Boobie Juice, Boobaazzzzz, MamaMoo, Numnums, Olivia & Donald, Boobatime, Milky-Milky: whatever you decided to call it, breastfeeding can be one of the most amazing or challenging experiences of your life. Especially for first time moms, breastfeeding can have as many questions wrapped up in it as the labor and delivery itself. I wish I could just give you the magic red easy button and make everything just happen for you but girrrrlllll, we all know life does not hand us the easy button. I go back and forth on seeing the parent/child experience as one of the most beautiful dances life can give us and it being one of the most challenging that gets thrown at us! Either way, MY biggest advice . . . no one likes to dance alone!
I've called on my Max Mamas SWEET Gals (Strong Women Encouraging Excellence Together) to help me give some first-hand advice for new moms who could use some extra support on their breastfeeding journey.
Is it supposed to feel like that? Is it supposed to look like that? Sound like that? Should the baby cry this much? Well, relatively speaking, no! BUT here’s the good news; there are answers to all of your questions, you just need to ASK THE QUESTION! As a doctor I rely pretty heavily on peer reviewed research but sometimes actual experiences for current moms are just as golden. I love to get my patients perspective and nuggets of advice to pass on to other moms. Today I heard some of the best advice when it comes to breastfeeding; “Ask all the questions. Don’t assume someone is going to tell you if something is wrong.”
Here are a few things to think about on your breastfeeding journey.
1. Find your people! Every activity is better with a cheerleader and breastfeeding is no different. Sometimes it’s just having someone tell you that what you are feeling is normal. Other times it’s needing a shoulder to cry on. Your support team is critical in being successful. Husbands are great (and always your cheerleader) but on occasion it takes more to complete your team. Think about your mom, your mother-in-law, girlfriends, postpartum doulas, and lactation consultants, Max Mamas SWEET gals. Anyone who encourages you, can be part of your team!
2. RELAX! “My biggest advice is to relax. Baby can tell if you are stressed or frustrated and will react in the same way. Take a few deep breaths and try again. It does get easier.” Ya’ll, this golden nugget comes from our SWEET gals, Alashandra. She has ample experience in breastfeeding 6 kids . . . 6 KIDS! When she speaks experience, we listen! Relaxing is great advice in any situation but especially with breastfeeding. Not only does it help with getting baby to relax, it helps with latch, milk let down, and overall hormone regulation.
3. Don’t always assume you’re doing something wrong.
4. Reach out for professional help quickly if you feel like there is an issue. Janae (another awesome SWEET gal) has successfully nursed 4 kids and has some pretty valuable advice; “It is hard at the beginning, even for subsequent babies, but it always gets easier; give it time! If it hurts, there’s a problem that most likely can be solved (lip/tongue tie or latch issues) so getting support to help figure it out is essential.”
5. Give it time. “Don’t give up!” Collectively, that is always the number one answer when I ask experienced mamas to give advice on breastfeeding. L.S., who is currently pregnant with baby number 3; “You might feel very strongly about giving up, but DON’T! It’s going to get better even if things aren’t going perfectly in the beginning.”