Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Surviving the First 2 Weeks of Breastfeeding

As I type this (one-handed), my 3-week old is nursing happily, propped up by my arm and a Boppy Pillow.  With my first child, I never could have managed this.  In fact, I gave up nursing my first child shortly after he came home from the hospital.  Here are some things they don't tell you about having a newborn:

1.  It's HARD! - Everyone tells you how cute and cuddly newborns are, but no one really tells you how your life will be consumed with an endless cycle of feeding, burping, and diaper changing for the next few months.  Oh yes, and they'll sleep some in there too, but most of that will occur during daylight hours when your other children are awake and you have a million other things to accomplish.

2.  It's EXHAUSTING! - In case you missed it, that precious bundle will probably being doing most of their sleeping during the day and partying the night away.  Even if they are sleeping at night, they'll be expecting a feeding every couple hours.  That means you will not be getting enough sleep, not by a long shot!  And, you will soon begin resembling one of those zombies in Night of the Living Dead (and that's AFTER you manage to put on some concealer!)

And, then we add in BREASTFEEDING!
Breastfeeding the First Few Weeks - Mamas Like Me

Let me tell you, breastfeeding is, by far, the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done (aside from actually birthing my 5 children).  I have written before on the things I wish I'd known before I started breastfeeding, so I will assume that if you're reading this, you have already made the decision to breastfeed your newborn (or to at least give it a try).  Good for you!  I'm not going to try to argue the benefits of breastfeeding or convince anyone to do it.  That's a personal decision, but I will share the things that made breastfeeding possible for me.

I did not come from a family that breastfeeds so I didn't grow up watching women nurse.  These are the tips I've found that have helped me and the decisions I made from my own personal research.  Hopefully, you'll find something here that will help you on your breastfeeding journey:
Breastfeeding the First 2 Weeks - Mamas Like Me
1.  Start breastfeeding in the Delivery Room. - As long as there are no serious medical conditions, you should be able to begin skin-to-skin bonding almost immediately with your newborn.  As you cuddle your newborn, she will instinctively begin to root and search for the food source.  Use that!  This is the most alert your baby will be for the next few days so take advantage of this window to begin nursing.

2.  Get a Proper Latch - It is so important to make sure your baby is latching correctly.  Most delivery nurses should be able to help with this.  I also highly recommend reading some books on nursing while your pregnant and taking a breastfeeding class if possible.  I didn't take a class, but I did read The Complete Book of Breastfeeding from cover to cover.  The photos and directions for helping baby latch and breastfeeding positions were awesome!

3.  Take the Ibuprofen - Delivery and Breastfeeding are a pain - literally!  Don't try to be a super mom and refuse all the drugs.  Ibuprofen is safe for breastfeeding so take it and don't skip a dose.  It will help with the sore breasts and cramping uterus.

4.  Breast Shells - These plastic shells were invaluable to me in the hospital.  Typically, they're for inverted nipples, but can also be used to keep clothing from rubbing against your nipples.  In the first few days, that can make the difference between "I can do this" and "Don't touch me!". 

4.  My Magic Cream - Most breastfeeding books and groups recommend Lansinoh cream for cracked nipples.  It's okay, but what REALLY helped me was a special medication prescribed by my OB.  This magical blend of anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-EVERYTHING cream was not covered by my insurance and cost $60, but I would pay it again in a heartbeat!  As far as I know, it's just known as an All-Purpose Nipple Ointment.  I swear it made all the difference and is the reason I've had such a successful nursing experience with my last 3 children.  So, ask your doctor about this!

5.  Nurse and Nurse and Nurse some more! - It's going to be hard, but try to spend as much time nursing your newborn as possible.  Every 2-3 hours!  It's a lot and it's exhausting, but it's the best thing for your supply.

