34 Weeks: Breastfeeding Class

July 23, 2012

Last week Matt and I attended a breastfeeding class put on by our hospital.

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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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{ 160 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley July 23, 2012 at 8:06 am

I’m reading Breastfeeding Made Simple and I love it. I’ve read other books on the topic and infant care in general and this is the first one that really made me understand why those first few weeks of cluster feeds are so important. I didn’t love the Dr. Sears book, but I’ll have to check out Womanly Art!

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2 KERF July 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

That’s the one that was recommended most to me too – I’m going to read it

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3 Linda July 23, 2012 at 8:12 am

One of the greatest tips I learned was in the hospital. The baby would immediately fall asleep as soon as she would latch on. To keep her awake and to get her to continue to suck, the nurse advised to place a cold washclcoth on her forhead. This worked great for us and I will definitely use this trick again next time.

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4 CaitlinHTP July 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

Or tickle his feet or squeeze his arms. If he’s really out, take him off the breast and lay him flat down on his flat, it will usually wake him up.

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5 Lauri W July 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I use to change Brantley’s diaper RIGHT before her feedings to try and get her good and awake for her feeds. I would also tickle the back of her neck (I still do this whenever she looks like she is about to fall asleep and I know she hasn’t nursed long enough).

I have learned that if Brantley is getting fussy/frustrated, i take her off and hold her over my shoulder for about 10 minutes, until she calms down some. And then we try again. Sometimes i just think my flow isn’t fast enough (demanding little thing), so we wait a few mins and then try again.

I also drive myself crazy wondering if she is getting enough (One of the benefits to pumping is that you know EXACTLY how much milk they are taking in), but I’ve learned to relax and ask myself: 1) is she peeing? 2) is she pooping? 3) is she happy? And as long as I answer YES, I stop worrying.

Also, NEVER wake a sleeping baby (at night)!!! My lactation consultant told me that I MUST wake Brantley every 2-3hrs after we got home from the hospital and I thought this was nuts! She would wake up on her own every 3hrs without any extra help from me, so enjoy the sleep!! I Still don’t let her go more than 4 hours during the day without nursing, but at night I never wake her!

Instead of lanolin cream, you can squeeze a little milk out of your nipples and smear it around. I was told this actually works better than the lanolin cream and I’ve never needed the cream personally (Only really needed to do this for the first couple weeks anyways).

If you are concerned about alcohol intake and breast milk, they make the pH test strips that you can buy at Target. my lactation consultant told me NOT to ‘pump and dump’ bc alcohol isn’t stored in the breast milk, just wait a few hours and check it (You might become engorged and need to ‘take the edge’ off though, but better than wasting several ounces!) If you want to enjoy a few drinks one night, I would definitely recommend pumping and having a freezer storage for back-up! I like to use the Medela freezer bags and the 2.5ounce bottles they make for freezer storage.

Overall, I LOVE breastfeeding!! I’m actually pumping as I type this on my lunch break :)

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6 Alicia July 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Or lean back a little bit (pull away a bit) and he will start up right away before he loses his grip. Or lightly tap his cheek/under the side of his chin or cheek with your finger. Also, I have read that 1 drink takes 2 hours to leave the system, but 2 drinks takes 8 hours.

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7 Katie Mac July 23, 2012 at 8:21 am

My favorite is the last ne: don’t have too many rules. Many women do schedules and other things (and that may work for them). I fed my baby n demand for many months before he created his own schedule and what worked best for him. Again, this may not be for everyone but the most important part is the baby gets nourished. I breasted for 13 months with hardly any problems

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8 Courtney July 23, 2012 at 8:30 am

I dealt with sore, cracked nipples while breastfeeding both of my daughters (now 3 1/2 and 21 months). My best cure was using lanolin-treated nursing pads tucked inside my nursing bras. For some reason lanolin by itself was no help for me. They are disposable (I know, not environmentally friendly), but they helped keep me moist :). When it got really bad with my youngest, my doctor even prescribed me a cream he referred to as “Triple Nipple” that I had filled at a pharmacy and rubbed on my nipples in addition to using the lanolin-treated pads. That helped, too! Let me tell you, dry, bloody nipples are no fun!

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9 Jayce July 23, 2012 at 8:47 am

Feed on demand from the start – that’s how you build a healthy supply for the long haul! Don’t be afraid to nurse in public – practice makes it easier and life is just more enjoyable when you don’t feel stuck at home. Womanly Art is a great tool. And most important, only track feedings and diapers until you know baby is growing and gaining weight and nursing is going smoothly, then just go with the flow! I tracked for too long; things are much easier and more chill now that we just do our thing without the tracking and graphs.

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10 Jen July 23, 2012 at 8:52 am

Some good tips there! I particularly like the modeling the open mouth and responding to their latch with a good or bad response. I will try those out next time!

I have to agree that a bad latch habit will be hard to break– not being diligent about this in the early months left me with a painful nurser for the whole 19 months that she nursed. Not impossible, but definitely not pleasant. Also, you might get different feedback on the breast pump– our lactation consultant had me pumping at 1 day to try to bring in the milk faster for a hungry c-section baby (baby in distress c/s, certainly not my preference).

I think the biggest obstacle to successful breastfeeding is in our minds. I am NOT saying that some women don’t have overwhelming problems that prevent it, but for most of us, it’s very doable. And I think your dedication to the idea and determination to succeed will carry you through any issues you may or may not have!

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11 LuLu July 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Oh man, I completely agree about the dutiful latch thing. I nursed my daughter until she was 18 months old (no bottles ever) and it was a breeze. I never stressed about latch or anything she just seemed to have a naturally gentle latch. My son, on the other hand, had a crappy latch from the beginning. I nursed him until he was 2.5 years old but his latch was uncomfortable until he was about 18 months old. Painful latches are so tough to deal with.

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12 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles July 23, 2012 at 8:56 am

I am so nervous about breastfeeding- I hope and pray that it goes well for both baby and myself! (I’m scared that he/she will have an allergy or something beyond my control…) I can’t wait to read the comments in this post- keep the good info comin! :)

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13 Jennifer July 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm

You can do it! Your body was made to do it!

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14 Lindsey July 24, 2012 at 7:23 am

I think it is important to be aware of potential problems but don’t borrow trouble. For example, learn the signs/symptoms of food sensitivies but understand that it is so very rare that moms have to drastically change their diets.

Julie – my son seems to be milk and soy protien intolerant, so I have cut those foods (including hidden/baked in) from my diet and he is doing awesome. Even if the baby has sensitivities, you can still provide the best nutrion. I have heard from a lot of mom’s online who decided against breastfeeding because of allergies only to spend a small fortune on hypo-allergenic formula that isn’t working well for them. Here is a good article from Kelly Mom http://kellymom.com/health/baby-health/food-sensitivity/

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15 Alyson July 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

I totally agree with the last rule–don’t get too stuck on any rule. What works for you works for you and what works for others works for others. Case in point, my first child started using a pacifier on day 2, and I never had trouble feeding her. She weaned when she was about 20 months. I’ve always fed on demand–with my first and now my 2 month old–and it can be demanding but totally worth it to me.

A great online resource for breastfeeding info is kellymom.com.

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16 Celeste July 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

I never read a book on breastfeeding – unlike labor, I felt that was something I would just have to experience – but anecdotally, I can say absolutely nurse on demand. Let your husband worry about cleaning and food, and for at least that first week or two, be prepared to be a milk machine. My milk came in 5 days after birth, related I’m sure to me and baby being unable to feed for rhe first 24 hours (he was in the NICU), and so we did use some formula those first days, along with a pacifier, and never had one problem, not a bout of mastitis or anything resembling nipple confusion.

Do what feels right, and good luck!

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17 Sarah July 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

Great tips! These are some of the same things I learned when I took a class and they are definitely true.

Just one word about pacifiers (from personal experience). I was completely anti-pacifier. I didn’t want to use them, I didn’t want them in my house. I was worried about weaning the baby off of it later. My little guy had jaundice and had to be stripped down to his diaper with the eye cover on his face and exposed to the lights while we were in the hospital. He started screaming and wouldn’t stop unless we picked him up. And we couldn’t pick him up because he had to stay in the bassinet under the lights. The nurse offered us a soothie (the little blue pacifiers that you can stick your finger in) – and I guess our hospital doesn’t just give them out because she had to get it from a locked cabinet! He got the pacifier and IMMEDIATELY stopped crying and went to sleep. He needed to be soothed, and since I couldn’t just nurse him all night (which I would have been happy to do), it worked. He does still use a pacifier at night, which really helps him calm down, but that’s the only time – and I feel ok that he will wean off of it when he’s ready.

He had no lasting latching issues and we only stopped nursing once he got teeth and decided it was fun to bite!

So just for anyone who may be in a similar situation, I know introducing bottles and pacifiers are not recommended in the first month or so, but if it happens, it will not necessarily be the worst thing. Just depends on the baby.

Do take advantage of lactation consultants after the birth if your hospital makes them available – they are a great resource!

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18 Danielle July 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

Lanolin cream saved my life (and my boobs!). We had the lactation consultant in the hospital advise AGAINST it, but honestly I don’t know what I would’ve done without it, I was so, so, so sore in the beginning.
If the going does get rough, just tell yourself you will try it for 1 more week. This got me through the first month, and the subsequent 11!
I cannot recommend more strongly– get yourself GOOD nursing bras and tanks. Please trust me the Target ones just don’t cut it especially if you are larger to begin with. When your milk comes in the girls are HEAVY and you really need and will want the support. I ordered mine from Bravado, and they were a lifesaver.

