Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breastfeeding 101 (aka Month 1)

As my life revolves around my boobs right now, I have a lot of thoughts on trying breastfeeding- what worked for me and the few things that didn't, but some that do now.

First of all, Brooke was born at 6:45 by cesarean delivery, I was discharged from the operating room at 7:04 (I believe that was the time he said... it was 04, 07, 08, or 09 I think, I was pretty drugged up). I was brought across the hall into "recovery" where I got to see my squirmer get her hair washed and my husband stand proudly at my side. As soon as the nurse finished (because they brought me out of surgery much quicker than anticipated) she handed my girl to me and showed me how to latch her on. She was not even 30 minutes old! It was fantastic! It didn't hurt because I had so many pain meds in me, but it was great for her to start right away.

The first night I felt like I fed her non stop. We didn't get much help from the nurses with feeding(until 4am). But I read a lot, a lot a lot. When feeding on left put baby down on her side and pull her in as close as you can, use left hand to squish boob "like a burger", hold child with right arm (or husband hold her up) and use right hand to guide head. Stroke nipple against baby's lips until they open very wide then use your right hand to push baby's head forward on. If it hurts, try again. Make sure lips are open, none of this "Old man, I have no teeth" business, that hurts... WAY worse than open puckered lips. Hold low on baby's head at base where neck meets head, allow the head to drop back for oxygenation of your child. Pull baby in close the whole time. When you're done, or baby is, stick finger in mouth to break the seal. I really have to jab it in there, that girl sucks HARD. I tried laying down feeding, no dice. Football feeding, EH, hospital bed did not work so well for this. However, we met with a lactation consultant who just helped to really show me that I can SHOVE my baby on. A few nurses were FANTASTIC!!! I cannot remember the last one's name, but we LOVED her and I hope my sister-in-law gets her!!!

When my milk came in (around day 3 or 4) the way I KNEW it was in, was the fountain that floweth from the breast that was not feeding. UH HUH, yup, GROSS, SOAKED--everything. I bought these "Breast shells" by Ameda, HEAVEN. I wore a sports bra most early days and would throw this silicone surround + plastic cup in on the side I was not feeding on. The purpose is to collect the milk that floweth :) And girl does it flow! I just rinsed it out after each use and didn't save the what... 0.3 ounces?

Reasons why I love these things?
1. Letting the milk come out helps you to not be engorged, if you don't know what it means, believe me and don't let it happen to you.
2. I no longer soaked my bed, pillows, blankets, etc.
3. I believe it has helped establish the amount of milk I NEED for my baby.

Other options:
- Disposable breast pads
- Lily Padz
- Towel/blanket/burp cloth
- Soothies

Reasons why I did not use these/used minimally/use now:

Disposable breast pads: These would be drenched in a matter of minutes, and with 30+ minute feedings for most women, they seem pointless-IN THE BEGINNING! I use them EVERY day now, I leak a little throughout the day and they are diapery by bedtime.

Lily Padz: According to reviews, friends, and blogs, these are the They are silicone flowers that you "stick/suction" to your nipples, they do NOT let the milk out. Although they are so fantastic, I chose to wait on purchasing these for the price ($30 a pair I think). After reading up on them, I would not use them until you are 5/6 weeks post baby. Let your milk do its thing, let your boobs figure their job out. Think logically here, if you force the milk to stay in, but your boobs keep wanting to produce, what will happen? *Engorgement, full boobs, stretched boobs There is the logic as well that it will make your boobs realize you don't need the milk. This is true, IF you do NOT pump out the excess in each breast after you feed. Your boobs WILL continue to fill, a baby will not be able to eat that much (I just waited it out and my boobs figured it out). If you keep pumping it out, it will keep coming in. Does that make sense? I will probably start using these soon, they rock.

Towel/blanket/burp cloth:
I use this NOW in bed because the milk doesn't flow as much and I don't want to wear stuff on my boobs all night. (They don't leak as badly- literally as of week 5, which was yesterday) I roll one up, throw it on, and it works okay. It does drip down sometimes onto my underpants that I sleep in, but it's okay. I sleep on a towel anyhow.

I LOVED these from the hospital- make sure you get some! I used them for about a week or until they got funky. They are created to soothe sore nipples, they are cool, gel-like and comfy. I wore them out for the first few weeks, it helped to stop the milk from coming a LOT, but it still leaked out a bit. Similar to a Lily Pad, but not as restrictive. I no longer need the soothe :)

Now, I'm into week 5 of motherhood-WOW!!!! And breastfeeding is SO not a big deal. It became much less painful at week 3- yes, stick it out, you can DO IT- it is so worth it. Don't let anyone tell you that you need to supplement unless your baby is not gaining any weight or it is YOUR doctor. And supplementing can mean one bottle a day-really. Any you may be able to find friends who will give you some of their milk instead of needing formula too. I think we need to do more of this, help people who want to breastfeed but are having problems, give them 2 bottles of breast milk a day, why not? (I'm still figuring out how to pump enough so that my kid can still eat! :)

A few things about my own baby:
1- She may feed for 10 minutes, then 5, then 20, then 45.
2- I think she is done because she "bats" at my boob, punches it, squeezes it- my mistake, the kid is trying to get back on!
3- She needs to burp after EVERY feeding.
4- Even if she is still spitting up from the last feeding, she still wants more- we call her Little Piggy. :) Affectionately of course!

This week I have:
1- fed in a public place
2- fed in football hold, with a pillow holding her, I hold her head and LORD is it FABULOUS! This may be a successful way to feed in public- I'm envisioning sitting close to Jon and he will hold the rest of her body, because I love this hold!
3- fed laying down on one side, both boobs- maybe it is because I have knockers, but it works well. It hurts a little, I think this is because she is not as close as she should be maybe?
4- wiped my own milk from my face

Don't be alarmed if:
1- Your baby chokes, we do this a minimum of 2 times a feeding, I just prop her up, hold an arm up, and she's fine!
2- Her face turns really red or she looks at you funny- she is just pooping.
3- You squirt a foot away, WAY TO GO! (And this is why your child is choking- this is stopping somewhat)
4- You feel a warm sensation in your other boob when you feed, this is just letting down a bit.
5- You feel a warm dribble on your stomach, your baby is just letting a little milk drip out, or fell off and you didn't notice- it's okay! :)

If you have questions, I'm no expert, but asked a lot of questions, so you can ask me! :) Yes, I squirt milk all over my baby's face, yes, I SOAK the bed sometimes, but it is so worth it! :) I read "Breastfeeding Made Simple" and received a free copy (it's an $18 book!) by attending a class (free) at Cygnus Lactation Services in Mundelein, IL. First Friday of every month, 7pm I think- check their site, unless something else comes up.

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