Monday, August 4, 2008

Breastfeeding... "stuff" that helps

I've told you my story, and now I am going to point out some additional things that have helped me and others breastfeed successfully, especially early on. (DISCLAIMER: I am not IBLCI certified, and this is my own opinion based on my experiences and the experiences of those around me.)

First and foremost-- support. Let's face it. Things are not always smooth sailing. Having someone you can talk to and trust is vital. Professional help is also important. Personally, I make myself available to answer my friends' questions-- no matter how personal or touchy the issue might be. I offer my opinion and openly encourage them to see out professional resources. Even before you have a baby, you should attend a La Leche League (LLL) meeting, and your local leaders numbers should be kept handy. Also, keep a list of Board certified lactation consultants nearby.

Expectations-- I knew going in that it might not be easy, but it was harder than I thought it would be. Once I lowered my expectations and allowed myself to relax, nursing became a lot easier. I tell my friends to expect six weeks of struggle, but that it will get better and easier. I really believe that expecting it to be hard in the beginning serves mothers better than the glossed over "it'll be easy" attitude that is sometimes perpetuated. When moms expect easy and get thrown hard, it rattles confidence and becomes too easy to quit (people recommending formula, etc). Sometimes it is easy, but mother and baby need to work at it together.

Use the web-- There are numerous sites available that can and will help you through the tough times...and celebrate the good! LLL has mother-to-mother forums (some can only be seen by logging in-- like Nursing beyond one). My favorite site to check for information for everything from nursing to sleeping to poop is Kellymom.com. Breastfeeding.com is another good one.

A nursing pillow-- I used my Boppy like it was going out of style. Some women prefer my breast friend or using their own pillows. The pillow is important, especially early one, when it is harder to align your baby...and your arms get tired from the LONG nursing sessions!

Nursing clothing-- For me, this was a necessity. Not the shirts, but a good, supportive bra, as well as nursing tanks. I lived in them. I still wear them. They make breastfeeding easier by making the process easier-- especially when out in public. Also, the nursing tanks hide your tummy if you are not yet comfortable with your post-partum body. I used Liz Lange Maternity at Target nursing tanks and bras from A Pea In The Pod, but here are deals to be had. Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog is having a promotion right now. Check it out of you need new nursing wear!

Soothies gel pads-- I never used these, but I know others have. However, if I would have had them in Germany, I probably would have used them (I used a cool cloth on naked breast instead).

Lanolin-- So very soothing. My midwife brought me some, and I was never so happy in my life. When you use it pure, you don't have to wipe it off before baby latches. In the early days that is important, because baby nurses often!

I know I have left some off. For example, I needed my breast pump (and still use it on occasion). What do you recommend?

8 comments:

Blacktating said...

This is a really good list. Definitely support, particularly support from your partner is so important. My partner knew how important breastfeeding was to me, so the few times when I thought about quitting, his resolve and continual reminders about my commitment to breastfeeding got me through. If he had given me a pass to quit, I am sure I would have.

Maria said...

I agree! My husband was key too. I sometimes forget the ways in which he helped, but a post by another blogger reminded me about the little things he did-- from asking if I wanted to switch to formula, which even during the lowest of times was no. I didn't want to keep going, but I wanted formula for the boy even less! He also brought me drinks and food...did grocery shopping. Little things that added up. :)

Jennifer & Anthony said...

Hey! I hope you are doing well. We just had our son 4 days ago and I know this post will help me in the coming days and weeks! Thanks so much. Take care.

Maria said...

@Jennifer-- Congratulations! Feel free to email me any time if you need encouragement or to ask if something is "normal or just to vent! :) mariawj at gmail. :)

Jennifer & Anthony said...

Thanks so much!!!

Rebecca said...

I have a client who swears by Lilypadz. I haven't used them but she said they have been a life saver with her second baby. Have any of you tried them?

McCool said...

Maria - I would love to hear about how and when you introduced cows milk to the boy - we have hit 11 months and I am so tired of pumping I cannot stand it! Great BF posts as well - thanks for sharing!

Maria said...

He still does not drink cow's milk. We nurse when together and he gets the nutrients from other sources. I do give him cheese these days and occasionally some plain yogurt, but that's it. I'll post on it after WBW though. :)

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