Expect a Tough Time in the First Month

True, the first time you hold and nurse your brand new baby is total bliss.  Then a few days pass, and you can begin to feel extremely tired from having a baby and then waking every 2-3 hours to nurse.  Next, your nipples become sore and you will probably get anxious about your milk coming in (which takes a few days) and the baby’s cries all begin to sound hungry.  Your baby may not regain his birth weight on time, your nipples may become damaged from the high-powered sucking of a newborn who could suck the paint off a car.  They may even bleed and hurt far more than childbirth did, and a breast infection may rear it’s ugly head.  Whatever hurdles you encounter, you can begin to feel very, very alone and start to believe that you are uniquely unsuited to breastfeeding or cursed with an inadequate supply.  Not true! 

Most women have at least a few of these problems, and being ready for them and prepared to respond quickly and with a clear head is how you can make it to the elusive second month - when your boobs actually heal, stop feeling sore, and begin to work properly.  At this point, your baby has learned how to effectively suck milk out of whatever is presented.   Then it’s on to other interesting problems like how to use that bizarre-looking pump (if you've been lucky enough not to need it to help establish your supply) and how to nurse in public on those days you just aren’t feeling fierce. 

Update: 

This useful infant feeding chart from Tiny Playground helps you keep track of what is going on so that you can address a supply or latch issue before your baby has weight gain problems or dehydration.  I wish I'd had this not only for me but also for discussions with my lactation consultant and pediatrician.  Thanks Adrienne!