My LC suggested the I rub the baby's ear to stimulate his suck reflex, if he starts to drift off during a nursing session.
Bfing is a battle of wills- it is you against you. Your heart KNOWs that bfing is best. Your heart wants to do the most natural and comforting that is possible for your baby. Your heart leaps when the baby coos and sighs at your breast. Then there's the problem of your head. Your head freaks out and tries to convince you that you're not making enough milk or the you're "just not cut out for this" or "this is too hard". Please please please listen to your heart and not your head. The reward of bfing is sooooo worth the trouble!
On a more practical note: learn a few different nursing positions as soon as possible. Being able to rotate positions really helps with soreness.
Set very small attainable goals for yourself. For the first few weeks with #1 I set daily goals for myself. I would get up in the morning and say "I will nurse today" by the end of the second week I was totally comfortable and ready to keep doing it until after the first year. But during those first few days really I kept telling myself "I am strong and I can do anything for 1 day"
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson
at first breast feeding hurt and was very uncomfortable, but the bond is incredible and i wouldnt have it any other way. my son is 4 months old and its going great. we are on a good schedule of 2 1/2-3 hours during the day and he now sleeps 10 hours straight each night and has doubled his birthweight ( 8.2 lbs to 16.6 lbs). he's a big boy!! even though it hurts just keeping doing it and it will get better. you have to toughen up those nipples! to get that great nights sleep make your last feeding extra long so they get lots of hind milk (the fatty storage at the end of the supply) and make sure its dark in the room so they get the idea of bedtime. try to do it for a full 30-40 minutes and if they fall asleep rub their feet, cheek, chin or tummy. my friend actually used a soft wash cloth with luke warm water and rubs it on there cheek and it helps her alot. make sure to bring your baby up to you by using a pillow or have baby lay on your arm, dont lean into your baby. it will make it very uncomfortable for you to lean down all the time. if your in public you can purchase a nursing guard online, bebe au lait makes fun looking ones.
Wow! Really great tips everyone!
I second the cabbage leaves. Use during the time your first milk comes in ~ using fresh, cool cabbage leaves. remove when cooked caution: don't use for more that a couple of hours at a time, as they are also good for helping to dry up milk at the end of nursing. And only use on the breast, not the nipple or areola.
Also wearing a nursing bra 24/7 after the baby is born except for showers, (the shower hug sounds great.) until your milk comes in, will lessen the rock hardness of your breasts. I actually did not now exactly when my milk came in with the last baby ~ that's what a difference it made! HUGE!
Don't pull baby off of the nipple (ouch!)~ first break the suction by putting your finger at the corner of baby's mouth.
Get nursing tops ~ you can nurse your baby anywhere, anytime and be completely modest and covered. and the baby won't get too hot. Plus using a blanket shouts "I'm nursing my baby" ha. not only that, but babies like to pull the blanket off which can make for a funny scene if it's not happening to you.
Nursing your baby is natural, healthy, inexpensive, and extremely rewarding. Just do it!
I second the nursing tops thing--I wear nursing tank tops (I got mine at Target) under my shirts so I'm all covered when I lift the shirt up to nurse.
If you are going to freeze a stash of expressed milk, freeze just one bag first, then thaw it and check the smell/taste of the milk--if goes funny after being frozen and thawed you may have high levels of lipase in your milk and may need to scald future milk before freezing to help the taste issue. That way you don't end up with a freezer full of milk your baby won't eat.
My hospital nurses were not the best lactation consultants. No one ever recommended a nipple shield for my right nipple, which is obviously WAY tinier than my left, and they did not notice that DD was latching funny on that side--with her bottom lip turned out like it's supposed to be, but her top lip curled in over her gum, putting pressure down on my areola and the base of my nipple which caused me more pain on that side in addition to that I got from her sucking correcting the nipple--however, despite this, we did fine But if you think something isn't quite right, find help. Just because the baby isn't sucking on just the nipple doesn't mean the latch is optimal--you need to be able to see the baby's lips.
