Dear New Breastfeeding Mom: It Will Get Better
This my friends is all I wanted to hear when I started breastfeeding my baby girl. “It will get better.” Seriously the only thing. Everyone tried to give me tips or tell me “you know it’s ok to give formula.” Which is true, but that wasn’t part of my plan and I wasn’t going to budge. I just needed and wanted the encouragement to keep going.
When we (you and I) decide to breastfeed we read all about all the amazing benefits and feel like its just going to work because it’s natural. But sometimes those first 6-8 weeks are the hardest and some of us have issues. Most people have zero problems and I am jealous of them.
Funny thing… See I’m actually a CLS (Certified Lactation Specialist) and became one right before finding out I was pregnant. Yes it’s odd. Being a CLS before I even nursed a baby of my own, but it was for my job and it is my favorite part.
She wasn’t into the breastfeeding photoshoot and refused to so we faked it. She’s camera shy.
Let me tell you my breastfeeding journey so far… I’m going to be totally real here… I want you to be encouraged and not afraid. This is a story about breastfeeding success.
I was nervous about breastfeeding because to be seriously honest I had slightly flat nipples (TMI? It is a post about breastfeeding though what do you expect ha), but right from the beginning baby girl latched right on. Fantastic. About a week into it I had severe nipple pain. Like I was about to just hand over my nipples to baby girl and tell her to just keep them. Other people came over to help me… and nothing helped.
Stupid me (really it was the lack of sleep and new mom brain) didn’t even think to look in her mouth. I’ve diagnosed many lip ties and tongue ties and didn’t even think to look in my own babies mouth. When I did I saw a severe lip tie! Duh that would make sense. Within a day I found a MD locally that would fix it, we headed there and with one little snip the problem was mostly fixed. Yes it sounds terrible and extreme to get the skin snipped, but baby girl was more mad about being naked then the procedure itself.
When babies have this fixed it usually resolves the problem instantly… But of course it was just one hurdle. Baby girl had to relearn how to nurse. The first week after the procedure she actually lost weight. Of course I started freaking out, but I was determined.. I went to my work and kept getting her weight checked, I saw an IBCLC at the hospital, and went to weekly weight checks for 3 weeks at the doctors. The second week after the procedure she started gaining weight and we didn’t have to supplement ever. Quote by my doctor when she lost weight “most doctors would tell you to supplement, but a good doctor would give you one more week.” That he did, and that next week she gained 6 ounces. He was such a good doctor. I did take fenugreek for a few weeks which might of helped. Personally, I think it was God’s grace.
Then there was the mental hurdle… I kept weighing her even though the doctor said everything was fine. I stressed. I stressed even more because she was the slowest eater on the planet. I couldn’t handle it. Would she do this forever? I came to peace with it eventually and told myself that was the way it was going to be.
But guess what? Things got better! They got better right around that 6-8 week mark. Everything turned around and it was like having a totally different baby. She started gaining good weight. She’s now a chunk. Breastfeeding continues to get better now that she is almost 5 months. She can eat is 5-20 minutes. I never thought I would say that.
Breastfeeding can be as much of a mental battle that it is a physical battle. But I’m here to tell you it will get better. Have positive friends, lactation consultants, and doctors to rally around you. Don’t let the negative talk and thoughts take over. So many people (including my family) told me to give her formula and made me doubt myself, but I knew the possible consequences to my milk supply. I graciously told them “thank you, but that’s ok we are going to breastfeed” or I would just nod and smile.
At the same time don’t feel bad if you had to use formula or it didn’t work out. You tried and did a good job no matter how long you did it for! Your baby got your liquid gold! You should be proud!
Now I can say that I enjoy breastfeeding her. All of our problems have disappeared and my skinny girl that had a hard time gaining weight has a double chin and rolls on her thighs.
I hope this post was encouraging to you! I hope you can look past all my problems to see that breastfeeding will get better!
One of the best resources for breastfeeding is Kellymom.com. They have an article on just about every problem or question you may have.
You may also like…
Amy I love that you posted this! I spent so much time preparing for my first that I didn’t even think it would be hard to breastfeed since it is such a natural thing! I lasted three months and felt terrible. But I’m determined to try longer for my next baby! You are such an encouraging new momma!
Thank you! There are a million things to think about when you have your first baby it can be stressful! You lasted longer than most people so you should feel proud girl! For the next baby, if you have any problems get ahold of me ASAP! I love helping mammas and I will make house calls haha.
Oh, I had so much trouble breastfeeding! I really felt unprepared for how hard it was. My little girl had a tongue tie, too, and I had excruciating pain, a yeast infection, blocked milk ducts, you name it! I used a nipple shield for 8 weeks because that was the only way I could bear to nurse. My little one always took an hour to feed, and often wanted one feed right after another. She cluster fed all evening and if I put her down before 11 or midnight she always woke up wanting to nurse again! I felt so resentful, too, because in the early days I had lots of people around to help with the baby, but she wanted none of it – only to be sucking on me constantly, so nobody could take her off my hands.
But yes, it got better! She’s 4 months old now and can feed fully in 20 minutes, and eats just about every 2.5-3 hours. It’s like what I read in the books! I honestly can’t believe it, from where we started. But I am so glad I persevered.