Let's help 1st time mamas with BFing! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know some of you 1st time mamas will "get" breastfeeding instantly! I was NOT one of those mamas so I thought I'd collect a few tips here to get those of you with a not-so-easy-time going!

First of all, this video collection is wonderful: Breastfeeding Videos.

Second, especially if your baby has jaundice and/or is not a stong nurser, you may want to learn how to do breast compression. Videos and articles on this topic (and other BFing issues) are here on this site: Jack Newman I did this right off the bat with my new babe and I think it really helped to keep the jaundice at bay.

Some other random tips . . .
- Holding the breast for the babe: In the past I would often let go after nursing started. This time I found that (at least for the first day or two) that I needed to hold it through most or all of the nursing session.

-While your baby is nursing, LOOK and LISTEN. LOOK to see that the aereola is in the mouth (not just the nipple) and that the lower half of the baby's jaw is moving. There is more to look for, too, but that is a good start. LISTEN to hear if you hear swallowing, especially once your milk comes in. (I could hear it with my colostrum, but sometimes 1st timers cannot.) If you never hear swallowing, this could be problematic!

-When you first have your baby, if it's not a UC, have the people around you check your nursing (MW, nurse, LC). Ask as many people as you want until you feel comfortable.

Those first few days can be very important! Get help if you have ANY doubts! If you are facing serious issues, get a GOOD LC (they are not all good!) and check out http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/default.aspx (they have a Yahoo group, too).

Hopefully none of you will need this info but I am putting it out there, just in case!

If other mamas have advice please share!

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#2 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 04:08 PM
 
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What a good idea!

I'd like to add in www.kellymom.com as a great resource for general questions, problems, and info on drugs and herbs while bf.

And I second the LC advice. IME, seeing an actual International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) made a huge difference for me vs. the other "plain LC's" that I met with. Here's where you can go to find an IBCLC in your area: http://gotwww.net/ilca/.

I also had a really hard time breastfeeding at first. There are 2 things to remember if this happens to you. First, not everyone has it easy. A lot of Mama-baby pairs have to really work on it and that is perfectly normal. Secondly, it seems like 6-8 weeks is sort of a magic mark at which things finally work and make sense for a lot of Moms. Aw heck, a third thing too - don't give up. Keep asking for help. Visit the Breastfeeding board here. If one LC doesn't do it for you, see another. I saw 4 before I finally got the help I needed and then we were able to nurse for 2.5 years.
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#3 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 04:19 PM
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Also look to see if the jaw is moving right under the ears, that's a good way to check if baby is swallowing in addition to listening for sounds.

If a nursing position doesn't work for you, there are many many other ways to try out. And learn how to nurse while lying down as soon as you feel comfortable doing so.
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#4 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 04:36 PM
 
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oh what a great thread!!! I remember out first days...especially the first 17 of them while she wouldnt latch on and I was feeding her from the syrenge. It was a nightmare, I had NO support from anyone at all, did not know about MDC...the only thing i did know is that breastfeeding was the one thing i would NOT give up on no matter what. I think i might have even started going a little crazy lol. People would try to visit and Id just hide in the room with Sofia trying to get her to latch...I remember the desire to breastfeed being so instinctual and so strong...just pure nature.
We both got through it, and I ended up nursing my little girl past her third birthday
Ok how the heck did I just hijack the thread? Im really sorry!
I just wanted to say this is an awesome thread and should be stickied!!!!!!!

Happy mama to my four girls S 8.15.02 , L 04.25.06 (gone at 36 weeks ) and L 3.10.07.And another rainbow! Baby C has arrived 10.26.10!
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#5 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 05:31 PM
 
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- I second the 2-handed approach - one for holding your breast (use the hand on the smae side as the breast, make a "C" well back from your nipple with your fingers on bottom and thumb below), one for holding your baby. It helps.

- Also, don't feel like you're excessive if you want 3 or 4 pillows to get comfortable, get the baby supported, etc. There's no prize for using the least gear/pillows

- Start using the lanolin IMMEDIATELY and after every nursing. Eventually, you won't need it anymore.

- If the latch isn't right, BREAK THE SEAL with your finger (slip it in the baby's mouth and poke your nipple out - don't pull the baby off without breaking the seal), and re-latch. DO IT AS MANY TIMES AS NEEDED.

