Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tips for Starting Breastfeeding

With two people close to me having babies soon, my mind keeps returning to my early days nursing Natalie and William.  These are the things I would come back to again and again while starting my nursing relationship with both my children.
  • Just after birth, baby needs very little food. Its okay if it takes several days for your milk to come in.  It took five days for my milk to come in with Natalie, and she did not starve.  And, don't let anyone talk you into formula if you don't want it just because your milk isn't in after a couple days.  Discuss with your pediatrician if formula is medically necessary.
  • Even after your milk comes in, baby's stomach is small and breast milk is digested quickly.  Don't be discouraged if baby's feeds are short and often.   
  • Baby always works better than a pump!  Baby can empty your breast more effecicently and sometimes faster than a pump.  You can't judge how much milk baby is getting by how much you can pump.  
  • Skin to skin contact, especially with a sleepy nurser.
  • Nose to nipple - helps you line everything up correctly.
  • Move baby towards your breast, not your breast towards baby's mouth.
  • Rub your nipple on baby's chin to get baby to open wide.
  • Push baby's shoulders in towards your breast, not his head.  He may resist by pushing away even though he is hungry. 
  • Straight line of baby's ear, shoulder, and hips.
  • Fish lips on the breast, if lips are tucked in it will make your nipples sore.
  • Rub feet to help a sleepy baby wake up.
  • Breast crawl isn't just for the birth, can try it again when having trouble getting into position or latching.
  • Semi-reclined position is similar to a breast crawl, letting you relax and baby follow his instincts. 
  • Avoid baby's feet pressing against a surface (such as the back of the couch or a wall) while feeding as it triggers a different reflex. 
  • Support your back and arms.
  • Cooling pads on nipples work way better than lanolin.
  • The amount of milk you can express with a pump does not necessarily equal what your baby can drink through nursing
  • Keep track of pee and poop diapers. Its the easiest way to get peace of mind that baby is eating enough. 

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