As a new mom, you must wonder how does it feel to breastfeed, and is breastfeeding really for you? These are very common questions that we ask ourselves before we embark on this new journey, and to be honest, breastfeeding could feel like a roller-coaster of emotions with lots of ups and downs and sometimes some heartburn while breastfeeding. However, once you have adapted, it gets much more manageable.
Exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first six months offer tremendous benefits to you and your baby, and to some extent, breastfeeding will affect your body. But think of it this way, if breastfeeding was a simple as people make it, everyone would be doing it, and the formula markers would not have any customers, so don’t be hard on yourself if the experience is not for you.
For the first time, breastfeeding might feel a little uncomfortable. I remember with my firstborn; my breasts felt full and heavy because of the milk build-up. Many times my breasts would pour out of my nursing bra. I won’t lie; at this moment, I was really rethinking my life choices. But once I got into the breastfeeding routine, it immediately relieved my breasts, literally feeling like a load has been lifted off my back. But since breastfeeding was all-new for the baby and me, we had not learned the latching techniques and my nipples were not so happy.
What does breastfeeding feel like?
Let’s get down to how it feels to breastfeed. Once you have correctly latched your baby and gotten used to the breastfeeding routine, you will come to love the breastfeeding experience. For the first two weeks, many women complain of nipple pain. You might feel a little sore because of all the sucking or just straight pain if your baby did not latch well on your breasts. But once correctly latched on, breastfeeding will come as second nature to both of you.
- You will feel some tingling sensation.
Breastfeeding will feel like a slight tingling, especially on your nipples, and some have said they feel a warm feeling, especially during the letdown of milk. And if your breasts were full of milk, breastfeeding will give you such a beautiful relief. I say beautiful relief because there is no better explanation you can provide. Just sit back, hold your baby close, and let out that sigh of relief.
- It can give you some pleasurable stimulation.
Now for the sucking, it will feel like a gentle tugging and maybe cause some pleasurable sensation. If you enjoy nipple stimulation before the baby, breastfeeding might give you some pleasurable stimulation –so don’t feel weird about this.
- It might trigger some cramps.
While you breastfeed, especially the first few weeks after delivery, it might trigger some uterine contractions, which will feel like cramps. This is all normal; your body is slowly getting back to its factory setting before making the baby, so your uterus is gradually shrinking back to its normal size, that is, post-baby size.
- It makes you feel calm and relaxed.
You probably didn’t know this, but most women have reported feeling more relaxed and calm when breastfeeding. Other than the physical feeling you get when breastfeeding, you also experience some emotional ones. This calm and warm feeling you get when breastfeeding helps you create that beautiful bond with your baby. You might even get a breastfeeding high, thanks to the oxytocin and prolactin hormones being released.
But all in all, breastfeeding is different for every woman; remember; if it were as easy as people make it seem, all mothers would be breastfeeding, and formula would not be in the market. But to make the breastfeeding process better, it is best to learn how to latch your baby effectively. If your latching is poor, your nipples will be suffering each time it’s feeding time. Ready on and find out how your baby can properly latch.
These are the simple steps to a good latch.
- The first thing you will need to do is gently tickle your baby’s lips using your nipple. It will immediately let the baby know it is feeding time, making her open her mouth.
- This is the most crucial step, don’t put the nipple directly into her mouth; instead, aim for the nipple above her top lip. To get it perfectly, you need to ensure that her chin is not tucked into her chest. Essentially you are trying to have her head straight and ready for the feeding session.
- For the lower lip, you want to aim it away from the base of your nipple. Her lips should be turned out ready for feeding like a fish, now; at this point, direct her to your breast, chin first, and she should be adequately latched; don’t be afraid to have a good amount of your breast in her mouth. Her mouth might seem too small to take your breast, but a good amount in her mouth creates the vacuum helping her suck out the milk without hurting your nipple. And if you have flat nipples, these additional breastfeeding tips should help.
When we start the breastfeeding journey, we immediately think we just need to give the nipple, but this is where most mothers go wrong. The sucking and pulling make your nipple get sore. And a sore nipple will make you hate feeding sessions with your little one.
Frequently asked questions on how does it feel to breastfeed?
Is breastfeeding really painful?
When you start breastfeeding, it is very normal to feel some discomfort during or straight after nursing. To help reduce the pain, ensure your baby is properly latched on. When adequately latched, you might experience discomfort for the first 30 to 60 seconds because of the tagging and sucking before the milk comes through. And after this, the pain should reduce. However, if you continue to experience some pain, take a pause and position your baby correctly.
How do I stop my nipples from hurting while breastfeeding?
The first and important thing is making sure your baby is properly latched on and ensuring you are comfortable. If your breasts are packed with milk, try and soften to help your baby correctly latch on. A simple message should soften it up for your baby. Also, try and incorporate a habit of breastfeeding your baby after every two to three hours.
When does nursing get easier?
The most challenging time is the first four to six weeks because both you and the baby are still grasping the new concept of breastfeeding. But after this stage, it gets much more manageable. And once you get to the three-month mark, breastfeeding will be super simple and much more straightforward than getting up to clean a bottle. So steer on mama, and hang in there.