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How to Get Over the Breastfeeding Hump

"Breastfeeding is awesome! It’s easy, it’s convenient, it’s free, it’s super healthy for you and baby – I love it and I can’t imagine feeding my baby any other way!"

Yeah, sure. After a few months, maybe, but when my daughter was four days old, I wanted to quit.

Okay, “quit” is maybe the wrong word. More accurately, I wanted to rip my nips off (seemed like it would be less painful). Or at the very least, I wanted to drive my daughter back to the hospital and give her to someone who knew what they were doing.

Experienced moms who have breastfed their children would tell you that “once you get past the ‘hump,’ it gets easier.” But that hump is actually a good six weeks in, and when you have a brand-new baby and you’re in pain, six weeks seems like a really, really long time.

The first night home from the hospital was the worst. I had gotten off to a really good start with the baby in the hospital – she latched on immediately after birth, and although it was uncomfortable, she was able to nurse consistently in the hospital. When we got home that night, however, I found myself dealing with a screaming, red-faced newborn who could not seem to latch on to my cracked and raw nipples. Every time she got close, I would flinch, frightening her and starting the squalling all over again. I felt like a failure. It took two weeks for my nipples to heal, four weeks for me to stop flinching, and right about two months for me to be able to walk through Target and breastfeed while shopping for sheets.

At almost five months old, my daughter is exclusively breast-fed and has gained nearly ten pounds since birth. So how did we survive our rocky start? Here’s a few things that helped me get over the “breastfeeding hump.”

  1. Realize that compromises might have to be made. That first night home, I kept trying to latch her on and she kept screaming. My husband asked me, “Why can’t we just give her a bottle?” I sobbed out, “Nipple confusion!Eventually, I got so tired that I pumped out what I could (barely an ounce) and gave it to her in a bottle. She fell asleep immediately, I got a shred of sanity back, and it didn’t interfere with her ability to latch on later. Sometimes, it’s about whatever works.
  2. Utilize your resources. I was so determined to do everything right. I have one inverted nipple, and despite knowing this I refused to use a nipple shield without express permission from a lactation consultant. Well, I didn’t ask to speak to one in the hospital (mistake!) and that nipple ended up raw and cracked in a matter of days. Once I reached out to the hospital’s lactation team and bought the shield, it became a hundred times easier to latch baby on. And honestly, I don’t think we would have made it this long without it.
  3. Vent. There’s no getting around it. Breastfeeding is hard. And it really helps to have someone to complain to. I joined a group of moms online with babies that were all around the same age as mine. They became a great resource for support and suggestions that helped us push through, and reminded me not to sweat the small stuff.
  4. Get educated. I can’t stress enough how important this is. For something that’s so natural, breastfeeding is something that you and your baby will have to practice and master. Read a book on nursing (sometimes the hospital will give you one for free). Watch YouTube videos of newborns latching and different breastfeeding positions. Link up with the local La Leche League chapter and visit their website. Knowing, for example, that milk is produced on a supply and demand system will stop you from giving up when you inevitably hit that first growth spurt.

The more you read, ask and talk to other moms, the more you’ll realize: the struggle to breastfeed successfully is completely normal. But for me, it was completely worth it. I’m always sorry when I see moms that want to nurse quit early on because “it was too hard.” On this side of the fence, it is finally easy, and convenient, and healthy, and all that great stuff. It just takes a little time.

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Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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