Breastfeeding can be quick and convenient once moms get the hang of it. As there's no need to wash bottles, make bottles, or heat any milk up, it can be a total timesaver. That doesn't mean that moms don't waste time while trying to learn how to breastfeed simply because of all the misinformation out there. This beautiful and natural thing does come with some work involved. Some babies may be great right from birth, but there are tons of babies and moms who take a few days or even weeks to get the hang of things.
Breastfeeding, especially in front of other people, can be a sore subject. It's 2018 so we would expect that people would get over it because they see much worse, but it seems that no matter how progressive our society is, there is always someone trying to shame a breastfeeding mom. This can lead moms to spend unnecessary time, usually while the baby cries from hunger, to try and cover and then latch a baby (not too easy). Sometimes it leaves mom seeking out private places to nurse where no one will be offended.
Along with having the knowledge of how and where we can breastfeed, it is important for those around us to have similar knowledge. A well informed support system can make a world of difference. We don't want to have to worry about someone giving the baby a pacifier or bottle if that's not what we want. At certain times, it can surely set us back in our nursery journey, and no one wants to deal with that.
20 Learning The Baby's Hunger Cues
One of the first things we learn after having a baby is how to tell when she is hungry. Learning these hunger cues can seriously help us get the hang of breastfeeding. According to KellyMom, cues of hunger begin with baby licking her lips, sticking her tongue out, and rooting. By the time the baby is really hungry, she will likely be crying and pretty upset. This means that we have to take extra time to settle baby down before we will be able to get her to nurse.
If we notice the early signs of hunger, it is best to feed the baby then. We will avoid a screaming baby, and we will also save ourselves the time and work of having to settle baby down. It is better to be proactive than reactive especially when it comes to our kiddos.
19 Not Knowing When The Baby Is Full
Since there is no ounce measurement on our breasts, it feels impossible to know when the baby has had enough milk. Sometimes we feel he didn't eat long enough or get enough. We may try to get baby to nurse more, but if the baby is full he likely refuses to latch on again.
Just as it is important to recognize the signs of hunger, we should also know the signs of baby being full. According to FitPregnancy, if baby seems satisfied and content after nursing it is a good sign that he got enough milk and is full. It is likely that he will push mom's nipple out of his mouth if she tries to put him back on.
Many breastfeeding moms have worries over whether baby is getting enough milk or not because we don't have an exact means of knowing. Knowing the signs of fullness though can give us some peace of mind. If baby is also having enough wet and dirty diapers, it is a good sign.
18 Not Using A Shield
A nipple shield is a great tool when it is used properly. It can help baby to latch easier, and it can prevent some soreness for mom. According to KellyMom though, shields handed out during the first week after birth are often done so unnecessarily and without proper instruction.
Just as a bottle or pacifier can create problems and confusion, a shield will have a similar result since it can be a bit easier for baby to latch onto. If used in the early weeks for issues like prematurity and baby's difficulty latching due to physical characteristics, it should still be weaned from when possible. This process can be frustrating especially if the shield wasn't essential to begin with.
17 The Pump And Dump
The infamous pump and dump is something women do (or think they should do) after consuming alcohol or even certain medications. According to KellyMom, there is no need to pump and dump though mom should wait 1 to 2 hours after consumption before nursing after drinking.
There are lots of misconceptions about what gets to our breastmilk and when it isn't safe. Some moms worry that they should pump and dump when sick, but our breastmilk will actually provide our baby with antibodies from generally any illness we have to help his immune system. If we don't want to give pumped milk to baby, we can save it for things like a milk bath as well.
16 Supplement Unnecessarily
Breastfeeding often makes it extremely difficult to know that baby is getting enough. We don't have any exact numbers so many moms worry that baby isn't getting enough. These leaves a few confused and concerned moms giving baby formula when it isn't needed. While there is nothing wrong with formula, supplementing before it is essential can really hurt mom's milk supply.
According to BabyCenter, our milk supply is controlled by baby's demand for it. So the less we nurse, the less milk we make. If we aren't nursing for a feeding because baby is having a bottle of formula (or even breastmilk), our body will stop making milk for that feeding. If we do give baby a bottle for whatever reason, we can pump for that feeding to try and keep our supply up.
15 Trying To Do It All Alone
Mom might be the only one who can nurse baby, but we should not feel like we are in this alone. Our spouses, family, and even a lactation consultant can be great to have in our support system. Even though Dad doesn't have the necessary anatomy to feed baby like that, he can still help Mom by ensuring she gets enough rest, water, and even food. Today'sParent suggests a number of ways for Dad to get involved and help Mom. He can be a great cheerleader if we tell him our goals and reasoning for wanting to breastfeed. It's nice to have someone to remind us of these things when we feel like giving up.
