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If you could give a new mom any advice or wisdom about breastfeeding, what would it be.... - Page 3

post #41 of 82

oops I forgot one, a very important one:

 

SUPPLY matches DEMAND...

and in the case of breastfeeding, the supply lags behind the demand by a few days to a couple of weeks.  So if your baby is crying alot, NURSE ALOT and NURSE EXCLUSIVELY and you will have more milk in a few days.  This is NORMAL and the ONLY way your body knows EXACTLY how much milk to make for YOUR child's specific needs. (Indeed, low supply is most often caused by not breastfeeding often or long enough, due to whatever other facotrs - formula supplementing or timing feedings or whatever! Mamas can even make enough milk to nurse twins exclusively, so you will not have low supply if you take care of yourself and nurse alot!)

post #42 of 82

I'd like to add a "for most people" or "caution" to a lot of this.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chocolate1900 View Post

 

Be passionate and focused on your goal of nursing, it will be easy and smooth EVENTUALLY and it will be at least one of, if not THE MOST REWARDING thing in your lifetime. 

 

It does get easy and smooth for most people... except when it doesn't. I wouldn't want to make somebody feel bad if it doesn't get easy for her.

 

Let your babe try to suck immediately after birth, then as often and as long as he/she wants for the next 6 weeks.  Don't even think of looking at a clock or timer and if you are in a hospital just try to get out of there as soon as possible so you can get home and rest and nurse in peace and quiet.

 

If your mother or sister or other family member nursed exclusively for some time, ask them to come as soon as the baby is born to supervise the first few latches and again over the next few days for support and help.

 

Good advice, generally. I think opinions will differ on whether it's good to leave the hospital asap or not. I found the extra day helpful because we were still working out that latching-on thing, though it is true that I got a little tired of all the attention.

 

If you have major problems (and I had some of the worst), hire a lactation consultant WHOSE NUMBER YOU'VE HAD SINCE YOU WERE PREGNANT.  If she is too critical and overwhelming, FIRE HER and hire someone who is kind and supportive and says you will be able to do it NO MATTER WHAT.  There is literally NOTHING that can prevent a mother from feeding her baby except a DOUBLE mastectomy, or the mother's will giving up on her.  Anything else is HOGWASH.

 

I agree that getting an LC in advance is good, but disagree that nothing can prevent a woman from breastfeeding. There are women who try everything and just can't produce enough milk. This may be fairly uncommon, but it's not unheard of.

 

Don't pump or give any formula (no matter what anyone says) until your supply is established and nursing is seamless.  You will be the judge of when that is (if ever).  Usually it's between 6 -12 weeks.

 

Well, yes and no. Not pumping or giving formula until supply is established and nursing is easy is probably good advice for a lot of people (I'd also avoid pacifiers initially). Particularly if you come from one of those families where everybody wants to give baby a bottle. But if your baby is losing too much weight and you're struggling to get your supply up, formula may be necessary to give your baby the food s/he needs. If you are struggling with low supply, pumping may be necessary to help boost supply. Heck, I had too MUCH supply, and pumping *once* when I got engorged after my milk came in, just to remove excess milk so that I was more comfortable and she could latch, was nothing but positive for both me and my daughter. The overall point here, I think, is that you shouldn't go messing with your nursing relationship *unnecessarily* while you are still establishing it. But sometimes these measures are *necessary*. A good LC should be able to help you figure out when.

 

If you have the opportunity, GO WATCH an experienced breastfeeding mama nurse her new infant, and watch how he/she latches on and off.

 

I agree with this one too. This is one I wish I'd gotten a chance to do.

 



 

post #43 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

I'd like to add a "for most people" or "caution" to a lot of this.
 



 



Thanks...if I had listened to advice (in fact I did for a couple weeks) of not supplimenting my baby would have starved...she literally transfered less than 1/4 ounce of milk in feedings that lasted for an hour. I also agree that moms need to be encouraged, but, not made to feel like they failed if they are unsuccessful. Until you have gone through extreme breastfeeding dificulty you just have no idea or understanding what it is like. I stopped BF when my middle was 6 months and it truly was the best decision for us....it was my lactation consultant who finally said she would support me to the end no matter what choice I made, but, I had to make the best choice for me family...breastfeeding him was too much stress on my family.

 

That said, for 75% or more people the other advice is probably perfect :-)

 

post #44 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by penguintattoo View Post

That the first few weeks are the hardest, but by 6 weeks it's so much easier. Usually by then the initial soreness is gone and your supply has started to even out.


This.  But, I would actually say 6-8 weeks.

post #45 of 82

That what some books say, which is "It shouldn't hurt at all if you are doing it right" isn't true for all mamas.

 

It hurt to breastfeed for I would say, our first 3 months or so. And I had our latch checked, I had DS checked for tongue tie, I was checked for thrush, on and on. And nothing was "wrong." It just hurt because I had never done it before. And letdown was excruciatingly painful. 