- Read "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" Keep it close by for troubleshooting.

- Go see a certified LC - anytime! DOn't think just b/c you've been nursing for a week or 2 or 3 that you should have it down - problems arise anytime. Their help can be invaluable!

My way may not work for everyone - but for me, I never gave myself any other option but to breastfeed. There was no way I was going to give my baby formula (unless there were some medical reason, like I was low-supply). Supplementing undermines your supply, the breastfeeding relationship, your confidence and your commitment. If you really want to exclusively breastfeed, then EXCLUSIVELY breastfeed. If you don't have any other options, you'll do it. You CAN do it. I had every bad nursing experience there was - mastitis, plugged ducts, major cracks for 5 months, thrush, serious blisters, and I basically lost all the skin on one nipple and some of the skin on the other when my DD was 7 days old. I have lovely thick scars on both nipples. BUT my DD was exclusively breastfed, and it was worth every minute. (My case was uniquely difficult, I don't want to scare anyone - I've never known anyone IRL or online who had the traumatic issues I did - but If I could nurse through all that, it can be done.)

There is no way to describe the feeling of feeding your baby, of knowing that he/she depends on you in that way. It's a miracle. Nothing made me cry with joy like looking down at her while she nursed, seeing how satisfied it made her and how beautifully natural it was. Oh, i'm crying just remembering her sweet lil self!!

- If you get to the point of feeling like quitting, take a moment and think about how you will feel about that in 2 months. In 2 months, you could have worked out all the kinks in your nursing relationship and supply, You could have nature's perfect way of helping your child calm down, go to sleep, get comfort, you could never have to worry about washing a bottle or nipple, never have to spend $15 a week on formula, never have to worry about how much or little your baby is eating or fret about the rising rates of toddler obesity, you could have the freedom to nurse your baby on demand rather than following some schedule, never have to pack feeding supplies when you travel or even go shopping, etc. Everytime I hear a woman talk about wanting to switch to formula b/c it's "easier" I think they have truly lost their minds. Nursing isn't easy in the first few weeks - but it's easier for the rest of your child's infancy and toddlerhood, and a few weeks of tough beats 2 years of PITA!

YOU CAN DO IT!! It's truly amazing!
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#6 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 05:43 PM
 
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Don't expect your baby to only nurse for a few minutes every 3 - 4 hours. This is a feeding model based on formula fed babies. Breastmilk is digested faster (and better), so baby will be hungry sooner. This is NORMAL!

While there will be some discomfort at first, nursing should not leave your nipples sore. Tender yes, painful, bleeding etc no. Get help if it is hurting.

Use La Leche League!!!! They are all mothers who have been there before you, and they WANT to help. Call them, and go to meetings for support.

When the going is rough, just take it one day at a time. Don't think about nursing for x weeks, months or years - it can be overwhelming. Focus on getting through just that day, then tomorrow, commit to just getting through that day again. Days turn into weeks and before you know it you've reached your goals.
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#7 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 06:57 PM
 
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This is such a sweet thought! THANK you! If it gets bumped down, is there any way of stickying it?
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#8 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 09:42 PM
 
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca View Post

There is no way to describe the feeling of feeding your baby, of knowing that he/she depends on you in that way. It's a miracle. Nothing made me cry with joy like looking down at her while she nursed, seeing how satisfied it made her and how beautifully natural it was. Oh, i'm crying just remembering her sweet lil self!!
:

Quote:
- If you get to the point of feeling like quitting, take a moment and think about how you will feel about that in 2 months. In 2 months, you could have worked out all the kinks in your nursing relationship and supply, You could have nature's perfect way of helping your child calm down, go to sleep, get comfort, you could never have to worry about washing a bottle or nipple, never have to spend $15 a week on formula, never have to worry about how much or little your baby is eating or fret about the rising rates of toddler obesity, you could have the freedom to nurse your baby on demand rather than following some schedule, never have to pack feeding supplies when you travel or even go shopping, etc. Everytime I hear a woman talk about wanting to switch to formula b/c it's "easier" I think they have truly lost their minds. Nursing isn't easy in the first few weeks - but it's easier for the rest of your child's infancy and toddlerhood, and a few weeks of tough beats 2 years of PITA!

