Ten Mistakes I Made While Breastfeeding My First

A mom shares the ten mistakes she made when she started breastfeeding

breastfeeding, struggles with breastfeeding, how to breastfeed, common breastfeeding issues, breastfeeding issues

We all know that “breast is best”, it’s drilled into our brains from the moment the stick turns pinks. And we all want to do what is best for our babies. But man, sometimes breastfeeding is seriously hard. No one ever really talks about breastfeeding and the potential complications that could arise from it. From skipping my nipple cream to delaying latching, I’ve taken all the missteps out there so that you don’t have to.

Here are the ten mistakes I made breastfeeding.

I didn’t do my research.

When it came to my delivery, I prepared myself mentally and practiced my take on hypnobirthing. Yet, it never dawned on me to educate myself on breastfeeding. I thought I’d just stick the crying and screaming newborn on my breast and she’d ever so gently extract my milk. WRONG. Don’t kid yourself; while reading reviews on cribs, carve out some time to look up “breastfeeding” and learn a few techniques.

I didn’t get my newborn to latch right away.

Giving birth is a very intimate time and should be shared privately. No matter how close you are with your family and friends, the mom should dictate when she’s ready for excited visitors. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my situation as immediate family came into the room immediately afterwards, literally. I believe it took away from the very precious time the parents have alone to bond with their newborn. I actually had to call the nurse into my room, hours later, to teach me how to breastfeed and get a good latch.

I ignored the nurse’s advice to go to a lactation consultant the day after I gave birth.

Since the hospital didn’t have an in-house lactation consultant available, I was directed to the offsite location to see a city nurse. I convinced myself that I would get the hang of it, still new and so in love and figured I didn’t need to go right away. Yet the pain felt like repeated stabs in the nipples and I started to realize that maybe I did need a bit of help.

Skipping on my prescribed “All Purpose Nipple Ointment” medication.

At our first baby check-up a week after I gave birth, my doctor prescribed me APNO for the pain I’d complained of having while breastfeeding. It’s actually a formula that a “breastfeeding guru” came up with. You have to take it to a special lab to get it compounded. I asked my husband to get it for me and, much to my dismay, there were some delays. Meanwhile, the pain was so excruciating, I would’ve rather given birth 100 times than face the cries for milk.

Patiently listening to the city nurse’s advice while my newborn sat in a diaper.

The room was heavily air conditioned and the nurse had me feed my baby for 20 minutes on each breast. I listened and did what I was told—that’s when my baby began projectile vomiting on me. Talk about a lesson learned.

Silently hoping the pain would go away.

There was so much pressure and guilt weighing on me about breastfeeding my child. Combine that with the sleepless nights and rollercoaster rides of emotions. I wanted the pain to go away but didn’t know how.

Pumping without understanding my production.

My sister got me the best breast pump on the market. At first I thought I would be able to counteract the damage my baby had been doing to my chewed-off nipples by pumping. But that math just didn’t work out. I got 2 oz. in 30 minutes to pump consumed in less than 2 minutes.

I felt so guilty about formula feeding my baby.

She was still hungry, I had no more milk in me—I couldn’t help her. I broke down and had to call my best friend who managed to convince me formula was okay. I got her the pre-mixed kind and everything was all good. Don’t let that guilt weigh you down—you are doing everything you can!

Going to one breastfeeding clinic after another.

Don’t go to them, let them come to you. Learning how to breastfeed in an environment other than yours can be unreliable. Once you get home and try to follow the advice you’ve been given at the clinic, you realize your chairs are different, your couch feels lower. You and your child will learn how to breastfeed together, most likely in the comfort of your own home. Figure out how to do it there first.

That time I stepped out of the shower with my nipples exposed!

Cover those nips, ladies. Mine were in so much pain that I couldn’t stand the feeling of them being touched by anything, especially my towel. Once that cold, dry air hits them, the chapping and cracking cycle begins again. I didn’t get this until I had already committed to exclusively pumping after three-weeks.

Needless to say, you are going to hit a few hurdles of your own, that’s just life. It’s learning and sharing your wisdom that turns them from something demoralizing into stripes of honour.

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