Breastfeeding, in my opinion is a easiest choice to make but toughest to follow. Today I am going to share my experience on breastfeeding my daughter as a baby. When I was pregnant with my daughter I decided to breastfeed her at least for 2 years. The time came and I gave birth. My daughter latched immediately and my milk came in by the second day. It was so wonderful to feed my baby and it was the best feeling ever. The excitement which I had for breastfeeding soon flew off the window. My nipples cracked in the second week and I was in excruciating pain and I did my own milk treatment (applying our own breast milk on the nipples and leave it to dry) and with lanolin cream. The nipple crack healed and my milk came in full flow like a fountain which made me suffer in breast engorgement followed by mastitis. I suffered from worst pain ever, it’s lot more painful than giving birth. I remember shivering in the middle of the night with three blankets on me and breastfed my baby. As advised by doctor feeding continuously made the mastitis go and I was relaxed. From then I started to learn from my mistakes and I researched as much as possible and made my breastfeeding journey a success and as I planned I breastfeed my daughter till 2 years. It’s not an easy thing to learn on the go, so prepare for it to be a pro.
Breastfeeding is a real pleasure when you make it perfect. But, the perfection comes only through practice and patience. I would like to share some simple tips, which will prepare your mind if you are still pregnant or ease your mind with some solutions that you are searching for during breastfeeding. I am not a professional but a mom who gained knowledge through experience. You can always consult a lactation specialist before following the tips.
Pre-prep during pregnancy. Soon after making the decision that you want to breastfeed, start preparing for it. Some may ask ‘what is there to prepare’? yes you don’t have to prepare physically as your body will do most of the work in preparation for breastfeeding but mentally there are few things to prepare, so that you can avoid certain breastfeeding problems with a bit of preparation. There are a lot of resources to prepare beforehand. Preparations include massaging your breasts in your third trimester to clear the ducts, use of breast shells for flat nipples, finding good breast pump, purchasing nursing bra for convenience and support, breastfeeding pillow, nipple moisturizer, breast pads etc.
Get some help. It’s necessary to have some kind of help at the early stages of childbirth. You definitely can’t focus on baby unless someone takes care of the housework. There is no such problem if you reside near your mom, in-laws or close friend’s place, but in my case I was living in Germany, faraway from my hometown and there is no support system near me apart from my husband. Luckily, my mom and in-law came over to Germany which was a great support for me in my initial months. The help you get is not only for you but for baby and your family. Handling alone will lead to stress and sleep deprivation making breastfeeding difficult and hurting your physical and mental well-being.
If your partner is the only support then make him understand. When you live away from your home, the only support will be your partner, but expecting your partner to know what needs to be done is wrong. It’s about talking and solving together. Hence, talk and figure out what should be done. Definitely as a first time father, your partner may be clueless about what must be done and what you are going through hormonally. Instead of getting angry of what he has not done or done something wrong, remember he might have not known what to be done, so communicate as possible as you can and make him understand.
Food and water is must. I know as a new mom definitely food and water is a secondary thing. But timely food not only benefits your baby but also you. I remember going mad on the baby if I starve. Your diet does not need to be perfect, you need an estimated 300 – 500 extra calories per day. Breastfeeding might make you feel thirsty, so consider keeping a bottle of water nearby and drink as often as possible. I made a self-rule to drink water before and after breastfeeding which helped me a lot to fight against dehydration.
Sleep when baby sleeps. I know it’s easy to say but hard to follow, but try to take as many cat naps as possible to pump energy for the night otherwise you would be waking like zombie the next day will result in irritable, lethargic, unable to focus on the most tasks and breast milk reduction. Even if you can’t go to sleep lie down and relax. Don’t stress if you can’t fall asleep, just lying down can be restorative.
Relaxed feeding. Relaxed feeding will always help in good milk flow. Having skin to skin while feeding make you and baby relax and enjoy the moment. Have a snack while feeding the baby. Hunger will lead to anxiety. Make yourself comfortable by leaning onto a pillow and have a pillow under your legs for support while sitting. Breastfeeding takes time so you can relax by doing your favourite thing like listening music, watching shows etc. Once baby and mom gets hang of it then you can nurse by lying down.
Breastfeed on the go. Breastfeeding on the go is inexpensive, time-consuming and mess free. All you need is your breast and hungry baby. No pre-prep needed like washing bottles, sterilizing etc. Once you get hang of nursing your baby, it’s by far the most convenient way of feeding your baby fresh warm milk anywhere anytime. Breastfeeding in public is not a sin. My simple trick to breastfeed in public is wearing a tank top underneath my t-shirt which helped to nurse easily by just lifting my t-shirt while feeding without exposing my breasts.
With preparation, some information from fellow moms, little research, help from others and proper knowledge will make you a breastfeeding champ. Nursing may be natural, but it’s downright difficult so don’t give up and think breastfeeding is your responsibility. There are mom’s out there who does not breastfeed for many reasons and it’s a your choice, a mother is a mother even you breastfeed or not. For new moms out there and for those who are going to be a mom, my best wishes for your wonderful breastfeeding journey.
Some tips to boost milk production
- Nurse often.
- Switch sides.
- Nurse skin to skin.
- Don’t use binky so early.
- Wear right bra.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Try herbs to increase milk.
- Massage your breast before and during nursing.
- Add more garlic to your food.
- Include Oats, fenugreek seeds, spinach, carrots, barley in your diet.
- Eat more proteins.