YOU CAN DO IT!! It's truly amazing!


That was so beautifully said, all of it!!!!

Happy mama to my four girls S 8.15.02 , L 04.25.06 (gone at 36 weeks ) and L 3.10.07.And another rainbow! Baby C has arrived 10.26.10!
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#9 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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There are a lot of stickies up there already, but this is important - ILoveMySofie, is it alright if I take down the development tracking sticky in favor of this one?
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#10 of 61 Old 02-24-2007, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, mamas, for adding your thoughts!

Some more tips--

(1) Check NOW to see if your nipples are inverted. One of mine was, and wearing the breast shield when not nursing helped a lot. The good news is, after nursing for 2 years, I never had to worry again with my other children. My first DD fixed it for me!

(2) After a nursing session, take a look at your nipple. If it has an odd shape (not normal for you), it may be a sign that your child's latch is less than ideal. It may not affect milk intake but it MAY make you sore, so it might be worth "nipping it in the bud," so to speak!

(3) I completely agree that 6-8 weeks is usually when nursing gets MUCH easier. Babies often wake up then, so it really gets better. Now, if your DC is a bigger baby and/or born later (close to the due date) it may get even easier sooner!

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

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#11 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 12:33 AM
 
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Use your nipple to get the baby to open his mouth by stroking the lower lip with it. When the baby's mouth is OPEN, quickly and firmly move the baby to the breast. I was surprised how much I felt I was stuffing the baby's mouth with my breast.
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#12 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 01:11 AM
 
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Realize that you may be nursing virtually 24/7 for the first month. Don't expect to really do anything else but nurse your baby. In my experience, my DS wanted to nurse every 20 minutes for an hour at a time, lol. He was a boob addict from the very beginning, and luckily my mom told me to stop looking at the clock and just put the kid on the boob when he wanted it. If your baby wants to nurse constantly it doesn't always mean that you're not making enough milk, it means that you're doing it right.

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#13 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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I totally agree with the pps who said to stick with it and keep trying. It may be hard at first, but you'll get it. I had such a hard time with my ds that even the lactation consultant said I had the patience of a saint and she would have given up. I kept at it and I'll be darned if I didn't nurse that boy until he was 2 1/2! :
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#14 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 02:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
There are a lot of stickies up there already, but this is important - ILoveMySofie, is it alright if I take down the development tracking sticky in favor of this one?
ah i have such an attachment to that one...it got me through some dark days in the beginning...could it stay there for just a liiiil bit longer? just till i give birth? LOL

im so selfish!

Happy mama to my four girls S 8.15.02 , L 04.25.06 (gone at 36 weeks ) and L 3.10.07.And another rainbow! Baby C has arrived 10.26.10!
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#15 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 02:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yo Becca View Post
-

- If the latch isn't right, BREAK THE SEAL with your finger (slip it in the baby's mouth and poke your nipple out - don't pull the baby off without breaking the seal), and re-latch. DO IT AS MANY TIMES AS NEEDED.
I REALLY second this. Never allow a bad latch. Bfing should not hurt!
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#16 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 02:41 AM
 
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Geez, picky much?





Alright, if a crowded sticky top is what y'all want, it is what ye shall have!
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#17 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 02:49 AM
 
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editing to add-why dont we remove the whats your babys sex sticky?

Happy mama to my four girls S 8.15.02 , L 04.25.06 (gone at 36 weeks ) and L 3.10.07.And another rainbow! Baby C has arrived 10.26.10!
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#18 of 61 Old 02-25-2007, 01:57 PM
 
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I second so much of what has been said already. Coming from a first time horendous experience - gorey details not needed (enough to know they were gorey - the LCs all winced when the saw me and my babe was deemed the nipple "mutilator" by the final group of LCs that really helped me) and now going through BF try #2 (seems much better so far - cross fingers):

I 2nd:
*try holding the breast throughout the nurse - many of these littles ones are simply too small for the weight of the breast yet, and it will pull out on the latch
*try to find the line between normal pain of beginning BFing and pain that shouldn't be (could be just me but I find BFing at first is painful - maybe some call it soreness, for me I'd call it pain). One way to think about it: if the latch on hurts but eases as nursing continues that could be normal. If latch on hurts and the pain doesn't ease that probably isn't...
*be aware of position as well as latch... try to avoid tenseness and hunched backs. Important is to bring the baby to the boob, not the boob to the baby

And finally for those with high suck babies... I feed on demand but with my first she wanted to be on all the time.. and not for feeding purposes. She managed to sleep latched on! Spending hours at a time with her sucking away for pacification and not feeding in those early days led me to lots of my problems (overproduction, which led to more latch probs which led to increased cracking, mastisis etc). So do pay attention to those swallowing signs and don't be afraid to take them off and pacify them in some other way.

