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  1. #11
    Melanie is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: Any advice on Breastfeeding ??

    I have not gone back to work, so I can't help you with that part. However, like everyone else, I had problems. So I will tell you what I think did/would have helped:

    HELP
    Get lactation consultant names/numbers before you deliver and talk to them to find out who will go to the hospital. My hospital didn't have any on staff and the nurses seemed to be helping me from their own personal experience (which didn't help). If you do not breastfeed before you leave the hospital your baby *will* be jaundiced and if your pediatrician is not supportive of breastfeeding it will be very easy for exhausted & emotional parents to turn to formula. There is a reason that even the La Leche League says that just because breastfeeding is the most natural thing, doesn't mean it will come naturally.

    Breastfeed ASAP! Just like someone else said, in the delivery room if you can. Babies are very alert when they are born, but it doesn't last long. My son went to NICU for 45 minutes and by the time he came back he was SO sleepy. It only makes the whole process more difficult when your tiny newborn just wants to sleep.

    Also, do NOT allow the hospital nurses to give your baby sugar water. There is a reason it is distributed by Similac. The baby does not need it. They just need your colostrum. If the nurses are really pressing the issue, have them check your baby's blood sugar level, it will probably be fine. If it actually is low, then have them give the baby sugar water with a spoon or finger feeding or anything but that TINY rubber nipple that comes with the water. This has ruined many a breastfeeding relationship from the start. If your hospital does not allow the baby to be with you all the time, make sure there are signs all over it's bed saying "breastfeeding only," etc. Make sure they know you want them to bring the baby to you when it is hungry, NO MATTER WHAT TIME. This was the one thing that went in our favor, at our hospital babies roomed in with the mommies.

    Make sure you "sell" your husband on breastfeeding before the baby is here, because you will need his support if it is difficult and you don't want him adding to your post-partum fears/doubts when you need his encouragement. I won't go into all the benefits of breastfeeding, as there are MANY and tons of websites that list them.
    Take a prenatal breastfeeding class with your husband. It didn't help me a whole lot with the technique, but did sell us on the benefits.

    It *will* hurt at first, but if it hurts for longer than 5 days then you are doing it wrong. I waited 3 weeks before getting help, big mistake. Once you get help, keep trying for two weeks, no matter what. This is the best advice our consultant gave us. They are not miracle workers and if you wait until you have problems like I did, you will hope they solve them all in a day, they will not. It gets better each day and by the end of the second week I was so glad I didn't give up on Day 3.

    BREASTFEEDING SUPPLIES
    You will want to have all of these before your baby gets here.

    I recommend the Breastfeeding Book by Martha & Dr. Sears, but I have also heard good things about the La Leche Leagues' Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, I just didn't find it in time. Also get a breastfeeding stool and a breastfeeding pillow. You will probably also want a regular pillow to put behind your back. I found breastfeeding in a hospital bed difficult, and sitting up in one of their chairs to be much easier. I also found the cross-cradle hold to be best for a sleepy newborn who needs lots of help latching on.

    I have the Medela DoubleEase pump. Do not get this, you will need the top of the line for pumping while working or else your milk supply will diminish. I don't know if the Pump In Style is better than ones offered by other companies, but I know that most of the consultants recommend Medela. WHAVE A BREASTPUMP AT HOME BEFORE YOUR BABY IS BORN and know how to use it.

    While in the hospital have them bring you a breast pump to use. Then you will go home with the kit which would normally cost $50, so if you end up renting a hospital grade pump, you won't need to purchase this kit seperately. Plus the extra cones/bottles come in handy and will work wit other Medela pumps.

    Don't forget a package of the bags to freeze your breastmilk in. I second whomever else said to freeze small quantities. No more than 4 oz, but 2 is best because for a few months babies should not have more than 2-4 ounces per feeding (no matter what the formula companies tell you).

    Have a nice large box of breastpads. If you are going with the reusable kind, have a lot of them ready. Until your body finds out how much milk your baby needs you will leak, leak, leak! Have a soft/stretchy bra to wear at night to keep the breast pads on.
    Have at least two nursing gowns/pajamas. As someone else said, a nursing bra that you can latch with one hand is imperative (I like the Playtex one at Target). Also buy a tube of Lansinoh Lanolin (Target or Wal Mart), it lasts a long time. Have a few REALLY LARGE button down tops ready. I didn't have any maternity tops which buttoned-down, and even my biggest non-maternity ones didn't fit me for a couple weeks. After a while, you may not need button-down tops, but at first it was helpful.

    Unless one of your health professionals tells you otherwise, or you are an extremely heathly eater, keep taking your prenatals as long as you breastfeed. Sometimes they forget to tell you this.

