Breastfeeding Challenges and Solutions

15 Mar

Some of you following me know that I had some bumps in the bf road.

It all started well. As they wheeled me from the OR and gave me Timothy, he latched right on and started sucking, minutes after birth. I don’t really remember the details, but the nurses said he had a perfect latch.

Because of the c-section scar, I couldn’t place Timothy on my tunny – it hurt. So I sort of put him across my chest, face down on my boob (because I was not allowed to sit up for the first 36 hours or so). And my nipples started to hurt a lot. One had a red bloody crack across the middle of the nipple, the other got a bloody blister. They even got dry and sharp (I was wondering how Timothy can eat – so sharp the blisters were).

Every nurse seemed to have her own idea of how things should be done. I’ll share what worked for me.

Use the football hold position: the baby is not on your belly, AND you can see how he’s latched. Always make sure his lips aren’t curled inwards as this will cause him to suck on the nipple, not the areola!

Put cream BEFORE as well as after each feeding. This way when your baby sucks, the areola slips into his mouth along with the nipple, allowing for a much better latch. Of course, make sure the cream is safe for bf.

Let him take his time, but be realistic. If he stays on one boob for over 30 minutes, then he’s probably asleep, using your boob as a pacifier. It’s not a bad thing altogether – his sucking stimulates milk production increase for later – but I wouldn’t recommend going beyond 30 minutes per boob.

Don’t drink too much around the time your milk is supposed to come (3-5 days postpartum). Your body will turn pretty much all the liquid you drink into milk and you’ll get uncomfortable engorged. And feed at least every three hours – also to avoid gross engorgement (huh, I am feeling milk let-down as I write this ;))

Colostrum (the substance that comes before milk) is yellow. Like almost orange yellow. I was surprised. And then I knew when it turned into milk – because of the colour change 🙂 Although my milk is still yellowish.

I started having milk supply issues at some point – Timothy (as I figured it later) was going through a growth spurt and I didn’t have enough. I did lots of things combined – medicinal as well as old wives’ tales – and it worked:

  • Pumping both breasts for 20 minutes after each feed (painful… especially at night when all you want is sleep… especially when he feeds every hour…)
  • Collecting this milk. It was 10 ml here, 20 ml there – but it helped: when I still didn’t have enough milk, I could give Timothy my breast milk as opposed to supplement
  • Eating fatty foods: it’s not all about the volume of milk, but its richness, too. I ate lots of cheese and walnuts.
  • Drinking a lot. Your baby needs about 100 ml a day per each pound. So if Timothy is about 5 kg, he needs a liter of milk – daily! Now how can you produce a whole liter of milk if you don’t drink enough? I had one awful day when I forgot to keep myself hydrated. I ended up with a very frustrated baby for there was no milk for him!
  • Drinking hot tea with milk. I don’t know what is it about hot tea with milk, but Russian mothers swear by it.
  • Taking Dom Peridon (this requires a prescription)
  • Drink a glass of milk during your night feeding. I usually bring a glass of cold milk before the last feeding of the day and leave it by the glider so that it’s there for me for the middle-of-the-night feed. It doesn’t go bad that quickly. And it helps against hunger pangs that sometimes arrive in the middle of the night. Feeding another human being can do that to you!

There are more things you can do, but the above ones worked for me, so I didn’t take fenugreek or boob massage that’s supposed to open up milk ducts…

The other night Timothy ate one boob and fell asleep so deeply that I had to pump the other boob. I was thrilled to get 100 ml out of one boob! Although, I have to mention he slept for 5 hours prior to this, so there was more milk there than usual.

And the best sound in the world is hearing Timothy’s gulp-gulp-gulp. That tells me I got lots of milk. Even though he often chokes on it now and it’s hard for me to not get scared…

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3 Responses to “Breastfeeding Challenges and Solutions”

  1. St. Elsewhere March 18, 2012 at 3:28 AM #

    I take a glass full of milk every night before I hit the bed…that hot tea with milk…that would be me too..

    And I take milk with my porridge too…

    I had walnuts during my pregnancy, but haven’t had them recently…

    • zygotta March 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM #

      See, that helps! And warm milk helps us sleep, too 🙂

  2. theonethatlovesyou July 2, 2012 at 6:23 PM #

    What type of nipple cream is baby friendly?

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