Expecting our Little Brother in November!

pregnancy calendar

Breastfeeding Advice

I firmly believe that breastfeeding is a socialized skill, much like using a fork. We were meant to grow up watching people breastfeed all the time, like using a fork. In this ideal environment, we would learn about breastfeeding by watching our Moms, Aunts, Sisters, and limitless women while out and about in public. However, this is not our environment, so breastfeeding goes from natural and easy to awkward and challenging very quickly.

Here is my advice for having a successful breastfeeding relationship. (If you are having twins, there is a "version" of this advice especially for you here!) These things are in an ideal situation. Sometimes there are emergencies or unforseen complications, but breastfeeding is resilient enough to work out great even if you can't do all of these things every time.

-If possible, have a natural birth. There is evidence that drugs such as pitocin and the narcotic drugs in an epidural can affect both your milk coming in, and the baby's ability to stimulate the breast early on. Sorry I'm too lazy to look up said evidence and link it but you can look it up yourself and/or use common sense to realize that it is probably true. With this said, a natural birth isn't everyone's first choice for a birth experience and plenty of medicated birth babies have zero issues with breastfeeding. However, I believe a natural birth is a great way to start out a breastfeeding relationship with every advantage on your side.

-Immediately after birth, put the baby on your belly/chest, and leave her there for as long as possible--ideally 1-2 hours or more. You can allow the baby to initiate breastfeeding on her own by crawling to the breast, or you can help her. Keep the baby naked and your chest uncovered, and do this skin-to-skin kangaroo care for at least 1-2 hours after birth.

-The first week should be a "nursing vacation." You, your baby, and ideally your husband, should pretty much stay in bed and be naked together to help the baby bond with both of you and establish proper breastfeeding. You might think this is overkill but especially the first few days you will be physically exhausted from birthing, the baby will be nursing often, and this is the best way to heal and bond with the baby. This is a very special and sacred time, enjoy it--real life is going to be there forever!

-Expect the baby to pretty much nurse non-stop the first week--this is NORMAL, HEALTHY, and does NOT mean that the baby is not getting enough milk. This first week is CRITICAL in terms of your milk supply coming in well. Some people can take up to a week for the milk to come in. Colostrum is enough for your baby but only if he is able to nurse pretty much constantly. Some babies can go an hour or two between feeds, and most do that at least some of the time, but start out with the expectation that this first week your job is ONLY to nurse the baby. Hence the staying in bed/on the couch.

-After the first week, continue to nurse the baby on demand--nurse at the first sign of hunger--rooting (chewing/sucking on hands, clothing, etc), open "searching" mouth, agitated movements, etc. During the day try to nurse at least every 2 hours. This will help the baby sleep longer at night if she is fed more often during the day.

-Expect your baby to be fussy and cluster nurse (feed very often/constantly), usually in the evening and during growth spurts. You will probably at some point feel like you are "out of milk" and that the baby seems hungry and unsatisfied. As long as this only happens for a day or two at a time (growth spurts), and/or during one part of the day, it is totally normal and DOES NOT MEAN the baby is overly hungry, starving, or that you need to supplement with formula. Supplementing during times like these can be very dangerous and lead to a permanent (and spiraling) supply dip. This usually lasts for the first 6-12 weeks.

-Have CONFIDENCE in breastfeeding. It is difficult at times, but it really is perfect food for your baby, and a perfect "system" for Mom. There is no reason to question whether your baby is eating enough unless he isn't gaining weight. Otherwise, feed your baby at your breast, watch the milk dribble from his chin, and KNOW that he will eat as much as he needs to eat, and your breasts will make it for him. It's that simple, especially if you can do all of the things above.

-After the first 3 months, it can become REALLY easy. Most babies drop to 5-10 minute feedings every 2-3 hours and many are sleeping through the night, or only waking once or twice to nurse (again usually only for 5-10 mins). There is no warming bottles, mixing formula, wondering if the baby ate enough or if you need more--you don't even have to get out of bed all night long! It is true that it can be challenging and demanding in the early days, but it totally pays off in the long run!

-All problems can be solved. Seriously. In rare situations, and in situations where all of the above haven't gone as planned for whatever reason, supplementation can be required, but this should not be seen as a failure. The goal should be to continue to provide as much breast milk as possible for as long as possible, and success shouldn't be judged on exclusively breastfeeding.

My Breastfeeding Journey

Five Days Post-Partum: My Boobs are Transformed!
One Week Post-Partum: Nursing Schedule of One Week Old Baby
Two Weeks Post-Partum: The Benefits of Cluster Feeding
Three Weeks Post-Partum: James eats Breast Milk Out of a Bottle
Three and a Half Weeks Post-Partum: Growth Spurts
Three and a Half Weeks Post-Partum: Growth Spurts 2
Five and a Half Weeks Post-Partum: I Love Breastfeeding!
Seven and a Half Weeks Post-Partum: Breast Milk Freezer Stash
Eight Weeks Post-Partum: Sleeping Through the Night
Fourteen Weeks Post-Partum: Supply Regulating

Other Helpful Posts

Before Giving Up, consider Combo Feeding!
The Truly Breastfeeding Friendly World
Breastfeeding Products Recommendation
Why Do People Breastfeed Their Toddler?
Eliminating Dairy While Breastfeeding to Reduce/Cure Colic, Gassyness, Fussiness in the Newborn Baby
Breastfeeding An Adopted Baby
Breastfeeding Twins

Ask Kellymom.com your Breastfeeding Questions and get research based and mom-tested solutions to your breastfeeding questions!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...