Breastfeeding for 6 weeks after birth is a learning experience for both baby AND mother. Even if breastfeeding is going very well, everyone is learning a lot and getting used to the breastfeeding relationship.
Here’s my story of breastfeeding for six weeks after birth.
Breastfeeding for 6 Weeks
Once I got Gabriel home from our birth center, I was completely smitten. I was on cloud oxytocin and coca-cola, and was pumped and ready to go.
I decided to breastfeed whenever Gabriel showed signs of wanting to nurse – rooting, fussing, etc. I don’t think he ever cried. He had no reason to!
I recently looked at a sheet of paper where I had written down the frequency and duration of his feedings for a whole day and they were always very short (never more than 15 minutes), but sometimes it would be 20-40 minutes between feedings, and sometimes it was an hour!
I never really labeled our breastfeeding relationship as “attachment parenting” or anything like that. I just did what worked for us – and for us it was nursing all the time! Whenever, wherever.
My Milk Came In
I had Gabriel just before midnight on a Thursday, and by Saturday mid-day my milk was starting to change. It was changing from the golden colostrum to the white milk.
Did you know that your milk doesn’t actually “come in”? It’s already there! Your first milk, or colostrum, is an amazing milk. It is a laxative which helps your baby pass all the meconium out of its system. It helps combat jaundice, it is full of immunities to help your baby fight off sicknesses, it comes in small amounts which perfectly compliments a newborn’s tiny stomach, and the list can go on and on.
And boy did my milk come in. Holy moly, it was hilarious! My boobs got big, and rock hard.
I was so full of milk that there was an immediate let-down and Gabriel would get sprayed, and he would even choke on the milk because it would come so fast. This might be called normal, or it might be called an over active letdown/oversupply. For me, it was my normal for the first six weeks or so until things leveled out.
Troubleshooting Over Supply/Active Letdown
I called my midwife and she gave me a few suggestions to help with my abundance of milk.
- She said to nurse while on my back in bed. Put the baby on top of my boob so that the milk wasn’t pouring into his mouth. That way, Gabriel would have more control about what he wanted to eat/not eat.
- I also explained to her that after feeding Gabriel on one boob, that he was too full to have him nurse on the other side. If I put him on that side too he would just spit up. She told me to start block feeding (much to my mother’s confusion), which is basically only feed on one boob per feeding.
My mother had always been told to do 20 minutes on each side, each nursing session (or something like this), but once she saw how block feeding was helpful, she was very supportive of doing things a different way.
That ^^ website is called KellyMom.com and it is a wealth of information. However, with a new little baby in my arms and having JUST gave birth, I wasn’t in my right mind to search the internet. Calling an experienced midwife or lactation consultant was just the right thing.
Breastfeeding Tips, Tricks and Tools
I am not large chested, so I never really needed any nursing bras. I used some nursing tanks, and other times just sports bras and tank tops.
I never washed my nipples with soap, but just used water so I wouldn’t get dry/cracked nipples. I never needed any nipple creams, as my nipples never got damaged because our latch was correct.
I wasn’t able to comfort nurse until Gabriel was much older and my over-supply issue went away. So, since he loved to suck so much I started using a pacifier. We used it as a tool, and not a crutch. It was great for the car, when nursing just wasn’t an option. Since breastfeeding was going well, we started the pacifier at 1.5 weeks.
At four weeks postpartum I introduced a bottle (with pumped breastmilk) so that he would get used to taking a bottle for when I went back to work. I had read somewhere that four weeks was the magical time – not too early to cause nipple confusion, but not too late so as they refuse anything but mom.
That’s our story, as I remember it now. I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots of details, as Gabriel is two and I never really wrote anything down about breastfeeding as it was happening. I hope this was enlightening, and if not just plain ‘ol interesting.