How to breastfeed and still lead a normal life? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-01-2014, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My baby is a week old today and thankfully we've begun our breastfeeding journey without many problems. I had read some about breastfeeding before he was born, and was given a completely unrealistic idea of what it would actually be like. I had no idea of how time-consuming, and quite frankly, overwhelming the frequent feedings would be. I was under the impression that I could simply work my life around two-hour intervals and return to my old lifestyle and self in no time. Boy, was I wrong... and I have not been handling it as well as I should.

 

I guess it's called the baby blues. Between the sleep deprivation and raging hormones, I'm struggling to piece my new life together. I know it's only the first week and everything gets better with time, but I could really use some reassurance. I miss seeing my friends and going places and spending time with my husband. What are some steps that I can take to ensure a successful breastfeeding future with my son? I really want this to work... preferably without losing my mind :) All advice is greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-01-2014, 06:54 PM
 
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Congratulations on your new love :love

Give it a few more weeks...have you heard about the baby moon? Many mamas hole up for a month after birth to bond and heal and rest. If you're really missing everyone invite them over to hang out while you hang with the baby & nurse. Get used to nursing in front of people and use a carrier so you can nurse while you move around if you need to. The babywearing forum here is awesome too if you need advice about which carriers will work for you especially ones that are easy to nurse in while wearing your baby. 


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Old 03-01-2014, 07:09 PM
 
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Oh sweet mama - this can be a hard time can't it? Along with your new sweet baby, a mama was born too. Give yourself time. Allow yourself to have these feelings. Feed your baby and snuggle. Invite your friends over to spend time with you and baby. This is your new normal...BUT it will constantly change as baby (and you) constantly change. The feedings will change as baby gets older and breastfeeding will just become a natural part of your day. Wearing baby in a wrap is helpful once you feel up to it. Right now, rest, rest, snuggle and feed. Allow yourself to be taken care of and ask for help if you need it. You are AMAZING! You created a life and brought it into the world. No small feat. Go easy on yourself! Hugs.

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Old 03-01-2014, 07:45 PM
 
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Sorry you are having a hard time... I agree with the other posters to give yourself time to rest and heal and bond with the baby. Even if you feel like you'd be okay to be out running around it is really easy to over do it.

 

Newborns do eat a lot! But over time he will space his feedings out and give you more time between them and you will learn to juggle doing other things as well.

 

Be sure you are taking care of yourself and eating well nourishing meals. I know it is really hard when you feel like you can't do anything but care for the baby but undernourishment can greatly contribute to mood issues. Can your friends bring by some hardy meals for you? Can your husband make sure you have a basket of snacks near your bed?

 

There are some herbs you can take to help rebalance things if that is something you might be interested in. Wishgarden has a couple, Baby Blues and Rebalance - https://www.wishgardenherbs.com/gallery/pregnancy. If you like aromatherapy, EMAB has a Happy Mama Spray that is intended to give you a quick lift in spirits - http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/postpartum-recovery/happy-mama-spray.html.

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Old 03-01-2014, 07:49 PM
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Oh sweetheart, those early days and weeks are TOUGH! I just want to offer you the encouragement that it gets much easier!

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Old 03-01-2014, 07:56 PM
 
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I just wanted to reassure you that just because he's eating almost non-stop, it doesn't mean he's not full or satisfied. These early weeks are building your milk supply. And it was super helpful if not necessary for me to have a fresh drink and nutritious snack every time I sat down with the new baby to nurse. And I drank a lot of mother's milk tea as well.

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Old 03-01-2014, 08:16 PM
 
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I'm sorry. :Hug  The postpartum experience is difficult, and I feel like it's hardest going from 0 to 1.  I think finding people around you who can support you and spend time with you is important.  You might want to try some breastfeeding support groups once you feel like you can get out, but don't be dismayed if it takes a couple of hours just to get ready and get going.  You have to define a new normal for you, and that's a big period of adjustment.  I remember my husband asking me after our first was born when things would be going back to normal.  I told him this is normal now, we weren't going to go back to the way things were.  But I did get to a point where breastfeeding was easy and enjoyable, and I honestly didn't expect would ever happen when I was in the middle of that first month. 

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Old 03-01-2014, 09:04 PM
 
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When my first was a week old I was pretty much up to staggering around the house shirtless.  Everything was damp with breastmilk (unconsumed, and at all possible stages of digestion), and everything was difficult.  It took an absurd amount of time to get ready to leave the house.  We went out to buy a nursery rocker, and I hosed down a row of floor samples while trying to feed the baby.  For our one-week well-child visit, we had to set an alarm clock to wake us at six, so that we'd have enough time to leave the house for a 2 p.m. appointment, and then we were late anyway.  For that WCV, we packed a dozen diapers and used them all, hurrying out of the hospital like panicked horse thieves when we realized that we'd just taped the kid into the last one. 

