View Full Version : BF Basics
03-05-2004, 02:01 PM
My husband and I just recently decided we are going to try BF. Up until now, I had planned on using the Playtex disposables with formula. I understand breast milk is healthier for baby (according to my OB-GYN).
I am really confused to this area....
I am going to try the "nipple approach" but I am not really sure I feel comfortable with it nor if I will enjoy the experience. I plan on pumping too.
I know I need bottles (have them already), pump (not sure what kind to get....buy or rent?), bags for pump (not sure what to get), boppy pillow.
What do I get? Can I interchange my nipple and bottle? Can I try breast milk sometimes and formula the other times, in the beginning?
Should I try the "one step" and exactly what is it?
As you can see, I am terribly confused and nervous. Especially since the baby is due in 3 weeks!
Thanks so much for any input!
03-05-2004, 03:13 PM
Congrats on your decision to breastfeed! It's best for baby and for you for so many reasons that I am sure you have already heard. :)
Tracy, have you and your husband attended a breastfeeding class? Most hospitals offer the class, and you will get all these questions answered and even some you didn't know you had. :) You can also find a local La Leche League group and attend a meeting, they can be a great help. I'll try to answer some of your questions
>I am going to try the "nipple approach" but I am not really sure I >feel comfortable with it nor if I will enjoy the experience. I plan >on pumping too.
Feeding the baby at the breast is the easiest and most efficent way to feed. Once the baby is here, you will feel differently about it. When I was pregnant the first time, I got embarassed if someone even asked if I was going to breastfeed, but once baby was here, it all made sense. You'll want to wait until breastfeeding is well established before you start pumping. Our bodies are designed to make milk based on the baby's cues, and using an artificial pump can sometimes mess that up.
>I know I need bottles (have them already),
Not all babies will take a bottle, and even when they do, they might not like certain brands, so don't stock up too much.
>pump (not sure what kind to get....buy or rent?),
It depends in why you want to pump. For just an occassional bottle, an Avent Isis is good. For going back to work you'll want something like a Medela Pump in Style or Avent Purely Yours. For women with babies who have a medical issue and can't nurse at the breast, a hospital grade rental pump is best.
> bags for pump (not sure what to get),
It depends on what brand of pump and what brand of bottle you are using. You can start out with the bottle that come with the pump for storage.
> boppy pillow.
I liked the boppy, some women like other types, some women just use regular pillows. The boppy is a good one to try. Be sure and take it to the hospital with you so the Lactation Consultants can help you learn how to use it.
>What do I get? Can I interchange my nipple and bottle?
You can, but breastfeeding works best when it is exclusive. Giving a bottle may make the baby prefer bottles and reject the breast. Baby has to work harder to get milk out of the breast than the bottle (which is why breastfed babies have a better chance of not needing braces on their teeth later, and why breastfed babies get less ear infections and why breastfed babies have less issues with jaw development)
If you need to give bottles when you go back to work, it's best not to start until baby is about 5 weeks old and breastfeeding is going well.
>Can I try breast milk sometimes and formula the other times, in the beginning?
you shouldn't. Every bottle of formula is that much milk that your breasts don't know to make. In the first three months or so your breasts are "learning" how much milk your baby drinks. It is important to nurse as much as possible in that time so that later your body knows how much milk to make. Giving formula early on may lead to supply issues later on.
>Should I try the "one step" and exactly what is it?
It is a storage method for breastmilk that lets you pump directly into the liners for the bottles, and store in them until you use it. That means less wasted milk because you don't have to worry about spilling it as you pour from one type of container to another.
good luck with everything and come on back with any questions you might have. :)
Jacob Nathaniel Feb 91
Logan Elizabeth Mar 03
03-05-2004, 03:14 PM
Hi, Tracy. I just want to congratulate you on your pregnancy and your decision to nurse your baby. Your doctor is right-- it's much healthier for the baby, and also for you. Here is a wonderful link that can tell you some more about that and that will probably help you feel more secure in your decision to breastfeed:
FWIW, I really thought that I might hate nursing. I was really nervous about doing it. I have very sensitive breasts and thought that the sensation might be really awful. But then my baby was born, and my body started making exactly the food she needed, and I've never looked back or regretted it for a moment. We had a tough start and needed lots of support, so I'd say one thing to do is find the name of a good lactation consultant NOW. It can make a huge difference. With support, you can do this. We're still nursing 21 months later!