It is extremely frustrating when we have set goals for breastfeeding, and others around baby aren't supportive. It would be super counterproductive for our breastfeeding journey if say someone gave baby a bottle behind mom's back and against her wishes. A good support system, that is all on the same page, is a crucial asset.
14 Not Wearing Nursing-Friendly Clothes
Nursing bras, tank tops, and even dresses are seriously a breastfeeding mom's best friends! It is so quick and easy to undo a little clip and nurse. It sure seems like a more preferable option to basically getting topless just to feed baby 10 to 12 times a day.
AskDrSears suggests that mom wear a bra that she can easily open with one hand and from the front. This can be especially helpful when we are trying to find baby in public. It can also save us time and sleep at night when we are trying to feed baby. If we can have it ready to go with one quick snap, we would be silly do want to do it any other way.
13 Pumping Afterwards Instead Of During
Pumping can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. That's time we could be sleeping, cleaning, or spending time with our baby. Heck, that's time we could be catching an episode of our favorite show on Netflix. If we can get it out of the way while we are feeding baby anyways, it would give us an extra 15 to 30 minutes several times a day. There's never enough time so we take it when we can get it.
KellyMom shows moms how they can pump while nursing at the same time. It is a great way to save time and save that extra milk that leaks out of the other side as baby eats anyways. KellyMom recommends latching baby and then attaching a pump to the other side as it is a little easier to attach a pump one handed.
12 Having A Late Start
According to BetterHealth.vic.gov, it is best to begin breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. Many suggest following baby's cue for when she is hungry following birth. The sooner we begin breastfeeding, the easier it will be to get the hang of it.
Skin to skin contact after birth with mom encourages baby's natural instinct to breastfeed. Though we may be tired and sore from birth, it is still best to encourage baby to breastfeed rather than give them formula if we are choosing to breastfeed. If the baby has trouble, some express colostrum by hand and give it via a syringe. This can also avoid any kind of nipple confusion for baby.
11 Not Feeding On Demand
Breastfeeding on demand or responsive feeding as KellyMom refers to it can help mom establish a good milk supply. It can also encourage and strengthen mom's bond with her baby. Following baby's cues of hunger and knowing when he is satisfied can also be beneficial to baby's future eating behaviors.
According to KellyMom, most babies do not naturally breastfeed in a specific pattern. This is why many moms find it best and easiest to feed baby as he is hungry. It can range from 90 minutes to almost 4 hours between a feeding and change especially at night as baby begins to sleep for longer stretches.
It can save us a lot of time and headache to learn baby's cues of hunger and then feed baby when he shows these cues. Breastfeeding is one relationship where we need to follow baby's lead a bit more.
10 Trying To Cover Up
Just as no one wants to nurse (or eat) in a bathroom, no one wants to eat with a blanket, scarf, or other covers over their head. Why should we expect our babies too? There are seriously tons of nursing covers on the market for moms of all fabrics and fashions. As argued by ScaryMommy, it is way more obvious that a woman is breastfeeding if she has some large blanket or other covers over her shoulder, chest, and child than if she simply puts baby on quickly.
It takes like half a second to latch baby, but it takes infinitely longer if we try to latch baby blindly which is often the case when there's something covering her. It also causes us both stress when baby gets upset, frustrated, or is otherwise bothered by the cover. Of course, the cover can make baby hot and annoyed, wouldn't we feel the same way? Then we deal with a stressful feeding and that doesn't make it easier or quicker for anyone involved or around.
9 Not Being Educated On Breastfeeding
Know better, do better. The more we know about breastfeeding, the easier it should be ideally. Sure there can be complications and struggles, but if we are prepared for them we are less likely to be discouraged. If we know what to expect, it may not be so scary when we feel like quitting.
MayoClinic.org put together a list of the things that breastfeeding moms should know from things like pacifiers to how to take care of ourselves. We're going to be sore in the beginning. It happens for almost all women. It is going to be challenging and frustrating whether those challenges be lack of sleep or trouble latching.
It is so helpful and reassuring to know that the struggles we face while breastfeeding and normal and that we aren't going through them alone. It also allows us to ask for help and guidance from women who have been there. If they can get through it, so can we!
8 Give The Pacifier Too Soon
While giving the baby a pacifier can give mom some relief from being their only source of comfort, it can seriously hinder her milk supply and breastfeeding success. Although the pacifier isn't a source of milk, it can still create nipple confusion. According to KellyMom, it is best to wait at least 3 to 4 weeks after birth, 6 weeks ideally, to introduce a pacifier to the baby.
By 6 weeks, mom has established her milk supply and doesn't need to put the baby to breast so much in order to increase supply. The pacifier can also be linked to baby's weaning from breastfeeding earlier.
