These are all things that I have learned that I wished I knew right away. All babies are different and you are going to get lots of advice. It won’t hurt my feelings if you feel that these things aren’t right for you. These are just the things that were right for me. Above all else trust yourself. Your baby is your baby and so you are the only one who will know exactly what he or she needs.
- If you look in a baby’s mouth you will see their gums where their teeth will come from and the further back you will see an indent in the roof of their mouth. This indent is called their soft palate. The soft palate is where you want your nipple to land because it is soft. If your nipple ends up between the bones where the gums are it will hurt. The best way to get your nipple to be where you want it to be is to put your thumb right above your nipple this will cause it to tilt up and then with it tilted up shove it as far as you can into your baby’s mouth. I got so much different advice on this from all of the nurses but this is the best way. Trust me on this one hopefully it will save you from sore nipples.
- If your baby’s latch is wrong break it with your pinky and try again. I was so concerned with my daughter eating in the beginning I didn’t care if it hurt I just let her eat. Don’t do this to yourself if it hurts break the latch and try again.
- Lanolin really helps nipples in the beginning. Use it after every feeding. It also helps with diaper rash. It should be avoided however if you have an allergy to wool.
- There is a prescription product called All Purpose Nipple cream that is a combo of anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antifungal medications that is amazing. I recommend that all women get a prescription for this before they even have their baby so that if it starts going wrong they can fix it sooner rather than later. Latch is the most important thing to make your nipples feel better. However once they hurt they will always hurt a little, even if you are doing it right, until they are healed. This nipple cream really helps them heal quickly and prevents pain while they are healing. It is totally safe for the baby to ingest so nothing to worry about there either.
- If your baby’s poop turns green that could mean that your baby is not getting enough hind milk. Make sure that you let your baby decide when to stop eating and don’t break a latch unless you are sure he is done. A baby may still suckle after being done. You can tell when a baby is no longer eating if they aren’t swallowing any more. Having said this if you are concerned with weight gain and want your baby to get a little extra food you can expect to have two to five or more let downs (rushes of milk) if you allow the baby to suckle in his or her sleep. This will also ensure that the baby gets plenty of the hind milk and solve the green poop problem. Babies get faster at eating as they get older. If you are not concerned with weight gain however, it is a good idea to consider not allowing the baby to sleep while eating this will also make eating faster and give you a little more spare time.
- If the baby’s poop turns green this means that he or she probably also has a bit of a sore stomach. Green poop can mean he’s eating only sugar milk and just think of how your stomach would feel if you ate only sugar. Green poop is not a cause to panic just try to encourage him to eat a little longer on each side. Yellow poop is the color goal. My doctor told me that green poop can even be caused by too much sugar in the mother’s diet. Regardless when I went to the doctor about this he told me that he wasn’t concerned about poop color at all as long as the baby is healthy and gaining weight.
- What you eat matters!! Chocolate and peanut butter are really bad for my daughter. They both give her a terribly sore stomach. Dairy does too. Anything spicy or gassy should also be avoided if your baby is prone to gas. Onions and coffee have been known to irritate colic as well. This is just my opinion. Some people don’t change their diets at all. If I don’t take these things out of my diet my daughter just cries all day and can’t sleep. That’s no fun for anyone. I have also found that my daughter doesn’t fall asleep as well at night if I drink coffee. If I avoid the coffee I can save myself an extra hour or more at night.
- When you pump use the special freezer bags. I tried to use regular Ziplocs to be cheap but they leak all over the place.
- If your breast gets slightly sore the best treatment is to massage it both when baby isn’t eating and when he or she is eating. Try to encourage baby to eat from the sore breast. This can treat and prevent minor mastitis. If your breast gets sore and red then go to the doctor.
- Mastitis can actually feel like the flu. When my daughter was 4 weeks old I got the worst flu of my life and felt awful. Hot and cold flashes and flu-like symptoms can be a sign of mastitis. If you get this you really should go to a doctor. I didn’t know this and I didn’t go. It is harder to take care of a baby when you feel really sick and you will get better quicker on antibiotics.
- If your breast gets a little bruise on it there is a good chance that it’s a hickey from baby missing your nipple in the dark. So not to worry.
- It is important when breast feeding to maintain good posture. Try not to sit with your shoulders slumped. Around the 4 month point I actually started getting dislocated ribs from bad posture. It really hurts and is hard to breath when this happens. A better posture for breast feeding is to be slightly reclined with your shoulders back. Remember it is easier for you to move your baby towards you than it is for you to move towards baby.
- Remember that all babies are different and have different needs. If you have a small baby then I am afraid that in the beginning your baby will probably need to eat longer because smaller babies are not as strong and can’t suck as hard. A smaller baby will also need to eat more often because they have smaller stomachs and can’t hold as much food.
- If your baby tends to fall asleep while eating the best way to get the baby to focus on eating again is to apply pressure to your breast. This will give them a sudden burst of milk and remind them of what they are doing.
- Don’t be afraid to call la leche league they are very helpful and non judgemental. I was afraid to at first because I didn’t want someone to tell me I was doing it wrong but it actually helped a great deal and made me feel more confidant.
- Breast feeding is a wonderful amazing experience. However it is a skill that you need to develop and in the beginning it can be overwhelming. Take it easy. Try your hardest to relax and know that it gets easier really quickly. In the beginning I couldn’t wait to not have to breast feed any more. I felt like that was all that I ever did. I felt a little trapped and not very confidant with it. Now I love breast feeding. It’s so convenient and hassle free. It is also such a wonderful way to share time with your baby.
- I have had a few people ask me if it feels weird at first because breasts are usually for sex. There is no reason at all to worry about this. Just like any other bodily function if you were to think about it may seem weird or gross but when it comes down to actually doing it it’s the most natural feeling in the world.
I learned all of these things through experience. All babies are unique. Some of these suggestions may not work for you. Some of these suggestions could be life savers. I hope that this has provided a little help and encouragement in what can be a difficult time. If you have any tricks that have worked well for you that I have not listed here please by all means share them below. I have lots to learn too.