Breastfeeding & New Mothers: What They Don’t Tell You

Newborn Infant (breastfeeding) We all know that breast milk is the most perfect food for baby. Despite all of the romanticizing that sometimes goes along with breastfeeding, there is a wealth of things that nobody really ever tells you. These things don’t necessarily keep you from wanting to breastfeed, but they can cause problems if you aren’t aware.

The Scoop on Poop Many new moms wonder what their baby’s poop is supposed to look like as well as the frequency. The thing to remember is that when breastfeeding, breast milk is digested very quickly. As a result, bowel movements after every feeding are not uncommon. After the bowel movements begin to increase in frequency, it is not unusual for a new mom to look in her baby’s diaper and think “is this normal?”

A breastfed baby’s poop is going to look like seedy mustard. It will be pretty runny too, but it is entirely normal. Remember, baby isn’t getting anything except breast milk so to have formed or hard stool is very uncommon in breastfed babies. If it is anything other than runny, seedy, mustard colored stool, you may want to call your doctor just to be safe. On a side note to this: always have an extra onesie lying around because there will be “poop-splosions” and there hasn’t been a diaper invented yet that can contain them.

No, Teething Does Not Mean You Have to Stop Some new moms and breastfeeding moms have it in their heads that they will have to stop breastfeeding when baby starts teething. What is the reasoning? The obvious answer seems to be that teeth can hurt a very sensitive area. Believe it or not, teething is not a deal breaker when it comes to continuing to breastfeed. If baby has a good latch, you will find that when baby suckles at your breast, her teeth will never come in contact with you at all.

She might bite you after the fact if she is really hungry or teething, but keep in mind that it is up to you to show her that it is not acceptable. Every time she bites, the best thing to do would be to immediately remove your breast from her mouth. She will make the connection that biting means no more milk. It might take some time, but she’ll get it.

All Pumps are Not Created Equal There are so many different types of breast pumps out there and for a new mom or even an experienced mom, the choices can be overwhelming. Do you get an electric pump? What about a manual pump? Dual or single? Bottles or bags to store the milk? Pumps are not all the same, but it is what makes them different that will ultimately decide what is best for you.

Before you can choose a pump, you need to know where your milk ducts are located on your breast. You will find them by attempting to express milk manually. When you feel your milk let down or your milk squirts, then you have found your milk ducts.

You want to find a breast pump that will essentially massage these areas because that will give you the best milk extraction. Some pumps have inserts that actually apply pressure to these specific areas and other cups are completely smooth for a more uniform suction. The best thing to do to find what kind of breast pump will work for you will be to see if renting a pump is possible from your local hospital or birthing center. You may have to buy the containers that the milk actually touches due to hygienic mandates, but renting a pump beats spending a couple hundred dollars on a pump that doesn’t work.

Skipping a Breastfeeding Session Reduces Milk Supply You may have the best of intentions and want to include your family by letting them bottle feed your baby with a bottle of formula on occasion. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t forget to pump while baby is eating.

By not stimulating milk release and production, milk supply will decrease and eventually stop altogether for that feeding if you aren’t careful. Consider this scenario: you are exhausted taking care of a newborn, breastfeeding morning, noon and night. That stands to reason because your little one eats around the clock.

You and your husband decide to have him feed baby a bottle of expressed breast milk at night every so often to help out. This is great, in theory, but if you don’t pump when your husband feeds baby, you will lose the milk that you are producing at that moment in time. Your body learns that it doesn’t need that milk at that time and stops producing it.

If the feeding that your husband wants to help with is only going to be an occasional thing, then you need to pump while he feeds your little one. Seems kind of redundant, right? However, if it is going to be a regular occurrence, then pick a time during the day to build up your milk supply by pumping after baby’s feeding for milk storage purposes. By doing this, you can set aside enough milk to feed your little one when it’s your husband’s turn to feed baby at night. The morning is usually the best time to pump for extra milk.

Guest Post provided by Tanya Allsop, Work at home mother of 2 and owner of where she provides free breastfeeding advice and breast pump reviews.