I wrote the following in the middle of the night while my 2nd born, newborn baby (I breastfed my first until just before his second birthday).
A few things I wish I could share with EVERY nursing mom…
Weight gain & lots of wet & poopy diapers are signs of baby getting plenty of milk.
Cluster feeding (for literally hours at a time) is not a sign of baby not getting enough milk.
Baby wanting to “dream nurse” (fall asleep at the boob and be nursing on again off again, only to wake when you unlatch) is not a sign of baby not getting enough milk.
Baby using you as a pacifier is not a sign of baby not getting enough milk.
Remember: weight gain and plenty of wet and poopy diapers are great signs that baby IS getting plenty of milk.
Your nipples will HURT in the beginning. Another human being is sucking on a very tender area that prior to you giving birth, have never ever undergone such intensity.
This doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for the job. You are strong and committed and you will get past this.
I PROMISE THIS GOES AWAY. Stick it out, it will not always hurt. I promise. Use plenty of nipple butter or lanolin to keep your nipples hydrated and somewhat soothed.
You are never ever completely out of milk. Baby will not at any point completely “drain” you. If at some point you feel defeated and think “I don’t have any more milk and baby is STILL hungry! I’m not making enough milk” I promise, there’s still milk. Even if baby has been nursing for what feels like an eternity.
You’re doing a great job. It’s very unlikely that you will not produce enough milk– but thinking you’re not producing enough is sadly so common, when you don’t know what to expect and baby is nursing nursing nursing nursing. “How can you still be hungry?!” I feel like is a reasonable question, when you don’t know that newborns nurse a LOT. Eat, poop, pee, sleep. It’s like all they do.
Growth spurts happen. Baby will nurse a lot more frequently, and for a lot longer during these times. You’re doing a great job. You have enough milk. Nurse on, mama.
Breastfeeding is supply and demand. The more your baby suckles, the more milk you will make.
Drink plenty of water. Like enough to fill a large lake. I kid, I kid, but really— you’re gonna be really really thirsty. Keep yourself hydrated.
When you feel like throwing in the towel, tell yourself tomorrow will be better. Give it one more day. Take it one day at a time. You’re doing a great job.
With all things, this too shall pass. And you will probably dearly miss this time of bonding. Between the doubts and the questioning and the frustration, there will be the absolute sweetest moments where baby looks you in the eye and melts your heart, or smiles in between suckling and fills your heart with joy. This a very special, fleeting time.
You’re making milk. You’re sustaining your babies life and giving them the best nutrition possible, you are capable and you are wonderful.
You’re doing a great job.