Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breast Feeding

I'm not going to recommend breastfeed or bottle, this decision should be yours and yours only.
Remember that both mommy and baby are training on the job so try to relax if you do come across challenges in breast feeding. For me, it was just as challenging as I had been warned. I can easily understand why women give up. I remember at the beginning showing every medical professional my breasts asking in a panicking voice "is this permanent damange? are you sure, please look closer." I also remember writing in my journal everyday, "I'm determined to get to the point where I have a perfect nursing session," followed by frustrated #@$#!!! comments. When you do reach that goal, it is extremely rewarding but it does take time!

Buy a good pump
Invest in a good pump because you will literally waste your money trying to buy the cheapest one. You can rent a hospital pump but there may be times you may need to pump to relieve engorgement, increase supply, or pump into bottle to go out.
I personally bought Medela Brand (Pump In Style Backpack)
Get a second set of accessories so you dont have to wash immediately after every pump.
Get different sizes of breast shields in advance.
If your milk doesn't come in by the 2nd day I would recommend pumping immediately.

Nursing Pillow
Unless you want to have guns like Madonna or have her arms already, then you definitely want a nursing pillow.
The Boppy is good for multiple uses in addition to breast feeding
The BrestFriend has back support and a small pocket
I actually got both and used both


Nursing Clothes
I literally wore nursing tank tops everyday for at least 3 months and to sleep as well!
The ones I really liked were from Target, which come in 2 styles: Full Sling and Side Sling (http://www.target.com/ - Search Nursing Tank Top).
They are cheap and I bought them online in a variety of colors (Free Shipping with Purchase of $50 and you can return at the store).
Nursing Covers are great in case you need to nurse outside of the home.
My mother-in-law hand make them, so please contact me if you are interested.

Nursing Pads
I liked the disposable ones by Lanisoh because they are contoured so they don't smash up again your breast and I could easily bend them backwards for breastfeeding when I pulled down my tank top. The ones by Medela are also contoured, but while bending it back when pumping or nursing it wasn't as flexible and tend to fall off because it only has 1 sticker.

Breast Feeding Complications
I was warned that breastfeeding may not come easily and for me, it was quiet a challenge where I nearly gave up. Somehow I perservered and survived. Here are some tips:

  • Contact a Lactation Consultant - They are tremendous help
  • Use the football hold (vs. the Cradle Hold)
  • For cracked nipples, use Lanisoh cream (Purple Tube)
  • For cracked nipples, soreness, and/or inverted nipples use breast shells (Lifesavers!)
  • Another solution is nipple shields. I didn't use them because I used breast shells instead. Some babies can only latch with nipple shields but you will have to find what works best for you.
  • Comfort Gel Pads - I thought these would be lifesavers, but they ended up mashing up against my sensitive nipples and hard to keep in place. I preferred to use the cream and used the breast shells. Some people like these, it didn't work for me.

Increasing Milk Supply
Nurse often because milk production is based on supply and demand.
Also, you want to increase your supply early on because it's easier to decrease supply than increase supply. Pumping is very effective in increasing supply so pump right after breast feeding for at least 10 minutes. If you are supplementing at the beginning, make sure to pump!
An herbal supplement you can take is "Mothers Milk Plus" or something with fenugeek.
It's best to get the tincture version because I've heard the tea version usually isn't effective enough. Again, herbal alone may not be enough, pumping is most effective!
Milk supply is highest in the morning (1am-5am) and lowest in the evening (after 8pm)

Engorgement
You may continue to feel engorged even after the first few days after your milk has come in. If you continue to experience engorgement and are still pumping, you should stop pumping. Pump only and ounce or so to relieve engorgement, but no more. Otherwise, it signals your body to continue to produce more. Once you get into a better routine, the engorgement will subside. The cruel joke to mothers is that even if we do have opportunity to sleep once baby sleeps longer at night, we can't! Reason is because you'll wake up in pain from engorgement and it is usually worst in the morning. It is important to control engorgement is you can get a plugged duct which can lead to mastisis. Also, alternate the breast you nurse instead of both breasts per feeding. This helps baby get more hindmilk and helps get supply controlled.

Plugged Ducts
Hot compresses really do help! Massage the area with the cooperation of your baby's suck.
The combination of those should remove plugged ducts within a few feedings.
You can buy compresses designed for this purpose. Depending on where the plugged duct is, I just put rice in a pantyhose with both ends tied off and tucked it underneath the bra area....20 seconds in microwave and voila!
People also recommend hot showers, whereas I take it a step further and take a hot bath!
Why not relax as you treat the problem?

Pumping
If your milk has not come in, try to pump within 48-72 hours. The longer you wait, the harder it will be increase supply. You should pump after every breastfeeding session for 10 minutes for the first 2-3 weeks. After that, you should have established your supply and should not have to pump after every session. (See Engorgement Section)

Classes and Books
Take a breastfeeding class. Out of all the classes, this was by far the most useful.

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