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Re:Breastfeeding. What I've learned after 11 mos.

Nursing is tough in the beginning, it hurts, it monopolizes your time, and often times you're gonna be left wondering if you're doing it right.

I just wanted to share a few things that I've learned along the way.

1. Delay giving your baby a pacifier for at least the first two weeks. It's gonna hurt, but if you let the baby use you to comfort suck as often as they want during this time, it's going to really help establish your milk supply. It's good practice for the baby too.

2. It's okay for nursing sessions to last 45 minutes or more (on each side) in the beginning. Give yourself the time to do nothing but nurse when you have to. Pretty soon your milk supply will meet the baby's need and they will be getting what they need in 10 minutes, or sometimes less.

3. If you can delay pumping, do it. Nothing is equivalent to the baby in setting your milk supply. No pump can replicate your baby's exact need and everyone I know who has switched straight to the pump has had immediate supply issues.

4. You might have to wait a little longer before jumping into a work out or weight loss routine. If I tried to lose weight in the first 4 months, my milk supply tanked. Once we were past that point I was able to focus on getting the weight off without losing my supply, but it really made me be patient. It bothered me for awhile, but I ended up being able to take all the weight off without interfering with nursing. 

5. Ask for help. It's not just a natural thing, it's a learned process, for you and the baby. If you're struggling don't wait to get some help.

I'm not saying that everyone can breastfeed. For some people it really doesn't work, and that's nothing to feel bad or guilty about. I really just wanted to share a few tips that have helped us get to 11 mos. I'm hoping to be able to nurse for as long as DD wants, and then this baby too.

It's a really personal thing, and I've gotten my fair share of criticism.

It can't hurt to try if you feel it's right for you. 

Re: Re:Breastfeeding. What I've learned after 11 mos.

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    Yes

    Great post! As a first-timer here all the back and forth re: breastfeeding is duanting. This is what's really helpful. Tips and support. I want to try and make it work but honestly all these recent posts have me terrified! I think I may look into a bfing class. I've heard those are helpul, too. 

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    Thanks! Great tips. Do you have a breastfeeding book you would recommend as well?
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    Thank you for your post!  Any amount of real experience is helpful!
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    Thank you so much for posting this. I had a heck of a time (and failed) breastfeeding DD but I am not giving up! This is great advice and some things I did not even think about! Really appreciate this post!!
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    imageKimber314:
    Thanks! Great tips. Do you have a breastfeeding book you would recommend as well?

    I started reading "The Womanly Art of Breasfeeding" but never finished it. It's by LLL, and I trust the info from them.


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    This is perfect breastfeeding advice!  Wink
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    Great advice! I agree that BF is not always easy and natural!

    And I think it's bull that they say "if they are latched right it doesn't hurt". For me, it hurt like a MOTHER the first 2 weeks, and DS was latched and eating just fine. It got much better after that point, and nothing changed with him!! 

    I BF for 4 mo exclusively and another month doing morning and night only. DS had a dairy allergy, I had recurring mastitis, and with all that and working FT/ pumping (my job is NOT easy to get pump time!), I gave up!!

    I'm hoping to at least do morning/ night only feedings longer this time if we don't have dairy probs again!

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    3. If you can delay pumping, do it. Nothing is equivalent to the baby in setting your milk supply. No pump can replicate your baby's exact need and everyone I know who has switched straight to the pump has had immediate supply issues.

    Hi, my name is Meri and now you have met someone who did not have a supply issue without delaying pumping.  My son was in the hospital with jaundice for 3 days after coming home from the hospital he was born at.  I was there with him, but nursing was impossible, even with the help of round the clock nurses and lactation consultants.  I decided to pump and let him be bottle fed.  As soon as he was better and we were home from the hospital, he took to me right away.  I nursed and pumped(since I work full time) for 8 months until he decided he was done(not due to a supply issue). 

     

    Just wanted to put this out there so those girls who have issues in the beginning don't just fully give up.  There were a few doctors who told me I would NEVER be able to nurse if I exclusively pumped in the beginning.  Well guess what, i proved them wrong.  So don't give up if you are not able to and just pump every 2 hours instead of nurse.  Once you are able to nurse, then work on it. 

    we also had no issue with nipple confusion from using a pacifier or bottle right away.  It really just depends on your child.

