Most women when deciding whether or not to breastfeed or use formula tend to hear, “breast is best.” There are many healthy benefits to breastfeeding a child and tons of articles and scientific research to back it all up. However, as much as there is out there on the subject, there are more than a few things that no one seems to share.
In an article written for UK womenshealthmag.com, the experts have compiled four things that you need to know about breastfeeding right now.
1. Nipples will be sore even when baby latches on correctly.
Even if the classes and Google tell you that you should not feel pain if baby is latching on correctly, don’t feel like you are doing something wrong if that is not the case for you.
“Nipple pain is one of the most common reasons mums stop breastfeeding,” says The Modern Midwife Marie Louise in the article. “Most mums experience some sort of nipple discomfort during breastfeeding, even when the baby is latched on well. Often people will say how breastfeeding takes some time to establish, but the sensation of how it actually feels to have a newborn suction-attached to your nipple is sometimes forgotten.”
2. How long feeding really takes.
Do you know what “Cluster feeding” is? Well, Dr Sophie Niedermaier-Patramani, Co-Founder and In-House Pediatrician at Little Tummy, explains that it “is when a baby demands several breastfeeds in a short amount of time. It happens most often in the late afternoons or evenings and is not only caused by the baby being hungry but also needing more comfort after an eventful day. Cluster feeds can help babies to soothe themselves and they’re more common in the first three months of a baby’s life.”
So, if baby wants to feed three, four, or even five times in one night, there is nothing wrong, it is not out of the ordinary.
3. You may feel lonely or isolated.
“The responsibility of being the only one able to feed your baby can cause breastfeeding mums to feel like their life now revolves around feeding their baby,” says Louise. “Lots of women report the feeling of a loss of identity. Life as they knew it has changed drastically and they are still sharing their body with someone else. The expectation of having and feeding a baby can be very different from the reality of it.”
Breastfeeding is demanding and time-consuming. Sometimes, it can feel like feeding is all that you do 24/7. Make sure that you find support in family and friends so that you know you and baby aren’t really in this all alone.
4. Some babies may struggle to breastfeed.
Contrary to belief, not all babies take to breastfeeding easily. Some babies actually struggle.
“Learning to breastfeed is not just a new skill for mum; babies are also learning. They are born ready to feed and with various reflexes that support this but nonetheless it’s still a new experience for them,” Louise explains. “Some babies take to the breast easier than others, and various factors affect this–such as type of birth, pain relief in labor, gestation and birth weight. Some babies also have tongue tie [when the strip of skin that connects the baby’s tongue to the bottom of their mouth is too short] and this is currently a hot topic in maternity, as diagnosis of it has rapidly increased. It can restrict the tongue’s movement, making it harder to breastfeed.”
Though it may be hard at first, don’t give up and hang in there if breastfeeding is the right way to go for your family. Being a new parent has its ups and downs and everything in between, but just know, you and baby will both successfully make it out on the other side!
If you need help or additional information on breastfeeding, contact the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association.