    SYNTHETIC NIPPLES & BOTTLE-FEEDING
    Do not use nipple shields if you can help it, and do not use them for more than just drawing out inverted/flat nipples and then remove them after 5 minutes.

    If you need to use a pacifier (honestly, you won't know until your baby is here), use the Size 2 Nuks, or whatever orothodonic style/brand you like, but just not the newborn size. You need them to have something bigger in their mouth.

    Do NOT give your baby a bottle until you have had 3 SUCCESSFUL weeks of breastfeeding, and when you do, use wide neck bottles and make sure the babies mouth is not just on the nipple, but open really wide onto the wider part. Not all babies need this to prevent confusion, but it couldn't hurt. I use the Dr. Brown's Wide Necks because of their system to keep more air out of baby's tummy, but Avent makes the same type of nipple. DO NOT USE the Playtex type which is everywhere. I know the disposables would be convenient, but there is a reason that the formula companies give you one for free with their samples. Which brings me to their "breastfeeding success kits." HA! As if they want you to succeed with breastfeeding. They want you to have sample formula in your hands for when you are in pain and exhausted at 3 a.m. to put in a bottle which will confuse your tiny newborn to pieces.

    We started earlier than three weeks because we got (bad) advice that if we waited the baby would not take the bottle. This caused many problems. Babies suck differently on bottles than breasts and may not understand to do so at first. This will probably cause you a lot of pain. I know you are returning to work and want to make sure your baby will take a bottle, but don't worry about this at first. Worry about breastfeeding.

    If you really need someone else to feed the baby in the early days, have your lactation consultant teach you & your husband how to finger feed.

    Once you do begin using bottles, we found the Reading your baby's cues at first can be difficult and by the time you realize they are hungry, they may be REALLY HUNGRY (& angry). Life was a lot more pleasant at our house once we bought the Quick Serve Bottle Warmer by the First Years ($17.99 @ BRU). It is so fast! I will add that we do not bottle feed regularly, though, but so far it has held up nicely. I also got the Express Microwave Steam Sterilizer from Avent ($29.99 @ BRU). Very worth the money.

    MORE RANDOM THOUGHTS
    In the beginning I thought to myself "Just make it three months. Anything helps." Then at two months I thought, "Just go six months." Now that we are at 4 months I know I can do it as long as my baby needs it, which I believe is longer than 6 months. Babies even benefit past one year, but that is a very personal decision for your family. Just get out there an educate yourself so that once you & your husband have made your decision as to how long you will breastfeed, you believe in it. No matter what you decide, someone is bound to question you about it.

    The weight charts used by pediatricians are based upon formula-fed infants. Make sure your pediatrician knows your baby is breastfed so they can interpret the percentiles appropriately. Breastfed babies, on the whole, are leaner than formula fed so don't worry if they are in the lower percentiles. As long as your baby keeps growing, it is fine. Also, your baby WILL lose weight at first. This is normal. It is because you do not have breastmilk yet, just colostrum (which has important antibodies in it). Give the baby a week to get back to it's birth weight. My son lost over half a pound in the 4 days it took for my milk to come in. After 1 day of breastmilk he gained it all back.

    LASTLY
    It will be hard, it will hurt, it will be exhausting, it is worth it and it WILL GET BETTER!!!! =) It is the gift you can give your baby, now, that will last for the rest of their life. They will be healthier, stronger & smarter for it.

    CONGRATULATIONS & BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!


    Mommy to Little Jonah born 11-6-2001


    Boy - 10 years, Girl - 6 Years Old!, (What am I still doing here?! LOL) Dog - Eternal Puppy , Me - Done .

  2. #12
    vkmom Guest

    Default Going Back to Work...

    Talk with other moms that you work with about how to handle pumping at work. Unfortunately, I was only able to pump 1 time a day at work because I teach. My coworkers who are not in the classroom pump twice and that seems to be working better for them. This was not enough for me and my dd weaned herself off at 6 1/2 months (frown). Next time, I think I will ask other coworkers to help me find solutions to pump twice. Happy Feeding.

  3. #13
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: Any advice on Breastfeeding ??

    I just wanted to follow up a little bit. A lot of folks have mentioned pain. But I was always told that if breastfeeding hurts, then something is wrong, mostly likely the baby is not latched properly. If you are in pain, get help immediately!!!

    Also, make sure your pediatrician is pro breastfeeding. Even with our initial weight gain issues, my peds were VERY supportive and never suggested supplementing as long as she was still healthy otherwise. And also, if you supplement occasionally, it is NOT the end of the world. I had myself worked up into an emotional tizzy (I was actually in tears) over giving my baby the occasional ounce of formula and it is not worth it!