 

One week is so early.  It is all new.  You haven't figured out the tricks that make being with a newborn easy, and those are different tricks for everyone, so it's hard for anyone to tell you "oh yes, do this!"  Whatever "this" is, it might not be your thing, or might not be your baby's thing.  You just met this new person a week ago.  There's going to be an adjustment period. 

 

When the baby was three weeks old, I handed him to DH and went for a walk by myself.  I hurried home at the end because I missed them.  Nothing had gone wrong.  It was all fine.  When the baby was two months old, I managed to pack a diaper bag and get both of us out the door in under fifteen minutes.  You'll get to that place too.  In the meantime, pick a good friend, and tell them to bring a funny movie and a salad to your house to hang with you and your baby.

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Old 03-03-2014, 03:22 PM
 
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Go easy on yourself. It's only been a week. There's no particular way you "should" be handling this. The hormones are rough the first couple weeks! After another week or 2 you will feel a little more like yourself. After a month or two the breastfeeding will get easier. It's great that you are off to a problem-free start already. When you are feeling up to getting out, I also recommend going to a group with new moms. I went to one my medical systems hosts when my baby was 6 weeks old. It was so great to be around other new parents and parents with slightly older babies who had survived the newborn period. We have a drop-in group where you can talk about whatever and then we go out to lunch. This was how I got comfortable nursing in front of other people and in public. Like everyone else said, do lots of skin to skin, wear your baby when you can, nurse often. Your supply will get established and your baby will learn to eat more efficiently. You will leave the house and spend time with people again! I promise. Until then, take it easy and heal.



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Old 03-05-2014, 08:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
 

When my first was a week old I was pretty much up to staggering around the house shirtless.  Everything was damp with breastmilk (unconsumed, and at all possible stages of digestion), and everything was difficult.  It took an absurd amount of time to get ready to leave the house.  We went out to buy a nursery rocker, and I hosed down a row of floor samples while trying to feed the baby.  For our one-week well-child visit, we had to set an alarm clock to wake us at six, so that we'd have enough time to leave the house for a 2 p.m. appointment, and then we were late anyway.  For that WCV, we packed a dozen diapers and used them all, hurrying out of the hospital like panicked horse thieves when we realized that we'd just taped the kid into the last one. 

 

This ^ I almost peed myself laughing so hard because this is so true.

 

The first two weeks were definitely the hardest, for me anyway. The constant nursing, exhaustion, and hormonal change (a few days after your milk comes in is the worst hormonally which is probably right about where you were when you posted) are a rough trifecta. I did have a friend who I straight up told that I needed company from a human being outside of my immediate family and she came and visited which helped me a lot. I also remember having a few good cries because I missed my old life and felt really guilty about that. It was just me and my husband for so long and suddenly there was this person that moved in between our relationship. It's an adjustment for sure. I think right around 3-4 weeks is when everything started really working and getting into a rhythm. Hang in there mama.

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Old 03-07-2014, 02:02 PM
 
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Congrats. Go one day at a time. The first weeks are rough, new baby, new mom, tired etc. just snuggle and nurse, get your supply established, baby will go longer later on, but there are also growth spurts too, when they cluster feed a lot smile.gif
Are there any laleche meetings nearby that you can go to? Meet some other new moms and get irl support.
Remember, by 4-6 weeks bf is a lot easier, if there are no problems with latch/supply/infections. You both start to get the hang of it, not so much spit up. Are you trying a sling or co sleeping? A sling will help you get stuff done later, and keep baby close to nurse. You can nurse a newborn upright, though I had a hard time with it. But you can nurse cradle hold hands free, just keep an eye on baby and return to upright when finished. If co sleeping. You can nurse baby and set next to you in co sleeper/bed etc, o can get more sleep. At about a month you. Ight be able to latch on and half go back to sleep. Our guy is 3months now and sort of stirs to bf, then goes back to sleep.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:38 PM
 
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I wasn't brave enough to even go further outside than my driveway until his two week check up that I had to brave it for. I had my husband go into work late to come with me. Good thing he was there, because I was in tears and ready to smack the nurse who was squeezing all that blood from my baby's foot onto a lab test sheet. And I didn't go back to church for a month.

