I’m Having A Baby. Now What?! Breastfeeding Edition
Can you believe I have been a mom of two for almost a year now? This totally makes me a pro so I decided to give you legit & not funny hardy, har, har tips about being pregnant & being a mom. And in honor of world breastfeeding week first up is my breastfeeding tips.
Should it hurt?-While pregnant or during the early days of breastfeeding you may hear “If it hurts you’re doing it wrong” and that is kind of a lie. The first few days of breastfeeding will be the worst torture of your life. At times you may even want to go back to laboring just to end it. It will feel like someone is taking a lighter and running it across your nipples (and let’s not even mention the contracting of your uterus). BUT that will stop after about the first week. Your nipples will develop a “Teflon” of sorts to protect themselves. But if it continues past a week or two its time to check baby’s latch.
Do I have to pump & dump?- When Phoenix was about 3 months old my sister got married & I had 2 drinks at the reception. I had planned on giving him pumped milk for the night but I left my entire stash at the reception hall! So as a freaked out new mom with a broken pump I laid over a pink kitchen bowl and started hand expressing to get my milk out. NOW I know better. 1-2 drinks will not make your baby drunk. The amount of alcohol in your breast milk is the same amount in your bloodstream so if you limit yourself to just a few drinks you will be fine. Also the best time to enjoy a little “fire water” is while you are nursing because at your babies next feeding the alcohol will be diluted to almost nothing. If you are still worried though you can pick up these milk testers.
What position should I nurse in? Any position you feel comfortable in. My favorite in the early days is sitting crisscross apple sauce with baby in the cradle position (with baby’s body completely turned into you) on a Boppy. Some people don’t use a nursing pillow, but I personally like to because it helps me to keep the baby close & latched well. In the middle of the night I started doing side lying nursing which is great if you want to stay asleep & if you are co-sleeping. Now at almost 1 Caspian just straddles me in a upright sitting position & is nursing that way. And in the morning I lay flat on my back and he climbs over me to go back & forth between the two breast. As your baby gets older you will experiment with different positions which are completely fine!
How much extra do I need to eat & drink? When you are breastfeeding you may find yourself to be hungry all the time! Nursing a wee little baby can suck you dry in every sense of the word. But just like with pregnancy you don’t need to eat huge amounts of food to keep up with your body’s new functions. The recommended extra calorie intake for nursing moms is between 300-500 calories a day. You may have heard that when you are nursing you should consume gallons and gallons of water to maintain supply. Not true! You don’t want to be dehydrated, but upping your water glass count to 10 instead of 8 will suffice. Just stay hydrated.
Will I lose weight while nursing? The hell if I know! Every celebrity mother that graces us with her toned figure in a bikini 8 weeks postpartum on the cover of a magazine will tell you that all she did was nurse. I call bullshit on that. I have had two babies now & instead of losing weight while nursing I GAINED back my initial loss after delivery and have maintained the same weight for almost a year. For some women I believe it is possible to have moderate or great weight loss success while nursing but not always. The best thing to do if you are trying to lose weight while nursing is to just stop thinking about it. Do your job as a new mom, as a breastfeeding mom & worry about the weight when you decide to wean.
Should I nurse in public? This is entirely a personal decision. I was completely against nursing sans cover in public before Caspian, but now lift up my shirt & pull my tit out everywhere and in front of anyone. If you do decide to nurse in public this is what I recommend. 1. A nursing cover that is easy to slip on, fits in your diaper bag, & has enough space to see baby while you are latching 2. Easy access clothing. Button down shirts, shirts with large neck openings or v-necks or dresses with buttons. 3. A nursing tank or regular tank top to wear under clothes so your clothes don’t always have to be easy access. I wear pretty much anything I want when I’m out with Caspian but I do always wear a tank top under my shirt so if I don’t have buttons or large neck opening I can lift my shirt up without revealing my not Jessica Alba abs. For me I don’t care if you see my boobs, but I do care if you notice my Spanx or stretch marks. Priorities.
How do I know if I’m making enough milk? Supply issues is one of the biggest fears of every mother that breastfeeds. Even I went through it with Phoenix & ended up supplementing him with formula & starting solids at 4 months, which led to the demise of our breastfeeding relationship at just 8 months. I hear a lot of women say “I just didn’t make enough milk.” the truth of the matter is only 2-5% of women don’t produce enough milk. Those that feel they aren’t making enough usually don’t have enough stimulation to their breast from nursing. The cure? NURSE, NURSE, NURSE. Pumping is also helpful, as a supplement, but you should never gage how much milk you are getting from what you are pumping. Your baby is much more efficient at getting out your milk than a pump. If you want to know if your baby is getting enough just look at her. Is she growing? Reaching milestones? Lips not dry & cracked? How often are you getting wet & poop diapers? Is your baby content after eating? If you have done all of that & truly feel that there is something wrong by all means see your doctor, but don’t just stop & give up. Breastfeeding is magical & is worth the trouble & tears you shed the first few weeks.
I could literally go on & on & on about breastfeeding tips (and maybe I will do a part 2) but for now below is a list of my favorite resources for all things boob & baby related and a list of my favorite products to have on hand when nursing.
My Favorite Breastfeeding Essentials
Nursing Pillow (I prefer Boppy)
Stool- If I’m not criss-crossed apple sauce I like to have my feet propped up on a stool
2-3 Comfortable Nursing Bras- I get mine from Nordstroms because Target doesn’t make my size. But I also get underwire because I am like a size ZZZZ and I need SUPPORT. I have never had a problem with clogged ducts ect because of them.
2-3 Nighttime or Home only bras- When I’m home I usually don’t wear a bra but if I have one on its a comfy sports bra. I like these from Hanes which I also delivered in or this one from Elle Macpherson
Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pad (Target)- GREAT for the first few days of sore, red, cracked nips
ComoTomo Bottles- Caspian wouldn’t take any other bottle but this one.
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