For anyone who has tried this, know that the struggle is real. Although it has been a couple years since I stopped, the phase was so significant, it is forever etched in my mind and because of this I continue to support moms who can sometimes feel this loneliness.
BF moms, you are not alone. This page is dedicated to you for support.
Of all the moms I have met who tried to BF, I have only met one unicorn mom, who said she didn’t have any supply issues. What do I picture? A white waterfall free flowing, infinite, sparkling and glowing with the sound of angels singing AHHHHHH in the background. I was not blessed with this power. It was an emotional, painful, sleepless, and stressful struggle, I was a wreck but I was determined.
- Baby is here but where is my milk?? Don’t worry, keep trying to feed. The milk will come in 3-5 days. But what do I feed my baby until then?? Apparently, a baby’s tummy doesn’t need much during this time (I will have to find the source of this reference so stay tuned). It’s still pretty stressful.
- One word – engorged. This is just the beginning of level 1 pain. Put a warm compress to get the milk flowing then a cool compress for the inflammation or swelling. I liked Booby Tubes by Earth Mama, not trying to advertise but just passing on some friendly favorites.
- The first 2 weeks are painful, just skip level 2-8 pain, this is level 9. Like getting a tattoo on a bleeding wound, ripping your skin, painful. I would’ve like to put 10 but there has got to be something worse than this, right? Not sure what is worse, labor or this. Labor is probably worse but your brain likes to block out the actual memory of pain during labor. I mean I think if I really remembered, I would be crazy to do it again and I did, so that pain memory blocking must be real.
- If you can make it past this, you can make it to 4 months.
- You have to pump or feed every 3-4 hours. It’s the worst when all you want to do is sleep but you have to wake up to feed or pump. You were probably up anyway but just in case you thought you might get 3-4 hours, you’re probably just half asleep wondering if it’s time to wake up yet. You realize you missed a pump or feeding and want absolutely nothing to do with that awful pump machine at 3:30 am. BUT it has to be done!! Missing pump times decreases your supply. I should know. I’ve kicked myself many times thinking I could’ve just slept and pumped right?! UGH.
- If you really need to up the supply, make sure you are drinking lots of water, probably stay away from caffeine since it is dehydrating (I couldn’t do it!! I needed it like no other, if anything to keep my eyes open), use supplements like Fenugreek (not sure if it worked or I just needed to feel like it did), some moms liked the mother’s milk tea, and what really, truly does help (my opinion) is pumping (the dreaded pump machine) after feeding. It helped with my second baby tremendously until I got too confident and slowed down the pumping. I went from 8 oz in 20 mins to 4-5 oz in 20 mins. Ugh.
- It’s time to go back to work and if the separation doesn’t kill you or make you an emotional wreck like me, the pumping will. Put a timer on your computer and go!!! Make sure to pump, to keep your supply.
I made it a year but not without lots of tears. Find support, it really helps, if anything to cry or laugh about it together. The hormones are crazy. A radio commercial for fabric cleaner would probably trigger some tears. So glad that’s over!
A couple more friendly favorites: Kiinde Twist milk storage bags and reusable/washable breast pads.
I’ll update this as I remember more helpful insights that no one tells you about breastfeeding! So stay tuned 🙂