You’re Not Alone

I’ve mentioned previously, that my breastfeeding journey with my son was atypical to say the least. For some mother and baby pairs, it truly is the easiest thing in the world. Whereas for others, it’s one monster short of a nightmare. You are not alone. Over 90% of mothers report having breastfeeding struggles in those early months.

So here are the breastfeeding basics, as well as some things I learned on my more difficult road. Again, I will emphasize, the struggle was totally worth the ultimate goal of exclusively breastfeeding, so I hope this will encourage new Mamas to stick with it!

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I was recently sent an article regarding a woman whose baby was struggling to nurse and basically starving because the baby could not physically remove milk from the breast. After much trial, the mother chose to formula feed. The article’s point? Fed is Best.

I would like to reiterate this point: Fed is Best. (And no I don’t mean the Federal government. I mean that a fed and full child is best. Yes, my mommy brain went there and was confused by the article until my smart brain kicked in.)

This article hit home for me because my son also struggled to nurse and for the first 4 weeks, before we put him on high-calorie formula, he was in fact, a failure to thrive baby.

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Don’t sweat it!

Remember, our bodies are designed to be amazing! God thought of everything and our bodies respond to the needs of our babies.

The concept of “emptying the breast” can be a bit misleading, but have no fear, our breasts were designed for the purpose of feeding our children. And this is still true even after pumping.

The breast is never truly emptied. Think instead of the milk being extracted from the breast as a supply and demand issue. It’s true that milk production is constant. When the breast is less full, the production speed picks up, and as the breast gets fuller, production slows.

Imagine a factory is making and selling a widget. While the widget is in demand, the factory is working quickly to satisfy its customers. If the demand for the widget decreases, so does the speed of production, and the excess stored.

Your baby will also begin to eat closer together as it gets later in the day. There’s a reason for this too. The fat content of your milk is higher which aids your baby in being able to sleep a longer stretch.

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As I finished a much needed shower, and exited the bathroom, my husband thrust our upset son into my arms for me to nurse him. He was screaming and crying! He was too upset to eat and it was clear this was exactly what he needed to do. All the books and articles and care providers said newborns needed to eat every two hours, but he didn’t keep to this at all. He was showing all the signs of hunger but wouldn’t nurse. He was frustrated, as was I because he wouldn’t nurse. To put it bluntly, we were a hot mess!

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