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19 Jennifer July 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

I am four and half months into breastfeeding my first, and my first tip is keep your great attitude! I have had to supplement with formula because of two reasons- I have had a breast reduction, which majorly impairs milk supply, and I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which also impairs milk supply. I went in with an attitude to do everything possible to get my baby as much breastmilk as possible, and it has been so worth the struggles. That being said, MOST women have NO supply issues. Many think they do because their baby nurses more frequently, longer, or just differently from their friends or from what they expected. But your baby should gain 3-7oz/week and if he is, then you’re doing it right!
Next up: some women experience immediate, easy, natural breastfeeding. Awesome for them! Most others have a rough start. The first week sucks, the second week is hard, the third week starts getting better, and by six weeks you wonder what was ever so difficult in the first place! By three months you’ll be in a happy groove and loving every minute. The best things to get you through the first few weeks if you struggle in any way are: a great book or two you can reference at 3am when you’re lacking confidence (The Womanly Art is my personal fav, but I’ve heard good things about the other book you mentioned), a VERY supportive partner who will tell you that you’re amazing and a good mother and that breastfeeding is worth it whenever you feel frustrated, and supportive extended family!
Another piece of advice that I give all my patients: The first week AT LEAST, if not the first two, should be spent mostly in bed, with you and the baby wearing very little (preferably just underwear, a nursing bra if you’re a leaker, and a diaper) nursing, relaxing, eating, and drinking. Don’t clean, don’t cook, don’t be a hostess, and hog that baby! You two need each other to establish a great supply and breastfeeding relationship. Let your supportive friends and family clean up, cook or bring meals, and only hold the baby a little (just the first 2 weeks, not forever!). A co-sleep if super helpful so baby can be right by you when he’s still nursing around the clock- transition him to the nursery if you want to a little later when he starts giving you 4-6 hours blocks of sleep.
Last, here are my two favorite breastfeeding online resources: the second has amazing videos you should watch before and after baby comes; they are very short and informative. http://kellymom.com/ and http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=videos
One last thing- join a local breastfeeding support group, either La Leche League or from your hospital. Getting out of the house to talk to other moms about everything in your life is SO AMAZING! I am still going to mine four and half months in, not for help, but for companionship. I have made some great friends there.
Ok longest comment ever, sorry! I wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to hear about your birth and see your beautiful boy!
Jennifer, CNM

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20 Allison k July 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

Number one piece of advice…..do not give up. If you aren’t giving bottles or pacifiers at first (I didn’t) the first weeks are exhausting and overwhelming. Combine that with lack of sleep and crazy hormones….and 3am feels really hard but don’t give up.

If you are choosing to feed on demand…don’t listen to people and books that tell you how often a baby should eat. Either choose to schedule, or don’t, but don’t expect your on-demand baby to eat on a schedule too early.

Relax. When my son would latch properly in the beginning I would say “good job” and rub his back.

Don’t be surprised at how steep the learning curve is , and with large breasts like yours…expect to have to take some time figuring out what works for you. I still can’t use the cradle hold because of how my breast is shaped.

And lastly, and I apologize to grandmas everywhere…unless your mother breastfed you in the same manner you Plan on feeding your son, don’t listen to her advice. Even though my mom breastfed me for 13 months…I knew more about the physiological aspects of it than she did.

I lied…one more…get an electric pump…even if you stay home. I have the Medela swing. Check it out.

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21 jen July 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

yes to the electric pump. i stayed at home and couldn’t imagine not having one. so much faster!!

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22 Meredith July 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

I am a new mom to an 8-week old baby and he is breastfed. I just wanted to say that I think your enthusiasm is great. Breastfeeding sounded easy to me, but it is work! And I don’t say that to be a downer, but just to say that you will need that enthusiasm to get you through the first month or so. But don’t give up! My baby ate around the clock the first 6 weeks or so and I thought I would never get off the couch. I had soreness and sometimes sat there and cried as I fed him. But now at 8 weeks, we are doing so well and I am SO happy I am still breastfeeding him. Stick with it – it is worth it.

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23 Mary July 23, 2012 at 9:16 am

This is a great list. I definitely agree with going with the flow! Let you little one decide when he is hungry and how long he wants to feed. It helps with a healthier supply and a happier baby. :) Also, I totally agree with the comment about not pumping the first month. Its amazing what our bodies can do! Pumping can upset the balance for some. For me, the first few weeks were very painful because I had way too much milk. Pumping would only have perpetuated the issue as it would stimulate my body to produce even more. Instead I hand expressed in a hot shower to relieve the pain, but not to empty the breasts. It helped a ton.
I also have inverted nipples so this was an extra challenge at the beginning, but everything still worked out and I breastfed until my daughter was 8 months (and then she was too excited about real food to be very interested in breastfeeding). Now she is a happy, healthy 1 year old.

Everyones experience is different, but trust your body, your baby, and your gut and you will do great!

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24 Allison July 23, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hand pumps are AWFUL! I just have to say that. I breastfed both of my kids for more than a year each and tried a variety of different pumps, but really hand pumps are the worst! I actually had to pump a lot at the beginning with my daughter because she had a bad latch and my nipples were cracked and bloody and 1) she had no problems going back and forth between a bottle and the breast and 2) I can’t imagine doing that with a hand pump. Plus, I found hand pumps to be uncomfortable and relatively ineffective and I was a total milk machine. I had a lot of breast feeding problems, but milk production wasn’t one of them.

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25 Sarah July 23, 2012 at 9:44 am

I think it depends on the person. Some people say they respond better to a manual pump than an electric. I have both – my daughter got off to a bit of a rough start with jaundice and an infection before we had breastfeeding very well established, so I was nursing her as well as pumping with a double electric pump and topping her off after some feedings. (We dropped the bottle feedings within a couple weeks, and she’s still nursing now at almost 15 months, so bottles in the beginning are not necessarily the downfall of breastfeeding, either. It just depends on the situation and the particular mom and baby.)

Anyway, my point was about pumping, though. :) I can’t imagine having used a manual pump for the kind of pumping I was doing early on to stimulate supply, but later when I just needed to pump a bit to have an occasional bottle on hand if I wanted to leave her for a couple hours, my manual pump was AWESOME. Baby on one side, pump on the other, and I hardly had to pump, it was more like catching the milk in the pump because the baby caused the letdown.

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26 Fancy July 23, 2012 at 9:23 am

I have been nursing my daughter for 6 months now and I absolutely love it! Kellymom.com is an amazing resource and has some really interesting articles. I also like the book Nursing Mothers Companion by Kathleen Huggins.

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27 Alison July 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

See if you can find a LLL group in your area, the mother to mother support is so wonderful, it’s great to start going when you’re pregnant too. And not all groups are the same… you’re likely to have more than one group in your area, so if one group (or Leader) doesn’t seem like a good fit, try another. I learned SO much from listening to other mother’s and watching them nurse, watching their babies grow along with mine, it was the start of the community I’d later come to build of like minded mama’s!

And it’s important to remember that the first six weeks are the most challenging. When the going gets tough in the early weeks, keep telling yourself “it will get easier!” It really will.

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28 Rebecca July 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

One thing that is super important to your baby is your scent. Don’t change soaps perfumes or deodorants. If you do it could confuse the baby and they might resist feeding. Best of luck.:)

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29 KERF July 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

I’ve heard I can’t wear any perfume and this makes me soooooo sad!!!

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30 Alicia July 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

I think it depends on your baby. Mine never ever had an issue with this.

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31 Sarah July 23, 2012 at 10:38 am

That doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t drown yourself in it, but a little perfume seems very unlikely to make you stop smelling like yourself to your little one. I’ve been around tons of nursing moms in the last year or so since my daughter was born, and some of them definitely wear perfume. If you’re concerned, maybe pick a light scent you really like and stick with that one for a couple weeks, but give the little guy some credit – he’ll know who mama is!

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32 KERF July 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Maybe it’s more of a concern in just the very early weeks?

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33 Averie @ Averie Cooks July 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Agreed – I wore body spray and perfume b/c honestly, after giving birth and being a sleep-deprived new mama, if 2 squirts of perfume was going to prevent a meltdown on my part, I did. And you know what my 5 year old’s fave thing to do now is? Go body spray sampling with me at B&BWorks :)

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34 Amy July 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

What? Why? I’ve never heard of this before.

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35 KERF July 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I’ve just heard that it can be distracting and if the baby doesn’t like it, you might think he doesn’t like breastfeeding, so it’s better to start with a blank slate. I guess if you start out wearing it and had no troubles then don’t mess with a good thign

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36 Allison k July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Perfume will be the farthest thing from your mind for the first month…..

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37 Sarah July 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Yeah… if you like wearing perfume and start out wearing a little, I bet it won’t be a problem. If it is, you can always stop then. If it were a really big deal or a common issue, I’m sure that more of us would have heard of it. ((I’m another one who’s never even heard of this warning.) Anyway, if the baby didn’t like your perfume, he probably wouldn’t want you to hold him or anything else, either.

In general, normal healthy babies are wired to nurse, so there shouldn’t really be any such thing as a newborn who just doesn’t like breastfeeding – there will always be another reason, be it that they are jaundiced and too sleepy, a health problem like a tongue tie, the infamous “nipple confusion” (which is a problem for some and not at all for others) or something weirder like this perfume issue.

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38 Melissa July 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I always wore perfume and it never mattered. She knew where the milk was, and it was with mama :)

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39 colleen July 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I did, don’t worry too much. Babies are very adaptable. ( I nursed my daughter until she was 4.5 yrs we were even in the news paper on world breastfeeding day.) One funny thing my daughter did as she got older was point angrily at anyone who talked to me while she was nursing, She is now 8 very bright and thinks it is wonderful when ever she sees a baby having “mommies milkies”

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40 Morgan August 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I am more annoyed when other people wear perfume and get it all over my baby. Some people wear so much perfume that I need to give my son a bath after they hold him. It’s funny what bothers you after the baby comes. The “before baby” ideas are very different than they “after baby” ideas.

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41 Jaye July 23, 2012 at 9:44 am

I just wrote a blog post a few weeks ago on what I learned after a year of breast feeding, so this topic is still fresh in my mind!
The best piece of advice that was ever given to me was that you can’t just try to breast feed. You have to DO IT. It’s hard sometimes, draining and challenging. It’s no surprise that a lot of women are not successful with their breast feeding goals. But Kath, it is so worth it. You won’t regret the effort you put in to make it work!
My best personal piece of advice is don’t quit on a bad day. There will be bad days, but once you get over those humps, you will be left with more good days than you can count.
Breast feeding was the best thing I’ve ever done as a woman. My daughter weaned last month and I miss it so much :). Such an amazing and wonderful thing we are made to do.
Good luck!

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42 Jen July 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Love this comment– don’t try, DO IT. So true!

Also wanted to add to an earlier poster: Although much of the outdated advice that came from my mothers wasn’t helpful, they (unfortunately!) were dead on in regards to food sensitivities for the baby. Despite my lactation consultant and LLL saying that what I ate wasn’t really that important, I discovered through careful trial and error that my daughter was VERY sensitive to my diet. Any time I ate leafy greens, soy, beans or corn during her first 6 months she would be extra fussy, wouldn’t sleep, and spit up much more than normal. Unfortunately, this was “blind tested” a few times when I unknowingly ate something that contained one of those ingredients. So while everyone assured me this wasn’t the case, I found that eliminating these items from my diet (so sad to miss the salads especially!) made a big difference. I was able to add them in one at a time after she started solids, and everything but the soy seemed to be ok after that point. But I did have to avoid the tofu and edamame until she weaned! I could easily see this being misinterpreted as her being allergic to my milk if I wasn’t really paying attention. So heads up!

