Have you heard about what happens after the baby arrives? Maybe you read the book about that, too.
Did your book tell you what you really want to know about nursing your little one? Well, how can you be sure until you’ve done the drill once or twice.
Now nursing my third child, there are a few things that I remember from all of those books I read that still stand out in my mind and a whole slew of tips that I have learned through lots and lots of experience.
What You Need, Really
- Whether it’s your outfit or your undershirt, these are great to have!
- My favorites are those with clips for easy access.
- Regular tops that work include those with wide, stretchy necklines.
- These hold the nursing pads in place well.
- Much better than the alternative of unclipping a front clasp of a regular bra or trying to move your bra around to feed your little one.
- Test the bra to make sure it flaps down far enough that it won’t be in your baby’s way while they are feeding.
- The rigid boning in the neck line allows visual connection with baby during the feeding.
- These come in handy when out and about when you want to be discreet.
- There comes a time when baby or his brothers will try pulling it off.
- This also doubles as a blankie, burp cloth, and sun shade.
Nursing Pads –
- I didn’t know why I needed these before my first, but the samples in my breast pump helped me figure out a way to catch that leaking milk.
- Disposable are OK, but don’t always stay in place.
- Better option (in my opinion) is the washable nursing pads.
- Keep one in each bra cup.
- Change them out often to keep the bra and shirt dry.
- These get smelly, too, although your baby sure does love that smell.
- Babies aren’t always the neatest about eating.
- Milk drips out the side of their mouth as they are nursing unless you are using bibs or cloths, it usually ends up on your clothes.
- Breast milk Gets Smelly
- You Might Get a Little Stinky
- If you are nursing on the left side, you are probably leaking on the right side.
- Wet stains at and below your breast area are not really that fashion forward. Go figure.
- Your baby might not latch on correctly at the beginning, but like you they have never done it before either.
- Don’t give up right away if you are having trouble.
The “How To” Section
How to Dress
- Easy access is key.
- Nursing tops are great, especially with the snaps on the straps.
- Loose necklines that can pull down easily are great non-maternity shirt options.
- Stretchy fabric is a plus.
How to Survive the Nights
- Lots of caffeine. JUST KIDDING! That’s not a great idea. Read on.
- Keep lights low and keep it quiet. Babies should want to go back to sleep, so try not to wake them any more than necessary.
- My favorite routine: nurse on one side right away, burp, change diaper, nurse on second side, hope that baby is now asleep, hold for any more burps, lay down and swaddle.
- If your baby poops, change their diaper. It may be tempting not to want to wake them with a diaper change during their feeding, but diaper rash is no fun for anyone and a wet and soiled diaper might wake your baby up sooner than a clean diaper would.
and finally… The Latch
When I was a new mom (WAY back in August of 2011) I felt very well-read about the whole nursing process. I was absolutely determined to do it and do it well. Books made it sounds very straight forward.
It usually was described something like this:
Step 1 – Assume nursing position (cradle, football, etc). Keep head of child above body. Align their ear with their nose and hip.
Step 2 – Tickle your baby’s cheek, nose, or chin to encourage the reflex of opening their mouth.
Step 3 – Insert nipple
Step 4 – Let baby nurse until they either fall off (asleep or disinterested) or stop suckling (and are probably full)
What I wasn’t prepared for was the reality of a hungry baby that is neither calm nor still, flailing arms, searching with their whole body, turning their head every which way, and is too hungry to wait for the whole areola to get the textbook latch. My baby was not the same child described in these all-knowing books.
The most important thing I have learned through our trials is that nursing is a learning process for both mommy and baby. They’ve never done it before they try it on you, and although their instincts will guide them it helps for mommy to be calm and patient while they learn.
Try not to compare yourself and your baby to other moms and babies and their experiences. At the same time, talking to friends with kids can be helpful.
It is easy to feel like you are alone as a new nursing mom and experiencing something that certainly no other mom has gone through. Most of the time, other moms experienced the same or worse, but they just might also be holding in their worries and stresses.