The secret thing that no one tells you about until you’re very late in your pregnancy or starting to struggle with it yourself, is that breastfeeding is really hard. It’s extremely rare that a newborn baby will squirm up to your boob, pop themselves on, and began to drink back that delicious milk with little to no effort. In reality, newborn babies are barely aware, have super tiny mouths and need to be taught how to breastfeed, and your nipples get sucked raw!
If breastfeeding is important to you I recommend doing some research and reaching out for help if you need it. Know that you’re not alone and many other new moms struggle with breastfeeding. Below are some of the struggles I went through, and make sure to check out my breastfeeding tips and breastfeeding essentials.
My little guy tended to favour one side over the other and would sometimes cry and cry on the one side. I still don’t know if it was from having a different nipple size, or because he was getting too much milk too fast, or not enough, but I continued to try different things and eventually it sorted itself out.
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Cracked and bleeding nipples are a real thing, and it really really hurts! If after a week you are still finding breastfeeding to be painful then something is wrong. I struggled with discomfort for about a week and a half before it became quite painful and I realized something wasn’t quite right. With a bunch of research and some helpful tips, I was able to adjust the latch and breastfeeding became much more comfortable.
It takes a lot of time! Some babies are power eaters, and my baby has gotten much better, but at the beginning he could easily take 45 minutes to feed which would take up pretty much all of his awake time and leave us with maybe 10 minutes before he had to go to sleep again. I felt like I barely got to see my baby awake, and it was even worse for Matt and our family who were so eager to see him all of the time. It also got exhausting when he went through his first growth spurt and he breastfed for a total of 8 hours in a 24 hour period! I felt doomed to be stuck under a baby all day every day, but as with everything, this too shall pass, and slowly but surely it did.
Related Post: Nursing Essentials
Overall I feel quite lucky for those to be my main challenges with breastfeeding. Many other women face challenges like low milk production, overproduction, and tongue ties. I don’t say this to scare you away from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a truly special experience, and breastmilk is so so good for babies, and with the right support you have much higher chances of success. Just be prepared that there will likely be some challenges and reach out for help when you need it. I found my midwives to be extremely helpful, but you can also find breastfeeding tips online, and attend a local Le Leche League meeting.