Friday, June 11, 2010

Breastfeeding 101 - The Kroboth Edition

I went into breastfeeding pretty clueless. I didn't take a class. In fact, I barely read a few chapters of a book before delivering. Once I started reading, I remember thinking oh crap, there is a lot to know and I know none of it. But, I was super pregnant and read enough to feel comfortable (when and how to do first latches, how often, etc.) and figured I'd read up on the rest later. And that worked for me. I think I could better absorb the nitty gritty details after actually beginning to breastfeed.

Here are a few things I learned and did initially that I think may be helpful to others:
  • The cheapo bottles on all the store shelves will (usually) fit your pump. No need to buy the Medela storage ones. I didn't know this, and was delighted when my dear momma friend informed me.
  • I bought a used pump from a friend of a friend. It's an older model, but for $60, it was worth it. I got new parts for about $20.
  • Tell the hospital you want to start pumping while you're there. Not only will it help with your milk coming in, but tell them the brand pump you have at home. You'll get to take the parts and tubing home with you. Extra set!
  • If you have a hungry, impatient baby like mine, try pumping for a minute each time before nursing during the first few days. It brings whatever is there to the tip and helps them to latch on better.
  • Nursing makes me thirsty. Always have a bottle of water handy.
  • The Lansinoh storage bags for milk are way better than the Medela. Pump into bottles first for accurate oz readings and then pour into bag for freezing.
  • Read all the freezing and storage rules. There are a lot. (If you deliver at Rex, the book they give you has a great summary on breastfeeding info, including storage rules.)
  • The lactation ladies at Rex can be scary and kind of demanding. Stand up for yourself, but definitely use them as a resource. Ask them to hang out during the entire feeding. A few times, I got help latching on but then when Asher freaked out and I couldn't relatch I didn't have help.
  • The football position sucks to me. It requires 15 pillows and just doesn't feel natural. I had to start with this due to the c-section, but quickly moved on to other positions in the days that followed. Experiment and do what feels best.
Everyone breastfeeds differently. And from talking to friends, different lactation consultants recommend different things. Here's what's working for us:

Right now, my lactation nurse has me feeding on one side each time. If, after 30 minutes he is still hungry we move to the second side (which happens quite a bit). If the second side ever feels engorged, I'll pump a little. I pump each morning after his feeding somewhere between 6 and 8 a.m. Your body has the most milk in the mornings. Rusty gives Asher a bottle some nights, in the middle of the night, so I can get some rest (and make more milk!).

Unfortunately, I don't get a lot when I pump right now. But, it'll slowly add up, I suppose. I'm told when I go back to work and pump in lieu of nursing, the amount will increase. So, we'll see! I plan to increase pumping time and add an afternoon session soon, but trying to get through the six week growth spurt first. (He's constantly nursing, which should increase my milk supply.)

There you have it. My breastfeeding routine. As of today.

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