Growing up, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. Having a mother who did, it just made sense. The thing is, I never really remember seeing anyone breastfeed though. I never was taught about it in school. It seemed like it was not a big deal.
It is a big deal!
I want to share with you what I have learned about breastfeeding that I never knew. I want to share my experience so that it will inspire mothers and educate.
I will skip disclaimers. There is no need to take things personal.
Lets start from the beginning.
Before Liam was born, I wanted to know everything there is to know about breastfeeding. I am that type of person. I research. I discovered so many things. But the best discovery is when Liam was born. The bond is indescribable. You cannot put into words the overwhelming feeling you get. It is almost like magic. It is euphoria.
The first week was a breeze. Don’t get me wrong, we had a mishap with my left breast. Our pediatrician is also a Lactation Consultant and she helped Liam latch on that side. I almost thought I would have to only nurse on one side.
The honeymoon stage of newborn breastfeeding wore off and the happiness came to a halt. You hear if they latch good, you feel no pain. Wrong. You do. Your nipples are toughing up. Your breasts are learning to create milk. They clog. They leak. It is a hot mess.
The hunger and thirsty feeling you got during and after feeds was unexpected! Those things are not talked about. You MUST have snacks and water near. Or you are stuck.
Breastfeeding drains you in the beginning.
But it is worth all of the struggles.
By month 3, it was all painless. I no longer dreaded breastfeeding. I use to be so upset because I had many times I would almost cry when I no longer enjoyed it because I had nipple blisters. Those pass and do not stay long. That was what I learned. Clog duct, nipple blisters, and pain are only temporary. I was blessed to never get thrush, or mastitis.
Nights were hard in the beginning. But glad I did not have to get bottles ready. It gets better. They nurse less (5-10 mins rather 20-60 mins).
Public breastfeeding was a little nerve racking at first. Not because I did believe in hiding, but because many others do, so it is hard to find the courage to do so. After a few months, you learn to be quick and not care about people being around.
I also encourage you to find Facebook groups because that is where I got many resources. I learned about Kelly mom from them!
What I learned about Breastfeeding
I learned anything and everything from Kellymom
. It is a site dedicated to educate on many topics including breastfeeding. It links research so you can read it.
Alcohol and breastfeeding
You can drink alcohol and you do not need to pump and dump. Current research states as long as you can drive, you can nurse.
In general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her blood and milk. Alcohol peaks in mom’s blood and milk approximately 1/2-1 hour after drinking (but there is considerable variation from person to person, depending upon how much food was eaten in the same time period, mom’s body weight and percentage of body fat, etc.). Alcohol does not accumulate in breastmilk, but leaves the milk as it leaves the blood; so when your blood alcohol levels are back down, so are your milk alcohol levels.
Of course keep in mind the age of your child.
Always keep in mind the baby’s age when considering the effect of alcohol. A newborn has a very immature liver, so minute amounts of alcohol would be more of a burden. Up until around 3 months of age, infants detoxify alcohol at around half the rate of an adult. An older baby or toddler can metabolize the alcohol more quickly.
Breastfeeding while you are sick
The best thing you can do for your baby when you’re sick is to continue to breastfeed. When you have a contagious illness such as a cold, flu, or other mild virus, your baby was exposed to the illness before you even knew you were sick. Your milk will not transmit your illness to baby, but it does have antibodies in it that are specific to your illness (plus anything else you or baby have been exposed to) – they’ll help prevent baby from getting sick, or if he does get sick, he’ll probably not be as sick as you.
Caffeine and Breastfeeding
Most breastfeeding mothers can drink caffeine in moderation. Some babies, particularly those under 6 months, may be more sensitive to mom’s caffeine intake. Babies whose mothers avoided caffeine completely during pregnancy seem to react more to caffeine in mom’s diet. Even if baby is sensitive to the caffeine now, he may not be when he’s a little older — so if you do have to stop or limit your caffeine intake, you can try again when baby is older.
