The Truth About Breastfeeding and Survival in Those Early Months

Breastfeeding is an amazingly glorious experience that can take your breath away as you look into your baby’s newborn eyes at 3am.  But let’s be honest.  In the beginning, it can be brutal.  There’s the all-important latch, the endless night feedings, the chapped nipples, and the general loss of sleep.

And it is great, really.  But no one tells you how hard it can be at first!

There is a sudden transformation of something (your breasts) that once seemed sort of like an unnecessary but attractive part of your body into something that drips, leaks, hardens, and chafes.  What a shock!

Luckily I had access to a free weekly baby clinic through the Peacehealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center where I delivered.  I desperately needed those appointments, both for the time with the midwives and for the discussions in the waiting room.  We, the haggard, un-showered,  spit-up-upon crew of mothers and fathers instantly bonded like a herd of war veterans.  There was hysterical laughter, there were tears, and there was a general sense that no one really knew what they were doing.  And that was the most reassuring of all.
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Breastfeeding Support for New Moms: Our Top Lactation Posts

After hours of labor, I always assumed that I would nestle my new baby to my breast where he would quickly suckle and then fall into an eight hour slumber.  Instead, breastfeeding a newborn was a tricky business for the first few months.  I only wish I would have had the resources we’ve compiled over the years at Greenbabyguide.com.

Low breastmilk supply can be a major issue, especially when rest and fluid intake are so hard to keep up in the early days.  Why not have someone whip you up a batch of homemade lactation cookies, or “milk making cookies” to boost your breastmilk supply?
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Breastfeeding Older Babies in Public

A few months ago I wrote a triumphant post about the joys of comfortably feeding baby on the go.  “It’s easy!” I proclaimed with glee.  “Why do people sequester themselves in private when you can just toss a blanket over baby’s head and continue socializing?”

Funny how much I forgot from my first baby!  Now that Jovi is almost one year old, she utterly refuses to be covered while feeding.  Even when I can arrange my shirt so that I’m not flashing the world, she stops regularly to look around and provide a milky smile for all to see, leaving me a bit exposed.  As this painting proves, distracted babies have been pulling off the breast to smile at onlookers for hundreds of years!
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The Saturday Question: Was breastfeeding worth it?

There’s no doubt that breastfeeding is best for everyone involved, but many moms aren’t sure they can stick with it in those early sleep-deprived days.  Since breastfeeding is so healthy for mom, baby, and the environment, we’d love to gather up a few of your stories about breastfeeding your baby.   What were the highlights?  What were the challenges?  How did your friends and family react?  Did you manage to breastfeed despite obstacles like working full time or having to pump all your milk and bottle feed?  Your stories will help so many of our readers as they struggle to nourish their babies, save the planet, and get a few hours of sleep now and then.  Thanks so much for sharing!

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