Breastfeeding is challenging but very healthy for a baby. I was against breastfeeding at first but the more I thought about it the more I decided that it was a good choice for my son. I was the first one in my family to breastfeed so I had no help in how to breastfeed and knowing if the baby was getting enough milk. Both my mother and mother in law didn’t breastfeed. When I first started breastfeeding, it was hard and challenging. I didn’t know if my son was getting enough milk. While in the hospital, I started to breastfeed and it was frustrating. I didn’t know if I was getting milk and it my son was latching. The nurses told me that I had to be patient. My son would latch on for about 20-30 minutes and I was worried that he wasn’t getting enough milk. Your milk doesn’t come in until 3 to 4 days after you start to breastfeed so the baby was getting colostrum. This is a thin yellowish fluid. I was getting so frustrated that I asked for formula but the nurse told me no and I continued to breastfeed in the hospital. These were the longest hours of my life because the baby was crying and I didn’t know if he was getting enough milk.
As the days went on my son latched on great. The second challenge was breastfeeding him every 2 to 3 hours. I had to wake up and make sure he was getting the right amount of milk. I had to alternate between both breasts because this allowed for more produced of milk and the supply would be greater. My nipples hurt a lot from the latching. I took care of my nipples using a cream to prevent them from bleeding and cracking. I also put on the cream before I went to shower so that it would protect my nipples and the pain wasn’t as great when the water would hit them. This cream was wonderful and I would recommend it for anyone who is breastfeeding. The cream is called Lansinoh HPA Lanolin tube. This cream was very helpful and it allowed me to continue breastfeeding my son because the pain went away.
The third challenge was pumping. I was given only 6 weeks of maternity leave so that meant that I had to pump in order for my husband, mother or mother in law to have milk for my son while I was working. In order to have enjoy milk supply to breastfeed and pump, I had to start pumping 3 to 4 weeks before going back to work. The pump which I use is Medela. It is wonderful. I have the freezer bags and bottles to pump right into. The freezer bags are great because they show you how much milk you pumped which they go up to 5 oz. At first when I was pumping, I would only get 2 oz per boob and I was getting frustrated because I didn’t think that was enough milk for my son who would breastfeed for about 12 minutes or more. I had to pump at least 2 to 3 times a day in order to have enough milk for him for every 2 to 3 hour feedings. The challenge now was, was my son getting enough milk while breastfeeding. I don’t know how much milk he takes while he breastfeeds. Every time he would cry I would feed him to make sure that he received enough milk. Pumping is a challenge because you have to do it every 30 minutes to 1 hour after the baby eats. Sometimes the baby wants to eat at that time so I would feed him so that he would get any amount of milk and not be hungry.
Breastfeeding your baby allows you to have a special bond with them. Your baby learns your smells and they hear your heartbeat. This heartbeat they heard while in the womb so it confronts them.
There are some tips that I would give a breastfeeding mother.
- Eat oatmeal to help in the supply of milk. Eating oatmeal gives you more milk. (I stopped eating oatmeal for a week and my milk supply went down and I became nervous because I wanted my son to have enough milk).
- Drink lots of water. It is important to continue drinking 8 glasses of milk a day while breastfeeding because it keeps you hydrated and it also affects your milk supply.
- Eat healthy and maintain a good diet. The baby eats what you do and it is important that baby is getting the right nutrition from you.
- Continue taking your prenatal vitamins. These vitamins allow you to continue receiving vitamins that you and the baby need.