Tricks & Treats of Breastfeeding

20 Oct

This is a favorite topic for October breastfeeding meetings.  The following tricks and treats are especially helpful to new moms!

Treat: Getting the maximum amount of sleep possible while still meeting your baby’s needs at night.

Trick: Keeping your baby as close to you as possible at night, perhaps even co-sleeping.

Treat: Being able to breastfeed in public comfortably and discreetly.

Trick: Having a wardrobe of clothes that can be easily lifted from the bottom to nurse, or special nursing clothes with hidden openings.

Treat: Being confident about how much milk your baby is getting.

Trick: Counting wet diapers (at least 6 to 8 in a 24 hour period) and baby’s bowel movements (at least 1 to 2 daily in the early weeks).

Treat: Avoiding nipple soreness or pain.

Trick: Making sure your baby is latched on properly, breaking suction to correct latch if necessary; making sure your baby opens wide enough so that your nipple reaches the rear of his/her mouth; making sure your baby’s tongue is below the nipple and forward in his/her mouth when he/she latches on; and ensure your baby’s chin is touching the breast.

Treat: Avoiding the discomforts of engorgement.

Trick: Continuing to nurse your baby frequently (at least every two hours, since removing the milk relieves the congestion), taking a warm shower, gently massaging breasts, applying warm moist compress, or using ice packs between feedings to reduce swelling.

Treat: Avoiding leakage.

Trick: Holding a diaper over the breast you are not using to feed, applying pressure to the nipple, and using either disposable or reusable nursing pads.

Treat: Keeping your baby close and satisfied.

Trick: Holding your baby often and/or wearing your baby in a sling or carrier if possible.

Treat: Taking good care of yourself.

Trick: Eating good foods (healthy), getting plenty of fluids, and adequate rest, and loving exchanges between you and your spouse.

Treat: Having a comfortable place to nurse in your home.

Trick: Finding a quiet space, in a comfortable armchair or rocker (a footstool may be handy), lots of pillows/cushions for support, possibly a reading lamp with reading material, possibly the telephone and/or remote nearby, water or juice, and possibly a stack of diapers, a wastebasket, or diaper container, and other baby items (wipes, undershirts, and a few small blankets) close at hand.

Treat: Being able to cope with visitors.

Trick: Being specific about what kind of help you would appreciate- a nice, hearty casserole or a nutritious dessert perhaps.  Don’t be afraid to ask a visitor to stop by the grocery store if you need supplies- or to throw a load of laundry in the washer.

Treat: Being able to relax with your baby.

Trick: Trying not to pack too much into your day.  Taking a breather, or doing some simple exercises (some can be done with your baby), weather permitting- taking a walk, eating something, listening to some soothing music, or taking a bath.

Treat: Being confident about taking your baby out for the first time.

Trick: It helps to be prepared.  Initially, try to plan brief trips out if possible.  Feeding your baby should be easy (since it is possible to nurse inconspicuously almost anywhere).  You can pack a blanket if you feel more comfortable covered up.  Pack a bag including diapers, a change of clothing, etc.

Treat: Being comfortable about leaving your baby (when/if you have to).

Trick: Initially, the shorter the time your baby is left, the better.  Leave your baby with someone he/she is happy with.  Be sure and leave the baby well fed and contented.  Don’t rush- babies can sense when mother is in a hurry to get away.  When he/she is happy and settled, then go off.  Some mothers like to have the added security of leaving a container of their own expressed milk stored in the freezer in case it’s needed while they are gone.

Treat: Being able to properly pump and store your milk (if necessary).

Trick: Finding a means you are comfortable with, whether it be manual expression or expression using a pump.  Knowing that breast milk can be refrigerated for up to eight days (at 32 to 39 degrees F) with no increase in harmful bacteria.  Breast milk can be frozen and kept in a refrigerator or freezer for up to two weeks.  In a separate door freezer, it can be kept for 3 to 4 months.  In a separate deep freeze that stays at a constant 0 degrees F it can be kept for 6 months or longer.  It is a good idea to store small amounts (two to four ounces per package) because you can always thaw more.  Once thawed, human milk can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, but should never be refrozen.  Do not let milk stand at room temperature to be thawed.  Instead, thaw it quickly by putting the container under running water, first cold, then gradually, warmer.  Do not heat human milk on the stove or in a microwave.

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