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For me, nursing has been one of the most rewarding but most challenging parts of motherhood. Everyone has an opinion about it and I, for one, had no clue how to breastfeed… it was something so “natural” that did NOT come second-nature to me. But with lots of support, countless hours spent hooked up to a pump, cabbage leaves and nipple creams and pumping breaks and ice packs and mastitis and nursing sessions, we did it. I nursed Quinn for 14 months, Cooper for 12 months, and Emmy is going strong at 3.5 months. So how did we do it? Read on…
I got help… lots of help. I called the lactation consultant at the hospital, I went to a breastfeeding support group, I asked my girlfriends tons of questions, and I scoured the web for breastfeeding tips. I’m SO excited to share that Happy Family just put all those resources into one place with their brand new infant feeding support platform – check it out here. You can live-chat with a lactation consultant (all of them are moms, too, so they get it) for FREE from 8am-8pm EST, M-F. That’s really amazing.
Having a resource like that on-hand will help you work through the contradictory breastfeeding advice you’ve probably heard – stuff like:
- Never wake a sleeping baby… unless it’s been 3 hours since her last feeding.
- A pacifier could cause nipple confusion… but a binky lowers the risk of SIDS.
- Supplementing with formula will hurt your supply… but your baby *could* starve if you don’t.
- Don’t offer a bottle too soon, or baby won’t want to nurse… but don’t wait too long or she’ll never take a bottle.
- Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier… but you could suffocate your baby and it’s not safe.
- Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt… but extreme soreness is normal for the first few weeks.
- Don’t stress about making enough milk! Only 5% of women can’t produce enough… but make sure your baby is gaining weight.
- Try a nipple shield if you’re really sore… but baby might not be able to transfer enough milk and your supply could tank.
- Pumping too soon will totally mess with your supply… but make sure you have enough milk on-hand in case there’s an emergency or (gasp!) you want a night away from your baby.
- Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t pumping much! But make sure baby is eating between 19 and 30 ounces a day.
- Take a night off and let your husband give a bottle of formula, the extra sleep will help you make more milk… but breastfeeding is supply and demand so don’t miss feedings.
So what’s a mom to do? My answer… find out what works for you! The truth is, everyone’s feeding story is different. Like birth stories, even every baby’s feeding story is different. So moms, figure out what works best for you, your baby, and your family. And own it.
More Breastfeeding & Pumping Resources: