Being able to breastfed your child is really an incredible blessing. Nurturing and bonding with your baby is a very important part of being a mother, and breastfeeding your child absolutely promotes that! As many know Breastfeeding is not an easy task to get the hang of for some first time moms. Were going to go over just what you might be in for when breastfeeding.
- Producing Enough Milk
First time mothers start the breastfeeding process usually right after delivery, within the next 12 hours I'd say. My hospital offered lactation specialist that came to my hospital room the next morning (our guy was born at 3:30am). She had informed me that I should start pumping right away and multiple times (about 8-12) that day to get my milk "flowing". For me this was pretty overwhelming, I had just pushed out a human a few hours earlier and now I'd have to hook myself up to a machine 8-12 times the very next day?! I was not about it, but I did it. I produced very small amounts each session and delivered to the NICU where my little guy was.
I had started out pretty good it had turned out, and within the next few days was producing more and more. But around my 3rd week home I stopped producing as much and started to have trouble keeping up with how much my son was eating. This is when I started to feel discouraged and figure out new ways to try to boost my supply. I had tried lactation cookies, mother's milk tea, foods that boost lactation, adding I another pump session, and so on- but unfortunately nothing worked. I just could not produce enough milk for my child. I had a friend who had a baby about a month after me who was a milk machine! I knew my son could not make it off of the breastmilk I was producing alone so I started to supplement with formula.
Producing enough milk for your child can sometimes be a very difficult task when you are not producing more than 6oz per session. However, on the other hand you could be over producing- which is great! Stock that freezer baby! Either way you look at it there will be some challenges to production of milk. If you are not producing enough you will either have to try to increase your supply or supplement with formula. And if you are producing mass amounts you will probably have to add in extra pump sessions to relieve discomfort and need to make sure you have all you need to pump if you are a mother who is returning to work.
- How Long Will You Breastfeed For?
This can sometimes turn into a very controversial conversation between mothers. When do you stop breastfeeding your child? Let's just state this first and for most-
If a mother chooses to breastfeed her child till he or she is 2 months old or if she chooses to breastfeed her child till he or she is 3 years old. IT IS NOT YOUR PLACE TO OFFER YOUR OPINION. The mother will do what is best for her child as you will with your children.
Now, let's get to it. You're decision for how long you will breastfeed can depend on multiple factors. Will you be returning to work? How much are you producing on average? Does your baby have a lactose issue?
For the Mothers returning to work who do not supply mass amounts each session. You may choose to add extra pump sessions while you are home and also have to pump at work, to make up for the hours you are away from your child or you may choose to supplement- either way, as long as your child is healthy, happy, and full! For the mothers who produce mass amounts each session- I'm sure you already have a freezer stash started. Pumping at work can be uncomfortable depending on where you work and just what the environment is like. Do what is best for you, your body, and your baby!
If you are like me and had trouble producing you will most likely only breastfeed your baby for a few months. The pediatrician only wanted me to do a minimum of 2 months since that is when your milk is transferring the most nutrients to your baby. I lasted about 3 before my supply started to dwindle down to nothing. If my body had allowed me too, I would have liked to breastfeed for about 6 months- for me that was a good cut off point. I know several mothers who are still breastfeeding there child 2 years later and have very healthy little ones. I also know little ones who did not get breastfed at all or for only a few months who are also very healthy. Do what your body and mind agree on and go from there.
Maybe your baby has a lactation issue? Mine did! Once my supply had dwindled down to nothing and he was on 100% formula we started noticing how tense he was and how uncomfortable he seemed after each feeding. He had trouble passing stools and was just pretty cranky. I myself, was not a breastfed baby and did have to be placed on a lactose free formula- so this was only partially a surprise to me that he had the same issues I did. Once we figured out what was the issue, he was placed on a plant based formula and what a difference!
All of these points can absolutely effect how long you will breastfeed for and as long as you are listening to that mother intuition and doing what is best for your baby- you are being a good mother to your baby!
- Breast Infections
Maybe you're one of the lucky breastfeeding mothers who has never had a clogged boob- boy I wish that was the case for me. Because breast infections can really suck (no pun intended) ! These infections can be extremely painful and sometimes can be hard to cure. I can recall having a clogged milk duct for about a week before it had finally passed through. Some women will be more likely to get infections while others might never have an issue. I have found that women who exclusively pump vs. those exclusively breastfeeding develop more infections. Since I was a mom who pumped I can attest to this- during my 3 months I had developed about 5 different times where a milk duct became clogged. I had an issue with my little guy latching which was a huge factor in deciding to pump instead of direct breast to mouth.
If you do find yourself developing a specific discomfort that you can't seem to kick on your own, always call your doctors. They are there to help you through and can probably prescribe you an antibiotic if need be. Or if the hospital you delivered at offers lactation specialist- take advantage of it! It's usually free and I can guarantee they have dealt with several different types of breast infections and can offer great remedies and solutions.
If you do find yourself with a clogged duct there are some easy tips and tricks you can try that I have included in the below section so be sure to check that out!
- Over Exerting Yourself
For the mothers who are over pumping or over feeding- remember to take care of yourself! Breastfeeding can be very painful in the beginning, even though it shouldn't be. Make sure if you are using a pump that you are using the right setting and sizes- my Even Flo Pump came with 3 different cup sizes to choose from and many different speed/pull settings. If it hurts to pump or feed- take a break or switch breast. Invests some money in yourself and buy a good nipple cream and nursing pads. Remember, that a huge part of taking care of your new baby is to also taking care of yourself!
There are many different factors to account for when breastfeeding your baby. Remember to take care of yourself as you will be the main source of food for your child till however long you choose to breastfeed for. Whether you choose to exclusively breastfeed, supplement with formula, or just not breastfeed all together- Do what feels right for your baby and your body!
"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.— Elder M. Russel Ballard
Tips and Tricks for a Clogged Milk Duct
- Take a Hot Shower! Let the heat and steam loosen up your chest for about 5-10 minutes. I would suggest letting the water just hit your chest right where it's clogged. This will make a huge difference and not to mention, what mom doesn't enjoy a long hot shower?
- Use a Warm Compress. If a warm compress isn't staying hot enough for you, try a heating pad. Try the heating pad on a low setting while massaging where the duct is that is clogged to help it pass through.
- Massage Your Breast. In the shower or while using the heating pad the more you massage it, the easier it'll be to pass.
- Pump! Pump! Pump! As soon as you feel you've made some progress with the heat and massaging try to pump that breast immediately. It'll be easier to get the clog out while the breast is warm. You can also try pumping while keeping the heating pad on your chest if you're having a real tough time.