I recently welcomed our third baby into our family. Audrey Faith was born in mid-October and she is, well, perfect. We didn’t find out the sex of this baby, since it’s most likely the last, and it was worth the wait. Of course, I was eager to nurse again. I mean, I nursed my other two babies well over a year. So, they handed me this squirmy little tiny 7 lb. baby and I was clueless--again.
Even experienced mommas can have struggles with nursing. I’ve heard stories of some babies just being good, natural nursers. For me, this baby’s first week was a challenge. Here are some common struggles moms face with nursing, no matter if it’s baby number one or three.
It's All About the Latch
I know you know what I mean, momma. Your baby seems to be eating fine but it hurts. It hurts a lot. With one of my babies, I used a nipple shield to get through those first few days of pain and discomfort. With my second baby, I had zero pain. With Audrey, I’ve had pain. I wasn’t expecting it. Kellymom.com has some amazing resources online for moms who are questioning baby’s latch. I have gone back to see a lactation consultant a couple times to get help with my baby’s latch. This time around, I made sure to ask nurses in the hospital for their opinions on how she looked. Things like poor support of the head, incorrect mouth positioning, and a clicking sound can be troublesome with nursing newborns. Once we got it down, the pain went away. If the baby is nursing and the latch is uncomfortable, it’s important to loosen the suction and start over.
Even moms who have nursed before can question their milk supply. I have already bought Milkmakers lactation cookies and some coconut lactation tea to help keep my supply going strong. Making sure you get enough water can also boost your supply and keep you hydrated. I constantly feel thirsty or hungry this time. Many moms take fenugreek or other herbal supplements to help with milk supply. Nursing on your baby’s cues rather than watching the clock can help milk supply, too. I have never been a big fan of using my breast pump, so my babies don’t take bottles. For me, this time around, I am serving as Audrey’s pacifier. So, she nurses very frequently, and that’s okay. I want to keep my milk supply going and let her nurse as long as she wants.
Opinions and Fears
With anything, people have strong opinions about breastfeeding. Many hospitals don’t support breastfeeding as much as they should. Sadly, many women start a nursing journey with little support from their spouse or family. Remember that you are doing what’s best for your baby. It doesn’t hurt that nursing can help you lose some extra weight, too! My family has told me before that she can’t be hungry yet because she just ate, but I know about cluster nursing in the evenings. Nursing in public can be a scary thing for moms, regardless of how many babies they have. I nursed in public yesterday without a cover confidently for one of the first times. Nursing covers are helpful. Practice can ease fears.
With anything, nursing takes practice and lots of love. Audrey and I are in the swing of it now, but it hasn’t been easy. I know there will be challenges along the way like clogged ducts, but I am confident I can find the resources to help us overcome them.
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 3 in Arkansas where she needs to wake up her baby and nurse her--now!