Real Nursing Need to Knows

We haven’t done much prepping for the arrival of our second child, expected end of November. We know it’s a girl. Purchased a few pink outfits. Considering purple or pink paint. That about sums up our “new baby” progress.

One thing I know I’ll be better prepared for this time is breastfeeding. I nursed Jack - now a healthy toddler who enjoys whole milk - for the first four months of his life. I would have continued longer, shooting for the first year, but multiple factors forced me to surrender to formula (which doesn’t help them sleep btw). 

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1 –7) I’ve decided to outline the “must knows” of breastfeeding.  What I didn't know, but discovered through the process.

My Mom is the former coordinator for the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program in Oakland County, Mich. Whether I wanted or not, I had brochures, pamphlets, videos and abundances of community resources on breastfeeding. To her, breastfeeding is not an option – it’s the only choice. My list isn’t going to tell you why it’s important, you already know. It’s not for the facts, stories, foods to avoid and all the other usual advice. This list is more of a “what I found out” list. To help prepare and make the oh-so wonderful joys of breastfeeding last.

Nursing Need to Knows:

Two seconds old and it’s go time. After a quick glimpse at your new arrival, nurses will prompt you to start breastfeeding. Sometimes it’s difficult. Don’t give up. If baby doesn’t “latch” right away, there are other options that you may not know about. Immediately start using the hospital’s supplied double pump. It’ll get that colostrum flowing, what experts refer to as “liquid gold.”  The most important nutrient for baby. We fed Jack out of syringes and teeny-tiny bottles for the first few days when he wouldn’t latch. Even mixed the gold with formula.

Lactation consultants are key ingredients. Most hospitals have a lactation consultant that will visit you within hours of delivery. Even if the two of you are working perfectly together, she may have advice to help your techniques or other great advice. My nephew was a nursing king, but his latch was apparently hurting. The consultant put the issue to ease. Jack and I weren’t meshing at feeding time, in fact not at all.  Our consultant offered me a nipple shield, a silicone device that allowed Jack and I to master the art. If you aren't delivering in the hospital, or one is not available, your county health department may supply a complimentary visit from a nurse practitioner. Also another great newborn resource.

Not just a pump, your lifeline. I registered with my mom, a 26 years ago nursing veteran. To us, the pump options seemed ridiculous. I registered for a hand-held, it wouldn’t be that hard right? After sailing that ship, the extensive choices are deemed necessity. A day after returning from the hospital, I purchased a single-pump. Today, fully preparing for round two, I have a double-pump. I highly suggest the double, because it’s quicker. I returned to work two days a week and wasn’t able to pump enough to last for all the feedings. I mean three times a day I pumped, 20 minutes. Even if you have 40- 60 minutes at work to pump, who wants to? I would answer emails do work in my office, but wait til you hear the vibrating loudness it produces. Check with your insurance – pre-delivery - to see if they cover the one provided by the hospital.

Just got home? Start pumping! In the first few weeks after delivery, your body (and baby) are not yet on a feeding schedule. Meaning your girls are producing milk 24-7. Once that little joy gets on a typical schedule, so will your body. You won’t produce between feedings. By the time I started pumping for evenings out, Daddy late-night feedings and returning to work, the job had gotten exhausting. While Jack nursed, I pumped the other. Squeezed some out during naps or skipped feedings. It took me weeks to have enough to return to work. Start pumping early. Stock up what you can in the freezer (it’s good in there for months). You’ll be ready for that first beer soon so might as well prepare for several drinks. It also helps prepare for emergencies – stuck in traffic, sick, spicy food reactions, last-minute plans to get out, etc. 

Relief at the 4-6 mo. mark. At 4 months old, Jack was eating 5 – 6 oz. of breastmilk every 3 – 4 hours. I was only pumping 5 oz. each single-pump session at work. Thinking his appetite would only increase, I stopped. A few short weeks later we were given the thumbs up to start cereal. Two weeks later, he was regularly eating baby foods. His milk cravings simmered to meal times, a light afternoon snack and a bedtime cap totaling – at most – 21 oz. By 6 months, Jack was drinking formula or water from a sippy cup and eating small bits of food. This time, I plan to make it passed the 4- or 6-month mark when foods are introduced. It really does curve the appetite. 

1 comment:

Courtney said...

I like this a lot! I'm just hitting the 4 month mark, and I'm struggling to keep up with Easton. I pump 2-3 times at work depending on my day, but am not producing enough for his bottles while I'm away and I find myself needing to supplement with formula here and there. At 4 months, he is eating 6oz every 3 hours - that is assuming he's getting 6oz when he nurses, but definitely 6oz from bottles. I think I'll tough it out to see what happens when he starts solids pretty soon. Hopefully you're right and eating food will help curve his appetite. And even if I have to supplement here and there, I figure some breastmilk is better than none, right? Good luck with baby girl!! :)
P.S. How did you ever survive without a double pump? I agree, it is a lifeline!!! I had to pump exclusively for 2 month until Easton figured out how to latch correctly and I couldn't have done it without the double pump.

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