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Breast Feeding Advice: Establishing Your Milk Supply

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Welcome to our monthly breastfeeding carnival. This month, the booby brigade is writing about breastfeeding advice. Good advice. Bad advice and everything in between. At the bottom of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs.
So, now for my two cents. First off, I’d like to do a public service announcement for lactation consultants. As far as I’m concerned, these professionals, the ladies with the IBCLC credentials, are goddesses. These days, whenever a mom asks me for help, I tell her to find an LC. If she’s in New York City, I refer her to The Manhattan Lactation Group. If she’s elsewhere, I suggest she get recommendations from an OB, midwife, pediatrician, hospital or friend. If she can’t come up with any recommendations, I’ll refer her to the International Lactation Consultant Association website. And most importantly, I’ll add that not all LC’s are created equal. They are just like any other professional. There are good plumbers and bad plumbers. Good lawyers and bad lawyers. Good LCs and bad LCs.
Second, I’d like to make a pitch for being a bit obsessive-compulsive shortly after your baby is born. This, I think, is what got me off to a good start with both of our kids. I was udderly (couldn’t resist the pun) fastidious about feeding them every 2 to 3 hours, around the clock, for 24 hours, for a couple of weeks. In practice, that meant that I started a feeding every 2 to 3 hours after I started the last feeding. For example, if I feed the baby at 9:00 am, I fed again at 11:00 am (for 2 hours) or 12:00 (for 3 hours). Of course the schedule wasn’t always so neat; if the baby wanted to eat sooner, then I fed him “on demand.”
As I type this, it sounds insane. So crazy in fact, that I’m not sure I even actually did it. Did I really not sleep for more than a couple of hours at a stretch, for weeks on end?
My husband assures me this is so. He remembers going to our son’s two week check-up. I reportedly handed the pediatrician the meticulous log I had been keeping. The log in which I wrote down the time of day, the length of the feeding, which breast, the number of pees and the number of poops. “Here, this is for your files,” I said to the doctor. “Oh, that’s fine, I don’t really need it. Your baby’s weight is just fine,” he replied.
That was the end of my record keeping. In any case, after a few weeks, both kids started to go longer stretches, eating every 3 to 4 hours. By 12 weeks, they practically slept through the night. Later on, of course, they fell off the wagon and went back to eating in the middle of the night. But that’s another story.
My point is that I think it was my nearly maniacal attention to the feeding schedule that helped me establish my milk supply and get the kids on the right track. If they didn’t wake up on their own, I woke them to eat. If they were still sleepy, I stripped them to their diapers, tickled their cheeks and lips, even dug my fingernail into the heel of their feet. When the hospital nurse wouldn’t release one of the kids from the nursery (because he had been spitting up black stuff), I practically banged down to the door to get in and feed him. I also put a big note on his bassinet saying “No bottles or pacifiers. Only breast milk.”
Honestly, I don’t know if it was this schedule, or sheer luck, that made breastfeeding work. And it was so exhausting, that I’m always afraid to tell pregnant friends what I did, lest they get scared off. Additionally, what worked for me, may not work for everyone. I’m not an LC. Just another mom, who muddled through this breastfeeding thing as best she could.
So that’s my bit of motherly advice. Now, if you want to hear what some other mamas have to say, check out these blogs:
We’ve got the regulars from the Booby Brigade: The Lactivist, Breastfeeding123, the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog, and Breastfeeding Mums. We’ve also got a bunch of guest bloggers: Black Breastfeeding Blog, Mocha Milk, Cairo Mama, The Twinkies, Random Wonderings, and the Baby Gravy Train.




3 Responses to “Breast Feeding Advice: Establishing Your Milk Supply”

Its worth the sleepless nights, the sore nipples and the constant baby on the boob. its the best thing to give your baby a great start. I have found that pumping has helped build up my supply and i freeze a little every day for when I go back to work. Supplementing with formula can make your breasts not make as much milk and its a snowball effect from there. You have to work to get the milk, and keep the milk. It takes lots of sleepless motivation.

After my first daughter I noticed that my breasts were no longer full but more saggy. My mother said it was from breast feeding and /or using a manual pump. Is that true? I’m due to deliver our second daughter in January and would like to breast feed to give her the best possible start at building her immune system but I don’t want to deal with the lack of self confidence that I experienced before this pregnancy with saggy boobs that lacked elasticity. Someone told me to wear a bra during every moment of every day to ensure this doesn’t happen again, does that work? I am open to any and all suggestions please.

i would just like to ask is it safe to use a sunbed while breast feeding cant find any information about this would much appreciate any advice

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