Archive for October, 2010

Breastfeeding in Public-The First Time

October 31, 2010
This is a short story from client who learned something very important from her baby: Breastfeeding can happen anywhere and any time without any special gadgets or preparation.

The first few weeks of breastfeeding Bernie were very draining for me. I was constantly worried that he wasn’t getting enough, taking any unsatisfied looks from him personally and feeling isolated due to the long nursing sessions. I started taking Bernie for daily walks in my neighborhood within days of getting home from the hospital so at three weeks, I thought we could make it three miles around Green Lake without having to stop.   Although I was occasionally pumping, I had not prepared a bottle for this walk and instead fed him before we left and figured I’d feed him again as soon as we got home.  Bernie lasted one mile around the lake before he decided to make me and everyone around us know that he was hungry.  My mother-in-law was along for the walk. Had I been alone, I would have hid behind a tree, but she encouraged me to nurse him on a bench along the trail.
I had never breastfed in public and I wasn’t comfortable with the idea.  I wasn’t sure I could actually do it.  As I fussed nervously with my scarf to properly hide myself, Bernie just placed his legs around my leg, turned his head and latched on without me having to do anything. It was a big turning point for me. In that moment, I realized that we were doing alright and breastfeeding will continue to go well because I’m not in this alone. Bernie is as determined as I am to make it work.

Breastfeeding Challenges-Andrea’s Story

October 30, 2010

This story is generously shared by Andrea and her daughter, Ainsley.  Thank you both for your story and your determination to breastfeed!

When I was pregnant, I worried about everything. Everything, that is, except for whether I’d be able to breastfeed. Since many of my friends and my own sister had breastfed their children, it was a given that I would do the same. I pictured myself breastfeeding my daughter Ainsley, sitting on the beach in front of my house with her tucked inside a sling, contentedly drinking while we enjoyed a special bond.

To my relief, Ainsley latched on within minutes of being born, awake, alert and happily feeding. My heart soared, relieved that we were on the path to having the breastfeeding relationship I’d envisioned. The second time she latched, though, it hurt. The nurses said, “It’s supposed to hurt.” I knew this wasn’t true and it quickly became clear something was wrong. Very soon my nipples were bleeding and the pain was intense. My confidence faltered. I developed fear about feeding, dreading whenever the clock — or my baby — suggested it was time to feed. Sometimes I’d even let her sleep an extra hour or two beyond what was suggested, just so I could give my nipples a break.

By the time we were home, it seemed like all we did was feed. I would breastfeed, painfully, and she would cry—not satisfied. Knowing that the early days of breastfeeding were critical ones, I called a recommended lactation consultant, Renee Beebe, for a home visit. Seeing the damage already inflicted on my nipples, she urged me to exclusively pump until my nipples healed. I hoped for smooth sailing from that point forward.

Pumping was difficult—I barely got enough milk. Furthermore, when I began breastfeeding again, I noticed Ainsley’s fussy behavior at the breast was getting worse. Sometimes she’d scream and cry until I removed her; other times, she’d fall asleep the minute she latched on. I called Renee back for help. It soon became clear that the latch problem was exacerbated by another underlying issue — low milk supply.

I had to supplement with formula, as my pumping output couldn’t keep up with her demand. The first few times I made the formula, I cried. I felt like a complete failure as a new mother.

I ate and drank everything I could to help boost the supply. I ate oatmeal every day, and snacked on Milkmakers cookies. I took a variety of herbs in many forms. Everything helped a little, but still, I didn’t have enough milk. I knew I had to try everything in my power to make this work before calling it quits, and I so persevered.

In the following weeks, I saw other specialists, including an occupational therapist trained in newborn feeding issues. No one could find any sucking or anatomical problems. Clearly, supply was the main issue. To preserve the breastfeeding relationship as best as I could, I began supplementing at the breast using a supplemental nursing system. The SNS was awkward the first few times, But soon I became a pro at taping the tube to my breast and latching her on. Over the next few days, Ainsley became more content at the breast, getting the milk flow she needed to feel satisfied.