Clogged Ducts and Mastitis
These are NO FUN! I would curl my toes and grit my teeth while nursing. But it shall pass.
A milk blister, or blocked nipple pore, is also called a bleb or nipple blister, or simply “milk under the skin.” It occurs when a tiny bit of skin overgrows a milk duct opening and milk backs up behind it. A milk blister usually shows up as a painful white, clear or yellow dot on the nipple or areola (see photo), and the pain tends to be focused at that spot and just behind it. If you compress the breast so that milk is forced down the ducts, the blister will typically bulge outward. Milk blisters can be persistent and very painful during feeding, and may remain for several days or weeks and then spontaneously heal when the skin peels away from the affected area.
Help my baby is feeding every 30 mins to an hour! Is that normal? YES! I would have never known this. It is WAY different than a bottle fed baby. It shall pass it and happens few times in their first year. These spurts usually only last up to a week or less.
During a growth spurt, breastfed babies nurse more often than usual (sometimes as often as every hour) and often act fussier than usual.
Similar to Growth Spurts. This is normal!
, also called bunch feeding, is when babies space feeding closer together at certain times of the day and go longer between feedings at other times. This is very common, and often occurs in the evenings. It’s often -but not always- followed by a longer sleep period than usual: baby may be “tanking up” before a long sleep. For example, your baby may nurse every hour (or even constantly) between 6 and 10 PM, then have a longish stretch of sleep at night – baby may even sleep all night
Cluster feeding often coincides with your baby’s fussy time
. Baby will nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry, nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry… on and on… for hours. This can be VERY frustrating, and mom starts wondering if baby is getting enough milk, ifsomething she is eating
is bothering baby, if EVERYTHING she is doing is bothering baby… It can really ruin your confidence, particularly if there is someone else around asking the same questions (your mother, your husband, your mother-in-law).
This behavior is NORMAL! It has nothing to do with your breastmilk or your mothering. If baby is happy the rest of the day, and baby doesn’t seem to be in pain (as with colic) during the fussy time – just keep trying to soothe your baby and don’t beat yourself up about the cause. Let baby nurse as long and as often as he will. Recruit dad (or another helper) to bring you food/drink and fetch things (book/remote/phone/etc.) while you are nursing and holding baby.
Is baby getting enough milk?
This is confusing as a new mother and new to breastfeeding. But fear not!
After a feeding, mom’s breast feels softer and baby seems reasonably content. Baby is alert, active and meeting developmental milestones.
Do I stop Nursing when my baby gets teeth?
Many people think that when baby gets teeth and has the ability to bite, then the nursing relationship has ended and it’s time to wean. Not true! If your baby is nursing properly, then you should not feel teeth, even if baby has a mouthful of them. And keep in mind that it’s physically impossible for baby to nurse and bite at the same time, because the tongue covers the bottom teeth/gum when baby is nursing.
Nursing Past One
I’ve often heard it said that “If you don’t wean now, you’ll NEVER be able to!” It is not uncommon for moms to wean at a year (or before) — even when neither mom nor baby really want to wean yet — due to the mistaken impression that the only two choices are to wean by a year or keep nursing till age 5!
Breastfeeding past a year does NOT make it impossible or even necessarily more difficult to wean later on. If you feel later on that you would like to initiate mother-led weaning, then you can certainly do so. Age has much less to do with ease of weaning than does your child’s developmental readiness for weaning. Each child has his own developmental timeline for child-led weaning – the age that a child is ready to self-wean varies greatly from child to child and commonly ranges from age 2 through age 4 (though you certainly see children on either end of this range). When mom initiates weaning, then the closer the child is to weaning on her own, the easier it will be (for both mom and child) to accelerate this natural progression.
These are just a few topics I looked up because it was on my mind or useful at the time. The website has a lot more answers. Check it out!
I hope this was helpful and if you are going to breastfeed or currently are. Comment below if this was useful. Have a great day and kiss those chubby baby legs!