 

Get used to breastfeeding in public. It took me a while to get comfortable with it. But eventually I got tired of exiling myself to another room during gatherings when I wanted to be with everyone. Now I will sit on the couch and nurse away while keeping with the conversation. I do cover up a bit with a blanket, because I just pull my entire shirt up when I nurse. But Baby's head is mostly uncovered, so I can watch him, and be ready to cover with a cloth if he decides to pop off. If you have any pain work on making sure the latch is right. 

 

If you don't already, try to find friends who have young kids. They'll empathize with you. And don't feel like you ever have to explain or excuse yourself. Your baby and you have a right to be out in the world. 

 

If you need a break try to find someone to come hold you baby while you spend half an hour or an hour in a bubble bath or running out to get ice cream with your husband. The baby will be fine!

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Old 03-08-2014, 07:38 AM
 
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Hi Tiffa smile.gif it's so good to hear things are going well for you in the bf department. We didn't go out either for a few weeks except dr appt, and our first dr visit was terrible. We switched drs. For the first time in years, a person made me feel like I was having bf trouble with my two day old! But seeing as it was Christmas and I needed to go out for gifts, it was either go out and nurse or don't go. It was hard though, because we had some latch issues.

Emctops, Tiffas a new momma too, so it's really nice to hear advice from another new momma on bf smile.gif you can wear tanks under your shirt for more skin coverage too, so when you lift your top,your stomach is still covered. I wear camis under mine, but they double as nursing bras too, because I haven't found a comfortable one yet. I saw a mom at a lll meeting last month use one of those gauze swaddle blankets as a nursing cover. She just draped it over the side she was nursing on, so nice, light and breathable, and she could check on baby real easy. Plus those fold up tiny in bags, like slings. I use our sling as a blanket to lay baby on too if needed. Something like that, a wrap or sling is a lot less attention drawing I think to nip than those nursing covers you buy, but that's my opinion.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:09 AM
 
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Oh lady, giant hugs to you. The first few weeks can be trying. You're getting used to being your baby's mama and your babe is getting used to the world. There is a huge learning curve for everyone.

Ease into it, mama. Give yourself grace. Be patient and at peace knowing you're establishing a lifelong bond with baby. And you need time to recover!! I highly recommend Aviva Romm's book about the postpartum period (or 4th Trimester as it's called).

Otherwise, have friends come to you- particularly those your comfortable nursing in front of smile.gif Baby will ever so slowly start to space feedings out, and you'll be able to go on walks and short drives then. Practice putting baby on/off the nipple and clasping/unclasping your nursing bra so you feel comfy doing that in public- and practice finding decently private areas to nurse in that meet your comfort level. I personally found nursing covers to be awkward and it was easier to practice latching/unlatching in a discreet way smile.gif

You'll get there. I was ready by 3 months. (P.s. I second slings, wraps, Ergo, etc for being on the go but close to baby).

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Old 03-08-2014, 08:11 AM
 
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It is so hard getting used to having a newborn. The other moms in this thread have told it like it is! Now that my firstborn is almost 3 and I have a new little one, taking care of him is a frickin' piece of cake. I remember it seeming sooooo overwhelming to have one baby when my daughter was this age. And now if I take just the little one somewhere it feels like a vacation! One child, who sleeps on me in the carrier the entire time I'm out. He doesn't ask a million questions or try to get into everything, the way my toddler does. Yeah, I do still have to bring cloths so I don't get milk everywhere, but really, I got this. And you will find your stride too. Soon he will stop nursing every 15 minutes and he will start to have some diapers that do not contain poop. That said, my daughter was always a snacker and never really nursed on a schedule. I wasn't really comfortable leaving her for more than a couple of hours when she was a baby (other than to go to work). But someone who's a little more willing to pump might not mind that so much. I really hated pumping so did as little as I could get away with. I preferred to keep my outings short or bring her along, versus getting home to find out she'd eaten and I had to pump. 

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Old 03-08-2014, 10:19 AM
 
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HI Hippy Mum! Thanks. :) I really enjoy it now, and have become proud of myself and my mothers body. In a way I like nursing in public to "show off" my confident motherliness. :) I still get on here to read a lot. I just don't post much now.

 

I forgot to mention that I also like to wear those wide, thin, flowy scarves you can find. They make nice cover ups, and they are actually stylish.

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Old 03-08-2014, 12:04 PM
 
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I remember feeling that way. I didn't have internet access when I was pregnant with my first, so I just read a bunch of books. Books just don't give you the real picture, you know? It's very overwhelming, but it gets sooo much better. Just focus on baby, you are doing great!


