Friday, December 21, 2007

Breastfeeding must knows

This newsletter from Pregnancy Without Pounds came at just the right time.. I was wanting to find all these information to post here on breastfeeding. Hope you get some use out of it.

My pregnant friends, do you feel like you have all the information you need to successfully breastfeed?
Breastfeeding might be a natural process, but many new moms are surprised that they actually need to get the hang of it.
Read these 10 Breastfeeding Must-Knows below and spend your first moments enjoying your new baby instead of worrying about breastfeeding :) I must say that all of them are true (which is why I am posting it here) and I have added my own comments next to the tips ;)

Just as each pregnancy is a personal experience, so too is breastfeeding. In fact, I find there are typically 3 groups of moms:
1. Those who love it from the very first latch, never have a minute's pain and were practically born to nurse;
2. Those who have a hard time with sore nipples/milk supply/latching and find it hard to imagine that they'll ever love it; and
3. Those who decide that they are just NOT going to do it at all - it's not for them.

I DEFINITELY believe that breast is best (me, too!!) , but I know that it doesn't work for everyone. So as with all decisions that us moms have to make, get educated and do what YOU think is BEST for BOTH you and your baby.
If you do decide to give it a try (which I hope you do!), be sure to give yourself a chance to settle in. Although breastfeeding is a NATURAL process, it may take longer than you think to get used to it. This is so right. In fact, with Arthur, it took us about 2 weeks to get it right... but, we just weren't giving up.

That's right, as natural as nursing is, I know that I had TONS of questions. I must say I just couldn't stop researching and reading up on breastfeeding while I was pregnant. And, true enough, these were the recurring questions... and, no matter how much research, I was still in doubt... For example, I wanted to know if I had to prepare my nipples. I also wanted to know WHAT it would feel like and if it would hurt? And most importantly, I wanted to know HOW to actually feed.

So, here's my list of 10 Breastfeeding MUST-KNOWs (not only for mom, but also for baby!):
1. When your breasts get engorged for the first time (hello milk supply!!), apply a cool compress, like frozen peas. You can also try washed cold cabbage leaves (but don't leave them on too long they can drain your milk).
2. Drink lots of fluid. I know you've heard this before, but your hydration level REALLY affects your milk output. So aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Try to have a glass of water next to you whenever you're nursing. This is a really important tip especially to those who begin to wonder if they have enough milk. The thing is, milk is rarely not enough... it all depends on how you feed.. whether the baby latched on properly.. whether you are taking in enough fluid... I was about to give up but we were lucky enough to have met a doctor, Dr Amy, who'd gave us this advise... it REALLY made a big difference!

3. Keep away from spicy or garlicky foods, especially at the beginning. I slowly started introducing more foods at around 4 months and found it worked well. I did try this one out more than once. For me, I only dared introduce the curry and tom yam after Arthur is one. How? Well, I purposedly ate curry and then look out for abnormalities in behaviour while nursing and sure enough... he is very unsettled and indeed, was sucking and 'scolding' while he nursed.. yes, everytime I took curry... After a few times, I simply stayed away from curry. If you are thinking this is too much for you, curry lover... think again.. the result is a healthy baby with a great immune system!

4. DON'T wash your nipples with soap - warm water is good enough.
This is also very important as you do not want your little one to be sucking on all that soap... and, you do not need to wash it every time you feed, too. (maybe, laze moms would like this). Don't get me wrong.. I am not trying to discriminate here but some breastfeeding Moms I know actually told me they breastfed because they are lazy to wash and sterilise those bottles.

5. If your nipples get irritated and sore, squeeze some breast milk on to them and rub it in. Really, this works! You don't need any special gel or cream... though, if you have been feeding right and the baby did latch on, you will hardly get sore nipples.