    And there are many joys to breastfeeding. It is a miraculous thing to realize that you are providing the source for your baby growing and thriving. It can be convenient, but many people are not comfortable breastfeeding in public or even in front of family. If you can, join a breastfeeding support group (my hospital had one) or any New Mom support group. Before I had the baby, I thought that was really corny, but they can be wonderful. It was a definite lifesaver for me. But if the women are judgemental or competitive, then find a new group! You need support in the early days, not another source of feelings of inadequacy!

    Congratulations and best of luck. Hopefully we haven't scared you too badly!!!! :-)

    HTH,
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  4. #14
    neuhofer Guest

    Default RE: Any advice on Breastfeeding ??

    Congratulations on your coming little one! And congratulations on your postive, preparing stance toward breastfeeding. I really liked what KathyO and Geebee had to say, but will throw in my two cents worth as well.

    I'm sure you'll get lots of good stuff from your book. As for warming bottles, pumping etc. I vote for "why bother"? Take cozy sweet baby to bed with you and everyone will have happier, hassle-free nights. Depends how "eventually" you'll be going back to work, but just revel in your baby until that happens and you will be together often enough to breastfeed directly all the time.

    EXPRESSING
    I just hand express when collecting milk for brief absences or use one of those $15-20 Caneson shaft-style pumps. In my first few months, I could only ever express with getting two little streams at once, so it would take a long time to collect any quantity. Now, 5-6 jets is easy. (hope that wasn't too graphic, but I always wondered that kind of stuff before and never had anyone to tell me). I'm not sure what the difference is since production was never a problem for me and technique is certainly lacking since I express so seldomly.
    NB: hopefully your book mentions that only about 1-2% of moms actually have a problem with breastmilk quantity or quality. So don't get discouraged and fall for that common excuse.

    PAIN
    Yes, I read all those books that championed "it doesn't hurt if you do it right" and clung to that mantra before DD arrived. Oh, the naivete! I think it's part of that whole "dreamy in the tasteful and frilly nightgown" illusion. According to my and DH's interpretation of book photos, the observances of the mat. ward nurses, and the advice of the local public health nurse, baby always latched on right even from the start. But yes, I had sore nipples with fierce pain worst on third day. Very fair skinned. Cracked and bleeding a bit. Took two weeks to heal completely and lanolin cream definitely helped. Get the help you need and just persevere: it's that important for your baby.

    EMBARASSMENT
    OK, I'll admit, having never been close to my own parents nor the demonstrative sort, it was more than a little weird nursing DD in my arms on the loveseat as they sat on the nearby couch when she was but 2 days old (used lots of propping pillows as modesty shields). And yes, months later, a shyer friend whispered that she thought some older man was trying to get a peek at a mall foodcourt. However, these and MANY, MANY other incidents will be part of what makes you a strong and confident woman benefiting from a multitude of life experiences. Just think about how good it is for your baby, and realize that you don't deserve to separate yourself from a fascinating conversation only to sit on a cold hard toilet. Breastfeeding is not ugly or shameful. It's discreet and if someone like that mall man gets a peek, oh well, he just saw a normal part of a normal female body. You owe it to yourself to never be embarrased or intimidated. And you owe it to your child to feel this confidence. I know of many women who have opted for bottle-feeding out of embarassment or relagated themselves to guest bedrooms and public bathrooms. Keeping in mind the inevitable trials in your child-rearing future: most of us make this out to be bigger than it really is - just tell yourself to get over it.

    MY VOTES
    1. t-shirts and similar knits are easier than button-front and give you WAY more fashion options than a limited number of frumpy nursing tops with slits and flaps.
    2. Bras that snap at the centre are the best. I could NEVER manage those ones that clip at the shoulder!
    3. Ditto with other writers on the importance of learning to nurse while laying down.
    4. Gerber disposable nursing pads are the thinnest (if you need them).

    In addition to the obvious and well-documented benefits for your baby, I think it's great for you as well. I can't imagine that I will EVER get sweeter smiles from my daughter than when she is nursing. I have read that women who breastfeed are far more satisfied with whatever sort of breasts they have, than women who don't. My personal experience supports this. As you may have gathered from my writing, it also does a great job to build your overall confidence and make you feel like a pure bolt of woman-power.

    Way to go, you'll be just great at it :)

  5. #15
    jojo2324 Guest

    Default RE: Any advice on Breastfeeding ??

