Here are some things that no one told me about postpartum and breastfeeding. I intermixed the good and bad.
- Let down pain
Apparently if you make a lot of milk your let down can be painful. mine feels like a sharp stabbing pain all over my breast and sometimes my nipple. I also was not told that not everyone experiences a let down sensation so for the first few weeks I thought something was wrong with me when I was not feeling a let down.
- No AB muscles
After birth and for the first 5 days sitting up, laying down and sitting down were very tough. Also, coughing and sneezing hurt. It felt like I had no AB muscles at all. I needed constant help to move from those positions. I’m not sure if it was just that I got so large or that I had a C-Section but it would have been nice to have a warning. I felt useless and pathetic for days.
- Recurrent Mastitis and Plugged ducts
Yup that’s a real thing. I have had two cases of Mastitis and two cases of Plugged dusts in 7 weeks postpartum. I have now been advised to massage my breast with each nursing session and when I become engorged as well at to take extra Vitamin C and Sunflower Lethicin daily. I’ll report back if it gets better.
To ease the symptom, as soon as your engorged, use very warm compresses before feeding when and when very sore, some prefer cold when sore but only warm helps with engorgement let down. I bought Booby-Tubes from Earth Momma Angel Baby on Amazon, and I love them for a hot or cold compress on my breasts, take extra Vitamin C and 600mg Ibuprofen as soon as you feel tenderness, lumps, redness or a general unwell feeling. Nurse, Nurse, Nurse or Pump!
If you run a fever and feel like your getting the flu call your doctor right away for antibiotics because that is Mastitis. I can feel it coming a mile away now and have prevented my Plugged ducts from becoming Mastitis twice now.
- Feeling drugged when breastfeeding
Looking back it was a crazy awesome feeling but in the moment you just feel weird. There is no good way to explain it other than feeling like someone gave you a sedative. Even Kate felt it for the first two-three weeks. It was the most intense the first week though.
- Feeling overprotective even with your spouse
This one gets me. I cant help but feel like everyone but me is doing things “wrong” with the babies. I know I’m irrational about it though so I rarely speak up but it is still annoying. I just apologized to Kate recently about “telling” her to do or not to do things too much. The momma-feels are stronger than anticipated.
- Panic feeling when not around the babies
People kind of tell you this but they lack the detail. It feels like a small panic attack that comes out of nowhere when you gone from them for more than 30 minutes, sometimes even less, yet Kate does not feel this way so I think it may be a biological birth mother feeling at least for us. I’m learning to deal with it better when I have to be gone for a while but I still don’t like the feeling and would prefer to never be away from them for more than 15 minutes!
- Leaking breasts
Oh people tell you that you’ll leak a little but not like I leak. I HAVE to wear breast pads or every time I have a let down I am soaked. When I feed only one at a time the other breast will leak like a fountain. A very hot shower will make me leak for a few minutes after I am not longer in the shower and I cannot go without breast pads at night or I will wake up in a pool of milk. Gross!
- How to nurse lying down
Seriously do yourself a favor and look up how to properly nurse laying down. It has saved my back and helped them latch well. Nursing laying down is amazing and so much more comfortable for you and baby than sitting up or standing although its good to alternate. in the first few weeks laying down will help your sanity while you nurse your life away! I wish I could nurse both babies at the same time laying down, but alas I am not a cat, dog or pig *sigh*.
- Double swaddle
Again look this up. For very wiggly babies its a miracle. Our little girl is Houdini reincarnated and can get herself out of any great swaddle, but NOT the double swaddle. I do a variation of it since it is so hot here and I’ll take pictures to show you how we do it with our sleep sacs. I credit the double swaddle for getting Emerie to stay asleep because without it her arms and hands wake her constantly. I have researched it and found that when done properly it does not have any developmental concerns.
- That not all babies like pacifiers
We didn’t want them to have them at all until they were a month old, however the NICU nurses asked us to research and read the latest studies on premies and pacifiers. I guess when born early their suck reflexes are not yet developed and therefore using a pacifier helps to teach them how to suck. Well, ours don’t really like them nor can they keep them in unassisted. They also don’t currently like any other than the NUK brand. They will only take them and semi keep them in when they are very sleepy. Now I’m wishing they would love them.
