Surviving the First 2 Weeks of Breastfeeding
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we’re sharing tips on how to survive your first two weeks of breastfeeding.
Focus on you and your baby.
- If you have older kids, schedule some time with family members or babysitters. If it’s during the school year, arrange carpools and after-school playdates. This will allow them some fun time and allow you time to bond with your new baby and allow you to breastfeed in a low-stress environment.
- If your budget permits, consider using a meal service for the first few weeks. That way neither you or your partner will need to figure out what to eat for dinner and the ingredients will come proportioned and ready to make.
- Ask for help. This may mean asking a family member to help you with the cleaning/laundry, or outsourcing it to a professional. But having help with chores and other activities with help free you (and your partner) up for some baby bonding/nursing time.
- Practice skin-to-skin contact as often as possible. It’s soothing for you and for your baby and encourages baby led latching. You’ll also be able to better catch on to her nursing cues.
Let go of expectations.
- Your baby will most likely not breastfeed at regular intervals, at least not right away. So prepare for cluster feeds and try to remain hydrated when they inevitably come.
- Remember that you are still recovering yourself. If you’re resting and holding baby all day because that’s all you’re able to do, that’s perfectly fine! If you need a nap and some alone time, that’s also fine! Make sure you’re communicating with your people so that you and baby are getting what you need.
- Where applicable, consult with your partner about how you’re feeling. This can help them understand what you need and help you when you need it. And help them understand that this will probably change daily, and that’s okay.
Take note of what’s working.
- Is latching comfortable? If so, congratulations! That’s a big breastfeeding win. If you’re spending a whole feed in pain, you should get some help with latching.
- Is your baby having plenty of wet/poopy diapers? Take note of how many of these are happening per day. For the first five days, you should expect one wet and one poopy diaper per day of life (i.e. four wet/poopy diapers when baby is four days old). If this isn’t happening, consult your medical professional to investigate.
- Take note of when baby wakes up to feed. Baby should wake up a minimum of eight-ten times in 24 hours. If that’s happening, you know that she’s getting what she needs.
Finally, just remember that you might feel a little bit like an alien, but that feeling won’t last long. Try to enjoy the first few weeks with your new little babe, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Surround yourself with a great support group that can help you when you need it, and leave you alone when you need it. (Also, remember that this phase is not going to last forever.) And lastly, remember that you’re doing a great job!
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