There are a lot of myths out there about breastfeeding, all of which can build it up to be a scary experience for new moms. Am I the only one who was scared to death after hearing stories about nipple sores and babies wanting to nurse for 45 minutes every hour?
My early nursing days
It was my first week into having my first newborn and my petite little girl Esther would fall asleep almost immediately after latching on. It was 3am in our small apartment and I was in the living room trying to nurse. At this point my mom, sisters and a friend were all still in town to help me (my husband was sound asleep if you wondered). It could have been a scene in a movie. Here I was trying to nurse a sleeping baby, my mom on one side with a cold wash cloth rubbing it over Esther's face and under her chin, one sister with a fan blowing on her to increase the cold sensation of the washcloth, another sister tickling her feet. My best friend was still kid-less at this point and just stood in front of me for moral support as my "torpedoes" didn't get the memo that there was no baby eating and just continued to gush breast milk all over my T-shirt and Esther's face. HA! I just realized I am one of those mom's giving you a horror story! Sorry about that. It got better with time, it really did.
Is my baby eating enough?
I remember looking at my babies while they were nursing thinking, "I wish there was an Empty/Full gage on this kid". I found this breastfeeding article really helpful: it's from kidshealth.org and it addresses things like how long and how often you should nurse and what to do if you think your baby is hungrier than normal.
Pediatricians will tell you that breastfeeding your baby eight to 12 times a day (or in a 24 hour period) in the first few weeks is pretty standard, taking up to 40 minutes for each session. However, keep in mind that your tiny tot will naturally unlatch from you when they’re full – so don’t panic if they seem uninterested after only 20 or 30 minutes.
If you're still having trouble
Don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t come easy – Be patient and keep trying. There are lots of moms who have had trouble, but stuck with it and made it though! When I was having a really tough time with painful nursing and my doctor didn't even know what was wrong, I reached out to La Leche League an international community for breastfeeding moms. They couldn't tell me what was wrong, but they did give me support, helpful tips and a personal coach to call and check up on me. It was awesome!
Comment if you have a question or your own story to share!
Hey moms - you're amazing!
Images: Oliver Hodac and Juhan Sonin