To all my Mommies who have cracked the code to breastfeeding, I commend you! Breastfeeding is the best option for your new baby and while its natural, it is not something that always comes easy. It's painful and stressful and can cause anxiety in new moms. Being that this is my second time around, I have a few tips & tricks that have worked for me!
1.) Give it a try! I'm amazed that some new moms don't even try; completely write it off before giving it a go. The truth of the matter is that mother's milk is the most nutritious for the new baby; packed with proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats baby needs especially during those first few crucial months. If you don't last, so be it, but did you know nursing your baby for a few weeks has shown benefits over babies that were never breastfed?
2.) Feed On Demand! Don't try to get the LO on a schedule too soon. Nurse when he/she wants to nurse. It helps with your production. The more you nurse the more you produce. If you are experiencing pain in the beginning due to engorgement, gently massage the boobs while in the shower. If you notice any lumps or if your breasts are red, contact your physician as you may have developed mastitis. If you notice your nipples are chapped, sore, or red, Lanolin nipple ointment was very beneficial for me! It's hypoallergenic and is safe for the baby. I would give the breast that had the sore nipple a rest for a day and only nurse on the other side. Try this especially if you find your nipples begin to bleed.
3) Don't Pump Too Early, but if you have to, FREEZE it! What you don't want is to OVER produce as this can also cause mastitis and blocked milk ducts. After having DJ, my body produced ALOT of milk. At only 5 days post-partum I found my self having to pump because of engorgement. I didn't want to develop mastitis so I pumped enough to relive the pain and froze the milk. Within two weeks I had 18 bags of breastmilk in the freezer, but now I can enjoy a day out or a glass of wine knowing I have a stash in the freezer and baby won't go hungry! Whatever you do DO NOT THROW YOUR MILK OUT! It's liquid gold and will come in handy later on. (Frozen milk can be stored up to 12 months in a proper freezer storage bag!)
4.) Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work! Yes nursing is supposed to naturally happen and is described as this amazing act that connects you to your baby and a whole lot of other euphoric mess. But in real life, it can be difficult at first. You and the baby are learning one another and the baby doesn't speak English so, getting him to latch can be hard. I get it! But DON'T GIVE UP! If you have decided to breastfeed, hang in there. There are tons of resources that can help. Start with reaching out to a lactation specialist. Speak to your child's pediatrician and let them know your concerns. They may be able to help especially if the child's health is of concern. If you have weighed all options and it just isn't working, grab you a glass of wine and invest in the best organic formula you can find. No sense in beating yourself up. The baby gotta eat! You tried, and thats a lot more than what some can say! You are AWESOME for just wanting to give your baby the best food option available!
1.) Myth: Drinking Beer Helps With Production.
Fact: Certain ingredients in beer, such as Brewers Yeast, has shown to increase lactation. Do NOT drink beer while nursing as traces of alcohol can get into your breast milk. Alcohol can reduce the amount of milk the baby receives and can have lasting effects on the baby and his liver. If you want to have a drink keep reading, I have a a few options under the "tricks". :)
2.) Myth: Breastfeeding is a Weight Loss Tool.
Fact: Breastfeeding does help in contracting your uterus and ultimately helping it to go back to its pre-baby size. However, the weight loss you experience immediately following the birth can be attributed to the baby itself, the placenta, and a reduction in blood. While breastfeeding, you are encouraged to increase your caloric intake to account for baby and their needs. And while you may see the pounds shedding, please know breastfeeding is not a "one-to-one" ratio. Meaning you can't eat a pound cake and expect baby to just erase it lol. I promise that slice will show up somewhere else, like your thighs.
3.) Myth: Bottle feeding is just...easier.
Fact: Of course when starting out, breastfeeding can seem overwhelming. But honestly breastfeeding can actually be "easier" than bottle feeding once you get the hang of it. You never need to wash out a bottle or nipples. Late night feedings are simpler! Just pull it out! You never have to worry about packing enough formula when you leave the house. As long as you leave with the "twins", you're good! LOL Breastmilk has antibodies that aid in building their immune systems, which means less trips to the hospital. And most importantly, ITS FREE! :) Sounds "easier" to me!
So you've decided to breastfeed. You are hanging in there, but you need some help whether with engorgement, increasing your supply, or safely enjoying a glass of wine! (Have you noticed how many times I've said wine in this post alone lol) Well, you've come to the right place (lol). Check out some of my tricks below that have helped me.
1.) Pineapple Juice! (My sorority sister told me about this one). Pineapples have anti-inflammatory properties which aid in engorgement. Get a can of 100% pineapple juice and see if that helps. I normally drank two small cans a day and saw some relief. Pineapple juice is also high in Vitamin C! *Note any changes in the baby for allergies.
2.) Oatmeal! Oatmeal has been shown to increase milk supply. It's high in fiber and helps to lower cholesterol. If you don't like oatmeal try oatmeal cookies! Another one of my sorority sisters sent me a recipe she found online for lactation cookies. I revised the recipe a bit (see below) and they turned out GREAT (my husband and daughter kept finding their way to them lol). Note, it includes BREWERS YEAST (the ingredient in beer I mentioned before). You can find it at a local health food store or online.
3.) Mother's Milk Tea! The lactation aid in this tea is fenugreek. It has somewhat of a licorice taste but when sweetened with honey its not that bad! I found it at Mariano's and it was pretty cheap. Enjoy a cup with a bowl of oatmeal or a few oatmeal cookies and you will be a milking machine in no time (I'm exaggerating lol). I did notice a slight increase in my supply, but it wasn't anything super significant. Remember it is still important to drink plenty of water and eat balanced meals to help with production as well.
4.) Pump 'n Dump. So there are many articles out there on how to safely have a drink while nursing. What I have found is that if you decide to have a drink, do so in moderation. As in 1-2 glasses of wine/beer or one mixed drink a week. There is a lot of preparation that goes into indulging, so much that you may ultimately decide against it. LOL Before picking up that bottle, PUMP! Make sure you have at least 2-3 bottles of milk (depending on how often he/she is eating) for the LO so you don't have to nurse. It can take anywhere from 2-7hours for alcohol to leave your system depending on what and how much you drank. Alcohol is not stored in breast milk so while its not necessary to pump and dump, it may just relive engorgement and give you piece of mind. For my birthday I had two 5oz bottles ready! I fed DJ at 7pm and took my first sip of sweet red wine at approx. 7:30pm (immediately following his feeding). He eats about every 3hours so around 11pm Daddy fed him the bottle I prepared and again at 2am. I pumped one boob and fed on the other at 5am...nearly 10 hours after having a small glass of wine. I also made sure I downed a huge mason sized jar of water before going to bed. See what I mean when I say a lot of prep goes into it! LOL