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My first four children were born within 5 1/2 years. This little guy came 8 years later. I am much older and the lifestyle of our family has changed- A LOT! I wasn't too worried about breastfeeding, until reality set in. His birth came with complications, placental abruption and interuterine growth retardation. His small size made it hard for him to latch on and the nurses more anxious than ever for him to eat. I asked each of my nurses to give me hand in getting him to latch on. Finally, one amazing nurse offered me a nipple shield (and a lot of support). I had not used one before, but I was desperate. We tried it out and it worked! I used this for a day and then he could latch on without assistance.
When he was two weeks old, I started feeling a lump in one breast, then chills. I had mastitis. It was horrible! But once the antibiotics were in my system for 24 hours, I was much better and able to continue breastfeeding. This has been my most challenging baby to breastfeed, but also my most rewarding. I know he is my last so I'm enjoying every minute of it (except the mastitis!)
The other challenge with our new little guy has been breastfeeding on the go. I am a strong advocate of breastfeeding, but I am also sensitive to the feelings of others and don't want to make them uncomfortable. (I don't see my 14 year old being too happy with his mom nursing in front of his baseball team!) I have found ways to discreetly feed my baby at baseball games (the outfield is a good thing), dance recitals, school events, parties, camping etc. Our baby has learned to be flexible and we have learned to time things out as best we can. Now that he is on solids, we often take advantage of those feedings at times when breastfeeding would be difficult. It is possible to breastfeed on the go!
After breastfeeding five babies I have learned a few things. First: talk to every lactation specialist you can. I did this with the birth of each of my children and they all taught me something new and different. Allow the nurses to help you and offer support. Second: each child is different. Realize that each baby will have different schedules, needs and personalities, even in breastfeeding. Work with their personalities. Third: Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn't make it easy. It can be tough, but hang in there, you'll be glad you did!
A few tips I have learned: There is a little soft spot behind the earlobe. If you rub it gently in a circular motion, most babies will begin to suck again. This is great to do if your baby is dozing off while eating and trained my babies to eat steadily until they were full.
Football hold rules, especially after a c-section.
There are a ton of nursing products out there. You only need five: A good nursing bra, nursing pads, a decent pump, a lightweight blanket and lanolin. (Lanolin is your best friend the first few weeks of nursing).
I am certainly not a nursing expert, but I have had many wonderful experiences feeding my five little ones. It is so amazing that our bodies can create these little ones, I love it that we can produce the nutrition to sustain them once they're here!
Here is my advice: Lets support each other. Breastfeeding takes a while to get used to. Babies eat often. Nursing on demand will increase your milk supply. Having your baby in an infant carrier (test a few to find one that works for you) will help you learn your babies cues and help you respond quickly.
What I have found as the biggest difference between baby #1 and baby #2 is that I have done the research now. I understand that women have choices, I want to help Moms feel that their choices are supported. Formula will not kill your child but it really isn't the best choice for your baby. If we can give new Moms accurate information including the fact that the first week breastfeeding can make your toes curl as you have not ever had anyone clamp on your breast that was before, and it is OKAY!! You can do this!!!
1. There is no time limit or breastfeeding window. Mothers and babies are mammals with an inherent, biological instinct to be able to breastfeed. Both may need help, a little or a lot, but breastfeeding WILL HAPPEN as long as mom keeps trying!
2. Newborn bellies have a 1 OUNCE PER DAY capacity. The hospital 2 ounce formula bottles are too much to give a newborn several times a day.
3. The breast does not clearly show how much it makes or dispenses, and the amount one pumps is not how much an efficient baby can get. If a baby relaxes while eating, falls asleep, has several wet and dirty diapers per day, then they are getting enough.
4. Breasts replenish milk after they are emptied. Mothers, feel free to switch sides as many times as it takes until the baby is satisfied. You don't have to wait 2-3 hours to give the breast again, so save yourself the stress of an angry baby. Feed the baby whenever they want and forget the clocks.
5. Breastfeeding is a supply/demand relationship. If the baby wants more, the breasts will make it. If the baby needs more of a nutrient, antibody, protein, etc, the breast will make it. Every time the baby is given a bottle, the breasts are being told they don't need to make as much milk, and supply is negatively affected. Trust your body, feed on demand, and know that breastmilk by itself is all a baby needs to grow.
6. Babies cry for many reasons and want to go to the breast for many reasons, not all because of hunger. Nursing often will give a baby every level of comfort they crave and won't overfeed them. Normal breastfeeding is comfortable, easy, portable, convenient, requires little to no thought, is relaxing for both and beneficial for both mother and baby.
I hope these tips help someone- they are the top tips I end up giving to mothers every single day to help them on their breastfeeding journey. I wish everyone the best and commend every mother that dedicates themselves to providing their babies with the very best nutrition.
Everything use to be very tough in the beginning because of lack of sleep but overtime it became much easier and it is all because I kept myself in the positive mindset when it comes to breastfeeding. You can also accomplish this goal as long as you keep reminding yourself of the huge life long benefits of breastfeeding a baby for one years time.
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Content last updated June 29, 2011.
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