Yes, that is a real text conversation Marwan and I had! If parenting is like going to war, breastfeeding is the daily battle. You would think this is one of those things that comes naturally, you know, vital to the human race surviving. Turns out, it takes a lot of work and dedication and even then, it doesn’t always work out.
Prior to my own personal experience, my thoughts on breastfeeding were to say “Of course you breastfeed, it is the perfect nutrition for baby and provides so many benefits for his health”. Now that I am doing it myself, I still have the same thought but with one change… “Try to breastfeed, it is the perfect nutrition for baby and provides so many benefits for his health”. You should try, and you should give it your all. But don’t doubt your abilities as a mother if it doesn’t work out. The world will not come crashing down if you feed your baby formula!
Surviving Breastfeeding Week 1
- Plan ahead. Instead of going to a birthing class prior to delivery, Marwan and I went to a nursing class. 3 whole hours of how to breastfeed. I was blown away by how difficult they made it seem but the class taught us some basics. If possible, bring your significant other because they will be helping a lot that first week.
- Immediately call for a lactation nurse after delivery. Most hospitals allow for skin-to-skin time immediately after birth. This is a great time to try breastfeeding and having an expert there will prevent you and baby from picking up bad habits. If they aren’t available (they usually work 9-5), no worries. Tell your nurse you would like to see them in the morning.
- Babies have no idea what they are doing. Just like us, it us something they learn as they go. You will be coaching them on proper latching and technique. Because they don’t know what they are doing, they won’t be eating too much those first 24 hours. That’s ok! They aren’t starving, they still have the nutrition from being in utero. You also won’t be producing much, just a few drops of colostrum. This is perfectly healthy and normal. Keep trying to feed baby very frequently. Try for 15 minutes, if no success then wait an hour and try again. If you get a good feed, wait 2 hours then repeat!
- Stay away from the artificial nipples. Pacifiers and baby bottles are much easier to latch onto then a breast. Delay using these until you have a good feeder. Most stuff I read says to wait 3-4 weeks, but I was given the ok from my pediatrician when Grayson was 10 days old since he was gaining good weight.
- You will need 2 sets of hands that first week. This is why its best to have your significant other come with you to the class. Holding your wiggly, floppy newborn to your breast is all you will be able to do with your hands. You will need someone to help arrange pillows, put something under your babies head for support once you get a good latch, adjust babies lips if they roll in… So many things to be done! Don’t worry, after the first week you will be an expert and able to function on your own.
- Your are more than nutrition, your are the pacifier. Since you won’t be using any pacifiers to soothe baby, you have become your infants personal pacifier! This leads to a lot more breast time than needed for nutrition but it leads to better bonding and latching. Most doctors will tell you that you don’t have to allow this, but it is ok if you do in the first few weeks. Babies need nutritive sucking as well as pacifying sucking. After you introduce artificial nipples, you will then want to cut off this behavior so you are not breastfeeding every hour (or not, your choice).