If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re pregnant! And if that’s true, congratulations!! When you’re pregnant with your first baby, there is a LOT of information for you to take in, learn, & make decisions about. One of those is whether you’ll be nursing or bottle feeding, and personally, and I don’t think there is a right or wrong choice. Whatever is best for you & for baby is the right choice.

I breastfed my son for 7 months before transitioning to formula, and I’m currently almost 6 months into exclusively breastfeeding my daughter.

My two experiences with breastfeeding have been very different & I want to share the things I’ve learned in the process to hopefully help you make a decision prior to your baby coming.

  • Don’t get bummed if it doesn’t come naturally right away. It will be HARD, but this is your first time doing it and it’s also the first time your new baby is figuring out this new thing too. It takes time and practice for it to feel natural and comfortable.
  • If you want to breastfeed, then breastfeed! With my first baby, it didn’t come super quickly for him to nurse and he ended up dropping a little more weight than they wanted him too in the first 24 hours. They tried having me begin formula with him before I had even tried nursing for a full day! I did not want to do that. And guess what? We figured it out; it just took a couple of days. And my son gained back the weight plus more very quickly. Nurses know a lot but don’t let them decide something for you or force you into doing something you don’t want. (Now, if you aren’t producing enough for your baby, then yes- you will need to supplement and that’s a different story. I’m talking specifically about those instances where you might be encouraged to supplement before your milk supply has even come in)
  • Have a nursing basket. This is something I learned with my second baby. I was having a hard time getting up so much in the night at first to nurse and then be present with a young toddler during the day. My husband put together a little nursing basket for me with snacks for those night feedings to make me not as sleepy during them & also to have something to “look forward” to during that time. I added diapers, wipes, nipple cream, & chapstick to the basket.
  • It will be painful. This is kind of inevitable. With my son, I experienced much less pain than I did with my daughter but it was still uncomfortable at first. My nipples actually cracked and bled with nursing her at first because she had such a poor latch. Use lots of nipple butters and that will help a ton!
  • See a lactation consultant. After you give birth and are still in the hospital, there is a lactation consultant who is available to see you and help you out. This is so good to do even if you feel like you have a handle on it. But especially after your first, most times you’ll have no clue what you’re doing and they’ll help with good latches, prime positions, and share all the helpful tips with you. Take advantage of this!
  • Introduce a bottle early. It is extremely helpful to be able to have your significant other able to help feed the baby cause it truly is a full-time job! Now, you do have to introduce it early and often (my husband would do one bottle each night to help me sleep more after having my son). We introduced one early with my daughter and she took it, but we did not offer it often enough and now she will not take one at all, so offering it often is also crucial if you want them to be able to take one.
  • Pumping will increase your supply. After my first, I had an abundant supply, so I would pump a bottle worth of milk after the first feeding each day. This helped me build up a great freezer amount for those bottles. This also helped me gain more independence and freedom with getting to leave my son with my parents here and there.

Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and if I’m being 100% truthful, I don’t really enjoy it & that’s okay!! But, it is a blessing to be able to nourish our babies.

Tia Marie

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