Sunday, August 7, 2016

How to Get Breastfeeding Off to a Good Start and My Sunday Best at 40weeks Not Pregnant or Ten Days Postpartum

It's my due date and I'm so glad to have my baby on the outside.  Ten days old already! (Read her birth story).

We joke that birth is probably the last thing she will be early for.  For the next 18 years anyway.  Punctuality is not our forte.   

Here is what Annika and I wore on this fine Sunday.  See Rosie for more Sunday Best

Just ignore the mirror smudges. 

The shirt is a maternity shirt from Wal-Mart.  The skirt is just a plain, jersey skirt from who knows wear.  Still wearing my oh so sexy compression stockings. 

Confession:I'm going to keep wearing several of my maternity shirts well into the postpartum period and beyond. Not all of them, but the stretchy fitted ones that look okay even without a big belly.  I have a fairly long torso, so it's hard for me to find shirts that are both long and fitted enough for my taste.   Several of my maternity shirts seem to fit that bill. So yes, I'm going to keep wearing them. 

Today is also the last day of World Breastfeeding Week.  

Since a good bit of my last week was spent either breastfeeding, thinking about breastfeeding or troubleshooting breastfeeding, it seemed to appropriate to write about breastfeeding. 

This is my 5th go-round with a newborn and I've learned a thing or two about making breastfeeding easier in the early days.   

Here is my best advice for those first few days and weeks.

Newborns nurse ALL THE TIME.   That is NOT an exaggeration.  At times, it literally is ALL THE TIME.  After Annika was born, she latched on, and basically nursed almost continually for the next 5 hours.   Since she was born, she has periods during the day when she nurses constantly (switching back and forth between sides) for a few hours, and then there are times she sleeps for a few hours and doesn't nurse much.  It's all normal. There are no regular intervals. 

My best advice, nurse EVERY TIME that baby opens it's mouth in the first few days.  It helps your milk come in and helps both you and the baby figure out breastfeeding quicker.  The sooner your milk comes in, the sooner the baby will start regaining birth weight, the more they poop and the less you have to worry about.  I've always nursed VERY FREQUENTLY in the first few days, and I've always had my milk start to come in by day two. 

Oh and when the nurses ask about the last time they nursed and for how long....just laugh. Just laugh and laugh.  It's a silly question.    It deserves a silly response. (Of course if they lock you up for being crazy when you do that, it's not my fault).   Don't worry about sides or how long the baby nursed for.  Just nurse very frequently on both sides as soon as the baby shows any cues or desire or willingness to do so. 

Here is a great article which talks more about the myth of the breastfeeding interval.

Use a Nipple Cream.   I had to learn this the hard way, but don't wait until your nipples are sore to start using a nipple cream.  Personally, I like to use a lanolin cream and APNO  I use after every feed and APNO three times a day. 

Pay Attention to Latch.  This is probably the biggest thing.  But really pay attention to the baby's latch and work on correcting it. See a lactation consultant, contact La Leche League, but do something if you are having pain and soreness.   Sore nipples are the most common complaint in the early weeks, so don't ignore sore nipples.

Find a pediatrician who knows about lip and tongue tie.  This is really important I think.  So many pediatricians are not familiar with ties.  Our pediatrician is and told me that Annika has an upper lip tie and slight tongue tie.  Right now we are in wait and see, to see about clipping them.  She is latching on fine and getting plenty of milk, but I am dealing with some soreness.  We are seeing if that will go away in another week or so, or if we should clip it before then. 

Find something fun to do while nursing.   This is the perfect time to binge-watch a new show on Netflix, or read your favorite fluff.  Having something "fun" to do while nursing, helps a lot when they nurse ALL the time!

Keep going, it gets easier.  Sore nipples, engorgement.  It really does all get easier.   A lot of moms break breastfeeding down into small, managable goals.  Two weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks. As each milestone passes, it gets easier and easier. 

What about you?  Do you have any tips for those first few days and weeks?


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