Friday, February 10, 2012

what I've learned about nursing

I know everyone's experience with breastfeeding is different, but there are some things I wish I had known from the beginning. Googling will only take you so far at 3am and it can lead to some very frightening results. Please know that I am by no means a professional. This is just what I have learned from nursing my baby.

  • That delicious chicken, rice, and broccoli casserole your friend brought over for you...DO NOT eat it. Broccoli is your worst nightmare, along with onions, garlic, beans, kale, tomatoes, oranges, and any other harsh vegetable that might give you gas or is very acidic. Your little one's system isn't strong enough to push the gas through so you'll end up with a screaming baby (full-on ugly cry), which makes you cry because there's nothing you can do. 
  • Speaking of gas - mylicon. Get some. If you're afraid something you ate might give the baby gas, give them the mylicon before you breastfeed. It's one of those things that won't hurt if you give it to them as a preventative measure. You can also give it once they have gas and are upset. I noticed it would take about 30-45 minutes to fully kick in, so be patient.
  • You can try gripe water as well. It has more of an instant affect. We had some but only used it a couple of times until the hubs accidentally left it at a hotel. We didn't bother buying more because the mylicon seemed to be working just as well and he was getting older and able to pass the gas more on his own. This has to be kept in the fridge and it is recommended you replace it after six weeks.
  • Lanolin can be your best friend, but be careful. I was told to use lanolin to avoid becoming dry and cracking, so I applied it liberally and often. Unfortunately I was a little too enthusiastic about using it that I ended up giving my baby thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection in your nipples and your baby's mouth. Like any yeast infection it comes from bacteria growing in a warm moist environment. The lanolin provided just that. The perfect balance for me is applying it once a day and never letting my breast pads become wet. 
  • Speaking of thrush, the telltale sign your baby has it is a white tongue where the spots spread to the inside of their cheeks, lips, and roof of their mouth. A little white on the back of the tongue isn't always thrush though, sometimes it's just from the breast milk. The sign you have thrush is what I like to call fire nipples. They will hurt like hell and even worse when your baby latches. It brought tears to my eyes every time I went to feed him. 
  • If you do end up getting thrush (we got it twice so far) the pediatrician will prescribe an oral medication for the baby and possibly a topical ointment for you. You can also take a pill, diflugan. Get the pill. Don't even waste your time or money on the ointment. After 4 days of use, I never noticed an improvement. After 1-2 days on the pill the pain began to come down. When I noticed the white spots and started feeling the fire for the second time around, all I had to do was call to get prescription refills, no appointments necessary.
  • I mentioned it in this post, but I'll say it again. I'm a huge advocate of the My Brest Friend nursing pillow. It supports my baby perfectly. There's always the Bobby which some people like better. Either way, get a nursing pillow.
  • When nursing your baby with the pillow, lay a burp cloth down under your breast/their mouth. I don't know how many times Quinn randomly spits up in the middle of feedings. The burp cloth catches those little spills so you don't have to constantly wash the cover.
  • I highly encourage you to try nursing outside of the home. I didn't like the idea of nursing in public but I'm so glad I did it. I can now throw on the nursing cover and feed Quinn anywhere I want. It helped me become comfortable as well as him. He doesn't seem to care where he is as long as he gets fed.
  • Remember, what ever you're feeling, your baby can sense it. If you're uncomfortable or stressed or upset most likely your baby will sense it and feel the same way. I had many nights in the beginning when I'd get stressed because Quinn wouldn't latch. This only made him more upset and we were both crying. The hubs had to take him and sooth him while I took some deep breaths and tried again.
  • When Quinn wouldn't latch I noticed it was because he kept his tongue pressed to the roof of his mouth. He couldn't figure out to push down his tongue so he could accept the nipple and start sucking. I would stick my finger in his mouth and push down his tongue then put my nipple in his mouth. It was a little tricky, but it helped and eventually he figured it out on his own. 
I really hope if you stumble upon this because you're frantically googling in the middle of the night that it helps you in some way. Nursing is hard, but keep trying. You can do it!

1 comment:

  1. Amen. Glad you posted this because there a lot of things people don't know about breast feeding. AND the dedication it takes :) I breastfed / pumped for 9 months and it's a WHOLE different lifestyle.