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Thread: Questions about Breastfeeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    4

    Default Questions about Breastfeeding

    I am a soon to be mama who is planning on breastfeeding. Our little girl hasn't arrived yet (only about 3 more weeks if she is patient) and I am not sure what exactly is important or helpful to have for breastfeeding.

    Obviously, breasts and milk production are important, as well as support with lactation and questions, but what is good to have on hand when I start feeding? Are nursing pads, soothing gel pads, and creams important to have and use when you start breast-feeding? If so, which brands are recommended?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    Hi there! So excited for you! Breastfeeding my newborn has been an amazing experience, one I will always treasure! For my must haves:
    --Lansinoh nipple cream (absolutely must have in the first weeks!! your nipples will be sore since they're not used to being sucked on, eventually they'll toughen up)
    --Nursing pads (I had leaky boobs, a lot of women have oversupply in the beginning)
    --Boppy Pillow (helps tremendously with positioning baby)
    --Nursing bras (buy them after you deliver as you won't know how big your breasts will get! if you're in the US, I find the Target ones are really good and affordable)
    --If you will take baby out a lot, nursing cover is super helpful!! Also, nursing friendly tops will be a life saver (trying to unbutton blouses under a cover w/ crying baby is hard!). I found buying camis that I could just pull down were great (much cheaper than buying actual nursing tops).

    Hope this helps and best of luck to you!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,361

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    Welcome and congratulations on the baby to come!

    I think a lot of first time moms-to-be focus too much on products- the pillows, the creams, the teas- and not enough on the non-material things that can actually help breastfeeding get off to a good start. Since the PPs covered the products so well, I hope you won't mind if I answer the question you didn't ask, and talk a bit about those non-material things.

    Tips on getting breastfeeding off to a good start:
    - A better birth usually means easier breastfeeding. I strongly advocate avoiding induction of labor for non-medical reasons (things like scheduling convenience, baby being "ready", baby being "big", having "your" doctor instead of some random person, etc.) because unnecessary induction can be the first step into the cascade of interventions, where one intervention necessitates another which necessitates yet another and another. This cascade often tumbles into interventions like episiotomy or c-section that can impact a mom's ability to breastfeed.
    - Know your labor pain management options and choose carefully among them. Narcotic pain relievers will cross the placenta and often cause babies to be born lethargic and unwilling to nurse. Epidurals can cause maternal fever which is indistinguishable from infection and result in baby being taken to the NICU. This isn't to say you must have a natural birth in order to nurse successfully- nothing could be farther from the truth! It's just that it's a good idea to go into birth informed and ready to advocate for yourself and your baby.
    - Assuming baby and mom are both healthy and strong after birth, have your newborn delivered immediately onto your bare chest. Your baby will warm up best when skin-to-skin with you, and may latch on within a short time of birth. Nursing as soon as possible not only gives baby her first dose of colostrum, but it also speeds the delivery of the placenta and helps stop postpartum bleeding.
    - Delay all routine newborn procedures until after you and your baby have had a chance to nurse and cuddle. Things like eye ointment, a trip to the baby warmer, footprints, bath, weight and other measurements- those can all be safely delayed for at least an hour.
    - Room in with your baby. When babies room in, moms learn their babies' nursing cues faster, mom's milk comes in faster, and babies learn to nurse faster. There's less chance that a "helpful" nursery worker will interfere with breastfeeding by slipping your baby a bottle or pacifier.
    - If you choose to send the baby to the nursery- and with a healthy baby it should be a choice rather than something that happens automatically- make a sign for her bassinet that says "I am a breastfed baby. No bottles or pacifiers, please. Bring me to my mom every time I cry, or every 2 hours if I don't."
    - Avoid artificial nipples (bottles, pacifiers) for the first several weeks after birth. Babies latch onto fake nipples differently from how they latch onto the breast, and that confusion can cause difficulties in latching onto the breast.
    - Do not supplement with formula "just until your milk comes in". It's normal for babies to lose weight after birth (up to 10% of birthweight is normal), and a tiny newborn tummy needs only a few teaspoons of colostrum until milk comes in, something which typically happens 2-3 days after birth but which may take as long as 5 days. Not only is supplementing usually unnecessary, but it also delays milk production, which is stimulated by frequent demand from a hungry baby. If supplemental feeding is necessary, it should be ordered by your baby's pediatrician, and not by a nurse.
    - Nurse on demand, or every 2-3 hours, whichever comes first. If you have a non-demanding or sleepy baby, it's especially important to wake her to feed!
    - If you run into trouble, make sure you have access to a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. A lot of moms feel embarrassed to ask for help with something that is supposed to be "natural", but remember: natural isn't the same thing as easy!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,983

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    Ideally, you don't need many "things" to breastfeed - just a baby and a couple (or hey, one will do) boobs! I agree that having support set up, and doing your research, is more important than the stuff.

    That said, I would recommend getting a couple of soft sleep bras or nursing tanks while you're pregnant - you need a larger cup size but slightly smaller rib cage size than your pregnant size. Don't worry about shopping for "real" bras until you're actually nursing and know your size. I have big breasts so having that easy access and support was important from day one. You don't want anything too structured for the first weeks - definitely no underwire!

    I do use nursing pads, but not everyone needs/uses them. I'm one of those lucky women who leak for a solid YEAR.

