Thursday, March 26, 2009

Suggestions for Future Breastfeeding Moms

Here are some suggestions for future breastfeeding moms:

Get a breastfeeding pillow. They wrap around your middle and make it easier and more comfortable for you to hold the baby. The My Breast Friend pillow worked great for me. I used it until Amor Chiquito was 8 months.

Meet with a lactation consultant as soon as possible, while you are still at the hospital, if possible.

Ask for help from the nurses if you cannot get the baby to latch on. Not all nurses are trained or good at helping a new breastfeeding mom. If your nurse is not helping, politely speak up for yourself and request help from someone else.

Some pediatricians have a lactation consultant at the office. Find out if there is one at your pediatrician's office, and, if so, make a point of meeting her, even if you do not feel like you are having a problem. They can help you with technique, can answer many of your questions, and are typically very motivated to help breastfeeding moms succeed.

Ask the lactation consultant or the pediatrician if your child is tongue-tied. If she/he is, get it corrected ASAP. The process is very quick and it will not keep the baby from breastfeeding or anything like that.

Write down at what time the baby started nursing and what breast she/he nursed on last.

Alternate which breast you start with. If you do not alternate breasts, you could get mastitis if the baby did not empty both breasts. Mastitis is an infection of the breast. If you get it, it will most likely be during the first few weeks.

Offer the baby the breast every 2 or 3 hours. Wake up the baby after 3 hours if she/he does not wake up on her/his own. If you do not do so, the baby may not gain weight properly. Ideal weight gain during the first three months is an ounce a day.

You will be told that you should not give the baby the pacifier or the bottle during the first 6 weeks. Here is what our pediatrician said: if your baby is nursing well and she needs the pacifier, give it to her. If she stops nursing well, take it away. But don't make things harder on yourselves.

Start pumping and introducing the bottle as soon as you can. Offer the bottle once or twice a week. If you introduce the bottle after the baby is about 2 months old, she/he might not want it! This is really hard, as you cannot get a break. And, you will need it, I promise!

The Medela Pump in Style pumps work great. You can see reviews at the Babies R Us website.

Remember to eat well and drink lots of water, 10 cups of water or more. Having a cup of water each time you breastfeed will help ensure that you are properly hydrated.

Cluster feeding is normal and will happen. If you need to supplement with formula, do it every now and then, but if you make a habbit of it, your body will end up being confused, so to speak, as it will have no way of knowing that it needs to make more milk.

Make sure you have breast pads. You will leak a fair bit during the first few months. I liked the Lansinoh and the Medela disposable pads the best. Of course, now that we do cloth diapers, I might look into cloth breast pads if we do this again!

Get comfortable nursing bras. Buy them after the baby is born because your breasts will be larger once your milk comes in. Motherhood Maternity fits you free of charge. They have a nice selection of comfortable and affordable bras.

Nightgowns with zippers or buttons or t-shirts work best for nighttime.

Lastly, be patient with yourself and with your baby. And, remember, if you end up turning to formula one night, it does not mean that you are a quitter or that you can't do this.

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