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ADVICE FOR NEW PARENTS

BREASTFEEDING

What the books don't always tell you...

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Many pharmacies have breast pump rental programs.  If you can, "test drive" some pumps until you find one you really like.

 

Breastfeeding is HARD!!!

 

Babies often fall asleep during a feeding and not get their fill (but you think they’re done).  Try undressing them completely or part way to keep them cool and alert.  If they still fall asleep, rub their cheek or break the latch with your finger (never pull the baby off the breast unless you want sore nipples) and hold them up for a few moments, or try burping.  Once they are alert again place on to the breast and continue feeding.

 

Lanolin SAVED me from switching to formula from breastfeeding.  I was in tremendous pain, cracked and bleeding for weeks...I recommend Lansino brand.

 

I got a great piece of advice from a lactation consultant with my first child. I was having so much trouble with nursing; my son was almost CONSTANTLY on my breast. She told me that in order to make quality milk; you have to have your baby off your breast for at least an hour between feedings. Once I took that time I noticed a big difference in how satisfied he was and I felt human again!!

 

Just because your breastfeeding wife calls herself Bessy doesn't make it ok for you to say "MOOO!"

 

Read Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding BEFORE the baby comes.  It will likely make you want to do everything possible to breastfeed (most but not all women can), and will help you to see that most breastfeeding women need a lot of support.  Breast is best, and anything you can possibly do to give your baby the best will make you feel very proud!

 

Don't be discouraged if you're not doing all that you thought you could.  We're all human, and no-one is SuperMommy.  My DD had colic for 4.5 months starting when she was 2 weeks old.  It played havoc on breastfeeding --she screamed, my milk went.  I saw the lactation consultant many times, pumped when I wasn't nursing, took herbs, took Domperidone... and in the end felt like a huge failure due to low supply.  I'm going to take a totally different outlook this time around. 

 

Breastfeeding is challenging ...work through the issues that may arise with it but don’t feel guilty about not breastfeeding if you can’t do it.

 

Stock your fridge with one handed food for after baby for when you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding.  Have a surface on either side of the space you're going to mainly be feeding - you barely have one hand free and it's good to have Kleenex, water, snacks etc within reach.

 

I used to get so thirsty when I breastfed.  I’d keep a glass of juice on my night table so I could sip on it at night but oh, how many times did I reach for it during the night and knock it all over the floor and wall.  I recommend getting a sports bottle.

 

Breastfeeding - everyone has an opinion on it.  If you want to NIP (nurse in public) it's your right and your baby's right.  It's not like you are whipping it out for everyone to see.  If baby needs to eat, no one in earshot is happy.

 

Get a feeding pillow.  You will love it and your arm won’t get sore holding baby during feeding.

 

Breastfeeding may hurt at the beginning.  Get Lansinoh!  Put breast milk on your nipples.  Don't accept that breastfeeding hurts... investigate it.  See a lactation consultant, go to a breastfeeding clinic, and check with someone who knows something!  The nurses are great, and so might your OB/GP, but they are NOT trained in breastfeeding.  Do not accept advice from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about!!!

 

Please, please, please do not give up on breastfeeding! Yes, it can be difficult in the beginning but it is so worth persevering.  There is so much evidence out there as to the benefits and I feel so frustrated that after all the sacrifices we are willing to make that this one goes by the wayside so quickly because of the ridiculous mass marketing of formulas.  Yes, they are better than they were 20 years ago but they are no substitute for what nature intended.  There are very few cases where women are truly unable to produce adequate milk for their young.  If you take care of yourself and receive proper instruction it can be the easiest and most natural loving thing in the world. Go see a lactation consultant, join a La Leche League.  Your child deserves a healthy start in life.  In the beginning I had to make deals with myself, just for 1 month, just for 3 months and so on but in the end though I did stop at 1 year I would not change that time for anything in the world.

 

Feeding your baby takes far more hours out of every day than you can imagine.  And if you're lucky to get a "3 hour between feeding baby" don't forget that's 3 hours from the START of one feed to the START of the next. 

 

Cluster Feeding!  Nobody told me about this is any book I read or class I took!  It wasn’t until weeks after my Son was born and the public health nurse called that I was able to relax.  Apparently babies will feed “constantly” during a growth spurt.  It usually happens in the evening and can seem like you have a kid attached to your chest for 4-6 hours straight.  This will pass.  Just take comfort in knowing baby is growing and has a healthy appetite.  Oh, and watch out for (sometimes) painful engorgement the next day.  And wear a nursing bra with nursing pads (no under wire) to sleep.  Otherwise, you’ll have a heck of a wet spot on your night shirt…and your sheets…and your duvet…and….

 

Breastfeeding may be harder at the beginning than bottle feeding, but it is SOOOO rewarding and so simple later on.  Many of my friends weaned to the bottle early on because they were exhausted and found that they were MORE tired getting up, warming up the bottle listening to the crying baby than just giving them what they need [right away].  Also, try nursing lying down (if you breastfeed that is).


Valuable tid-bits of information from experienced parents who have "been there" and learned it all the hard way!