    My hospital hands out free lanolin cream, and hopefully you won't need that at all.

    RESIST freebie hand outs of nipple shields. It's better to be a little sore than use a shield - instead of jumping to a shield right away, try to find a LC who will help you troubleshoot your latch.

    I packed a book about breastfeeding into my hospital bag for my first birth and read the section about newborn nursing both before and right after my birth. It really is helpful to know what's normal.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    Thank you so much for the advice and information. I am lucky enough to be within a medical group that really encourages (to the point of insistence) of skin to skin time immediately following birth as well as not allowing bottles without doctors writing a script and parental permission.

    Unfortunately, unless baby girl decides to flip, I will have to have a c-section due to the unusual shape of my uterus and how much she likes to cuddle in breeched positions. Knowing I probably will need to have a c-section makes me want to ensure I am prepared for nursing when she arrives, just in case she has a problem latching on due to a less vigorous birth.

    If there is any other advice, please send it my way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    Squirmama, which kin of cloth diapers are you using for clean up? My mother-in-law has some nice thick ones that I cannot find anywhere and she cannot remember the brand she bought...Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    I'm not squirmama, but I've found that the Indian Cotton Prefolds from Cotton Babies are the most absorbent and affordable of the just plain cloth diapers that I've tried. They run $1 each, and Cotton Babies also offers free domestic shipping:
    http://www.cottonbabies.com/product_...roducts_id=277

    Also, the lotions and creams didn't work for me, as it seemed like no matter how lightly I used them they annoyed my daughter when she went to nurse again. I found that ice packs worked best for me. There are also products like gel soothers and the Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes, but I didn't discover those until we were past the point of needing them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    I really like Motherlove nipple cream. It is nice on nipples and as lube if you ever need to pump (not drippy like olive oil) and it tastes good. Makes a good lip balm . Lansinosh grosses me out, it is grease from sheep and I found it to be so thick and sticky it was uncomfortable to put on.

    I also really like nursing tanks. If you have people in your house in those first days (I recommend only HELPFUL people) it is nice to wear a nursing tank under a t-shirt and you can lift up your shirt and unhook he nursing tank and your breast peeks out of the space in between with your jelly belly covered. This type of outfit was very manageable for me early on and kept me feeling comfortable nursing anytime on the couch in front of my dad and father-in-law, for example.

    I also was really glad I had shopped for nursing bras before I gave birth. But I have big breasts and it was something that required a fitting. My boobs didn't change in size dramatically compared with the third trimester. I started with one normal nursing bra and one super stretchy one and was glad I had both. Then I was able to pick up another of the same regular bra after baby came very easily because I knew what I wanted.

    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is great to have on hand. If you live in the US, all the nursing pads, gel pads, boppy pillows, etc can be at your door in 2 days via Amazon if you need them!! (I didn't.)

    Good luck!!!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    It's great that you are preparing in advance. Mommal has offered wonderful advice about setting up your birth to promote nursing. But as you said, we don't always have all of these options. I was not allowed to try nursing my baby until about an hour after her (unmedicated, vaginal) birth. By that time, or maybe it was just my nerves, the baby didn't latch properly. The nurses offered completely conflicting and outdated advice about breastfeeding. I had only one pillow and no chair, and had a lot of trouble trying the positions I had seen in pamphlets. I wished desperately that I had brought my computer and modem so I could refer to the LLLI website. Not just for help with latching etc, but also to reassure myself that my own ideas and plans as a parent were not crazy. Great idea to bring breastfeeding, and even parenting books with you to the hospital!

    I also have small breasts and went to the hospital without a bra. To my surprise, my breasts suddenly became enormous and hard, filled up with milk and it was squirting everywhere! When I asked my husband to bring me a sports bra and nursing pads, he brought me a bikini top. So I spent my third and last day in the hospital in tears, with enormous swollen boobs, wearing a stupid bathing suit, because my nightgown and t-shirts were all soaked through. If I were to do it again, I'd definitely bring a small box of Johnson and Johnson disposable nursing pads, and a couple of sports bras to hold them in place.

    Most importantly, don't listen to anyone who says you will spoil the baby by keeping her against your body and nursing her as often and as long as she wants. And don't worry if nursing is harder than you expected, keep trying and it gets so much easier after a few days.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Questions about Breastfeeding

    Reading the previous post made me remember that I wished we had had more pillows in the hospital. I gave birth at a very breastfeeding-friendly hospital but they really came up short on the pillows!! If I were going to do it again, I would bring about 4 extra pillows with me. I might not bring them all in but I'd have them in the car so they're available. We made sure that when my mother in law came to visit us in the hospital after the baby was born we made sure she brought a bunch of extras. At least for me, when I was first getting started, I wanted about 5 pillows around me at all times--2 behind my back, one under each arm and one to wedge in to where ever wasn't supported.

    Also, don't be surprised if your milk comes in suddenly and is gushing everywhere or takes some time and you never leak. Everyone is different. Mine took a few days to come in and it was more gradual than a lot of moms I talk to; I never really got engorged or leaked milk until my baby was a few weeks old. Leaking milk all over yourself when your baby starts crying in the grocery store is certainly a lovely rite of passage of motherhood, but if it doesn't happen, or if it doesn't happen early on, it doesn't mean you're not making enough!!!!

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