Here's what I learned:
- In the beginning, every time you nurse you're uterus will start contracting, they say it's shrinking. What I can tell you is yes it hurts/burning sensation, but it's normal and it will get better and go away soon!
- Get the help while in the hospital. I nursed baby girl within an hour of her birth and she did amazing with her latch. So, 5 hours later when the lactation consultant came I felt confident and didn't take her up on her help. After some difficulty, I'd call my nurse in each time to help me.
- The baby only needs one nostril to breathe. I'm a large chested woman and I was so freaked out that I'd suffocate her or something, but my nurse assured me that as long as one nostril is free, she'll be fine.
- Take one day at a time. I kept reading people who said the first 2 weeks are the hardest to keep with it. And there'd be good nursing days and bad ones. I had many meltdowns because I didn't think we'd ever get the hang of it.
- Get some kind of pump, whether manual or electric. It saved me in the beginning, I became extremely engorged and I was able to pump out a good supply so that the first month, the Hubs could get up and feed her once during the night.
- Cluster feedings feel like they are going to be the death of you, especially when you feel like alls your doing is feeding every hour and getting no sleep at night. Good news - they only last for a few days and then you can get back to your normally scheduled routine.
- If you have a dip in supply try eating oatmeal, having a beer, fenugreek or mother's milk tea. Have tried all but the beer (not a fan) and they've all worked!
- Sometimes you have to eliminate some things from your regular diet as they'll upset the baby. My first day home I drank 2 big glasses of apple juice, poor baby girl had 8 bowel movements that night, didn't I feel like world's worse mom at that moment!
Make sure you have a good support system around you. The Hubs has been my #1 go to, he's been so supportive and helpful through this whole process. He helped me to overcome my fear of NIP (nursing in public, for all of you acronym loving people). In the beginning, he'd stand cover holding up a blanket until she was on, and now I'm comfortable feeding her anywhere. I'm happy to report that I haven't had a negative experience with other people while NIP.
Things I never expected:
- My boobs are no longer mine or the Hubs - they are solely baby girls'.
- Spraying milk, either from her unlatching while feeding or getting dressed. It's humorous to no end and the Hubs and me definitely have gotten a good chuckle or two during some mishaps.
- The way that baby girl grabs at me sometimes, we went through a pinching phase for a few months, her hand that was under her, she pinch her way up the backs of my arms - can we say OWIEE! Happy to say no more pinching for the past month! Now, I get nice caresses.
- Hickey's. Yes - you're reading that right. Since 2 months she has loved to gnaw on anything and everything, especially your fingers. She's got quite the hard suck on her - as I'm sporting 3 hickey's on my left shoulder currently, and I didn't have her up there long either!
- The 1st time your milk shoots in - while in public, the baby starts crying, or during letdown. No way to really describe the feeling.
Items I needed and couldn't live without: breast pump, nursing pads, lansinoh cream, receiving blankets, small throw pillow (not a fan of the boppy to feed her with, but love it for other things with her), movies dvr'd for those late night feedings, and medula's nipple shield.
Udder Cover's is offering a free nursing cover if you use promo code: onefree, and just pay S&H.