So now that I am actually BF’ing I thought I would share some of my experience.
First of all, getting smart on BF – the best methods, challenges, etc. BEFORE you have the baby is huge. This thread was my starting point – I then took a BF class and read what I could find in my (too) many baby books. I felt going in that I understood that BF was hard, that you want to fix any issues ASAP (or else you have to fix problems while your breasts are in a lot of pain) and to make sure to get expert help in the hospital.
I had a c-section and was concerned about this affecting my milk coming in. In the recovery room I was really focused on making sure I tried to BF as soon as possible. The nurses weren’t really pushing this, and if I hadn’ been so focused on it, it could have easily been 4-5 hours until I tried. I wanted to get things moving with my milk supply asap.
Once I got to postpartum, the nurses did help me BF. making sure he got a lot more than the nipple in his mouth was the focus, and I had the nurses frequently check his latch to make sure it was ok. But as great as the nurses were, they also had varying opinions on what to do. I insisted on seeing the lactation consultant (the nurses actually made this difficult as they felt like they could help me unless I was having “problems”). To me, the whole point is to see a LC BEFORE you have big problems. Anyways, I finally had her come in and she watched a full feeding and gave me several very helpful adjustments.
I am lucky because Ryan is a great eater and latcher. I have not had major paoin or problems and he is gaining weight great. Once I got home, my postpartum doula suggested I stop helping Ryan latch – that he could do it on his own. And he does! I just get him in position and he does the rest. Its pretty amazing.
Summary of best tips I have:
– nose to nipple – start them so your nipple is at their nose because you want them to take the breast in from their bottom jaw (MightySapphire’s Big Sandwich point)
– Express a few drops of colustrum/milk after you feed and spread around your nipple. let your nipples air dry. (I did this for the first 1-2 weeks). this helps protect your nipples.
– Release the latch ASAP if they only have the nipple. Its so easy to just let the baby eat once they have latched, but if they only have the nipple, the baby can’t really eat well and you will damage your nipples. Agree that the pinky/fishhook is the best way to release a latch (pushing on the chin just doesn’t work!)
– take a BF class with a certified LC BEFORE you have the baby.
– See a LC in the hospital (its free!)
– If the baby slows down/gets sleepy, you can help keep the feed going by pulling the baby close to you (gets the nipple deeper in his mouth, stimulates the soft pallete) or by gently squeezing your breast to help the milk flow)
– Keep at it! Once you get the hang of it , BF is great and so much nicer than pumping and feeindg (which several of my friends have done because they weren’t prepared or supported to keep on BFing). HAve a LC come to your home if you need one.
-Get a few good nursing pieces before the baby – it was great to have nursing bras in the hospital and a few tops when I got home. Also I brought my boppy to the hospital which was hugely helpful.
sorry this is long/rambly – happy to answer any questions 🙂