Breastfeeding FAQ: Everything You Need to Know
Are you suffering from cracked nipples? Are your breasts leaking milk all day long? Are you stressed about if your baby is getting enough to eat? You must be a breastfeeding mom!
In this article, we are going to discuss EVERYTHING that you need to know about breastfeeding- from latching, to nursing bras, to milk storage, to nursing in public… we have got you covered!
If you have never breastfed before, the idea of it can seem overwhelming, confusing, and maybe even a little bizarre. The concept of it is foreign to anyone who has never experienced it before, which means that any expecting or new mom is bound to be full of questions.
We will explain why (despite its challenges) so many moms opt to breastfeed, common struggles (and solutions!) that moms face daily, and products that will make the experience as easy as possible.
Learning to breastfeed is quite a learning curve that comes with pain, messes, and discomfort. So why do women do it?!
Breastfeeding is a unique experience that many mothers and their children grow to love. While pumping and formula feeding are wonderful ways to nourish your little one, breastfeeding is free, requires no clean-up, and can be accessed at any time.
Some other reasons that women choose to breastfeed are:
- it encourages healthy attachment between a mother and her baby
- Breast milk has unique antibodies that cater to the needs of the baby
- Breast milk is always ready for consumption
- It’s the easiest “portable” feeding option as it doesn’t require any equipment
- Breast milk is believed to improve immunity to illness and disease
- Breast milk is easy to digest
What are some common struggles of breastfeeding?
There are times when motherhood and breastfeeding can feel lonely. However, it's important to remember that you are never alone in your struggle and that in the same moment you are going through something, thousands of other moms around the world are going through the exact same thing!
So what are some of these common struggles? We have provided a list below, along with the solutions for these very struggles:
Whether they are cracked, bleeding, or throbbing in pain… your nipples are NOT happy!
While this is very common amongst newly BFing moms, cracked nipples are a sign that there is an issue with your baby latch.
Society has normalized nipple pain, causing women to believe that the pain they are in is “part of the process”. This is incorrect.
If you are struggling with nipple pain, it is important that you reach out to a lactation consultant as quickly as possible. Latching issues can not only mean that you are in pain, but that your baby isn't feeding properly. This could result in your baby not receiving a sufficient amount of milk.
Not every mom experiences engorgement, but those who do know the pain and discomfort it brings!
Engorgement is when your breasts are so full of milk that they are heavy and painful. Some women experience feelings of engorgement even after their baby has been nursed.
Engorgement is most common in the early days of breastfeeding, as your body is still working to regulate milk production. While this will normalize over time, it is extremely painful at the moment.
Here are some options to try if you are struggling with engorgement:
- Nurse your baby as often as possible, making sure to alternate sides. The only way to relieve engorgement completely is by emptying the breast of milk so nursing frequently will help.
- Use a breast pump. This is a fairly certain way to ensure you can empty your breast completely. Be mindful of how often you are pumping, as the more milk you exert, the more milk your body will produce. You do not want to make the situation worse by over-pumping!
Are you worried that your baby isn't receiving enough milk?
The thing about breastfeeding is that mothers have virtually no idea how much milk their little one is consuming. It cannot be measured. No wonder this is such a common stressor!
Because the milk cannot be measured, you need to be mindful of the signs that tell whether or not your baby is being sufficiently nourished. Check for the following:
- Does your baby seem satisfied after feeding?
- Is your baby hitting developmental milestones?
- Is your baby losing weight?
If your baby starts losing weight at any point, connect with your pediatrician.
Are you a mom with plans to head back to work, but who is worried about swallowing the cost of formula!
There is a great middle-ground for you: pumping!
Pumping breast milk is a great way to provide your baby with nourishment that is nutritious, free, and familiar to them!
In order to efficiently and effectively preserve milk, you will need the following:
- a breast pump (manual or electric)
- Milk storage bags or containers
- Space to store your pumped milk (fridge or freezer, depending on how long you are wanting to save your milk for.
What products will make breastfeeding easier?
Breastfeeding has been around since the beginning of mankind- meaning no products are required! With that being said, there is no reason to survive in the same way our ancestors did… sometimes, products make life easier!
Here is a list of products to consider purchasing, as well as what to look for in each product!
A Nursing Bra
It's easy to put an item for yourself on the back burner at this time, as you probably want to devote all of your purchases to your little one! However, a high-quality, durable nursing bra will make all the difference in your breastfeeding experience. Look for the following qualities:
- soft material
- easy access to the breast, either through a clip or pull-down
- easy to clean
- fits well
- a style you are comfortable wearing often (it will become your go-to!)
If you are looking for the perfect, all-around bra, look no further! Our Lace Nursing Bra is the best of its kind. Featuring ultra lace fabric, lightly lined molded cups, and front drop-down clips, this is the kind of bra that will leave you feeling sexy and confident!
If you're a mama who finds herself breastfeeding AND pumping, check out our Hands-Free Nursing Bra The stretchy inner layer will make it easy to get the pump flange in and out, while the cute and comfortable style won't make you feel frumpy or unlike yourself.
You will want/need several nursing bras, so don’t be afraid to experiment with what will suit you best!
As mentioned earlier, cracked/bleeding nipples are common. While you are waiting to connect with a lactation consultant, look for a lanolin-based nipple cream to soothe the pain.
You want a cream with as few ingredients as possible- you do not want a cream that will impact the taste of your milk, as this may deter your baby from the breast.
A breast pump is a great tool to have on hand… it allows other people to feed your baby the delicious, nutritious milk that your little one loves! Consider the following:
- Do I want a manual or electric pump?
- Battery-operated or plug-in?
- What kind of additional features am I looking for in my pump? Nightlight, timer, white noise machine capabilities, etc.
Nursing pillows are a great tool that allows you to relax while holding and nursing your baby, which can prevent back pain and other forms of discomfort. Consider the following:
- Which shape do you prefer? Does the pillow fit comfortably around your torso?
- How portable is the pillow? Are you planning to travel with it? Does it come with a case?
- How easy is it to clean? Is there a removable cover?
- Do I like the way it looks?
At the end of the day, breastfeeding is a journey. While it may appear to come more easily to some people than others, be sure to remember that every mom has her moments of struggle, confusion, and hardship.
If breastfeeding continues to be a struggle for you, reach out to your healthcare provider or to a lactation consultant near you.
Samantha Hoare - Jan 15 2022
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