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    As a bfer of 14 mos, I completely agree with you.

     For the poster above, I found my one hour bfing class to be pretty useless.  You unfortunately don't hear much about the specific issues until they come up.  I read A LOT about bfing online mostly.  Kellymom.com is great.  None of the doctors helped me with the issues, I had to look online and try things out as they surfaced and we eventually got it.  There's nothing to be scared of, i think we are all (as a society) used to things happening easily and quickly and get frustrated at the first failure that happens.  BFing is not a quick foolproof process, you just have to be patient and persistent if you want it to work.  The first few weeks are the hardest so just try to get through those and ask for help if needed. 

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    Thank you! That is valuable advice to a first-time Mom.
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    I wish more people would have been posting these type of lists before I had DD. I feel like now that I look back at my failed b/f experience I can see all the things I did wrong and it gives me hope that I'll do better next time! FWIW, I was able to pump for 2.5 months, but was supplementing a lot with formula because I couldn't get my supply up.
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    imagebabytote2:

    Just wanted to put this out there so those girls who have issues in the beginning don't just fully give up.  There were a few doctors who told me I would NEVER be able to nurse if I exclusively pumped in the beginning.  Well guess what, i proved them wrong.  So don't give up if you are not able to and just pump every 2 hours instead of nurse.  Once you are able to nurse, then work on it. 

    Same here! DS was an unplanned c-section, and then he was in the NICU for two days - he was four days old before we were able to room together, and I pumped the whole time, while trying to establish breastfeeding with him. The lactation consultant showed us different ways of feeding him (using a supplemental feeder, no bottles - there's all kinds of crazy tricks they know), and he did that until we were able get a decent latch. I rented a hospital pump, and pumped and he got fed about a bottle a day the first six weeks or so, but he was an exclusive breastfeeder after that.

    Breastfeeding can hurt like a mother the first few weeks (sometimes longer), and it's exhausting, and it really really really helps to have people helping you out the best they can, but once it works out, it's worth it. I second kellymom.com - it's a great site, and they have message boards, too. Good post, and good luck to everyone!

    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

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    Thank you so much for posting valuable advice about BFing! Very much appreciated!
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    This is a wonderful post.  i'm really hoping to BF, but am trying to tell myself if it doesn't work, i can't beat myself up about it.  My biggest concern is how long it takes for milk to come in.  How do you make it through the first 72 hours? Does is constantly feel like you're not providing enough nourishment for your new baby? You're previous advice/tips were great, i'd love your thoughts on this aspect...
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    Great advice.  I habe BF all three of my children.  My number one rule of BFing is Get Help!!!    Ask to see an LC in the hospital to get started.  I needed on to help with child #3.  He would not latch and an LC spent 3 hours with me to get him on.  If you think you have low supply go to a LC, your pedi is not an expert.  If you experience a lot of pain go see and LC.  They can be amazing.

    I do want to add, if you use a paci it is going to be okay.  I let my first comfort nurse and I ended up with raw bleeding nipples.  A paci would have been a relief.

    Smiley: April '05 Rocky: May '06 Tex: July '09
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    Silly question... I thought BFing helped you lose weight. Is that not true? Did you keep the baby weight on for all those months and then had to try to lose it later?


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    imageMAV1101:
    This is a wonderful post.  i'm really hoping to BF, but am trying to tell myself if it doesn't work, i can't beat myself up about it.  My biggest concern is how long it takes for milk to come in.  How do you make it through the first 72 hours? Does is constantly feel like you're not providing enough nourishment for your new baby? You're previous advice/tips were great, i'd love your thoughts on this aspect...

    A quote from Kellymom.com-

    The First Week

    How often should baby be nursing?

    Frequent nursing encourages good milk supply and reduces engorgement. Aim for nursing at least 10 - 12 times per day (24 hours). You CAN'T nurse too often--you CAN nurse too little.

    Nurse at the first signs of hunger (stirring, rooting, hands in mouth)--don't wait until baby is crying. Allow baby unlimited time at the breast when sucking actively, then offer the second breast. Some newborns are excessively sleepy at first--wake baby to nurse if 2 hours (during the day) or 4 hours (at night) have passed without nursing.

