Thursday, December 27, 2012

Breastfeeding Do's and Dont's

Now that my DD is nearly 16 months old I thought I'd share some of the "Dos and Don'ts"  That have helped me through my relationship with her. For us it was relatively easy and we are so glad it has been. However some things have been really hard like night weaning and nursing in public. Not because of anyone else but because those are my own personal hurdles.

So here's my short list of do's and don'ts that got me through:

1.) DO find a peer group of positive Breastfeeding moms. If you can't find a support group locally, find one online. Here are a few of my favorites:

Also if you are a member of an online community like what to expect, or baby center, then ask if the due date club has a breastfeeding group on facebook or otherwise. My DDC's support group was awesome and having mom's in it who where new to it like me, and who where experienced was awesome.

2.) DO Set goals. For some long term goals are better(me) for others short term. Some mom's set goals for a month, then two months later, and so forth till they get to their end goal.
Having a goal gives you something to work towards and feel accomplished about when you are done.

3.) DON'T worry about pumping for the first few weeks unless you are planning to return to work and will need to be feeding a bottle. In that case wait at least a few days.
Pumping doesn't give your body the necessary stimulation needed to produce milk like the baby does. Many women respond to the pump but others simply do not. That doesn't mean that your body isn't producing milk. And pumping output does not equal how much baby is getting when they nurse! Pumping or not doesn't mean you can't breastfeed.
Some women can still breastfeed part time, only at night, before they leave for work and after they get home, etc. So not pumping isn't the end of the world.

4.) DO Chart your cycles once they return. Breastfeeding alone is NOT a means of contraception. Knowing when you will ovulate is the BEST way to avoid pregnancy. I know SO many mom's who get very upset that they are preggers a few months after giving birth and if your body isn't ready, or you're not ready it's fairly easy to avoid even if you don't use birth control, or condoms, or IUD's. There are free apps and websites to track your cycle. Popular among my mom friends is:
And my favorite is a free app for iphone or andriod called "My Period Tracker":

5.) DON'T exclude dad. During the early weeks and months, dads can feel alienated from their new baby and wife. Baby's nurse a LOT (almost constantly it feels like) in the first few weeks and months. And dad can feel like baby doesn't like him, know who he is, and like he has nothing to do with the baby aside from change diapers.
Empower him by giving him jobs or having him help. Newborns are floppy and hard to position on ones own. Dad can help! Have him get you water, have him become a burping expert(my hubs was way better at this than I was.), Have him remind you of different positions to try, Teach him about breastfeeding and make him an expert! My hubby encourages many new dad's now about how awesome Breastfeeding is and how to help their wives. A little love an knowledge goes a LONG way!

6.) DO remember that all the bad things are only for a season. Breastfeeding can be hard sometimes. It's not possible to adjust to less sleep ahead of time. It's hard to wake up and cluster feed every 45 minutes at night when all your addled brain wants is some ZZzzzz's. Sometimes baby might not latch good. Or ALWAYS fall asleep on the boob, or spit up, or have reflux, or allergies, or you might get yeast, or mastitis.
All things are only for a short time. Baby's are only little for a short time. They only need mom 100% of the time for a very short time. You will eventually sleep again. You will eventually get through the dark spot and over the hump.

7.) DO be stubborn. Don't give up! Honestly it can be hard sometimes but being stubborn and refusing to say you're "trying" means you only have to options. To fail or succeed. If you failed the last time, then know you CAN succeed the next time if you want! Every baby is different and while the first might not have latched the next might be a perfect nurser.

8.) DON'T sell yourself short! You're a mom! That makes you a superhero! You grew a person in your body. Or you adopted a special little one, or fostered one someone else couldn't take care of. No mater how you came into motherhood you are a superhero now. There are people you couldn't pay to have your job and people who would pay all the money in the world to have it. It's a blessing. And you are amazing!
Remind yourself of all the amazing things about yourself when you are struggling emotionally.

9.) DON'T be afraid to seek help if you have problems. It doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong! Breastfeeding though natural isn't easy and some babies and mom's need a little help. It's ok and the sooner you get it either in person or through your support groups the sooner you can move on and have an awesome breastfeeding relationship.

10.) DON'T Listen to those who say to offer formula as a solution to every problem. Or to those who tell you to add rice cereal to bottles to get more sleep. Those bits or "advice" or "booby traps" are unsafe, inaccurate, old fashioned advice.
Educate yourself:
Also no pediatrician no matter how experienced she may be as a nursing mom, is a  breastfeeding expert. If you have a problem ask a Lactation Consultant, or better yet a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant! Most hospitals have one on call that you can phone and talk to or set up appointments with.

11.) DO nurse however you feel comfortable! If you feel better with a nursing cover then use one, if it makes your baby and your nursing relationship more of a hassle don't use it. If you feel better "popping" a breast over your shirt neckline then do it! If you feel better using a nursing shirt, and no cover do it! It's your baby and your body. Know your state laws and don't apologize or make excuses as to why you nurse the way you do. It's what works for you and baby and that's all that matters.

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