This blog is a collaboration of real Mommy’s Bliss moms and dads based on our real experiences as parents who’ve been there.
Breastfeeding. Exhausting, stressful, and yes, amazing!
Let’s talk about lactation support, questions, answers and what it’s really like.
Breastfeeding – blissful moments of nourishment, connection and bonding, right? Well, the short answer is yes, but it’s not the only answer. For some new moms, breastfeeding is just as you imagined…natural and with little or no bumps in the road. For others, it takes time, patience, and lots of help. And still for others, it may not happen at all. There’s nothing like a personal journey story, aka, the truth, to put this often- challenging postpartum chapter into perspective. It’s reality time. Not only is breastfeeding challenging, but you’re learning a new skill at a time when you are dealing with so much newness…new baby, new life, new forms of exhaustion, postpartum blues and the list goes on.
Finding the best support for your unique path is important. A lactation consultant can help with latching, positioning your baby, nutrition, schedules, and increasing your milk supply. Reach out to this invaluable resource even before baby arrives to prepare yourself physically and mentally for what’s ahead. Reach out after for troubleshooting expertise.
No matter what path the journey takes you, providing nourishment for your little one to grow – makes you amazing. So, be kind to yourself and remember, even if breastfeeding isn’t your path, that’s ok. And if it is, read on…we’ve got tools and tips and personal stories to remind you that you’re not alone…and you’re amazing.
Each breastfeeding story is as unique as each baby, and these stories can hopefully offer reassurance, ease any guilt, and get you on the path you choose with a side of (as stated above) bliss, connection, and nourishment. Let’s start with some basics.
- Breastfeeding is great and the benefits are undeniable.
- The nutrients in breastmilk are unmatched by any other first food your baby can receive and these nutrients are amazingly designed to be easily absorbed and digested.
- Breastmilk helps to boost baby’s immune system and balance tiny bellies.
- Breastfeeding may contribute to postpartum weight loss in some women, but not all. To lose your baby weight, remember to eat protein-fiber-rich whole foods, stay hydrated and incorporate any type of movement/exercise that you’re able to. Remember to avoid eating fewer than 1500-1800 calories per day though as this may affect your milk supply.
- Babies’ tummies are tiny, and it doesn’t take much to fill them up. That said, you’ll need to feed your newborn 8-12 times in a 24-hour period – that’s a lot. This is good for your baby and signals your body to keep making milk.
- One of the easiest ways to know if your baby is getting enough is to pay attention to what comes out. Frequent poops and wet diapers tell a big part of the story. You’ll also know if your baby is content after feeding, is gaining weight and your breasts feel soft afterwards.
- How much milk your baby needs will change as they grow, and your body will amazingly adjust to these changes. If baby is having a growth spurt, for example, they may want to nurse more often for longer periods of time. Again, your body will adjust. -Feedings may last 15-20 minutes per breast, but again, each situation is unique. Follow baby’s lead.
- Try feeding from the fuller breast first, burp them, then move on to the other. This will keep your breasts from becoming overly full and engorged.
- Remember, babies aren’t born knowing how to breastfeed either. Some latch perfectly, and others need guidance. Latching is how your baby attaches during breastfeeding. If a latch isn’t good, it can cause pain, inadequate milk transfer and poor weight gain. All of this adds up to stress for mom and baby.
Latching shouldn’t be painful but gentle, tugging or pulling. If you hear baby swallowing and their nose is lined up with your nipple, you’re doing it correctly.
Getting help for this all-important step is everything and can help eliminate problems before they begin.
Let’s hear what real parents at Mommy’s Bliss navigated breastfeeding. The good. The bad. And the ugly. But they all got through it with a little help from their friends, their network and Mommy’s Bliss Lactation Support + Probiotics supplements (link) to support mom’s immune and digestive health and promote milk supply.
Ok team, tell us everything.
