When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I just assumed I would breastfeed, I mean that’s just what you do when you have a baby these days, right? Breastfeeding has so many amazing benefits, it’s the perfect food specifically tailored to your baby’s needs, it helps their immune system, provides comfort, helps with bonding, and so much more. But, there are some things that people just don’t tell you when it comes to breastfeeding. Here are a few:
- Mature milk takes a few days to come in, on average it takes 3-5 days for your milk to “come in”. But, this does not mean baby is not getting anything when he or she breastfeeds. The first milk you will make is called Colostrum. Your body begins producing this “first milk” around 20 weeks gestation. Some women will leak colostrum in pregnancy, but other will not. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean its not there. Which leads me to…
- Not every mother will leak. As I was preparing for the birth of my baby I bought all these nursing pads that everyone said I would need for the first weeks or even months of my baby’s life to catch all this milk I would be leaking. Guess what? I didn’t leak, not ever, not even a single drop. So, while yes, most moms do leak, not all do and that’s normal too.
- Just because you don’t leak does not mean you have low supply. If baby is gaining weight appropriately and having the correct number of wet and dirty diapers, they are getting enough.
- Pump output is not indicative of supply. Babies, when unrestricted, are far more efficient at removing milk than a breast pump. Also, average pump output is 2-5oz from both breasts combined, anything more is considered an oversupply.
- Tongue and lip ties can make a huge impact on your nursing journey. Having a reputable IBCLC who is knowledgeable about oral ties evaluate baby early can make a big difference.
- If you’re returning to work, it is very important that your child’s care provider properly paced-feeds your baby. When away from mom babies need 1-1.5oz for every hour you are away. For example, if mom is gone for 8 hours, she should leave 8-12oz for baby to eat while she is gone. When babies are not pace-fed they can over eat which then stretches out their little tummies. When this happens, they demand more and more and then mom has a hard time keeping up. kellymom.com has a great file on pace feeding you can print off and give to your provider.
- Breast-fed babies rarely take more than a 5oz bottle. Ever. One of the magical things about breastmilk is that as your baby grows its composition changes. This means that as your baby grows the caloric content of your milk increases. Formula stays the same no matter what, this is why formula fed babies increase milk amounts whereas breastfed babies do not.
Breastfeeding is natural yes, but that does not mean it comes naturally to all moms and babies. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Breastfeeding can be a wonderful, difficult, frustrating, empowering experience. Make the best of your journey and know that everyone’s journey looks different. Good luck on yours!
Melissa Ritchie a 27 year old wife and mother of two; she has a 2.5 year old daughter and a 1 year old son. She was born and raised in the DFW metroplex in Texas. She certified as a Birth Boot Camp Instructor in October of 2018 and began teaching in December of 2018, and is currently working towards her certification as a Birth Boot Camp Doula. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and scuba diving.