How to Survive the First 30 Days of Breastfeeding
The first 30 days can be a challenging period as you adjust to your baby's feeding schedule, cope with sore nipples, and deal with sleep deprivation. It is common for new mothers to feel overwhelmed and tempted to give up. However, with the right tools and mindset, you can overcome these challenges and make breastfeeding a rewarding experience for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is a unique experience that varies with each baby. There is a learning curve, but dedication and perseverance can make it an enjoyable experience that provides numerous health benefits and strengthens the bond between mother and baby.
Managing breastfeeding pain is crucial during the first month. It is important to note that pain is a common occurrence. The following tips and tricks can help reduce pain and make breastfeeding easier. With time, these techniques will become second nature, and you will enjoy a smoother breastfeeding experience.
Remember, with the right mindset and support, you can conquer the challenges that come with breastfeeding, and emerge victorious. So, take a deep breath, and let's get started on making these first 30 days a success!
Know what to expect from breastfeeding
Let me tell you, after giving birth to my first baby, I had a shocking transformation. Within hours, I went from a regular brunette to a Pamela Anderson lookalike. Well, not really, except for one defining feature - my two assets had suddenly inflated and were causing me some serious discomfort. I turned to the nurse for answers, and she confirmed that my milk had indeed come in. Apparently, it's not always a gradual process that takes days. Who knew?
As painful as it was, I managed to soldier through those first few days and my baby latched on like a champ. I felt pretty proud of myself for being a natural at breastfeeding, while my friends were struggling with their own issues.
But then came baby #2...
Let's just say, I wasn't so lucky this time around. Breastfeeding was a whole new ballgame, and it was anything but painless. Thankfully, I had my trusty breast milk storage bags to the rescue, and they became my saving grace in the midst of my breastfeeding woes.
My son was a big baby, almost 10lbs, and he was hungry. All. The. Time. Unfortunately, he didn't latch correctly from day one, and I didn't even realize it at the time. It only took a few days of this incorrect latch to turn my nipples into a painful, sore mess. Breastfeeding became a dreaded, tear-inducing experience, and I found myself wishing to give up. But I knew how important it was for both of us, and I remembered how wonderful it could be from my previous experience.
I learned the hard way that every baby is different, and just because one breastfeeding experience went well doesn't mean the next one will be a breeze. But with perseverance and the right tools, I was able to power through and eventually find relief.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Here are some of the benefits that both you and your baby can reap:
Benefits to Baby:
- A strengthened immune system, thanks to the antibodies passed through breastmilk.
- Reduced risk of childhood cancer before the age of 15.
- Lower blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart-related problems in adulthood.
- A likelier chance of maintaining a healthy body weight as an adult. Formula-fed babies have a 20-30% higher chance of becoming obese.
- Fewer cavities, ear infections, and a lower likelihood of developing allergies.
- A higher average IQ for breastfed babies.
- Bonding with the mother and a greater sense of security.
Benefits to Mom:
- Weight loss! This is a big one (pun intended).
- A natural form of birth control.
- Decreased risk of certain cancers.
- Cost savings from not having to purchase formula, which can amount to an average of $800 per year.
- Convenience - you don't have to worry about running out of formula while on the go or making a bottle in the middle of the night.
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis later in life.
- Bonding, bonding, bonding!
How to get past the initial pain of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can be tough, especially if your baby starts with a poor latch. Even after the issue is corrected, the initial pain and soreness can linger for weeks or even months. This is because your nipples become inflamed and need time to heal without further irritation. When my son had a latch problem, it was fixed relatively quickly, but my nipples were so sore that I was bleeding for about 6 weeks. The two things that helped me recover and fully enjoy breastfeeding were Soothies Gel Pads and Motherlove herbal nipple cream.
How to make breastfeeding fun
Breastfeeding becomes an enjoyable experience after you have crossed the painful stage, regardless of how long or short it lasts. It strengthens the bond between you and your baby in a way that nothing else can, and you will miss it when it is over. However, breastfeeding remains a significant commitment because you are the only one who can feed the baby. At some point, after the baby is born, you will want to start spending time with your husband or friends. Without pumping, you cannot be away from the baby for more than an hour or two, especially in the beginning.
Personally, pumping was the best decision I ever made during my breastfeeding journey because it gave me the freedom to do things outside the house. I still mainly breastfed, but if I needed or wanted to leave, I could. Additionally, it helps boost your milk supply, which is a common problem. Breast milk is precious to me! Pumping also allows you to have a cocktail after going nine months without drinking. Just make sure you have some milk saved up before you drink and then pump and discard the first feeding after you drink.