Anytime now, my friend G will giving birth to her third child. This time, she said, she will try to make breastfeeding work, because the last two times, she wasn’t able to make it past a couple of months.
So here I am, publishing as part of my blog, the tips that I will be giving to her, so that I could share it with you as well. These are based on my own experiences J
1. The first two or three weeks will be hellish, so accept that. Lucky is the mom who gets a perfect latch the first time. You have to try to make it work for you.
2. It will bleed, and it is ok. Even nurses say that it happens, and yes, your baby will not get sick if in case he or she accidentally ingests a bit of blood. This however means that you’ve got a wrong latch so you better try to achieve a better one.
3. The hard lesson that I learned was that you cannot automatically find a good nursing position that would be painless for you and your baby. The great tip that I swear by is to make sure that the baby’s ear, shoulder and waist and knee are in one perfect imaginary line when you are nursing. This way, the baby would not have a wrong latch, and that latch won’t hurt.
4. Milk doesn’t come out on Day One. I gave birth on a Sunday evening, but my full stream of milk came out on a Thursday morning. This is all normal, and your baby will be fine too because there is colostrum in the first hour (if not minutes) of birth. Besides, they have tiny stomachs, and our breasts are capable of filling that tiny stomach up even if we cant pump or squeeze anything yet from our boobies.
5. Do not give up. Do not give in to the pressure of other people about you not having enough milk for your child. Her crying doesn’t automatically mean that you don’t have enough milk to feed. You just have to make him or her stimulate/suck/nurse enough so that your boobs will produce enough.
6. Nurse as much as you can. Usually babies nurse every one or two hours (newborns), and sometimes they have a phase that they wanted to nurse every hour. To this, you give in because it will build up supply.
7. Should you need to pump early on in your BFing carrer (like less than 7 weeks from birth. Make sure your baby will be cup-fed to avoid nipple confusion. Nipple confusion is when the baby would prefer nursing from artificial teats a.k.a feeding bottle, than from you. This would of course affect your supply because there’s no better way to increase your milk production than an actively nursing baby!
8. Breastmilk Production is a simple demand and supply thing. The more you nurse or pump, the more supply you will have. This is because, the body tells your milk production team to supply more because more will be needed. If you do not nurse much, supply will tank because the body will think that your baby no longer needs it.
9. If you plan to go back towork and would like to build up a stash of milk, or prime your production supply – do not go beyond three hours without pumping or nursing! This is to make sure that there will be enough demand to make your ‘milk production team’ work on supplying milk to your boobies. Yes you have to wake up at midninght if you want since the baby will most likely wake you up anyway. (will come up a more in depth pumping guide blog entry soon)
10. Do not hesistate to try galactogogues. Galactogogues or herbs that increase milk production are good for you so do not be afraid to give it a try. Common local galactogogues include Malunggay, Guyabano Leaves, and other green leafy vegetables. You may use it as tea, find powdered form and put it on soups, you may wanna find supplements as well with this herbs. If you have relatives in the states, you may also want to ask them for fenugreek (although some healthstores here carry fenugreek too). Brewer’s Yeast also helps! Lactation Cookies are also sold online so you may wanna give those pastries a try – last I heard from my supplier, she now has lactation Brownies. YAY!
11. You can have an occasional sip of beer or wine. Yes you read it right! You may want to research this but most materials I read mentioned that if you are sane enough to drive, you are sane enough to breastfeed. You don’t need to pump it out and throw OK? Besides the yeast in beer can help increase production. To be on the safe side, you can have just a bottle or two.
12. If you are becoming demotivated already, like you feel you can’t leave the house etc. or you smell like milk all the time, think about all the benefits of breastfeeding. The probiotics, it being the gold standard of all milks because of the very high immune properties and DHA content, the bonding you create with your child, and the savings that you get for not buying expensive formula. Besides, it is relatively easier to have a clean and warm supply of milk with you all the time minus the bags, the bottles that have to be washed and sterilized, and the mixing in the middle of the night or worse, in the middle of the road when traveling!
13. Don’t mind the naysayers. A lot of people might discourage you. DO not listen to them. DO what is best for your child.
14. Try to network with other moms who are nursing. This will gain you more insights on nursing, and could even gain you friends J
15. Use breastfeeding stuff that will inspire you. A nice boppy pillow, a nice nursing cover, a good little bag, a breastfeeding-compatible sling, a nice nursing bra. Buy a nice top or dress that you can use for nursing anytime, anywhere! Do what makes you feel great and proud to be a nursing mom and you will imbibe the positive vibe!
16. If you encounter breastfeeding problems – plugged ducts or bleeding nipples, consult your doctor. Hot compresses work in plugged ducts because they thaw up the milk. J
17. For meds to take when breastfeeding, please do not forget that most decongestants and antibiotics damage your supply, so make sure you research first about the meds you are about to take so as not to compromise milk production.
18. It is OK to breastfeed even if you are sick. Chances are you will give the baby the immunity against the illness that you have especially is it is viral like colds, cough or fever. If you wanna double check this, ask your doctor, but I have nursed my baby throughout all the flu and stomach bugs and what have yous that I had a long the way, and she turned out fine.
19. If you are nut OK with Nursing In Public (NIP), then bring whatever it is that will make you comfortable. A Nursing cover etc. If you wish to breastfeed somewhere more private then d not hesitate to do so. It would help if you will familiarize yourself with public places that have breastfeeding stations.
20. Enlist the support of your husband, kids, and families., Let them become your cheerleaders when you feel so down about nursing, because honestly, there are days when you just feel so tired, and would want to just throw in the towel and give up. Look at the brighter side. Get inspired. Look at your baby J
This last bonus tip meanwhile is based on my experience, and I don’t know if you would all agree. For the nursing bras, I found it hard to find nice pairs of nursing bra with enough support during the height if my nursing career. Most local nursing bras do not have underwire to support, and enough foam to hide your Ns. The ones I found with adequate support were to pricey. I cannot stomach buying 6 or 7 pairs of bra that costs me almost 2,000 pesos each—which I will wear for two years or so. So, I went scouring for nice t-shirt bras that are not so expensive but provide adequate support (and enough foam to hide my Ns). I use them and even if they get squished due to nursing (because they don’t have the breastfeeding pocket that nursing bras have) I can easily say to myself that it will be fine because I can replace them anytime. Plus I can buy a dozen even if ill only be wearing them for a year or so, simply because they are inexpensive!
I will be posting more of tips in the coming days. Good luck soon to be mommies! Will gladly answer your questions if you have any.