There are many things to consider when starting a family. Some decisions will be the most important decisions moms will ever make, so they should not be taken lightly. Deciding where they should live, choosing a name for their little one, or deciding which hospital they would like to deliver, are just some topics that will need to be discussed. The many questions, choices, and tasks that are ahead of new parents are no small feat.
Once the pre-delivery decisions have been made, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty. What will happen when the baby comes home from the hospital? Will the little one co-sleep with mom and dad? Will mama choose to breastfeed or formula feed? How in the world do new parents make all of these decisions? Well, friends, choices are made out of absolute necessity. Sometimes, trial and error is the best teacher. Everyone has to start somewhere.
In the list we've conducted, we will share some possible pitfalls for new breastfeeding moms. Please don't get discouraged. Everyone needs to follow the path that is most comfortable for their own family. Patience is the most important variable no matter what may come to pass. So please, as you read on, keep that in mind. And, if you've noticed any of these as a breastfeeding mama, don't give up!
15 When Mom Is Separated From The Baby
Of course there are some circumstances that are completely out of our control. If mom is physically separated from her precious little angel shortly after birth, it will certainly have an impact on her ability to get breastfeeding off to a solid start. Obviously, a mom and her baby's health is the top priority for everyone involved. Which means, sometimes, everyone just needs to be flexible and open-minded, and that's the bottom line.
There are certain procedures and recommendations to follow to set things up for a successful nursing session, once mom and her baby are reunited. Most likely, the nursing staff will help mom pump her milk which will be given to the baby in her absence. As long as she can still establish her milk supply by pumping, transitioning the baby to the breast, from the bottle, will have fewer hiccups.
Teaching a little one to "latch on" may prove a bit more difficult after he is exposed to an artificial nipple. But with a little love, patience, and proper guidance, everything will most likely fall into place.
14 Incorrect Latching
Attention!! Attention!! Do NOT let a baby suck just any old way on mama's milk-producing areas!! REPEAT!! Do NOT let a baby suck any old way on mama's milk producing area!! If the baby does not latch on correctly (covering the entire nip nip and surrounding areas with their mouth) mom will have very painful troubles!! Believe me, it is easier to readjust the baby than it is to nurse a sore booby.
Babies instinctively have a strong suction when they suck. If that suction seal is in place over other sensitive areas where milk does not flow, craziness will more than likely occur in that area.
We've all been there. It's not always easy to know what normal feels like in the beginning, but mom will get there.
13 Being Too Scheduled
Babies, families, husbands, jobs, etc., all have a way of insisting that we create some sort of schedule to keep our lives running smoothly. In the long run, of course, we all know that this is not only true but extremely helpful in living our best lives. There are certain times in our lives, however, that schedules need to be thrown out the window, for a brief period of time, so we can just figure out what the heck we are doing.
Having a new baby in the house is definitely one of those times. Newborns do not need a schedule. They need things on demand, and that is the reality. Sure, a few weeks and months down the road they will be slightly more capable of waiting, but not in the beginning, so why try?
Basically, attempting to schedule feedings is a battle a mother will simply not going to win, unless she enjoys the sound of a baby screaming. Just roll with it for a little while. It's best for everyone.
12 The Baby Doesn't Get Bigger
With many women with babies, there is usually more than one school of thought on what to do in any particular situation. What is a mom supposed to do if she feels she is doing everything correctly, but her baby is not gaining weight? Well, my friends, the doctor will more than likely have an opinion, as will her mother, her mother-in-law, assorted aunts and cousins, and even a stranger or two for good measure.
The reality? If a baby is not gaining, chances are, for one reason or another, they are not getting enough to eat. This could be due to a multitude of reasons, but for a mom's sanity, it may be best to record some of the baby intakes for a little while. This can be done by pumping breast milk, or by supplementing with a few ounces of baby formula here and there.
Again, not an insurmountable problem, but one that does need to be addressed with a pediatrician in order to have success in the long run.
11 Milk Ducts Get Clogged
Okay sisters, if this happens to you, be prepared to muddle through somehow. I will not sugar coat it, having a clogged milk duct hurts like you wouldn't believe. Unfortunately, the only way to make it go away is to keep nursing on the painful side. I know right!!?? It's terrible!! But it does make it go away without the need for antibiotics.
