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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

10 Things To Know About Breastfeeding

Sorry guys!!! This one is for the Moms out there who've never breastfed and would like to do so. Again, some info from my personal experience... hopefully it will benefit some readers out there!

1) Babies need to be taught to latch, and it doesn't always happen the first day, but if you keep trying it WILL work.

2) C-sections can delay your milk, but it will come, so don't give up.

3) If your nursing staff have pushed formula on your newborn to get him/her to pass the first stool and now your baby is not interested in the thin colostrum, just dribble some formula on yourself before getting baby to latch. This worked for me and got my daughter back on the breast after she'd been on the bottle.

4) See point #3 - nipple confusion is a myth. Both my newborns switched back and forth from breast to bottle without skipping a beat.

5) An easier way to deal with thrush is to NOT use the cream they give you (that's the stuff that can't go in baby's mouth) and get an extra large bottle of the stuff for baby, and put THAT on yourself too. That way if you're exhausted and baby wakes up crying, you don't have to go wash toxins off yourself before feeding.

6) If you are on antibiotics and must formula feed while you "pump and dump", don't obsess about pumping as much as a baby would feed. As long as you pump some at every feeding, once baby latches back on after the antibiotics are done, it only takes about a day for your milk production to be back up to what baby needs.

7) If you must pump several times per day for an extended period of time, rent a hospital pump. For one thing, they're whisper quiet and won't wake anyone in the middle of the night. More importantly though is the fact that they have long tubes between the breast cup and the pump housing, which buffers you from the vibration of the motor (which is nothing for occasional pumping, but with regular pumping can become uncomfortable).

8) Drink LOTS of water :-) The problem I had is that I'd forget, get settled on the couch, baby would latch, and then THIRST would overwhelm me. "Honey... can you please get me some water? I know, I know, I'll remember next time.". NEVER ignore the thirst. Even if you have to pester your spouse or get up with a feeding baby in your arms, DRINK THE WATER.

9) If you pump, do both sides at once. You get letdown on both sides at once, so you'll waste some anyway if you don't have two containers in place. Plus you'll be done in half the time.

10) Breast milk will sour if it changes temperature too quickly. I was spoiling my milk by putting it directly in the freezer, until I figured out that it had to sit on the counter and cool to room temp first.

11) I'm adding #11 'cause this is really really important... if you are having trouble, DON'T WAIT to consult a Lactation Consultant (NOT the same thing as a maternity ward nurse, who are usually wonderful but don't specialize in nursing). A friend of mine delivered her baby at a local hospital famous for labour and delivery - BC Women's - and she couldn't get her baby to latch. None of the nurses and docs at this hospital could help her and her milk all but dried up. It was a Lactation Consultant who finally told her that her baby was tongue tied. She underwent a simple snipping procedure and was almost immediately able to latch. Because of the delay in this diagnosis, she had tremendous difficulty getting her milk in again, and basically gave up.

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Kristy said...

Hey thanks for all the tips! They are great!

JEANNE said...

You're welcome :-) I know it helps to have some info before hand... I have a lot of friends who'd been there already (I had my kids late) and they really helped to prepare me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. It's amazing how little most moms know about breastfeeding until they're holding their own newborns and trying to figure it out. Sharing our experiences can really help others. :)

As for nipple confusion, most babies go back and forth no problem, but not all do. My daughter was premature and formula fed from a bottle in the special care nursery, and we battled nipple confusion for over 3 months. She strongly preferred an artificial nipple and refused to latch at the breast, it was extremely difficult and upsetting for me and I tried all the tricks in the book. You don't know if your baby will be one of the few to have this problem until after it happens, which is why most experts recommend against introducing an artificial nipple until breastfeeding is well established.

Also, most antibiotics (and most medications for that matter) are safe to use while breastfeeding. If you talk with your doctor, you should be able to find a drug that will not require you to formula feed and pump.

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