At the same time, I started a medication to help boost milk production. Within just a few days, I noticed an increase. One night I pumped 4 oz in one sitting, and I was so proud that I took a picture of the milk I pumped! Slowly but surely, Ainsley took less and less milk from the supplementer. The formula became a thing of the past, and pretty soon, the supplementer as well.

Today, Ainsley is nearly three months old, gaining weight at an excellent pace, and thriving. I am so proud that we made it this far with breastfeeding. Was my supply low because of our struggles in the early days? I may never know. I still worry that I won’t be able to keep up with her as she grows. But for now, I am going to enjoy every moment of our breastfeeding relationship. I am going to sit on a park bench facing the beach, nursing and nourishing my daughter, relishing the moment.

Breastfeeding Dads–To-Be

October 21, 2010

Are you a dad-to-be who’s partner is planning to breastfeed? Do you think that breastfeeding is something a woman does alone? Think again. One of the most important factors in determining whether a woman breastfeeds is the support of her partner. Here are some things you can do before the baby is even born that will help ensure that your baby gets off to a good start.

Remind the mom-to-be that you know what breasts are for and how amazing she is. Let her know that you appreciate that she wants to give your baby the best possible start in life. Marvel out loud that she will be able to nourish your baby with her breasts.

Go to a prenatal breastfeeding class with your partner. Listen. Take notes. Ask questions.

Read about breastfeeding. Learn the facts. Dr. William Sears and Dr. Jack Newman are authors that dads tend to enjoy.

Surprise your wife with some beautiful nursing pajamas. (The shirt will have openings to enable easy access to her breasts.)

Counter any criticism with confidence.

Interview pediatricians and do some research to find breastfeeding-friendly doctors in your area.

Ask friends, neighbors and healthcare providers about recommended lactation consultants. Talk to them or send them an email. Get a sense of who they are. Have a name or two on hand and bring their phone numbers to the hospital or birthing center. Your wife will love it if you take some ownership of the decision to breastfeed.

Arrange for meals and other support from family/friends/neighbors for the first 6 weeks or so. This is even more important if you will be returning to work soon after the birth.

Learn why breastfeeding is important to the mother of your baby. Have confidence in her and be proud of her choice!

Milk Supply and Fluid Intake

October 13, 2010

A mother who is struggling to provide enough milk to her baby will go to great lengths to increase her supply. She will hang on to every word of every well-meaning friend, relative or health care provider. Unfortunately, much of what she hears may be untrue or even potentially harmful to her health!

The number one myth I hear over and over again is that one must drink milk to make milk. This is not only false it makes no sense. Think about other mammals. Do you know of any adult mammal who drinks milk? Of course not! Mammals produce milk for their infants. When they mature and wean, they no longer need their mother’s milk. Think about dairy cows. They are prolific milk producers. And not one of them drinks milk!

What about water? A client recently reported that a nurse in the hospital said “…the more water you drink, the more milk you will produce…” When I met with her on day 6 she was practically drowning herself—drinking gallons of water each day—thinking it would help her baby gain weight. Her baby had lost weight because he was not breastfeeding correctly which led to a decrease in milk production. No amount of water could have helped with that situation.

It is, indeed, important to stay hydrated. You are losing fluids every day due to regular metabolic functioning in addition to milk production. If you are truly dehydrated, your milk supply may be affected. In those situations, drinking more water can help you recover a dwindling milk supply. But excess water can flush important nutrients from your body, so don’t overdo it!

As a general rule, try drinking a glass of water each time you sit down to nurse your baby. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so don’t wait to get thirsty before you have a glass of water. Don’t like drinking water? Try herbal tea, flavored waters, diluted fruit juice, or sparkling water. Taking good care of yourself will allow you to take good care of your baby!

See also “Breastfeeding and Milk Supply

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