Yesterday marked my first six weeks of breastfeeding, and I wanted to write a bit about it to share my experience. Although it may seem like it at first, I don’t intend to scare anyone away who might be considering it; rather, I’m writing this to encourage those who are currently in the thick of it (meaning the first few weeks). Everyone’s experience will be different, of course, but this is mine.
I don’t want to complain too much about our night feeds, because I’m at least grateful that my baby sleeps at night (mostly). The first few weeks he was up every two hours, and now at six weeks he’s up every three. I hear horror stories from other moms who still spend their nights like I spent my first few nights (nursing all night long). Still, I feel VERY sleep deprived most days. It is getting better, though. Last night, on Damian’s Six-Week mark (coincidently), he slept for a six-hour stretch. I was amazed.
I remember reading this quote on Pinterest a while back:
Anyway, if I could provide any tips from my first six weeks of breastfeeding, here’s what they would be:
1. Don’t quit just because your nipples are in pain. Seriously, I remember thinking I’d rather go through my natural labor and delivery again than feel any more nipple pain. It was horrible. If you suspect latch may be an issue (especially if your baby isn’t getting enough wet diapers, etc.), speak to a lactation consultant. If the latch is fine, push through it. Use the lanolin and shells between nursing. I never thought my nipple pain would end, but then it did, and I was so glad I stuck with it. If you’re still feeling a lot of pain after the first few weeks, though, I’d talk to a lactation consultant again, check for lip/tounge ties, etc.
2. There will be days when it seems like you’re nursing ALL. DAY. LONG. You’ll get comments from people saying things like, “He’s starving… Are you sure you have enough milk in there?… Just give him a bottle already.” But if your baby is having the requisite soiled diapers and is meeting weight gain goals set by his doctor, ignore them. As you’ve probably read elsewhere, when your baby nurses all day long he’s building up your supply. Some people just don’t understand.3. If you are really tired, try the side-lying breastfeeding position. That way, you can drift in and out of sleep while your baby nurses.
4. Stick with it for at least six weeks. If at six weeks it still isn’t working, reevaluate your situation. By six weeks (maybe a little earlier, actually) I knew that it’s something I wanted to do. But it’s not for everyone. And that’s okay. Just give it at least six weeks.
And even though I’ve written quite a bit, I feel like I should have more to say about it. And maybe I do, but I can’t think of it right now. Perhaps it’s the sleep deprivation. Who knows. 🙂