Prepare for your Breastfeeding Journey during your pregnancy for a wonderful experience.
Studies show that 77% of mothers were able to breastfeed for 90 days. The most common reasons Mothers are unable to breastfeed for longer than 90 days are;
Decreased Milk Supply
Milk/Protein Allergy with your Baby
Unsuccessful Breastfeeding Experience
I most like many other mothers wanted to breastfeed as long as I could for the health benefits, bonding and weight loss. This would include returning to work, pumping regularly and maintaining a healthy diet to continue the milk supply.
Unfortunately we had multiple challenges with Allergies, Latching & Swallowing which made the experience extremely painful and emotionally exhausting.
My inability to provide my son his milk broke my heart. During feedings I would be in so much pain from the latching or covered in spit up within 10 minutes following. I felt inadequate and during a period which you are already experiencing post partum hormone fluctuation I would begin to cry as I held my baby.
After 6 weeks of breastfeeding our journey had ended. My fiancé was away on Military Leave for 2 weeks and my mother was in town providing support.
I learned a lot during the way and now over a year later I am sharing my story to help you achieve your goal for breastfeeding and provide comfort if you find yourself as one of the 23% unable to breastfeed past 90 days.
During your doctor visits with your OB/GYN they will most likely recommend classes for Breastfeeding or your Delivery Hospital will. As a First Time Mom and First Time Pregnancy I highly suggest you attend this class.
When we attended our class I learned the foundation for breastfeeding positions and proper latching. It is overwhelming and hard to remember while you are fighting pregnancy brain. This is why I refer to the class as a foundation. While you are in the hospital be sure to ask for a Lactation Consultant immediately and they will come to your room and provide support to ensure you and the baby are feeding correctly. If the baby does not latch properly this can lead to an extremely painful experience that is not pleasant for you or your baby.
It is absolutely crucial you are prepared to breastfeed & pump comfortably day 1 returning home with your baby. I was producing very slowly and even pumping was a long, tiring process. Here are my recommendations;
- Have a breastfeeding and pumping, mommy & baby comfort zone identified. You may not use this spot immediately if you have limited mobility due to your labor however, I suggest getting comfortable in it as soon as possible. Reading and watching TV in your Mommy & Baby Comfort Zone prior to returning home with your baby is a great start for this.
- Setting up your Mommy & Baby Comfort Breastfeeding Zone. Breastfeeding can take longer than 30 minutes especially in the beginning. In addition to the timing you’re often putting your baby to sleep and have limited mobility to get things once you’re seated and feeding. Here’s a list of things to have on hand;
- Water – As you are feeding you will notice the need for hydration and this also helps replenish your milk supply. You won’t want to keep running to the store for bottled water. You can have it delivered here.
- Snack – Its hard to remember to eat as a First Time Mom with a newborn baby. Having a healthy snack readily available will be a great go-to to ensure you are receiving nourishment also. There are a lot of nutritional snacks available, the ones I loved best were, Kind Bars
- Nipple Cream – Your nipples will be moist, will dry and if not properly cared for can crack and be extremely painful. I found relief with the cream our hospital recommended Medela Tender Care
- Chapstick – Following pregnancy I could never have enough Chapstick
- Entertainment – This can include reading an iPod or iPad if you’ve become a pro at breastfeeding positions or a simple time to keep them charged. I had shows I was binge watching on Netflix, a pair of Bluetooth Headphones and an iPad holder on the side table to keep myself occupied and awake.
- Maintaining a Schedule including pumping to help you find rest in-between. Your baby as a newborn is looking to feed every 2 ½ to 3 hours. During the feedings you will want to rotate your breasts and it can be difficult to remember which breast you left off on. An application I had on my phone to assist with this process is called Baby Feeding Log and its free through your phones application store!
- Breastfeeding Glider or Rocker that is COMFORTABLE. Each mother has a preference and now looking back I wish I would have invested more in the rocker.
Here is what I had purchased and what I would select now.
- Pumping essentials. Pumping allows you to have a break in the day or the ability to be out and provide a quick feeding while on-the-go. Here is what I found that I needed;
- Pumping storage bags here
- Cleaning breast pump sanitizer here
- Pump Breast Shields/Flange here
- Medela Pump (and included accessories!) that I used here
- If someone has bought you the pump or you are renting, here is an accessory kit that you should always have on hand. There is nothing worse than needing to pump and not having everything you need. here
- Breast Care. The reality is you’ll probably have what feel like rocks for breasts when you don’t feed on time, heavy breasts that are uncomfortable for sleeping, and leaking between feedings. These were all lifesavers for me; 3-1 Breast Therapy
- Breastmilk Supply. Every mother is different with their supply. I was unable to produce more than 2 oz in 30 minutes during pumping and was envious of the mothers who discussed pumping 8 oz in less than 15 minutes. There are tips you will find on Pinterest for pumping and feeding timing. In addition to the timing you can look at taking TEA and making lactation cookies (these were AWESOME) to increase your supply.
Along my pregnancy I was provided many resources on breastfeeding support and discarded the information. Now realizing the difficult experience along with the Postpartum emotions & hormones I should have prepared during my pregnancy. There are multiple Facebook Groups that provide Breastfeeding support as well as Lactation consultants that will come to your home. Do not ignore the support as it will be needed.
Breastfeeding is a blessing as well as the feeding experience with your baby. I wish I had prepared better for my experience and we might have had the opportunity to make adjustments along the way and continue longer than 6 weeks.