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12 Breastfeeding Moments That Prove You Need To Trust That Your Boobs Know How To Boob

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It's something of a bad joke that, right after the grueling process of bringing a new person into the world, brand-new bio mamas are asked to wrap their minds around the fact that the best way to keep this tiny being alive, is to feed them via a process that's mostly invisible to us: breastfeeding. For me, learning to trust that process required a little motto that I would now like to pass onto other nursing mamas: unless a professional has told you otherwise, trust that your boobs know how to boob. It may seem easier said than done, but trusting your body to just do what it does actually makes the whole process go way smoother.

"My boobs know how to boob" was an adaptation of another motto "My baby knows how to baby and my body knows how to birth" that I made up in order to stop freaking out during my pregnancy. Letting go and trusting stuff I can't see isn't always a strong suit of mine, but it was something I needed to make peace with so I could actually function as someone's mom. Breastfeeding requires a lot of trust because, for most of us, it's the first time in our lives when we have to have faith that someone we're feeding is getting enough to eat, without being able to see all of the food we're serving them. We do get signs things are going well, though, even if we can't see inside our breasts or our babies while they're nursing. (The most common sign? A baby who's relaxed and not fussing once they've finished nursing. That, and a ridiculous amount of dirty diapers.)

Sometimes, breastfeeding really doesn't work out. But a lot of times, moms psych ourselves out and do things that undermine our nursing goals, simply because we don't trust that our bodies are enough. We let other people convince us that we're not adequate, or we misinterpret totally normal things as evidence of a problem, and then we do things, like stress out or start giving bottles, that really do diminish our milk supply.

So new or soon-to-be moms; if you've decided that you want to nurse, take some time to learn what's normal, get expert advice if you're having trouble after baby comes, and get support from friends and other moms who have met the breastfeeding goals you want to reach. Whatever you do, don't let anyone who's never nursed kids before, convince you that your boobs don't know what they're doing (even if that person is you).

When You’re “Only Getting A Few Drops” After Birthing A Newborn

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Because most of us never see tiny newborn stomachs, but we see comparatively giant bottles all the time, it's really easy to be misled about how much a brand new baby should be eating, and to feel like we're not making enough.

However, their actual stomachs not their cute, round bellies, but their literal, actual stomachs are only about the size of a cherry or a large marble, way smaller than a bottle. Those “few drops” of highly-concentrated colostrum are the perfect amount of food for a newborn each time they eat.

When You Can’t See How Much They're Eating

Remember, mamas: if something is coming out, that means something is going in. If your baby is wetting the right amount of diapers and gaining weight, they’re most likely getting enough to eat. If your baby nurses well, and if you let them latch when they're hungry and stop when satisfied, keep calm and nurse on. You don't have to see how much milk you make in order for it to do your baby’s body good.

When You See Another Mom And Baby Nursing Differently From You

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Maybe they're noisier and you're quieter. Maybe they're positioned differently. Maybe they look like perfectly still, beautiful angels, and your baby looks like they’re about to win a gold medal in gymnurstics. As long as you're not in pain, your baby is wetting enough diapers, gaining weight, and feeling OK, then you're fine.

Everyone is different, so every mom’s milk will be a little different, and her baby may eat a little differently. You don't have to worry, as long as you and your baby are getting your needs met.

When You Don't Leak As Much As Other Moms, Or As Much As You Used To

Not everybody leaks, and once your body regulates your milk supply you may stop leaking (even if you used to). That doesn't mean your milk is drying up, or anything even remotely related to supply. It just means that you're not leaking. Trust your body, and enjoy having slightly less laundry to do.

When You Can't Feel Your Let-Down Reflex

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Not everybody feels it when their milk lets down, and not everyone feels it every time even if they feel it sometimes. Your body may be less sensitive to the sensations of nursing than other people are, or you may be more used to them than you used to be when you first started. This isn't cause to worry or doubt yourself, so don't. Trust your body.

When You Don't Get Much Milk While Pumping

If you don't get a lot of milk when you pump, check your breast pump before doubting yourself. You are way better made than your breast pump is. Make sure you have the right size flanges for your breasts, make sure all the valves and other attachments aren't due to be replaced, and so on and so forth.

Also, keep in mind that some moms just don't respond well to breast pumps, and are better off hand expressing their milk when needed (or skipping this part of breastfeeding entirely). For many moms, pumping isn't mandatory, so don't stress about it if it's not totally necessary for you.

When Something Hurts

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Prolonged pain during breastfeeding is not something you "just have to get used to." Usually, it's your boobs telling you that something is wrong. Don't suffer in silence; fix the problem.

Usually, the problem is a shallow latch, so unlatch and start over instead of letting your baby learn bad habits. Get help from others to figure out how to get it right every time. If you're still struggling, get them checked for tongue and/or lip ties. There's a learning curve and soreness in the beginning, but breastfeeding should not hurt indefinitely.

When Your Older, Healthy-Weight Baby Has Dropped Some Of Their Night Feedings

If your healthy baby has decided they no longer need those feedings, you probably don't need to worry about them, either. Your boobs aren't going to stop making milk entirely, just because your baby is nursing less at a particular time of day. In other words, don't sacrifice sleep, start pumping, or otherwise stressing over this if your baby is gaining weight, meeting milestones, and nursing well for the rest of the day.

(Also, don't look a gift horse in the mouth, mama. The Gods of Baby Sleep giveth, but mostly they taketh away.)

When People Around You Are Saying “Just Give The Baby A Bottle”

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The only ones who should decide when you are done breastfeeding are you and/or your child. If your baby is getting enough to eat and you’re happy to nurse them, ignore anyone who says they're “eating too much” or who otherwise criticizes something about how you're nursing. Not their boobs, not their business.

When You Think You Need Lactation Boosters And/Or Supplements

If you and your baby have successfully nursed in the past, then (unless you have a diagnosed medical problem) all your body needs to keep doing so is to keep nursing on demand plus eating enough food, drinking enough water, and getting enough rest. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Teas, pills, essential oils, and anything else someone is trying to sell you haven’t necessarily been proven to make a difference, and they’re not mandatory parts of breastfeeding. Save your money for something else, like ear plugs to tune out all the people trying to sell you stuff.

When Random People Tell You Your Milk Will Automatically Change Or "Dry Up" At Some Arbitrary Time

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This is not a thing. Your boobs adjust based on what your child needs, so they don't read a calendar.

When Your Child Suddenly Wants To Nurse A Lot More Than Usual

When little ones are having a growth spurt or are sick, they often nurse more to tell your body to make more milk for them. That's not a sign that something is wrong; it's actually exactly what's supposed to happen. Just let them do their thing, so your boobs can do theirs.