A Real-Life Guide: What to Expect When Breastfeeding a Newborn Baby

A Real-Life Guide: What to Expect When Breastfeeding a Newborn Baby

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Breastfeeding is beautiful, right? Breastfeeding should create the bond of a lifetime between you and your baby. Your child will feel nurtured and cared for by mom. Plus, parents save thousands of dollars by opting to breastfeed. What’s not to love?

Breastfeeding a newborn baby is hard work. Having a newborn baby is difficult enough. Once you toss in breastfeeding, especially for first-time mothers, you create a recipe for a breakdown. But almost everything you will face can be overcome.

Have you read all the breastfeeding guides about what to expect when breastfeeding? The books and articles tend to create a different picture than reality. Let’s face reality now.

Help! My Nipples are Sore and Cracked!

Sore nipples are to be expected. Your nipples were going about life perfectly fine in your bra for years. Now, a vicious little human that latches on with a ferociousness is stuck to your breasts half the day. Newborn babies don’t consider their mother’s pain levels, so sore nipples are normal and go away after a few weeks.

Cracked nipples are common but not a good thing. In most situations, cracked and bleeding nipples mean that something is going wrong. Your baby might be latching incorrectly, or she might have a lip or tongue tie.

Why Won’t My Baby Latch?

You would think babies leave the womb knowing how to latch onto the breast with ease. You would be wrong. While many babies latch on easily, a large chunk struggle with latching. Some mothers use nipple shields, which are hard to get rid of once baby is used to them.

If your baby is struggling to latch, call a lactation consultant to help figure out the issue. Your baby might have a tongue or lip tie. Some babies have both. Ties can make latching properly difficult.

My Child Keeps Screaming at the Breast

Some babies scream at the breast for no apparent reason. The cries of a newborn baby can frustrate any parent. It can make latching your baby onto your breasts difficult, if not impossible at times. Your baby is hungry, and you know it. She won’t latch and keeps crying. The next thing you know you are crying with her. It’s ok; it happens to most of us a few times.

Cluster Feeding Might Be My Death

If there is one thing that new mothers struggle with the most, it is cluster feeding. Everything seems perfect! Baby is growing and gaining weight. All of a sudden, your baby won’t stay off of your breast for hours at a time.

Cluster feeding is periods of time when your baby breastfeeds for hours at a time, most often in the evening. It might be short but multiple feedings or long continued feedings. Some babies fall asleep at the breast and don’t want to let go. Babies are typically cranky, fussy and demanding during these times.

Mom freaks out! Something has to be wrong with the baby, right? She starts to wonder if her milk supply is low. She wonders if she should supplement with formula. What is going on?

Don’t freak out! Cluster feeding is normal but exhausting. You want a few minutes of time without a baby in arms. You want to go to the bathroom, eat a sandwich or breathe without your child screaming to nurse. It is exhausting.

Luckily, cluster feeding is normal and should be expected. Prop up on the couch with drinks and snacks. Order take-out Chinese food and focus on surviving. This will end, and it is totally normal.

Are You Having ANOTHER Growth Spurt?

Growth spurts are different than cluster feedings. Cluster feedings can happen each night for weeks at a time. Growth spurts happen at set times for just a day or two, and they have a purpose. If you don’t expect a growth spurt, you might be thrown a curveball.

Growth spurts can happen at ten days, three weeks, six weeks, three months, and six months. It isn’t an exact science, but keep an eye out for it. During this time, your baby wants to stay on the breast for long periods or nurse hourly for a day or two.

While annoying, there is a purpose to growth spurts. Your baby is telling your body to create more milk for his growing body. Your body will soon get the memo, and life will go back to normal.

Some Foods Bug Baby

I love pizza; who doesn’t? Can you imagine my surprise when my normally happy child would scream for hours after I had pizza? It turns out that the acid in tomato sauce can bother your child’s stomach. Each time I consumed pizza or tomato sauce in any form, my happy baby went crazy. I had to say goodbye to tomato sauce until my baby was six months old.

Many foods can bug your baby. Your baby might have an intolerance to dairy. Broccoli might cause gas. Caffeine could cause an upset stomach.

Luckily, this doesn’t happen to everyone, but you might want to be prepared to have to ditch some favorite foods until your child’s gut improves.

I Feel Like I JUST Nursed!

Aside from cluster feedings and growth spurts, many mothers complain that they feel as if they are always nursing. Some babies do need to nurse every two hours. If your child isn’t effective at transferring milk, a session can be 30 minutes at a time. 30 minutes at 10 to 12 times per day equals five to six hours of breastfeeding per day. That is exhausting!

As your baby gets older, her ability to transfer milk increases. You’ll notice that the sessions decrease in time. She will also be able to go longer periods without nursing, stretching to three or four hours. It does get better, you just have to wait it out!

My Shirt is Soaked Again

Your washing machine might get a few extra loads in the first few weeks or months. Leaking often happens, especially at night. If your baby happens to sleep a bit longer than normal, you awake to a soaked shirt and sheets. Heading to the store without your baby can be dangerous if you hear another baby cry.

The sound of your baby crying can make your breasts go crazy. The next thing you know, you’re soaked before you could get to your baby.

It is normal but annoying. Invest in a few nursing bras and nursing pads. They’ll stop you from having to change shirts all the time. If you think you smell spoiled milk, it is probably you!

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