My newborn nestled on my chest minutes after birth. Her sweet breathing took my breath away.
In those first few moments, I had no idea that I would have breastfeeding struggles.
Breastfeeding should be easy, right?
It took me a long time to realize that even though breastfeeding is natural, breastfeeding isn’t always automatic.
Every time I tried to nurse my newborn daughter, she flew off my breast screaming. I not only remember feeling like a failure but I also remember feeling overwhelmed and alone.
- What am I doing wrong?
- Why is she screaming when I try to latch her on?
- Why is this so very hard?
These were some of the questions that I struggled with and I found very few places with answers.
That’s why I’m absolutely thrilled to be teaming up with Viactiv, a calcium soft chew that provides the daily calcium that all nursing mom’s need. Because I struggled so much to breastfeed my first baby, I’m finally sharing what I wished more new moms knew about these 4 breastfeeding struggles.
My hope is that other moms will know that it is possible to struggle with breastfeeding and still have success.
If you’re struggling, or you have struggled with breastfeeding your baby, you are NOT alone!
We’re here to help with a few tips and tricks that every mom should know about breastfeeding.
Note: I’m not a lactation consultant. I’m just a mom who struggled to nurse and has successfully nursed three babies since. I’ll link out to professionals throughout this post!
1. Latching Isn’t Just About the Latch
The thing about breastfeeding is that it is not like giving a baby a bottle. Bottles are fairly forgiving. While a breastfeeding latch is more technical, in my opinion.
It breaks my heart to hear that Moms struggle with this very basic step in the breastfeeding process, but it’s not uncommon. I’m going to give you the quick cliff notes versions about what you need to know about latching and then, I’ll share with you the site that has ALL of the expert advice that you’ll need.
Baby’s Position Matters
The first thing to notice is where you are comfortable holding the baby to latch. There is the traditional cradle hold, the football hold, and this hold for those of us with fast letdowns. Each baby and each momma is different, so don’t be afraid to try different holds that are comfortable for BOTH of you.
Your Position Matters
How you sit matters too. Make sure that you have a breastfeeding stool.
Yes, you actually need one of these things! I didn’t believe it either. I used my glider’s ottoman, but that meant that I could only sit in my glider to nurse. The stool can go anywhere. Prop your feet up on the stool to help get your body in the right position. And, put a pillow behind your back to put you in the correct sitting position. The stool and pillow along with a good nursing pillow will go a long way to helping baby to latch.
Early Intervention Matters
If baby won’t latch, there are a few reasons that she could be refusing to nurse: fast let down & a tongue tie are a few reasons.
But, early intervention is key.
I found out that my hospital offered free breastfeeding consultation. I took my baby there and was able to get a good latch with help. I also found out that a lactation consultant did home visits for free and she was able to help me tremendously. When in doubt, ask other moms and contact locals to find help! Don’t wait!
Here’s the best gif that I’ve seen to show a good latch. Plus, there are more tips on positioning baby in this post HERE. I was always told that a deep latch matters (and it does). Here are pictures and further description about how to get a deep latch.
2. Your Body Will Take What it Needs (From YOU!)
You may still be taking pre-natal vitamins like you did during pregnancy, but here’s what you may NOT know: many prenatal vitamins provide only 20-30% of the recommended daily amount of calcium for most women.
And, guess what?
If we don’t intake enough calcium daily during pregnancy and breastfeeding, our bodies will deplete the calcium supply from our bones to give your baby the nutrients they need. According to the National Institutes of Health, studies have shown that women can lose 3-5% of their bone mass during breastfeeding!
I still can’t believe that I didn’t know this!
I have osteoporosis in my family, so bone health is near and dear to my heart. It turns out that we need calcium to preserve our bone mass while breastfeeding. Adequate intake of calcium will help prevent our bodies from taking calcium from our bones, thus helping to decrease your risk of osteoporosis later in life.
This is HUGE.
Because all we need to do is make sure that we are getting enough daily calcium. Which is why I’m thrilled to share Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews. Not only are there two yummy flavors (chocolate and caramel), but 96% of OB/GYNs who recommend calcium supplements during pregnancy recommend Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews. One Viactiv chew contains 500 mg of calcium, and taken up to twice daily provides most women with the calcium they need daily (which is 1,000mg). Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews also contain vitamins D and K to help with calcium absorption.
There is no reason why our bodies shouldn’t have adequate calcium while we nurse our babies!
3. Bleeding, Blisters and Cracks, Oh My!
One thing that shocked me with my first baby was the blisters. And, I don’t mean on my feet.
Actually, my blisters were so bad (I had dozens of them that popped and bled…yah, I know. It was horrible), my Doctors actually asked me what I was doing to myself!
A dear friend of mine had a painful crack when she nursed her babies.
And, I want you to know something: you’re not doing something WRONG.
But, I want you to get help if you have this kind of pain and discomfort. Nipple shields can really help if you have blisters or cracking.
4. Breastfeeding Can Give You the Flu…Sort Of.
Mastitis, or a breast infection, was by far the most painful thing that I went through while breastfeeding.
I didn’t even know that breast infections were possible!
Since I had to turn to pumping the first 6 weeks for my daughter, I had several infections from clogged ducts. The breast pump isn’t as efficient at pumping milk from our bodies as babies are. So, I was often left engorged and in pain after pumping.
If you start to feel a warm, red spot on your breast, this is a warning sign that you could be developing an infection. You may experience flu-like symptoms as well. If you do, contact your doctor immediately as you’ll need antibiotics.
Again, I’m not a doctor, but I’ve had 5-6 rounds of Mastitis since having children and these are the tricks that I’ve learned to prevent infection.
Here’s what you need to know about preventing Mastitis infections:
- Use a warm compress on the area that is clogged. Like a warm heating pad. Use before and during pumping or nursing.
- Take turmeric pills. I don’t know why these work, but it’s magic. If you have frequent infections like I do, get the pills!
- Massage while pumping or nursing. In a circular motion, massage the clog as you pump or nurse to help dislodge.
- Get sleep and reduce stress. I know it sounds impossible, but it’s needed. Make this a priority!
- Keep any nursing pads that you use dry and change them frequently. Wet nursing pads can lead to infection!
Here is more information from Kelly Mom, I site that I recommend for breastfeeding moms, about Mastitis and plugged ducts.
Read about it HERE.
Here’s the recap of what every new mom needs to know about the struggles of breastfeeding:
- Get early intervention if you are struggling with latching.
- Don’t forget to get adequate, daily calcium. We love Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews for this reason.
- Find comfort if you’re bleeding, cracking, or experiencing blisters.
- Know the signs of Mastitis, or breast infections, and how to prevent this from happening.
In the end, the decision to breastfeed is between you and your baby.
While breastfeeding may be natural, it’s not automatic.
Ask for help.
Look for support.
And, always remember that even if you are struggling with breastfeeding, it is still possible to have success.
A huge thank you to our sponsor, Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews.
Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews are available at major retailers including CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Walmart. For more where to buy information, click here.
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Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews are available in milk chocolate or caramel flavors at major retailers including CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Walmart, as well as supermarkets nationwide.
This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation on behalf of Viactiv that contains affiliate links. I received Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews for my own personal use. This post is not intended to address or diagnose any medical conditions. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing or planning on becoming pregnant, speak with your healthcare provider if you have any specific health questions or prior to taking any dietary supplements.