I am not a breastfeeding expert at all. But when I was in the hospital after having Austin, there were things I came across that I had NEVER EVER heard of. It was an all new territory for me. I was scared and embarrassed, and thankfully I had a couple of friends who helped and Twitter for any other questions and I learned a few things!!!
I decided to make a list of things that never occurred to me and may not occur to you either 😉 Hopefully, you won’t feel as silly as I did.
#1 – When your milk comes in… HOLY PAMELA ANDERSON. Wow. Seriously. Geez. HUGE, rock hard, and painful. But they go away. In a couple of days, you will look a little less Heidi Montag.
#2 – At the beginning, there will be milk E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. And that smell? That’s spoiled milk. No, this concept never even DAWNED on me. I thought that sour nasty smell on my nursing tank was the lanolin. But alas, no, it was spoiled milk that was leaking or left over from pumping. Bring nursing pads to the hospital. Trust me.
#3 If your baby is in the NICU and you are having to pump, be prepared to pump A LOT. Like, more than every 3 hours. When you sit there for 20 hours a day, those crying babies will seriously increase your supply. Austin has every one of those babies in that special care nursery to thank for his freezer stash (RIP freezer stash.)
#4 RIP freezer stash? Yeah. Check your deep freezer. @CrunchyNurse on Twitter told me they have an alarm thermometer thingy in theirs so when it gets above a certain temp it alarms. Genius. Wish I knew about it 200oz+ ago.
#5 When your milk comes in and you’re dying from the pain? It’s totally normal and it goes away. I didn’t know that. I had no idea I would get engorged and my boobs would fill up like that and I would hurt so bad. I thought I was getting mastitis and I FREAKED OUT.
#6 When you’re hurting and engorged and the baby and/or pump are doing you no good, get in the warm shower and hand express and massage. It’s fab.
#7 If you’re pumping, make sure the flanges (those thingies that cover your boobs) are big enough. (TMI warning for the family members and men that made it this far). When I had Austin my nipples were huge. When I pumped they would swell up like 70X their size.
I was using the regular Medela flanges that are 24mm or whatever and I was crying in pain. Nothing was coming out. I wasn’t getting any milk at all. I watched and my nipples were filling the whole flange and milk couldn’t come out because my ducts were stretched out on the inside against the plastic (that makes no sense, I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to explain it). So I asked for a bigger size and it took awhile so I finally resorted to handing expression.
I had to hand express for like a day or 2 (which doesn’t SOUND like a long time, but it is) until I got bigger flanges. I actually ended up with the XLs. Once Austin was a month old they weren’t so big anymore and I moved down to an L. I could probably fit in the Regular or Medium now.
#8 Don’t buy a nursing bra yet. Just get some tanks. Your boobs are going to be 25 different sizes until your supply evens out. When baby is like a month old, then you can buy some expensive bras (or not. I don’t have one.). (this is just my opinion. some people won’t agree with this. but if you’re on a tight budget, seriously, save your $).
#9 Washable nursing pads (once you get home obviously) are your best friends. Applecheeks has some awesome bamboo ones, SUPER SOFT. Those boxes of disposables go FASTTTT. Washable ones can be washed daily with your tanks and bras because you’re going to be washing those a lot too 😉
#10 If gets easier. I promise. It’s so so so so hard at the beginning. Baby might nurse for an hour and have bad latch issues and you have to latch baby yourself. You’ll dream of days where the baby just latches on and you don’t have to do anything. It’ll get there before you know it. I PROMISE. Just get through.
#11 Letdown is the term for when you’re starting to nurse, pump, or leak (at the most inopportune time). The milk will just start flowing. It will like squirt across the room LOL. I had no idea this had a name. And sometimes newborns won’t be able to nurse through it because the flow is just too fast.
When I started nursing Austin (finally, after he was a month old) if he got choked and it was too fast, I just took a burp cloth or wash cloth and held it on my boob for a minute or so until the flow slowed. Austin used to just lick like I was a lollipop because it just poured out haha! Now he has no issues with it, but sometimes he’ll pull off and he’ll get sprayed. It’s pretty funny.
#12 Got the baby blues? Exhausted? Need a laugh? Squirt your husband. It’s great.
Those are just a few things I didn’t know and would have loved to had a smidge of knowledge about when I had Austin. I hope may be someone learned something 😉