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43 Tiffany July 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

My favorite is “Don’t have too many rules!” That’s great advice for everything related to baby. I think it’s fantastic you are preparing yourself so well for baby’s arrival. These notes you’ve made will be easy to find when you really need them and can’t remember because you’re sleep deprived. :)

We definitely broke several of the “rules,” but baby was in the NICU for 9 days. The NICU could not survive without giving babies pacifiers and my daughter was so soothed by that. It didn’t affect our breastfeeding relationship, but every baby is different. I also started pumping right away (again, based on the NICU) and was thankful that I did since my milk came in really fast!

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44 Noelle July 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

All of these are great recommendations and comments… do what feels right for you and your baby. After experiencing breastfeeding myself and watching many of my friends go through it, it is definitely different for every woman. Some had issues with supply and eventually had to supplement for the sake of their baby, others had to exclusively pump because their baby wouldn’t take the breast, and others are well into their second year of easy breastfeeding. All are wonderful, amazing mothers who are making their own situations work for them! Whatever happens, none of these situations make you less or more of a woman or a better or worse mama!

A few tips: I personally found tracking eating, sleeping, diapers, etc… really useful, especially for the first few months. There are great apps on the iPhone (and I’m sure they are on Android as well). Although I nursed on cue, it was still helpful for me to keep track of things like how often and long she nursed, as well as which side she nursed on last, etc… (you think you will remember, but your brain is fried). It’s also super helpful for keeping track of dirty diapers in those first few weeks. The one I use is “Baby Connect,” and I really liked it, but there are a ton out there.

Also, I agree that electric pumps are great, and so easy (I have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and really like it). If you do opt for an electric pump, I highly recommend a pumping bra, which makes it completely hands free (I got the Simple Wishes one from Amazon and its awesome). You can read, use the computer, etc… and it helps make the time pass much more quickly.

Finally, be prepared that, despite what you often hear, nursing can sometimes make the weight loss harder. Although it does burn calories, and many women say it helped them shed the pounds quickly (and it is good for mother’s weight and general health in the long term from everything I have read) a lot of women hold on to an extra 5 to 10 lbs until they stop breastfeeding, according to my doctor (and that has been the case for me and for several of my friends). Trying to cut calories, etc… to lose weight can impact supply, and you may see a change in your baby’s nursing habits (they want to nurse more or longer), so for me, it just hasn’t been worth it to work too hard to lose those last 10 lbs because my priority is the health of my baby. But post-pregnancy body image is definitely a challenge (and probably a topic for a whole separate thread :) )

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45 KERF July 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

I have baby connect on my phone ready to go!

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46 Nicole July 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I never lost weight while breastfeeding either but that was ok with me-I knew what I was providing them with was WAY more important than fitting back into my skinny jeans (which BTW I am back into now that they are 10, 13 and 15 years old :)

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47 DH July 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

My biggest piece of advice is that the LCs usually say “if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong”. Not necessarily! Particularly if you have an aggressive sucker like mine. It seriously took about 6 weeks for my nipples and surrounding areas to adjust to being involved in an activity like that. Much of that was painful (though bearable). And it’s really easy to get cracks/scabs etc., and can take a LONG time for them to heal, but it’s still worth it. That being said, we did end up introducing a pacifier the first week, putting me in tears, but it was a very good thing. She just wanted to suck all the time and I couldn’t take it. We exclusively BFed for 21 months (well, with food added in of course after 6 months!) and it was wonderful – but I didn’t expect that in the midst of those first few very painful weeks. Good luck!

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48 Sarah July 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

Yes, THIS. So true. Even with a decent latch and without visible damage (cracks, etc.), it may hurt for a while, especially in the first minute or two of a feeding. I’m so grateful that a good friend who’d nursed 3 kids warned me about this before it happened to me, too. I remember gritting my teeth and counting in my head or mentally chanting “milk for the baby” after she latched on sometimes in the early weeks. It got better by around 6 weeks and sometime a few weeks after that I realized “wow, this is easy.” Another friend told me to give it at least 6 weeks because it could take that long for everything to settle out and become less difficult.

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49 katie July 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

I agree with DH. I was convinced we were doing it wrong because they said if you were doing it right it should not hurt. I had multiple LC’s check and they all said her latch was just fine, but it still hurt. It hurt for about two weeks and then everything was much more enjoyable!

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50 Lee July 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I agree. The whole ‘BFing doesn’t hurt’ is bit misleading. It definitely shouldn’t be super painful, but it can be very uncomfortable at the beginning when your nipples are getting used to the activity. Kind of like how when you start working out for the first time your muscles definitely feel the discomfort, but if you’re writhing on the floor in pain you need to get help.

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51 Kristin July 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I agree. I was freaking out bc all the books said if it hurts you are doing it wrong… But I was doing it fine! How could you not be sore? U go from no attention to the nips to them being sucked in for hours in end daily. It only took 3 weeks for mine to stop hurting and I used the gel soothie pads and they were lifesavers!

I ended up throwing out my breastfeeding books, everyone is different and every baby is different, trust your motherly instinct and it will come naturally!

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52 Marci July 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

I really enjoyed bf’ing. It was a special time and relaxing and quiet for me. I started with a paci in the hospital and pumping after a week and we were fine. I liked letting my husband do a bottle and I liked pumping to build up stock. I still recommend you read “Beyond the Sling” by Mayim Bialik (Blossom). I think you’d like it a lot. I found it interesting and completely opposite everything I do/did.

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53 Laura July 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

As a postpartum nurse, I help new moms with nursing a lot! I would say that you are heading into the process of nursing with the right attitude. Remember that it is a learning process for both you and baby and that it might take a few weeks to get into a good place with breastfeeding. My best piece of advice I give parents is to do what works for your family. Nurses/lactations consultants are not going to be home with you so you need to do what works for you. There is a lot of research now suggesting that pacifiers are actually beneficial for breastfeeding babies. Again, you have to do what works for you! Remember that it is also not an all-or-nothing situation. If you have to supplement due to jaundice levels or lack of supply, do the best you can and don’t give up! You will do great!

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54 Carrie July 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Pacifiers are also thought to be effective with reducing risk of SIDS. I used Soothie pacifiers with all my babies and it didn’t impact nursing negatively at all.

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55 Amber July 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Since having my children (I’ve nursed three kids each for a year, and am still breastfeeding my 4th baby), I’ve really wondered if the idea of not introducing a pacifer is a myth. I was really hesitant to introduce one to my 1st, but after she proved to be quite a fussy little one, my mom encouraged me to try one…definitely don’t regret it!! All of my babies have simply had a strong need to suck, as do many babies. I know some people don’t mind being a “human pacifier,” but that just doesn’t work for me…especially after having more than one kiddo to care for :). As for the best advice I’ve been given: to feed only on one side per feeding rather than the traditional advice in the US to always BF on both sides. This ensures the baby always gets the hindmilk. Also, if the baby is going through a growth spurt and seems to still be hungry after emptying one breast, you can always switch for those feedings.

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56 Alicia July 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

I just wrote a big ol’ blog post about my breastfeeding journey, now 9 months in. http://culinarybliss.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-breastfeeding-journey-and-giveaway.html
Regarding your list above, I wouldn’t twist your nipples! Babies can find them just fine without your help. (Actually, if you’re interested, there are a few videos on youtube of newborns finding and moving to the breast completely on their own immediately after birth. They’re incredible!)
As for pacifiers, we had to use one, basically. My daughter wanted to comfort suck but I had oversupply and overactive letdown from the beginning so it just wasn’t possible. We used one and had 0 problems. I don’t know if you wrote it in your birth plan, but if you’re concerned about him getting one in the hospital you should let his nurses know.
My biggest piece of advice is just to be committed and surround yourself with support. Nursing required constant work from me and my daughter for weeks, and it’s still not perfect all the time. Be patient and understanding, but be aware that it could require some work. But remember not to quit on a bad day. We had lots of issues in the beginning but I would do it all over again just to have the relationship we have now. Feed on demand, and educate yourself about growth spurts. I had no idea about them until I started and they really helped me understand what was going on. You can do it :)

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57 Morgan August 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I second that babies can find the nipples on their own-my son will use his hands to move the nipple to his mouth (not gracefully!) but it’s amazing to watch him do this!

The nurses in my hospital would take the pacifier away from him because I was breastfeeding (we used it to calm him during diaper changes in the hospital since I was confined to a bed for 2 days-developed postpartum preeclampsia.)

Breastfeeding is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done (second to becoming a mom) it is SO rewarding to know that I not only grew him for 9 months, but I can still “grow” him more. It makes me proud to see his weight gain with each doctor’s visit.

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58 Kelley July 23, 2012 at 10:33 am

I really think you will be able to breastfeed without any issues. If you go into it educated and determined and you have supportive nurses in the hospital from the moment he is born, it will be successful. Some of my advice : have a breastfeeding support group available for if you need a little help after you go home. I went once a week for a month and it was so great to see other moms doing it and to ask for personalized advice from an expert. They helped me tweak little things to get it perfect. Also, put lanolin cream on after every feeding from the very begining. It prevents the dreaded cracking from happening. One thing that surprised me was how fast and strong my milk came in. The engorgement happened within an hour (i could literally see my breasts growing)! Pumping a couple of ounces out felt sooo good and helped baby latch better. If they are too full the baby cant get a good hold on it. I had many times where i cried through a feeding session at the begining, but it does get easier and less painful and it will be so worth it. So excited for you!!

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59 Lee July 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Sorry Kelly, but I really have to disagree with your first two sentences. Being ‘educated and determined’ is definitely very important, but they don’t guarantee smooth, problem-free breastfeeding. Just like labour & delivery, it’s good to prepare yourself for what to expect, but the actual experience may (and very likely will) be very different. And I’m not saying different in a bad or negative way, just different than what you were expecting. This thinking that one can prepare for breastfeeding like one can prepare for an exam just sets people of for disappointment when it doesn’t work out the way they expected.

Kath, I think everyone here agrees that breastfeeding is hard. It takes work. It’s uncomfortable at times (sometimes a lot of the time!), particularly in the beginning when mom and baby are getting to know each other. It’s also incredibly rewarding. But it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t end up working for you and you baby. You’re going to love that baby (and bond with him) regardless of whether you breastfeed, give formula, or hire a wet nurse ;).

Two final thoughts:
[1] Totally agree with using the lanolin on your nipples from the very beginning to prevent chapping (wish I’d known to do that).
[2] Don’t hesitate to go to more than one lactation consultant. As in all professions, some will be more-up-to-date and/or have more experience.

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60 colleen July 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm

it depends on the mom and baby I did not find it hard one bit.

