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Prepping for Nursing

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 

I'm so excited to start nursing our little girl when she's born!  I've started reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and am looking forward to the challenges as well as the triumphs.


To the veteran mamas: did you start prepping the gals for nursing in the last trimester?  Any advice?  Per recommendations in the book, I'm doing the daily massaging. 


To new mamas: what are you doing to get ready for nursing (if you're going to nurse)? 


I tried the hand expression technique in the book and was actually able to express a teeny amount of colostrum.  Holy cow, the things our bodies can do!  I almost fell out of my chair I was so surpriseddizzy.gif.  I am kind of in awe of how remarkable the mother's body really is.

post #2 of 72

I didn't do anything before DS was born. I started leaking 5 months into pregnancy and it got more and more the closer we got to the due date. my milk came in 3 days after DS was born (c/s). I now realize that it was quite a 'long' time to feed him only colostrum but nobody ever said anything about feeding formula or what in the meantime. I'm surprised they just let me do what I was doing. DS pooped and peed just fine, I guess there was no reason for concern. I had crazy letdowns in the beginning, I could shoot milk across the room and later I found out I had a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance which made DS real gassy. That went away about 3 months into it. I just started to pump right before nursings, then let the letdown pass and then I fed him.


With DD I was expecting the same but my boobs never became as engorged as with DS BUT he had nursed up until 4 months before DD was born so I chalked it up to my body being used to breastfeeding, being more regulated milk wise. We went on to nurse for 24 months, exactly. I LOVED every little bit of it.


I'm looking forward to nursing #3. I have said it here before but I just LOOOOVE the little 'suck-sigh-suck-swallow' noises they make, the little toes that dig into my belly when laying down and nursing, the little hands wrapping around your finger and the little eyes staring at you. I can't wait for milk-coma moments when baby just basically falls off the boob, with that typical nursing-wrinkle on their cheek and a drop of milk on their lips...ah...I could go on and on.

post #3 of 72

MissE, your description of how lovely nursing is brought tears to my eyes!  I actually had a dream two nigghts ago about nursing my baby boy for the first time. 


Calpurnia - With DD I did take a breastfeeding class (a few hours with a lactation consultant) and the book you are reading is wonderful.  I did not do any massage etc.  I had a ton of milk.    My DD nursed for 2.5 years, she weaned on her own in September :)  I think it is a great sign that you are able to get colostrum!!  I have noticed that I get some "build up" on my nipples, have had that since the first trimester this time.  Interesting though because my breasts we sooooo sore when pregnant with DD, this time they are fine.  I could sleep on my stomach if I didn't have a baby bump!

post #4 of 72

I'm reading that book too! I'm not expecting any breast feeding problems, my mom said she made enough milk for the whole neighborhood :). We get to stay in the birth clinic "hotel" for two days after the birth with the midwives constantly available for breast feeding advice if we need it. I'm really hoping I make enough milk that I can use some for personal consumption- I really want to make cheese with my breast milk! I might get sick from it (I've been vegan for 17 years) but I'm sooooo curious about cheese :). I've tried the expressing thing also, but I don't see any colostrum. I used to have my nipples pierced, and I can usually squeeze some dead skin cells out of the former piercing holes, and nothing liquid yet.

post #5 of 72

MissE - Your description of nursing is awesome! It helps remind me of the nice things about nursing. Right now I'm nursing my 21 month old once every few days and it's just sort of annoying and bitey feeling so I wasn't really looking forward to starting all over again. 


I wish I'd read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding before I had my first baby. I read it about 6 months in and it was still helpful but there was so much I could have learned ahead of time. Like that a newborn will cluster feed. Yeah, I had no idea. I had to call in a nurse because I thought there was something horribly wrong.