    Is baby getting enough milk?

    Weight gain: Normal newborns may lose up to 7% of birth weight in the first few days. After mom's milk comes in, the average breastfed baby gains 6 oz/week (170 g/week). Take baby for a weight check at the end of the first week or beginning of the second week. Consult with baby's doctor and your lactation consultant if baby is not gaining as expected.

    Dirty diapers: In the early days, baby typically has one dirty diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two...). After day 4, stools should be yellow and baby should have at least 3-4 stools daily that are the size of a US quarter (2.5 cm) or larger. Some babies stool every time they nurse, or even more often--this is normal, too. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is loose (soft to runny) and may be seedy or curdy.

    Wet diapers: In the early days, baby typically has one wet diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two...). Once mom's milk comes in, expect 5-6+ wet diapers every 24 hours. To feel what a sufficiently wet diaper is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of water into a clean diaper. A piece of tissue in a disposable diaper will help you determine if the diaper is wet.

    Breast changes

    Your milk should start to "come in" (increase in quantity and change from colostrum to mature milk) between days 2 and 5. To minimize engorgement: nurse often, don?t skip feedings (even at night), ensure good latch/positioning, and let baby finish the first breast before offering the other side. To decrease discomfort from engorgement, use cold and/or cabbage leaf compresses between feedings. If baby is having trouble latching due to engorgement, use reverse pressure softening or express milk until the nipple is soft, then try latching again.

    Call your doctor, midwife and/or lactation consultant if:

    • Baby is having no wet or dirty diapers
    • Baby has dark colored urine after day 3
      (should be pale yellow to clear)
    • Baby has dark colored stools after day 4
      (should be mustard yellow, with no meconium)
    • Baby has fewer wet/soiled diapers or nurses less
      frequently than the goals listed here
    • Mom has symptoms of mastitis
      (sore breast with fever, chills, flu-like aching)

     

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    imageMJLab78:

    Silly question... I thought BFing helped you lose weight. Is that not true? Did you keep the baby weight on for all those months and then had to try to lose it later?


    ::butting in from 9-12::

    The weight loss thing is going to be different for everyone.  For some, BFing will help them lose weight right away.  For others, the weight loss might not start until 3 months or later.  For others still, their bodies will hold onto a few extra pounds until they wean.

    I didn't lose even 1 pound beyond the initial weight loss from having DS (and later water weight loss) until I went back to work at 12 weeks postpartum.  After that it steadily came off until I was about 5 lbs below pre-preg weight and that's where I've stayed for months.

    ETA:  Only now am I really starting to exercise and it's more for sanity than anything else.  While I was steadily dropping weight I was pumping at work and nursing at home.  My supply held up nicely while I was back at work (I ended up resigning after 5 months to SAH with DS) and I even had enough excess to make a couple donations (a few hundred oz each time) to a local mom experiencing lactation failure.  I was so worried that my supply would disappear when I had to go back to work and use the pump, but I was lucky and it didn't.

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    This is great, Squishy!  I also want to add that if you'd like to EBF, once baby sets his/her nursing schedule a bit, start pumping milk to freeze.  This was really helpful in stocking up a huge supply for me, and when DS was older I could start giving him a bottle once a day and pumping a few extra times that day.  Well worth it!
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    imageMJLab78:

    Silly question... I thought BFing helped you lose weight. Is that not true? Did you keep the baby weight on for all those months and then had to try to lose it later?


    Bfing burns 500 calories a day and some people lose a lot of weight when they bf.  For me it didn't start to come off until DD was about 8 months...then it just dropped off +20lbs of extra.  I think the poster above was just cautioning about dieting on purpose.  If your body feels like it is being malnourished your supply tends to suffer, especially at first.  You have to be sure to get enough calories to support 2 of you.  So yes, in a way you do have to postpone any rapid weight loss for a few months but it may come off anyway because of the bfing alone.
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    imageDestinationWeddingKeyWest:
    imageMJLab78:

    Silly question... I thought BFing helped you lose weight. Is that not true? Did you keep the baby weight on for all those months and then had to try to lose it later?