It's important in the very beginning that you don't use bottles. Some babies really have a tough time switching from bottle to breast, and using bottles too early can and does sabotage many nursing relationships. After a few weeks, when you and your baby have the hang of things, you can introduce a bottle. Here's a link about nipple confusion that can help you understand why it's important to wait to introduce bottles:
Remember that your baby will breastfeed, not nipple feed. Your nipple will be way back in his / her mouth. It's a good idea to go ahead and get a nursing book. My favorite is The Breastfeeding Book by Sears. It's also worth finding a breastfeeding class or workshop to take before you give birth. Your OB might have some ideas about where to find one.
If it would help to talk to someone to get some support and have some questions answered, feel free to email or PM me. I'd be glad to give you my phone number.
I really respect the decision you're making, even though you're feeling nervous! Read that first link. You'll see that you're making a wonderful commitment to your baby-- and to yourself.
Mom to Abigail Rose
03-05-2004, 03:53 PM
Karen and Rachel have already covered everything, but I did want to reiterate one thing - do NOT introduce a bottle for the first 4 weeks if you want to BF successfully. If your baby has medical issues - NOW is the time to learn of feeding options other than bottles. The Sears Breastfeeding Book is a great resource (though it can be incredibly patronizing and annoying).
I was utterly sure I would BF, and equally sure we'd have no problems. Didn't read, didn't buy a single bottle. DS ended up in NICU. I didn't know about SNS, Harber feeders or anything else. They gave him bottles of EBM I pumped. We were all so worried about possible brain damage, that I never even asked about feeding options other than bottles. We ended up with nipple confusion that took 8 weeks to straighten, with a lot of help from my BF'g experienced mother, multiple LCs and the wonderful women on this board. We are still BF'g successfully at 14 months today!
Good luck, and if you need support or help, let me know.
mom to Neel 01/05/03
dog mom to a cocker and a PWD
03-05-2004, 03:54 PM
Congratulations on your soon-to-be moommyhood! And double so for making the decision to nurse. It has been one of the most wonderful and amazing experiences of my life!
You have gotten some great info so far, and I just wanted to add my two cents. We rented a Medela Lactina and took it home from the hospital. It was wonderful to have when my milk came in and was feeling a little uncomfortable. I also wanted to be sure I had a handle on nursing before spending hundreds of dollars on a pump. I know that Avent bottles are highly recommended for breastfed babies as the nipple is slow/low flow like the breast. This is what I send Ellen's bottles of EBM to school in.
I also think a must have is "The Nursing Mother's Companion". I found that it was a most valuable resource!
Your determination to breastfeed is the single greatest predictor of your breastfeeding success!
Good Luck to you and let us know if you have any questions!
03-05-2004, 04:27 PM
if you sincerely try to make breastfeeding work, i think you will be rather surprised at the way it makes you feel. i think your hestitation will be replaced with a deep satisfaction. it is truly amazing how comforting nursing is to a newborn. and how comforting it can be for you to know that you can feed and comfort your baby ANYTIME.
unfortunately, the beginning can be difficult and it can be easy to get discouraged. i am not saying that to scare you!!! i just don't want you to spend 2 days trying to breasfeed and then quit because you think that you are the only one who can't seem to figure out what to do. sometimes it is really easy. but some folks, like me, need help. i would strongly encourage you to set a goal of 6 weeks before you reconsider your decision to breastfeed instead of bottlefeed. and i would even more strongly recommend that you take a breastfeeding class or that you make an appointment with a lactation consultant to get all of your questions answered both now and after baby arrives.
breastfeeding is SO easy once you get going and it is FREE. so it is definitely worth going through a learning period to figure it all out. remember, spending $100 on a visit to the lactation consultant is a HUGE savings over spending $200/month on formula for 12 months.
edited to add: the best think about breastfeeding is that you don't need anything at all. you don't need bottles, you don't need a pump, you don't need a specific nursing pillow. those things might come in handy, and i do have them all. but all you NEED is you!!! and lots of water for you to drink and a healthy diet to keep your milk supply going.
in case your OB didn't mention it, there are reasons why breastfeeding is better for YOU, too.
