First of all,I want to say, CONGRATULATIONS and I commend you for you decision to breastfeed your baby. You are providing your baby with the BEST food that is available for him/her, giving your baby a higher IQ, and meanwhile, speeding up your recovery after delivery due to reduction of postpartum bleeding.
You may think, oh it’s no biggie, but seriously, breastfeeding is really hard work and that’s why the decision to do it is very important. You have to dive in with determination and persistence. I tell you, you will be overflowing with a sense of fulfillment that you are the sole nourishment of this precious life that you have given birth to.
I am posting these celebrity photos here because I believe that breastfeeding is glamorous and you should feel proud that you belong to this roster of moms.
A friend of mine who is a soon to be mom requested me to blog about this so from the top of my head, here it are the top ten things I learned from my lactation specialist/pediatrician, breastfeeding seminars, and from my 3.5 years of experience in breastfeeding:
- When latching, the whole areola should be inside your baby’s mouth. I learned this the hard way and I cried a lot during the first two weeks of breastfeeding my daughter because I was latching the wrong way.
- Set an alarm for feeding your baby. Don’t wait for your baby to cry before initiating feeding time. The 2 hour intervals for the first three months is counted from the beginning of each feed until the beginning of the next feed. If you do not follow the schedule, you will end up “not having enough milk” because breastfeeding follows a supply-demand policy. Your body will provide the much milk it detects that your baby needs and the only way for it to know that is for you to feed your baby within the recommended intervals.
- My pediatrician, Dr. Jocelyn Bondoc, a lactation specialist from Medical City taught me this — If in case you experience any cracking of the skin on your nipples, you can use expressed milk (or scoop up the milk that drops from your breast while you are feeding with the other breast) and apply it on your nipples. The lanolin in your milk will help alleviate the sores. Lock the door and air dry your nipples afterwards.
- Wash your nipples only with water, no soap, nothing.
- Breastfeeding is hard during the first few weeks but after that, it gets better, then later on it becomes the most natural thing in the world. It’s like clockwork, your body knows when your baby is going hungry. No bottles involved, just you and your baby, bonding in the best way possible. So don’t throw in the towel after some difficulty, you can do it!
- Don’t go to the ER like I did when your baby’s poop changes color. Green poop means that your baby is not able to drink all of the milk from your breast and she was only able to drink the fore milk. Latch her again to the same breast she last fed from to let her drink the hind milk, which when you observe in expressed milk is the thick and slippery part of the milk that sticks to the side of the bottle when you put the milk in the refrigerator. When we experienced this, my pediatrician recommended latching to the same breast twice before switching between feedings.
- When storing expressed breast milk in the freezer, don’t fill the bottle up to the top. Leave space for the milk to expand when it is frozen.
- Now don’t be pressured to stock freezer loads of milk. Six to eight bottles (4-6 oz depending on your baby’s age) before going to work is sufficient/safe enough. When I had my first baby, I was able to express 3-4 bottles with 4-6 oz milk at work. For my second baby, I was able to get 2-3 bottles so it definitely varies depending on your baby. Then I usually pumped one bottle in the morning and in the evening after I arrived from work. Overnight,I co-sleep with my baby and feed with the schedule my doctor recommended — 2 hours interval for the first three months, 3-4 hours after that until six months. Then when my baby starting eating, the feeding times varied but usually at least once within 5 hours. Again, follow #2 if you don’t have the motions down to a T yet. When your baby reaches the eighth month, you won’t even have to wake up because your baby will get the breast for you.
- Feel your breast and check for any areas that are hard. This is milk that wasn’t expressed. Put a warm compress on the area or take a warm shower, and massage right before feeding your baby. Sometimes the breast pump isn’t able to take out all of the milk in your breast and your baby’s sucking does better in extracting the milk the breast pump isn’t able to get.
- Going out with your baby is easy when you are breastfeeding. Make sure you take a scarf or a nursing bib to properly cover yourself if you need to. Wear a shirt that easily opens up front like a button up top. I prefer the scarf and I usually latch my baby while in a baby carrier ala Alicia Silverstone as seen below.