We did formula for DD but I am planning on breastfeeding this little one so I wanted to know if anyone had any advice or tips for a first-timer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I just want to be a little mentally prepared for what is going to happen so that I don't get frustrated and give up!
My #1 tip is to know you are going to get frustrated and want to give up. If you know it's going to happen, you can push past it. I bottle fed my first and was determined to bf my second. It was hard. I wanted to quit at least once a day. But I had determined beforehand that I wouldn't quit and I just kept pushing and suddenly one day I realized it had become easy. My biggest thing this time is that there are no bottles in my house so I can't give in to temptation.
Buy breast pads that have good adhesive backing. I liked the lansinoh brand the best. Also buy lansinoh nipple cream cause they will crack and be very tender at first. Don't spend a ton of $ on nursing bras or tanks until you know how big the ladies are going to get cause their size will go up and down for the first few weeks. I recommend buying a good double electric pump. It saves time and your hand muscles. I always preferred bags to store milk vs the bottle type storage. Pump when you can cause you will want breaks from being a milk machine. Like mentioned above you will get frustrated at times but know that it is a blessing you are able to do it. if you do tense up during a feeding session or before wait a couple mins because your milk will not let down if you are stressed and that only gets you and the LO upset. I think that's about all I can think of!
Find a good book on breastfeeding (I referred back to mine constantly) and take a breastfeeding class. Learn the different positions. It will be hard at first, accept that and then I think you will be fine.
I agree big time on expect it to be tough initially. Maybe you'll get lucky but most likely you'll think about stopping several times so make short term goals to keep you going. Like make it 2 weeks, then 4, then 2 months, etc. That saved me with my first. And I think the first 2 weeks are the hardest.
If you leak a lot, make sure to change your pads as soon as they get wet otherwise your nips get 10x more sore. I learned that the hard way! I personally love the reusable fabric ones even though it means more laundry. Also let your nipples air dry whenever possible before putting them "away". After they get broken in a bit then you don't have to be as high maintenance.
I agree with the no bottles in the house. I've never owned a bottle. If you do want to start bottles, wait until 4-6 weeks until nursing is fully established. Nurse on demand. It will feel like all the time. You will swear you just finished and there is no way baby is hungry. Do it anyway! My SIL started giving a bottle since she felt like she was nursing too often, so she figured he must not be getting enough. Nursing babies march to their own tune, and they definitely will want to nurse more often than you're used to giving a bottle.
Definitely breastpads - I agree Lansinoh makes the best ones. I used coconut oil on my nipples last time. I also only nursed one side per session (I still do this) it a) allows them to get to hind milk b) helps give your opposing nipple a break for a full nursing session which can be important when you're starting out.
When your milk comes in, your boobs are going to take over your entire body. They will get big and probably a bit hard and uncomfortable. Some people are engorged for days, some for weeks. Normal.
If you know anyone who has successfully and happily nursed for lengthy times that you would feel comfortable talking to and having show you positions for nursing, it really helps to have someone in your corner advocating for you.
Also, if you get really frustrated by a baby who won't seem to latch (even when you know they can perfectly well) he's probably not latching because you're so frustrated! So keep calm.
And lastly, if they are rooting like crazy, but refusing to latch, try burping first.
Even with a good nurser breastfeeding is hard and frustrating! For me it was totally worth it. I agree that if you are frustrated and tense, nursing is much harder. With my DD I found myself tensing up with my letdown and she had trouble latching on. I also prefer the fabric nursing pads. The flannel ones, not fleece, they leave fuzz on your nipples! I have a few pairs and all my extras I hand wash in the sink and let them air dry overnight, so they are ready the next morning. Try different positions and see what works best for you. When your milk does come in, you will be miserable! For a few days at least, but if you make it through the first week , the worst will be over. The lanolin does help. I haven't used it at all this time, but with my first two it helped a lot.
I agree about the be aware you will likely run into issues with it, but to try to keep on truckin' through. Try your best to keep calm when you are having issues and if you are getting worked up give your self a few minutes to calm down and try again. Try out lots of different positions, DS at first only wanted football hold and wouldn't latch any other way, by two weeks I am pretty sure I could have held him upside down and he would still be eating. Make sure you talk to the lactation consultant or the midwife before you leave the hospital, get all issues worked out that you can, latch is maybe the most important one, don't feel like you are wasting their time if you need more help. Try to be as comfortable as possible, get extra pillows to help prop up anything that needs to be more supported, I have a Boppy (didn't with DS though) and usually use at least one more pillow just because even at 7 lbs they get heavy fast, or your hand starts to fall asleep, or you get an itch somewhere.
Some days it will seem like the baby will want to be attached constantly, and others you may have to wake them up to eat. If it hurts then the baby isn't latched right, try popping them off and relatching.
Thank you so much ladies!! I really really want to breastfeed and yall have made me feel so much more confident. I know it will be hard at first but I know I can do it! Thanks for all of the good advice I went out and picked up the pads and cream and I am definitely going to request to speak to the lactation consultant at the hospital.