While preparing for baby, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. Being someone who usually focuses a TON on their diet, I knew that I wanted to try really hard to breastfeed. Now let me start off by saying: breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. I know some mothers cannot breastfeed, some babies have the hardest time latching, and some choose to formula feed, just because. I just knew breastfeeding (for a variety of reasons) was what was best for my family. That being said, I love the special time I get to share with my little guy every day when he eats. Being eight weeks into our breastfeeding journey, I really am so glad I stuck to the breastfeeding.
The one thing I was nervous about while pregnant, was breastfeeding. I knew that some mothers had such a hard time and there is so much material out there that can freak you out. However, I must say knowing what could possibly lay ahead really did prepare me for the highs and lows of this journey. So I thought I would share how I prepared, because I think it really did make a difference in our success.
1. Online resources. This is so easy. You can just hop on google and find a ton of resources. I found www.kellymom.com very helpful as well as reading blogs (Daily Garnish, Healthy Tipping Point, Fitnessista). The blogs helped me learn the highs and lows. For instance, in the beginning can be very difficult. Your body simply isn’t used to all the stimulation your little one is giving you. He or she is learning as you learn and that is what I was very happy to be prepared for. Knowing that some days will be hard, but that it WILL get better. Sometimes it just helps reading about people you don’t know who have had struggles and overcame them, or how breastfeeding didn’t work for them and them choosing to formula feed, or to exclusively pump! All these things are important to note because there is no RIGHT way to parent and sometimes paths change, even when we might not want them to.
2. Breastfeeding Class. This is a great way to get your partner involved. We signed up for one through our hospital and it was a great idea. Hector had no idea how wonderful breastmilk can be for a baby. He knew it was the healthier choice over formula but he didn’t understand just how much better for mother and child it was. This helped me created a live-in support system. Hector still gets up most nights (even if he works) to change the baby so that I don’t have to and I can sit up an nurse. I know that seems awesome, but he knows that it takes 5 minutes to change a diaper, and 20-45 minutes to nurse my son. He also knows how to carefully handle my “liquid gold” when I pump (as I’ll be returning to work and my baby hasn’t to eventually get used to a bottle).
3. Buying a few helpful things BEFORE baby comes. I found the following products to be very very helpful with some of the discomfort I was having. I bought breast pads (a MUST have, simple must have, I leaked like crazy in the beginning and still need them even now) and nipple creams. I bought two different creams, one by earth mama angel baby (you can buy on Amazon) and one by Lansinoh. The one by earth mama angel baby is way more my cup of tea as far as ingredients go, but Lansinoh did offer a bit more therapy when I needed it most so I was glad to have both.
4. Knowing that whatever I chose, even if breastfeeding didn’t work, that I was making the best decisions for my family. Confidence, that no matter what, I had my baby’s and my best intentions at heart. If something would have went wrong with breastfeeding, then I was OK with that because just to try was a goal. Goals are important to me, but I’m also ok when they don’t work out.
5. Making short term goals. My best friend helped me with this one. My first goal was to try to breastfeed (at the hospital), my second goal when that was accomplished was to make it a week, then two weeks, then a month. Now my goal is 3 months. It will be tested too because I’ll be returning to work. The longest term goal I have right now is 6 months. I wish and hope I can do it for a year, but if I can’t I know that I worked hard and did what I could. Formula isn’t ideal for me, but I was a formula fed baby and I’m perfectly healthy. Lots of my friends had/have formula fed babies who are all healthy and happy.
6. It hurts. Yeah, I’m not meaning to scare anyone but it isn’t the most pleasant feeling the first week or so. It really isn’t, there is no way around it. Just be religious about the nipple creme and KNOW it will get better. Many people find relief with cooling gel pads and warming ones, I didn’t use them myself so I cannot attest but the nipple creme does help. Bright side? IT TOTALLY GETS BETTER. One day you just notice, “hey, that didn’t hurt!” – and now, it doesn’t hurt at all, ever. 🙂
For me, nourishing my child really does give me a sense of accomplishment. We did it. He is happy and healthy and I’m proud I stuck with it. Again, don’t feel down if you can’t – it does come easier to some then others, but I think preparing myself has helped my journey. Some days are better then others, but it really does get better and better as far as this topic goes. Soon it is second nature.
One thing I don’t think I’ll ever like? Pumping. Oh my, I feel like a cow. Sorry I do and I hate it. I’m going to do it, because I know while I’m at work I’ll need the relief and I also will want to take my son and nurse him before and after work which means I will need to keep up my supply… But yeah, pumping is another post at another time that probably won’t be as upbeat. It really is about your own journey and I just wanted to start to share mine. 😉