5 Things I’d Tell Myself (and Any New Mom) About Breastfeeding

21 months breastfeeding

You’d think a kid who’s strictly had breast milk for almost two years has been a pro at latching on and staying on said breast from the beginning. Actually, Humnoy’s first feed wasn’t well until after he shot outta the birth canal. I was all in a daze from my womanly prowess so I only know his delay in initiating breastfeeding from my birth story, written by our doula:

“…brought back to his Mama, and she tried breastfeeding right away. Humnoy wasn’t quite ready, but did get the hang of it fairly quickly.”

It was against my fantasy of the perfect first latch as per the most recurring advice of “put him on breast immediately!” Humnoy was literally too alert to notice my rookie attempts to get the milk going. He preferred looking around the birth room or at his grandmother than my hanging nipple. It wasn’t the most romantic of starts to a mostly problem-free breastfeeding but it was the start. Don’t be fooled- I went on to have quite the full experience of sore nipples and neck strain later that evening and for the 21 months following. There are quite a few things I would have loved to tell my new mom self just as I would to new nursing moms:

1) “Colostrum is exactly all he needs.” I was so self-conscious about his crying because, hell, I was a newb mom and this tiny little dude was crying every three hours and my superstitious mom kept shoving herbal remedies in my face to get my milk in ‘faster.’ It’s important to remember a day old baby’s stomach capacity is up to 5-7 ml, or about the size of a marble so, yes, colostrum is perfect. Don’t freak.

Infant stomach capacity from La Leche League International

2) “Newborns eat a lot. Like, a lot.” So please don’t get mad at your brand new crying baby in his bassinet just because you ‘just fed him.’ He’s hungry, that’s all it is, so please feed him. See? All he wanted was boob!

3) “Sleep with your baby, it’s completely okay.” We got a crib, a bassinet, and all the other itemized sleep items for new parents. Why didn’t anybody tell me that co-sleeping was the answer to my sleep-deprived prayers and solution to a constantly hungry baby? Well, now I/you know.

4) “People aren’t gonna like it.” People aren’t gonna like that you nurse in public. People aren’t gonna like you nursing a kid with teeth. People aren’t gonna like how you introduced solids. People also aren’t gonna like anything that you do with your child. This applies to every aspect of parenthood, not just breastfeeding so we’re all screwed. Just remember that you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t think it was best so do it.

5) “It gets so, so much easier.” You’re pretty much ready to give up. It’s hard or painful and usually hard and painful (engorgement or mastitis?). You’re going to go as far as you can with breastfeeding than you’d ever imagine. It can only get better, I promise.

What would you tell yourself at the beginning at your breastfeeding journey?

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23 thoughts on “5 Things I’d Tell Myself (and Any New Mom) About Breastfeeding

  1. I would def tell myself those same things AND that it’s okay to ask for help, because it doesn’t always come intuitively. AND I’d tell myself that using the nipple shield at first does not make me a failure, because here I am 12 months in and nursing without it since about 6 weeks, which is so much better than just giving up and going to formula.

  2. It took me 4 weeks to realize that all my baby and I wanted was to be together. Such good sleep after that. Going strong on 20 months of breastfeeding (and great sleep).

  3. Love this! I would have told myself that I would know instinctively when to start giving solids. My daughter wasn’t ready until about 12 months, and she only gets fruit. She is 13 months now and still about 95% breastfed. She loves passionfruit. I would also tell myself not to wear a bra. Boobs were designed to hang. I have worn a bra thrice and got blocked ducts each time, along with hefty bleb. Yes, they were specially fitted maternity bras. Just fitted tank tops for me now! …kind of freeing, actually 🙂

    • I *hate* bras too. You’re right – they’re meant to dangle about! I do so at hole but when I need to ‘fill a shirt out,’ I begrudgingly put on a bra. Hmmph.

      Solids are a tricky thing with babies. I never understood the arbitrary age to start and why because every baby is so different. Humnoy started at 5.5 months because of his crazy advancements and people were down my throat! He’s an amazing eater and has no allergies and still bewb feeds. So, obviously, I think I listened to my instincts just fine. 😉

  4. Pingback: Why 2012 Was Better than 2011, the Birth of My Son | The Laotian Commotion

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