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61 Kara July 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Kelley, your post is kind of insulting. I went into breastfeeding well-educated (aside from doing tons of reading on the subject, I also have a graduate degree in public health and research experience in maternal and child health) and very determined, but it did not work for us. I tried my damnedest — spoke to lactation consultants, pumped like crazy to maintain my supply, took enough fenugreek and drank mother’s milk tea to make your head spin, and it still didn’t happen for us. My son took over two weeks to get back to his birth weight and was in the 5th percentile at his 2-month visit. We eventually started supplementing with formula, and I nursed and pumped until my supply dried up at 4ish months.

I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy or anything — I hope Kath, and any other mother who wants to nurse is completely successful — but to imply that reading and having a can-do attitude about breastfeeding is all that it takes to succeed (because the resulting implication is that if you failed at BFing, you didn’t try hard enough/weren’t educated enough) is completely wrong.

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62 Leatitia July 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

I’ve been nursing for the past year and love it. The first month was very hard. I could see blood under the skin ofmy nipples (sorry tmi!) for the first 2-3 weeks. For the first week, every single latch hurt. After a month, none of them hurt. So really my only advice to you is, try to stick to it for a month. Don’t even have bottles at home, DON’T bring bottles to the hospital. You don’t want to be tempted in the middle of the night to just give the baby a bottle. Breastfeeding is one of the most wonderful thing I did in my whole life. I feel so close to my baby and it’s like we’re hugging every time. So precious, I don’t want to stop!

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63 Melissa July 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

Part of me misses nursing — but the other part is SOOO happy to be done! :)

Make sure you have some Hydragels and lanolin on hand for those early weeks/months … they were LIFE SAVERS! Your husband can help “prime the pump” (move baby’s arm to wake baby up when he falls asleep at the breast) — this helps him bond with baby, too. Plus, skin-to-skin for the hubby!

I had the world’s smallest boobs and was shocked I was able to nurse 9 months. It wasn’t easy and I was miserable a lot of the time (given my low production levels) but between nursing, pumping and supplementing formula, I was able to do it. That said, I have friends with large breasts that couldn’t successfully nurse so it honestly doesn’t matter the size of your breasts. Seems if it’s not a supply issue, it’s a latch issue. Very few women have an easy time on both accords — but some do, and I hope you’re one of them — it really is the most amazing bonding experience.

I think what surprised me most was that even AFTER I was all done nursing, I could still feel the intense bond with Maya … and still do. Sometimes now — at 19 months — she falls asleep in my arms just like she used to after milk-drunk nursing sessions … and I picture her so squirmy and teensy then and so beautiful now and it just makes my heart melt.

You’re going to be a great mama — I can tell :)

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64 Kelly @ Runmarun July 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

Great post! I love how excited you are about it- that is so very cool. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is an excellent resource- and even more than BF, it also discusses many other things including baby sleeping through the night, baby-led-weaning, etc.

I know I am echoing what others have said and that you have probably heard it already but I was shocked at how hard breastfeeding was, at first. (No wonder it burns so many calories!) And we were stuck in the hospital for a week after Lula was born (spitting up grounded her to the NICU but she was fine) and I had lactation consultants at my beck and call.

But…it gets easier and I miss the days when we camped out on the couch watching entire movies while she nursed/snoozed. 9 months later and I nurse her a few times a day for twenty minutes or less.

I think you are going to love it!

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65 Whalin July 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

They NYT just had an interesting article about the costs of breastfeeding–time and stress with working mothers. Interesting read!
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/the-ideal-and-the-real-of-breast-feeding/?ref=health

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66 Lauri W July 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I wish the article focused more on the lack of support that breastfeeding moms get in the work place, from their spouses/family and the lack of education instead of all the ‘hardships’ of breastfeeding. I also thought the article made a very weak argument that ‘breast feeding is only slightly better’ than formula! There is tons of research that says otherwise! Granted, breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and people should not be made to feel guilty if they are unable to make BF work for them, but I think their should be more support and education. Breastfeeding is MUCH easier when you know what a proper latch is, how to use a breast pump, how to nurse in public, etc, etc. Breast feeding is also MUCH cheaper and much more convenient (especially during those late nigth feedings!), and it is already the perfect temperature!

When I was daycare shopping, one of the places I visited provided FREE formula and the infant room worker kind of stuck her nose up at me when I asked about breast feeding/bringing in bottles. It was not as convenient for THEM and this negative attitude is just one example of why many women end up switching to formula. The daycare didn’t offer any discount for breast feeding moms, even though they would be saving money by not purchasing formula!?!

anyways, I just thought the article could have offered more solutions to make breastfeeding easier (ie a required private room for nursing moms in the work place, ways to get the husband involved, how to build a supply, etc) instead of making it sound like breastfeeding isn’t really all that great/beneficial!

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67 jenn July 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

Ny best advice is to hook up with a local Le Leche League! These knowledgable group of ladies have helped me so much. And they love pregnant mamas, so check out a local meeting. My oldest is now ten, and I can attribute my nursing success with him and his younger 3 siblings to this group. Also let others help clean, make meals etc so you can get your nursing relationship off to a relaxed, focused, start. Breastfeeding can be challenging at first, but I have no regrets and am so glad I chose to nourish my children this way.

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68 Tessa July 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

I successfully breastfed my first for 8 months and then pumped for the rest of the first year. I think having a positive attitude, relaxing and not letting it stress you out, and following up with a lactation consultant are three things I would most recommend. I also LOVED the breastfeeding pillow My Breast Friend, that I felt was way more supportive than the hoppy pillow. Look into it, it is amazing!!

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69 KERF July 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I have it!

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70 Tessa July 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Oh good! It is wonderful!! I could lterally stand at the stove and cook while breastfeeding! It was that supportive!

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71 Ginna July 25, 2012 at 1:29 am

I loved the Brest friend for the first few weeks and then after that liked the boppy. I now have two boppies, one upstairs and one downstairs. The womanly art of breastfeeding is a fabulous book. I suggest reading it before you have the baby. My biggest piece of advice is to not give up. Seek help. I think alot of new mothers are misinformed (ex: since milk doesn’t come in right away alot of moms turn to formula but don’t realize how small the baby’s stomach is). It really does get easier and not so awkward and is pretty amazing. I continue to successfully bf my 3 month old little girl :).

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72 Sara July 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

I’m not pregnant yet and all of those tips really scare me about breastfeeding! But I’m sure it is worth it and everyone will have a different experience. Thanks for sharing!

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73 Sarah July 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Don’t be scared! Tips are tips – that’s all. You will be surprised at how many things are instinctual. Within a half hour of being born, my little guy was already pouting his mouth looking for food. I had to help him sometimes get the latch just right, but he figured it out pretty well without me having to do a lot.

As long as you know there are resources out there like LCs, you don’t need to worry.

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74 Becky July 23, 2012 at 11:31 am

Nursing went really well for me after I got through two hurdles (I called the hospital twice with questions for the lactation consultant).

First, your baby may use your breasts as a pacifier! My first son did for a few days in the first week or so. It was really hard as I felt like I couldn’t get up off the couch. But this really helped my milk production. In a few days my milk came in and the baby was great, nursing when hungry and sleeping the rest of the time. Once I got past the human pacifier stage, the infant stage seemed bearable!

Second, if it hurts to breastfeed, remove the latch with your pinky and try again. When done right, it should not hurt (in my experience).

One other thing that might be helpful is to establish a middle of the night routine. When my son woke up hungry in his basinette next to my bed, I’d first change his diaper. He’d cry more (!) but doing that would also wake him up enough so that he’d eat a decent amount, rather than nursing for 2 minutes and falling back to sleep too soon. This should help him sleep for longer periods of time. I did it all in bed with a nightlight so I didn’t ever have to get out of bed! It really helped me feel like I was getting a decent amount of sleep even when he was up a couple times a night.

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75 Jenn July 23, 2012 at 11:36 am

Hi Kath! I was like you – totally determined to make it work. I faced a lot of challenges from day 1 but I’m happy to say, I stuck with it and feeding my 10 week old is the highlight of my day. Here is what I’ve learned:
1) Have Matt advocate for you after delivery. I know you said your hospital is good about skin-to-skin time…mine did too. I did not get adequate time to nurse (12 mins?) and wish we had been more firm. I was bleeding like crazy and in pain (natural birth) and even though i asked for more time, the nurse came back within 5 mins. My husband was shell-shocked (blood, and i progressed from 2 to 9 cm at home w/in 2 hours and delivered w/in an hour of walking into the hospital…I think he was processing everything!) and did not speak up like we both wish he had looking back.
2) If your baby is crying during feedings, something is wrong. I know it seems like common sense but in the moment, I just thought that’s what newborn babies do. Call a LC and get help!
3) DO NOT USE A NIPPLE SHIELD. My LC put me on one for engorgement. I knew better but was desperate. My already small baby was losing too much weight and I was desperate for her to eat. The nipple shield just created a long-term problem and I weaned her off at 4 weeks. Worst 2 days of my life.
4) kellymom.com is awesome. Use it!
5) Babies have gas. From what I’ve read, it’s rarely the cause of something in your diet. My baby refused my breast for 5 days from so much gas pain and I was thisclose to cutting out dairy. I was cup feeding and crying several times a day. Turns out, she just needed to burp more often.

Good luck! With patience (lots of it), help, and determination, I’m sure you can do this!

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76 Alicia July 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I second the don’t use the nipple shield. When I became engorged, I went with the things the LC told me with no relief, nothing in the books gave me relief. Then, my natural inclination was to lay my son on the bed (with my husband’s help) and let my son nurse while I basically hung over the top of him with my breast pointing straight down to the ground. I don’t know if it was gravity, or the position unclogged the ducts or what, but it worked like a charm.

The take away from this would be not so much to follow my technique, but instead to trust your gut.

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77 Marie July 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I have to say that the nipple shield allowed me to successfully nurse my baby- 16 months and counting! It was an absolute last resort but I don’t know what I would’ve done without it the first few weeks. After working with numerous nurses (one of which taught my breastfeeding class) and two different LCs (multiple sessions) my little guy just simply would. not. latch. After 2 1/2 days the LC recommended it and on the first try he was nursing away. I was diligent about trying to wean him off of it ASAP because I really didn’t want to keep pumping any more than I had to (because they can’t fully drain your breasts with it on). If my memory serves me correct I think it was about 3 weeks and I literally cried tears of joy. I WISH someone would have been able to show me just how great it has all turned out in those first few days and weeks because it was just really hard. I felt totally inadequate at the time and also felt like my entire life was swallowed up by feeding and pumping… and washing the dreaded pump parts! Expect a few bumps in the road, but also expect it to probably work out for you in the long run. Good luck! Despite being hard at the beginning, it is the best time of my life being able to breastfeed my son!