6. RELAX! Stressing out WILL affect your milk supply, so do your best to "go with the flow". 7. Make sure your baby is latching on correctly from the VERY BEGINNING - this will ensure good eating and prevent sore nipples. Just in case you don't already know, a good latch means a wide-open mouth like a yawn over your areola. This is indeed the MOST IMPORTANT to note. If you have read my breastfeeding journey, you'd understand better. Anyway, as a new Mom, I lacked confidence in doing it right. As such, I nursed with some experienced Mothers around me.. MIL, Mom, Sis, Aunties... great, great No! Especially when all of them did not really breastfeed their own children. Did not really means... they simply gave up when people around them started to say things like "there's not enough milk"... "not enough nutrition".. etc... Really, determination is the key here especially when you do not belong to a family where breastfeeding is the norm. Have I told you that at intervals of time up til when Arthur is 12 months, my MIL was still trying to persuade me to stop breastfeeding? I know enough to bother with statements like these, now... So, get your own space, filled with pillows or however you see it comfy and let that be your breastfeeding space in the first few weeks... once you have established a good flow and gained enough confidence to be sure, you can almost breastfeed anywhere, even on the go! (with the help of the sling). Really, think of nursing while you walk around.. ;)

8. Expect to nurse often in the beginning. New babies eat at least 8 times in a 24-hour period. And don't worry if your feeds feel like they're REALLY long in the beginning, they DO get a lot shorter as your baby becomes more efficient at feeding! For Arthur, I must admit it was a tiring routine to begin with... he nursed almost every 1 1/2 hours!

9. When your baby is born his/her stomach is the size of a walnut, so don't panic if you feel he/she is not drinking a lot. Aim for small, frequent feeds (this info REALLY helped me out!). If you're at all concerned, don't be shy to ask your doctor. This is so, so true and this is where people around you will keep saying that your baby is not drinking enough.. especially when they don't see you nurse for a long time... even with bigger babies, once they get the hang of it, they can empty your breasts full of milk in less than 5 minutes! If your doctor doesn't understand, get a lactation consultant. I tried getting many advises from doctors but really, not all of them can provide useful enough information on this topic... even those who call themselves 'children specialist"... you'll know more if you read my Breastfeeding Journey I won't say I am an expert but really, with some of those doctors I met... I'll say it's better off seeking advises from people who did breastfeed successfully than with those doctors.

10. Make sure your baby has LOTS of wet diapers to keep hydrated. A baby should wet at least 6 diapers per day. Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift for both you and your baby - don't be scared. Also remember, though, that if breastfeeding doesn’t work for you, don’t beat yourself up over it - there are many more ways to look out for your little one’s well-being! This is also important! I must admit that I forgot to look out for this and Arthur was almost dehydrated! In the beginning, he only wet one nappy a day and Mom was wondering why... You see, Arthur was a bit different... as long as I gave him the breast when he cried, he is contented. We only knew later that he actually did not get enough milk in the very first few days... Don't worry too much about this.. just look out for those nappies!


denna said...


i definitely will breastfeed!!! yea..will sure read your blog again if i have problems later hahaha

Peridot&Sapphire said...

how I wish I could control my emotion better and read up more before en en's arrival. I totally have no connection about bf mom during my time and I was not really prepare even I know I wanted to bf my baby till at least six month. Only mangae to bf till 2 months... so sad. I was totally gave up when both side parents scolded me not to give baby formula and my girl was not wetting any diaper for half day! They threaten that she will die of dehydration... so you can imagine being a first time mom with lack of bf knowledge... I was so stress and pressure!
Well, that's past and I hope I'll do better for no.2. Thanks for sharing with us...

Jess said...

Denna, that's just great! Just remember that preserverance and determination is the key here as as much as you'd want to breastfeed your little one, there will always be 'obstacles' along the way... just read up now and be sure of yourself.
Sharine, yes.. that's exactly what I went through. The threats and those 'advises'... you'd find out more if you read my Breastfeeding Journey. Anyway, I was stubborn enough to win the race and am happy that I am still breastfeeding Arthur ;):) It wasn't easy (esp when I was working full time) but it is a race well won! Definitely! Til today... MIL still try to get me to stop.. huh...