55 answers

Things Moms Want to Know ( or Wish They Had Known) About Breast-feeding.

I'm preparing a breast-feeding class for new parents. I would like some insight on breast-feeding questions/concerns for mothers expecting their first baby, or what you wished you knew about this topic when your first baby was born. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your input. I will keep in mind and add the appropriate information in the class teaching plan.
Sincerely, M. S, RN

Featured Answers

Hi!

I am a very pro breastfeeding but I really wish that somebody had told me, "You are NOT a bad mother if you can't or don't wish to breastfeed.". I truly believe breastfeeding is the best thing for all babies and that every mother should give it a good chance. But, for whatever reason some women have a hard time or just don't want to and I think it's wrong that they are made to feel like bad moms for not doing so. I would much rather see a formula fed baby with a loving, cuddly, attentive, caring mother than a breastfed baby with a detached, angry, stressed out mommy.

1. How to pump properly (don't start on HIGH!)
2. IDing mastitis early
3. use of light/ lamp to heal and sooth nipples
Good Luck!

My daughter is 29 now, but I did breastfeed her back in the day! I think what most moms should know is twofold: one, it is definitely a commitment, and two, diet has everything to do with the process. That's because whatever you eat, the baby is going to eat (and eliminate), and, in my case, I didn't produce a lot of milk and eventually had to supplement my baby's diet with cereal a little early. Girls should not feel guilty for a low milk supply, however. I did attend La Leche League meetings that were very helpful. This is a wonderful thing you're doing!

More Answers

While I was growing up, my mother told me that breastfeeding was the best part of having a baby. So when I was pregnant for the first time, I looked forward to it. And despite the blood blisters in the beginning, the occasional pain, and my daughter's experiments with biting when her teeth first came in, it was definitely a wonderful experience. I believe going in with a positive attitude helps. Also, a midwife told me to eat a little piece of chocolate while nursing to make the milk sweet. I don't know if it's true or not, but it doesn't hurt!

1 mom found this helpful

1. Find a good lactation consultant who can help you in the first couple of days to make sure your latch is good. Not all of them are militant. I used Cindy Baylis in Long Beach, and she's excellent. You can find a guide with lactation consultants in the LA area at www.breastfeedla.org.

2. On about night 3 home from the hospital, the baby will be really hungry and your milk may not have come in yet. Be prepared to either supplement with formula or stay up all night until your milk does come in. It's better if you can avoid bottles and formula, but one bottle won't hurt.

3. Don't worry about keeping the baby's nose clear. I wasn't latching my daughter on deeply enough because I was afraid she wouldn't be able to breathe. My pediatrician told me they are obligate nose breathers, and they'll unlatch themselves if they can't breathe. You need a deep latch to eliminate the pain.

4. The best tip from the lactation consultant: if you take antibiotics while nursing, make sure to take acidophilus when you start the antibiotics and for 60 days after you finish the antibiotics to avoid thrush.

5. Starting around three weeks or so, pump for 5 minutes an hour after the baby's first morning feeding to start an emergency reserve. If you only pump for 5 minutes, there will still be milk if the baby wants to eat again.

6. Rotate through the oldest milk first so you don't have to throw anything out. I took a class at the Pump Station in Santa Monica, and they said that they follow the 5/5/5 rule - milk is good for 5 hours at room temperature, 5 days in the fridge, and 5 months in the freezer. I went back to work when my daughter was 3 months old; she's six months old now and we're still breastfeeding, with her sitter giving her bottles during the day. She gets fresh milk from me in the mornings and evenings, and either thawed or fresh milk in bottle from the sitter.

7. You can obtain a tea, Mother's Milk, and an herbal supplement, More Milk Plus, to increase your milk supply if you're having problems with low supply. Whole Foods carries both of these. However, be aware that they may cause the baby digestive distress. My daughter's stool was green in the afternoon, which the pediatrician said was a sign that something was moving through her system too quickly. It took me a while to figure out that it was the tea, which I was drinking every morning. One book I read said that these supplements are most effective only for the first six weeks, after which time your supply should be well enough established that you shouldn't need them.

8. Drink lots of water! One lady I work with said citric acid, which is present in lemonade, has been shown to increase milk supply. She specifically recommended Minute Maid frozen pink lemonade. I didn't notice an increase but I'm already drinking lots of water.

