Lactilou’s Breastfeeding Tips
Preparing to Breastfeed Your Baby:
What is the best way to ensure a positive breastfeeding experience?
By Carol Frient
Many first time mothers have decided to breastfeed, but may wonder “what’s the big deal? I’ll put the baby on and all will be fine.”
Sometimes we as mothers are surprised that it does take work and preparation!
Some issues surrounding breastfeeding can be solved before birth. The moments immediately after birth and in the first few days are also important to forming your breastfeeding journey with your baby.
- Take a Breastfeeding class.
Practice positioning the baby. Baby should have a wide open mouth and the nipple should be far back in the baby’s mouth. Babies can have their noses touching the breast (they won’t suffocate) and remember to bring the chin in close enough to make a dent in the breast tissue!
- Get a Breast Pump.
If you are a working mom, explore the best breast pump options available. Know that most insurances will provide a pump at no cost! They can do so right after birth and some hospitals have them available and can bill your insurance company right there at the hospital.
- Eat a Healthy Diet.
Eat a diet as close to nature as possible to ensure your health and the baby’s health. Feeling your best helps with breastfeeding.
- Have as few drugs as possible during childbirth.
This will allow your baby to be more awake, alert and ready to nurse after they are born.
- Practice Kangaroo Care.
Most hospitals want you to participate in kangaroo care-placing your baby skin to skin for at least the first hour. You may want to arrange to be alone at this time without visitors (unless you welcome grandma and she allows you to do skin to skin uninterrupted with no begging to hold. Know that babies can self-attach during this early period and have the first positive breast feed.
- Learn how to hand express milk.
There are several good videos on hand expression on youtube. This can help with engorgement and getting milk for the baby who will not latch.
- Offer the breast early and often.
If the baby does not latch right away you can hand express and offer the baby the breast milk in a syringe or on a plastic spoon.
- Colostrum is Liquid Gold.
Colostrum is the first milk you produce, and it comes in small amounts about 5 mls or enough to fit in a teaspoon. This is just the right amount for the baby in the early days. Your breast will remain soft during this period. Offer your breast as often as your baby wants but at least every 2-3 hours around the clock with possibly one four hour stretch at night. Babies who eat early and often have less chance of getting jaundice.
- Your milk will come in around day 3 postpartum.
Some fullness on the third to fifth day is normal, Extreme fullness of the breast or engorgement is not normal and needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid losing your supply. Frequent milk removal 8 or more times a day either by the baby or if necessary a pump can ensure that you do not lose your supply. Pumping and softening the breast before offering the baby the breast can help the baby to latch. Remember, a baby usually will not latch when the breast is extremely firm due to engorgement. By the end of the first week you will be making around 20oz per day of milk.
- Don’t give up hope if breastfeeding is difficult.
If the baby does not latch, you can give bottles with confidence at least 2 ounces per feed, 8 times or more. Keep pumping every 2-3 hours until baby can latch, and keep pumping until baby latches every time. Patience and determination no matter the obstacles will help.
Carol Frient has been reaching out to mothers since 1981 through La Leche league for 25 years, WIC for 14 years and through Akron Children’s Hospital’s NICU, and Alliance Community Hospital, representing a total commitment to supporting breastfeeding on the grassroots level. She was a Finalist of the 2016 United States Lactation Consultant Association Award of Excellence. Carol has established mothers meetings, organized and supported conferences, taught at pregnancy support centers, established the Stark County Breastfeeding Task Force, the Lactation Station Café, volunteered for the Stork’s Nest through the March of Dimes, furthered her education, and led the way in the community to promote and sustain breastfeeding thousands of mothers over the years. She advocates for banked donor breast milk as the next best choice when mother’s own milk is not available. Carol believes all the extra oxytocin released during breastfeeding is a key to attachment, empathy, and love in the future and that will help to make a better world for all people! Her passion and dedication have been showcased in her years of work as an IBCLC, and she is an excellent example of the many ways in which one IBCLC can affect multitudes of families.