Breastfeeding is easy. It’s so easy you don’t need to prepare, it will be a magical experience from start to finish.
Breastfeeding is hard! It’s so hard! Don’t get me wrong it is a beautiful thing, there’s a bond between you and your baby that you aren’t going to get anywhere else. But even a rose has thorns.
Whenever you scroll through Facebook or Instagram you see all those mommas talk about how much they love breastfeeding or how they are exclusively breastfeeding without any problems. They make it look like it’s so easy you’ll eat rainbows and poop butterflies!
What you don’t see are the cracked nipples and plugged milk ducts and nursing strikes (yeah, that’s a thing…). The things that make breastfeeding hard.
Well, I’ll be the first one to admit that it is freaking hard even after you’ve been doing it a while. Now don’t get me wrong I loved breastfeeding. I cried when my little guy was done, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard.
But there are things that can help make it easier when you hit a roadblock or when it gets hard but you want to push through it.
What you need to be successful at breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is like labor, everyone’s experience is different. I never got mastitis but I had a plugged milk duct at least once a week and my friend was lucky enough to get mastitis 3 times.
But just because everyone’s experience is different doesn’t mean there are common issues that you can learn how to deal with (or prevent).
Stacey at Milkology has a great course that goes over everything you need to know about breastfeeding. From the common issues to the how-to’s.
I didn’t take the class until I was no longer breastfeeding (I know, I did it backward) but she answered questions that never was answered for me. It was more informative than when I saw a lactation consultant (and cheaper too, it’s only $19).
It’s a great course for first-time moms or any mom that wants a refresher on breastfeeding. She goes over what to expect during the first few months of breastfeeding and how to keep your supply up before you lose your supply.
The course is the best thing you can get to prepare for breastfeeding while you’re pregnant. Check out her course here.
Make a nursing station
You’re definitely going to need one of these! It’s nice to have everything in one spot so you aren’t stressed about where everything is.
You’ll want to make sure that you put your nursing station in a place that is pretty neutral, like in your room if that’s where the baby sleeps or the nursery by the rocking chair. That way when you’re tired and have mommy brain you won’t have to stress about tracking down those nursing pads.
Here are some things that need to go into your nursing station:
- water bottle – you are going to need A LOT of water! This is the most important thing you need in your nursing station. If you don’t get enough water your milk will tank (haha see what I did there?!). You won’t produce enough if you are dehydrated and you’ll notice that while your breastfeeding you are going to be parched, like all of a sudden. It’s weird!
- nursing pads – you won’t need a lot but you’ll need some while your milk is regulating itself out
- snacks – you will be starving, so you definitely need snacks close by. Making milk is hard work. You’ll want snacks that are healthy and help with milk production
- heating pad – you will need one if you get a plugged duct. It also helps you release more milk when you’re pumping
- lactation tea – this one is my favorite. It would help boost my production up when my little guy was going through a growth spurt
- nipple cream – sometimes you get chapped nipples (I know it’s awful) so you should put nipple cream in your station just in case. You can get some from your doctor or the hospital when you have your baby.
- night light – you shouldn’t turn on the lights when you are doing a night feeding. It will wake your baby up and you will not go back to sleep. So get a night light, we love out hatch night light because you can use it forever! Not just during the newborn stage (we love this one!).
You can put your nursing station where ever you want but I would suggest putting it on something with wheels, like a cart or those wheeled drawers. It’s nice to be able to have something that’s mobile and can move room to room. I didn’t have something that was mobile and I wished I would have.
Like I said before making milk is hard work and if you don’t get enough water your milk supply might drop the next day (at least it did for me) so when you need to boost your milk supply you should make a boobie smoothie!
This is the BEST lactation smoothie that I found that helped boost your milk the fastest! It’s from Swaddles and Bottles. You use 1 banana, 1/2 cup oats, 2 tbsp flax seed, 1-2 tbsp Brewer’s Yeast, 1 1/2 cup soy or almond milk, and 1-2 cups of ice. Put it all in a blender and voila! You have the best boobie smoothie!
She gives tips so that it’s not chunky and talk about other things to boost your supply. I would check out her post!
Some people don’t like the taste of brewers yeast but in this smoothie, it’s not bad. I used this one from Amazon and there is little to no taste, so I would highly recommend you invest in some if you are planning on succeeding while And if you really can’t handle the taste you can add a little cinnamon and more banana.
If you need a quick fix to boost your supply this will do the trick.
Water, Water, Water!
I mentioned how important drinking water is while breastfeeding earlier in the post but it is SO important! This is the single most important thing to do while breastfeeding!
The amount of water you drink affects your milk supply. If you are struggling with your milk supply (or want to increase it) increase your water intake.
There are apps that can help you remember to drink water and track it. If you don’t want to use an app you can write it down in your planner. That way you will be reminded all the time when you write down all the baby appointments you now have.
Get nursing compatible clothes
Even if you don’t want to nurse in front of other people you are still going to need to be able to whip your boob out when it’s time to nurse.
There are a lot of different styles to nursing shirts/bras/clothes so you can still have style while nursing your baby. I would suggest that getting flowy shirts like this one so that you will be comfortable and have easy access to feed your baby.
When I was nursing getting the right nursing bra was the hardest. I would try one and it wouldn’t give me the support I needed (you boobs get BIG when they are full and it’s not the good kind of big). So don’t be afraid to try different kinds. If you go to motherhood they will measure you so you know what size to buy now. Even if you don’t get any from motherhood (which is okay, btw) you’ll know what to look for now.
There are nursing bras without underwire that are supportive. So don’t feel like you need to give up style for comfort or vice-versa. Find what you like, even if it takes couple of trys.
Give yourself some slack
Nursing is hard! It doesn’t matter whether your baby latches right away or if they have trouble latching. Every momma has a hard time in the beginning. That’s why there are lactation consultants and breastfeeding courses.
So it’s okay to cry and hate it. Every momma has moments like that so don’t beat yourself up about it. Once you get through the hard part it’s smooth sailing.
So when you leak through your bra or your baby just doesn’t want to latch it’s okay to take a break and try again in a minute. Hang in there momma you got this!
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