The cause of a clogged milk duct could be, as simple as, a moment with a baby with a poor latch, or it could be because a mother favors one breast over the other when she is feeding. Whatever the reason, it's nothing that the baby and a hot compress can't fix for her. For me, it only happened one time, and it was with my first.
In any case, as with other components involved in nursing our little ones, we live and learn. We all earn our stripes somehow!
10 No Support From Hospital Staff
In a hospital setting, nurses can be the best teacher and cheerleader that you have ever had. Unfortunately, the opposite can be said as well. While most nurses can be credited with doing the very best that they can for their patients, each mom and baby bring a new set of questions and challenges. In other words, what works for one may not work for another.
That being said, breastfeeding is about as personal as it gets. Individual preferences, comfort zones, and styles will certainly play a large role in the final experience. If the new mom is an extremely private person, and her lactation specialist is expecting her to relax and whip out her girls upon their first meeting, she may have a problem. Let the nurses know that spaces need to be respected. Otherwise, her nurse will be very hands-on, and I mean HANDS ON.
Just keep in mind that there is more than one way to get the job done. Take in as much information as possible, and ask for help when it is needed. If it is a case of mismatched personalities or a feeling of not being heard by the nurse, it is perfectly okay to politely ask for additional supports.
9 No Help With The Older Kids
Let's face it, even the old parenting pros may start out on the wrong foot with a new baby. Why, do you ask? Well, having a second or third baby means that there are other tiny humans to care for when mom is trying to nurse another itty bitty. So what's a mama to do?
For starters, it would be very helpful (at least in the beginning) to have a friend or family member hanging around at the house to entertain and feed the other little cutie pies. This will give mom the freedom to nurse based on her baby's needs, instead of working around the needs of the older ones.
It doesn't take that much time to fall into a comfort zone. The other little ones will soon realize that although she can't be in two places at one time, she will certainly give it her best shot.
8 Bad Posture While Breastfeeding
Our bodies do very strange things during pregnancy, and the days following labor and delivery. Whether a woman realizes it or not, her body has taken quite a beating over the last nine months. It is wise for a mom to be gentle with her body as to avoid any type of mysterious injury.
When I first had my daughter (and my son was three), I was home and nursing. But I would keep falling asleep in the most awkward positions! My head would bob up and down in an extremely unnatural way, and I ended up with a severely pinched nerve in my shoulder/neck area. I'm telling you, that little-pinched nerve was more painful than both births.
So a word to the wise: Be careful. A mom has to notice what she is doing, not only for her baby, but for herself also. Our bodies are not ready for the normal levels of abuse that we expect them to be able to tolerate.
7 Is Dad Supportive?
Sometimes having a new baby in the house can be a bigger adjustment than one may think. Not only is mom exhausted and doing her best to keep it together physically and mentally, but Dad, of course, has his share of adjusting to do as well. One of the biggest adjustments for the new papa is suddenly becoming second banana to this new, sweet smelling addition.
Of course, most men are perfectly capable of understanding how to help and support the new mom with whatever she may need. In fact, more new dads are doing research beforehand to gain some helpful tips. But what if he is being a bigger baby than the new baby? This could absolutely hamper mom's efforts at starting breastfeeding on the right foot. Stay strong, mamas!
Do your thing and create a new normal in your house. The hubby will adjust. In fact, before you know it, he will more than likely be your right-hand man. All in good time.
6 Not Taking A Deep Breath
For some women, whipping "the girls" out in public is not something that they will ever become accustomed to doing. Sure, maybe the occasional Mardi Gras party, or a spontaneous little flash here and there at a college bar, but besides that, a lot of women reserve their chest area for personal use only.
Enter the infant.
The sweet little STARVING infant. There may, indeed, be times when a mom will have to figure out how to be modest and creative at the same time.
I am not kidding around when I say it can be difficult to relax in those moments. Heck, even the moments at home can be awkward in the beginning. But guess what? If a mom can't learn how to relax, she won't be able to let the girls out to feed her baby. In other words, her milk will not flow and her boobs will feel like they are going to explode.
Don't fret, mamas. It will happen sooner rather than later, but a few relaxation techniques may prove helpful in those first days home from the hospital.