 

It was something I had to gut out, but it was harder to deal with it when everyone insinuated that my pain was down to me doing something "wrong." I drove myself insane trying to figure out what the issue was, when really, it wasn't anything.

post #46 of 82

And I forgot..get a boppy pillow and some Lansinoh cream!

post #47 of 82

I must say, I don't really like it when women use phrases like "screaming pain" to describe the sensation of baby latching in the early days/ weeks. I think this is an exaggeration and misleading and has the potential to scare pregnant women. I think if you have that kind of pain, something is wrong - the latch is off, mastitis, etc. I think "tenderness" is a more accurate word to describe the feeling when baby first latches on in the first week or so.

 

Aside from that, though, the biggest thing I wish I'd known or that I wish someone had told me is that some babies nurse almost constantly, and this is normal. If you have a baby who is high needs, commit yourself to meeting his / her nursing needs, lower your expectations for getting anything else done and ask for help.

post #48 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleybess View Post
I think "tenderness" is a more accurate word to describe the feeling when baby first latches on in the first week or so.

 

That may have been accurate for you. Not for me. Not for some others either. For me, I knew when she had finally latched because it hurt so much it took my breath away. She was mildly tongue-tied and I had flat nipples. We were still able to nurse fine but it did take time for my body to adjust (probably about 3-4 weeks until it stopped hurting). If you were lucky enough not to experience this kind of pain, please don't tell others that they're incorrect in their descriptions of their own experiences.

post #49 of 82

Hi, I am sorry you had that kind of pain. I did not intend to invalidate your experience. As you say, though, you had unusual circumstances - tongue-tiedness and flat nipples. This is what I meant by "something is wrong" - perhaps I should amend that to say something is unusual or abnormal. I do still believe that that kind of intense pain is not the norm and does indicate that either something is wrong or there is an anatomical obstacle, as you had. You obviously did an awesome job of working through your special circumstances and persevering! Of course it's important to share those sorts of experiences should a new mother encounter similar obstacles, but my point was that I think we should emphasize that intense "toe-curling" pain is not a feature of the normal course of breastfeeding in most women, because it isn't.

 

Breastfeeding already has enough adversity in our culture. I also had difficulty establishing breastfeeding with my first child (he was premature and we used a nipple shield for the first two months) but when sharing advice with new mothers I prefer to emphasize that breastfeeding is a natural, normal, beautiful and integral part of the mother-child bond which, while it requires some skill, needn't be fraught with difficulty.

post #50 of 82

I get what you're saying. When I talk to new moms/soon-to-be-moms, I don't *emphasize* pain. But I do feel it's important to point out that while once it works it can be really great, the first 2-4 weeks can really suck hard, and not to be shy about asking for help. Then if she has a really easy time herself, she'll be like, hey, that was a total cakewalk! And if she has difficulties, she can be like, well, it's been difficult for other people too. Rather than WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME IT WOULD BE THIS HARD? I think even a lot of moms who go on to breastfeed for a while may have some minor problems in the beginning, and every problem is significant when you're a sleep-deprived new mom who has no idea what she's doing. 

 

I wouldn't want anybody to think that having a lot of pain is normal, and not seek help with it, but I also think the "if it hurts you're doing it wrong" isn't accurate in all cases either, and I'd like to combine the two messages. 

post #51 of 82

Breastfeeding is an ever changing journey and to know what is normal in the first year as baby grows, becomes more efficient, your milk supply levels off, the distracted baby, teething, adjustment of latch when top teeth come in, ect.  Baby continues to feed differently as they go through their first year.
 

post #52 of 82

I totally agree, erigeron. The same goes for birth... though I do have a "horror story" followed by a wonderful homebirth, I avoid telling the first one unless explicitly asked, though I do my best to convey to an expectant mother that birth is HARD work and things don't always go as planned. I'm glad we could get on the same page and understand one another. I am overwhelmed by the variety of available 'emoticons' so I'll just say :)

post #53 of 82

I would say, it can be really hard at first (for some it is not) It is definitely worth persevering, and it gets so much easier as time goes on.  For me with my  first, everything got so much easier around the 4 month mark

post #54 of 82

BEST advice i got. 

 

Invest in a breast pump! other then that the "when you start breastfeeding advice" a lactation consultant is gold, as well as a post-partum doula.

not only can they help you catch up on things but they have normally seen several women breast feed and if you don't have a LC on hand can give you some valuable advice and support on a regular basis.

 

second piece of advice i got:

 

IGNORE all the horror stories you hear. for every horror story there is likely 10 positive ones. just like with birth if someone had an easy birth they generally don't go bragging about how smooth it went (i actually had to ask family members about it) but the horror stories are everywhere. and there is a reason for it. ;)

 

most women who have positive experience don't go gossiping about it because it was a beautiful experience for them that was a personal one (they will normally share when asked but for them to run around spreading it isn't really a norm) where as when you have a horror story of a birth you generally are more willing to run out and spread the word about it because you had a plan it didn't go to plan and you are generally seeking those who have had a similar experience since it was a negative one.  

 

For every positive breastfeeding or birthing story i have heard i have had to ASK the person about it. for every horror story it was given without my asking just talking about it. with breast feeding i have also had the lovely option of knowing 2 kinds of people (i am generalizing this since there are so many more but they can be grouped together fairly simply) 

1) those who believe breast milk is best and will breast feed or express for bottles. 

