Re: What can I do before birth so I'll have a good milk supp
with the PPs. Teas and herbal supplements aren't going to do anything for you now. What you need to succeed at breastfeeding doesn't come from a bottle. Determination, education, support from family, friends, and medical professionals- can't get those at the store!
Here's my list of things you can do to get breastfeeding off on the right foot:
- Have the best possible birth. Breastfeeding goes best when mom and baby are both healthy and strong after birth.
- Avoid induction of labor and other birth interventions for non-medical reasons (like convenience, doctor preference, post-dates but otherwise healthy, etc.). All interventions carry additional risks, often necessitating more interventions and, in some cases, leading to interventions like c-section or episiotomy that can make breastfeeding more difficult.
- Choose pain relief options with care. In particular, narcotic pain relievers can cross the placenta and cause babies to be born sleepy and unwilling to nurse. But even epidurals can complicate breastfeeding! This is not to say that you must hae an all-natural birth in order to succeed at breastfeeding- nothing could be farther from the truth!- just that it makes sense to know your options and choose carefully amongst them.
- Assuming your baby is born healthy, have him/her delivered immediately onto your bare chest. Babies warm up best skin-to-skin with mom, and many will nurse within an hour or two of birth. Getting an immediate chance to nurse not only gives baby his/her first dose of immunity-rich colostrum, but also helps stabilize the baby's blood sugar.
- All routine newborn procedures (footprints, ID bracelet, weighing, measuring, eye ointment, bath, etc.) can be delayed until mom and baby have had a chance to nurse and bond.
- If your baby is born larger than average, or if you had gestational diabetes, you may be pressured to supplement with sugar water or formula, even after nursing. This intervention should only be carried out if the baby is exhibiting signs of low blood sugar, and in almost all cases low blood sugar should be confirmed with a blood test before supplementation is carried out.
- A healthy newborn does not need to spend time in the nursery. Babies who room in wth their moms nurse better and more often, and moms who room in learn their babies' cues more rapidly. Babies who spend a lot of time in the nursery often become frantic with hunger before they get to mom, and that can make it more difficult to latch them on. Also, babies who stay in the nursery often get bottles and pacifiers slipped to them by "helpful" nurses who are just trying to let mom rest.
- If you do send your baby to the nursery, make a sign for his/her bassinet that says "I am a breastfed baby. No bottles or pacifiers, please. Bring me to my mom as soon as I fuss or cry, or every 2 hours if I don't."
- Don't supplement with formula "Just until your milk comes in." Colostrum is all your baby needs for the first 2-5 days after birth, and milk supply is created by demand. Every time you offer a bottle or pacifier, and your baby misses an opportunity to nurse, you delay the onset of milk production.
- Avoid bottles and pacifiers until nursing is well-established (typically 4-6 weeks) unless there is a medical necessity to use them. Spacing out feedings interferes with the supply = dmand equation, and babies latch onto artificial nipples diffently from the breast, and you don't want to mess up a newborn's latch!
- If you run into trouble, call a professional. Many hospitals have lactation consultants on staff, but these may simply be nurses with a small amount of supplemental training. If you're having real difficulties, call an IBCLC- and now is a good time to get in contact with one, just in case you need her.
- If you're having a boy and are choosing to circumcise him, consider waiting until he is at least a week or more old. Pain from a circumcision can interfere with breastfeeding, so it makes sense to allow baby some time to get the hang of nursing before having the procedure performed.
- Choose a supportive pediatrician. A good pediatrician is aware that breastfed babies may lose up to 10% of birthweight, knows that babies don't require routine formula supplements, is aware that breastfed babies grow differently from formula-fed ones, doesn't suggest spacing feedings outto some artificial interval, and doesn't suggest the introduction of solids until the baby is 6 months old.
- Surround yourself with supportive people. They should be cleaning your toilets, making your meals, doing your laundry, caring for your older child, and telling you what a great job you're doing nursing the baby.
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!"