5 When There's Too Much Pressure
As much as all of us new moms would like to be perfect, the reality is that this is not even a remote possibility. Humbling? Perhaps...But this knowledge is going to give a mom the freedom that she never even imagined! It's okay to make mistakes! In fact, it's even expected and encouraged! That's part of the human condition. It's how we learn.
As a mom to a new baby, we are pulled in many different directions. That's just the nature of motherhood. The only thing that makes us better, and stronger, is time. Time and experience to be exact. Sorry, friends...there is no way to rush it. Practice makes perfect. (Well, practice makes us better at certain things anyway.)
So hold that chin up, and be proud of yourself mama. You are doing the best you can. Slow down and smell the roses a bit. You'll be glad you did.
4 Taking Other Opinions Too Seriously
If a mom is blessed to have a group of people to support her and her baby, that's amazing. That being said, sometimes those that love us deeply have trouble expressing their opinions without coming off as bossy. This can be problematic when a mother is literally feeding her baby from her own body.
If someone is attempting to impose their beliefs and suggestions on a new mother, it may be difficult for her to stand her ground. It will be okay, I promise. The bottom line is that most of the time, feeding a baby will be a private (and routine) event. Nobody will be breathing down a new mom's neck while she is nursing.
Instead of arguing and risking upsetting a new mother and her baby, try to listen with an open mind, while not giving up your own beliefs. It can be a balancing act, but well worth it in the end.
3 There's Not Enough Information
By the time we actually give birth, we are even more exhausted then we ever imaged we would be. Even an "easy" labor and delivery will still leave any new mom drained. And, honestly, who among us would be brave enough to say that their experience was "easy"? Show of hands? Yeah, so I thought. In any case, our brains and bodies are tired at that moment, and we are not the most receptive to learning new (yet very important) skills.
Yes, we know that the baby will somehow drink the milk from our breasts. However, it's the logistics we're not certain of, leaving us to be extremely vulnerable in our new mommy lives. So what do we do? We nod and smile at the nurses as they explain "latching on" and the assorted "football holds" that we may use to feed our babies. The nurses walk away, and we sit there with our beautiful new bundles of joy about ready to play football, but not quite sure how to breastfeed.
Don't sweat it, mamas, we all do it. Just remember, it is best to ask for clarification if it's not working. There are specialists in the hospital called "lactation specialists," that will be able to help nursing moms while they are still in the hospital. And, most OBGYN's will ask how breastfeeding is going during the 6 weeks checkup. Just remember, a very hungry baby is no laughing matter. Ask for help so that it is clear, and everything will be smooth sailing from there.
2 Poor Instruction
Let's face it, not everyone is capable of being a great teacher, and not everyone is capable of being a great student. That's just life. So, what happens in a situation where mom cannot comprehend what her nurse is trying to tell her, simply because the nurse is having a hard time explaining things. Well, my best advice is to take a breath and realize that Rome wasn't built in a day. There are countless trial and error procedures that will be endured during motherhood.
Sometimes, even the most knowledgeable instructors (in this case "specialists") have difficulties making themselves clear, or at least, understandable. My mother uses the expression, "Clear as mud" to describe such a scenario. Think before speaking, and it should come out clear and comprehensible. If it doesn't, apologize and try again. Giggling at the end may help some nurses or mothers relax. Every mother wants to be perfect the moment their child is born, but that will never happen Just be your best self.
It will work out okay eventually. Google and Youtube may be the tools that this mom needs, in order to succeed with breastfeeding.
1 Mamas, Don't Give Up!
Regardless of what a mother chooses to do with her baby, whether it be breast, bottle, or formula, always remember that everything takes some getting used to. We don't start off as experts by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We are quiet scientists that must test our hypothesis and theories at every turn. To further complicate the matter, each child is likely to respond differently as well, almost putting us back at square one.
The thing to remember is, this is to be expected. A woman is someone's mama, and that someone thinks that she is the coolest person since the beginning of time. A mother has to try to remember that she is the one navigating through life as a new mother.
If nothing else works, she should follow her gut instincts and lead with love. That will never be the wrong thing to do.
Sources: hubpages.com, healthychildren.org