As a soon-to-be mom, you’re often inundated with advice. Some wanted, a lot unwanted. I was (and am) one of those who doesn’t really want advice- unless I ask for it. I’m blessed to have not only my mother, but my mother-in-law as well as many friends who have children that I can go to for advice when I feel I need it.
I think breastfeeding, especially, is one of those things first time moms might be a little clueless about. It seems as if it ought to be such a natural thing, but as we all know, it’s not always. Nor is it easy. I’ve gotten some extremely valuable pointers and tips as well as reassurance. I wanted to pass that on to whoever might be reading this at 3 a.m. and crying because things just aren’t working out. It’s hard enough being a mom, let alone a new mom trying to do what’s best and feeling like a failure. So this is going to be one of those “mom” posts that you can feel free to skip past if you’re not a mom or just here for the food (I don’t blame you!)…
So what advice did I get?
- HYDRATE. I feel like this is probably the #1 tip I got. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more.
- Nipple cream/balm, and a little trick for sore nipples: rub some breast milk on them and let air dry. Magic! Also Lanisoh Soothies were given a thumbs up.
- DON’T GIVE UP. Try your best, don’t go nuts, but don’t just throw in the towel if baby won’t latch. Find a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group and see if there’s a reason first.
- Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt or be a sad or bad experience. It should be joyful for both of you. If it’s painful- find out why. Babies have a million reasons why they’re not latching or feeding properly, and there are many reasons why it might hurt for you… and many times these can be fixed or worked out.
- Lactation cookies, tea, bars or Fenugreek. So many of my mom friends swear by these- either each on their own or a combination. Milkmakers cookies & Boobie Bars and were mentioned in particular.
- Warm compresses, hand expression and pumping frequently can help greatly. Pump every two hours or whenever baby eats (whether or not your milk is coming in) and it’ll help tons… even help your milk come in.
- Create your own goals and know that each mama’s journey is different. Some people breastfeed for a few months, some for a year, some longer. Some don’t at all because it isn’t working. And it’s ALL OKAY. Breastfeed for the amount of time you’re comfortable, no more or no less based on other people’s opinions.
The main theme that ran through everyone single person’s advice? Don’t give up, and also, don’t stress it. Breast may be “best” to a lot of people but in reality… fed is best. Mamas, we have enough to worry about. If breastfeeding isn’t working, then like I mentioned above… it’s okay. You tried. And your baby will be happy and healthy whether on formula or breast. I promise. We’re not here to shame one another, or we shouldn’t be, anyway.
And also you know what else is important? SUPPORT. Not just emotional- physical. A good, supportive nursing bra is so necessary.
Some of you may already know about ThirdLove, but in case you don’t let me sum it up: they have the most comfortable, softest bras ever and they come in sizes AA through G (DDDD)… including HALF CUP SIZES! Also… they let you “try before you buy.” Now, that doesn’t apply to the new nursing bra line, but it does apply to all regular bras. So you can always try a regular one and see what size is best got you before ordering a nursing bra.
This new nursing line is made from super soft fabric; which is extra important now because nursing breasts are sore enough and are working overtime. It has a wide front closure too, which is great. Reaching around to unhook a bra with large, milk-filled boobs is not the business. And best of all? NO TAGS. No itchy anything to bother you. And did you see what I said above about the sizing?! EVEN HALF CUP SIZES!
If you’d like to know more about how this new line came about, you can read about it here. Created by a mom, for moms!