Gearing up to breastfeed your first baby? You may have a general idea what to expect — but no book can give you the true picture of what the experience is really like as well as moms who have been there, done that.
Nursing pros share breastfeeding advice
Breastfeeding is totally natural — but it may not feel all that intuitive when you’re first getting started. If you’re pregnant and planning to breastfeed your baby, these tips from seasoned pros (aka moms) will help you know what to expect and when to seek help if you need it.
Do your research
Claire, mom of one, recommends that a mom-to-be should try to do plenty of research before the baby is born. “Don’t forget to look into common problems encountered during breastfeeding, and bookmark sites so you can refer back to them,” she said. “Kellymom.com is your friend!”
Prepare to nurse — a lot
When babies are newborns, they nurse a lot — and that can take new moms by surprise. The moms we spoke to said that it’s completely normal, especially during the first couple of months. “Babies don't always nurse because they are hungry, they nurse because they are trying to get your supply up as — well as for comfort,” explained Jackee, mother of one. “Although you may wish you spent less time confined to your rocking chair under an eating baby, realize it is beneficial to you both! Enjoy it, grab a book, watch some movies, eat some delicious snacks and cuddle that little boob-machine.”
Brittney, mom of two, further explains, “If it feels like your baby is nursing all the time, they probably are. And that's OK. ‘Every two hours' is bs.”
Know that it can hurt
Nursing, in the beginning, can hurt. Often you’ll hear that if your latch is correct, it shouldn’t hurt — but getting your nipples accustomed to the vigorous and strong suckling of a newborn baby isn’t usually painless, no matter how great the latch is. “I was what is now considered young when I had Sebastian, so I just had him and figured it would all fall into place,” shared Tonya, mom of one. “Nobody told me how painful breastfeeding would be." Of course, latch issues can contribute to pain, so don’t hesitate to have a lactation consultant check out your connection to make sure everything is okay.
Ask for help
Other moms told us that if you feel like you need help, ask for it. Most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff that are eager to help you problem solve and get you back on track. “Don't be afraid to ask for help!” said Hollie, mom of twin girls. “I was completely clueless and no one really was available. I admit, it ended up not working for us, but I can't help but think if the support and education was there the first few days, it would have gone differently.”
Hang on for two weeks
Moms report that the first few weeks are the hardest — but once you push through these early days, the reward is more than worth it. “You're both learning how to do this,” shared Kelly, mom of one. “Crying, pain and anxiety is normal in the beginning. There is a light at the end. And it's the most magical moment when it happens with ease.”
Jenn, a new mom of a little girl, agreed. “You'll realize one day that you're not even thinking about it anymore, it's just happening and it's awesome,” she said.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for mom and baby — and really, the rest of the family — so stick with it, and get help if you need it. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you will be so happy you made the decision to nurse your little one.