“We welcomed twins, so we were able to supplement supply with excess from a fellow mom in the postpartum network we forged. While it requires vulnerability, asking others in your network if they can assist, in addition to medical providers should be more acceptable and it’s always helpful to ask for what you need. Since twins require more, we also used formula, so a Formula Pro mixer was a valuable investment for our household. This device automatically makes a warm formula bottle instantly with no measuring or mixing. Keeping a strict routine and being able to just press a button to "brew" some consumable-ready nutrition for our infants helped us feel more at ease. Telling ourselves that the babies' nutritional growth was more important than the mechanism used (e.g., breastfeeding, formula, etc.) and that allowed us to sleep better (those ~3 glorious hours a day)”
I breastfed my son, George for 6 months, but from early on (about 2 weeks in) we pumped bottles as well and then combo feeding with formula about a month later. I had a lot of anxiety about all the things I read (and was told by lactation consultants/nurses) that if I didn't stick exclusively with breastfeeding for at least the first 4 weeks, he would have trouble latching and we would fail at breastfeeding. I wish I could go back and say to myself "Hey, don't sweat it too much - just do your best!" We lucked out with a pretty adaptable baby, so we went in on combo feeding with pumped milk in bottles, breastfeeding and formula around month 2. I was always a "just enough" kind of producer so never built up a stash, but George was growing well, so after the first 2 months we got in a rhythm, and it was less stressful. He had no problems soaking it all up and getting chunky by that point LOL. I basically stopped breastfeeding at 6 months when he bit me. It was nice to connect with baby through breastfeeding but honestly, I didn't miss it when we were done either.”
“One of the most insightful things someone once told me was that if you are breastfeeding, your baby can smell you so distinctly that if you are trying to rest in the same room, not only will they have a hard time resting, but so will you. Kind of goes back to another reason behind shifts and mama taking her sleep shift in another room!”
“I did breastfeed, and it was one of the most difficult things both physically and mentally that I was definitely not prepared for. It took a few weeks to get my son to latch right and to eat enough without hurting me. By that time, my milk supply wasn't up to where he needed to fill his belly, so we had to supplement with formula. I'd feed him as much as I could and then my husband would give him a bottle with formula. Having my husband feed him the bottle vs. me was a key factor from our lactation consultant so my son would only associate breastfeeding with me and bottle feeding with his dad and not prefer one of us over the other. We ended up having to supplement with formula for about a month and then were able to switch to just breastfeeding. I breastfed full time until he was about 7 months old and then we were able to start introducing solids into his diet. He continued breastfeeding/bottle from pumping until he was 2 years old. If I could go back to that first month of breastfeeding, I'd wish I had known how hard breastfeeding really is. I hadn't really talked to anyone about it before. I was the last of my friends & family to have a baby, but no one talked about the struggle of breastfeeding, so I assumed it was a natural thing that just happened. When it didn't 'just happen' I got very down on myself and thought I was failing as a mother. I wish I had known that even though it is natural, it can also be very difficult and doesn't just happen. It definitely takes consistency, dedication and hard work.”
“I breastfed my son, Dani, for 6 months but he just wouldn’t latch. My husband was worried about my pain and seeing Dani resist, he convinced me to stop trying. That’s when I switched to pumping and added formula as well. Looking back, I really wish I had pushed harder for him to latch. It’s a huge regret of mine, and I’ll try my absolute hardest if I ever get the chance again.”
“I breastfed my son, Eli for 6 months and it was never enough. He would fall asleep, wouldn’t latch and would get fussy before I could switch sides which left me engorged and in pain. I was determined to make it work but it just didn’t. He was not getting what he needed, but once I let go of the guilt and started bottle feeding, a giant weight was lifted, and he began to gain weight at rapid speed. Peace of mind was worth bottle feeding for me. My second son, Van, latched immediately, and it was exactly how I imagined it should be…until it wasn’t. I over-nursed him on day two and was left bleeding, sore, and unable to continue. Plus, my older son was interfering with the feeding and disruptive, so I switched to a bottle on day 5. Two bottle fed babies. A fair amount of guilt. And guess what? They are both fine, strong, healthy, and happy. It was my journey and while it wasn’t what I expected, it was absolutely fine. I wish I knew that then.”
Real stories. Real struggles. Real reasons to grab the challenge with both hands (and both breasts) and decide what’s best for you and your baby without guilt. You are doing amazing, and this is hard. Ask for help, professional or from your fellow moms, partner, and Mommy’s Bliss parents. Never forget - no matter how you choose to feed your baby, it’s a personal choice and the best one for you.
This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.