I didn't do any prepping for nursing with my first. I had some nipple soreness at first but breastfeeding went very smoothly for me and I had lots of milk. I think it took about three to four days to come in. 

post #6 of 72

I think 3-4 days is pretty normal for when your milk comes in, before that all baby needs is colostrum.  I didn't realize that there is suppose to be any "prep" work involved at all.  I didn't do anything beforehand with DS and won't again for this baby, just nurse on demand and even more so in those first couple of days.  I might practice newborn positioning for a good latch though.  My DS nursed until he was 3 years old, so we could nurse at any angle no matter what, but I did have trouble when he was brand new finding a position that worked, especially since baby doesn't walk up to you and nurse, you have to do all the positioning for them and I think it is by far the most critical thing for new mom's to learn.  I just assumed that the typical "cradle hold" would work fine, but it is really hard with a newborn.  The "cross cradle" and the "football hold" worked so much better in those first couple of weeks, but they weren't that natural for me, someone really had to put baby and my hands and arms in the right spots and teach me how to grab a hold of my boob with a light squeeze and put it in babes mouth.  Once we got those down, things were much smoother and in the months and years following different positions worked just as well, but I can't emphasize how much latch and positioning can make or break a breastfeeding relationship.  I also recommend a nursing pillow, it takes a  lot of the guess work out of figuring out those positions, again later you won't use it as much, but they really did make it easier in the beginning.

post #7 of 72
my milk didn't come in until 6-7 days PP.

My mom said in the early 80s when I was born the suggestion was to "rough up" your nipples with a rough washcloth or short bristled brush! ouch! I'm not sure that would have helped- It felt a lot more like a vacuum cleaner, or sometimes like someone was holding a lit cigarette to my nipple! I had blanching issues which was pretty painful. I think it was latch related so I hope to be able to avoid that this time!

I haven't seen any colostrum yet.
post #8 of 72

Oh I looove nursing. luxlove.gif


Unfortunately, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. With DD #1, I had read all the books and figured it would just happen. It turned out, I didn't have the correct latch and didn't know when to ask for help. By the 4th day I was in so much pain I just couldn't do it anymore.


WIth DD#2, I read more books and took a class and was really excited to try again. But yet again, that damn correct latch... by the 3rd day my nipples were cracked and bleeding and I was a basket case from not sleeping/cluster feeding. But I was stubborn that time and sobbed to my midwife who came over and taught me how to get baby's mouth to open even wider than I thought it could - which fixed everything! She also taught me to nurse lying down, which saved my sanity!


By the second week, my nipples were healed and nursing was a breeze and something I am so glad I didn't miss out on. 


For those of you nursing your first baby, my advice is to get your midwife (or a veteran nursing mama or the nurse, etc) to check your latch. And I mean really check it. It's not enough to glance at your nursing baby. Make her watch you latch, etc. so that they can determine if it looks right. Secondly, the moment you feel like something is wrong - ask for help. Nursing shouldn't hurt. It's normal for it to hurt a little during the initial latch for a few weeks but it shouldn't be toe curling pain and it should go away after the first few seconds.

post #9 of 72

I love that book! This baby, I've been reading and studying more about Biological Nurturing, aka "Laid Back Breastfeeding".  Basically, it's just letting mom and baby's instincts take over on positioning, and not worrying about "correct positioning" (but still a good latch, of course!).  Mom finds a relaxed semi-reclined position to rest in, then puts baby tummy to tummy, and then you let them latch on.  I can't decide if I'm patient enough (or not too much of a control-freak) to give it a real try.  But it's my current plan!  Check out Suzanne Colson's website and I'd love to hear what you think.  www.biologicalnurturing.com

post #10 of 72

I LOVE feeding on my side. It's my favorite position, even when I'm not in bed sleeping. I love laying on the couch with baby and feeding. I'm not very good at standing up and carrying baby around to feed or even feed in a carrier. I feel like my boobs squish baby LOL. I did have issues with plugged ducts at times and found it helpful to put the baby's chin in the direction of where the pain was coming from. So I found us laying in bed, baby's legs in my face, nursing 'upside down' on more than one occasion :). Whatever works, right? That always did the trick for us but it's hard to figure out at first when it's all new.

post #11 of 72
Originally Posted by MamanFrancaise View Post


For those of you nursing your first baby, my advice is to get your midwife (or a veteran nursing mama or the nurse, etc) to check your latch. And I mean really check it. It's not enough to glance at your nursing baby. Make her watch you latch, etc. so that they can determine if it looks right. Secondly, the moment you feel like something is wrong - ask for help. Nursing shouldn't hurt. It's normal for it to hurt a little during the initial latch for a few weeks but it shouldn't be toe curling pain and it should go away after the first few seconds.

 Absolutely agreed. DS was - according to the nurse back then - a pro. He really latched well and we hit it off on the first try. It still hurt though and my nipples looked like a 'lipstick' kinda shape when he latched off after we got home. I looked it up, apparently it's a sign of a wrong latch. He was also 'clicking' for the longest time but he ate well, it didn't hurt and so I just let him do it. It never bothered us.