    You guys are so helpful! Lots of info here :) I am due with my first the end of June and plan on taking six weeks maternity leave. Here's my situation: I am a waitress and I work (late) nights, I'll usually get home around 11, 12. I live in a resort area, so the summer months are crucial to my making money; I am already missing June, July and half of August. I would take more time off if I didn't stand to make a large chunk of money between mid-August and Labor Day. This baby was a pleasant surprise, so money is a bit tight right now. My husband works as a chef. He begins his work day at about six in the morning. He will also be working a couple of other jobs to make ends meet, so some evenings he might not be getting home until 8. Again, I need to stress that the four months of summer are our only opportunity to make money. I don't want people to think that we are abandoning our baby! Ok, now that I've made myself feel a little bit better...
    I WANT to breastfeed. My biggest concern is when I go back to work, after six weeks. The baby will be hanging with granma and granpa during the overlap when we are both working. I would like to introduce the baby to formula (not too soon) to ease the transition for when I go back to work, and use that intermittently with breastmilk. And I don't know how easy it will be to pump at work. (Would you excuse me for twenty minutes? I need to go empty my breasts.) I would like to try pumping; after the first few weeks, am I able to NOT feed the baby when my boobs start leaking and can I pump that? How long can I freeze it for? I know that I am sounding a bit desperate here, but I only have four months left to figure out what it is I am doing, and we are moving to top it all off, a month before the baby is due...AARRGGHH! Should be interesting :) Any comments are adored. thanks

  6. #16
    KathyO Guest

    Default RE: Any advice on Breastfeeding ??

    I'm sure I won't be answering all your questions, but here's a few bits and pieces:

    Don't beat yourself up too much about doing what you gotta. Nobody, but nobody, parents under ideal, picture-perfect circumstances. You just love your baby and get on with what you need to do. Everything will be just fine.

    If you are careful about washing your hands and using clean equipment, breast milk can be stored frozen in a home freezer for 6 months.

    Hopefully your baby will be taking a bottle by the time you go back to work. If not, DON'T PANIC! I was stressing out because I had to go back one day a week, and my daughter flat refused to bottle-feed. The lactation consultant at the hospital reassured me that this is not uncommon. Many of the hospital's nurses came back to work 12-hour shifts with the same problem. "Just have whoever takes care of the baby pass the time doing things she likes, and offering the bottle regularly. Even if she doesn't take it, she'll make up for it when you get back. Your night will be more interrupted this way, but she'll get what she needs and be just fine." And she was right. You are very lucky to have grandparents on hand to step into the gap. Wonderful.

    On the leakage question - you may leak, and you may not. I never did. When it comes to pumping, get in lots of practice once your milk is well established. You may find that you can empty a breast with surprising speed, and that even a 10-12 minute break may be all you need (I assume you get some kind of break somewhere in your shift... although I never did in my waitressing days, so who knows?) If your shift is a long one, you'll probably need to take a break to relieve the pressure in your breasts, even if you don't empty them completely.

    Hang in there; good luck with the move, the baby, the job, and everything!

    KathyO





  7. #17
    jojo2324 Guest

    Default RE: Any advice on Breastfeeding ??

    Thank you! :)

  8. #18
    stampmom Guest

    Default RE: Any advice on Breastfeeding ??

    You've already gotten a ton of great info and advice here, but I have a couple of things to add.

    First, I highly recommend contacting a local La Leche League group, and attending meetings if possible. Not only will they be a great source of info, but also a terrific "support system" for you. And even if none of the meeting times/locations work for you, the LLL Leader can be an additional contact for questions, problems, etc. (instead of or in addition to a lactation consultant -- and it's FREE). (For example, did you know that putting cabbage leaves in your bra can help relieve the pain of engorgement?? LOL) You can find out how to contact a local LLL group by going here: http://www.lalecheleague.org/WebUS.html

    Second, when you decide to start "introducing" your baby to a bottle (and I agree you should wait until BFing is WELL-established before doing so), it's a good idea to have your DH or someone else give the bottles. This will help avoid confusing the baby -- he/she will figure out that Mommy is for nursing, and Daddy (or whoever) is for bottle feeding.

    I also just want to re-emphasize the importance of avoiding bottles with the thinner, fast-flow nipples. I used the Avent system and that worked well for us.

    Finally, when you start pumping, don't get discouraged, or use the amount of milk you are able to pump as an "estimate" of how much milk you are giving your baby. Even the best pump is just not as efficient at "extracting" your milk as your baby will be, plus many (most?) women aren't able to relax as much to achieve as good a "let down" as they can for their baby.

    Good luck!
    Dawn
    Mommy to Adam 6/98
    Jeremy(?) expected 7/02

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