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When it comes to breastfeeding, there truly is a learning curve. Many women work to overcome an abundance of obstacles. My blog post about breastfeeding difficulties highlights struggles many breastfeeding mothers face.
Breastfeeding is a full time job. If you choose to breastfeed for a full year, you could be spending up to 1,800 hours with your baby latched to you. An average full time job is about 1,900 hours.
Going through the postpartum period twice now, there are quite a few things I have learned about breastfeeding. Here are a few things that nobody told me.
Over the first few weeks of breastfeeding, you will be latching your baby a lot. Over a dozen times on average every day for the first few days. Much like your hands need to blister while lifting weights at the gym, your nipples may blister, bleed and peel getting used to the friction of proper latching. This can feel worse if your baby has any lip ties or a tongue tie. I remember screaming out in pain for the first two and a half weeks of this process.
What I have found is if you can get through three weeks of breastfeeding, you’re just about in the clear for the healing process.
Here are a few items that can help you while you get started.
You’ll want to apply this after every feeding, and wipe it off after nursing. The ingredients are made to soothe and moisturize your nipples.
These saved us while experiencing the blistering-bleeding phase of breastfeeding. I believe that part is what prompts most women to give up.
Once your milk comes in you may feel engorged, a lactation massager can aid in reducing swelling caused by restricted blood flow. It can also be used later to aid in letdowns and help relieve clogged ducts.
Silver is an antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial metal. It contains anti-inflammatory properties to aid in preventing cuts, cracks wounds or infections.
It. Takes. Time
Trust me, we have all seen the mother on social media who has a drastic oversupply of breastmilk. Or we know someone who is able to pump 60 extra ounces per day on top of breastfeeding their infant. Those people are outliers in the milk production world. Most women do produce more breastmilk than their infant needs, but not that much breastmilk. Women like myself can do just about everything to increase milk production and still end up without a freezer stash when they need to go back to work.
A mother’s body takes about 6-12 weeks to regulate their milk supply. Some women naturally take more, some women can take less. As long as your baby is growing, and has 5-6 wet diapers per day (excluding the first week of life) you are making enough.
Please don’t look at the person who is pumping an oversupply and think, why can’t I do that? Pumping anything extra after feeding your baby IS an oversupply.
It. Gets. Easier
This is the part that takes an incredible amount of patience and perseverance. Once you and your baby get into a good rhythm, it becomes second nature. At first, your baby could be nursing for 20-30 minutes at a time all day every day. Once your supply regulates and your baby gets stronger this may turn into 5-10 minute nursing sessions.
Everyone has a different experience with breastfeeding. If you’re struggling please know that you’re not alone. If it works out for you, that’s great. If it doesn’t, YOU’RE still great.
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