SURVIVING THE EARLY WEEKS OF BREASTFEEDING
If you have followed me on my blog for a while, or follow me on any social media, you will know that I have been breastfeeding Teddy for almost 16 months. We didn’t have the easiest start to our breastfeeding journey, after a 55 hour labour & forceps delivery, I had to syringe feed Teddy my colostrum for 24 hours due to him not latching. It took numerous attempts and various positions before we cracked it & we’ve been happily (most of the time) boobing ever since. I absolutely love breastfeeding and I don’t see us stopping anytime just yet, but the early days are bloody hard work! I thought I would share with you my tips on surviving the early weeks of breastfeeding.
Whether it is your partner, a close friend or strangers on the internet; I know I never would have survived the early weeks without an army of people supporting me every step of the way. I found daytime hours fine! Aaron was home for three weeks due to paternity leave, family stopped by & I felt fine. I also had the amazing support of my sister who had breastfed all of her babies so knew all the right things to say! However during the night, the endless clusterfeeding.. it is probably the loneliest I have ever felt. You can feel like you are the only person awake, all hours of the night. This is where the online community & whatssap groups saved my life & kept me sane (ish). This is my number one tip for sure.
As I mentioned, I had to try numerous positions with Teddy before we found the one that worked for us! We used the crossover hold, which is where you support your babies head with the opposite hand to the breast you will be feeding from. I think finding out what makes you feel most comfortable and secure really can make all the difference. We also co-slept exclusively when he was tiny, so laying down was also a position we used ALOT. It helped us get a little more sleep than I think we would have done without it.
Weigh Your Baby
One of the things that unsettled me the most about breastfeeding in the early days was you had absolutely no idea how much they were eating! I always worried that Teddy wasn’t getting enough milk and that he would be losing weight. We got him first weighed when he was 5 days old & he had only lost 4% of his birth weight, which the breastfeeding support worker said was amazing! They usually allow babies to lose up to 10% before they start to look more into it. By 10 days old, he had gained all his weight back & more. We got him weighed every two weeks for the first five/six months and then we dropped to every month. There is nothing more rewarding than taking your baby to get weighed and seeing them successfully gain, all from your milk. It gives you such peace of mind and you really feel like you are doing a job well done. WHICH YOU ARE.
Especially Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream! I used this every day for the first two months, even though I never really suffered from sore nipples, I still had the odd day where I thought my nipples might fall off due to a tiny human chomping on them 24/7. I would apply it anyway just to act as an extra barrier and protective layer. What I love about the Lansinoh range is that you can leave it on whilst you feed your baby so you don’t have to remember to remove it. In the early days, babies feed A LOT, so you would be constantly applying, removing & reapplying. Aint no new mama got time for that!
A new parents best friend. Day or night, I was binge watching something. During the night feeds I remember watching a lot of Married At First Sight, and not just the English version. OH NO. I had the American & English version completed too! If Aaron was keeping me company, I know he watched a lot of Hunted. The nights are LONGGG, or so it feels, so find your happy place with your favourite tv program and binge the shit out of it. Netflix was also my go to!
If I had to give one top tip on surviving the early weeks of breastfeeding, to a new mum, it would be stock up on your favourite snacks and stash them in numerous rooms around the house. I used to take a bowl of snacks up to bed with me every night (no shame) and keep them by the side of my bed for the night feeds. I say feeds like there were numerous… it was really one long feed for around six/seven hours LOL. I promise it does calm down, it might not feel like it but the continuous feeding doesn’t last forever.
I hope these tips helped, or if you have BEEN THERE DONE THAT, i’d love to know if any of these relate to your breastfeeding journey!