5 Things to Do in Your Baby's First 24 Hours to Help Ensure Breastfeeding Success
The first day of life for your baby – and for you as a new mom – is exciting, thrilling, wonderful and terrifically overwhelming. Unfortunately, for many women it is a time of anxiety-provoking questions and feelings of doubt. This list is an attempt to make you feel rock-solid about your decision and ability to breastfeed your baby; I want to help you get off to a strong start. I worked on a postpartum (mother/baby) hospital unit for almost seven years: I know the first-day questions that new moms often have.
Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed an infant. We all want to see ourselves as Mother Earth…the baby comes out, you and your partner exchange loving glances, the baby latches without any effort, you make tons of milk and nobody around you has any question that everything is going exactly as it should.
Perhaps, for some people, this is exactly how things go. But for so many families I had the opportunity to care for, this lovely vision remains a bit elusive. For those of you for whom everything may not easily fall into place, here are five important things a new mom can do in the first 24 hours after delivery to help ensure breastfeeding success.
|Look for your baby's hunger cues.|
Your baby is most alert in the first 24 hours after delivery. Use this invaluable time to observe your baby's cues for feeding: lip smacking, putting hands to mouth, tongue thrusting and wobbling head back and forth. These are signs of rooting that happen during the quiet alert state. It is paramount during this alert period to give your baby the opportunity to learn and practice a strong latch. Babies get progressively sleepier after a few hours, so this crucial moment can be missed if others are passing your baby around or the baby is in the bassinet. There will be plenty of time later for family and friends to hold the baby!
Having your baby directly against your body also makes the transition to life outside the womb far easier for both mother and baby. Nature's cool balancing act: your baby’s temperature is maintained by you: when your baby is cold, your body automatically warms up; when your baby is hot, your body cools down. Closeness = success.
Avoid Pacifiers and Formula
Introducing supplemental soothing techniques or probably unnecessary food sources in early infant life discourages your baby from making use of his/her mom as the normal source of comfort and food. Since sucking soothes infants and because stimulation of the breast encourages milk production, supplemental anything can interfere with this perfect system.
Latch Early and Often
Many breastfeeding specialists believe that early and frequent stimulation of breasts helps to develop prolactin receptors in the breasts; this can ultimately lead to an increased supply of milk and a longer duration of breastfeeding.
Practice a Good Latch
I can’t say enough about the importance of a good latch early on. Many infants can be uncoordinated at the breast. If you had a long period with anesthesia during labor, your baby's lack of coordination can be profound. Clicking sounds, cheeks that pucker or a pinching sensation in the nipple are just a few signs that the latch should be discontinued and readjusted. Ask for help. If you need more help, keep asking for help! If you're delivering in a hospital, make use of the nurses and lactation consultants on staff: they are the extra hands you might need to coordinate those good first latches and avoid any tissue damage to the nipple. And make sure your husband or partner watches as you get this professional guidance, so he or she can help you once you get home!
|Keeping your baby near is good for both of you!|
Keep your Baby in your Room
Much like the skin-to-skin suggestion, rooming-in with your new baby is a time for both mom and babe to learn from each other. It is an opportunity to learn your baby’s cues. Frequently, moms are encouraged by family and friends (or sometimes even hospital staffers that aren't educated about breastfeeding) to have their baby go to the nursery so the mom can “get a good night's sleep” – this doesn’t really work. Studies have shown that mothers who send their babies to the nursery are the moms that then need sleep aids in order to rest; moms who keep their babies skin-to-skin or right next to them can rest comfortably, waking when their babies root and having the opportunity to feed when baby is quiet but alert. The calming effect of your baby’s presence can also reduce stress hormones, the presence of which may interfere with milk production.
|Happy, resting baby!|
BONUS TIP: Surround Yourself with Supportive People
The effects of surrounding yourself with people who believe in breastfeeding, who believe in the natural system of the mother/baby unit, and who believe in YOU is wildly important. Everyone should know that feeding the new baby the most perfect food he or she can eat is something only you can do. Those who visit are being introduced not to the new baby, but rather to the mother/baby unit that you and your baby have become. You don’t function independently from your newborn and he or she is not independent of you. This early period is the time when two separate beings learn to function in sync. The system is as fragile as it is resilient and should be respected by those around you.