-you will lose the baby weight MUCH faster (without even trying)
-you will burn 500 calories a day just from breastfeeding, so you can eat more! and you should!
-you will reduce your risks for breast and ovarian cancer
-you will save thousands of dollars on formula
-you will always have food for baby wherever you are- so if you find yourself in a jam, you are a-ok!
-you won't have to mix/heat/clean bottles in the middle of the night
-the diapers you change won't smell horrible!!
03-05-2004, 04:31 PM
Best wishes, Tracy! I hope that breastfeeding goes well for you. You have gotten good advice already, but I will add that if you don't have many friends or family who have breastfed, I think it's especially important to use an LC, take a class, and/or go to La Leche League groups so you can get support and answers to your questions. Breastfeeding is the biologically natural way to feed a baby, of course, but it can take a lot of effort for both mom and baby to figure it out. Getting the right position, etc. is not just instinctive, and it can be uncomfortable until you figure out how to get the baby latched correctly (this is where a good LC is very helpful!). However, once you do get everything working, trust me that it is not only healthier for the baby and you, it's also much easier. My son got to be a very efficient nurser, and I truly believe I probably finished most feedings in about the time it would have taken me just to go downstairs and prepare a bottle, let alone feed it to him!
When you travel or are out, it is also so nice not to worry about bringing bottles and formula, warming it up, etc. Of course, if you prefer, you can pump milk and give a bottle when you are out and about. Also, if you want to supplement with an occasional bottle of formula later on, you certainly can (my sister did this with no problems), but I would wait a couple of months until your milk supply is well established for several weeks. Or you might prefer to pump milk and leave it for a babysitter or whoever will be feeding the baby. Good luck, and congratulations on your upcoming arrival!
Elizabeth, Mom to James, 9-20-02
03-05-2004, 04:35 PM
The others have given you great information and I really don't have any more to add to that. I just wanted to tell you that ten years ago when I had my first baby I knew very little about BF and the only people I knew who had BF were my mom, my MIL and my aunt, so clearly not anyone who had done it recently. I was sort of, well, icked out by the whole thing and my friends, who weren't even considering have kids yet, were even more icked out. So really no great support. I decided what the heck, it's a way to cut costs, I'll give it a try (seriously, money was the ONLY reason I considered it back then). I was very blessed w/ a baby that took to breastfeeding fairly well (after two visits from LC in the hospital) and after a few weeks I no longer thought anything of it and wondered why I was so freaked out by it before. I just want you to know that you are not alone with your feelings of being unsure about the whole experience. I hope that everything goes very smoothly for you and I think it's great that you are going to give it a try!
03-05-2004, 04:58 PM
Tracy, Congratulations on your pregnancy. I am SO glad that you found this message board and that your posted your questions and concerns about breastfeeding. You will find great support here. Everyone has given you a lot of great advice.
I wish i had come here and read all the posts before I delivered my baby. I would have been so much better informed. It took a while for me to get a hang of it and i was frustrated because i assumed that it came easily to everyone else... that it was natural and hence should be easy. Not true. It does take a while to get good at it but the moment you do.. the moment when you are sitting there and just pop the baby onto your breast like it is second nature.. that moment is worth every single difficulty you might face in the beginning. Get your husband involved to support your decision. And anyone else who might be with you in the first few weeks. Make sure you tell them that you do not want to hear anything negative when you start breastfeeding. A lot of times, the people closest to you see you struggling and will want to help you out. They might suggest giving the baby formula. It is imperative that you let them know NOT to say such things. It can be demoralizing and confusing. This is such an important decision in your baby's life.. definitely read up some more about it.
And in the beginning you do not needs pumps and bottles.. so I would suggest not to even bother with those for a couple of months. I would get a nursing pillow.. it helps in getting the baby positioned correctly. I used the My Brest Friend Pillow as it was available in my hospitals Lactation Center.
