Breastfeeding Tips from an (almost) Failed Breastfeeder

In the end, however you choose to feed your baby is right. It’s your decision. Don’t be bullied into thinking that breastfeeding is the only way or the wrong way, and same for formula feeding. Ya never know, this might be your first lesson in parenting: rolling with the punches, like it was for me.

Have you ever wanted something so much and thought about it endlessly, that when it finally is time for that thing to take place, and it doesn’t happen like you imagined or dreamed, you just feel like curling up and going back to sleep?

I’ve talked previously about the attempt to nurse my first and only, Josie, from day one. To recap, or if you haven’t read my previous blog (read it here) about why I care about helping moms – she just wouldn’t latch. Not kind of, not at all. My overwhelming love for her made her mad or something, I don’t know, and the doctors/nurses didn’t know either. We eventually got the hang of it with one another and I have breastfed her through 15 months old, so dreams do come true y’all.So, rewind for a second – I’m laying in the hospital bed, Josie is MAYBE 24 hours old. I have now had four or five different people juggle my boobs and try to shove them in different ways to get that lil girl to just do it already. [insert screaming baby that is starving], [insert engorged boobs from hearing that hungry babe], [insert multiple nurses and breastfeeding consultants saying “hmmm, I’m not sure why she’s not…”] –  super annoying, painful, emotionally draining, yada yada. Then, the second consultant comes in and announces that they are celebrating a “latching hour” out in the courtyard, which I could see from our room, in which people all over the world begin breastfeeding at once. They do this once a year in celebration of International Breastfeeding Week. I looked out the window and saw dozens of moms with their children, newborns through toddlers, breastfeeding at once. Oh my god, the universe literally just took it’s hand and smacked me across the face. [insert Josie still screaming]

There have been highs and lows on this journey, but I can tell you that if you are having trouble getting started OR are considering ending your breastfeeding journey earlier than you wanted to, just know that you are not alone. You’re not crazy for your feelings. Cut yourself a break for whatever you are feeling. Someone in the world is encountering this same tough time, and many women are experiencing something very similar. It’s alright girl, it will work out. I have some ideas that may help out, and may seem very simple, but it’s possible you haven’t considered these yet.

Check out these ideas!

  • I really believe that my hardheaded-ness is why Josie and I were able to eventually breastfeed. I offered her nursing at least 5 times a day until it took. It took time and lots of energy, plus lots of tears when she denied me each time, but it was worth it a million times over in the end.
  • When in doubt, turn to your mama bear instincts. You have these for a reason! P.S. If you are a super new mom or still pregnant and you don’t feel like you have these instincts, I think that’s common. My confidence didn’t show up until at least 2 weeks post-birth.
  • Ensure you have a support system, or at least one individual, around you that fully supports your journey – whatever that means for you.
  • Don’t get caught up in pumping if you don’t have to! If you’re a stay at home mom, you most likely will be with your baby 24/7, right? Be aware that pumping can confuse your supply. If you have to pump, of course, go for it, lady!
  • Remember, there is nothing wrong with supplementing. Register with Enfamil and Similac to receive awesome coupons in the mail. Some I received were $15.00 off per container. Formula is expensive AF and you never know if you’ll need it, so might as well have coupons.
  • Lanolin is a good ole classic to help for nipple pain, but I found more relief with Aquaphor ointment (in addition, it’s a great diaper rash fixer). Coconut oil also rocks for nipple discomfort and helping stretch marks disappear.
  • Affordable ways to help pain from engorgement: hot shower, warm compress, massage, and breast pads that have been put in the fridge to cool.
  • SKIP THESE ITEMS:
    • Soothing gel pads – They’re just too expensive for what they do – like I said, grab a couple of your disposable breast pads and toss them in the fridge.
    • Small nursing scarves – Get a big one if you’re into that style to cover yourself (or should I say, if you’re into covering at all).
    • Cheap nursing bras – Support is crucial and now isn’t the time to be chincy, take it from a woman that got mastitis, made worse by a super cheap & unsupportive nursing bra.
    • Breastfeeding nightlights and reminder clips for your bra – Listen, your boobs will tell you when they’re full and when to nurse on each side. Also, you don’t need a nightlight to clip on your bra, that’s just unnecessary.
  • I thought it would be a walk in the park, so I didn’t take a breastfeeding class. Ladies, GO TAKE A CLASS. Oh, the things I could have learned.
  • Beer is awesome if you need to increase your milk supply. Lactation cookies rock, tIn the end, however you choose to feed your baby is right. It’s your decision. Don’t be bullied into thinking that breastfeeding is the only way or the wrong way, and same for formula feeding. Ya never know, this might be your first lesson in parenting: rolling with the punches, like it was for me.

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Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a nurse, doctor, breastfeeding consultant, trained professional, etc. I hardly went to biology class in college. I have recently experienced this and would like to share what helped me get through it, in hopes that it can help someone else.

Author: marparmelee

Marley Bengier Mommin' in Virginia, USA Jamming to the current soundtrack of my life: 1. Toddler squeals 2. Coffee drips 3. Puppy yips 4. *Clink Clink* Cheers! (Is it naptime yet?) MARPARMELEE is short for Marley Parmelee, a family name.

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