Sunday, April 7, 2013

Nursing Necessities: Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hard. Anyone, who tells you otherwise is lying (in my humble opinion). Sure, it gets easier as you and baby adjust to the routine, but there is a definite learning curve and continual challenges, no matter how long you've been at it. There are times I've cried (many actually), been completely frustrated, sore, tired, and just plain over it - BUT our bodies were designed to nurse and that helps me keep going, knowing I'm providing the best possible nutrients for my child. Not to mention that I'm bonding with him in a way I couldn't achieve otherwise. It's an incredibly intimate and often indescribable moment that we share multiple times a day. 

Thankfully, I gave birth at a "baby friendly" hospital who basically doesn't give mothers any other option, so you get a great foundation and support right from the start, and our pediatric group has an in-office lactation consultant which has been a life saver during times of struggle. All that said, I know not everyone or every hospital/family/doctor/etc. offers as much support for nursing. Since it's something I really believe in, I wanted to start a continuing "Nursing Necessities" thread on little tips, tricks and products that have truly helped make breast feeding a success for us, and offer comfort during those times when it isn't.  

Mother Love Nipple Cream

The one book I read, The Modern Girls Guide to Motherhood (which was a fantastic read), and everyone I talked to, recommended Lansinoh for chapped, sore nipples. After registering and receiving a handful of tubes, turns out I found it really thick, greasy, it didn't absorb and it burned. After expressing my disdain, my LC Sonja guided me towards Mother Love Nipple Cream. It's an all-natural herbal salve that can be found at Whole Foods. Mother Love immediately absorbs and relieves discomfort and heals any cracks PRONTO. All of the certified organic ingredients (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Marshmallow Root, Calendula Flower) are safe for ingestion too, so it does not need to be washed off prior to breastfeeding your sweet bundle of joy. Bonus #1: While on a trip back home where both my husband and I had horrible chapped lips, it was the cure! Bonus #2: If you rub a little in the flange of your pump, it helps lubricate for suction making pumping more effective (and comfortable!)

Mother's Milk Tea 

A few times I've had dips in milk supply, either from losing too much weight, baby sleeping through the night or going back to work. So instead of going all out and taking Fenugreek, I found that drinking Mother's Milk Tea an hour before nursing or pumping was just enough to amp things back up.  The only problem is, it taste like butt. I'm serious, even the smell of it makes my husband leave the room. So I went surfing through our tea drawer hoping to remedy the situation. Here's the trick, steep it with Tazo Wild Sweet Orange or Passion Tea. The sweet, tart citrus or hibiscus flavors cancel out all the yuck. Not a fan of either of those teas? Try Apple Cider packets. These combinations not only make drinking Mother's Milk bearable for me, but I've actually come to crave the combined taste. 

Power Pumping

When you face a dip in supply, you'll try anything to keep from losing it. My LC, again who is a lifesaver, told me about power pumping.  Basically, at night after your baby is asleep (or whenever you have down time, where your won't have to immediately nurse), you pump 10 minutes, break for 10 minutes and then repeat the pattern for at least an hour. Then do this 2-3 nights in a row. It sounds awful, and it's not exactly pleasant, but you can get through it and IT WORKS. Plus, it will only add to your freezer back stock!

Other Recommended Items

If you have any suggestions, or Nursing Necessities of your own, please share with us so we can help each other succeed at breastfeeding! Also check out another post of mine on breast feeding, it's a little more of emotional and mental tools for the journey!

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