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Old 03-08-2014, 02:50 PM
 
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Erigeron my guy is a snacker too smile.gif

Tiffa- those scarves are awesome! And so many patterns, colors and usually on sale at target. They're perfect nip covers smile.gif. I'm glad you feel so good. I always try to acknowledge nip mommas with a smile or if at the park, library etc will stop and say hello, see how things are going. Sometimes it's something so little to help another mom feel good nip and confident.

Emctops-
Is there anyone who can bring some meals over, or just come chat and put your dishes away or some baby clothes? How is your dh holding up and or being supportive?
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:27 PM
 
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Erigeron my guy is a snacker too smile.gif

 

Fun ain't it? And so far the new lil guy is taking after his big sis in that. :nut

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Old 03-08-2014, 04:54 PM
 
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Lol. My others didn't do this. If I didn't wear him, I don't think I'd get anything done. Course there are days he nurses for an hour at a time smile.gif

One thing to remember is this is normal and okay, some kids are just like this. If he were my first baby I'd be scrambling to make sure it was ok and something wasn't wrong with my supply.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! It feels really good to hear all the support from other moms who have gone or are still going through this :) The first week was definitely the hardest, but I think we're beginning to figure it out now. I made a nursing cover and am getting more comfortable using it in public. My friends still come to see me and I no longer hide in the backroom. I purchased a Moby Wrap and my son loves it. And now that the weather is beginning to warm up, going out for walks makes all the difference in our day. Thanks for all the advice and the support! It's been super encouraging :)

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Emctops-
Is there anyone who can bring some meals over, or just come chat and put your dishes away or some baby clothes? How is your dh holding up and or being supportive?

My family and friends are getting used to hanging around the house with us, and my husband is super supportive and is bonding great with the baby. It's definitely helpful having somebody around the house to hold the baby while I shower or need to get some things done.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiffa

 

I forgot to mention that I also like to wear those wide, thin, flowy scarves you can find. They make nice cover ups, and they are actually stylish.

That's a great idea! I will definitely try this when I go out :)

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Old 03-17-2014, 01:59 PM
 
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(I haven't read the other responses)  The first couple of months with a new baby is HARD...so what you're feeling is pretty normal.  The near constant demands (and overwhelming neediness) of a newborn are quite an adjustment, and frankly it's hard to shift from whatever your old life was like to what life is like right now.

 

The most important thing I can say is that babies get easier, dramatically so after you get past the 2-month mark--usually around 3 months, really.  You'll get to know your baby better, you'll be better at breastfeeding, everything...The first couple of weeks are really hard because you are still deep in the learning curve (and the adjustment to motherhood in general).  So yeah it's intense now, but it will ease up a bit over time.

 

The second most important thing I can say is you CAN get out and enjoy life with a baby in tow--although it does take what feels like Herculean effort to get motivated sometimes.  I made the mistake of staying holed up in the house a lot for 6 months with my firstborn.  You'll have to do more stuff during the early part of the day (evenings are usually a baaaaaad idea because most babies cry a lot in the evening and want to cluster feed), but you can do quite a lot with a young baby during the day--since they just tend to pass out and sleep a lot when they're not eating.  But to do all that you have to develop a certain comfort level with breastfeeding in public.

 

I've breastfed my kids in all kinds of weird/random/normal places, so about the only places I couldn't go with them were very noisy places (loud music), or places that have high expectations of quiet (e.g. the symphony!)  Otherwise, it's open season!  Get a good carrier or stroller, and carry diapers/change of clothes, and off ya go!

 

 

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Old 03-17-2014, 08:25 PM
 
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Sage owl, so glad you mentioned about evening crying and cluster feeds smile.gif so normal and can really make a momma doubt breastfeeding. It only lasts a few weeks.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:52 PM
 
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My baby just turned a year, and I find myself looking back at that first month with envy, even though I distinctly remember how hard it was.  My husband works nights, so he would leave me with goodies by the bed and sometimes come home to find me crying because the baby was too sleepy to nurse and too hungry to sleep so we were both up all night (now sleep-nursing is pretty much the way of things!).  I used to be perfectly comfortable with lounging around the house in my underwear and now I just can't--no doubt because of that first month where getting fully dressed rarely happened.  I now must wear clothes!

 

But, I also liked the laziness of it all.  I liked snuggling with my daughter, I liked the reading time and the Psych tv marathon I went through.  Yes, I think I had a baby moon.

 

It's hard, it gets better, but try to enjoy it just the same.


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