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78 Sarah July 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

I agree with this. A nipple shield can be really helpful in the early days in certain situations (inverted nipples, a baby who really really can’t figure out how to latch, etc) but probably should not be used for something normal like engorgement.

(And to the other commenter – glad to hear that it all worked out so well for you! I had a similarly challenging start but was so determined that I was going to nurse. Still going at nearly 15 months…)

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79 Presley (@runpretty) July 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

I think the “rules” are there for a reason, but we have definitely broken most of them. Maddux had such a good latch from the start, so I didn’t freak out over little things as much. At two weeks, he was already using a pacifier and bottles of breast milk occasionally. He is an EATER. He’ll even take his bottles a little chilly, which is awesome when we are out and I can’t warm them. Basically, I think within the first week, you’ll know YOUR baby. You’ll be able to make decisions based on what you know about him. :)

PS: That first week, I probably couldn’t have even spelled my own name. I was SO tired. He ate nonstop. But it’s already gotten much better!

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80 CaitlinHTP July 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “Henry cannot possibly be hungry again!” And he was. LOL

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81 Nicole July 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Me too! And I always fed them if in doubt and I now have three very healthy boys who are 10, 13 and 15…so feeding on cue totally worked for us! Even when I had my third son at home and he was 10 lbs 4 oz and literally nursed twice an hour for the first few weeks!! My other two didn’t nurse quite that often but I just trusted that he knew what he was doing and I’m sure it had something to do with trying to keep up his huge size. Same could be said for small babies who nurse often to attempt to put weight on more quickly. Babies totally know what they are doing–they could care less what a book or a pediatrician says–they are acting solely on instinct and survival so it makes sense to listen to them and no one else!

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82 Sara July 23, 2012 at 11:45 am

Hi Kath!

I’m a new mom with an 8 week old baby boy! I was so excited about breastfeeding as well, and also nervous that it wouldn’t work out for us. As much as people say it’s instinctual, I don’t believe that, hahaha!! I really did find breastfeeding rough for the first few weeks and can now COMPLETELY understand how people give up. I was a million percent for breastfeeding and said there was NO WAY I would ever give up, but found myself wanting to quit on quite a few occasions. There were lots of tears and some pain too. But we’re 8 weeks along now and things are FANTASTIC! Still some hiccups here and there, but I’m so glad I stuck with it.

When you’re nursing, whenever you have ANY questions, ask a professional for help right away because there is usually an easy fix that can correct the problem RIGHT AWAY!!

Something else that keeps me going … I keep looking forward to his next stage of interaction. It was so rewarding when he first started to make real eye-contact while nursing!! It’s sooooooo awesome :)

Good luck to you!!

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83 Robyn July 23, 2012 at 11:53 am

My little guy is ten months old, and we are still going strong! Optimism and determination are HUGE! There will be rough patches, but once you get the hang of it, its an incredible bonding experience. Watching them continue to grow from your nourishment alone is so rewarding! My recommendation would be to use some nipple cream after every feeding at first! sometimes a nursing session can last 45 min, and they want to feed so often, or nurse simply for comfort, that your nipples take a lot of abuse. My nipples still got sore, but never cracked and bled. Best of luck in your breastfeeding journey!!

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84 Bridget July 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

I too looked forward to breastfeeding, but it was harder than I anticipated. I wish i had asked for help sooner. Finally, three weeks in I made a tearful phone call to a friend who had a La Leche League leader at my house by 9am the next morning. Life-saver! She (and her 2-year old who was still nursing!) did some demos of latching for me and I realized what a shallow latch I had used up until then. She demontstrated that your breast is like a huge double cheeseburger to the baby and they have to open real wide and you kind of angle it in, like you would tilt the burger trying to wedge it in your mouth to take that first big bite. After that, I was a happy breastfeeder for both my daughters. It is what I miss most about having infants. Savor it!

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85 Bridget July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

One more: have you ever seen breastfeeding happen right in front of you? Get a friend who isn’t shy to demo for you up close and personal, if possible.

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86 KERF July 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hmmm…I should look around for this :)

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87 Nicole July 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I truly believe that this exact reason is why all us women are having to “learn” to breastfeed. In other cultures where breastfeeding is the norm and always has been and women are not made to feel shame about doing it, women grow up seeing breastfeeding all around them from a very young age. They see their mom do it, sister do it, cousins do it, neighbor do it etc…and they learn every single time they see it. We have definitely lost our tribe as women and lead much more isolated lives now–leading us to now need to be taught how to do something that should be second nature to us by the time we have babies. We need to find our womanly wisdom again and share it with the young girls around us!

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88 Rachel July 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Wow. I would not scold a newborn baby like it’s a dog that just peed the floor, even if every “expert” on the planet recommended it.

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89 KERF July 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

You don’t use a dog voice – you use a loving but concerned mother voice

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90 Celeste July 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm

You do have to correct them – and understanding that you should be calm but firm ahead of time is better than being caught off guard, screaming in pain, and scaring baby.

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91 DH July 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I too am really surprised that she suggested this. Saying no (or even “good baby”) would be the last thing on my mind while trying to get the latch right (particularly since he is a newborn – the latch is really more up to you at this point, not the baby). So while much of the advice sounds very reasonable, that sounds very off base to me at least at first. Now, when he is 9 or 10 months and starting to bite while teething – then it is more than reasonable!

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92 RB July 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

When you’re talking about establishing a good latch, you’re talking about a newborn baby. A newborn baby doesn’t have the cognitive capacity to understand “scolding”. But more importantly, bad latch is up to mum to fix, not a brand new baby. You’ll learn together and I think it can be done without any discipline.

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93 KERF July 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Our LC said they wouldn’t understand – it’s more about taking them off (= not getting food associated with the bad latch) than the voice.

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94 Kara July 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

You can break the latch with your finger really easily — I think the only reason the “no” might work is that it startles the baby.

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95 katie July 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Some tips I’ve heard recently:

1. Don’t give up on the worst day. Keep at it and it WILL get better.

2. The second night he is here will be very trying. He will want to eat nonstop. This is normal.

3. Spend a few days just lounging around with the baby and doing nothing else- let others take care of the house, cooking, getting you beverages, any chores, etc- to help you establish a great milk supply.

Good luck! (To me and to you)

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96 Rebecca July 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi Kath – I am a new mom with a sweet almost 7 week old baby girl. My best advice is – Don’t give up! The first 3 weeks were SO HARD and I wanted to quit so badly – but not jut because of pain. The hardest thing for me was being confined because I was her one and only food source. I felt so isolated at times. But – as she grew and got a little weight on her (and I got more comfortable out in public with my nursing cover) she started spacing her feedings long enough that I began to brave the outside world. Now she is pretty much like clock work and feeds about every 3 hours. We are in much more of a “groove” at this point. The other day I gave her her first bottle of pumped milk and it broke my heart! Not at all what I was expecting. My husband was an incredible support and I probably would have quit if it weren’t for him encouraging me and telling me how awesome I was doing. I have a feeling you will have lots of support from yours as well! Good luck! You’ll do great!

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97 Averie @ Averie Cooks July 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Kath you are going to love nursing. Never quit in the middle of the night when times are tough and have 1 person you have a pact with that you can call anytime, no matter what time of day, period – no rules- if you just need to scream, vent, need help. Knowing that person can talk you down from the ledge or a rough patch can help, not with nursing, but with all things :)

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98 Kat July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm

We took this class too! One piece of advice that I will give is that after the class I took away things that weren’t as helpful as what I should have. I paid attention to facts, things to do. What i should have spent my time trying to learn is the latch.

ps- about all that advice…I took all that too and let me tell you, we gave up on most of that in order to make bf successful. I know that sounds weird but we gave the pacifier in the first 2 days (I heard experts actually say that the advice above is under question since babies will know the difference) and first bottle at 2 weeks per dr recommendation (all breastmilk…P has never tasted formula – not that I think there is a big deal at all – in fact, I’m not so sure I’d be against formula to supplement from time to time with future baby). Everything did work out super well for us.
One advice I would give if you start being concerned about milk supply etc is to pump for a couple of minutes to empty the breast at the end of the eating sessions. This worked WONDERS for me.

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99 Lana July 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm

My best advice is stick with it! I remember crying so much on day three (apparently that is a bad day hormone wise) with our first. We’d had quite the five day adventure of amneotic (sp?) leaks, inductions, etc., before an emergency C-Section so I was so tired and she just wouldn’t nurse, plus she had jaundice…long story. I also hemmoraged when she was nine days old and we had to supplement for about 24 hours (with a syringe so she could still be latched on to me – email me if you need a description!). We stuck with it and by three weeks we were golden! I nursed her for 14 months. With our second, the ride before was less adventureous, but I also had medical issues afterwards and ended up having to supplement her for 24 hours due to a medication I had to take. She turned two yesterday and she is still nursing twice a day. Who knew? Congratulations! Can’t wait to see him:)

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100 Jess July 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I’ve been nursing for 12.5 months. It can be difficult and frustrating at the beginning. I took a breastfeeding class and read books, but I really don’t think they were all that helpful other that explaining that it is totally normal for newborns to eat constantly. the first month i swear it was a waste of time to put a shirt on because my daughter nursed every hour. That established a very healthy milk supply.

My daughter was really small when she was born (under 6lbs) and her little mouth just couldn’t open wide enough for a good latch for the first few weeks. There were blisters and pain. by 6 weeks she’d grown and we had latching down. I really wouldn’t recommend scoulding a newborn. they have no idea and a bad latch isn’t their fault. That makes me sad just to think that a lactation consultant would advise new mothers to do that.

We’re still going strong today with no sign of weaning.

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101 Wendy July 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

HI Kath! It’s been a while since I stopped by, and I’m glad I did! I’m loving your pregnancy journey :) I just reached 32 months of nursing my son, and I would say that my best advice is to just trust yourself. Your body and your baby will know what to do, and if you struggle, be sure to find a good LC along with an online support system (Twitter is great for this) just in case you need help or encouragement at 2am. Best of baby wishes to you!!

(By the way, I love “So that’s what they’re for.” It’s a lighthearted, yet informative, book about BFing.)

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102 Carrie July 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Here’s one that’s not so much a tip, but something to be prepared for: those of us with large breasts (well, I *had* large breasts…) usually can’t nurse hands-free. I had to cup my breast to nurse right up until both of my boys were about a year old. I hoped to nurse hands-free with the sling, but they just couldn’t handle it.

