Monday, August 16, 2010

Top 5 Breastfeeding Tips

I don't take breastfeeding pictures, so here's a pic of me & Isis!

I'm only 7 1/2 months into breastfeeding my first child, but it's gone pretty well, so I have a few tips to offer. I was going to share 10 tips, but after sorting through my thoughts, I found I only have 5! Also, I am not a doctor & I am not an expert. Definitely talk to your doctor or other experts about breastfeeding. I can just offer what has worked or been true for me.

1. Work for full feedings from the start
I believe there is great benefit to making sure your baby gets a full feeding each time they eat. This helps to make sure they get the nutrient-dense hindmilk that is released at the end of the feeding and it also makes sure that they are emptying your breast, thus promoting more milk production! Also - it can help them be able to go longer between feedings because they were full. Definitely a benefit later when they can go longer. In the beginning, though, you'll be feeding every couple hours around the clock no matter what.

2. Study up!
There are lots of great online resources with info on breastfeeding! Kellymom & La Leche League are probably the best ones! Just make sure that you make some effort to get informed on latching techniques & other info. It's also great to find places you can go when you have questions - which you absolutely will have - when you start!

3. Don't stress if things don't go according to plan
While I definitely recommend learning what you can (see #2), it's also important to remember that things aren't always going to go the way you expect. Sometimes milk doesn't come in. Sometimes the baby has trouble latching on. Sometimes it's more painful than you expected. Be prepared to just do the best you can. Know who you can call - La Leche League, the lactation consultants at your hospital, a friend who had success with breastfeeding, etc. 

4. Don't freak out about green poop
Basically, don't assume that what you are eating is affecting the baby negatively. This is something I had to calm down about from the beginning. I heard stuff from several different people related to what I'm eating & how it could affect Isis - don't eat cheese, don't eat spicy foods, don't eat broccoli, stay away from chocolate! I felt so stressed & worried about what was in everything I was eating in the beginning. When I finally talked to my doctor about it, he said that these are all old-fashioned views that have been disproved for most women in more recent years. Apparently, it's actually rare for the food you eat to affect the baby negatively unless you or your husband have a major food allergy. Be looking for frothy poop & blood in the poop, but as long as it's not frothy, any color of the fall leaves is ok except red.(Again, I am NOT a doctor. If you really think your baby is having an allergic reaction to something you ate, go with your instinct & call your doctor! You won't ever regret finding out for sure.)

5. Be aware of the normal breastfeeding problems
By "normal" problems, I mean cracked nipples, plugged ducts, mastitis, etc. Even a mom who is successfully breastfeeding can have these issues. I didn't study enough about this. Things I learned were that breastmilk is actually a treatment for cracked nipples. Seriously, it's crazy how that works! If you notice that your breast is hurting, it could be a plugged duct, but if your breast is tender & pink or red or purple, GO TO THE DOCTOR. This is just something I didn't really know much about, but I got mastitis when Isis was 4 weeks old. I'm going to write a separate post about this in particular, but basically - pink or red, go to the doctor. Maybe you'll avoid a 101+ degree fever & feeling like you have a really bad flu for 3 days.

What worked for you when breastfeeding?
What tips would you add to this list?

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theboredmommy said...

Good tips! My advice would be to get a great pump in the first days, so you can pump away and can take your time getting the hang of nursing, instead of having the pressure of being the only source of food for your child. I rented a strong one from the hospital the first couple of months and it was the best thing! I thought I wouldn't be able to nurse, 'cause it just seemed too hard, but I'd just keep pumping and everyday try nursing a little bit more. It took me a bit (a month!), but eventually I was breastfeeding all the time and just pumping when necessary (like now, that she's 9 months). So my advice would be, be patient with yourself, and pump away! :)

The Planet Pink said...

My tip is to recognize that for the first 4-8ish weeks of your baby's life, nursing is almost like a fulltime job. EXPECT it to feel a little overwhelming at times, especially when the hormones are all over the place postpartum. But STICK WITH IT. Once you get through those first couple of months, breastfeeding is as second nature as breathing. Don't doubt your capability and GET HELP if you sense something isn't working right. Delaying it can mean the difference between a long lasting nursing relationship and the end of one.

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

Great tips Cameron. These will be so helpful to new Moms! :)

AliLilly said...

Great tips!! Congrats on making it this far. My goal was 6 months. I just JUST weaned my 25 month old daughter. I already wanna start breastfeeding again. There is just something so sweet and special about it, isn't there. I have a tip that was GREAT for me, in case you don't know. Out in public...mall, stores anywhere you can find a "fitting room" ask to use that to breastfeed. It's roomy and discrete and surprisingly they let you use it!! :) Can I tell you too....they (the girls) aren't as "floppy" as I thought they would be but then again I still have milk ( I know I know I need to stop checking)and I freaked out when I saw lil scabs all over but it turns out it's just the tissue healing from not being suckled on anymore.

Lisa said...

Great tips!! I had to go back to work part-time with my 1st and I almost completely lost my supply. We made it to 9 months but it was so difficult. I stay at home with both kids now and my daughter is feasting daily on my milk daily! I nurse her whenever she wants, wherever she wants! I didn't want to be a "pacifier" for her though so as soon as she is done sucking or starting to fall asleep, I unlatch her and pop a pacifier in her mouth. If she still wants to nurse I'll offer her the breast again and we repeat until she's happy with the pacifier (and usually moments away from sleepyland). Nursing my 2nd was SOOO different than my first and WAY easier! It's all about perpective :)

trooppetrie said...

great breastfeeding tips. i am following you back

A Little R&R said...

Great tips!!! (and I'm with you - I don't take breastfeeding pics one needs to see THAT!)

I used nipple guards for a while. I had one inverted nipple and A LOT of pain at first. I would literally cry while I fed Robi. After a couple of months I noticed that they bothered him - and so I'd feed him for a few moments with the guards and then remove them finishing the feed normally. After a week or so I didn't need the guards anymore. Robi is 7 months now and we're still going strong like pros. :) The guards saved me and are one reason I am still nursing after 7 months months.

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