Imagine being in the hospital, having just given birth to a precious new life. Whether through traditional natural delivery or via c-section, feeling tired, sore, overwhelmed, but also overjoyed. Mom is now hopeful that she can tackle breastfeeding. But let's face it, breastfeeding is much harder than most people think. New moms will deal with a painful latch, cracked parts, leaking and engorged chest, and all the fun that goes along with it.
That being said, breastfeeding is an amazing and rewarding experience. It forges a very strong bond early on. It has tremendous health benefits for both mom and baby. By the time mom has struggled through the first few weeks, she will have a new found confidence in herself, and her ability to overcome difficult days. However, many women have come before her, and almost all new moms have made the same mistakes.
How long does breastmilk stay good in a bottle? Is it normal for nursing to hurt so badly? How about the position mom is hold the baby in, does this affect anything? Let's take a look at some of these common mistakes and how new moms can avoid making them with their baby. Maybe then, we will be able to pass on that confidence to another new mom so that she can also rise to the challenge.
Here are the 15 things most new moms almost always get wrong.
15 Not Asking For Help When She Needs It
You are new at this, and it's scary! It's okay to ask for help you when you are overwhelmed or concerned. Maybe you think the baby isn't latching correctly, and you are in a lot of pain. Or you don't think baby is getting enough milk, and you are terrified that you are not providing enough nutrition. These are all normal concerns.
Why not let someone who has experience help guide you and answer your questions. Reach out to the nurses from the hospital where you gave birth. Better yet, contact your local chapter of La Leche League. They will be able to answer your questions, and even help you find additional resources to help you. Join an online group of local moms. You are never alone, and it is always okay to ask for help.
14 Stressing About The Baby Getting Enough Milk
Almost every single Mom I have ever met, has wondered this. So you are pumping, and don't see much milk as a result, or maybe you are not feeling this "let-down" that everyone is talking about. You become concerned that your supply must not be enough, and that your baby is not getting the milk it needs to flourish. Calm your nerves.
First, because your baby can feel your tension while nursing, and may get even more anxious as a result. Stressing isn't going to help either one of you. Secondly, as long as your baby is having wet diapers, approximately 6-8 per day, your baby is getting plenty. While you may find that pumping isn't giving you the results you desire, there is nothing better at extracting milk from the breast than baby himself.
13 She Worries About How Other People Feel
People will always be judging, always. Some will not think you should breastfeed at all. Others while try to shame you for nursing in public. Don't let this get to you. If baby is hungry, feed away Mama! A lot of women will wear a tank top under their shirt. This allows you to pull your shirt up, and the tank top down.
This will expose your nipple for baby to nurse, without showing your goods to the whole world. Some women prefer to nurse in their car, as opposed to in a store. While others will use a dressing room, or cover up with a blanket. Whichever method best suits you, get comfortable with it. But never let someone to make you feel ashamed for feeding your little one. If they do, be ready with a snappy comeback, they won't be expecting it!
12 Not Breastfeeding Due To Work
If you are returning to work, there are plenty of options to for you to continue breastfeeding. It's not easy, but it's doable. Some moms have to go back to work without a few weeks, while others are lucky enough to take several months off. Either way, your work schedule should not dictate breastfeeding. You can pump while at work, around the same times baby would feed.
This will keep up your supply and help you to produce enough milk to give to daycare, or baby-sitter. Invest in a good breast pump, and milk storage bags. Make sure you learn the rules for how long breastmilk is good outside of the body. The rules differ between refrigerator and freezer storage. When you are home with baby, nurse away.
This will be especially wonderful after a long day, when you can sit and enjoy your special bonding time with your baby.
11 Worrying About A Schedule
Don't stress yourself over getting baby on a set feeding schedule. Unlike with formula, and trying to time things perfectly, a breastfed baby will let you know when they are hungry. Offer them the breast, if they are fussing and rooting around and they will take it if they are hungry. Another important key to remember is every baby is different.
Some babies will work themselves into a nice little schedule of wanting to feed every 2 hours. Still others will want to nurse every hour, or suckle just for comfort. This is understandable, the baby is no longer warm inside the womb, and is looking for comfort and familiarity. Where better to find that then on your chest, with the sound of your breathing and your heartbeat.
Let baby set the schedule, and you will be just fine.
10 Supplementing With Formula
You may not be producing enough milk when you pump, and are considering giving your baby some formula to try and supplement. This is not a good idea for several reasons. First, if you are giving formula, and baby is not nursing, your supply is not going to get stronger. It will decrease, as no message is being sent to the body to make more milk for a hungry baby.
Secondly, there are too many options available to help you. Make some lactation cookies. These cookies not only taste good, but will get your milk flowing. Make sure you are staying hydrated. Your body requires a ton of water to make enough milk for baby. Make sure you are drinking at least 10, 8oz glasses of water each day, and eating enough food as well.
If baby is napping, hook yourself up to that pump. This will send the message to your body to make more milk.
9 Not Having Enough Information
There are so many resources available to women that it would be a shame not to take advantage of them. Imagine how the women generations before you were able to figure it out. No internet, no google option to check out their latest worry. It almost makes you wonder how any of us survived, but yet we did. Read some good books, talk to friends who have experienced this, and prepare yourself.
You will want a good nursing pillow, a decent breast pump, nipple cream, and my personal favorite, coconut oil. Having these items on hand will make life easier when you realize you need one of them. Join a local Facebook chapter of women who breastfeed, and reach out to the La Leche League before you even have your baby.
Being armed with accurate information is one of the strongest tools in overcoming any obstacle.