9. Unfortunately, breastfeeding starts out harder and gets easier as the baby gets older. I think too many people give up before they get to the good part!

10. Lots of hospital nurses will hand out nipple shields. I used one for a few days, and it did give my cracked, bleeding nipples time to heal. Lactation consultants hate nipple shields because they prevent the baby from getting a good, deep latch, and as a result the baby gets less milk, which can decrease your supply. If you have to use one, try to use it as little as possible (stop using it after the first five minutes) and work on correcting your latch.

1 mom found this helpful

I wish I had been told that it was going to be the worst pain. That it was going to be so very horrible, I was going to bleed, crack and feel like my nipple was getting sucked off by a mouth full of razors. That it can be so awful you want to give up and quit. But with perseverence and dedication everyone CAN breastfeed. Yes you do have enough milk. That whole line ("I didn't have enough milk") is a crock! It is hard work, a full time job establishing your milk supply and learning to breastfeed, but once you get thru all the horrible it is the most wonderful. I want people to know too, that you have to figure it out yourself, you and your baby. It is a learning process. Lacation consultants are great, but you and your baby have to find your way together. It just takes a little time, for some of us it takes a little longer. And moms should know every baby is different. So just because you had a hellish time with your first baby doesnt mean your second will be the same.

The hospital needs to be a "breast feeding" place. No one came into help me till my baby was almost 24hr old. Luckily my sister came before that. He was rooting the second they put him on my chest after delievery,but I still needed help, of course.

Nipple Cream: have on hand right away to prevent sore nipples

Cover up babies even when you're nursing at home so they get used to it early on for when you're in public.

Buy 2 or 3 nursing shirts

Pump early on so you don't have to do it as often later

Find a place to donate milk to, there are a lot of milk banks, but I didn't find one till my son was about 8 months old. Nothing better than giving "life" to ICU babies...

Use many positions to feed early on so they don't get in a rut

Nurse both sides each feeding

EAT AND DRINK A LOT. This is hard for moms that want to loose weight, but really nursing burns A LOT of calories and they don't want to loose their supply
You are what you eat and so is your milk, think if the food you're eating would be appropriate for a baby, if not, don't eat it.

I never had the pain I'm reading about from other responses, if it hurts, unlatch them till they get the hang of it, it should never hurt. If the baby is hurting you, you want them to learn the correct way, so take them off till they get it right, it works. Especially if they ever try to use teeth...

Hi M.,
I wish I had known that babies only need to do 15 minutes per side. I would nurse my baby for hours. I also wish I had known sooner about breast shields to protect sore nipples. The last thing is getting the right size breast shields for the breast pump. I had no idea they came in different sizes and went for a month with two sizes too small for my nipples, ouch!
Good luck,
S. G.

I wish I had known that my milk may not come in at all and how to prepare for that. My milk did not come in and my baby was starving. He had nothing in his stomach for the first 3 and a half days until we gave him a bottle of formula. He lost so much weight the pediatrician nearly put him in the hospital with an IV. We hired a lactation consultant who recommended that I weigh him before & after nursing & I wasn't even giving him a quarter of an ounce. After constantly nursing & pumping I got up to 13 ounces a day but had to supplement the whole time. I also wish I knew all the flu-like symptoms of Mastitis. Good luck with your class!

Dear M.,

This is a little late . . . you hear a lot about cracked and bleeding nipples, but no one ever told me you could get blisters on your nipples - it was awful! I did fine with my first two, but blistered with the third baby . . .

Good luck with your new endeavor!
B.

It hurts more than you think, but only in the beginning and then it goes away. Lanolin cream is going to be your best friend. Warm compresses help. Be vigilant of feeding and pumping, don't learn the hard way about Mastitis.
Obviously these are things I didn't know, but I was successful with breastfeeding. I know I'm lucky. I'm wondering if giving all the things that I didn't know might be discouraging, which is why I didn't learn about them. In any case, I wish i would've known that it is painful to begin with and then it subsides. AND that is completely worth it. My daughter is almost 2 years old and very healthy. She has only had one minor ear infection and 2 bouts of croup. Other than that no other illness except for a couple of runny noses.
I breastfed until she was one and that was perfect.
OH I would have loved more info about the pumped milk and saving it. How long it is good for, etc...

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