Lucky for you if you are one of those moms whose babies latched on quickly. But for me, it didn’t come easy. I have heard some moms say it would hurt when the baby’s teeth come out but I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say it would hurt even without teeth!
If you’re an expecting mom, I don’t mean to scare you. Apologies for that intro.hehe But I do want you to be more prepared than I was. If you can find a breastfeeding seminar before your due date, I would advise you to do your best to attend. You would be able to pick up a lot.
But in the mean time, here are the things about breastfeeding that I wish somebody told me about.
1) Inverted nipples would be an issue.
In fact, I didn’t know mine were until I had to breastfeed!
I thought it’s completely normal for nipples to stay shy and occasionally erect when it’s cold or when needed. LOL. (If you’re one of my male friends and you’re reading this, you should probably read something else. Now.)
Seriously, how come nobody talks about these things?? (Male friends, last chance.)
Well yes, it’s awkward to talk about it. And who pays attention to nipples anyway?? Who would be brave enough to ask you, “Hey you don’t happen to have inverted nipples don’t you?” Very personal question indeed. But since I truly believe that breastfeeding has unmatched benefits, I felt the need, embarrassing as it may be, to bring this up.
Before giving birth, I read a lot about breastfeeding to educate and prepare myself. But none of the articles I came upon mentioned about the kind of nipples that you have or you should have. So after giving birth, I was confident that I know what I was doing. It turned out I was SO wrong. I probably should have browsed further and read on “Breastfeeding CHALLENGES….”
For the baby to latch well, I had to loosen the surrounding muscle around the nips and practice how to bring them out – on command. It would have been easier if I knew that while I was still pregnant because the whole process made breastfeeding extremely painful for me during the first 2 months. I really thought I could never get past the pain.
If you want to know more about this, here’s a good read: Breastfeeding with Flat or Inverted Nipples.
The only good news is, it will be over. I mean the pain. Once you succeed in loosening the muscle that keeps your nips inverted, things will get easier. Apart from the daily feeding sessions, breast pumps are a great help in pulling nips out. I would pump while working on the laptop, while the baby naps, and basically on any free window I get until I finally had the normal nips that most ladies have. Breastfeeding then became a more pleasant experience!
(Male friends, if you didn’t listen and you reached this far, don’t ever bring this up when we meet. Ayt?)
2) Milk would not immediately come out during the first 3 days or so.
Again, if you’re one of those mommies whose breasts were bursting out of milk right after giving birth, consider yourself lucky.
I was so determined to fully breastfeed my child that I didn’t buy any milk bottles for back up, only to find out that I am producing so little – close to none!
On our second day in the hospital, Mia injured my left nipple and on the 3rd day my right. I asked Daddyow to feed her using a medicine dropper to avoid nipple confusion but our pediatrician suggested to temporarily use milk bottles while waiting for my milk to flow and my wounds to heal. She said our newborn was a little jaundice and needed frequent feedings.
So ladies, even if you intend to breastfeed, make sure you have sterilized bottles ready in case your milk won’t come out immediately.
3) You need to practice. Both you and the baby. Relaxation for milk flow. Proper latching. Breastfeeding positions.
Told you there’s a whole science behind it.
Milk won’t flow if you’re not relaxed so you’ve got to find your peace, quickly! You need to latch correctly so baby can get the most milk out of you. You also need to be in a breastfeeding position that you and baby will be comfortable with for the next 20-30 mins or more in case she falls asleep.
And I thought milk flow would be my only problem.
4) It might be painful in the beginning.
I never saw anyone in pain. I see mommies everywhere looking so relaxed while feeding their tiny ones. I had no idea it’s going to hurt.
And this is not about the nips anymore. The pain this time is caused by plugged milk ducts. I came so close to quitting because it felt as if thousands of needles were pricking my breasts for every breastfeeding session that we had. My poor breasts were sore and tired. I was given pain medications to manage the excruciating feeling inside. Had I not read about the benefits of breast milk that cannot be duplicated by milk formulas, I would have stopped right then and then.
I’m just thankful that there are solutions to these challenges. You’re OB can prescribe you some safe medications and you can also check this link: Common Breastfeeding Challenges, to know what to expect.
5) You’ll need her as much as she needs you.
When we have finally learned how to do it properly, I would often tell myself, I need her to empty me! In the morning, I’d be so full; I can’t wait for her to drink it all up. When I go out to buy groceries, I’d again be so full by the time I get back; it would be such a relief when she sucks it all out of me.
In the end, I’m glad I didn’t quit so quickly. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my child. Once milk started flowing and once you both learned how to latch properly, it would be worth all the pain and every session will be a great time to build that bond.
I guess the mommies were already on this stage when I saw them breastfeeding in public. Easy breezy.
What were your breastfeeding challenges? Let me know in the comment box below. 🙂