Breastfeeding is really hard. The whole time you’re pregnant with your first baby, you’re focused on the delivery. Can you do it? How painful will it be? How long will the labor be? Then you have your baby and you’re faced with breastfeeding. Some babies latch on easily and some don’t. Some moms have an easy time getting going and some don’t. Either way, it’s one of the most challenging aspect of being a mom.
We all know the importance of breastfeeding our babies if we can. We’re told over and over how it benefits the health of both the mother and the child but the one thing no one tells you about are the challenges of breastfeeding. I don’t know of a single new mom who wasn’t surprised by how difficult it can be to breastfeed. I’m writing this, not to scare you, but to prepare you for the challenges and offer solutions. I wish someone had warned me prior to having a baby so I could have gone into the process with a plan.
You will be woken up every two hours for days, weeks, months on end to feed your baby. I remember putting my son down to sleep and lying there praying, BEGGING God to let my baby sleep for an extra hour. “Just three hours this time please! I’ll do anything for three hours of sleep in a row!”
No one else can breastfeed your baby but you. I’d look at my friends and their eyes without dark circles and bags underneath them, oblivious to how lucky they were to be able to sleep for hours at a time.
Your nipples will hurt so bad at first. I remember getting tears in my eyes after a few days because it was so painful for me. No one ever warned me about that and it was very unexpected.
With that said, I am still so proud and happy I was able to breast feed my son for six months and I wish I did it for longer. It’s a huge accomplishment in this day and age and hopefully, these breastfeeding tips will make it a little easier for you.
Common Breastfeeding Problems and Solutions:
Breastfeeding Problem #1: YOU are the only one who can feed your baby.
Breastfeeding Tip: Get help wherever else you can. My friends and family were so helpful to me when I was a new mom. Enlist in help with changing diapers, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, etc. This way you can focus on taking care of yourself and sleeping when your baby sleeps. My mother took two weeks off of work to help me when I first had my son. For the first couple of days, she would get the baby and change him for me so all I had to do was feed him. It really helped me get in the groove of things and helped me recover from a horrifying delivery.
Breastfeeding Tip: Get help wherever you can. [Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #2: You are SO hungry!
Breastfeeding Tip: Breastfeeding burns lots of calories which makes a new mom unusually hungry. Make a bunch of small meals and keep them in the refrigerator or have someone else do it for you. I used to try to have a protein, carbohydrate, and fruit or vegetable on each plate. Some examples are cheese and crackers with grapes or yogurt with granola and berries. When it’s time to feed your baby, just grab a ready-made snack and you and baby can eat together.
Breastfeeding Tip: Make a bunch of healthy meals ahead of time so you can eat when baby eats.[Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #3: You are SO tired!
Breastfeeding Tip: When you have a new baby, your baby should be your main focus. Let go of everything else. You can clean the house and do your chores later. Do your best to sleep every time the baby sleeps.
Breastfeeding tip: Let go of everything else for awhile. Focus on your baby.[Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #4: Breastfeeding hurts!
Breastfeeding Tip: Make sure your baby is latching on correctly. When you’re in the hospital after delivery, take advantage of the lactation consultant and ask for advice on holding your baby. Eve if you’re doing everything right, breastfeeding will hurt for a week or two. Your nipples will be more so than you ever expected but I promise it will go away within a few days or weeks.
Breastfeeding tip: Take advantage of a lactation consultant and other free services.[Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #5: Other people get weird about it
Breastfeeding Tip: There’s a part of me that wants to say that you should just ignore those people, whether they’re friends or strangers but I know that’s easier said than done. The most vulnerable you’ll ever be is when you’re a new mom and a lot of things will bother you more than usual. Remember, your baby has a right to eat whenever it’s hungry however, respect goes both ways. If you have an older family member who is truly uncomfortable with it, make sure to be respectful and not deliberately whip your breasts out in front of them in the most dramatic way possible.
Breastfeeding tip: Ignore people who get weird when your breastfeed. [Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #6: Sometimes you just don’t wanna!
Breastfeeding Tip: Make sure you have a huge support system. Although your partner and friends are great, try to also have someone support you who has been through it. My mom breastfed all of her kids so she was exceptionally supportive of my efforts. She knew how hard it can be at times and was my cheerleader through it all.
Breastfeeding Tip: Make sure you have a huge support system. [Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #7: It seems endless.
Breastfeeding Tip: Take it day-by-day. You will be the only person who can feed your baby and there’s a good chance you’ll be woken up every couple of hours for months on end. I was ready to quit after two weeks and my mom convinced me every day to just breast feed for “one more day”. We kept that up for over six months.
Breastfeeding tip: Take it day-by-day.[Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #8: Formula can be SO tempting.
Breastfeeding Tip: When you are a sleep deprived new mom, a formula bottle can be so tempting. The best thing to do is keep it out of the house. Don’t take it home with your from the hospital and don’t buy any unless you’ve made a conscious choose to stop breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding tip: Keep formula out of the house.[Tweet this]
Breastfeeding Problem #9: The baby wakes up so often!
Breastfeeding Tip: Keep the baby close to you. If you have your baby in a crib or bassinet right nest to you, you can just reach out and feed without waking up 100%. If you’re comfortable with your baby sleeping in your bed, that make breastfeeding much easier too. Be careful with co-sleeping though. If you’re a heavy sleeper, it could be dangerous.
Breastfeeding tip: Let your baby sleep close to you.[Tweet this]
Leave a comment with your breastfeeding stories below. If you have any breastfeeding tips, make sure to leave them too!