Friday, May 3, 2013

La Reina's Guide to Breastfeeding

Warning: As mentioned in the title, there is boob in this post. If you are sensitive to the sight of me naturally feeding my child then I suggest you go to the next post available.

As many of you have read in previous posts, I breastfeed my child. Even after she has turned a year old, I am still continuing as long as I can or in other words as long as I can stand the tiny teeth in my kidlet's mouth. There are so many times I hear or read about mothers who have only made it through breastfeeding for a about a month or two before switching to formula. Maybe it was because milk supply dried out or too much pain or even the fact that it wouldn't work with somebody's current work schedule. Whatever the reason...there is no reason to bash a mother for that decision. As long as a child is fed that's what matters.

Now for those new mothers or soon-to-be mothers that are certain that they want to breastfeed their babies, I will tell you straight out: breastfeeding in the beginning can be hard! Key word is CAN. It all depends on how your child latches and your milk supply. I knew when I was pregnant with my little miss that I was going to do breastfeeding. It seemed like the natural thing and also the fact that would help out money-wise as formula isn't the cheapest thing around.

When Sofia was born and cleaned up a bit, I was instantly able to feed her. It took a little bit of time to get used to her latch, but we worked it out. My milk wasn't in just yet; just the nutrient rich colostrum to get her going in life. But still I was stoked that I was feeding my child; it was quite peaceful as well. However, the feeling was short lived...since Sofia had a bit of jaundice, she had to be supplemented with formula. I believe that really caused her some confusion and it threw off her latch BIG time. She would latch on my nipple instead of my areola and it was so painful.

Add that to how often she had to feed and you can imagine how miserable I felt. I felt like a milk machine for serious.  Also I had this thing where my left breast had oversupply which meant it was making more milk than Sofia could handle at the time. I had watch out for her or she would literally choke on milk from the fast flow.

Now don't get me wrong, ladies...this woman right here was seriously thinking about throwing in the towel. I literally would cry from pain sometimes from this little one's latch, but you know what? The thought of knowing that I was naturally feeding my child was above my need for comfort. My child came first always. So with support from my husband and my mother and aunt...I was able to keep my spirit up and was able to continue the journey

and you know what? It got easier!

Mi princesita began to understand how to better latch on as she got older and in no time we were feeding like it was nothing at all. Relaxing and staring at her as she would eat was one of the best times in my life.

Even feeding in front of people or in public was okay too. It made me nervous at first but I learned how to discreetly latch her on and nobody even batted an eye. Don't ever feel like you can't feed your child because people don't want you to in a public place. You have a natural right to feed your child wherever you need to. If you don't have anybody's support on that, you have mine. For serious!

Now that Sofia is one, I might feed her a bit more before starting to wean but even the thought of that is making my breasts ache. I'll read up on what to do with that. Btw...that's another good bit of advice. If you can't figure out what to do, there is nothing wrong with getting a breastfeeding book or going to a breastfeeding forum and studying up! Become a breastfeeding nerd! Your child will thank you!

DO's and DON'Ts of Breastfeeding

DO make sure that your milk supply is up in anyway you can. Drink water, eat certain foods etc. Oatmeal is good as well as a herb called Fenugreek that comes in capsules at your local drug store.

DON'T go past the time that you normally breastfeed unless you can't help it. Your girls will get so swollen and hot you will be begging your child to relieve your pain.

DO make sure you are in the best possible position for feeding time. My favorite position? Laying down and letting Sofia lay next to me while feeding. The cradle hold is close second.

DON'T use underwire bras. They are not my best friends and usually have me wincing from a clogged duct in little to no time at all. Go for maternity bras or tops. Forgo beauty for comfort in a moment like these.

DO pump even when you think your child won't need the feeding. There were times where Sofia would be gone for the day and I would be so happy that I had the time to myself that I wouldn't realize that my milk was still filling up. I would be in pain and have to pump just to relieve the pressure. If a pump isn't available, try to express by hand.

DON'T forget to wear nursing pads! Your girls can betray you at the wrong moment, leaving you soaked and letting everybody know that you are full of milk. An embarrassing moment, believe me!

DO use the best friend to nursing mamas: Lanolin. many times that cream has made wonders for some achy nipples. Don't's safe for your little one so slather it on there! You can also use a bit of your milk for cracked nipples as well. Just a few drops around the areola and nipple will do the trick.

DON'T keep your breasts moist. Try to air them out as much as possible. Bacteria can gather on your nipples and possibly give you Mastitis. I've never had it, but I read that it wasn't fun at all.

DO be aware of cluster feedings in the first few months. Your child will want to feed all day long so make sure you have some snacks and water and also a comfy place that you won't mind staying in a long time.

DON'T pull your baby off of your nipple after feedings. That can wreck havoc on your nipples. Use your finger to break the suction in the corner of your baby's mouth. Much better feeling for sure!

and finally DO try your best to go as long as you can with breastfeeding, but realize that if you can't that you are just as awesome as any other mother out there!

I hope you enjoyed my guide and in closing I will show this picture of a happy and full Sofia. Full babies make happy babies in any way you feed.

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