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.
Here is a link to a good website and article about over-supply.
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.
Simply Breastfeeding Online Course
If you are a visual learner, Cindy & Jana’s Simply Breastfeeding online course is PERFECT for new parents! I’ve personally taken this course and LOVE it!
Why learn about breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is natural but it takes time to learn. New mothers say:
“I never imagined breastfeeding would be so hard and so time consuming.”
“They don’t really prepare you for how overwhelming breastfeeding can be.”
Parents who wait until their baby is born to learn about breastfeeding feel overwhelmed. The learning curve is steep, especially when also dealing with exhaustion from the birth and overrun with company.
I’ve seen plenty of tears and heard families’ frustrations over not knowing how often to feed, whether their baby was getting enough milk, or how to avoid breastfeeding pain.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
You can feel confident breastfeeding your new baby. Spend time snuggling instead of frantically googling. Cindy and Jana have helped thousands of new families and can help you as well.
Simply Breastfeeding is an indispensable resource which takes you step by step through the things you will need to know about breastfeeding. Your subscription never expires; you can refer back when you have questions and learn at home at your own pace. Pause, rewind and replay as often as you like.
As Registered Nurses and Lactation Consultants with over 20 years experience, Cindy and Jana’s goal is to help you discover the real expert for your baby — YOU! ——>>>> CHECK IT OUT!
Breastfeeding From One Breast
Saturday 20th of February 2016
[…] Our Breastfeeding Journey – The First Six Weeks […]
Friday 5th of December 2014
My little Tyra is 5 weeks old and we just survived our first growth spurt. Three days and nights of being used as a 24/7 all you can eat diner. How fun(sarcasm evident)! At one point I spent three hours straight being used as a pacifier literally letting her such at each breast for 30min intervals. I am a single mom and I live alone so after 3 sleepless nights I had to call a friend to watch her while I got a 2 hour nap. Well the moral of the story is we got through it and she's almost sleeping through the night. I consider myself fortunate nursing has been relatively easy for us from the start, especially given the difficulty we've seen our peers encounter.
Wednesday 28th of September 2011
Kristi, good for you for trying again. I wonder why we go through trials like that? Maybe so that we can help other women? Not sure, but I'm glad you got through it.
Tuesday 27th of September 2011
With my first baby breast feeding was horrible. I was a young mother and had no idea what I was doing and the post partum nurses at the hospital were less than helpful. I had no idea what a lactation consultant was, let alone that I could request to talk to one. My son ended up with a horrible latch that I was finally able to correct at about 8 weeks.
About a week after we went home, because his latch was so bad and I didn't know any different, I ended with both nipples getting cracked and bleeding. We struggled through that for about two weeks before they started to heal and then I got mastitis in both breasts. The doc put me on an antibiotic that my son was allergic to and we ended up in the ER with him for dehydration and hives (at one month old).
It took almost 6 weeks before an older, more experienced mama was able to help me out with his latch and we were finally able to have a good breast feeding relationship. That said, everything we struggled through was completely worth it in the end. I nursed my son until he was 13 months old and I was able to nurse my second child with absolutely no problems, hang up, or bumps in the road.
Saturday 23rd of July 2011
HELL. But you know the story well. :)