I wanted to do a post on Breastfeeding primarily because we endured so many issues the first time around. I certainly hope every expecting mama has a peaceful postpartum transition, but just in case you encounter challenges — maybe this will help?
First I want to acknowledge that while we all have “plans,” it’s good to be resourceful, flexible and adaptable to the wrenches that get thrown at us when we are postpartum!
At the end of the day – fed is best! They all end up eating Mac & Cheese and Puffs off the floor eventually!
So if your plan is to Breastfeed and/or Pump, this is essentially my Tip List that comprises many mistakes, regrets and little wins with my first pregnancy.
- If possible, take a breastfeeding class or do some research on breastfeeding/pumping. Knowing what a good latch looks like, how to hand express etc are all going to be super helpful on game day! During our first feed after delivery, my L&D nurse was trying to get my son to latch, but he would constantly pop on and off. She simply told me “some babies just take a bit” and here I was naively assuming practice would make perfect — and it didn’t. We ended up with a very hungry baby by night #2 and my hormones/emotions started to take a toll because I really didn’t have adequate postpartum support in the hospital.
- Ask for a IBCLC consult after delivery, even if you don’t think you need one. I delivered in a “breastfeeding friendly” hospital so I assumed from the stories that the LCs swooped in like vultures, but they were no where to be found when I delivered. My OB put in a consult for me on Day 2 and I was already an emotional mess at that point.
- If you have a pump, open it up before delivery and familiarize yourself with the parts and basic set up. I assumed I wouldn’t need a pump, but did in my first postpartum week. Trust me when I say that it’s easier to learn something while pregnant and calm as opposed to postpartum, incredibly emotional/stressed with a screaming newborn in the room.
- If you have a pump, check that your flanges are the correct size. Believe it or not – I realized that my flanges weren’t the right size about a month into breastfeeding/pumping. Not one IBCLC checked to make sure the ones I were using were the right size and it wasn’t until one late night at 3am stalking youtube videos on how to “pump more” that I learned my flanges were too small! Most breast pump sites have charts that have useful diagrams for measuring.
- If at any point during your breastfeeding/pumping journey you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to a IBCLC. While google and various mom groups can be helpful/supportive – it’s really preferred to have expert consultation, assessment and recommendations from a professional who is looking at both you AND your baby. If you are having an issue – it may not be fixable or need to be fixed with a tea, pill or potion. Pediatricians and local Le Leche League groups can help you find an IBCLC to consult with over the phone, in your home or in their office depending on your needs/concern.
And my last piece of advice is simple. Hope for it to be easy, but expect it to be hard. You’ll fall somewhere in between!
I personally assumed this would be the “easy” part and it certainly wasn’t, so hopefully these tips help if it doesn’t come easy or natural for you.
But here’s a BONUS Tip #6: If you find yourself needing a good laugh at 3am one night – watch Ali Wong’s Hard Knock Wife on Netflix. It’s quite funny, but maybe don’t watch it before you start this process haha
It was a long and hard road, but we did find “our normal”, which was a combination of everything (breastfeeding, formula and pumping).
Fingers crossed this time is easier for sure and I certainly hope it’s easy for you!!!
Hope you found this helpful, but if you can think of anything I missed that would help a new mom – don’t hesitate to comment below!
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