So for all you women out there who are about to embark on the journey of breastfeeding, I want to give you a couple of hints from my personal experience:
1. You WILL know when your milk comes in. It will tingle, burn or hurt. You will go into the shower a nice perfect 36 B and come out a HUGE and overwhelming 40 DD. It comes in all at once in what has been dubbed the "whoosh." You will walk around your house holding your torpedoes up and begging to go shopping for nursing bras. Your boobs will ache.
2. Buy a pump. Your little one will never eat all you have and your pump will never get you all the way dry. I do both. I pump and feed and pump and feed. This keeps my milk up, keeps me from getting achy and keeps me in a good supply of milk that I can use in emergencies.
3. While pumping, remember that gravity pulls the majority of your milk down into the bottom of the breast. Massage your breast from all sides towards the nipple and at the end, squeeze the milk up from the bottom. Start your pump off really softly so it isn't vacuuming you to death. Turn up the suction as you feel you can handle it. This will take weeks, not minutes. Don't feel bad if you are only doing about 4 or 5 minutes on each side and only getting about an ounce out of each side at first. Your milk will start off coming out kinda clear (skim milk) and then get more and more creamy as you come to the end (after a few minutes, you will have straight cream.) This is the fatty part that help brain development in your child. If you pump before you feed, leave this stuff so your kid is getting the best part. If you pump out after you feed the baby, you will have this stuff rising to the top. Don't worry, your milk isn't going bad, it's just not pasteurized. It separated. Just shake it up.
4. Even if you are pumping and breastfeeding, it's good to have at least a few packets of formula around. These come in handy when you can't take a little refriged bag of milk with you everywhere you go or if you run out of milk or if you are stuck between two huge business men on a long flight in coach. Just bring a bottle of already measured water, dump in the packet and shake and your kid gets a relatively healthy meal that will hold them until you can get somewhere to feed in private.
5. If your nipples start to get sore (they will hurt like hell at first - just be ready) some of the best things you can do is to pump and massage, let them air dry (don't wipe off the excess milk - it has healing properties), use an all natural nipple cream (I suggest Mommy's Bliss).
6. There will be toe curling pain when you first start out. The latch is important. There are different ways to hold your baby - across your body, under your arm, laying side by side... The best way to get started is to hold them across your body and hold their head in your hand and your breast in the hand on that side. Wait for your baby's mouth to be WIDE open and then quickly roll them onto the nipple, bottom lip first. Make sure that bottom lip is rolled out and their tongue gets almost out of their mouth. Don't let them chomp on your nipple. If it comes out of their mouth flat as a pancake, it's not in far enough. This is all going to be overwhelming and difficult to decipher at first and realize that it takes several weeks to get it so you aren't even looking, you are just sticking the kid on there and covering her up with a blanket and having a conversation with your pastor.
7. Thrush is a common cause of pain. Check with your doctor if your kid has white stuff in their mouth.
8. If you decide to give up on breastfeeding, don't feel bad, not every mommy can do it and not every baby is up for it either.