Tuesday, May 24, 2011

tips on nursing your little squirt!

Before having Adalyn, I read lots of material on breastfeeding. My favorite book was The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears, but nothing could have really prepared me for how difficult breastfeeding my infant would have been. I could not have foreseen the amount of pain that I would endure to feed her. Nope, not at all. I have about 32,953 pregnant friends - just a rough estimate - so I thought I should blog my own personal breastfeeding tips. Just in case anyone wanted some tips.

-As soon as your baby is born, try to breastfeed. The hospital will probably initiate it, but still. Those first hours are crucial.

-Don't let those nurses talk you into "supplementing" with a bottle of formula. Don't.Let.Them.Do.It. It will only make things more difficult when your baby tries to go back to the breast. Colostrum is all (s)he needs. God is amazing like that and designed it best.

-Try the football hold if your newborn is having latch issues. It is the only way we nursed for about two weeks. I have rather.. largeish (understatement) breasts, and my newborn could not deal with a regular hold. She just couldn't latch that way until she was a few weeks old!

-It hurts like heck. I would like to describe it as... a pair of pliers twisting your nipple to shreds? Yes. Definite pain. But you can stick through it. My personal remedy was to count to ten in my head and hold my breath. Once she latched and the milk was flowing, the pain was no more.

-Adalyn had a shallow latch, which gave me "lipstick nipple." Yes, that is a real term! I had NO idea that this even existed! It resulted in extreme pain when she latched for the first 6-ish weeks. I remember nearly crying in Moe's to Mark and suggesting that we just go with formula. He helped me stick it out. But anyway - the point is that you have to make sure your baby's latch is good. There are instincts, but your baby really has no idea what they're doing, to an extent.. they've never nursed before! So you gotta help them.

Drunk on milk.

-Nurse on demand. Don't try to set a strict schedule. I think I nursed my newborn every 2 hours when she was fresh and new. It will help your milk come in, but it's extremely exhausting.

-Bedshare if you can. I never knew this before, but night nursing keeps up your supply! Something about nursing at night makes your hormones go crazy (in a good way!) and makes you make a lotta milk. Plus, night nursing is one of the factors that keeps you from having a period. I'm 7 months PP and still without a period, and I guess I contribute it to night nursing? Who knows!

Milk Coma II

-Bedshare if you can, Part II. Nursing at night is so easy, it's unreal! I'm able to get a full night's rest, even thought Adalyn doesn't technically STTN. I'm not quite sure how many times she wakes at night, but I just roll over and hook her up, and I go right back to sleep. It's a beautiful thing. Think what you wish, but this single (present) mama is getting good rest at night ;)

-Don't pump and feed your baby from a bottle for the first 6 weeks. I didn't know this until I read it from the La Leche League, but it's one of the things you definitely should not do! A baby extracts more milk than a pump does, and your baby will prefer the bottle. It'll just slow things down and make it more difficult in the long run. On the flip side, though, it means that no one, including your husband, can help you feed! So you're up alone feeding the baby in the wee hours of the morning. It made me pretty tired, but Facebook on my iPhone kept me entertained through those nights :)

-The La Leche League also teaches to not give pacifiers for the first 6-ish weeks. I offered one to Adalyn, but she wouldn't take one. My midwife says that breastfed babies won't take artificial nipples because they want the real thing. It was true in Adalyn's case. But I know a ton of breastfed babies who take them, so who knows?? She will take one now to go down for a nap, though.. and boy, I LOVE the pacifier over here!!

Milk Coma III

-Make sure your husband is educated on bfeeding so he can be there to help support and encourage you. Mark was my cheerleader, and I'm so thankful for him during those first few weeks when I didn't have any strength left!

So here we are - Adalyn is 7 months old, and she's never drank from a bottle. I just never bought a pump. I thought it was silly to buy one when I would be the one feeding her every day, so why on earth would I pump!? I'll never forget those first weeks when I wanted to give up so badly, but I'm glad I did. But I wish I had someone tell me just how difficult it would be, so I could be a little more prepared.

You can do it, guys! :)


  1. I love this post, Shannon! I absolutely agree with your description of the pain! We didn't do bed sharing, & now we're down to just 1 nursing session per day, but I'm happy to report that I still haven't gotten my period!

  2. Great advice, but I could have used it about 3 months ago. Haha :) Because my son lost so much weight (1 lb, 3 oz-- about 16% of his birth weight) and my milk still hadn't come in by day 4, our pediatrician told us to supplement with formula. Between that and the pumping I did, I guess I killed my own supply. We ended up switching over to formula completely by the time Colin was 4 weeks old. I've blogged a couple times about my guilt and regrets about nursing (or rather my failure to nurse) and it's something I'm still working through. It's too late for me now, but with our next baby I definitely plan to try again and hopefully keep it going as long as you have. Props to you for sticking with it! Your little sweetie is just plain adorable.

  3. Great post...I highly recommend a pump at least for the first month incase there are any issues with supply and/or latch so you can stimulate milk production. My milk took almost a week to come in, and Isabella hand lost weight and had jaundice and was readmitted for the jaundice. Praise the Lord for diligent nurses and lactation consultants (I wish more hospitals had that kind of support). They made sure I had her latched every 3 hours (from the start of the last feeding so that meant waking every 1.5 hours - 2 to feed her again) plus she wasn't latching easily (football hold totally saved the day with feeding Isabella :)! So I would nurse then I would pump and Mike would feed her what I pumped to decrease chances of nipple confusion....whew that was a process, goodness. But after that first month she maybe had one or two times she had a bottle, but otherwise I exclusively nursed for the first eight months, then I surprised my self and kept nursing past the year mark :)

    kellymom.com is also a wonderful site! I lived on there for a while :)


  4. I had planned on breast feeding and was only about to do so for about 2-3 months. It is so much harder than people make it look! Just keeping your milk supply up is a big ordeal, and that is why I had to stop nursing because my supply wasnt enough. Next time I will know things to make sure I keep up the supply. I never bed shared and I still had a baby that slept through the night but my baby was on a schedule of eating every 3-4 hours and I had to pump in between to make sure my supply was keeping up. I know every baby is different and that is why it is also hard to breastfeed because advice of others might not always work with your baby so it is super hard! I was lucky that my little guy took a paci right from the hospital as well as took pumped milk in a bottle in the first couple weeks so daddy could help with the feedings and let mommy get a little rest! I have heard different stands on both. SOme say dont give your baby a bottle to confuse them but others say give them one early that is pumped milk so they learn early to take from a bottle. It is really great you are still BFing, it is SUPER HARD WORK but also so rewarding at the same time for you and for baby!!

  5. we went through the same thing. I tell all my friends to stick to it it will get better!! BUT it def helped to sleep together and my son also has never had a bottle or pacifier