Friday, July 21, 2017
Breastfeeding. It's something I knew I 100% wanted to do when I was pregnant with my first little guy. What does one do when they have no clue what they're doing? That's right, they Google. I researched the crap out of breastfeeding. From best nipple creams to Mastitis symptoms (y'know, just in case) to what's the best breastfeeding position - I Google'd it all. While I had a very easy, amazing breastfeeding relationship with my first son that I am so, so thankful for, I can't help but remember how bad I wish I had someone with personal experience breastfeeding to able to go to for questions.

Let's be real, Google is great and all but it gives you a wide array of answers to your questions that can go from you're-fine to you're-dying real quick. So don't worry, I am here to give you the lowdown on a few things I wish someone had told me when I first started breastfeeding. If you have any questions that you want some friendly advice to, please don't hesitate to e-mail me ( or comment below. Remember, I am not a doctor, just a mama that has breastfed her two little guys for almost three years straight.

Breastfeeding cravings. Did you know breastfeeding can burn a lot of calories? I've read you can burn up to 1,000 calories a day through feeding or expressing. Insane, right? In fact, it is estimated that producing breastmilk takes 25% of your body's energy so your body is constantly working hard to maintain all your functions which in turn can make a mama ravenous! I never had pregnancy cravings but breastfeeding cravings hit me hard with both boys. It's totally normal and as long as you don't make completely unhealthy choices (*ahem* like, 10 cookies in one sitting)  all day, every day, you'll be fine. Try to make healthy choices but girl, eat that cake if you want it. Doctors say to up your calorie intake about 500 calories to keep up. Along the same topic, breastfeeding can dehydrate you so make sure you're staying hydrated. Being dehydrated can totally mess with your supply! I recommend a pretty water bottle with a straw (for some reason it being pretty and having a straw makes me want to drink it more)!

Pumping is no indication on how much milk your baby is getting. I wish I could yell this from the rooftops! Also, I wish someone had told me this when I first tried pumping. I vividly remember trying to pump a bottle for the first time so I could go out on a date night. After about 15 minutes, I had maybe one ounce and felt completely and totally devastated. If I could only produce this little after 15 minutes, how the hell am I making enough to fulfill my baby? Thankfully, I didn't give up and after much research (and seeing how big my not-so-little-guy was!), I realized that pumping is absolutely NO indication of your supply. If your baby is happy and thriving, do not stress about how much you pump out. That being said, if you're looking to pump (either for a date night, work, etc.), make sure to check the flanges on your pump. Did you know they come in multiple sizes for different size nipples? The standard flanges on a pump might not be the right fit for you which can decrease milk production.

Nursing while sick is encouraged. How crazy is that? If you have a cold or other mild illness, breastfeeding your little babe is fine - even encouraged! In fact, they were probably exposed to it before you even knew you were sick. Studies show that there are receptors in our mammary glands that can detect if the baby is getting sick and will change the milk's composition to produce customized antibodies. There's an awesome article here that actually shows the change!

You don't need to pump and dump. I'm not a huge drinker but any means, but if you're a breastfeeding mom, you'll know every last drop of breastmilk (pumped or fed straight from the boob) is precious and it would suck to have to pump and dump because you had a few drinks. For my mamas that just want to relax at the end of the night, this one's for you, because if you're sober enough to drive, you're absolutely sober enough to nurse your baby.

Less then 2% of the alcohol you drink reaches your blood and milk, and while it peaks at about an hour after you drink it, it leaves the milk as it leaves the blood. Obviously, you know your limit and should use your own judgement. (Source) PS. Some mama's swear drinking stout beer increases their milk supply! 

Breastmilk totally stains your clothes. Yeah, did you know that? I had no idea until I wore a shirt to bed without a nursing bra/with pads and woke up with wet boobs. After it dried, it totally looked like an oil stain and even worse, would not come out in the wash! Breastmilk is actually a protein but because it contains fat, it can look like an oil stain. Some great options to great rid of the stains are dabbing Dawn or Oxi Clean onto it or leaving it out in the good old sun!

Breastfeeding Must-Haves:

  • nursing bras (so the odds of staining your shirt are a little less slim)
  • nursing pads (because the above)
  • flanges that fit your nipples if you're pumping
  • nipple cream / coconut oil / Lanolin
  • big (but still cute!) water bottle
  • one stinkin' cute baby (or two!)
  • a phone charger (let's be real, I love looking into my little guy's eyes when he's nursing but sometimes he passes out on me and I need a distraction to pass the time!)
  • nursing necklace (really good to have when your little babe gets a little older and is looking for sometime to put in his hands!)
What is something about breastfeeding that you wish someone told you?