7 Not Having A Nursing Pillow
The nursing pillow is mom's best friend, especially in the first few weeks. It helps put baby at a desirable angle and height to breastfeed properly. It can make it a lot easier for baby to latch on and save us tons of time while we are trying to get the hang of it. It can be especially beneficial to have a nursing pillow for C-section mommies because it cushions our sore abdomen when nursing or even holding baby as well.
A nursing pillow is generally most helpful when using the cradle and cross cradle holds to feed baby. The cradle hold is most often used during the early weeks of breastfeeding. According to Babycenter, the cradle hold is where mom supports baby with her arm of the same side baby is nursing on. A pillow can help mom support baby's weight instead of doing it all herself.
6 Not Having A Home Nursing Spot
Water, a stop watch, snacks, and entertainment are all essentials to have on hand while nursing. We can avoid feeling like we are dying of thirst or spending precious minutes hunting down resources as our baby yells in "hanger" if we just have a prepared spot with everything we need. It might be nice to also have our nursing pillow and some cream in arm's reach as well.
BabyCenter also recommends mom have a comfy place to sit in her nursing spot such as a glider. It is important to have a comfortable spot that will support mom's back, arms, neck, and even head to avoid soreness. Having a comfy spot to nurse can save us time from constantly shifting and repositioning to get comfortable while nursing.
5 Not Being Aware Of When The Baby Ate Last
Time can get fuzzy when we're sleep deprived and going in 100 different directions all day long. Most hospitals give us a log to track baby's feedings and diaper changes during our stay. While many of us are quick to chuck that idea out the window as soon as we sign discharge papers, some more seasoned moms actually find it helpful in keeping their sanity.
There has been more than a few overtired moms who wasted time trying to latch a baby who just ate recently and is still full simply because we felt like it was time to feed baby. According to KidsHealth.org, babies eat about every hour and a half to three hours. Keeping a log whether on paper or a phone app can be super helpful in establishing a pattern for when baby eats as well as preventing us from wasting time trying to feed a baby who isn't hungry.
4 Find A Place To Hide
One of the biggest fears breastfeeding moms share is what to do when we're in public and our baby wants to eat. For some reason, society has this opinion that it is better to hear baby cry than to see a woman nurse. Crazy, right? No one feels the need to find a hiding place to give their baby a bottle, so why are breastfed babies supposed to eat in secret?
According to KellyMom, many states in the United States have laws that allow mom to breastfeed publicly anywhere that she is allowed to be. That does not mean she is expected to nurse in a bathroom since we wouldn't expect anyone else to eat in there. Lots of concerned moms waste precious time trying to find a place to nurse, where no one will be offended, while the baby is upset and hungry. Often times, quickly latching baby is more discreet anyways.
3 Expecting A Specific Amount of Time
When we begin breastfeeding, we are told to expect about 20 to 30-minute feedings according to WhatToExpect. In the beginning, this can be a good rule of thumb to follow because we can't nurse too much since putting the baby on encourages milk to come in.
As mom and baby get more experienced at breastfeeding, it is likely that these times will vary. Baby knows when she is full and will stop eating. Trying to force her to meet a silly time requirement (unless medically necessary) is a useless effort. As baby gets more comfortable and experienced nursing, she will likely be more effective and proficient which can lead to shorter feeding times. It can, of course, be a little concerning if feedings suddenly go from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. We aren't crazy to be concerned if we don't know better.
2 Worrying Too Much
Is baby getting enough milk? Can we eat that? Will it affect my milk? Just like we worry about what we consume during pregnancy, many of us have the same concerns while breastfeeding. We have no exact way of knowing how much milk baby is getting so we obviously worry.
KellyMom provides breastfeeding moms will some easy ways to know that baby is getting enough milk even if we can't see it. First, baby should have at least six wet diapers per day. That will show that she is hydrated. We should also be able to feel a difference in our "girls" after the baby is done eating.
1 Making The Baby Eat
As moms, it is our job to worry. As nursing moms, especially when we're new to it, we are always worrying about how much baby is eating. Many of us have tried to "force" baby to eat longer because we felt he didn't get enough. We hear how they should eat for so many minutes or on both sides and tons of different ideas.
According to AskDrSears, we should be able to tell if the baby is getting enough milk by the way the feeding goes. We should notice a difference in ourselves when we are full versus empty. It is also not as important for baby to meet a time requirement or eat on both sides if he is effectively emptying us and getting what he needs.
References: KellyMom, FitPregnancy, KellyMom, KellyMom, BabyCenter, Today'sParent, DrSears, KellyMom, BetterHealth, KellyMom, ScaryMommy, MayoClinic, KellyMom, BabyCenter, BabyCenter, KidsHealth, WhatToExpect, KellyMom, KellyMom, DrSears