And most importantly trust yourself. You can do it... get support and listen to your gut... you already know how to take care of your baby!!
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#19 of 61 Old 02-26-2007, 01:42 AM
 
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A PP brought up supply- and if you are feeling low in supply, drink a beer. The beer you are looking is high in hops, so dark beers. It works. (O'Doule's non-alcoholic Amber is very high in hops for those who want to avoid alcohol.)

Alfalfa,
Blessed thistle
Fenugreek
Goatsrue (tincture, helps build breast tissue)
Hops (also a tincture)

are some of the herbs that I can think of right now.

Avoid mint/peppermint, as it can lower milk supply.
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#20 of 61 Old 02-26-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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It is all already said but, for first time moms I will add, if the baby is colicky try giving him one boob for at least a good 30 mins, if he still appears hungry, switch... I resent only learning this when I had dd2....
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#21 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 02:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveMySofie View Post
oh what a great thread!!! I remember out first days...especially the first 17 of them while she wouldnt latch on and I was feeding her from the syrenge. It was a nightmare, I had NO support from anyone at all, did not know about MDC...the only thing i did know is that breastfeeding was the one thing i would NOT give up on no matter what. I think i might have even started going a little crazy lol. People would try to visit and Id just hide in the room with Sofia trying to get her to latch...I remember the desire to breastfeed being so instinctual and so strong...just pure nature.
We both got through it, and I ended up nursing my little girl past her third birthday
Ok how the heck did I just hijack the thread? Im really sorry!
I just wanted to say this is an awesome thread and should be stickied!!!!!!!
I love your determination ! Makes me more positive about bf.

Thanks for this, it really is great, informative very helpful.
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#22 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 09:03 AM
 
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Another food that really helps supply is oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal a day (or some thick oatmeal cookies) had me dripping with milk.

Or do the hops and oatmeal at the same time. . I nice rich Oatmeal Stout. I wonder if I could get DH to brew a batch this weekend. . .

Be, happy momma to Liberty (12-31-02), Henry (3-17-07) and Prudence (7-02-09)
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#23 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 03:37 PM
 
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What a great thread! I feel lucky that BFing is going great for us (so far!).

I have a suggestion for large breasted mamas. My baby is little - 6 pounds at birth - and my breasts are DD (maybe DDD). They are also floppy right now, since my milk hasn't come in yet. I was getting a sore back from trying to support baby and breast. A nurse suggested I roll up a washcloth and use it under the breast for support. What a difference! It makes the breast seem "fuller" and keeps if from sagging away from baby while leaving my hand free.

I suspect this won't be a problem in a couple of days but for right now it's saving my sanity (and my back) by giving me a free hand to drink water and eat snacks while DS sucks away.

I have a question for experienced mamas, BTW. DS seems to have a "sucking pattern" where he takes anywhere from 8 to 20 sucks, then pauses for up to three times that long. he repeats this the entire time he is on the breast. Is this normal? He is almost three days old right now...Also, I leave him on one breast until he pops off himself, then switch if he is still rooting. I start on alternate sides each feeding. Does this seem like the right technique for the moment?

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#24 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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Thank you so much mamas for making this thread and sticky-ing it! I am a doula so I have basic breastfeeding knowledge but have been a little nervous about how it will end up going. Knowing I have the support and resources IRL but also in this amazing group makes me feel a TON BETTER!!