    Bfing burns 500 calories a day and some people lose a lot of weight when they bf.  For me it didn't start to come off until DD was about 8 months...then it just dropped off +20lbs of extra.  I think the poster above was just cautioning about dieting on purpose.  If your body feels like it is being malnourished your supply tends to suffer, especially at first.  You have to be sure to get enough calories to support 2 of you.  So yes, in a way you do have to postpone any rapid weight loss for a few months but it may come off anyway because of the bfing alone.

    This is all true, but it really depends on your body.  Many women don't lose much weight while BFing.  Don't be upset if you don't!

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    Thanks :)

    I was hoping it would help a little. My body retains weight and it doesn't budge even if I DO work my butt off. I of course would consider the kiddo #1, but am a little worried that if doesn't come off soone rather than later, it will get comfy and never leave. LOL!

    ...but those are my own issues. ;) i still plan to BF. 

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    you can count number 3 out really.  I started pumping day 4.  my supply was AWESOME.  I was able to stop nursing at 10.5 months and had enough frozen until DS turned 1 yr old.

     I will just add, if you have to go back to work OR want to introduce bottles, do it between 2-6 weeks.  NO later.  Or it will be an issue.

     

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    I just printed this post. Thank you. :)
    "To me, you are perfect."
    image

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    imagetriplea1819:

    you can count number 3 out really.  I started pumping day 4.  my supply was AWESOME.  I was able to stop nursing at 10.5 months and had enough frozen until DS turned 1 yr old.

     I will just add, if you have to go back to work OR want to introduce bottles, do it between 2-6 weeks.  NO later.  Or it will be an issue.

     

    Oh yeah!  My cousin didn't try giving her second son a bottle until after 2 months and he absolutely refuses to take one.  He's 8 months old now, and she has a wedding in another state in July that he will not be going to.  (not even down for the trip)  She's freaking out about how it will go with being away from a baby who refuses the bottle and regrets waiting so long to introduce it.

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    imagebabytote2:

     

    3. If you can delay pumping, do it. Nothing is equivalent to the baby in setting your milk supply. No pump can replicate your baby's exact need and everyone I know who has switched straight to the pump has had immediate supply issues.

    Hi, my name is Meri and now you have met someone who did not have a supply issue without delaying pumping.  My son was in the hospital with jaundice for 3 days after coming home from the hospital he was born at.  I was there with him, but nursing was impossible, even with the help of round the clock nurses and lactation consultants.  I decided to pump and let him be bottle fed.  As soon as he was better and we were home from the hospital, he took to me right away.  I nursed and pumped(since I work full time) for 8 months until he decided he was done(not due to a supply issue). 

     

    Just wanted to put this out there so those girls who have issues in the beginning don't just fully give up.  There were a few doctors who told me I would NEVER be able to nurse if I exclusively pumped in the beginning.  Well guess what, i proved them wrong.  So don't give up if you are not able to and just pump every 2 hours instead of nurse.  Once you are able to nurse, then work on it. 

    we also had no issue with nipple confusion from using a pacifier or bottle right away.  It really just depends on your child.

    This for us too. DD was born with a tongue tie and we couldn't find a doctor who would clip it before she was 3 months old. At the advice of our pedi and the lactation consultant we introduced the paci right away to help DD learn how to suck effectively. It really depends on the situation. 

    Also, pumping saved my supply. Because her poor latch and the tongue tie, my pump actually was better at telling my body to produce than she was. If it wasn't for double pumping around the clock in addition to breastfeeding, I wouldn't have made it as far as I did with breast feeding. My supply would've dried up a lot quicker.


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    Great post! I completely agree/second ALL of that!
    Mom to J (10), L (4), and baby #3 arriving in July of 2015
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    Thanks for posting this.  My DS is 9 months old and I had a terrible experience BF.  I gave up when he was 2 months old.  It's nice to hear some tips from someone who has been there and had success.  I used my pump when I was at the hospital because the LC told me to, because DS couldn't latch on.  I continued at home because he kept losing weight and we were scared.  Bottle feeding him BM seemed like the only way to get him to maintain his weight.  He got really skinny.  Maybe pumping too early and DS's inability to latch on right after birth are why my supply was never good.  Thanks for the tips!
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