On the other hand, I did nurse a LOT in the sling. Loved my (unpadded Mayawrap) ring sling for this; the tail draped up over the baby to keep him from getting distracted from anything, or without it, he could peep up at me and we were still discreet. :-)

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103 Allison k July 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

This. I too have to support the underside of my breast. This is only really annoying in public, and only at first.

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104 Kate L. July 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

That was one of my biggest problems with nursing with my second (I couldn’t nurse the first b/c of a host of issues/surgeries in his early life) – a large chest made it so much more difficult because they (the breasts/nipple) don’t sit up all perky like small chested women. I felt like I was juggling my boobs and the baby and add in a breast shield b/c of being too flat nippled and it all made for never wanting to nurse outside the home. It was a full on dedicated effort – no reading a book or doing Sudoku or whatever (just watch TV) that other moms talk about:) Of course, now I got really good at pumping (because of my first child’s problems) and with that I can read, write, do almost whatever from a seated position.

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105 Melissa July 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Also wanted to say, BF is the only thing (besides sex, LOL) that you really need to do hands-on to truly get ….and it won’t always work the first time around. No tips or manuals will really matter; and what works with baby #1 won’t necessarily be the case with baby #2. That doesn’t mean don’t read all you can –of course you should, and I did (plus took classes) … but until the baby — YOUR baby — is in your arms, it’s impossible to know how to do it and the LCs are sooooo awesome at helping get your baby to latch properly. And try several positions — especially as baby grows! And always start next feeding with the breast you left off on last time. It sounds weird, but it’s the way to go. A great tool for remembering this was an Itzbeen — great little toy to keep track of feedings, diapers, naps, etc.http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=itzbeen&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4031695931&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12435412921686040951&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_3s9c4izw7y_e I’m sure other apps do this too, but I liked this.

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106 Melissa July 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Don’t wait any longer than the 4 weeks recommended before introducing a bottle. I waited 6 weeks and could never get my daughter to take it. While I still love nursing her (she is 12 months), I would love to be able to have more than a 3 hour chunk of time to go on a date with my husband or do something for myself. With the next one, I will be introducing a bottle at exactly a month (if not 3 weeks).

Also, don’t feel guilty if you don’t follow all the “rules.” We had a really fussy baby (until about 4 months) and ended up introducing a pacifier in the hospital at 2 days old (I felt horrible about this). I also ended up using a nipple shield on 1 side for a couple of weeks (felt horrible about this too). Neither had any harmful effect on nursing and mom and baby were both happier. And, funny story, turns out after the first week or so, my daughter hated the pacifier anyway and never used it again.

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107 Melissa July 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm

One more thing, I’d really questing the advice to reprimand a newborn by strongly saying, “no.” I did this at the advice of my mother-in-law when my daughter bit me a couple of times while teething and it caused a 3 day nursing strike. Listen to your gut.

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108 Amanda July 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Wow–this is awesome advice. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I’m glad to know that I can hand pump since I work from home.

I just had my 12 week appointment today and heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. So far, so good!

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109 KERF July 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Congrats!

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110 nancy July 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I can verify that the immunity factor is totally true. Our toddler picked up a HORRIBLE intestinal virus when my son was several months old. It was extremely contagious and totally laid out everyone in its path, including my husband and myself. The baby was completely unaffected for which we were SO thankful. Given the magnitude of that particular virus, a baby would have surely needed to be hospitalized. I was able to breastfeed all three of my children and each was very different in how they learned. I actually needed more help with the third baby than I did with the older ones. She just did things differently. From my experience I can say that it does require a good bit of commitment and determination (which I know you have :)). I also had very good results with lanolin during the first weeks. I know that may not be necessary for everyone but it was a lifesaver for me. And, since the pattern I had with each baby was to feed on both sides each feeding, I would typically save the diaper change during nighttime feedings for when we were switching sides. That woke the baby up enough to finish eating before going back to bed. I also kept the lighting low during nighttime feedings and limited my interaction with the baby so that they quickly understood that nighttime was for sleeping, not playing. We never had one get days and nights mixed up. As challenging as breastfeeding can be, I am so thankful I was able to do it. I know it was a major factor in their good health early in life and beyond. With that said, I have a lovely sister-in-law who pumped for months with her first baby because the baby would not breastfeed (the hospital gave her a bottle and she would never take a breast after that). Now that’s commitment.

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111 Nicole July 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Yep, me too about the immunity factor! One Christmas Eve when my kids were 6, 3 and 5 months, we ALL got a horrid stomach virus that was swift and BRUTAL. It started at 5pm with my 6 year old, hit my 3 year old around 6pm, hit me at 9pm and hit my husband around midnight. My breastfeeding 5 month old NEVER got it :) That was certainly a Christmas to remember though LOL

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112 RB July 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

One thing that I think is really important is not to have too many expectations and to go into this (and really, all parenting) assuming there is no such thing as normal or “right”. Because if you spend too much time striving to do it right (or more importantly, being told by others how to do it right) and trying to make sure everything is normal, you’re destined to fail. Each little person will be different and figuring out what works for them can be a challenge that is much easier met if you are focused on what works for you guys rather than what experts or books or friends (or well meaning family members!) tell you is the right or best thing to do.

And with breastfeeding, one thing no one told me and I wish they had (again, because I would’ve felt more “normal”) is that sometimes, it’s not magical. Sometimes, you don’t sit serenely by a window with the sun streaming in while your child nurses, staring lovingly into your eyes and you marvel at how lucky you are. Sometimes, it’s the middle of the night, letdown causes toe-curling pain, your other boob is leaking on the poor kid’s head (hey – at least that’ll take care of cradle cap!), you’re dying of thirst but can’t reach the water glass and all you want to do is go back to sleep. The thing is, it doesn’t matter which of those experiences happen the most – both are normal, neither are more “right” than the other and you can be a great mum either way. Breastfeeding was never magically wonderful for me with either little person but I still did it for a year with each and don’t regret a second of it. But it was definitely easier the second time going in with more realistic expectations and not feeling like I was missing something critical.

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113 KERF July 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This made me laugh: “you’re dying of thirst but can’t reach the water glass” because I already feel this way when I’m thirsty but rolling over and reaching is so hard. I can’t imagine with a baby in my arms.

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114 Celeste July 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Thats the moment you kick your husband and ask for help – or at least that’s how we did it in my bed! ;-)

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115 Rachelle August 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Oh my, I don’t think she could have described it better ;-) Once you’ve got that baby latched on, you don’t want to move for anything, including the ridiculous thirst & hunger you have while breast feeding ;-)

Remember, on those early newborn nights when you’ve been struggling to get the baby on for over an hour at 3am…. This beats months and months of having to warm a bottle all the time. Your breasts are portable & much easier to bring everywhere than formula & warm good water!! I think that was the only thing that kept me going some days (that and the price of formula!).

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116 morgan July 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I can attest to how amazing the antibodies from breast milk are! When my daughter was a month and a half old, myself, my husband, and our two boys came down with a HORRIBLE stomach virus that didn’t go away for 2 weeks! I miserably continued to nurse her throughout the illness which is what I credit to the fact that she never got sick! In a house filled with nasty germs and with the weakest immune system of all, she never got sick. I now use breast milk to heal everything! Diaper rash, sunburn, small cuts, etc.l Just put a little breast milk on it! haha

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117 Cate July 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

As an adoptee, I really bristle at your assertion that “breastfeeding is the epitome of bonding between mother and baby”. I think I understand what you were trying to say, but I hope you see how that was a very false, presumptuous, and alienating statement. I was disappointed to see that here.

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118 KERF July 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I see your point, I apologize.

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119 Liz July 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I agree with Cate- I was much like you, very excited about breastfeeding, armed with knowledge and thought it would be the ultimate bonding. I was really thrown when my son just couldn’t/wouldn’t breastfeed. I am an exclusive pumper going on 4 months and I am pretty sure Baxter and I are as bonded as a mother and son could be. I guess my point is, go in with an open mind and no matter what happens you and your baby boy will be just fine :)

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120 Kate L. July 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I think it’s fine that she’s looking forward to/hoping for that bonding that can come from breastfeeding (when it goes well…for me, it was always extremely painful and frustrating and I got the point of dreading when he wanted to eat until I finally just went exclusively to formula after 5 months…but that’s a story for another day:). However, I really dislike when consultants and breastfeeding gurus use that claim of increased bonding as a way to push breastfeeding and/or make moms feel guilty if they are struggling. Bonding has little to do with the fact that baby is sucking milk from your breasts – bonding comes from the conscious decision to love, nurture, and spend time with this little, adorable person in your home:) So whether or not a baby is born a certain manner (vaginal vs c-section), natural child or adopted, breastfed or bottlefed, bonding occurs because you want it to and because you can’t help but love this new life that has entered the world.

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121 Morgan July 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I don’t think she meant to offend. This is a personal blog afterall. She’s obviously referring to the personal connection she hopes to feel with her baby through nursing.

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122 Liz July 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Oh, I wasn’t offended at all, just don’t like to see people putting all their eggs in the “breastfeeding basket”, so to speak. There are many ways to bond with ones child that don’t involve breastfeeding.

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123 Courtney July 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Agreed. I was on cereal prior to leaving the hospital because I was a big baby for my mom who did not breastfeed. We have that mother-daughter bond (no rebellion through my teenage years)! Bottom line- breastfeeding does not create the bond between mother and child. It is the deep love that is shown from the parent that creates the close connection.

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124 Jenny July 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

The best advice I can give? Expect the unexpected. Pregnancy and parenthood are often out of control experiences…and I mean that in the best way! Its good to have an idea of how you would like things to be (birth plan, breast feeding, labor and delivery) but try to be more open. Things can and often do go differently than you want and if you are focused on the process you may miss the experience.

For what its worth I nursed my son for 11 months with no problem. I couldn’t nurse my daughter at all due to extreme blood loss. My son was often sick with ear infections and had tubes three times. My daughter is 15 months and has never been on an antibiotic. You just never know.

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125 Jen July 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hi Kath,
I breastfeed three kids for two years each and no one had even an ounce of formula. You are going to do a great job breastfeeding – just believe that going in. I do have some tidbits for you:
1. Until your milk comes in, don’t think that the colostrum that your baby is drinking is not enough. It is enough. This is often when new moms get worried and let the nurses bring a bottle of formula. This creates a cycle because when there is no baby suckling the breast then no milk is being produced (supply & demand). Then during the next feeding maybe baby is expecting a nipple from a bottle and does not want to open wide for the giant human nipple, starts crying, you get frustrated…and give another bottle. If there is a baby sucking the milk will come. Your body knows what to do.
2. Get the Medela Pump In Style. It is awesome!
3. You will never be so hungry in your whole life while breastfeeding. You will be amazed at how much weight you will lose. I have never been so thin in all of my adult life as when I was, oh, say, 6-9 mos. postpartum.
4. For the first couple of days home try not to have visitors. It’s stressful having people around when you are tired, sore, leaking….and then you have to say, “Would you like something to drink?”, and “entertain”. It is important to get into a groove with breasfeeding. We did not even have my mom/in-laws over for the first few days. We just needed to get used to our new little family. You may be different, but don’t feel shy scheduling visits until later on.

