How much did you know about breastfeeding as a first-time mother? I, not much. I always thought it’s a natural way to feed a newborn baby. Once a mother offers them the breast, they feed on them on their own. It’s as simple as that.
How wrong I was. Breastfeeding as a first-time mother comes with its own set of challenges and curveballs. No two days ever seemed to be the same for me. Just when I thought giving birth was the hardest thing I have done, say hello to breastfeeding!
Breast do not produce milk right after delivery:
Firstly, breasts do not produce milk right after a woman gives birth to the baby. For a few of the mothers, the supply is immediate. But for a lot of mothers, it takes 2-3 days for the breasts to produce milk to feed the baby. I was able to feed the baby right after her birth and it may not be the case with a few of the first-time mothers.
Nipple irritation is fairly common in breastfeeding moms making it difficult for moms to feed the baby. Please check with your doctor on this. They should be able to advise you on ointments to use to minimize the pain. I ended up using nipple shields as the usual cleaning precautions and ointments were not enough for me. Nipple shields are my saviors and I thoroughly recommend them.
My doctor did warn me that the baby might get used to the shield and they won’t take the nipple ever again. I was fine with that. I just wanted my baby to feed properly and I should be able to do so.
There are many brands of Nipple shields available online. Or you check about them in your nearest pharmacy.
Fluctuating Milk supply:
This one is tricky. I was leaking for the first few days and the milk supply was in abundance. And then it decreased. My baby continues to ask for milk all the time and I just didn’t have any with me. I took the call of taking ayurvedic supplements to increase my milk supply. This is a personal decision and I would suggest you talk to your lactation expert before making the informed decision.
Breast pumps are a saviour:
Breast pumps saved me so many tears. I started using them after I read somewhere it helps in increasing milk production. Even after taking the supplements, I wasn’t lactating enough. My daughter would still ask for more.
My problem was resolved after I started pumping thrice a day. Three times a day was enough for me. My daughter stopped asking for more. I would breastfeed her and pumped milk in a bottle simultaneously. The nipple-bottle confusion didn’t happen in my case. But do keep an eye on this one.
Cluster feeding can be a real pain:
I so wish someone had told me about cluster feeding. It would have saved me so many tears. My baby would continuously want to latch to me. So much that, I would end up feeding her throughout the day and most of the nights. I would sit in one place, my back would be hurting so bad. I would often wonder what is wrong with me? Why can’t I feed her adequately? Why is she always asking to be fed?
Turns out, my daughter was using me as a pacifier. A quick chat with the lactation expert cleared my apprehensions. It is something that babies do when they get bored. There aren’t hungry in any way. I was advised to give the baby to other family members when I am not feeding her. I wish I knew this beforehand, I wouldn’t have felt so guilty all the time.