18 Weeks: Breastfeeding

skin-to-skin-breastfeeding-photoTell Me More – Tell Me More…

MY LITTLE SISTER had her baby at 3:33 a.m. this morning!!! It’s a girl and I am so excited for her and her husband. She called me from her hospital bed just now, 7 hours post birth… and we talked for all of 43 seconds. I got some important details… her JOY, how hard it was, how perfect her new baby is, how she looks alot like her dad, what time she was born and her beautiful new name, Audrey Elizabeth… and then, my blissful download of new baby information was cut short as I could hear the distraction in my sisters voice.

I imagined a helpful hospital person standing there waiting for me to stop gushing and for my sister to hang-up the phone. I was right. In the background I could hear a sweet and chipper lactation consultant introducing herself, “I came to introduce myself and to see how breastfeeding is going!” I wanted to hug this lady right then and there; to tell her to take good care of my baby sister. (I so want nursing to go well for her because SHE so wants it to.) But instead of a phone hug, hard with a complete stranger, I opted to get off the phone quickly. “Call me later! I love you!”” and with that, I let this eager to help lactation consultant have my sister all to herself.

It was not easy to stop the gushing mind you, so early in the game. I still know nothing about how the birth went other than it got an “OMG” when we started to talk. There’s so much my sis and I still need to talk about, but I remember this important first meeting with MY sweet and chipper lactation consultant in the hospital, and it was really helpful.

Virgin Breastfeed-er

In honor of my sister, her hours-old newborn baby girl and her sweet and chipper lactation consultant, I’d like to offer some Breastfeeding DO’s and DON’Ts for new-mamas-to-be:

DO:
Drink water like it’s going out of style. I recommend creating an unwritten policy with your hubby that if in the next month or so he catches you nursing, he will immediately get you a nice tall glass of water (without you even having to ask!). It never failed to happen to me. The second I’d hunker down with boppy and baby to nurse, the most incredible thirst of my life would sweep over me and of course, I’d never have a glass in arms reach!!@! It only took a week or two of me asking my hubby for water every time I sat to nurse, and he began to predict this need for me, getting me a glass without my having to ask; a prince to be sure. It might sound like a small thing, but for me it made a BIG difference. I felt like my husband was supporting OUR choice to breastfeed in this small way. Though I couldn’t just hand the baby over to him and say, “Here, it’s your turn to feed the baby!” I could enjoy a glass of nice fresh water without having to ask. :)

DON’T:
Start things off with a funny latch-on, like baby NOT getting enough of you into that tiny little baby mouth, or else it’s “hell-ooooo sore nipples!!@#!” I’m going to be honest with you, it’s pretty much “hell-ooooo sore nipples” any way you slice it; just how sore is in question here. That said- breastfeeding has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and is way worth the temporary discomfort. Just know, a certain amount of discomfort is normal, but get professional help early on and make sure your babies latch on isn’t adding insult to injury!

DO:
Swaddle your little bundle of joy so as to keep little baby fingers and hands from baby’s mouth while you are busy perfecting the perfect your (non-sore-nipple inducing) latch-on together. This takes team work and little hands in mouths just complicate matters. Swaddled, your baby will be all about the boob and get right down to business; exactly how we new nursing moms like it. *wink*

DON’T:
Wait for your baby to cry before nursing. When you start to see the “I’m hungry” body language (i.e. mouthing their hands or turning their head back and forth in search of your nipple; subtle, I know…) bring on the milk mama! You are working to establish your milk supply and your baby’s working on building trust for their very new surroundings (I do this, mommy does this…I like this new world!) It’s a perfect match. Besides, getting a hysterical baby to latch on properly? Not easy.

And finally…I like to end on a positive note:

DO:
Be confident. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. No worries of it makes your grandparents or in-laws a little nervous, they’ll get over it! Make good eye contact with people in the room even if they seem to be uncomfortable with nursing. This lets them know that it’s O.K. to look you in the face when they talk to you, even when you are nursing.

