Last week Matt and I attended a breastfeeding class put on by our hospital.
Breastfeeding is probably the part of motherhood I am the most excited about. I think because it’s the epitome of bonding between mother and baby. And I say this a lot, but I’m ready to put my breasts to use!* Heck, I even loved “nursing” the doll. Just holding a doll makes my hormones surge, and I nearly cried a few times during the class. *I realize I don’t know yet if nursing will work out for us, but I am being optimistic and am completely determined!
The class was very helpful and led by an enthusiastic lactation consultant. We had an intro, watched a movie on the basics (including lots of examples of real women nursing) and then ended with tons of Q+A.
The following are tips our consultant shared with us. Many of them were fascinating and new to me. I’m not trying to say the above are golden rules – they’re just tips from our particular consultant.
If you’re in a household with sick people, mom will create an antibody for the sickness in her breast milk within SIX HOURS of exposure – even if she is yet to come down with the sickness herself. This is an evolutionary protection for the baby. (Amazing!)
Pacifiers and bottles aren’t recommended in the first month while the baby adjusts to the breast, but dad’s finger makes an excellent soother that actually helps the baby learn proper nursing technique even better (because it is long and hard…lol)
Changing positions from feed to feed is recommended so different areas of the breast empty since different positions often put emphasis on different areas
When a baby latches correctly, reward him with “GOOD BABY!” and a happy voice. If he latches incorrectly, respond with a firm “No” and remove him from the breast. Our consultant said she swears babies learn faster this way.
A glass of wine or beer is totally fine – and even recommended to help mom relax in those witching hours before dinner. Definitely do not booze it up though (not that one would want to with a tiny baby to care for..)
The macrophages in breast milk cured terrible eye infections in patients with HIV within 3 days
Babies like to mimic their parents’ faces, so to encourage the yawn shape you want for a good latch, make eye contact with your baby and open your mouth wide.
A bad latch nursing session can leave you sore for 3 days. Work hard to get the latch right and don’t settle for a poor one if you can help it – you might regret it if it makes all subsequent feeds more painful.
Give breastfeeding 4 weeks before you introduce pumping and do it first thing in the AM after baby’s first feeding when you’re likely to have more milk left. A hand pump should be fine if you’re staying home.
Twisting your nipple to make it harder right before a feed can help the baby find it easier
Putting milk on your nipples and letting them air dry is one of the best ways to heal them if you do experience cracking/bleeding
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is her favorite book to recommend for more info
Don’t assume if your baby just ate “he can’t be hungry again.” Trust his cues. Sometimes a 5 minute top-off feed is all he needs to then zonk out for 3 hours.
Don’t have too many rules! Listen to your gut, trust yourself and your baby rather than what the books or advice from strangers says.
I’ve heard so many mixed things about nursing – I’d love to hear some of your best nursing advice!
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