Friday, June 24, 2011

What to Know about Breastfeeding

Me breastfeeding Cheyann (football style) on the day she was born!
I decided to breastfeed from day one upon finding out I was pregnant. Making up your mind right then and there is the preeminent nudge in the right direction. It aids you towards a successful breastfeeding experience! If you make up your mind that breastfeeding is bar none the best thing for you and your new baby, little will stand in the way of making it happen!

When the baby is popped out:
It is so important to have that bond and connection with your baby as soon as he/she comes out to say hello to the world! Have your doctor or midwife place the baby directly on your chest (skin to skin) with the cord still attached. This will initiate mother-baby bond and is vital for a healthy breastfeeding experience. It also comforts the baby to be held by its mother. Every mammal has a mother to nurse it from birth! This is how we are designed, so do everything in your power to make sure this happens.
 May seem gross, but it's a part of life! :o)

Ouchy…My nipples:
If you have done the research then you know how to ensure that your baby has a successful latch on the breast. However, for most ;o) the nipples aren’t an area that gets that much attention! So it is completely normal to have soreness, redness, cracking, dry and maybe even a tad bit of bleeding in that area. It should only be a mild discomfort until your nipples get used to all the action! Then they will become so tough you could dangle an anvil from them! Until then, there is an all natural cream called Earth Mama Angel Baby, Natural Nipple Butter to soothe your discomfort. It is organic and free of parabens and other yucky ingredients. I wish I would have used that. Instead I used lanolin for the first 2 or 3 weeks. That’s all it should take for you to be totally at ease with breastfeeding! If you have further problems contact your local La Leche League Leader, a lactation consultant immediately. See link at the bottom of post to find a consultant in your area.

Before you Pop:
Before you deliver your gift from heaven, make sure you purchase a few nursing tank tops and nursing bras! Target has some plain ones as well as cute ones with lace. In my opinion this is one of the best purchases to make for yourself as a nursing mama! I literally lived in my nursing tanks every single day. Still do actually! My tiny petunia is 9 ½ months old and still nursing! They are discreet and make nursing in public easy peasy lemon squeezy! No lifting up the shirt, just unsnap and nurse! A little blanket to cover your baby’s head and your breast is tasteful. Keep in mind, not everyone wants to see your exposed breast. Some people get really weird about it…those are the ones you politely ignore!

Ummm…my shirt is soaked:
When your milk is in full swing, at times it feels like you are Niagara Falls! With that comes awkward wet spots on your shirt right smack dab on your boobs for everyone to see! Not Fun! That is why it is so important to get yourself some breast pads. They have disposable and cloth pads. I hate to say this because it’s not as environmentally friendly, but I really liked wearing the disposable ones in public. They have a thin plastic liner on the outside that seems to trap in the moisture; whereas, milk can seep right through the cloth pads. Of course if you are prepared you can always just bring extra cloth pads with you and before they become too wet you can simply switch them out! Problem solved. If you are the type that forgets your head if it wasn't attached and neglect to bring extras, you may like the disposable pads for outings. Invention idea: Reusable cloth breast pads with thin plastic liner sewed onto one side! I could be so rich! HAHA!

Speaking of leaks:
There are other places where leaks are more humorous than embarrassing. The first place is in the shower. If you are full of milk and take a nice, warm shower, your boobs will spray milk out like the shower head! Okay, maybe a little exaggerated but it is comical to watch your boobs squirt milk straight out! If you find yourself in pain with engorged boobies, you know where to head to remedy that problem! The next place that is on the funny side for milk to leak is in the sack! That’s right; I said it…during sex! This should not be an embarrassing moment for you or your lover. A sense of humor goes a long way when it comes to these kinds of moments!

Getting into the grove:
As mentioned above, leaking is inconvenient and often times embarrassing! Fortunately, as time moves on your body will adapt and learn to produce EXACTLY what your baby requires. No more, no less! I have been at the point where I no longer where breast pads of any kind because my body simply knows when and how much to produce! It’s amazing the bond that develops when your own body is perfectly in sync with your baby’s nutritional needs! Give yourself a nice pat on the back when you make it to this point! You’ve worked hard to get here!

What is that tingly feeling:
As your feeding your baby on one breast you will start to feel a tingling sensation on the other breast. This can be a strange sensation at first as it feels like tiny needles inside, but it is not painful and you will get used to it lickety split! This is just your milk dropping in. What an amazing thing to experience! It can also start to drop in if your baby is crying. This signals your body to produce for your hungry baby. I have heard of some women being in a store without their baby and they heard another baby crying somewhere and their milk started to drop in! This has never happened to me, but interesting none the less!

