(This article is also available in Hungarian. A cikk magyar változatáért kattintsatok ide: 12 dolog, amit a szoptatásról megtanultam )
Hello everybody! My name is Zoé. By writing this article I am sitting in our camper at the Balaton lake and my son, Hugó is lying in my lap and nursing. The world week of breastfeeding is now, so I decided to share with you my experiences, that I gained in five months of breastfeeding.
Before Hugó was born, I collected a lot of information about birth, I read countless researches and books in the topic of home birth, but about breastfeeding I had very little ideas.
In the retrospective I realized that it is the same important part of getting a child than the process of birth itself. Coming from my unpreparedness and from the false information on the internet, a lot of things were unexpected for me. This is the other motivation why I decided that it is time to write in this topic. So here are the 12 things that I learned about breastfeeding.
1. Breastfeeding can be painful in the beginning.
This is one thing that I absolutely did not expect. I was thinking, I give birth and goodbye dear pains! But the second night after the birth I was sitting on the bed in tears, while my partner, Joshua was reading to me articles titled “Breastfeeding should not be painful” from the internet. The next day our midwife, Felícia was visiting us and she told me that even though the baby is latched on correct, unfortunatly breastfeeding can be painful in first two weeks, because the nipples are very sensitive. From her experience 80-90 % of women are concerned. Breastfeeding is high demand for the nipples and in some cases they have to get used to it. What can you do? Nipple creams can help a bit, but mainly you have to press your teeth together and start pain meditation. I also used nipple protector, when I could not take it any longer, but this can lead to wrong nursing techniques and slow down the process of the nipples getting trained.
Two weeks can seem really long, but when you got through it, you are looking forward to a wonderful time, grew much and can be proud of yourself that despite the pain you did not give up.
2. A newborn can nurse 8-10 hours a day and it is normal.
On my successful preparation before the birth I got the information that a newborn sleeps 20 hours on a day. For that it was surprising that Hugó wanted to nurse continously and did not even get close to the 20 hours of sleep.
Well, specially with the above mentioned horrible pain it is not such a joyful experience to breastfeed 8 to 10 hours on a day. When it was six in the morning and I was supertired and with no sleep still breastfeeding, I was thinking many times: breastfeeding on demand is a beautiful thing, but what is with my demands? Before I was painter, psychologist, I was writing, going deeper into tattooing and now I am the boobie slave of a little dictator. But after a while the situation gets more normal. In the beginning the baby has to practice nursing and was for nine months in the belly, so it also needs a lot of body contact that nursing can satisfy. It is a matter of few weeks and other things will be also interesting for the baby beside your boobs and the rythm of breastfeeding will stabilize.
3. You can also nurse with inverted nipple.
I have an inverted nipple, that was cousing a few problems in the beginning, Hugó in general could not latch on so easy, so in the first days I did not even tried this boob, I was happy that with the other one it was going good. If you also have an inverted nipple, I would recommend to visit a lactation consultant before birth, that she can have a look on it and show you a few tricks. The other thing, you should try from the beginning on with this boob, because after the milk shot in, it will be more difficult.
4. One boob is producing more milk than the other.
Like every coupled organ, boobs are also not the similar to each other. Lot of times there are more glands in one boob (mostly in the left one) than in the other. But it can also happen that the boobs are already from the outside different (for example one has inverted nipple), or the milk is coming faster or slower from one boob, or the baby simply likes one boob more, because there it can hear the heartbeat of the mother more or can reach it more easy… The point is, there is no problem, if the milkproduction of the boobs is different, life is too beautiful to cramp on such things.
5. The composition of mothermilk is dynamic
The mothermilk is always changing to satisfy the demands of your baby, also by the process of nursing. In the beginning of nursing the mothermilk is more watery, in the end is more greasy and sugary. For that it is important not to put the baby constantly from one boob to another, but let it finish one boob first, so that he or she can also get the more nutricious hindmilk.
6. Breastfeeding dementia
About this phenomenon I heard the first time from the sister of Joshua. She described it that because of the hormones women have nothing else in their head but nursing when the breastfeed. They forget a lot of things, do not even hear them or simply they do not seem so important. Joshua is getting a freak out that I am still not ready with the Hungarian translation of our kidbook, even though we have already a publisher that said yes. And instead of translating I am writing an article about breastfeeding. Well, everything has its time. 🙂
7. Mothermilk is not only food.
But also excellent medicine. For everything. Let it be illness, pain, skin problems or eye inflammation. Mothermilk has immunizing and antibacterial effect. If the baby has an eye inflammation, drop 8 to 10 times a day mothermilk in the eye, and it will pass in a few days.
When your child has a cold, you can also drop mothermilk in the nose. The only thing you should not use it for is dermatophytosis, because mothermilk can serve as food for the fungous.
If you breastfeed the baby, while it is getting vaccination, it will be less painful, because of the hormones released by breastfeeding, the mothermilk and the body contact serves as natural pain killer.
8. Breastfeeding is the best travel accompanion.
Right now we are travelling with our five months old baby in our camper all over Europe. Breastfeeding makes traveling much more easy. You will never forget your boobs at home, and you need nothing else to feed your baby.
9. The smell of sour milk is your new parfum.
Does not matter how many changing clothes you bring with yourself, spitting up can happen in any moment. 🙂
10. When you breastfeed, you do not need to worry.
Neither about weight, nor about the digestion of your baby. A breastfed baby cannot get overweight, and does not have constipation. By breastfeeding on demand the baby is gaining weight in their own rythm, so it can be normal if he or she has 12 kg with four monthes (like the niece of Joshua). A breastfed baby the same way is digesting in their own rythm, so it can poo six times on a day, daily, every three day or even every ten days, all of them is normal.
11. Breastfeeding helps you to loose weight.
The plus weight that you get during the pregnancy evolutionary serves for supporting the mother by breastfeeding. Nursing needs 500 extra calories on a day, so even though you keep your eating habits, you can loose weight. But still it is very good to try to eat as healthy as possible, because now you are the primary food source of your baby, too. In the time that I breastfeed, I got completely vegetarian, only eat integral cereals, do not drink milk at all, only sour milk products, and I decreased sugar intake to almost zero.
12. Be proud that you are breastfeeding!
I am very proud, that I only breastfeed Hugó. I also try to show it everywhere and propagate the beauty of breastfeeding. So for me breastfeeding in public is not shame but huge pride.