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126 aria July 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Take the extra ice pack pads (for your underware) home from the hospital and use them in your bra on sore nipples after the first few days. The length is a good size to reach across your chest.

Lansinoh freezer bags are my favorite. Freeze flat for optimal space. FIFO! (Of course this is just if you pump).

Eat/drink everytime the baby does. Have quick/easy (one handed) snacks ready to go by your bed or chair.

In the beginning, I would often hold my breast with one hand and the back of baby’s neck with the other. When you hold your breast, make a “breast taco” by cupping from the bottom (make a U with your hand). This helps flattens the breast in line with baby’s mouth. If you cup from the side (C shape) you squeeze your breast perpendicular to the baby’s mouth – no bueno!

When baby opens up wide (looks like they’re taking a bite out of a big hamburger!) jam as much nipple and areola as you can in their mouth!

It’s an amazing experience! Best of luck!

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127 Rachelle August 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm

^^^ I will second everything she said up there.

Ha, I found this link just before delivering. Best idea ever.:
http://realnewmom.blogspot.com/2010/11/undie-sundae.html

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128 stephanie July 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Wow the advice you have above sounds great! Seems to cover all of the major points! I agree with everything you wrote but find that many women do not know those things or don’t put them into practice. Worked for me- nursed for 15 months and my daughter and I loved it!

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129 Alice July 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I definitely agree with those who said to never give up on a bad day! Between the exhaustion, a difficult recovery, and issues with milk supply/milk blisters/blocked ducts, I wanted to quit a thousand times during those first couple of months. But we stuck it out, and made it 14 months. He was weaned 3 months ago, and I still miss it sometimes! It’s a learning process for both of you; it’s so hard in the beginning, but you get better, and he gets better. In regards to antibodies, my baby never got very sick, maybe just a runny nose, but I have never been sick as much as I was during that year! He would take all my antibodies and leave me feeling horrible!

Advice: get everything ready before you sit down to nurse (water, snacks, tv remote, book, etc), because I thought I would never ever leave that chair (and now that my baby is a toddler, I never sit down until nap time! How things change). Kellymom is a great resource. Also, master the side lying position as soon as possible! I don’t know your thoughts on bedsharing, but it can make nighttime a LOT easier if you can bring baby to bed when he wakes up in the middle of the night, keep everything dark and quiet, and you all fall back asleep while he nurses.

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130 Alicia July 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Oh and I always wished I had a little pad of paper and pen by the nursing chair.

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131 Lindsay @ Fuel My Family July 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I never let my babies fall asleep while nursing. If they do, they dont get as much then wake up hungry again and they will nurse non-stop. Do whatever you can to keep them awake (stripped down to diaper, tickling feet) to get their bellies full of the good hind milk so they dont have to nurse more than every 2-3 hours. Both of my lactation consultants (in different states where i had my babies) told me less than 1% of women can’t make enough milk for their baby. It may be hard but if you stick to it you can do it. How else did babies survive when there wasn’t formula? And as tempting as it can to be supplement, its a downwards slope because if you don’t stimulate, you will produce even less, therefore needing more formula. Breastfeeding is amazing and I am getting sad my littlest is almost 1 so I will be thinking about weaning soon (ish :))

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132 JessicaE July 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm

So I just gave birth to my son at 12:49 am on July 19th (his due date!) After two extremely stressful and scary days i threw all the ruled from the “rule book” out the window. I didn’t watch the clock, time the feedings, or try to measure how much he had gotten. he also has a preference for my left side. i still offer him the right side, but trying to force him to nurse on both sides as many recommend only stressed him out and left him not wanting to nurse at all.

Trust yourself and your baby. Of course, there are many issues many have to contend with, but the best advice i have is to listen to yourself and your baby,

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133 ASLmomNextDoor July 25, 2012 at 10:28 am

Congrats Jessica!! Did you talk with a lactation consultant about the side preference? I gave birth July 9th and definitely my left breast is bigger than the right and I feel like I should put him on that one more often to get the milk out. But I didn’t ask the consultant about it yet, and I saw some comments about hind milk so maybe will just keep going with my 15 minutes on both sides routine.

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134 Angel7 July 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Breastfeeding hurt me for a while, but I perservered, and never gave up! I ended up breastfeeding for almost 1 1/2 years.

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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135 ann July 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I breast fed 4 babies for about a year-3 of them now in college. I would agree with others and try to be relaxed, the baby will pick up on your anxiety. I have used both manual and electric (Medela) pumps and like the manual better, but it is just personal preference. I found once I “let down” the manual pump was very quick. I had the support of friends and family which really helped. My 2nd and 3rd time-I had alot of cracking and used a breast shield which helped the skin to heal but it didn’t last too long and was DEFINTELY worth the persistence. I would never not breast feed, it is work but the feeling you get is great. Good luck!!!

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136 Margaret July 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I think one of the most important things is to be relaxed and comfortable, if you have a good let down AND flow of milk, you won’t have a fussing baby, at feed times.
They won’t latch or suck or stay attatched properly, if they aren’t getting a decent drink, and if they are trying to drink and fussing at the same time, that just creates gas.
So be very aware of being relaxed and comfortable, your butt, your back,your neck, even your arms, it is amazing how tense your various body parts are without you even realising it, and babies pick up on tension very quickly, observe feeding mums, the newbies will be sitting and handling the baby one way and the longer term mums will be more relaxed, this is part of the reason it gets easier,they are more confident.
Babies are intuitive, they pick up on stress and tension, that is why a screaming crazypants baby will often settle when a tired ,anxious mum hands the baby to someone else, they can feel the tension in your arms,( especialy) and hear your heartbeat going from steady and reassuring to fast
and uneasy.
Of course you will be anxious some times, you are responsible for this tiny life, but if you can breathe slowly and regain calmness, it certainly has an effect on baby.

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137 Lisa July 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I didn’t read any of the other comments. Here are my best pieces of advice:
1) pee before you start. You don’t know how long you’ll be busy for
2) bring a giant bottle of water and a smack with you.
You will experience hunger and thirst like never before.
3) learn to nurse lying down.
It will change your life!
4) don’t want too long to introduce a bottle. Or else you end with a 13 month old like me who refuses anything but the boob!
5) always change the diaper mid way through the feed. It wakes baby up enough to eat more!
6) when/if baby falls asleep at the boob; leave him there. Before baby is completely out he’ll chugg a bit more even though you may think he’s done.
7) keep it up. It gets really easy!!! Really really easy!

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138 Leesa July 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

The best advice I got before my first child was born was this, “it’ll be hard, it’ll even hurt a little, but if you can get through the first three weeks, you’ll be golden. you CAN do it!!”. It was exactly 3 weeks before baby & I got the hang of it and the pain/cracking & blisters subsided. I went on to nurse that baby and my other two for a solid year (the younger siblings were MUCH easier to get started!). Good luck! I’m pulling for you=D

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139 Kassie July 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm

One thing that i am not sure if anyone mentioned is that I had to pump the first few weeks because my breasts would be uncomfortably full. I wouldn’t be afraid of pumping if that is the case.

Another thing is I think the average baby doesn’t have as much nipple confusion as what lactation consultants claim. I think that introducing a bottle before 4 weeks and/or a pacifier will very likely not derail nursing. With my second, I introduced a paci on day 1 of her life, and she has always had a perfect latch.

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140 Janna July 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Man, I wish I had read this post before breast feeding. I had little to no experience illustrations or encouragement from our birth classes or from the lactation consultants first visit.
I struggled so hard the first month with latching pain, chaffing and mastitis.
I definitely know better now so hopefully breast feeding will be easier with our future children!

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141 Julie July 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I nursed my twin boys for 15 months (they’re turning 2 on August 23). I tandem nursed them using a double football hold and a twin nursing pillow. I ended up using nipple shields almost exclusively and they were a life saver. My boys had slighly recessed jaws and had trouble latching. I worked very closely with lactation consultants for the first week trying to get them to latch without the shields but it just wasn’t working. The nipple shields worked like a CHARM and they did not reduce my milk supply at all. I produced MORE than my two babies would drink in a day and built up a freezer stash of extra milk. A lot of militant nursing experts scare you away from using nipple shields and I felt guilty at first that my boys needed them to nurse. But hey, we had a successful nursing relationship and they got breast milk for over 1 year. Moral of the story is, do whatever you need to to do give your baby breast milk. Even if it means exclusively pumping and bottle feeding breast milk. And if you try everyting and it still doesn’t work out, that’s ok. There can be so much judgement and “mom guilt” and when your hormornes are raging post-delivery, it can overwhelm you. So keep nipple shields in mind if you’re having trouble latching. They worked for me. Good luck!!!!

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142 ASLmomNextDoor July 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

I’m using a nipple shield too (the nurse gave me one in the hospital) and every consultant I’ve talked to keeps recommending to ween off it asap. But it is working for now (baby is 16 days old) so we’ll see how long it keeps on keeping on. Weight gain was great at 1 and 2 week ped appointments!

Also I’d like to advocate the use of listening for the Dunstan baby language even during feedings besides the physical cues like him pushing off the breast that could signal satiety or need for burping. Besides the 15 minute Oprah clip, the Dunstan DVDs have some useful tips like not to ever put the baby back on the breast if he is still saying “eh” – get the gas out first! This made a huge difference in time feeding since you can remedy the problem and get him right back on like he ultimately wants! Otherwise you could end up fighting him and frustrated he’s not feeding! Also the DVD has a lot of positioning tips that I’ve found very useful!

Best wishes for successful feeding!

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143 Nicole July 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Follow your baby, not the clock or a book or your pediatrician is the BEST advice I could ever give! I nursed my three boys for a combined total of 8 1/2 years and it was one of the most satisfying things I have even done in life! And I also agree 100% about not settling for a poor latch–even with my first (when I was 24 and every inexperienced since I had never even seen another woman nurse), I would break the suction and re-latch him up to 5 times if I had to in order to get a good latch. The need to do this doesn’t last that long–maybe the first few weeks–after that it becomes SO easy. I never had 1 problem all three times and I think it had a lot to do with my outlook–for me, formula just wasn’t an option and I just knew I was going to be successful :)

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144 Jennifer July 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I totally agree with the last ‘rule’ or anti-rule. About everything related to raising babies/kids. There are so many things I turned my nose up at and thought I would never do and then ended up not being able to live without them. I think motherhood is all about making things work. Sometimes your ideal doesn’t happen but it’s also so much better than you can imagine. I know you’re so excited and I was so excited it’s impossible to imagine that it’s better than that, but it totally is–if that makes sense.

