Breastfeeding #RealTalk Part 2
If you read my last post, I mentioned having a roller coaster ride with our breastfeeding journey in the beginning. So I want to explain some of the challenges and some tips if you ever encounter the same thing. If you're reading this and you haven't yet experienced breastfeeding, please don't let this discourage or intimidate you. So many of my friends had very smooth transitions into breastfeeding. This was my experience, and it doesn't mean it will be yours. However, if you do experience some of these things then it's always nice to know before hand that it's normal, this too shall pass, and your not alone.
Truly the best advice I can give is the tips on my previous post. The feeling I had around breastfeeding wouldn't have felt so defeating if I had surrounded myself with a breastfeeding community and reached out for help more, but we only know what we know until we experience and then learn!
- Some discomfort is normal early on, but if you are experiencing excruciating pain, cracks, or bleeding, please seek help. I dreaded feedings and cried every nursing session because of the pain. Two words Nipple Cream. Use before and after feedings. Continue nursing (yes, it hurts so bad) but early on baby is communicating with your body and nursing on demand helps establish your supply to meet your babies needs. Having a good proper latch will help prevent cracks, and also make nursing sessions less painful. Cracks can be an indication of an improper latch so be sure to seek help, sometimes it's the most simple adjustments that make a world of a difference! When I went to see a lactation consultant one little adjustment and I couldn't believe the difference it made! I wish I would have asked for help sooner. If you are going through this, please don't give up! I promise it gets better and they will heal eventually with some time. More info here→
- Milk blisters are what they sound like. A clogged pore on your nipple that causes pain and discomfort while nursing. Before you nurse place a warm compress on your nipple and let it set for a minute, then nurse on that side. They usually pop easily after that while the baby is nursing and the pain will go away after. If it didn't pop this first time continue placing a warm compress on that side and nurse again. More info here→
- This one caught me by surprise. Mastitis is an infection that forms in your breast. There are many causes for mastitis, but the most common reason mastitis forms is doing too much too soon after having a baby and plugged ducts. The early signs of mastitis is achy body ( like the flu), fever, excruciating pain while nursing, or a red line on your breast (sign of infection in the body). My heart goes out to women when I hear they have this. I got it three times within the first two months after having Ella. The best thing you can do is REST REST REST. If you have other little ones running around, its much easier said then done. But it is so important to allow your body to heal and to prevent the infection from getting worse. Now is the time to call some family and friends to see if they can bring meals or help with the kids. After all it truly does take a village and asking for help is nothing to be ashamed about. Place ice packs on your breasts in between feedings. Nurse frequently and on demand, start the nursing sessions on the breast that is infected. If there is blood or puss continue to nurse, this will not harm your baby at all. Consult your healthcare provider, sometimes antibiotics are recommended. I know several people that were able to ride it out with out antibiotics, and I also know people that have ended up in the hospital with more serious complications due to the infection getting out of hand so please use your best judgement! More info here→
- Who knew you could get a yeast infection on your nipples? Ya, that was a surprise to me too. If you start experiencing deep "stabbing" pain or the pigment in your areola's start to change it may be an indication of a candida infection. Confirm with a healthcare provider before you start any treatments. Keep an eye on your baby's mouth for thrush, but if it gives you peace of mind, I battled back and fourth with reoccurring candida for months and Ella never once had an issue with it. More info here→
- For many women, not all, we tend to over produce in the beginning weeks until our supply establishes. On average it takes the first six weeks for your supply to regulate to babies needs, for some it's sooner and some it takes longer. Feedings were a tedious task in the first 10 weeks will Ella choking multiple times during feedings. Eventually your supply will regulate, and eventually your baby will get bigger, swallow better, and be a breastfeeding champ! In the meantime know that this too shall pass and it's only a temporary phase. I found nursing Ella upright and leaned back helped, and also nursing in a side-lying position. The article I will attach explains what forceful letdown is, and helpful tips to embrace it. I wouldn't advise doing anything to interfere with your supply unless recommended by a lactation consultant. More info here→
Hopefully those will point you to some resources for help if you are experiencing any of these! I can't express enough how important support is during this journey. If your having a difficult time, get support and don't give up! There was something about crossing over that 11 week mark for us and things got better, and I'm so grateful we stuck with it. I'm still nursing my 13 month old, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, it is so worth it!