Luckily, there are many ways to get help. Whether you do your own research from reputable sources of information or talk with women who already have breastfeeding experience. Either option is a great place to start. Still, here are 5 things that breastfeeding moms wish they had known the first time around.
Breastfeeding Can Be a Bit Uncomfortable at First
Some women are surprised to find out that breastfeeding can be a bit uncomfortable, until you get used to it. Many women say that they wished they had known to expect an adjustment period, while their nipples got used to being suckled on by their baby – sometimes quite aggressively!
If you know what you expect, you’ll have an easier time overcoming the initial discomfort and helping your baby achieve a strong latch-on to the nipple. The good news is that your body will naturally adjust to breastfeeding within 2-3 weeks.
In the meantime, one way to deal with early breastfeeding discomfort is to use lanoline cream after every feeding. This is a hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory, moisturizer that helps to soothe and heal your nipples. It’s also safe for babies, so you don’t have to worry about washing it off before your next breast pumping or feeding session.
If you are still feeling pain or experiencing sore nipples after the first 2-3 weeks, talk to a Lactation Consultant or your doctor. You also might need to switch to breast pumping instead of nursing for a while to give your nipples time to heal.
Invest in a Good Quality Breast Pump
If you are going to use a breast pump as a part of your breast milk feeding routine, keep in mind that it will need to last a long time. Depending on the number of children you have and your schedule, you may need your breast pump to last two years or more!
Take the time to choose a breast pump that matches your lifestyle and individual needs. Some moms may want to get a pump that is portable and as quiet as possible. Some may want to consider a double pump and some are interested in something lightweight to take with them when they travel.
The right breast pump does more than making it easy to maintain your milk supply. It also makes it easier for your partner to get involved in feedings. It may even help you to continue to travel, while you are breastfeeding. For more information, check out this guide to choosing the right breast pump.
Breastfeeding Can Be Hard Work
In the early stages of life, babies want to feed regularly and don’t have a lot of respect for our need to sleep. This means that breastfeeding can feel like a 24/7 job, with a wide range of feeding times and durations. Studies have shown that babies breastfeed between 4 and 13 times per day, with a feeding sessions ranging from 12 to 67 minutes. Many women are totally surprised at their baby’s hunger for breastmilk.