Anyway.. all the very best and hope to see you back here soon!
03-05-2004, 05:06 PM
Congrats from another soon-to-be first time mom (baby boy due Apr. 19th)
You've been given great advice, I just wanted to say good for you for decing to breastfeed!! My husband and I are taking a 2 hour class tonight just on breastfeeding, and it costs very little ($30 I think--and this is in Boston).
Congrats again, and best of luck the rest of your pregnancy!!
eri and the bean, due next month :)
You're due on my birthday! How fun.
Congratulations to you and Tracy both on expectiong, and for deciding early on you want to BF. I screwed a lot of the early stuff up with BF'ing, but the ONE thing I did right was to be stubborn. You tend to do everything you can to make something work if you're determined. And you're both avoiding all my personal screw-ups by asking all the right questions early on. Congrats again!
03-05-2004, 06:09 PM
April 19th is...So I hope he picks another day :) Some roads get blocked for the Boston Marathon...of course they're the ones I need to get to the hospital!!
03-05-2004, 08:09 PM
Just to add another book to the list. Try reading "So That's What They're For" by Janet Tamaro. It is a really funny (and helpful) guide to breastfeeding and helped to put me at ease about the whole thing. BFing is definitely worth it for your baby and for you. Best of luck.
03-05-2004, 09:26 PM
Congratulations on your decision to nurse, Tracy!!! :D
Everyone has given you such EXCELLENT advice that I won't try to repeat it. Rachel has even given you one of my favorite sites -- 101 reasons to breastfeed.
The only things I'd like to add to the collective wisdom is that there are several positions for holding the baby and you may find that certain ones work better for you when starting out and others may work better later on. I found that using the football hold (also called the "clutch") was the easiest in the beginning.
Here's a website that I thought explained the positioning of the baby's mouth on the nipple the BEST -- as Rachel says above, "your baby will breastfeed, not nipple feed." http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/31.html
Finally, because it REALLY helps and can't be emphasized enough -- DRINK, DRINK, DRINK lots of water. You need to keep hydrated! I would drink 8 oz. of water EVERY time Karenna nursed (which could be 8-10 times per day when she was a newborn). So get yourself setup with a comfortable place to nurse -- bed, comfy chair, pillows, etc.. With water, snacks, magazines, remote, etc... at hand. Then just RELAX and focus on nurturing your baby!
03-05-2004, 10:02 PM
You've gotten really great advice already, I don't think I have anything to add. It is so hard before the baby is here to think about breastfeeding - at least it was for me. Sometimes I don't want to read about stuff that I'm not looking forward to, so I didn't research breastfeeding too much before the baby was born. I should have, and it's good that you are asking questions. I was pretty grossed out by the whole idea, and the first few weeks were REALLY hard, but it was definitely worth it!
Good luck to you!
03-07-2004, 01:04 AM
All of this advice is fantastic. The Sears book is great. I just want to add one thing....if you need to pump early on (quick return to work etc) get a Rental pump. The Medela Classic is the best. The lactation consultant who taught my breastfeeding class really encouraged people to go for the rental pump and to use it early on if you want to build supply if you anticipate returning to work before 4 months. Only pump after you are done with a feeding and the morning is best. I had trouble nursing and the pump really did help. This pump advice might be moot if you are going to stay home but I thought I toss it in. The very best of luck to you!
03-08-2004, 02:51 AM
You can do it!
That's my biggest piece of advice. Your body is made to feed your baby. Its amazing. You will come to love it. stick with it for the first 6 weeks and then it will be easy.
Look for a lactation consultant now! I had them at the hospital and I stil call them. My son was 4 weeks premature with low birthweight and a big weight loss. He is now nearly 20 lbs 9 mos later! Its amazing. He was so tiny but all he needed I was able to give him. I have some great handouts from a lactation specialist I would be glad to share. Let me know if you would like them and I email them to you. Or anyone else looking for some good resources.
There are lots of us here to help. We've all been there before and will offer lots of support. Rally your support group now, find people near you who can support you in this. Having your husband on board makes you so much more likely to succeed!
Buddy's Mamma 6-10-2003
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.