Well, those are my DO’s and DON’Ts anyway. For a more complete listing of breastfeeding tips go here and for a groovy printable breastfeeding log (which I highly recommend keeping for at least the first week) go here.

I wrote this for you, my little sister whom I LOVE so much… and for you, expectant moms out there planning on breastfeeding once your baby is born. It’s an awesome thing.

If you have breastfed or ARE breastfeeding and have a helpful tip or story, please share it with all us moms below. Or if you have any questions about breastfeeding, I’d love to hear those too! Now I’m going to go read-up some more about breastfeeding online and how the heck I’m going to nurse two babies! As thirsty as I was all the time nursing one, I might just have to buy myself a camelbak.

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How Spirit Moves

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Baby Watch is published in partnership with Kolcraft

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri  where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne is a Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting, a positive parenting approach for raising kids of all ages.

Comments

  1. Great advice Suzanne! I think it is important for new moms to realize that breastfeeding can be hard, especially at the beginning. I remember it took 45 minutes to nurse and the baby wanted to nurse so often. . . I felt like all I did was nurse! But if breastfeeding is your goal, there is hope! It gets MUCH easier, in just a few weeks: baby doesn’t nurse as often (3-4 hours in between), and baby becomes amazingly efficient (for me, baby only took five to ten minutes to nurse). You will get your life back!

    Also, realize that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing for many women. I nursed part-time for several months after going back to work, supplementing with formula. You do need to establish a good milk supply first, and in some women milk production may suffer. But trying part-time nursing is an option for women that can’t breastfeed exclusively but don’t want to give it up completely.

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  2. katie,
    these are awesome tips from YOU and offer so much encouragement. so true!!! there isn’t a one size fits all answer to breastfeeding… to ANYTHING having to do with babies really. (could be said about life too :) )

    does feel like all you do at first. does get easier… promise! thank you for sharing here.

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  3. Kathy (Little sis) beck says:

    Thanks for writing this Suzanne! Just now getting a chance to check my email and read it!! Love it!! Great tips on breastfeeding. So far we’re doing pretty good. She’s got the latch down and is nursing so much it’s hard to do anything else! But I love it, and I love you. Thanks for writing. I’ll call you later.

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  4. My best friend is just about to have her first child and I know she’s worried about the breastfeeding side of things so I’ll pass on these tips to her. She’s been reading a lot of books so has conflicting ideas but these tips make a lot of common sense so I’m sure she can follow these instead!

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  5. By the way, has anyone heard of PlacentaBanking? I hear Americord is coming out with a breakthrough in stem cell preservation that is much better than cord blood banking. Here is the company info:

    Are you having a baby? By saving your baby’s placenta you could one day save his or her life. Call today to enroll with America’s most experienced placenta banking service. Americord Registry LLC, is the first cord blood bank to offer PlacentaBanking® or cryogenic placenta preservation. Americord focuses on the collection, processing, and storage of newborn stem cells from umbilical cord blood and the placenta for future medical or therapeutic use. Presently, cord blood is used to treat over 80 diseases, tomorrow countless more. However, since there are simply not enough stem cells in cord blood alone to treat an adult sized patient, Americord offers a proprietary process for storing the entire placenta and preserving up to 10 times more stem cells than cord blood banking alone. Pioneered by Americord, PlacentaBanking® is a safe method of collecting and preserving precious stem cells which could hold the key to your child’s and family’s health. Americord is registered with the FDA and the company’s laboratory is accredited by the AABB. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in New York, with laboratories in Oregon and New Jersey. The phone number is 866-503-6005 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 866-503-6005 end_of_the_skype_highlighting and the website is http://www.americordregistry.com

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  6. Interesting post Martin. I’ve never heard of that.

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  7. The very best advice i can give to new mothers is watch the baby not the clock. Nurse often!!! And if there is pain, seek help. Breastfeeding should not be painful!

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  1. […] is going.’ I wanted to hug this lady right then and there; totell her to take good care of my Baby sister. (I so want nursing to go well for her because SHE so wants it to.) But instead ofa phone […]

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