Thursday, 5 January 2017

Breastfeeding tips and advice

Baby Natasha has been breastfeeding for about two months now! First of all, how crazy is it that she's already so big? I'm so happy that our nursing relationship has been going so well. I really find it such a beautiful process and I cannot tell you how wonderful I feel about being able to bond with my baby in this way. 

However beautiful it is, breastfeeding can be hard, especially during the first few weeks. I was very lucky to be able to have a lactation consultant come to my home and give me some wonderful advice. Today, I want to share some of the tips and advice that have helped me to nurse my son for 20 months and now my daughter for hopefully just as long or longer! 


Breastfeeding a newborn: tips and advice #Welcometomommyhood, #breastfeeding, #baby, #babies

Breastfeeding tips 


Enough fluids


Make sure you are drinking enough. Honestly, there isn't much proof that any of those special cookies, recipes, teas etc will increase milk supply. However, what can impact not only your milk supply, but your general health and well being is making sure you are drinking enough water. 

Fill up a water bottle or large mug with water multiple times a day. If you are not getting enough water, you can damage the amount of milk you produce and in general, you could start to feel lousy. 


Baby weight loss


I'm not going to talk much about this because of course, you need to take the advice of your medical professionals! However, it is common knowledge that babies will lose weight immediately after birth. As long as it is under 10% of their original body weight, according to our midwives, there is no need for concern. 

Again, it is normal for baby to lose some weight in the first few days after birth. This does not mean that there is a problem with your breast milk. 

In fact, you likely aren't making any milk yet! The first few days, you are producing colostrum. That colostrum is very important for baby! 

With Yvann, my milk came in pretty quickly and he didn't lose much weight. With Natasha, she lost 9% of her body weight because my milk took a bit longer to come in! We were all very attentive, making sure she didn't lose more. Here are the tips and advice we received from our lactation consultants: 

The most important thing to do is to nurse on demand! Give the baby milk as frequently as she or he needs it in order to increase and regulate supply specifically to your baby's needs. There is no need to wait 3 hours to nurse the baby. 

However, do not wait more than 3 hours either. If baby's weight is a concern, try to wake baby up, especially at night to make sure they are drinking consistently. 

Baby could need a little bit of extra milk. To stimulate more or help baby out a bit, pump after breast feeding and give baby that milk for a few days to see if that helps. Women tend to have the most milk in the morning so pumping especially after the first morning feed could be the most beneficial.  

Try different positions


Nursing can sometimes feel like an all day job! I like to be comfortable when I'm nursing and I know that it can take a while. Different positions while nursing can help you to feel comfortable and perhaps less stiff, but also has practical benefits as the positioning of your baby can impact where the milk is drained the best. For example, the football hold helps baby to drain milk from the side of your breast, whereas the cradle hold helps to drain milk from the front. 

You can read more about different positions you can nurse in here

Proper attire 


You really need to be careful with your chest. Um, sounds weird, right? But really, if you are going out and about in the cold, it's important to make sure you are bundled up to prevent your breasts/chest from getting too cold. 

The first time I went out after Natasha's birth, I didn't close my coat all the way and it was pretty chilly. As soon as I came home (45 minutes later), I had a clogged duct beginning. It was so painful and only about a week after she was born! It was horrible and I regretted not taking a few extra seconds to take better care of myself. 


If you get a clogged duct  or mastitis


First things first, contact your doctor or specialist if you have any concerns! Mastitis ought to be treated by a doctor, and can have serious and painful side effects. It's best to prevent serious complications however - if you detect any harder  spots in your breasts, it's time to take action. 

Massage any harder spots prior to and during a feeding. This will help built up milk pass through. It's better to do this during a feeding with your baby as they can suck more efficiently than a pump. Also, during a shower, be sure to try to massage the 'lump' away. 

Prior to nursing, apply warmth to your breast to help the milk pass through and ease pain. You could use a heating pad. If you don't have one, you can grab a clean diaper, pour warm water on it and place that on your breast for a few minutes before nursing. 

To ease pain in between nursing, apply cold. For this, a not used diaper also works! If you fill a diaper with water and freeze it, it somehow stays it a pretty convenient shape for applying to your breast. The cold can really help to ease pain in between nursing sessions, whether it comes from a clogged duct, mastitis or just from nursing itself!

A few more things to pay attention to


If you do experience significant pain, there could be a few more things causing it. Proper latch is very important. If your baby doesn't latch onto the breast correctly, this could cause not only serious amounts of pain, but a reduction in milk supply.

Another reason for pain could be a tongue tie. This is when a baby has a piece of skin between the underside of the tongue and floor of the mouth that is too tight or short. This is a problem as a tongue tie prevents a baby's tongue from moving during nursing, causing an improper latch. A tongue tie also prevents a baby from opening his or her mouth wide and far enough to latch properly onto both the nipple and surrounding breast tissue.  

This can lead to problems not only with nursing, but later on with speaking and eating. That means you should definitely ask your doctor if you suspect your child has this. A tongue tie can be rectified with medical intervention. 

It's beautiful



Don't forget that the pain will ease! The difficulties and struggles of the first week or two will get better and go away! Establishing a nursing relationship can be difficult, but it is so worth it! 

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Today, I am linking up at:  A little bird told me, Preschool and kindergarten community, Tot school Gathering PlaceThe Thoughtful SpotLove to Learn LinkyThe Mommy Club Resources and SolutionsLink and Learn, TGIFHip Homeschool MomsPractical Mondays