8 Trying To Be The Perfect Mom And House-Wife
You have just been through a traumatic and stressful time. Child birth is called labor for a reason! Your body in recovering, your baby is adjusting, and you are getting used to a new world of responsibilities. Take your time, and you will figure it out. You don't need to worry about cleaning the house, doing laundry and making dinner.
Research some crock pot meals in the weeks before baby is born. Cook ahead and freeze some things for dinner. Ask a parent or friend to come and give you a hand if needed. Otherwise, the laundry and dishes will be there waiting for you, after you have had some time to recover. Make the first 2 weeks about nothing other than you and baby.
Anything else is a mistake, and can add undue stress to your body when it is already trying to adjust and recover.
7 Skipping A Pumping Session
Maybe baby is taking a longer nap than usual, or you are at work and can't seem to break away. Maybe you took a weekend away with your hubby while your parents watch the baby. Skipping a session, even one, is a mistake. Even when a lot of milk is not produced at each pumping session, the message that this sends to your body is critical.
It is telling the body to make milk for a hungry baby. A doula I knew compared it to eating at a restaurant. She said that pumping was placing the order for your food. If you don't place the order, and tell your body to make the milk, chances are, it isn't going to do so. It is also important to empty breasts often.
If you are allowing them to stay full, not only is embarrassing leaking possible, but your body will assume the baby doesn't need the milk, and will stop producing as much of it.
6 Not Including Him In The Plans
Some warn about using a bottle too soon, as this can cause nipple confusion, and lead to a drop in supply. If done correctly, and not all of the time, this can be a great tool. While your spouse may be great at changing dirty diapers, and calming a crying baby, there is something special about feeding a newborn that gives you a feeling of love and satisfaction.
So pump, and let your spouse give your baby a bottle. You can give your aching nipples a break, and pump to relieve engorged breasts. This is a great bonding experience for them, which allows Mom to get some much needed rest. Enjoy the break, and take a long shower, maybe even sneak in that nap you have been dreaming about. It will be beneficial to everyone.
5 Breastfeeding Only On One Side Each Breastfeeding Session
It is so important in the first several weeks to establish the need for your body to make milk on demand, that doctors recommend switching breasts during a single nursing session. You want to let the baby nurse on the first breast for long enough to empty it, but then offer the other side before ending the session.
This will empty both breasts, and send that signal to your body to make more milk. Baby will also get used to nursing in multiple positions, and working to get the "let-down" in order to get milk.
Don't stress out about trying to break the latch and take baby off just to make the switch. You don't want to get baby frustrated. But, if baby still seems hungry, offer the other side. If your baby is full, they simply will not keep nursing.
4 Stressing About The Position
While some moms swear by the typical cradle or football hold, it doesn't mean it is right for every situation or every baby. Some women find that side-nursing is the most comfortable. This involves lying on your side, and allowing baby to cuddle next to you while nursing. Many have found, that comfort is more important than anything else.
The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed and able to nurse your body will be. Lay your baby on your chest, or near your breast, and tickle their upper lip with your nipple. Baby will wiggle to find the breast, and will let you know if he is not comfortable. Another signal that your position may need adjusting is if nursing is very painful.
While no one said it was a comfortable feeling, it should not be extremely painful either. Baby may need to be adjusted to get a better latch, and nurse with ease. Try out lots of positions and add variety. You and your baby are in this together, and you are both learning. You will figure it out in no time.
3 Being Obsessed With The Latch
Yes, it is important that baby latches correctly. The entire nipple, and most of the areola (the dark brown area) should be inside the baby's mouth. This ensures a good latch which allows baby to pull the milk with a sucking motion. The concern becomes that not all babies will latch the same way. Some will take less of the areola, and others will take more.
Don't break the latch every time because it doesn't look exactly like a picture you have seen online. That latch may have been perfect for you and your baby. In that case, all you will do by continuing to break the latch is to frustrate your hungry baby and yourself. Do some research, take some time, and let baby get comfortable.
At first, breastfeeding hurts even if a latch is perfect. Your sensitive nipples are being sucked on, and they may even crack or bleed. Over time, they will toughen up, and you will know when your baby is latching the way they should be.
2 Wanting To Quit To Soon
I have known too many moms who have quit too early on. Some have given up as early as the first day. Whether they are scared about baby getting enough milk, or the pain is too much, they decide they are just not cut out for this and they quit. YOU CAN DO THIS! You just created a life inside of you, and carried it for 9 months.
You made it through delivery and recovery, and all kinds of things you could never have imagined. This too shall pass, and it will get easier. The health benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mom are incredible. At some point, it will be so entirely natural that you won't even remember struggling with it. Invite over a friend who has nursed, and let them give some advice.
Ask a family member to come over and cuddle baby while you take a shower and a nap. Just know that you are capable of this, and quitting won't get you there.
1 Mom Is Hard On Herself
Having one of those days where you have been spit up on, pooped on, and don't remember the last thing you ate or the last time you slept? Is your baby crying, and fussing, and you just need 5 minutes to yourself? Give the baby a pacifier, swaddle them, and spend that 5 minutes taking a shower, or eating a sandwich. Afraid that the bottle you gave is creating nipple confusion?
Give yourself a break. You are doing a terrific job. Your baby won't grow up to be any less healthy or smart or loving if you sneak a bottle here and there, or forget to swaddle them tightly enough so they sleep through the night. Some babies don't sleep through the night for years. None of this makes you a bad parent, it just makes you a parent.
Your child will turn out just fine, and you will get through this, just like every woman who has come before you.
Sources: ActiveBeat.com Romper.com