Bella turns one this month and still nurses daily. As I tried to go to sleep one night, this post made it’s way into my head. It’s just some simple advice and thoughts that I wish someone had shared with me. It all seems like common sense to me now, but I see so many new moms give up on breastfeeding simply because they don’t understand how it really works.
I always hesitate to write posts like this, because I’m afraid someone will take it the wrong way. I don’t claim to know it all or to be a doctor. I’m not against formula, but I am a breastfeeding advocate. These are just thoughts from my personal experience.
My Nursling Bella
It isn’t easy.
I know, right? It’s like the most natural thing in the world, but it isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time, work, and commitment. And food. Don’t forget the food. You must eat and stay hydrated if you are going to nourish your child with your body.
For the first 4 or 5 months, Bella was attached to me almost 24 hours a day. It was hard. There were days when Justin would come home and I’d be waiting on him at the door with Bella, ready to pass her off on him. I was touched out, worn out, and just plain tired of having a kid attached to me. But my mind was made up and we were going to make this work, come hell or high water.
It might hurt, but if you get baby latched correctly, it won’t hurt for long. I had very little soreness and that was just my breasts getting used to having a baby sucking constantly. Keep some lanolin on hand and you’ll be fine. If the pain persists, you’ll need to find the root of the problem which could be a latch issue.
Your milk doesn’t come in immediately. It can take days and that’s okay. Colostrum is like liquid gold for your baby. I hear it all the time. “I just couldn’t produce enough.” “He was nursing constantly.” Nursing is supply and demand. When your child is feeding, that tells your body to make more milk. You have to give your body time to catch up to your child’s demand. I know it’s hard, but don’t give up. Nurse through it, that’s what I always told myself.
Unless necessary, supplementing is a short term gain and a long term loss. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not anti-formula. Bryson was formula fed after breastfeeding didn’t go as I had planned. With that said, when you supplement with formula, that tells your body to slow down the milk making process. If you supplement regularly, your milk production will take a hit.
Do not try to gauge how much milk you are producing by pumping. Just don’t do that to yourself. Of course, some women do respond well to a breast-pump, but some don’t. I’ve tried pumping several times over the last year and I cannot get more than 2 oz. Does that mean I don’t make enough to nourish Bella? Absolutely not. We’ve nursed for almost a year and I’ve not supplemented. So, please don’t let it discourage you or make you think you aren’t making enough milk if like me, you are unable to pump.
I know this is a horrible photo, but it’s the only one I have of me nursing in public.
We were at Day Out with Thomas the Train in May 2011.
Get over your fear and nurse in public. If you want to have a life outside of your home, you are more than likely going to find yourself out in public with a hungry baby. You do not have to go sit in your vehicle or go in a private room. You can enjoy being out and nurse at the same time.
Practice. This may seem silly, but if you are nervous about nursing in public, sit in front of a mirror, go through the steps, and you’ll find that you can be pretty discreet. I use a cover, not because I feel that I have to, I’m just more comfortable with one. By watching yourself in the mirror, I’m confident that you’ll realize you aren’t showing as much as you probably think.
It gets easier. As difficult as it was, now it’s smooth sailing. We are right at the one year mark and we are like a champion nursing team. I love that I never have to worry about making bottles of mixing up formula. As long as I’m around, Bella has everything she needs. Nursing not only nourishes her, it soothes her when she’s upset, it makes her forget about her boo-boos, and it’s the most amazing bonding experience I’ve had in my life.
If you are even thinking of breastfeeding, I encourage to give it a try. If you have a questions or just want to chat, feel free to e-mail me or contact me on Facebook. If you need support, encouragement, or a pep talk, I’m here!