I've said it before and I'll say it again...BFing is H.A.R.D!! If you're one of those people who luck out with a great BFing relationship from the very start...congrats! But if you're anything like me then BFing was anything BUT natural.

Here are some of the pearls that helped me along the way:
  1. See a lactation consultant. Even if you feel as though your LO's latch is great (for some reason, I was told in the hospital that DS was latching well) things change day to day with infants. They can offer you tips and strategies that are invaluable. See them early on in your BFing relationship and keep going back until things improve. If you can't get out of the house to see them, there are LC who will visit you at home.
  2. Invest in some nipple cream. Many ladies use Lansinoh (an over-the-counter cream) but if the pain becomes unbearable or if you are experiencing cracked and bleeding nipples then see your MD. They may be able to prescribe you with something stronger. It will be like gold to you when you are sore during those early weeks (months?)
  3. Invest in a nursing pillow to help you with your posture and positioning.
  4. Set up a nursing station. Keep healthy snacks and lots of water nearby. A laptop doesn't hurt either ;)
  5. Spend a lot of time skin to skin with your LO. It will be great for your milk supply!
  6. Buy a good breast pump! I have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. I used it probably about 10 or 12 times a day during the first few months.
  7. Surround yourself with supportive people. Stay away from those who share their BFing horror stories and those who brag about how 'easy' it is to bottle feed with formula.
  8. Don't feel like a failure if you have to supplement with formula. The first and most important goal is to feed the baby!! Many women are able to both bottle and breast feed successfully.
  9. If you are having trouble with your supply, consider taking natural supplements such as Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. For me what worked was taking Domperidone. Talk to your MD about getting a prescription.
  10. Watch someone BF. If you don't have access to a BFing mama, then watch as many videos as you can.
  11. Set small goals for yourself. E.g. the first 40 days, then three months, then six months, etc.
  12. During the first couple of months my LO took about 45 minutes to feed and wanted to eat every hour. Exhausting...but normal.
  13. Be cautious about introducing a nipple shield. I struggled with one for 3 months before I was able to wean DS. It caused a lot of issues with supply and DS was a slow gainer. Use it as a last resort and with LC guidance.
  14. Nipple confusion does exist. Be cautious introducing bottles and pacifiers before the 6 week mark. Many babies do fine if they are introduced sooner but others have a tougher time switching back and forth and will refuse the breast (like my son!)
  15. Buy a nursing cover so that you can nurse comfortably in public.
  16. Surrender to the experience! Camp out on the couch or in bed with your LO during those early weeks and give yourselves a chance to learn this new skill.
  17. Learn how to nurse laying down. My son didn't master this until he was around 4 months old but when he did figure it out I was able to get so much more sleep!
  18. Let yourself 'air dry' as much as possible. Express some BM and let it dry on your nipples if you are sore.
  19. Be prepared for engorgement. I wasn't. Ouch :( Some women swear by putting frozen peas on their tatas...others use cabbage leaves. Like I said, I wasn't prepared...so I did nothing :( Ouch again!
  20. Remind yourself...constantly...that it DOES get easier. That if you can make it through the first 40 days, that you have endured the worst of it. Think about how trying it would be to be cleaning, warming and preparing bottles at all hours of the day and night. BM is always clean, always the right temperature and already prepared : )

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