The early days post-childbirth are novel and exciting, but they are nonetheless quite daunting. Breastfeeding can often be a feat whether you are a new mom or have several babies.
Sure, you’ve seen pictures of mothers calmly breastfeeding their babies. But in reality, breastfeeding takes some work and is not as easy as it looks. The best way to approach breastfeeding is to research, learn all the facts, and know exactly what to expect when breastfeeding your little one. Here’s everything you need to know.
- Your Breasts Will Produce Colostrum Immediately After Birth
Immediately after birth, your breasts will produce colostrum, also known as the first milk you produce. It is thick, yellowish, and packed with nutrients. While this liquid, also regarded as ‘liquid gold,’ is produced in limited quantities, it will increase once your baby begins sucking and consuming it.
Giving your baby colostrum is essential since it has many benefits, including building their immune system, protection against germs, and preventing blood pressure.
- It Can Feel Uncomfortable and Intense When Transitional Breast Milk Comes In
The first few days, your breasts will be producing colostrum, but after that your transitional milk comes in. During this time, your breasts will go through engorgement. This is when their size becomes larger, and the breasts become tender and firm.
It is common for you to experience discomfort in your breasts during this time. This is also known as engorgement. To reduce the discomfort, you should breastfeed as often as your baby demands it. Alternatively, you can also use a portable breast pump. But be careful and avoid using it excessively. Instead, a safer alternative is to frequently breastfeed your baby.
- Breastfeeding Can Cause Uneasiness
Another thing for most moms to expect is the uncomfortable and often painful feeling they experience in their breasts when they feed their babies. It will take a few days for you and your baby to get used to and comfortable with the novel sensation.
If at any point you require assistance, consider contacting a lactation consultant. They can assess the latch, provide instructions on breastfeeding, and give tips and advice on managing the discomfort that comes with breastfeeding.
- Start Pumping If Necessary
As mentioned, your body is ready to produce milk right after birth. If your baby is still in the hospital and you cannot breastfeed them for any reason, you should consider using a breast pump. This will help you maintain a regular milk supply and avoid discomfort or pain in your breasts.
An electric breast pump works most efficiently. Pigeon has a wide range of high-quality products that support mothers in their breastfeeding journey through storing breast milk, breast and nipple care, pumping, and more.
- You Will Experience Sore Nipples
The first few weeks after birth, your nipples will feel sore and sensitive. This is fair, considering how your nipples are not used to the excessive and frequent sucking your baby is doing. If the nipples are too sore, you can consider applying Pigeon’s nipple cream to relieve the pain. It is a good idea to consult a lactation consultant if the soreness persists and if the skin around your nipples is cracked or peeling.
Another thing you can expect during breastfeeding is leaking nipples, which is quite frequent during the first few weeks. A quick solution to this is using Pigeon’s breast pads.
- Latching Can Be a Challenge
Soon-to-be moms might be surprised to know that perhaps the most challenging aspect of breastfeeding is latching, which can take some time and effort. Your baby’s latch is not just difficult but essential. This is mainly because it affects how much milk they consume and consequently impacts their growth and immune system.
A telltale sign of poor latch is if your nipples get damaged or sore. At this point, it is a good idea to consult a lactation consultant. They can help identify the problem with the attachment and suggest a pause for a while and then figure out ways to proceed with breastfeeding.
- Your Baby Needs To Be Breastfed Frequently
During the first few weeks after birth, the most common thing to expect for all moms is that you might feel like you are breastfeeding your baby all the time. This is no surprise, considering that babies need to be breastfed between eight to twenty times a day. It also takes at least half an hour on average in one breastfeeding session.
That said, it can feel like all you do is breastfeed your baby, and you cannot catch a break for yourself. However, new mothers must remember that this does not last forever; as the baby grows and you both get in the groove of breastfeeding, the frequency of feeding reduces.
Breastfeeding can be challenging and nerve-wracking at first, but with time and practice, you will get used to it and get the hang of it. Good luck!