- Take a class – usually your hospital will offer a breastfeeding class. Take it! It will let you know the ins and outs of breastfeeding. It will inform you on the things to watch out for and when to panic and when not to.
- Invest in nipple cream – a lot of women talk about how much it hurts. But don’t let them scare you. It only hurts for the first couple weeks. Once your boobs get used to the feeling then the pain goes away. Your nipples will be dry, they will crack, they will bleed (a little), they will be sore and they will be chapped. Rub a little milk from your boob on your nipple. It helps to heal them. This will only help to make the healing go faster…to help with the pain…use the nipple cream. Nipple cream will be your best friend!
- Avoid Thrush – this is basically a yeast infection in the babies mouth and on your nipples. There are a few things that can give you trush. If you aren’t sure what the symptoms or triggers are…look it up. You will get meds for you and the baby. Take them! This is painful!!!! You will cry the whole time the baby is eating. Cry it out and use your nipple cream. Thrush will usually only last for 2 weeks. But be warned: if you do not use the meds correctly on both the baby and yourself…..you will extend the sickness and the pain. You will keep passing the infection from baby to mom and mom to baby…and it will go longer than 2 weeks.
- Latching – make sure that your baby latches on correctly. If the baby does not open their mouths all the way then they have to fight harder to get the milk out….which in turn will cause you pain. They will suck harder. They will bite the nipple. Anything to get the milk out. If they do not latch on correctly then it will not only cause you pain… it does not give your baby the amount of milk that they adequately need.
- Tired – breastfeeding makes you tired. Don’t be surprised if you fall asleep every time you breastfeed. Your body releases a hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone not only releases to help you make milk and bond with your baby but it makes you a little sleepy. According to an article on BabyCenter.com this is your bodies way of giving you a little more sleep (since you will be lacking sleep the rest of the day).
- Is the Baby Breathing – this note is not only for women with big breasts….this for all sizes. Depending on the babies location and your boob location you can suffocate your baby. You can hold your boob skin down (where your babies nose is) so that they can breathe while they eat. Most women will assume that they will see if the baby cant breath but be warned…you will not always be looking down at the baby while they are eating. You will be sitting there for 20-30 minutes. You can also fall asleep. And also note…if the baby is relaxed enough they wont let you know they cant breathe. They will just lay there. No movement. No arm jerking. Just lay there. Be careful!
- Posture – watch your posture!!!! You cannot always look down at your baby while they are eating. If you do, you will get a kink in your neck. And those kinks are the most painful and the hardest to get rid of. Sit up straight. Sit in a good chair. A glider that is made for breastfeeding is the best thing to sit in. And believe me I know. With my son I didn’t have a glider and with my daughter I got one….and MAN what a difference. 100% easier. Also…use a boppy. It helps to hold the baby in the best positions while taking the strain off of your arms and your back. The boppy will hold the majority of the babies weight.
- Dehydrated – breastfeeding makes you dehydrated. Always have a glass of water next to you while you are breastfeeding. Soda or sugary drinks will make you feel more dehydrated. I think of it as…they are sucking you dry…LITERALLY! You will feel thirsty while they are eating and hungry right after.
- Avoid engorgement – this is painful because your boobs get to big and full of milk but your baby can only drink so much. Being too engorged is not only painful for you but it can be hard on the baby. This can lead to the baby getting too much formilk and not enough hindmilk. This leads to the baby being gassy and crying because their tummy hurts. If you do have engorgement there are a lot of things that you can do to fix the problem. Do some research. Some examples are using cabbage leaves, or training your boobs to make less milk by feeding multiple times on one boob while the other fills up and visa versa. This will tell your boobs to make less milk.
- Avoid clogged ducts – massage your boobs not only while the baby is eating but when they are not eating. This helps to make sure there is no clogging. But be careful….dont massage the boob too much while the baby is eating because it will send a big splash of milk into the babies mouth making them choke. And…If you are going to massage your boobs while the baby is not eating then make sure you have a nursing pad in your bra because you will be leaking milk. Note: Clogged ducts can lead to mastitis. This is a very painful infection of the breast tissue.
I hope you all found this helpful!
I have to admit…that even though I found these things out the hard way…I wouldnt stop breastfeeding for anything. I breastfed my son for 18 months and I will probably breastfeed my daughter just as long. The benefits to breastfeeding and the bonding you feel while breastfeeding totally out weighs the negative things that can happen.