My introduction to breastfeeding came with the birth of my twins. There was a lot to figure out, and quickly. Some of what I needed to know pertained to nursing twins, but there was plenty of information I would have needed with "only" one baby.
That sink-or-swim experience made breastfeeding my next two children who arrived one at a time, a couple of years apart, seem like a breeze.
If some of the following sounds more extreme or more intense than what you've gone through, it may be due to the twin factor of my first nursing experiences.
Here are just a few of the things I didn't know when I embarked on this journey.
1) Introduction to the nursing relationship can be awkward.
Not all infants will latch on quickly and easily right from the start. Baby may have a little trouble figuring out what to do. And Mom's own lack of experience can make her feel all thumbs, so to speak.
But fear not, a little initial fumbling won't doom your nursing relationship.
2) Nursing a baby can be painful.
When a baby is trying to feed and Mom hasn't been drinking enough water, especially in the beginning, those strong little jaws and those hard little gums can be quite a shock. But you will both get better at things with a little experience.
I learned that drinking plenty of liquids would create a free-flowing river of nourishment for my baby. And when Baby doesn't have to work so hard to get milk, it's less painful for Mommy.
3) Milk will let down unexpectedly at times.
And I didn't know that this letdown could soak my clothes in no time flat. Nor did I know that I could fully expect it to let down when one of my babies cried — or when I merely thought about my baby crying or being hungry — especially in the early days.
4) I had never heard of breast pads.
Then, when I did learn of them I didn't think they mattered. But that was before I had my babies. See the aforementioned unexpected letdown of milk. I learned why many women swear by these little treasures. Because otherwise they'd be soaking wet most of the time.