DD wasn't quite as easy, but I didn't really have any nursing issues with her either. She didn't want to nurse at the hospital right away, she needed a little more help, kangaroo time and encouragement. She would never open her mouth to latch on but rather suck her way onto the nipple. Weird but it worked for us. After a week or so the discomfort was gone and we just left it at that.


Now with #3 I sure hope we'll establish a great nursing relationship again. For me there's no other way to go, unless I get so sick that I need medication that doesn't allow for breastfeeding. I'm dumbfounded in front of a formula shelf...really I would not know what to buy. I've had two babies but I have no idea which formula is 'best' out there.

post #12 of 72

I am not sure very many moms have zero issues at first...so, I think, new moms would themselves a great service to find some numbers/websites of good local bfeeding help in advance (and bring them to the hospital / birth center w you) incase their are issues...even just a "yep, that is what its supposed to be like" is worth the $100 fee of an LC if its your first time! You can find IBCLCs on line. LLLi's are obviously a good source of info (will get you to the best LCs in the area), also baby-momma stores (not the big chains but the small shops) often have LC hours, even WIC does. If you can find a pedi office w/ an LC on staff (even if its a different location) you are much much more likely to have a bfeeding friendly Pedi and if there are issues, they are less likely to formula push and more likely to know how to get help for tongue ties, and other suck-swallow issues. If you have attachment parenting groups in  your area, they also can recommend bfeeding friendly docs (and probably lcs too)


everything I've read says 3-5 days for your milk to come in the first time is very very normal and fine.


I also am pretty sure toughening up is not needed/advised. I also don't know much about massaging before baby but for sure, if there's any reason what every that baby isn't on you in the first hrs, you can hand express colustrum (hand it to the nicu if you have to)...even if its a c/s, you can hand express in recovery or hubby can bring in your pump. standford has a great video on hand expression.


the laid back position is great but I found it hard w/ a new born, so I latched baby in cradle hold sitting then leaned both of us back so baby became a sash on my tummy/head resting on the nook of my arm and my back resting on pillows...so, so so much better than leaning over!

post #13 of 72
I had MAJOR supply issues with my first two babies, so I am going to try domperidone from day 1 (unless my prolactin levels are so low my Dr. wants me to start before birth). I'll be happy to see what the hormone levels are a bit later in this pregnancy. No one thought to have me tested, previously, so I'm hoping to learn a bit more about my issues. It is a combination of hormone problems and slight underdevelopment of my breasts. It really, really sucks to be told by professional lactation consultants that they have no idea what is wrong, and that I have done everything I can (maxed out at 1 teaspoon in a 30 minute feeding). So, we had to end up using formula, and supplementing with breastmilk as long as they were willing to nurse. After all, anything is better than nothing wrt breastmilk. Glad I can finally talk about it without crying most of the time!
post #14 of 72

I LOVE nursing.  And, yes, we still do. It's mainly a nighttime thing around here.  We had a rough start.  We had a bad latch and while he nursed a lot and never really lost his birthweight, it still felt wrong and VERY painful.  I got a hold of a LLLeader in my area, at the time, and they came out to my house the next day.  Some lady i had never met came over and shoved my boob in my baby's mouth and all was right with the world.  about 5 months later when I figured out how to nurse side-lying... OMG it was wonderful!!


Anyway, my suggestion Get Thee to a LLL Meeting.  It is great to go before you have baby so you can create connections, support, and get questions answered.  In my area there are at least 3 meetings (different times and places) in a drive able distance for me.  

I'm great friends with my LLLeaders and I KNOW they answer calls in the wee hours of the morning so mom's have the help and support they need.  Sometimes that is at 2am and no one else is awake, it is okay to call these ladies.


A nice thing to have is a nursing spot.  A comfortable spot with a basket/bag something of Mama's stuff: book, magazine, easy snacks, WATER, remote control.... and whatever pillows you need to help arrange baby.

Lots of people like the boppy.  I never really did, but whatever works.  There's also My BreastFriend.  I've heard good things.


It's a learning process for both mama and baby in the beginning.  Problems that arise immediately are normally latch issues.  It's okay to hurt a bit in the beginning, but it should calm down after a few seconds.  Anything other then that should be checked on by an LC, IBCLC (?), etc...  


