“I wish I’d known that you don’t need to use a breastfeeding cushion and sitting up straight isn’t always the best idea.”
“I wish I’d known that there are some babies who for love nor money won't latch and that exclusively expressing breastmilk and bottle feeding is a viable and doable alternative. I expressed for 13 months with my eldest, he just wouldn't latch, but he still had breastmilk. My twin boy wouldn't latch either but I kept trying and he finally latched after 10 weeks. A recent new mum of her 2nd baby also has had a baby who wouldn't latch, she's expressed exclusively for 18 weeks when he finally latched - he's now breastfeeding latched on.”
“Oh one more: that "flat nipples" doesn't mean they are always flat, just that they aren't permanently erect. I had no idea mine would be classed as flat because they only got pokey when I was cold etc. I had problems from birth with latching, had to use shields for 16 weeks (had zero lactation support where I am).”
“I wish I’d known that my boobs were not the same. They pointed off in different directions so needed different positions/holds. I had one pain free boob and one sore painful nipple.”
There isn’t one way to breastfeed and there isn’t one position you should use. There are some basic principles (a baby taking a mouthful of breast and not just the nipple, a baby’s chin and body in contact with mum) but they can happen in a thousand different ways. We do know that babies often respond well when they feel anchored and secure so positions where babies are well supported (such as a mum leaning back) may be more helpful than a baby dangling on an arm. Some mums prefer to hold their breast, some keep them in their natural shape. Some women have very long nipples and some short, flat or inverted. It’s true that some babies (and some mums) may struggle to make breastfeeding work. Exclusive pumping, using a tube feeding system at the breast to give supplemental milk or using nipple shields may be part of your breastfeeding story.