Adding a new addition to your family – whether it is your first or not – is a very exciting time, yet still overwhelming. If it is your first there are so many things at the beginning that may overwhelm you and my biggest advice on this is don’t stress it, take it day by day, and as I said in my last post – have a support system.
One of the big decisions you have to make when you bring your new kiddo into the world is how are you going to supply them with food. I am not writing this article to imply that breast is best because, honestly, I think it really depends on the person and the situation. I am writing this article to help those Mama’s out who decide to give the breastfeeding journey a try, because I will be brutally honest – it is not an easy route at the beginning. I can almost guarantee you there will be tears (from you and the baby), there will be lots of sleep deprived days, and there will be times you may want to give up.
Before I had Jace I went into this journey having lots of expectations and I honestly had no idea how hard it really was going to be, but either way I knew I wanted to do it. I knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed Jace and I really wanted to be able to pump as well to have a freezer milk supply as I knew we would be having Christmas parties to go to a few short months after Jace was born (ya, you could say I am a bit of a planner). However, I had no problem with my milk coming in at the beginning – it came in around Day 2 – but my body quickly regulated to what Jace needed and since I did not start pumping right away – because I wanted to exclusively breastfeed – it produced just that and not much more (if you’re wanting a freezer supply – start early and don’t make the same mistake I did). So, that brings me to ….
#1 – DON’T SET TO HIGH OF EXPECTATIONS
Now, don’t get me wrong… have expectations because if anything my expectations made me stay strong to continue with the breastfeeding journey but don’t set the bar to high. After having a baby your emotions are pretty high and the last thing you want to do is expect to much from yourself or overwhelm yourself to the point you break if an expectation isn’t met. Go with the flow and be easy on yourself because breastfeeding is tough and you’re here reading this article either preparing for the breastfeeding journey to begin or your in the midst of it and that shows me you’re strong, smart, and going to be prepared so again – go with the flow – because I can tell you sometimes I didn’t and it honestly just made the struggle that little bit harder to deal with. That being said, if you do catch yourself setting the bar to high for yourself and the struggles are creeping in on you then remember ….
#2 – DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF, YOU’RE STRONG & YOU CAN DO IT
There was countless times – usually in the middle of the night – where I would sit in bed crying saying I can’t do it anymore we just need to give Jace a bottle. Thankfully, I didn’t give up on myself and I knew I could do it! Stay strong girl, the struggle is real I know but after the first couple weeks it becomes a breeze and once you have made it through the hardest part you will be so freaking proud of yourself for doing that for your baby. Jace latched really well from the beginning but loved, and I mean LOVED, to latch then delatch about sixty times, I swear. He also LOVED to fall asleep as soon as he hit the boob – which was just lovely when this happened at 3:00am… not! Now I look back on those moments and realize we – me AND Jace – were both learning this new thing and we mastered it together. Speaking of that exact thing, keep in mind that….
#3 – NOT ONLY ARE YOU LEARNING BUT BABY IS LEARNING TO
During the breastfeeding journey the biggest thing you have to remember is this is new to you but it is also new to baby. Baby has never eaten before, never seen a boob before, never tasted milk before, and most importantly… never latched before. Latching is one of the trickiest parts of breastfeeding but once you and baby master it is when breastfeeding becomes a breeze. That is exactly why you have to remember baby is learning to latch and you are learning how to assist in the latching. Jace mastered latching fairly quickly because I kept him on the boob pretty consistently in the hospital but as I said above, we had other struggles with latching (ie. keeping him latched)… and it takes time for you and baby to learn. So, remember to relax and not be to hard on yourself. Speaking of latching, to go along with latching struggles can also mean very sore or cracked nipples which makes the struggle even more real (and painful). Therefore, remember ….
#4 – LAYER ON THE NIPPLE CREAM… EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
During the breastfeeding journey nipple cream will, literally, become your best friend. Before breastfeeding I read so many horror stories about cracked nipples, bleeding, etc. that I was extra cautious and I swear… be extra cautious and layer on the nipple cream EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. because I literally had no issue with cracked nipples and bleeding EVER. However, I literally kept my nipple cream beside me through every feed and after every single feed I put it on until we got through the “learning stage”, or in other words – the safe zone. Once you get through the safe zone everything becomes a breeze and you kind of forget about all the chaos at the beginning because once you and baby are in the breastfeeding groove it is such a wonderful thing and like anything else you will remember those amazingly good moments as opposed to the chaotic ones. Now that being said, you still have to remember a few things for when you are in the safe zone, but really the biggest thing to remember is ….
#5 – KNOW WHEN FEEDING TIME IS
I don’t say this because I think you’re going to forget to feed you child, but that let down is real and let me tell you it really makes a mess. Keep that baby close when feeding time is approaching or keep the breastfeeding pads close because they are a lot nicer than having to clean up after your body decided it was feeding time… right now!
Among all of this, I really have to reiterate again to remember ….
#6 – HAVE AND USE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
I say this because through the struggles I had at the beginning, and remember everyone has struggles through their breastfeeding journey, Robert, who is a huge part of my support system, helped both Jace and I through those times. There were nights where Robert had to be at work at 8:00am and Jace and I were having troubles feeding at 3:00am but Robert would sit in bed with us and support us by doing what ever we needed help doing. For Jace, when he would get worked up and would latch then delatch a million times he loved having a finger to grab onto for comfort, but when I was learning to breastfeed I needed two hands for positioning, having Robert there to do his Daddy duties and be a finger to hold for Jace literally made it a million times easier even though it was such a little thing. Have and use a support system… seriously!
Let me know if any of these tips helped you out or if you are looking for any other tips, pointers, or support through your breastfeeding journey (or just your Mommyhood journey!)… I always love to hear from you Mama’s. Make sure to comment, send me a message through the “contact me” page, or check out my Instagram “adventuresofthegroots” and personal message me there. If you know any other Mama’s wanting to network or that would benefit from any of these “tips” make sure to share, share, share.
I am off to enjoy some time with my fiance, do a little wedding planning, and then head off to bed! Make sure you stay tuned for some more struggles, chaos & fun from this Mediocre Mommy! ❤