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Ready to start breastfeeding?
Think about this one:
I have been nursing my daughter for 7 months.
Before that, I nursed my son for 15 1/2 months.
So, I have spent almost two years of my life nursing and I am not finished yet!
Nursing a baby is a huge job that is often downplayed.
The Golden Hour as you start breastfeeding
You’re probably wondering:
“How will know how to breastfeed a baby for the first time?”
Today, mothers are expected to nurse in the hospital immediately after birth. This first breastfeeding after birth is called the Golden Hour.
Now when you think of a Golden Hour, I picture angels sweeping in and singing softly beside me as I hold my angelic baby. I picture white warm light bathing over us as we lay back on huge pillows that feel like clouds.
The Golden Hour, in actuality, is an exhausted mom, an overwhelmed dad, nurses and lots of random people staring at you and commanding you and manipulating you into unnatural, uncomfortable positions.
All this while you try to wrap your head around the fact that you are finally, finally holding your sweet perfect baby who is meanwhile attempting to tear off your nipple. Ouch!
Surviving the first month as you start breastfeeding
The first month of breastfeeding hurts and I mean hurts.
First off, you get the post labor contractions. If you are a first time mom these will feel like beginning labor contractions. If you are a second time mom, this feels like the last few moments of labor when you were begging for the epidural.
They last a few days. When you mention it to a nurse, they will of handily say, ‘oh yes, that is normal.’ It is, but it doesn’t make them feel any better.
As you are suffering through that, you and your baby are getting to know each other. You baby is learning a lot, like how to suck, how to purse her lips, how to eat!
She learns this on your nipples. To learn, she will nurse a lot. You want her to nurse a lot, this helps your milk come in. This constant nursing, rubs your nipples raw.
They will crack, they will bleed. They will hurt to touch!
Buy Motherslove Nipple Cream. I swear to God it is a miracle worker.
Related: How To Find Purpose In Motherhood
When you start breastfeeding, the milk doesn’t show up right away
You milk does not magically appear when your baby does.
It takes 1-6 days.
Meanwhile, your baby is getting this magic fat milk.
It is slow coming and very think. They say it makes your baby gain weight.
I have yet to meet a mom whose baby hasn’t struggle with weight gain if your milk takes the longer side of coming in. Rest assure, as long as your milk comes in, and it will if you nurse nurse nurse.
That means smile through the toe curling pain! Your baby will gain all the weight they need.
You will be breastfeeding a lot
A new baby will nurse every 2-3 hours.
Unless you have a normal baby, then it will nurse every 45 mins. LOL. It’s true though.
The first month of a baby’s life, they nurse often and for a long time. Do not worry about cleaning your house, making dinner or going places.
That will make you crazy stressed.
Also, do not worry about putting your baby on a schedule, or that they will never learn to stretch out their nursing. They will and they do it naturally over the first 6 months.
This breastfeeding is making me thirsty (and hungry)
Breastfeeding makes you hungry and thirsty.
I mean really hungry, like more hungry then when you were pregnant.
You will have moments of wanting to eat everything in the grocery store and wonder why it isn’t enough.
Your body is adjusting to this new work load. Think of it like when you hit the gym for 6 hours a day…that’s how your body feels.
Now the weight loss will not correspond the same as if you actually went to the gym…so pick healthy snacks. Or if your like me, eat a cookie and worry about it after the first month.
It takes time for your body to recover after you start breastfeeding
Your body is not magic.
What I mean is this:
If after 2 months of nursing six times a day and 4 times at night you suddenly decide to start pumping so you can have a date night and store up milk or want to return to work, full time or part time.. you will find that you can’t pump anything.
Your pump is not broken. I have called to complain.
Your body is not broken either. It is simply not magical.
The fact is your body after about two months regulates what it produces based on your baby’s demand. So it makes the perfect amount for your baby.
When you decide you want more for the future, there isn’t a special code to enter to start producing more. You have to start pumping regularly for a week or so and then your body will re regulate to the new demand. So, plan!
Bonus tip: Your breast milk is magical though
It will heal allergic reactions, scrapes and cuts, colds, flu, ear aches and when your baby is throwing up, breast milk will help protect from dehydration and is easier on the stomach then milk.
Because at the end of the day we aren’t cows! We may feel like it, but we produce this wonderful, magical milk that heals and protects your baby.
It is made special for your baby and your babies needs. So when you start to doubt that you can do this, you can mamma.
You are a goddess making magical food for your baby that no one else can do.
Please share these breastfeeding tips with another new mom you know!