Thursday, August 5, 2010

Breastfeeding 101

When I was getting ready to have a baby, I was given the advice of learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before the baby comes. It is NOT intuitive. And indeed, it was not. It was really, really hard. Painful even. But the advice that I did get before Anjali was born was invaluable. Having been at this now for 6 months, this is my advice:

1. Do not have any samples of formula in the house. Get rid of all of it before the baby arrives! Keeping it "just in case" sets you up for failure. Formula or artificial milk, was NOT an option for my baby.

2. Read all you can about breastfeeding. I read two really good books, and it was very helpful to know what was right and was was not right.

3. Get some Bravado tanks. These tanks are awesome! They are great even in pregnancy.

4. EarthMamaAngel Nipple Cream is a wonderful, organic salve and was super helpful.

5. Make friends with It is an excellent resource.

6. Have good support. All my friends were breastfeeding. My midwives kept checking in on me. They came to my home. I hired a great lactation consultant when I had questions later. Failing was not an option.

7. Know what formula is. Take time to learn it's history and it's politics. Don't be misled by advertising.

8. Ameda gel pads are also really helpful.

9. Watch the Dr. Jack Newman videos. Know how to access these in sleep deprivation mode.

10. Know that every baby knows how to breastfeed. Every baby wants to breastfeed. Get through the first 2 weeks. It gets easier after that.


TPS-SheilaP said...

wow. we think alike. so many of those are on my list. aveda pads i never tried.

the only things i would add are

1. breastfeeding resource center (glenside)--call them, visit them. it is worth it.

2. unless you are committed to never leaving your baby's side for a year + and you have a lifestyle that allows you to uphold that commitment, i would pump some milk. like driving a manual car, it's just a good thing to know in an emergency. rent one or go to the resource center (see #1--seriously they are 100% behind breastfeeding. these women know their stuff.)

3. consider herbs and the bounty of the earth your friends -- need more milk? less milk? have mastitis? plugged ducts?

4. whether people accept it or not, breastfeeding and birth are connected to sexuality. if you're having trouble, think about what gets you in the mood -- calm, deep/relaxed breathing, breast compressions, nipple stimulation. these things help let downs come more easily.

.... there are more i guess, but i've got a restless, teething baby. thanks for your support!

Madhavi said...

Hi Sheila, thanks for the helpful suggestions. I heard great things about the Breastfeeding Resource Center and I think it's awesome that there is one.

I agree with learning how to pump. I would, however, not learn how to pump until you and your baby are well established at the breast. I made the mistake of telling my friend who was expecting a baby 1 month after me to learn how to use her pump. In the end, she didn't stick with breastfeeding and only pumped in the early days. Then it was too late. I will never give that advice again.

For herbs, stimulants and for suggestions for a good diet to eat when you are breastfeeding, I recommend the MotherFood book. It's a great book found on Amazon that is well researched and very thorough.