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'What I Wish I Had Known about Breastfeeding'

Advice from BabyFit Moms Who Breastfed
-- By BabyFit Community

When it comes to breastfeeding, preparation is the key. Talk to women who have successfully breastfed, check out breastfeeding books from the library, and definitely sign up for a breastfeeding class taught by a certified lactation consultant.

Recently on the message boards, BabyFit moms discussed the advice they found most helpful before they started breastfeeding and what they wished someone had told them. Here is their advice:

The Most Helpful Things I Learned Before Breastfeeding
  • How good it was for my baby
  • Knowing my mom breastfed all of her kids
  • The price of formula
  • Knowing it's so much faster than bottles--no prep time and no cleanup.
  • Bonding with baby
  • Doesn't smell bad, doesn't stain
  • Breastfed babies have fewer digestive problems and bowel movement issues
  • Usually they spit up less and when they do, it doesn't stain
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me about Breastfeeding
  • How much larger my breasts would get
  • How much I would leak
  • That different babies eat for different amounts of time (some for 10 minutes and some for 30 minutes or more) and your own baby will eat for different amounts of time, too
  • You can pump after you are no longer exclusively breastfeeding
  • That "let down," is more of a painful/stinging feeling than a "filling up" feeling
  • Even though I had a class on breastfeeding, the real education wouldn't take place until the baby arrives
  • How painful it could be
  • How difficult it can be due to things like premature birth, flat nipples, or the baby being tongue-tied
  • How much time breastfeeding can take, especially if your baby eats every two hours and takes 30 minutes or more to eat
  • To watch your baby latch on and to know what to look for so you do NOT take a bad latch--ever
  • Knowing that it is not uncommon to have to latch and unlatch as many times as necessary until it is right
  • That you don't "gently" hold the baby. You do have to be somewhat fast and hold them firmly at the beginning
  • That you could nurse lying in bed
  • That it's not easy in the first weeks, that you'll be tired, and your partner's job is to make sure you eat, catch some Z's and breastfeed.
  • That your partner will bond without feeding the baby by changing, holding and loving the baby
  • Not to keep any formula in the house so that on the nights when it gets tough, you don't offer the formula without trying to work through it
  • How normal jaundice is and that you DON'T have to stop breastfeeding to clear it up
  • Babies often need to learn how to nurse
  • That it can take up to 2 months to form a "comfortable" nursing relationship
  • To take advantage of the nurses every time you breastfeed while in the hospital. They can help with the latch and are a great source of encouragement
  • That you'll always have enough milk, no matter what you think
  • To always have something to eat and drink nearby.... before you start nursing
  • That a baby can cluster feed (space feedings closer together at certain times and go longer between feedings at other times, usually to "tank up" for a long sleep) and it's normal
  • The value of breast shells for flat and/or inverted nipples
  • That nursing, while it is easier than dealing with bottles, is still work--but oh so worth the effort!
  • About nipple shields and that by using them could teach my baby to latch a lot better
  • That I could become engorged--boom--overnight when my milk first came in and my baby would not be able to latch unless I expressed a little beforehand to help
  • That baby could go on a nursing strike
  • There is such a thing as nipple confusion
  • That milk supply was a demand and supply thing (I thought milk would always be there whether or not I feed, for at least 6 months)

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Member Comments About this Article
"My baby is now four weeks old and even though I took the classes and read the books, I was not prepared. Thank goodness for lactation consultants and BabyFit articles and forums. I have learned to literally take it one feeding at a time. Sometimes I cry because it hurts so badly (hard to get that perfect latch all the time, especially that first few days) but I know it will get better. Question: I have purplish looking lines extending from my nipples across my breasts...they look like a cross be..." -- KITTYKATE78
"That breastfeeding is the best value for your money. It extends to the cost of formula, doctors visits when your kids are young and just overall anxiety when you don't know what you think you are suppose to know when they arrive.
Breastfeeding helps with their immune system and you don't have to worry so much about colic from air in bottles. Nor do you have to worry about the exhorbitant cost of formula. I found that because I had the bonding experience with my kids from breastfeeding excl..." -- LILREED40
"I completely agree. I wish when I went to the class that people told me that it hurt and it was ok, because its more important to understand that feeding your baby requires practice from BOTH of you and just like getting calluses it always hurts at first even when they latch on right." -- CPRICE2113
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