A few things that were true for me or things that I loved, maybe they’ll work for you too.

1-Nursing camis from Target. About $15. I wore them under every single shirt I wore every day I nursed (serious). Your stomach will still look pregnant for a while and then will be squishy for a even longer after that. I was much more concerned about my flabby stomach sticking out when I pulled up my shirt to nurse than my boob showing.

2-Nurse in public! Every time I nursed in public I felt like I was doing my part to help make it more socially acceptable. I (discretely) nursed everywhere often without any kind of blanket covering. I’m not comfortable totally showing my nipples but I totally felt like a feminist nursing in public.

3-It hurts. I thought it would only hurt if I was doing it wrong. I’m still pretty certain that I was getting a good latch from the very beginning (and I had big babies, sometimes it’s harder with the little guys). I got those big duck lips and everything looked good. I think your nipples have to get toughened up a little. Then with #2 I injured my nipple (my nipple was stuck to my shirt w/dried milk & I pulled it off not knowing–ouch!) so I just nursed through it. Engorgement hurts a lot too, be prepared with ice packs to wear in your shirt between feedings. Nursing also makes your uterus contract to get back to it’s normal size and you can feel that (think super bad cramps). It’s not labor but it hurts since you’re already so worn out from laboring.

Breastfeeding is great. I think it’s wonderful that you’re determined. It hurt a lot but it was so worth it. I was too stubborn or I might have given up. I often thought that it was worse than a med-free delivery because it felt like the pain was going to go on forever at least I knew I couldn’t be in labor forever. But one day the toe curling pain during latching did end. Plus I can’t stand paying for something (formula) when I can get it for free (breast milk).

I’m sure you’ve encouraged so many future mothers with your posts on breastfeeding too. I think that’s wonderful!

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145 Diana @ frontyardfoodie July 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm

I’m so glad you have that attitude. That was my attitude exactly.

Arm yourself with some lanolin, determination and love.

Nursing has been the most enriching thing I have ever done in my life. The precious moments I’ve had with my sons and will continue to have with my little one are absolutely priceless. I don’t care if I have to get up a million times per night, or nurse all day long without breaks (hey, it happens!), I don’t mind because not only am I nourishing my baby with all those amazing things that breastmilk is full of but because of all the things that go between me and him as he eats. He’s soaking up my love and compassion, he is watching my expressions, learning my face, feeling my smile ……

Sure, you get sore for a few weeks, sure there’s a lot of sacrifice involved but the reward is hundredfold. I’m so excited for you and your little family. My heart is overflowing with happiness from my newest member and I know your’s will soon too.

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146 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) July 24, 2012 at 7:07 am

I agree with “don’t assume if your baby just ate that he cannot be hungry again.” There are literally a few nights that my baby girl has gotten so irritable (just 45 min or 1 hr after eating a full feed) and I give her a little more to top off and BOOM she is out cold within 3 minutes of feeding!! Breastfeeding is hard work but if you go into it with a 100% committed attitude then you are on the right track! Best of luck to you and your little guy!

Oh – and my lactation consultant told me “Don’t ever decide to stop breastfeeding in the middle of the night.” Why? Because that is when you are most exhausted and your baby might be giving you the most problems. :)

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147 Sarah July 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

It took me a while to figure this one out, but maybe it’ll be easier to recognize if you know it’s a possibility. My daughter used to get quite fussy, popping on and off the breast and fussing, flailing her hands around, etc., when she needed to burp. Apparently this is pretty common – little babies can’t distinguish more than just the general idea that their tummy doesn’t feel good. Mama’s milk makes the tummy feel better, so they keep trying to nurse, popping off because it’s not helping, trying again, etc. Once I recognized this pattern and could stop and burp her, it got MUCH better.

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148 Monica July 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

Ok, I know this is a random one, but it helped me. In the early weeks baby’s mouth is so little and your breasts are encouraged and awkward to manouver (both for you and baby). While the new mom instinct is to be gentle, to help your baby learn to latch you have to pinch a good portion of the nipple to flatten it out, insert (somewhat “forcefully”) into baby’s mouth, and move your nipple side to side until baby’s mouth seals.

My Mom is a midwife and I was so timid with putting my nipple in Wrigley’s mouth, everything about him looked so fragile. My Mom would come up and with no hesitation placed as much of that nipple in his little mouth as possible. I don’t know what I would have done without her help! 8 months later and I still live breast feeding!

Happy breast feeding! It really it within the top three favorite mom things!

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149 KERF July 24, 2012 at 11:03 am

The movie I watched yesterday talk about this too – the notion of not having to treat them like glass. Of COURSE you don’t want to hurt your baby or cause harm, but her point in the video was that they need some physical guidance at times (and also need to be burped with a purpose) and new parents are so scared of hurting their little babies. So great point about helping them out!

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150 Sarah July 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

That is so true! They are actually pretty sturdy little people. My recollection of helping a newborn latch on was basically waiting until she opened her mouth wide enough and then shoving her onto the boob.

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151 Rachelle August 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm

^^ I would so agree w/ all of this. I was so scared to really guide my baby onto the breast with my first. And the same with burping.

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152 Jessie @ Graze With Me July 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

Lots of great tips here, wish I had time to read them all!

My best advice is this: don’t fret when your baby changes their nursing style. They go from floppy & squishy to distracted & bony within the first 4 months. Feeding an easily distracted baby is SO HARD. I wanted to quit every single day for weeks. I cried a lot because she just wouldn’t eat! We also had a nursing strike at 8 months. That was fun. Hmph. But we’re now at 10 months and going strong! She just likes to keep me on my toes.

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153 Sarah July 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

For what it’s worth, my friends who bottle-fed their babies had the same problems at 4-5 months. Eating is suddenly way more boring than the rest of the world out there, no matter how the eating happens. :)

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154 Brittany July 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Starting breastfeeding can be really really hard. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t come “naturally”. The best thing I did was call a lactation consultant to come to our home. They were fantastic and showed up the day after our little bug was born and her help really got us going on the right track. It was difficult, and sometimes really painful but worth it! Little guy is now 6 months old and we’re just getting started with solids. He’s fat, happy, healthy and I’ve really loved the quiet time together that nursing has given us.

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155 Ashley K. July 25, 2012 at 1:20 am

Telling baby, No! makes me laugh, but it could work. Sebastian tucked his bottom lip under when he was latching, which I think is normal. They told me to wait until his mouth was open wide to give him the nipple. I tried to do that as much as possible, but I also just pulled his bottom lip out if he tucked it under in the middle of nursing, rather than detach and latch all over again. He figured it out pretty quickly, like within a few days.

If you’re interested, I just wrote a post all about <a href="http://ashleynkoch.blogspot.com/2012/07/things-no-one-told-me-about.html"Things No One Told Me About Breastfeeding. Nursing is a beautiful, awkward, hilarious, wonderful thing. I’m sure you will love it. It’s definitely got its challenges, though, especially right at first (along with all of the other challenges newborns bring). Stick with it, though! You’ll be glad you did!

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156 Kris July 25, 2012 at 2:15 am

Good luck! Breast feeding is one of the nicest feelings as a mother. However, if it doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up over it. I tried so hard. I would nurse, pump, feed breast milk with a bottle, around the clock. However, my first child wouldn’t gain weight for 8 wks on breast milk. I walked around without a shirt on because my breasts hurt so badly. Second child was much easier and I was able to do it for a year, but I couldn’t for the first. My point 1) you need to be healthy and 2) baby needs to be healthy. Don’t kill yourself over the idea of breastfeeding. I hope it works for you, but if not don’t worry, your child will still be healthy.

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157 sadie July 25, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Exactly what Kris said. Breast-feeding is great! But guess what: bottle-feeding is also great! I did both, and I found that while breastfeeding was wonderful, bottle-feeding was also wonderful. I have wonderful memories of cuddling my baby, gazing into her eyes, smelling her sweet smell, and rocking her with a bottle. Feeding a baby is a great joy, no matter how you do it.

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158 Alicia July 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Sometimes while she was nursing if I felt like the latch wasn’t quite correct but close to it, I would not break the latch but sort of pinch and funnel a bit more of the nipple in. I think the lactation consultant told me that one.

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159 Amelia July 26, 2012 at 12:15 am

What a great teacher you had! My biggest tip: anytime the baby is awake, he’s hungry. Newborns don’t really cry for any reason other than hunger, and by the time they’re even crying they’re REALLY hungry. Look for the early hunger cues like stirring, opening the mouth and eyes, and bringing hands to his mouth, and you’ll be able to meet his needs more easily, which makes life more pleasant for everyone :)

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160 Rachelle August 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I haven’t read all the comments, so I apologize if this is redundant.

After going through newborn breastfeeding all again for the 2nd time just now… here are I’ve found a few things helpful:

1)http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=5&Itemid=17
*APNO was vital for me this time b/c I did crack & bleed. Some say you need to wipe it off, others say it is just fine. I wiped it off before feeds.
*BREAST COMPRESSIONS are vital at first to really get the colostrum & milk out.
The videos of latching are really helpful too. You can google Jack Newman & see other videos too.

2) Ask your pediatrician to check (*in the hospital*) for a short frenulum. If I had done this w/ my daughter, I would have saved myself 3 weeks of issues. (my daughter had a short frenulum (tongue tied) — no one caught it till day 5 even though it is one of the most common reasons for breast feeding issues)

3) http://www.thealphaparent.com/2011/12/timeline-of-breastfed-baby.html?m=1
I enjoyed seeing some loose stats on about how much baby should grow per month & about when they might change their feeding habits.

4) http://www.breastfeedingmaterials.com/view-breastfed-baby-stool
The hospital was eager to tell me how many wet diapers & how many poopy diapers the baby should make… but they never said *anything* about the amount of either in the diaper. Neither did they mention what colors the poo should be & key warning signs. I *finally* found a good graphic of information on the topic (as gross as it may be). This was huge for me with this second baby b/c although my daughter was making enough wet / poopy diapers, she wasn’t having enough *volume* and her urine was *not* clear. Big indications she wasn’t nursing effectively.

My son never had such issues, and breast feeding went so much smoother, all I had were some oversupply issues. I hope you get an easy road to breast feeding.

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