Expert Breastfeeding Advice

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Did you know that the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week

Michelle Barto is a Certified Lacatation Educator, founder of La Dolce Mama online breastfeeding boutique, and proud breastfeeding mama.  She recently welcomed her second child and wrote a few tips on things she wished she new about breastfeeding the first time around!  Click here to see Michelle’s other article on Tiny Oranges.  As a new breastfeeding mom myself, I also had some things to add at the end!

THINGS I WISHED I KNEW ABOUT BREASTFEEDING THE FIRST TIME AROUND

Eat – Before I gave birth to my second child, I hard-boiled a dozen eggs, stocked up on Zone bars, and made sure I had plenty of water bottles. When you have a new baby, it’s really easy to forget to eat. Breastfeeding requires 500-800 extra calories a day and an additional 6-8 glasses of water. Having lots of healthy, convenient protein and iron rich foods handy will make it easier to keep going and give you the energy to actually make yourself lunch during those first weeks.

Shower – It sounds a little Miss America, but if I could give every new mom one thing, it would be a daily hot shower. Postpartum, your hormones are doing crazy things. You aren’t sleeping, you sweat a lot, and you are covered in breastmilk. It may seem impossible, but taking even a three minute shower will make you feel so much better. Not only will you no longer smell like Eau de Breastmilk – not my favorite perfume, especially after a couple of days – but you will also keep your chance of infection from poor hygiene to a minimum.

Nursing tank – Sexy nursing bra – check. Nursing tank? I discovered Glamourmom nursing tanks towards the end of my first nursing tour of duty. This time, I started wearing them from day one. Oh my, they are lifesavers. Finding a clean shirt and a clean bra can be really difficult some days. Nursing tanks and nursing tops ensure that you only have to find one clean piece of clothing and you don’t have to worry about your bra strap showing! I wore one almost every single day until my son was two months old.

Schedule-shmedule – As a first-time parent, I remember checking my watch to make sure it had been two hours since her last feeding. Babies should only eat every 2-3 hours, right? This time around, I feed when my son seems hungry. If I put my son to breast every 15 minutes and he is sucking so that his ear moves (the way they show you in breastfeeding class so you know they are eating) I don’t worry about it. Sure, it’s no fun feeding an infant from a sling and chasing after a toddler, but I would much rather my son eat during the day and sleep at night. Of course, this only works during maternity leave, but at three months a baby is mature enough to only need one night feeding at most anyway. You might even get lucky and have a baby that sleeps through the night!

Trust yourself – As a mother, you will always try to do the best for your child. With that in mind, relax. It may take a couple weeks and you may seek the advice of a lactation consultant, but you can do it. Sometimes, infants will get so worked up that all of a sudden, they will appear to fall asleep. This can be very frustrating when you are learning to breastfeed. What happens when your computer is overloaded? It freezes. So do infants. Take this time to take a deep breath, relax, and get a glass of water. Reposition yourself and in a few minutes junior will wake up hungry as ever. This time however, you will be calm and ready.”

Awesome tips Michelle! Going on 4 weeks of breastfeeding myself, this is all great advice.   Two more things that I wanted to add…

As soon as you are feeling up to it, pump maybe once a day or every other day just so you have a little back up supply in the freezer just in case.   When Morgan was 2 weeks old, I ended up in the Urgent Care without her due to abdominal pain that turned out to be kidney stones.  Oh so fun :-(.  Since I didn’t want to expose my 2 week old to Urgent Care germs, we left her at home with my parents and I was so grateful to have some milk pumped for her.  

Also, do NOT hesitate to seek the assistance of a lactation consultant immediately if you are having any pain or problems.   I had to go see a lactation consultant with Morgan to help with her latch correctly.  It was a surprise to me since I nursed Emma without any issues. I sort of expected this time around to be a breeze.  Wrong-o!   It was going on 3 weeks, and I was still in a lot of pain on one side.  After one trip to a lactation consultant, within a day my pain started to subside.  However, do not wait 3 weeks!!! I wish I would have gone sooner!

Happy nursing :-).

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