Do you plan on breastfeeding your baby when he or she arrives? You’ve done your research, talked to a few of your friends and family about it, and are anxiously and excitedly awaiting the day. What more do you need to know? The answer: the things no one really tells you about breastfeeding. Be warned, this post gets very real. If you’re up to it, keep scrolling!
Don’t be surprised, but you’ll probably start breastfeeding less than an hour after you give birth. Sometimes, you’ll start breastfeeding while you’re still in the delivery room! You’ll never really be prepared to breastfeed until you start, but that first latch with your baby will always be a memorable one.
You’d think that the smaller the baby, the less he or she needs to eat, right? Well, it’s actually the opposite. The smaller the baby, the more often he or she needs to eat. Sometimes you can find yourself feeding your newborn up to 12 times a day! There’s back to back feedings, night feedings, and if you’re at the office, lots of pumping to do. Although these might sound intimidating, this will go by faster than you think, and nothing can take away the bonding experience you have with your child.
Breastfeeding covers, pillows, pumps, storage bags for milk, nipple pads, nipple cream, breastfeeding supplements—and the list goes on. Of course, not everything is necessary, but if you want a smoother breastfeeding experience, getting one or all of the accessories and items mentioned does make a big difference. Here’s the fun part: figuring out what specific items you need, and how they will help you in you breastfeeding journey.
To help keep up with your milk production, you have to keep hydrated. The best way is to drink lots and lots of water. Some breastfeeding experts recommend one glass of water for every breastfeeding session. You can also drink other liquids such as juices, although you might want to stay away from caffeinated drinks, as they might affect your baby.
If you’re thinking that your nipples will function like bottle nipples, think again. Bottle nipples only have one opening at the tip. Compare this to your own nipples that have up to 15 to 20 openings (including the sides of your breasts)!
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but even newborns (without any teeth!) can still bite. It’s definitely going to be painful, but make your baby aware of that. You can make a noise and detach, which will hopefully discourage your baby from similar actions. They’ll learn quickly, and trust me, your nipples will toughen up too.
Don’t expect your milk to look like milk you buy from the supermarket. Those have already been processed repeatedly to attain that milky-white color. Natural breast milk can differ in color and consistency, from breast milk being yellow and thick one day, to breast milk having a greenish or bluish tinge on another day. Don’t worry, your milk isn’t rotten, it’s completely natural and safe.
Even while you are pregnant your body is already preparing for a baby. You might have noticed that your breasts have gotten bigger, and when you start breastfeeding, maybe even more so. Other changes you can expect are your nipples getting larger and darker too.
As your baby grows, so will your volume of milk production. You do have to keep your baby well nourished, and your body will be keeping up with your baby’s appetite. Another thing to note is that the nutrients in your milk also change as your child grows, so you don’t need to worry about whether your milk is nutritious enough for your child—it always will be.
Actually, it’s better than alright, it’s beneficial to your baby! When you have a cough, cold, sore, throat, bad stomach, fever or other similar illnesses, your baby was already exposed to the illness before you even knew you were sick. Your breast milk has antibodies that are specific to the illness you currently have, that’ll help prevent your baby from catching your virus.
Breastfeeding is truly a one of a kind experience. Each mom goes through her own different breastfeeding journey, and some of these things may or may not apply to everyone. But one thing you can be sure of is the shared bonding moments together, and the realization that you’ll do whatever it takes for your child.