When my first baby boy made his appearance I was overjoyed! I wanted to breast feed but was clueless! I was not prepared for the intense pain I felt and mistook that pain as abnormal. Surely the stabbing pain was not something every new mom felt!! I talked with the hospital lactation specialist who spent just a very short time with me. I ended up pumping half the time which decreased my milk supply within 3 months. My second child had a severe case of being consistently hungry (weighing in at 9 lbs., 2 oz and 22 inches long at birth) as well as reflux. With the doctor's approval, we moved him to soy formula because he could not tolerate regular formula. This gag reflux problem that caused vomiting did not go away until he was five years old.
Looking back I realize that there were several things missing in my lactation experience that were SO important! Due to these missing elements I did not fully breast feed my first or second child- something that I do regret! Life is a learning journey. We learn from our mistakes and press on! I am happy to say that my third child successfully breast fed longer than I ever imagined! More about that later.... ;)
How Can I Prepare to Breastfeed Successfully?
- Read! Knowledge is power! I strongly recommend reading "The Nursing Mother's Companion" through a month or so before you give birth. It has been called the "Breastfeeding Bible" for a reason! It answered lingering questions and let me know that some pain is okay! It does get better. :) I went from clueless to arm with tools to help me succeed!
- After you have read the book write down questions you have about breast feeding. Ask a friend or relative who has successfully breastfed to be your Go-to-Guru. Ask them those questions! Even better? If they are currently breastfeeding at night as well, text them your concerns at night when you have feedings! If you do not know someone who can do this, there are free lactation specialists you can call for support! Support is everything! If there is something I have learned it is that nearly every breastfeeding problem can be solved!
- Pick the lactation specialist's brain! When baby #3 was born, I held no questions back. The specialist spent at least 1.5 hrs with me helping me work around the intense pain and finding a workable solution! They are there to help! Ask away! :)
- Indulge a bit! Buy some products to make you more comfortable with breastfeeding. I love the Medela soothing comfort gel pads, Lanolin cream, and Bamboobies washable breast pads!
These tips helped me successfully breastfeed baby #3 for 19 months! No bottles or formula! The only reason I stopped was because I am expecting baby #4 who is arriving in early Feb.! :) I will be reviewing all these steps I have listed because it is good to be prepared!
I would love to hear your story!
Johanna - Lillie's Lovelies