Can we talk about breastfeeding without getting crazy defensive?
To start, this post is not bashing formula feeding moms, no matter what your reason is - nor is it to say that breastfeeding moms are better or worse than formula feeding moms.
Feed your baby. As long as you're feeding your baby something age appropriate, I don't care. Like, don't feed your 2 week old hot sauce or a Big Mac and we're cool, pretty much.
Anyway, it breaks my heart to see mamas fail at breastfeeding because they're misinformed, they're listening to other mothers around them tell them how much easier and less stressful it is to just give up and switch to formula. They're giving these mamas false information, that they themselves sometimes believe - and convincing the mama who had her heart set on breastfeeding that she is not capable.
That her body, her breasts are not good enough to fulfill the purpose they were made for.
That she's failing as a mother and is better off just giving up and switching.
This is awful and appalling to me. These mamas need support! They need reassurance that they are doing well, they want tips so they can do better, they want advice so they know they're doing this right!
If I can help one, just one mama have a successful breastfeeding relationship with this post, that makes it worth it.
Tip 1: Don't judge your supply by what you pump.
I can tell you from experience, I produced enough milk to feed triplets. And I only had one baby. If I judged my supply by what I pumped, I'd have quit in the first week. I could pump for two hours and not get more than an ounce! A baby is infinitely more efficient at getting milk than a pump is, point blank.
Side note, keeping a blankie that smells like your baby and a picture of your baby closeby while you pump can help you pump more at a time.
Tip 2: Just because he's always eating, doesn't mean you're not making enough.
Cluster feeding is healthy and normal. As long as you're feeding on demand, baby is generally getting enough milk. He should have 1 wet diaper per day of life until 5 days old, and past that should stay about 5-6 wet diapers a day.
1 day old = 1 wet diaper
2 days old = 2 wet diapers
3 days old = 3 wet diapers
4 days old = 4 wet diapers
5 days old = 5 wet diapers
6+ days old = 5-6 wet diapers
They'll eat more often around certain times of day, as well as when they're teething, going through a growth spurt, or not feeling well. Let them feed as often as they want to. It will build your supply!
Tip 3: It hurts your nipples.
Many, many mamas don't realize that a bad latch will only equal pain for her and frustration for both parties. A good latch means the baby is latched on to more than just the nipple. Make sure baby's mouth is open wide and she gets most of the areola in her mouth as well.
It may help to look up lactation consultants in your area.
For already sore nipples, you can hand express a bit of breastmilk, rub onto the nipple and allow to air dry. This will promote healing and will soothe sore nipples.
Lanolin cream also helps many mamas, but in my experience made it worse. I recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter! Always, always allow to air dry after a feeding to prevent sore, cracked nipples.
It may also help to break the seal after a feeding by sliding your finger between baby's gums rather than letting her slide off the nipple when she's done.
It will hurt in the beginning. Don't give up.
There is no way to "toughen up" nipple skin. Attempting to do so will only hurt and frustrate you for nothing!
Tip 4: Drink water.
Tons of it. Drink water all day long and take in an extra 500 calories to keep your supply up! If it's been established that you do in fact have a low supply, oatmeal, mother's milk tea, lactation cookies and fenugreek will all help to increase your supply.
Tip 5: Do NOT supplement.
Supplementing will do nothing but hurt your supply. Only supplement if baby isn't gaining weight or making enough wet diapers! Supplementing means baby is at the breast less, which signals your body to produce less. If you do have to supplement, put baby to the breast before doing so to stimulate your body to increase its supply, and pump while giving a supplemented feeding!
Tip 5: Wait to introduce bottles or pacifiers.
Introducing too early can cause nipple confusion and negatively impact your breastfeeding relationship and your supply. It's generally recommended to wait 2-4 months before introducing either item.
When/if you do introduce, Soothie pacifiers are best for breastfed babies, and Breastflow bottles are also really great in my experience.
Tip 6: Don't give up.
I promise, you'll be thankful you didn't. It's heartbreaking how many mamas give up because they think they can't do it, and who regret it infinitely afterward.
Anyone with questions, feel free to message me and I will do my best to help you out. You can contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Breastfeeding :)