Oh, and one more thing, don't listen to anyone who tells you that you need to put your newborn on a feeding schedule. Babies should be nursed on demand in the early months.
If you have cracked nipples, applying a "red bush/rooibos" tea bag that was soaked. The herbal contents really work to speed up recovery.
My nipples were cracked so bad that not even Lanisoh could do the trick, but after I applied the redbush tea bag there was a significant turn for the better at the next feeding and 24 hours later it was almost healed completely.
Accept that it will be very difficult in the beginning. Surround yourself with people who support breastfeeding and ignore those who ask how long you plan to keep trying. If you need help, find a lactation consultant or LLL. Post questions and concerns on this board, but find someone in real life too.
Some people might say, "Give it six weeks and it will be like second-nature!" Know that it might take twelve. And accept that you may be sitting on the couch, shirt open and exhausted, for a very long time. You might also hear, "It was hard in the beginning but now it's so easy and I'm so glad I stuck with it." You might find that really hard to believe...but believe it, because once breastfeeding actually does start to become second-nature, you will feel like you just ran a marathon or finished a novel....completely accomplished and proud.
Some products that have helped me:
Wish Garden New Mother's Nipple Salve (I loved this so much more than Lansinoh Lanolin)
More Milk Plus by Motherlove (Sometimes I wonder if this saved me)
Water, water, water
IF you want prevent Thrush all together eat Yogurt. IT REALLY WORKS.
Dont stress about how long your baby feeds as long as the diapers are wet and dirty you are good.
Wow, what great tips! I wish I had these when nursing my first! I just want to say to hang in there and be determined to stick to BFing and you will be successful. I had inverted nipples with my daughter (now 15yo) and no one told me about nipple shields. She would not latch on for four agonizing days! I truly thought she was going to starve to death, despite reassurance from my Dr. and LLL. I was so determined to breast feed that I finally took a breast pump and sucked my nipples out myself! OUCH!!! But she was then able to latch on and continued to BF until past her 2nd bday. When my son was born, he latched on in the hospital, no problem, and BF past his 2nd bday as well. Trust your body! Get help when you need it. Yes, when they latch on in the beginning you will have to grit your teeth and kick the coffee table, but believe me, it does get easier. It is so worth it! My sweetest memories are of my babies nursing, smiling up at me and reaching a pudgy little hand up to touch my cheek. So adorable! I'm so lucky that I get to do it all again with #3!!
My best advice:
Co-sleep and nurse while lying down at night. You get to the point where you barely even wake up to nurse. I used to put the baby down initially in the crib or bassinet and then bring her to bed the first time she woke to nurse. She would stay in my bed for the rest of the night and would even go back to sleep after the super early 6 am feedings. This is your best shot at being a somewhat well rested mom! (And it gives you alone time with your hubby for the first couple hours of the night.)
Don't get discouraged b/c your baby is not gaining as much weight as your friend's bottle fed baby. Breastfed babies are generally smaller, but they definitely catch up. This is b/c cow's milk (formula) is designed for cows who need to increase body mass quickly as their best chance of survival. Human milk is designed to increase intellectual functioning quickly, which is a human's best chance of survival.
Breast feed on demand. Babies bodies are changing daily, and so their needs change daily. Babies are not meant to sleep through the night in the beginning b/c their lungs are not developed enough yet. If they sleep too deeply they cannot regulate their own breathing well enough.
Don't be afraid to nurse in public. I did it all the time with both of mine and never heard a negative word b/c I was discrete. If your baby pulls the blanket off her head (mine both did), wear a big shirt and lift it so that the top of you is covered by the shirt and your stomach is covered by baby and blanket. Or wear a nursing top. I loved the suggestion about wearing a nursing tank top under your shirt, I will try that this time. I agree with the advice above, probably no one is even paying attention. People are usually oblivious!
Stick to it, you will never regret it!