When I feed my baby it feels like heaven:
When you are sitting there nursing your precious gem, a sense of ease and bliss starts to creep all over your body. What many of you may not know is that the same hormone, oxytocin, that is released during intimate affection, sex, and orgasm is also released while breastfeeding! This makes sense why it is so relaxing and there is such bond between mother and child while breastfeeding. This is God’s way of pleasing mommy so she desires to continue giving her baby the best form of nourishment on the planet! Also, after every feeding you see your baby full and content. This makes you feel worthwhile and gives you an enormous sense of purpose! I’m convinced this is why breastfeeding significantly reduces the onset of postpartum depression!
There is no greater bond than mother and child!

Being the sole source of nutrition for your babe in arms:
You may ask, does breastfeeding mean I am the only one who can feed my child? Will I have no help in the middle of the night or when I need a break? The answer is NO! While you are the sole source of food for your baby during the first few months, you can pump and store for someone else to take up the responsibility once in a while! Get yourself a nice breast pump machine. Don’t skimp on this purchase! They can be expensive and cost you upwards of $200.00 but this is the single most important purchase to make being a breastfeeding mama! Especially for the working away from home mama! A cheap pump can cause pain while a good pump will be comfortable and an essential tool! You can pump and store all that excess milk! The more you pump throughout the day, the more you'll have stored away!
This is the exact pump I purchased from Target!

Saving Time and Mulla:
As most mothers know, saving money is so important while raising a child. You have to make sacrifices and make sure your child has everything they need. This is why breastfeeding is such an asset to the bank statement! No formula or tons of bottles to buy. No emergency trips to the store when the formula runs out. No washing bottles and nipples all the time. Save money on that bottle drying rack and dishwasher basket! You don’t have to worry about warming up the milk or what brand of formula to purchase. It’s right there, anytime you need it, fresh and tasting great to your baby!

Alcohol and Breastfeeding:
Taking care of a baby can be extremely stressful at times. Sometimes a glass of wine is much needed! But drinking and breastfeeding…they don’t exactly go hand in hand. You want to be careful not to pollute your baby’s system with alcohol as your baby has an immature liver and can’t process it like you do. The amount of alcohol that is in your bloodstream is also in your breast milk! A good rule of thumb: just because you can't feel the buzz doesn't mean your baby can't! Wait at least 2 to 3 hours after a glass of wine, beer, or cocktail. Alcohol does go into the breast milk, but it does not stay there. There is no need to pump and dump unless you are engorged. I have drunk as much as two glasses of wine and felt tipsy and fed my baby 5 or 6 hours later. For me, I feel that is a sufficient amount of time for the alcohol to work its way out of my system and milk. Everyone is different so use your instinct! Better safe than sorry, so wait plenty of time.

Never drink even a glass of wine on an empty stomach while nursing. Also, drink a glass of water before and after drinking alcohol. These two steps will lessen the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream; thus, less in your milk. You also don't want to get dehydrated from drinking!  If you have a night of heavy drinking, it’s probably best to wait until morning before feeding your baby. If you have stored milk, use that instead. Otherwise, formula would be better than getting your baby drunk! Of course, I would never recommend getting drunk! Unforeseen things can happen and being intoxicated hinders you from safely caring for your child. Also NEVER co-sleep with your child if you have been drinking at all! I find it best to responsibly enjoy a glass of wine or beer at home after your baby has gone to sleep for the night.

Medication and breastfeeding:
I am a big believer in taking no medication at all if you can help it while breastfeeding. When my baby was 3 weeks old I had some complications and ended up needing surgery and was unable to nurse for 3 days. My husband and mother-in-law had to feed my baby formula during that time because my stored milk supply (liquid gold) ran out. When I was sent home from the hospital I was prescribed Vicodin as a painkiller. It is supposedly safe to take while breastfeeding. However, I decided not to take the medication and just tough out the pain because I felt my baby acted strange while I had Vicodin in my system. I can’t stress enough how important it is to LISTEN to your instincts! This is sometimes more helpful than what the doctor has to say. None the less, always check with your doctor and pediatrician before taking any over the counter or prescription drugs.

Crap! My milk is not coming in or it’s drying up:
You must first evaluate why you are having problems in the first place. Are you nursing often enough? Are you eating nutritious rich foods and drinking plenty of water? Do you have a good mindset about nursing? If you feel you are doing everything right, there are some wonderful, natural herbs out there that supposedly open the flood gates on the milk supply! One such herb is called Fenugreek. You can purchase capsules of this herb at most health food stores. However, you should be sure to do plenty of research and speak with a lactation consultant before turning towards prescription drugs or herbs to increase milk supply. Many times it is an issue with mommy’s nutrition why milk supply is even a problem!

Best of luck to all you mommies out there who are die-hard breast feeders! It's the best thing for you and your baby! I would love to hear some of your stories of breasfeeding in the words of a mother!


  1. I love Breastfeeding!! Breastfed my 1st (QD) until he self weaned at 15 months...plan on breastfeeding my 2nd (B) until he decides he is done! :)

  2. Way to go Unique Mommy! You are sooo awesome!