In a day and age where there is no dispute that breast milk is best for babies, it seems that sometimes mothers aren’t given enough information or support to successfully nurse their children. There are even some hospital nurses and pediatricians that scare new mothers into thinking that if your baby loses a pound before leaving the hospital, that he/she needs formula OR that if you aren’t producing milk by day 2 that you need to at least supplement. The truth is that not only is it normal for a baby to loose a little weight, but your baby is born with a supply of fat to last a couple of days while a mother’s milk supply comes in. In the meantime, the bay is getting colostrum, otherwise known as liquid gold, because of the beneficial properties of this first milk. Colostrum is high in protein, carbs, nutrition and antibodies!
Helpful Nursing Hints
Read this before going to the hospital and print these tips to put in your birthing bag so that you can refer to them!
1. Schedule an appointment with the hospital’s lactation consult right away. If not birthing at a hospital, call a postpartum doula who specializes in breastfeeding support!
2. Nursing is a first for both you and the baby, so it is trial and error – don’t worry about doing something ‘wrong.’ The MOST important thing is to relax and have patience if you get stressed or anxious, the baby will too, and this will make things more difficult. Just accept the fact that it may take time and it may be hard and you will be fine.
3. Get nipple cream and start using it as soon as you are situated after giving birth. By using it before cracking, you are helping to prevent it. Oh, and make sure to bring nursing pads to the hospital in case you have leakage – this probably won’t start until you are back home though.
4. Tongue tie – Just to be sure, ask BOTH the lactation consultant and the pediatrician that sees the baby in the hospital to look and see if there is a tongue tie. Some doctors will claim that it won’t affect the nursing, but in most cases it definitely does! You will want to know about this right away. If there is one, it is an easy fix! My son had one and after getting it taken care of, the nursing went much more smoothly.
5. Be aware of foods to avoid: The following foods are known to bother a newborn. It can be mild where there is just a little fussiness, to extreme crying from gas pain. You may not notice it the first 2 weeks, as during this time a baby’s digestive system isn’t fully up and running. If you have to avoid these foods, it’s not forever, babies start to grow out of this around 3 or 4 months and in the big scheme of things, 3 or 4 months of your life of avoiding these foods for the sake of your baby is no big deal
Garlic, chocolate, wheat, milk, nuts, tomatoes and acidic fruit, spicy food, eggs – It could be just one or all and doctors usually suggest trying an elimination diet if your baby is having trouble. Some doctors will say there is no such thing, but if you ask any expert in the nursing field, they will confirm that babies do have reactions to certain food, which makes sense since their digestive tracks are still developing. I found my kids to have problems with creamy dairy products, garlic, dill, chocolate, spices and wheat.
6. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding AND take acidophilus. My pediatrician recommended taking this and I did while nursing both kids. Studies have show that it has many positive affects on a baby, such as supporting a baby’s brain development. It also helps to prevent thrush, which is basically a yeast infection which can be passed from a baby’s mouth to the mother’s nipple and is very itchy! I use Nature’s Sunshine L. Acidophilus. It is a very pure brand. If you cannot find it near you, you can order it and have it shipped from Healthy Alternatives in Babylon, NY (631) 587-4629.
7. Have the contact info of your local La Leche representatives: http://www.llli.org/. You can call for breastfeeding support/advice for free and they can refer you to a support person that will come to your house if you need one. Paying for a peer support person is WORTH it! That way, you can nip any issues that you may not even know is there right from the start – I highly recommend doing this! My support person is awesome! If you live on Long Island and are looking for someone, send me a comment for her info.
8. Bring this book with you to where ever you birth: The Nursing Mother’s Companion. It really helped me with both of my babies. It is clearly organized, answers any questions you may have and does not have to be read cover to cover as you can easily turn to the chapters and topics that apply to you. Included in the book are chapters on nursing premies, nursing multiples, nursing the adopted baby, mastitis and much more.
A Great Article to Read Before Baby Is Born: 10 Things You Should Know About Your First Week of Breastfeeding
Long Island Postpartum Doulas/Breastfeeding Support http://www.lidoulas.com/