David and I attended a birth class at our hospital before we had Emmet. Mostly they felt repetitive and like we could have just read about the birthing process and probably been fine, but the one class we should have FOR SURE attended was the one on breastfeeding. But it stormed that night. They offered to let us reschedule a one on one appointment with the lactation consultant and we shrugged it off like it was no big deal, we'd figure it out, right?
WE WERE SO WRONG. After Emmet was born I remember being so overwhelmed. I had read blog posts about how babies crawled straight to the breast and it was so easy peasy and my first experience was not like that at all! I had no idea that I would need to be feeding Emmet every two hours even at night, it was a huge shocker when they explained this to me in the hospital. I had no idea how long to feed him, what the signs were that he was hungry/full, no idea how to get a proper latch, how much he needed to eat, anything.
And I struggled. I had an open wound on my nipple for EIGHT WEEKS that would scab over and reopen every single time Emmet would nurse. I cried, dreaded feeding him, and felt really negative towards breastfeeding in general. Emmet wasn't gaining weight like he was supposed to and we went to appointment after appointment with the lactation consultant and weight checks at his pediatricians and it was really discouraging. He eventually started gaining and grew justing fine and our pediatrician finally prescribed something that healed my nipple. It was fairly smooth sailing once we figured it out and I ended up nursing him until he was 10 months old.
This is not to scare you from breastfeeding. It's more of a warning that it isn't always easy. It can be tricky, it can be painful, but it can also be a really awesome, bonding experience if it works out for you! My experience with Henry so far has been just fine! I like to think that it is because I've done it once before. I knew what I was getting into going in and made it my goal for us to figure it out as soon as possible.
Know that it might be easy, but it might be hard. It might take some getting used to, it might not work out at all. You might love it or you might hate it. My advice would be to go to a breastfeeding class or to a lactation consultant before hand and prepare yourself as much as you can! Plus I found that these items below really helped me out!
My Breastfeeding Essentials:
1. Medela Breast Pump - whether you are a working mama or you are at home like I am, a breast pump will be your best friend. It will allow you to be independent from your baby; every day while you are at work or from time to time when you need to escape (and you will need to!)
2. Medela Breastmilk Storage Bags - my favorite way to store milk in the fridge or in the freezer.
3. Lifefactory Bottles - made from glass so they feel less wasteful and they are pretty too!
4. Breast Pads from LoveMy - these suckers are fantastic. I've only had one leak a tiny handful of times and I wear them every single day.
5. Comfort Breast Shells from Phillips Avent - I don't always want to use my breast pump, so to stock up on milk I use these to catch the let down from my opposite breast! You just slip them in your bra and it catches any milk that comes out.
6. Breast Comfort Packs from Lil' Buds - These are the best! Stick them in the freezer and wear them cold to ease any pains or heat them up in the microwave to help prevent clogged ducts and mastitis. Either way they'll help keep your boobies happy.
7. Burp Rags - Babies spit up, it happens. I've designed my burp rags to be both beautiful on your shoulder AND to keep any spit up from soaking through to your shirt!