6.  Drink enough water and get as much rest as you can. - Both are easier said than done with a newborn.

7.  Make sure you're comfortable nursing wherever you happen to be. - Unless you plan on staying home for the foreseeable future or pumping every time you want to go out, you will eventually have to nurse in public.  I am a pretty modest person, but I've learned that baby has to eat and I will nurse wherever I happen to be.  This means that I've nursed everywhere from Disney shows to pools and restaurants.  My favorite products for this are my nursing cover and nursing-friendly tops.  Recently I was sent some Undercover Mama tops that are perfect for this.
Breastfeeding the First Few Weeks - Mamas Like Me
Undercover Mama offers a variety of nursing shirts that can turn any top into a "nursing top".  They attach to your favorite nursing bra and make it possible to cover your midsection and feed baby easily and discreetly even without a nursing cover.

I used mine during our recent trip to Dutch Wonderland and was so pleased with the fit and how well it covered everything.  They are made long, which was great for me since I'm tall and I often have trouble finding tanks that fit well.  It was also nice to have that extra support to hold in the post-baby belly!
Breastfeeding the First Few Weeks - Mamas Like Me
Undercover Mama is offering one of our readers a nursing top of their choice.  To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!  I know you guys are going to LOVE these!

You may also enjoy reading:

a Rafflecopter giveaway  


 

40 comments:

  1. I love the lace trim nursing shirt! I'm expecting #3 in October and would definitely use it!

    I am a huge fan of nipple shields! Was told by a lactation consultant that I couldn't use it more than 2 weeks (with my first) so I stopped using it and it was a nightmare--ended up being an exclusive pumper for the next 9 months. With my second, I used the nipple shield for 15 months with NO issues!! I had never heard of the breast shells, but I added it to my Amazon wish list just in case I need it in a couple months! And thanks for the tip regarding the Rx nipple ointment--never knew about it! Why don't doctors tell you these things?!? I just learned about the "poop goop" prescription for diaper rash with #2 and I SO could have used that with my first!
    Great post! Your little girl is adorable. I love pictures of her!

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  2. What a cool idea...I'd get the gray nursing shirt.

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  3. I'd love the slimming in black or the basic blueberry. I'm nursing #3 and still don't have a proper nursing wardrobe!

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  4. Black or gray, this was an awsome article.

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  5. Love black tops, always makes me feel slimmer and wet milk spots don't show up near as much!

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  6. I'd pick the lace trim tank in black.

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  7. I love the black and white polka dot Undercover Mama shirt!

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  8. LOVE Undercover Mama! It's what finally gave me the confidence to nurse in public without a cover! We have a new baby due in early October (we'll have 3 under 3...eep!) and I need new ones but it's not in the budget. I'd love to win! But will be super happy for whoever wins because Undercover Mama shirts ROCK! :)

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  9. PS: I would choose any of the lace trim tops. :)

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  10. I need a new black one! Mine are nearly worn out from the last 2 babies :)

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  11. I would love to start a nursing wardrobe

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  12. i would love either the pink or black! i can't decide.. pink would make me the happiest :) but black would be the most versatile & practical! :) thanks!
    beth c

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  13. Im digging the polka dot and the lace style! Really looking forward to starting my nursing journey in about a week!!

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  14. I'd get regular nursing shirt in nude.

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  15. Black slimming or emerald nursing shirt

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  16. Thank you for the post. Very informative. I would pick the regular nursing top in white.

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  17. I'd get the nursing top in black or gray

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  18. Thanks for sharing. I struggle with feeding in public and hope to get more comfortable. I'd probably pick simple black top

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  19. I think I would choose the blueberry top. Excellent post!! I remember texting my friend a week or so in and telling her how HARD it was! But we stuck with it and are going on 7 months now! She's never had a bottle and is in the 92nd percentile!

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  20. Lace trim in white for sure.

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  21. I would choose the black premium slimming style shirt.

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  22. I'd get the gray. I already have it in white and love it!

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  23. I would get the regular white, but would love one of each in every color!!

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  24. Love the lace trim tops.All colors r functional.

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  25. I would chose the black with the lace trim.

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  26. I would choose a black slimming style tank :) Thank you for the chance!! (Melissa Stover)

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  27. I'd probably get the slimming style!

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  28. Could I get one of the PREMIUM SLIMMING STYLE tops? That would be awesome.

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  29. I'd love to get a lace trim undercover mama top.

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  30. Black for me, that way I can use it with anything :)

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