Also, the way some of you describe how great BFing will be and thinking about it has seriously gotten me through a lot of this pregnancy (and some difficult prenatal depression). Now that I'm "almost there" I'm just holding onto thinking about nursing our little one soon. :
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#25 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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I forgot to post a question for you mamas who have BF - can you talk to me about BFing lying down? Is it possible to do right from birth? Any tips would be appreciated and of course I can post in the main BF forum if I need more help/responses, but thought I'd ask here first.
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#26 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 05:01 PM
 
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Having now breastfed three kiddos from birth w/the first one having to be taught suck/swallow because she was so premature, here are some tips I've learned:

Relax, relax, relax. The baby will be hungry and screaming and you will feel your biology kick in and you will start to panic. Take a deep breath and make sure that you have a good latch and good position, this way you will be less likely to have to unlatch baby to move around. However, do not hesitate to unlatch baby if they are not latched properly or if you are in pain.

If something happens to your nipple and it gets cracked or gets a sore, it will heal! I promise. Try to change the latch and positioning and get it feeling better. Don't give up. It doesn't feel so nice when it is healing, but IT WILL HEAL, so just keep going through it and know that the week or so of discomfort will go away.

Try and nurse in all sorts of positions. My DD#2 had some terrible habits and was preferring one breast to the exclusivity of the other and so I used a football hold on the side she didn't like and all of a sudden she'd nurse there again. Don't be afraid to experiment! Lay down, sit up, football hold, across the body hold....do it all!!!

I also second the pulling the baby in suggestion. When you are holding your breast and holding the baby, pull them in until you feel as though you are suffocating the baby. You won't really be (just make sure you watch their nose and make sure it is getting some airflow) but it does feel a bit strange.

Make sure the baby's mouth is WIDE open before you stick your breast in there. You want to make sure they are holding as much of the areola in their mouth as they possibly can, this really will make things MUCH more comfortable.

I'm sure there's more and as I think of them, I'll add......

And, oh yeah, GET HELP! Find a lactation consultant, LLL, or experienced pal to help you. Find someone you connect with, who is not going to irritate you or put you down. Don't hesitate to call around, someone who's been there before is an invaluable resource!!

One more, don't get discouraged. You've never done this before and neither has your baby. There is a little bit of learning (okay, a lot) that needs to happen. Even if this isn't your first nursling, you've never nursed THIS nursling before and that makes it a new situation. Go easy on yourself and enjoy the ride!!!!!

SAHM to four beautiful babes :
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#27 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karen1968 View Post
I suspect this won't be a problem in a couple of days but for right now it's saving my sanity (and my back) by giving me a free hand to drink water and eat snacks while DS sucks away.
This reminds me- always have water near-by. If you have a place you like to nurse, keep a bottle beside it. I have spoken to so many mama's that sit down to nurse, and two minutes in are parched. I alway thought of this as all the fluid in my body going to my breasts- and we had just gotten comfy and the water bottle was *just* out of reach!
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#28 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 08:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lunadoula View Post
I forgot to post a question for you mamas who have BF - can you talk to me about BFing lying down? Is it possible to do right from birth? Any tips would be appreciated and of course I can post in the main BF forum if I need more help/responses, but thought I'd ask here first.
I was so nervous about bfing with dd that i only nursed her sitting up for *months* but with this babe i nursed lying down right away. I asked the mws to make sure that was ok in the beginning and they said yep... all the previous tips apply to this position too
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#29 of 61 Old 02-27-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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I would warn about lying down that sometimes milk can come out the babe's nose. It is not anything to worry about, but it can be quite shocking to see streams of milk coming out. They will grow big enough so that it doesn't happen anymore, but when it does happen it doesn't mean they aren't big enough to nurse laying down. Make sense?

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#30 of 61 Old 02-28-2007, 12:10 AM
 
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DH's job and main responsibility for the first 2 weeks were to bring me a juice box (100% juice) and an oatmeal cookie everytime I sat down to nurse, and to keep my water bottle full. I got one of the big thermos-type jugs with a straw, and it was my constant companion. I felt like I needed the calorie boost and liquids, and DH was very good at being on top of it and reminding me to drink. Definitely delegate taking care of YOU to someone else when you can - you;ll forget meals, forget to use the bathroom, forget to drink, etc. It's biology - you'll be so focused on the baby you'll neglect yourself.

As for lying down, b/c of my problems, I couldn't nurse comfortably lying down for months, and never could sleep while nursing. But I know lots of people for whom it is a lifesaver - just experiment.
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