satisfied and, in the case of a newborn, quite often sleepy.
If you are having problems, get help sooner than later.
My biggest regret was not finding help sooner with my babies. Don't be ashamed to ask for help.
You can usually find a Certified Lactation Consultant in your area through this online directory. Some of them will even come to you.
I found one when my daughter was a baby because, yes, I had problems with my third child as well. You would think by the third child I would have things figured out, but nope, lots of pain and latching problems with her as well. But I got help a lot sooner with her and our breastfeeding experience has been amazing.
There are so many great online resources for breastfeeding support, including:
- Certified Lactation Consultant Directory
- La Leche League
- Step by Step Guide to Diagnosing Tongue and Lip Ties: Tongue and lip ties can create all kinds of problems with breastfeeding. Diagnosing these early can save you a lot of pain and misery.
- Facebook Groups: I know there are many breastfeeding support groups on facebook. Just do a quick search and I'm sure you'll find a ton of great options.
My Breastfeeding Must Haves:
There are a few things that I fell in love with throughout my breastfeeding journey, including:
These nursing pads are so comfortable and sleek. These are a definite must have especially if you are sore.
This cream is completely natural with a rating of 0 on the skin deep database. It doesn't have to be removed before breastfeeding, which is super convenient. LOVE this stuff!
I was shopping at Target one day when I was still pregnant and ran across a Bravado Nursing Bra. It cost more than I really wanted to pay, but I bit the bullet and bought it because it was SO comfortable. I still wear it all the time. It's that great. I have bought more, cheaper nursing bras but can't stand them because they are so uncomfortable.
So yes, invest in at least one quality, super comfortable nursing bra. I promise you won't regret it.
Nursing tanks were the only breastfeeding clothing I purchased. I didn't have these with my older kids, but I am so glad I bought a few with my daughter. I wear a tank top under almost everything and having a nursing tank was, well necessary. And so convenient.
To Wrap Things Up:
Breastfeeding CAN be a beautiful experience. With my youngest we had a rocky start, but once we overcame that, with some help, it has been the most beautiful rewarding experience. We are not planning on having any more little ones so I have been treasuring every precious moment with my daughter.
So much so that my family keeps asking when she's going to stop, if she's every going to stop, lol. It is her comfort, her safety and my bonding time with her and neither one of us has been in a hurry to let it go.