- Latching issues can happen later on
Emerie and Daiton both took to our breasts very well right away regardless of being early and going between bottle, two different sets of breasts and using binkies. However, about one week into breastfeeding Emeries latch become increasingly more painful. I had two lactation consultants help me help her to latch better and while it helped a bit she still has a very shallow latch. It was strange to me that it seemed to get worse later. It’s the same now as it has been for weeks and I’m hoping as she gets bigger it will Improve. She has a VERY minor tongue tie but I’m told that shouldn’t be the issue as Daiton’s is worse and he latches great. It no longer hurts to nurse her either and does not affect her ability to transfer milk.
- Engorgment sucks
The engorgement you get when your milk comes in is initially exciting but that soon fades when it happens regularly and you NEED to nurse or pump for comfort. I’ve gotten terrible strech marks from it too😥.
- It’s harder to nurse engorged
You wouldn’t think so huh? I guess soft breasts make for better latching and also for higher quality/fatty milk.
- Babies choke on milk
I have a heavy letdown so this happens all the time. Even without the letdown it happens and with bottles. It’s just as nerve racking as a toddler choking on food. They wheeze and turn colors, you have to pick them upright or face them belly down and pat their backs firmly when it’s a bad one. Laying down or sitting back angled at the beginning helps the let down slow.
- Nipple shields
Lots of pros and cons but if you get the right fit, and wash them between most feedings they can save your nipples and your sanity. Biggest cons are; can reduce milk flow, if not washed frequently and used on a cracking nipple can cause infection/mastitis, only comes in three sizes and they aren’t cheap, baby can become dependant and so can you. Biggest pros; helps a baby latch and eat if tired or has a lazy latch, makes side laying nursing easier for smaller breasts and if your nipples are very sore it’s a god send.
- How emotional you feel after birth
I cried the first 24 hours nearly nonstop for every reason imaginable. Indescribable feeling.
- Putting them in car seats is terrible
You feel like it’s going to kill them or that your hurting them.mthe car seat swallows them up and it looks unsafe even with newborn inserts. I still hate putting them in their car seats.
- That you get used to sleep deprivation
It’s intense like haven’t slept in a week intense, you imagine things intense, wants to cry and scream intense and my favorite can’t stop laughing your so delirious intense. Those are my best descriptions. However, you get used to it and it becomes less and less intense.
- Gel pads on sore nipples are amazing
The Soothies gels pads they gave me in the hospital were heaven on my sore nipples. If they we not so damn expensive I would use them all the time.
- Use nipple cream all the time!
I use Motherlove nipple cream which is all natural, organic and won’t deter your baby from your natural smell. I’ve used it since birth and they have never shown disinterest. It is AMAZING on dry and sore nipples.
- Buy good breast pads
The cheap ones are cheap for a reason. Either pony up the dough, have someone buy them for you or make some. Bamboobies reusables are my favorite, they are very absorbent and soft. Disposables can be good in a pinch but they show badly and leak easy.
- Buy maternity/post partum underwear
I got mine at Motherhood Maternity and am a size S/M at 150lbs postpartum. They are very comfortable when nothing fits right. I had a C-Section so I needed something that wouldn’t rub my incision and these are perfect. They come in a 2 pak of nude and black and are waist high, they also make you look less lumpy. 8 weeks out and I still wear mine. I wore the disposables from the hospital for two weeks but realized I was allergic!
- You get hungry ALL THE TIME when nursing
I am never full. Granted I nurse two babies but I bet it’s similar with one as well. Buy lots of easy foods and drinks for yourself. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night starving, and try to get things you can eat one handed. If you have people coming to visit and they ask if you need anything request food. They will bring it but only if you tell/ask them.
- If you have a good supply don’t try to increase it
Herbs and medicinal drugs can actually hinder your milk supply and if your not pumping you may not notice until your baby is crying in hunger or you see a lactation consultant. If you think your not making enough milk see a local LC and ask to do a weighed feed, it’s the only sure fire way to see how much they are getting from you.
- Don’t wipe off the vernix left on their genitals or anywhere else until it starts coming off itself
I’m glad some told me this early on. Especially with little girls they have vernix coating ther labia for a long time.myou can gently wipe each diaper change but don’t scrape it out of wipe too hard it will start coming off on its own.
- Baby girls get discharge after birth
Yup it’s true. A few hours after birth I changed emery and this thick stringy discharge came out of her vagina. I thought something was wrong and called a nurse. They said that my hormones are in her at high levels after birth and for a few days so that can happen and its normal. Weird but I’m glad I know now.
- Cleaning your uncircumcised son
Do NOT retract your sons foreskin to clean his penis…..ever! You can damage his penal skin and CAUSE infections. He will not need to clean under his foreskin until it retracts itself around 8-10 years of age. I have a few close men in my life who informed me of this.