I can't remember where you're going to give birth Calpurnia, but sometimes Hospital LC's are stretched pretty thin and you don't always get the time you need/want from them.  


I could go on this with little bits for a while, but it's really been mostly covered.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy the connection nursing has given us.

Tonight I tell my son, I love you, he hugs my boob and says: I love boobies!    (should i be proud or sad?  i don't know  LOL)

Edited by katt - 6/20/12 at 1:16am
post #15 of 72
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for the advice!  It's so great to hear all the good feedback.  The only moms I know who regret the way they feed are the ones who don't stick with nursing.  I'm going to the next LLL meeting in my area, it will be great to observe and ask questions.


I am birthing at a hospital, but DH and I are interviewing doulas now.  Between insistence from our Bradley teacher and our baby's doctor (we found one!  He is on the board of LLL and I adore him!), I I realize how necessary this will be.  I've been told that while the hospital we're birthing at is not very supportive of breastfeeding, they are very natural birth and doula friendly.  It's kind of late in the game, but better now than not at all.  We're going to find one who will provide nursing support and can advise on a proper latch, etc.

post #16 of 72
I didnt really prep too much beforehand. I bout a few nursing bras from target, nursing pads, storage bags, and bunch of lanolin, but that's really it.

I nursed dd2 through the first 3 months of this pregnancy, and it seems that almost as soon as that milk dried up colostrum came in! I'm a pretty big milk-maker and my over abundance of supply comes in on day 2.
post #17 of 72

Reading these posts should feel helpful but I find I am already starting to get very stressed out by all of this!  I had a horrible time with DS.  I did everything I could - many, many lactation consultant visits, etc. and we just never got it.  I also feel like it took forever for me to even be able to talk about it without crying.  I pumped for a while and came to hate everything about it.  I never ever felt like I could position baby correctly either.  It was as if someone had to do it for me every time.  I couldn't believe how completely un-natural and uncomfortable I felt and it really scares me going forward. 


I think I am going to head right over to my local LLL July meeting.  I think that's a great idea and will help me get ready.  And my OB's office has a midwife that will also do lactation visits so I think I need to get that lined up as well. I don't want to be so anxious about this already.  Great post, Calpurnia! 

post #18 of 72

Jend, I think that's a great plan. Having all your resources lined up ahead of time should make a big difference, although for all you know you will have a totally different experience this time!


If positioning was a problem, I'd highly recommend taking a look at Laid-Back Nursing or Biological Nursing. It's a technique that focusses on letting the baby be more in control of positioning and I know a number of people who found it to be a life saver. It's also great for anyone with over supply issues. Obviously, like anything else it doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but for me, it seemed much more natural once I got the hang of it.


My DD and I had a rough start to nursing last time too. I think her mouth was sore from being suctioned (due to significant meconium) and she just didn't see the point so she totally rejected the breast until about 6 days old. I pumped and syringe fed for those few days, and I have an unbelievable amount of respect for anyone who exclusively pumps! Luckily, after that, she discovered that it was way nicer to eat directly from the source and we were able to nurse successfully for over 2.5 years.


We did have to supplement with formula for a day or so (I think she got 30 ml total) while I pumped my milk in, so one of my goals for this time is to have a source of donor milk lined up on the off chance I have trouble again this time. Other than that, I'm feeling fairly confident that I have a lot more tools in place this time if we have some issues. Our midwives are great for breastfeeding support, and I have good connections with a number of LCs and LLL leaders in the community. I'm not doing anything else to prepare, and I'm trying to be very confident that everything will go smoothly this time.

post #19 of 72

Jend- sounds like you have a great plan! I  know my friend is a doula and a LLLeader.  So, you'll probably find some good options once you start looking.

I think DoulaMatch.Net would be a good place to start.

post #20 of 72
Prep work:
  • I'm going to go to probably 2 LLL meetings before babe comes.
  • I've read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding before, so I might skim back over some of that.
  • I'm going to read more about Biological Nursing.
  • I'm swimming, so I think I need to find some Lanolin and moisturize my nipples some - the chlorine is pretty drying.
  • I've gone back and forth on the massage -- one of my aunts swears that I need to be gently tugging on my nipples/massaging them to get them ready. I don't think it could hurt, but it doesn't sound like a fun activity to me, either -- they're pretty sensitive -- but maybe that's the point? Desensitization without damage?
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