2) those who think formula is "just as good" and dont care to breast feed or express to give via  a bottle. 

 

there is group 3 who have medical problems etc and cant give breast milk but those aren't included (that's special circumstances which sometimes cant be avoided) 

 

I have noticed advice about babies from these groups varies HUGELY group 1 will encourage you and group 2 will be more willing to go why bother? 


i am incredibly lucky and both my family and DH family are natural birth and breast feeding buffs. so i have allot of support from those respects but with support comes advice. the best tip about pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding  i ever got was from both my mother in law and my mother (which made me laugh) 

BEST TIP about pregnancy parenting etc: 

IF you DO NOT want outside advice from people or are becoming overwhelmed with it stop people (mid-sentence if you have to) and say

"Thank you for trying to help but right now i am not looking for advice if you want send me and email with it and if i run into a problem i think you can help with i will let you know for now we are doing just fine."  

 

by far best advice i have had with my pregnancies since EVERYONE has an opinion and the area we live in is big into "ease and convenience" not my style at all. 

post #55 of 82

Pretty much what everyone else said.  Also, drink something hot before each session; it helps with let down.  Drink plenty other times too.  When baby feels like she/he is nursing your backbone, that's more milk being made.   For an extra hungry baby, by the time the second breast is finished; there's probably some more ready in the first breast.  No matter how aggravating life gets, breastfeeding is when its perfect.  So enjoy it.

post #56 of 82

My advice would be: ASK FOR HELP if you have any doubts at all.  And if you need the help, it does NOT mean you're a failure. 

 

Also, in the event that you do need to supplement, it doesn't mean you have to stop breastfeeding, nor does it mean you will necessarily ALWAYS need to supplement.  I had a massive hemorrhage after DD's birth and didn't have enough blood left to make enough milk at the start.  In retrospect, having successfully nursed her for 3 years and gotten my certification as a breastfeeding educator, I know that's a perfectly reasonable and valid reason to use a bit of formula!  But at the time, it was devastating.  With the help of some awesome public health nurses, a good breast pump, and my fantastically fabulous IBCLC doctor, I was eventually able to wean off the formula and nurse exclusively.  A few months later I was even able to donate a bit to a friend who had persistent supply issues due to PCOS.  She had to supplement until her little guy was able to eat enough people food to make up the caloric difference - but she continued to nurse until he was 2.  If you need a bit of something extra, it's NOT the end of your nursing relationship.  Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal, but even non-exclusive breastfeeding is still pretty darned awesome.  Even if you've had one breast removed and the other is hypoplastic and you lost half your weight in blood during delivery and you have PCOS and were born male, whatever little bit of breastfeeding you can do can still be hugely rewarding.  There's nothing like the rush of love you get, looking down at your sweet little baby smiling at your breast - it eventually makes it all worthwhile.

post #57 of 82

My advice is to take it easy and spend the first 4 weeks or so bonding with the baby.  Lots of skin-to-skin time in bed.  Lots of on-demand nursing. Stay home and nurture and be nurtured. Have a plan for people to help with food and chores so that your ONLY job is healing and bonding.  (Post partum doulas are FANTASTIC.)  For me, this long stretch of focused attention on me and baby helped me to really get to know her, understand her needs, and learn how to be responsive.  Every baby is different and it takes time to get to know your baby.  Spending the time in the begining makes the rest of it so much easier.  Plus, if your body is stressed, your milk supply will suffer.
 

post #58 of 82

i like that. nurture and be nurtured, make that priority no.1

post #59 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleybess View Post

I must say, I don't really like it when women use phrases like "screaming pain" to describe the sensation of baby latching in the early days/ weeks. I think this is an exaggeration and misleading and has the potential to scare pregnant women. I think if you have that kind of pain, something is wrong - the latch is off, mastitis, etc. I think "tenderness" is a more accurate word to describe the feeling when baby first latches on in the first week or so.

 

Aside from that, though, the biggest thing I wish I'd known or that I wish someone had told me is that some babies nurse almost constantly, and this is normal. If you have a baby who is high needs, commit yourself to meeting his / her nursing needs, lower your expectations for getting anything else done and ask for help.

 

Well, I had some 'screaming' pain, I didn't literally scream because I am not a screamer, but I did cry almost every time and my toes would curl.  Every time my son latched between 2 and 4 weeks it was like a spear from my nipple through my body out my back! It lasted about 10-15 seconds every time.  I saw a Lactation Consultant... there were no issues with latch or transfer, no mastitis, nothing.  We have since gotten over it. He is 9 months old now.

 

But the advise I would give would be that breastfeeding changes. As baby grows/gets older their nursing technique, duration, challenges and everything changes.  Breastfeeding evolves over the first year. If you are unsure of something being normal, as a LC, google it, go to kellymom.com or some other trusted source, you'll find many people have the same hurdles when their baby's are at certain ages.

post #60 of 82

breastfeeding can be painful. Supporting breastfeeding doesnt mean lying about it.  It was painful for me with my first, and 'screaming pain'  is a fairly accurate description. Everyone is different, but pain upon breastfeeding for those not used to it is within the range of normal.

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