Here it goes:
- It's ok for it to hurt in the beginning. Everything you read says you shouldn't feel any pain and if you do, you're doing it wrong. I call bullshit on that. Madeline had a great latch (as per my midwife) from the beginning, and it STILL hurt a lot. It takes a little bit for your boobs to get used to that kind of constant action... It's OK. By all means, make sure you're not doing something wrong, but definitely don't feel like you're a screw up just because it's painful.
- The more you nurse, the more milk your body makes. I am fairly certain that the reason I have been successful thus far with nursing is that from the beginning we've nursed on demand. This meant that in the first couple of weeks I had a baby on my boob ALL. THE. TIME. It brought me to tear sometimes because I just felt like a milk machine. However, I believe that doing this caused my milk to come in fast (she was born Sunday morning and I had milk by Monday night), and it increased my supply quite a bit. This brings me to my next point...
- You don't produce milk right away! I did know this, but I know a lot of people who don't. Your baby's stomach is so small in the beginning, that the small amount of clearish liquid you produce (colostrum) is enough to keep the baby satisfied until your milk comes in!
- Make sure you have the proper emotional and "technical" support. My midwife was instrumental in my success with nursing, she was encouraging and knowledgeable, and I could always ask her loads of questions. She got right in there and showed me how to make sure Madeline latched properly! It was awesome.
- Make sure you have the proper support. For your boobs. Invest in a couple of nice nursing bras as soon as you can! And avoid underwires, they can cause clogged ducts.
- You probably won't care who sees your boobs. I lost most of my sense of modesty in the early days. I did have some exceptions, I didn't want my dad or my father-in-law to see my boobs, icky. I did whip out my boobs for almost everyone else. I still do this with my mom and sister. Madeline hates a cover and any time I can get away with not using it, I do.
- You'll probably talk about your boobs a lot. My husband and I talk about my boobs a lot, and not in the way you would have imagined before kids. I also talk about my boobs to other women who have breastfed! I can't wait until they're no longer an acceptable topic of conversation, haha.
- If you want to give your baby a bottle, and keep your supply up, you'll have to pump for every bottle. Madeline won't take a bottle (ugh), but I learned that every time your baby takes a bottle, you have to pump. Otherwise you risk your supply dropping because your body thinks you no longer need that nursing session. That means that if you want to leave your baby with someone for an extended period, you best be packing. Your pump, that is.
- Some babies just don't like bottles. Madeline acts like you're torturing her every time we try a bottle. I have a whole freezer full of milk that she won't drink. We are still trying, but I truly believe that some babies just don't take to bottles. Of course if I decided not to nurse anymore, eventually she would drink from one, she won't starve herself, but as long as my boobs are an option, she wants those. If you want your baby to take a bottle, I'd start offering one pretty early. It's hard, there is so much mixed advice out there, don't give one too early lest they get confused and don't want your boobs anymore, BUT don't give one too late or they might not take it!!! Ack. So confusing. I wonder what the magic timeline is for offering one... if anyone knows, let me know!
- YOU CAN DO THIS. You are awesome. Believe in yourself, your boobs, and your baby!
There you have it! My top 10. So it's Friday and it's a long weekend! I am so pumped! Madeline and I are headed to a play date later today, and we're in for a relaxing weekend with Daddy. Hopefully the weather will be good and we can do lots of walking with Leroy! Happy Labor Day weekend to all!