Some moms are fortunate to have an easy time breastfeeding. Pain-free, and baby latches perfectly the first time. And every time the child needs to eat, it’s just one big snuggle party for mom and baby.
Then there’s the other 90% of us who painfully struggle through the first 6 weeks, if we even make it through.
A lot of women give up. Not because they are weak. But because it hurts so effing much. On top of the physical pain, there’s the emotional pain.
These are just a few things that helped me get through the toe-curling pain of it all.
1. “I feel so emotional!”
Talk to someone who knows what you’re going through. A friend who is also a mom. Or find groups online. It may take a search or two, but there are plenty of women in need of support just as much as you are. Don’t be shy. Find someone to talk to and make a new friend.
2. Use pillows. Lots of them. Support your back, your arms, and of course baby!
Boppys worked for me for the first three months, after that, my baby was too big. I just always had a ton of pillows easily accessible.
3. Use lanolin!! It will save your nipples. If they are cracked and bleeding you DO NOT want them to dry out. They will scab. And baby will suck that scab right off. If you think getting those cracked nipples hurt, multiply this times ten.
Put lanolin on after every feeding. It is specific to open wound healing. It is safe for baby to ingest. This is so important! Use the lanolin. The brand I used is Lansinoh Lanolin .
If your nipples are bad, give them time to heal. It takes just a few feedings to get cracked and awful, but it takes a few weeks to heal. Just keep using the lanolin!
4. Use breast pads (I used Lansinoh Disposable Pads). These are two-fold. Since you’re using lanolin, the breast pads protect your bra from getting lanolin all over, not to mention the blood. Also, when you leak, the pads will absorb it, thus saving you from giant embarrassing wet spots on your adorable new nursing tank.
5. Buy a few decent nursing bras. Underwires are stupid and painful. For my first child I got crappy ones at Target. My second go around, I got some nice ones at Motherhood Maternity. Some of them had underwires. After two days, I cut them out. Now I love them.
Get measured before you buy. When I bought my new bras, I had been wearing two cup sizes too small. I teared up when I tried on the right size for the first time-I was preggo and emotional, but still!
6. Food and water. Always have a glass of water with you while you’re nursing. And if you can, have a healthy snack close by too. This is not a time to concern yourself with calories. Baby is taking all of your energy and nutrients so you need to eat all the time.
Breastfeeding is a really tough gig. Some of us have to really work at it to succeed. Just do the best you can, and try not to get too pissed off at the moms that say it was easy.
For more breastfeeding stories, visit The Breastfeeding Diaries at Zena’s Suitcase by clicking the link below: