Let's start this one off with a *disclaimer*. I exclusively pumped for the first two months of Amelia's life. I then Introduced formula and now I am breastfeeding as well. So 3.5 months in and I have fed my baby girl all three ways. This post's title says breastfeeding... but it has a lot of pumping points too. I am a firm believer in FED IS BEST. I don't care how you feed your baby, as long as they are getting fed. You will never hear me judge or take a stance on one over the other. That's a promise. You do you mama.
Alright, so now for the fun stuff. I am so excited about this post because I know it's going to help ya'll out. I feel like breastfeeding is so taboo... I guess because it is a really personal topic? I don't know. What I do know is that nobody told me anything about it, nobody gave me tips and tricks to help me out. I had no idea what to expect. Also, it's going to be funny, because breastfeeding/pumping is a hilariously beautiful pain in the a**.
As Mario said... "Here we gooooo" (said in a terrible attempt at a Mario accent).
1. Your baby might not immediately latch. - Seriously, there is a misconception that your baby will come out of you looking for the boob. Nope, not the case. Not every baby latches and if they do, they might not latch well. Your hospital should have lactation nurses on staff, so if breastfeeding is something you want to do, ask for help! I had one in my room every single day three to four times a day. And for the record... Amelia still didn't want to latch.
2. Just because your baby doesn't latch at first doesn't mean they never will. - Like I said in my disclaimer, Amelia started to latch at about 2 months. It's a learning curve for you and baby, so if it's something you want to do, don't give up. As the baby grows, they might develop more strength and ability to latch and nurse correctly.
3. You will have to feed and/or pump every 2 hours. - Yup, even if your baby is napping or sleeping... you will be up pumping. If you don't, you could potentially take a dip in your milk production. So if you think about the math involved in this... you will be pumping or feeding or both every 2 hours for about 30 minutes. Welcome to your new life as a milk maid where someone or something is always tugging at your nipples. Yup, you are officially a cow.
4. The let down freaking hurts! - Seriously, why does nobody tell you this. Your let down is where your boobs literally lets the milk down from the ducts to your nipples. It feels like stabbing pains all over your ta-tas. Don't worry, its only for a couple of seconds, but it hurts and you probably won't ever get used to it. This 'let-down' leads me to number 5.
5. Don't wear anything you don't want your breastmilk to destroy. - Remember how I said your breasts let the milk from the ducts down to your nipples. Well when this happens there is nowhere to go but out. We call this leaking. Unless you have a pump with you or a baby to feed, your pretty much going to soak through your bras and your clothes and it stains ya'll. Biggest tip here, is use boobie pads. Yup, diapers for your nipples. Sexy, I know.
6. You might not make a lot of milk. - This is huge you guys. Every baby is different and eats differently. Amelia was eating 4-6oz when she was only 3 weeks old. I was pumping about 10oz a sitting... which is a lot, but I was barely able to keep up with Amelia because she was eating so darn much. By 2 months she was eating 6-8oz a feeding, After trying everything in the book to increase my supply, I ended up supplementing with formula.
7. Cleaning pump parts sucks. When your pumping every two hours you need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to cleaning your pump parts. The flanges, the tubes, the machine, the diaphragms, the bottles, the lids, the other parts that I can't even remember the names of. Fun stuff you guys.
8. Remember to put your pumped milk in the fridge - This seems so darn obvious, but between the lack of sleep, the distraction of your newborn and everything else life might be throwing at you, you might accidentally leave your milk out. Then it goes bad, you have to dump it (or freeze it for a bath) and then you cry.
9. Don't pump and dump - If you milk is contaminated with wine (or your beverage of choice) don't you dare dump it. I learned this after I dumped 8oz and everyone almost ripped my head off. Freeze it. It's excellent for eczema, cradle cap, diaper rash, cuts, baby acne, dry skin... everything. I will put it in the water during Amelia's bath time!
10. If you had a 'linea negra' it might stick around until your done breastfeeding. - It has something to do with the hormones. That's all I know. So if you have that adorable (NOT) dark line down the center of your tummy, it might hang out for a while until you are finished using your boobs to feed your baby.
11. You will cramp while you breastfeed. - Your uterus will shrink back to normal size after giving birth, and breastfeeding helps to speed up this process. This also has to do with the hormone production, but you will cramp while your pumping or breastfeeding. This is part of the reason they say breastfeeding helps you lose weight (not in my case).
12. There are foods and supplements that will help your production or decrease your production. - Another post for another day, but essentially there is a list of don'ts when it comes to what you put in your body as well as a list of do's.
13. Breastfeeding hurts, but only for a couple of days. - We talked about the cramping, but until your nipples have built up resistance and stamina, it will hurt. Your nipples will be bruised, sore, cracked, bleeding, swollen etc... BUT remember that it's all about the latch and it shouldn't hurt too bad or for more than a couple of days. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you might want to talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. You can have mastitis.
14. Lactation Consultants can come to your house. - If after you leave the hospital, you find that you still need breastfeeding help, there are plenty of resources for you on La Leche League. You can even have lactation consultants come to your house, and it is covered by some insurance companies.
15. YOU CAN GET YOUR BREAST PUMP AND PARTS FOR FREE - Don't buy your pump. Seriously... they are hundred of dollars and most insurance covers your pump up to 100%. Visit here to see if you qualify!