I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I was one of those women that secretly used to think that women that chose not to breastfeed were selfish… until I had my son.
One week in, I completely understood why those women might have given up. I understand that some women may have supply issues, or latch issues and my heart breaks for them and the disappointment they might feel, but what I also now understand, is that breastfeeding is hard, it is really painful at the beginning, and it is extremely time consuming.
The most frustrating thing in the world that I kept reading on EVERY blog those first few weeks was “if you are doing it right, breastfeeding should not hurt”. I met with lactation consultants, I took classes while at the hospital, they kept telling me that my latch was great, but why was it still hurting?
While I do understand that on some level they are right, I also know that your nipples are now being constantly used for something they have never done before and there will be an adjustment period. So if you are finding yourself with your seemingly starving newborn, carousing the internet at 2:30 in the morning with cracked, bleeding nipples trying to figure out what in the world you are doing wrong, I’m here to tell you…maybe nothing.
If you are like me and you’ve watched the YouTube videos, met with LCs, took your classes, called your local La Leche League, and your still coming up empty. Stick with it and in a few weeks you will be on the mend, and in the meantime…
Here are a few Breastfeeding Tips for Nursing a Newborn
- Breastmilk is a miracle worker: For everything from your baby’s cradle cap or clogged tear duct to your sore nipples, put it on EVERYTHING. It will help to speed your healing even faster than lanolin or nipple cream thanks to its plethora of natural antibodies.
- Don’t use soap on your nipples while in the shower: This seemed so obvious but it never occurred to me until the on call lactation consultant told me. Soap is drying stuff!
- Let your nipples air dry as long as possible: The same on-call LC told me this one and I walked around the house topless for an entire day afterward and my scabs were gone! This was the turning point for me. We all know that moisture provides the perfect environment for bacteria. If you don’t have time to air-dry, use your blow dryer on the “cool” setting (also true for the sight of your perineal stitches after a shower!)
Beyond these few tips, be persistent and stick with it. In a few weeks, you will be so glad that you did. If you have to, put post-it notes up around the house reminding you of the benefits for you and baby to help you remember why you are doing this: decreased risk of diabetes, decreased risk of obesity, tells your body to produce the pathogens baby needs when he or she gets sick to help speed healing, it’s an awesome parenting aid as baby gets older, decreased risk of cancer for mom…just to name a few.
Remind yourself that countless other women are up right now, rocking their precious babes, tears streaming down their faces from a combination of the pain and post-partum hormones, and so many others have been in those same seats for centuries before us. We are all in this together so don’t give up without trying your best!
We love to hear from you, do you have some breastfeeding tips that have not been mentioned which worked for you? Drop us a comment below and let us know!
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