Getting Through the First Few Weeks of Breastfeeding

If you’ve ever breastfed, or tried to breastfeed, you know it’s so painful (like almost worst than childbirth, in my opinion.) If you have never breastfed but plan to, or have just started, know that it gets better! Breastfeeding is one of my favorite things to do, I absolutely love it. But it isn’t easy and does hurt, but that’s temporary! I’m writing this post in hopes to encourage other moms to not give up just because it hurts. Push through the pain and remember that it won’t feel like that forever! Talk with friends and family who have breastfed, they’ll tell you the same thing!

Okay, so down to the nitty gritty. Between dealing with the pain of engorgement from your milk coming in and raw nipples, the first few weeks of breastfeeding are extrmely uncomfortable, but after that it shouldn’t hurt. So if it is still hurting then you might be doing something wrong, so I would contact a lactation consultant! When I breastfed my son I remember the first 5 seconds of him latching on was almost unbearable- sometimes I would bite down on his blanket to help take my mind off the pain. If you have cracked/sore nipples the best way I found to heal them was to rub expressed milk on them. Breastmilk is amazing, it fixes everything! Well not everything, but almost. Once you’re done nursing or pumping try to express a little bit of milk and rub it into your nipple. Also try to leave them exposed to the air as much as possible. The open air will help to dry them out. If being topless is not an option at the moment, then rub in some milk and apply a Soothie Gel to each breast. They will heal within a few days!

Try not to let your baby use you as a pacifier. If you’re nursing for an hour or more at a time, there’s a good chance that your baby isn’t nursing because they’re hungry but just using you to be soothed. This can be a tough one to get the hang of, I understand, because you want to nurse your baby if they’re crying or seem hungry. Just try to listen for the swallowing sound. If it doesn’t sound like they’re eating then try to unlatch them and just rock them.

Make sure you’re getting a good latch. There is one thing I remember my lactation consultant telling me after my son was born… It was “babies like to eat hamburgers, not hotdogs.” I’m pretty sure I looked at her like she was insane. What she meant was to squeeze your breast like a hamburger when getting your baby to latch. So I did that, and it worked! Put your four fingers underneath your breast and your thumb on top at the edge of your areola (like you’re making the letter C with your hands) and sort of squeeze your breast outward to make it easier to get into your babies mouth. Something that really surprised me was how far your nipple is supposed to go into your babies mouth- I guess I just sort of pictured them putting their little lips on it and sweetly drinking the milk. It’s definitely not like that! Then I started thinking about the shape of bottles and how much of the bottle nipple goes into their mouth and then it just made sense… If you do not have cracked nipples then you shouldn’t have pain throughout your feeding, if you do then your baby most likely is not latched on good. Just take your baby off and try to re-latch. When all else fails… YouTube it. Seriously!! Getting the perfect latch is so important. For both you and your baby!

Make sure your baby is positioned correctly. My personal favorite is the “tummy to mummy” position. Which is just when I hold my daughter like I would be rocking her, but make sure that her tummy is facing in to me. Sometimes I use my boppy pillow, sometimes I don’t. With my son I used it more than not. My all time favorite way to nurse is when we’re relaxing at home laying down and I lay my daughter next to me (both turned facing each other) and she nurses while she lays next to me.

When it comes to dealing with the pain that comes with engorgement after your milk comes in, I recommend using these Lansinoh Hot or Cold packs. They were a lifesaver for me when my milk came in with both babies! I would freeze them, or heat them up, and just stick them in my nursing sports bra. Eventually your body will regulate itself and you won’t be so engorged, or even in pain! But until then, just remind your husband not to hug you too tight, and that your “new” boobs aren’t for him to touch! Should he choose not to listen then he can’t be upset when you smack his hands away in pure reaction to him touching you! HA!

I hope this post helps! If you have any questions about nursing or pumping, feel free to reach out to me! Or definitely reach out to a lactation consultant! Breastfeeding is seriously amazing, so try to not to give up too soon! What are your best breastfeeding tips and tricks?? I’d love to hear them!

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