Learn the Basics

Does This Make Sense? Make Breastfeeding Practical!

This is #5 in the “10 Pitfalls to Breastfeeding Enjoyment” series.


Maybe you aren’t enjoying breastfeeding because how you are doing it just doesn’t make any sense.

For example: You were probably told at some point to nurse your new baby every two hours from the start of one feeding to the start of another feeding. So, at 10:00 pm on the dot, you wake your baby up. Well, you try to wake your baby up, but he is pretty sleepy, so you have to undress him and change his diaper and tickle his feet. Once he is awake enough to start to root for the breast, you get him latched. Then he falls asleep. You take him off and repeat the waking up process. He falls asleep again. Repeat waking up process. This goes on for about 30 minutes until you are pretty sure he is done with that boob, then you change his diaper and start the whole process over again on the other boob. About 60 minutes after you started the feeding, you are pretty sure he is done the feeding, so you swaddle him up and lay him down. He lays there quietly for about seven minutes as you just start to fall asleep, at which point he starts to grunt and wiggle and then–PLLLLLTTTTT–massive poopy blow out. Get up, change his diaper and the outfit he was wearing, re-dress him, get him swaddled, shush and rock him, then he falls asleep. Finally, you lay him down and tiptoe away.

sleeping soraYou go to the bathroom, grab a granola bar, and lay back down in bed. You are asleep for approximately 12 minutes before your two-hour feeding alarm goes off. Uuuuuuuuuggggghhhhh. Worst. Feeling. Ever.  You roll over and look at your sleeping baby, who is showing no signs of stirring, and you ask yourself:

Does it make sense to wake him up and feed him right now? Nope.

So, here are my top 10 breastfeeding recommendations that make sense:

1. If breastfeeding hurts, something is wrong. Get it checked out. If that person says it is normal for breastfeeding to hurt, seek another opinion.

2. Once your baby is back to birth weight, nurse your baby eight times or more in a 24 hour period. That might be every hour or every three hours. Your baby knows better than the clock.

3. Eat a balanced diet and don’t overload too much on any one food or any one food group. Chances are that your baby isn’t fussy because of what you ate; he is fussy because he is a baby.

4. If you are trying to increase your milk supply, pumping after every breastfeeding session is a fast track to crazy town. Do the best you can and pump after most breastfeeding sessions. And for God’s sake, don’t pump at 3:00 am.

5. If you need to or want to give a bottle, go for it. No biggie. Just make sure you pump sometime within about 24 hours for that skipped feeding.

6. Give a pacifier. Or don’t. Whatever works.

7. If you nurse your baby on one breast and no matter what you do you can’t get him to take the other breast, he is probably full.

8. If pumping hurts, you have the vaccuum turned up too high (turn it down) or the flanges don’t fit (get different ones). It isn’t normal for pumping to hurt.

9. Your baby most likely didn’t just puke the entirety of his feeding up. But, if he seems hungry after puking, go ahead and feed him again.

10. Foremilk and hindmilk don’t matter unless your baby’s poop is neon green. You can’t control when your foremilk or hindmilk comes out, so stop obsessing about it.