As World Breastfeeding Week is coming to a close, I want to celebrate it by offering what I have learned so far in my breastfeeding experience. I hope this will provide some support for fellow breastfeeding mamas searching for tips and answers. Some of the things below can be easily found if you know how to google, but some might be new to you.
I also like to have all the information I have found useful in one place, as a record for myself, in case I ever have another baby, or my baby has a baby many, many, many years into the future.
On taking care of mama:
1. Don’t go hungry. Eat plenty of small meals throughout the day, like every 3 hours, just like your baby. You might find that you get hungry after nursing too
2. Stay hydrated. This really matters. My lips gets dry even when I chug water continuously. I find that the Camelbak Groove Bottle has been a lifesaver, because I can take it anywhere and just fill it up with tap water. It saves the environment as I am not buying (and throwing out) at least 6 bottles of water each day.
3. Rest, rest, rest. Easier said than done, I know, but try. Nap with the baby and get some cuddles. Even taking a relaxing walk during lunch helps. Of course, if you can nap during that time, even better.
On newborn & infant nursing:
1. Skin-to-skin. Have the baby on you to help stimulate supply, at the same time enjoy the cuddles. They grow up fast!
2. Breast sandwich. Hold your hand like a sideway C so that your breast becomes flat, then bring baby’s mouth/head in where the flat side corresponds to his/her mouth.
3. Keeping sleeping baby awake. They sleep a lot in the early days. Taking off his clothes, tickling his feet and massaging his head were some tips I have found. A BTDT mom saw me nursing my baby one time and told me to just tickle his cheeks, which actually worked really well!
4. Stimulate let down. Hand massage immediately prior or while baby is latched to encourage let down. Then baby will get milk faster.
5. Milk Shake. Shake the girls before nursing “to even out the fat through the entire feed”. (Saw this suggested by an LC on KellyMom Facebook page in response to a mom worrying about slow weight gain.)
On distractable baby:
I have found that holding a favorite toy that makes some sound (a TV remote toy for lil mochi) will keep him nursing for maybe an extra minute or two. This worked from about 4 to 7 months. Sometimes, looking straight in his eyes and talking or singing to him helps too.
On biting baby:
I am still figuring this out, but the main thing is to feed only when baby is truly hungry. Something suggested to me is lengthen the time between feedings slightly during such phases. Babies cannot nurse or suck and bite at the same time! Also, have your pinky finger ready to unlatch!
On the return of the cycle:
Two things I noticed — Tender or sore nipples during ovulation and supply dip at the beginning. KellyMom suggests these natural treatments for such an occasion. For sore nipples, you may try taking evening primrose oil. For supply dip, take calcium/magnesium supplements to replenish what your body used up. Of course drink a lot of fluids as you are losing extra during this time.
On plugged duct:
I have not had serious cases of this, but when I start to feel a little sick, I tend to get plugged duct more easily. Hot shower, massage breasts and nurse a ton. Baby can help you “unplug”. Taking lecithin can help ease and prevent this too (according to KellyMom).
I hope you take away something useful from the above. I will be sharing some tips on pumping in another post as well, so stay tuned.
Breastfeeding is something that benefits from community knowledge. Do you have other tips to add? I would love to know!