One could argue that the #1 breastfeeding foible is to choose to do it at all. As a proponent of the "happy mom, happy baby" theory, I hereby validate that choice. Sometimes the below list of things can prove too much for any woman to handle. But if the power of your choice compels you to soldier on, then maybe this guide will help you on your Quest.
Here are ten things that can disrupt one's maternal chi:
- *Not learning side-lying BF ASAP
- Speaking to lactation consultants
- Listening to haters
- Drinking alcohol
- Not drinking alcohol
- Allowing your husband to partake in anything surrounding this matter whatsoever
- Not using nipple shields
- Using nipple shields
- Low supply
- Pumping faux pas
Breastfeeding is… yeah. Or as the book my mom gave me, The Sh!t No One Tells You, put it "breastfeeding is really f*cking hard." Read her chapter on this. It's L-O-L funny. Anyway, the problem with all this, at least for me, has to do with the fact that it is also natural. When you think about something being natural, don't you assume that also means simple?
My friends, this is a fallacy. After reflecting on this matter, I realized that many natural things in life are NOT simultaneously straightforward, easy, or pleasant, nor do they work the way they ought to.
For example, naturally occurring poisons.
Or having a human conversation with one's boss.
That naked glow.
Anything to do with the Whole30 diet.
Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant.
All of these things defy normal expectations. Now, for the ways to manage the contradictory situation known as "feeding your baby the natural way."
- Make SURE you learn how to breastfeed while laying down on your side. If you clear away the blankets and prop your knees and back with pillows, you and baby can safely fall back ASLEEP together, when you get her from her bassinet for that 3 am feeding. LIFE SAVER. Otherwise you'll probably be falling asleep while holding her to nurse, and we would all like to avoid being a baby-dropper when possible.
- DO NOT talk to the lactation consultants. Unless you enjoy random septuagenarians hovering over your naked shoulder and relentlessly critiquing your exposed nipples from a bird's-eye view. Then by all means, invite them in.
- Turn a deaf ear to anyone who wants to talk about how breastfeeding is hard. Flat out refuse to listen to them. Trust your body and have a positive attitude with it, and you will be FINE.
- Sadly, drinking alcohol dehydrates you and will thereby dry up your supply.
- Having said that, its been 9 damn months already! Time your cocktails for right after nursing, and chase them with coconut water, Gatorade, etc. You really deserve a freakin' drink.
- Unless he is saying "you're right honey," Babydaddy's opinion counts for absolutely nothing. He will never understand, and that's ok. It's best he accepts that and moves on, supportively, and FAR AWAY from any stored milk whatsoever. If you don't feel like pumping right now, then that's the right decision. If you feel like saving 1 oz of leftover milk in the fridge, again that's the correct thing to do. If he tries to criticize any of your breastfeeding methods, hold onto your f*cking hats because a meltdown is already happening. If he feels like making an 8 oz bottle of breastmilk then feeding her 4 oz and falling asleep, leaving the rest to spoil, best check the backyard, 6 feet underground because that's where you'll find him. Have I made myself clear? It's best that he avoids the situation entirely. 🖤
- TRY A NIPPLE SHIELD! I never once experienced the infamous bleeding cracks, and I credit the shield for this respite. Also when nursing hurts, do not believe the people who tell you it's because you're doing it wrong. There is a reason nipple clamps are used in BDSM… The shield will alleviate this pain.
- Having said that, use it sparingly. The shield can unfortunately limit supply because of the decrease in exposure to certain enzymes in baby's saliva. Use Medela lanolin in between times. Medela lanolin is a goddamn panacea for any topical ailment. Neosporin ain't even no thang to me anymore.
9. SUPPLEMENT. Some moms seem to have an endless flow, filling deep freezers with 100's of ounces of milk. Others, like me, meticulously count every single ounce and fret about how much more or less is produced with each pumping session. Even worse, I worried that she wasn't gaining enough weight on breastmilk alone. To this I say: add scoops of baby formula to bottles of milk (I swear by this and this for ideal tiny tummy digestion). It will give them the calories they need, plus all the benefits of breastmilk that cannot be replicated.
10. A friend told me to begin pumping immediately when I got home. A nurse and the pediatrician scoffed at this idea. I waited to pump… I wish I hadn't. Even if you develop an oversupply, then you can store enough later to stop pumping earlier. Win win.
I hope that some of my experiences will help those of you out there who are doing battle with breastfeeding. A friend once told me this, and it really resonated: just remember, we love our tiny humans with all our hearts, and we are doing the very best we can for them. You can do anything you put your mind to.
Peace, love, and whatever the f*** you want to do in this life. ✌🏼