Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing. It is truly incredible what the human body is capable of. Here are a few things that I experienced during breastfeeding. Also, some facts you may or may not know about breastfeeding/breastmilk.
1. You get a wave of nausea for a few seconds when your milk “lets down”.
During the first few weeks of breast-feeding, there’s a lovely internal clock clock that helps train your boobs. A common symptom breast-feeding moms face is that quick flash of nausea when your milk is ready to go, followed by….
2. You get a tingling zap in your breasts when it’s time to nurse
A lot of times, the nausea flash is followed by a quick prickling sensation through your breasts. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just another way your body’s training you to feed your baby! Both of these symptoms subside after the first couple of months, and not all people experience them. I was one of the lucky ones who got both of these!
3. You make as much milk as your baby drinks
In order to have a good milk supply, you have to nurse as much as possible. At some point during the first week, you’ll feel like the baby is sucking your soul out through your nipples. The more milk that goes out, the more milk you make. You can lessen or even dry up your supply by infrequent nursing.
4. Pumping isn’t the same as nursing
Obviously pumping is not the same as nursing, but what I mean by that is nursing is so complex, it requires a lot of stimulation and brain activity to produce adequate milk. When your baby latches on, the saliva on your nipple, the sucking reflex, and the smell and sight of your baby are all factors that go into making rich milk. When you pump, it’s a piece of plastic (that you don’t love) pulling at your nipples. Your baby gets twice as much milk by nursing than you can produce in one pumping session. To get more milk out of your pumping sessions, sniff your baby’s used blankie, or look at a photo of them while pumping. Close your eyes & imagine your baby suckling & being satisfied. This also works if you’re nursing and your milk isn’t coming out fast enough. It sounds ridiculous, but the smell and sight of your baby is the best way to trigger milk ejection!
5. Your nipples will be more sore if the baby isn’t latching properly
You’d better make sure you’re doing it right before you leave the hospital, because there’s nothing like a bad latch & cracked nipple combo to put you off breastfeeding. Sure, we all know your nipples get cracked and painful in the beginning. The key to shorten healing time is to make sure the baby is latching perfectly, so he or she doesn’t make matters worse. When your baby FIRST starts to nurse in the hospital, you can tell if they have a bad latch because it will be painful. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful until the 3rd or 4th day. If it hurts from the very beginning, do everything you can to correct the latch! No worries though, all nipple pain should subside in 2 weeks. Then, your nipples turn into rubber bands.
6. Breastmilk can be used as medicine
Something pretty cool about breastfeeding is that you can turn your nipples into medicine squirt bottles. If the baby has any type of eye gunk, or leaking, squirt some breastmilk in there. Works the same way for ear & nose issues. Breastfed babies are notoriously less sickly than formula fed babies. This is due to breastmilk being a living, whole food that contains the best anti-virals & anti-bacterials available. Breastmilk is so complex, scientists are still trying to figure out what’s in it.
7. You only produce a tiny amount of milk the first few days
A lot of women freak out and think they’re not making enough milk early on. Remember, the baby’s tummy is SO tiny. It only needs a little bit of colostrum & milk to survive. Your first milk will be colostrum & there won’t be much of it, so chill. Relax and trust your body. Trust nature.
8. You produce two kinds of milk
The first milk that comes down when the baby starts to suckle is the “fore milk”. It’s rich in carbohydrates and satisfies their thirst. The second milk that comes in after the fore milk is the “hind milk”. This milk is high in fat and calories. It’s really important not to switch boobs too fast to ensure the babe is getting all that good hind milk to keep them satisfied. If your baby has greenish, foamy stool, it probably means they’re getting too much fore milk and not enough hind milk. Remedy this by keeping them on the boob longer! Your milk also changes as your baby gets older. It becomes more fatty.
9. The sound of a baby crying can make your boobs leak
If your breasts are full & your baby isn’t around, sometimes the sound of a baby crying or just the thought of your baby can make your boobs leak. This is why we wear nursing pads!
10. Your nipples are sterile wizards
One of the coolest things about breastfeeding is that your nipples suddenly become very smart. First off, they’re sterile. They secrete bacteria fighting oil & just the very action of your baby’s mouth on them is enough to ward off some illnesses. When your baby is sick, your body makes exactly what what he or she needs to get better, and transfers it through the nipples & milk. The nipple is the motherboard between your baby’s body & your brain.