Sunday, July 27, 2008

Breastfeeding 101- Lesson #1

I've debated whether or not to write this tidbit on breastfeeding. It's still kind of a taboo subject in America. Some guys, even girls, get squeamish just bringing up the word. But then something hit me. This is my blog, and no one has to read it if they don't want! These little tidbits just might help someone out; that would make writing this worth it! Not only that, breastfeeding is a natural thing. The good Lord created women to be able to feed their children. We should be able to talk about it openly! That being said, if you're squeamish when reading the word "breastfeeding," turn back now. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars.

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. The benefits for the baby were outrageous and the cost of formula is outrageous. Breastfeeding won by a landslide. What I knew about breastfeeding consisted of this: Mouth A goes on Breast B. I went in search of a few good books to read and found an entire library dedicated to feeding an infant. It seemed like such a natural thing. Why 500 million books on the topic? Boy, did I have a lot to learn!

With three "whole weeks" of experience under my belt, I'm still just getting started. However, the experience up to this point needs to be documented somehow, somewhere. Maybe someone will read it and know ahead of time a few things I didn't already know. Hopefully this will be Breastfeeding Series #1 with more to come. We shall see...

My favorite book of all that I read was So That's What They're For! by Janet Tamaro. Lighthearted, funny, and informative all in one book. That's my kind of learning! It really started me out with lots of knowledge that was necessary to begin breastfeeding correctly. Incidentally, I will not be sharing a "how to breastfeed lesson." Pick up the book. This is for those sidebits of information that you really need a good girlfriend to give you! So if you're friendless, take heart. You have a new girlfriend here!

I often wondered when I would know my milk would come in. I sat in my hospital bed while my child slept in my left arm, attempting to flip pages with only my right hand in search of this information. Please. Don't worry about looking for that information in the book. YOU'LL KNOW. When you wake up and look like you've gotten implants, your chest is on fire, and you feel lumps in your breasts and want a mammogram before you leave the hospital, it's coming in! I, however, didn't have that piece of knowledge while laid up in my expensive bed, felt masses in both boobs, and just knew I'd developed some rare form of childbirth related breast cancer. Fear not. It's normal.

After my milk did come in, the next question I had was how to turn these fancy new faucets off. I was literally sitting in my hospital bed (with company who stayed a while too long) while my hospital gown grew 2 large wet spots. That was the beginning of a long process! FYI to pregnant women who are planning on breastfeeding: invest in washable, reusable nursing bra pads. A bunch of them. Like 4 packs. The only problem with these pads is they're all advertised so excitingly as "ultra thin!". I wanna write the company and tell them if I just needed some toilet paper in my bra, I had that at home. I don't want ultra thin cause then I have to wear 3 of them! And, no, no one makes "ultra thick." I looked. So another FYI: invest in some washcloths if you don't have enough to bathe with and use as drip pads. So back to my question: when will these faucets learn to turn off? Well, I'm almost at week 3 and we still wear washcloths to bed. And we still go through 4 a night. It's better, but it definitely will be a glorious day when my washcloths are used for one purpose.

Along with this leakage problem comes the question of how many nursing bras and tanks you may need. My book suggested two. She must have washed both every day. I suggest 4. I have a nursing tank and 3 nursing bras and it's working well that way. Every time little dude eats, he forgets how to swallow right when he has a mouthful of milk, and we both get drenched. So unless you wanna be like I was for several days walking around in wet bras, invest in a few more. WalMart has them for cheap. Target has them for more expensive. Motherhood Maternity will rip you off.

Another tidbit on leakage (or in my case, a downpour)- when you get out of the shower you'll leak everywhere. Have your bra with your "ultra thin" liners ready! This can work to your advantage if you're engorged.

I'll leave you with my list of necessities for breastfeeding. Alright, if it was only necessities we'd be talking a boob and a baby. This is my list of "nice things to have on hand."
1. Electric double pump
2. Boppy pillow with washable cover
3. Germ X at the bedside
4. Gerber burp cloths-lots-not for spitting up, but for catching excess
5. 3 good maternity bras
6. 1 maternity tank
7. Washcloths!
8. LOTS of nursing bra pads (3.62/box at Target for 6)
9. Pure lanolin cream
10. Pen and paper to write feeding times the first few days
11. Something to remind you which breast to use next. Some people switch a ring from hand to hand. Some people with a LOT of time on their hands, use a safety pin on their bra strap. I have a rubberband on my arm that switches to remind me. That's easiest for me at night when I'm drifting off to la la land.

The first several days our little man slept so much we'd have to wake him to eat every 2-3 hours. It helps if you write down the times he eats so you can keep up with your schedule. Also, you'll need to be able to write down how many tee tee and poopy diapers he has each day to make sure he's getting enough nourishment.

As for clothing, I wish someone had told me to not waste a ton of money on shirts in the second and third trimester that I couldn't breastfeed in. If you can find clothes that V in the front so you can use them to breastfeed, you'll be killing two birds with one stone...and saving a lot of money. Unlike your author here.

There's so much more to type, but I know my little man will be awaking soon for his dinner! Stay tuned for lesson #2!


Sue said...

What great tips for getting started with breastfeeding! It sounds like although you're a new mother, you are already wise and have figured so much out! Good for you, and good for your baby for you breastfeeding! I'm a breastfeeding mom, too.

Mimi said...

Reading this took me back to my first few days as a breastfeeding Mom! You hit the nail on the head. I remember having all of the same experiences. Thanks for sharing this with all those other new moms out there... and don't worry, the faucets will stop! I found that it was much more manageable with my second too. Keep up the good work!

Hilary said...

thanks for the 411..I can't wait to get started. lol

Laura said...

Thanks for the information. I always wondered what nursing pads were for! Now I know. I hope you are doing well.

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