Note: Regarding the last picture in this post, I don't have recommendations either way regarding the "family bed" since for many cultures it is the preferred and traditional way to sleep. The baby in the photo was born a few hours prior; we were all around her watching her sleep soundly. Technically, no blankets and flat on her back is the recommended way to go for optimal safety.
Note: Regarding the last picture in this post, I don't have recommendations either way regarding the "family bed" since for many cultures it is the preferred and traditional way to sleep. The baby in the photo was born a few hours prior; we were all around her watching her sleep soundly. Technically, no blankets and flat on her back is the recommended way to go for optimal safety.
That is the cutest baby I've ever seen.ReplyDelete
love this comment, and passed your link on to a friend, I too nursed as did my two daughters, its the only way to go.. and am so sad to hear eveyones excuses as to why "they can't nurse" have a great day!!ReplyDelete
Nursing does not work for every mother and baby....The breastfeeding pressure put on these people by comments like this are unsupportive and inhumane! All mothers should support one another with the common theme that we have created life not that one is better than another depending on how we choose to feed our child. These comments can be very damaging to new mothers who are already feeling vulnerable and inadequate.Delete
Fair and well stated.Delete
Its true. Ijust couldn't nurse. And my doctors and lactation consultant kept guilt tripping me to continue nursing. My baby lost a lot of weight and I was nursing constantly (only getting up to use the bathroom and eat) from 8am to 8pm. I just wasn't producing. It's not an excuse. I HAD to use formula or my baby would die of starvation. It's stupid how this system works. Other people in other countries make it work. Others just give regular cows milk and their babies are fine.I just don't get this western culture and how everyone looks down on you because you cant breastfeed even after you have tried every drug,food,herbal supplement you have heard of.Delete
I had trouble nursing, it honestly was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I managed to breastfeed my son till 6 months but I had to supplement with formula. I really struggled with how, nurses, friends, family etc. judged me and acted like I just wasn't trying hard enough or wasn't nursing often enough or just needed to pump more etc. etc. its not right. I was doing everything the experts were telling me to do. I felt like I was failing at being a mother because of the harsh judgement and your comment brought back all of those feelings. I am expecting my second child in a few months and I will again do everything I can to breastfeed my baby because I want to. I am not lazy, a bad mom or doing anything wrong. I am now a confident mom and when people say things like your comment I will stand up for myself. Breastfeeding is a personal challenge and you don't know what every mothers challenges are please consider this when discussing breast feeding.Delete
Thanks for reading and passing on to your friend!ReplyDelete
Sensitively, respectfully and even beautifully stated. Thanks so much for taking the time to deliver an important message that will hopefully prepare lots of new families for the realities of those first 24 hours.ReplyDelete
Thank you for taking the time to post such a lovely note. It is greatly appreciated.ReplyDelete
TThe surround yourself with supportive people is most important. We exclusively breastfeed now after almost 2 mos in the nicu so even if you start start in 24 hours you can still breastfeed!ReplyDelete
On my phone, if you don't in the first 24 hours is what I meant!ReplyDelete
Gotcha! And you're absolutely right! We have a good friend whose baby was in the NICU for a couple of months; our friend pumped and brought her breastmilk in to the hospital every day and, once the baby was released (sooner than the doctors had expected!) they went on to establish a great nursing relationship :-)ReplyDelete
The last one is so so important. Brilliant article, thank you!ReplyDelete
Thank YOU, Caroline!ReplyDelete
Wonderful article! Breastfeeding is wonderful!ReplyDelete
One more- don't trip about your milk coming in. You are making exactly what your baby needs- they have a VERY TINY tummy. It will come in. Trust your body.ReplyDelete
Not always.... I after struggling did not.. My daughter would wqny to feed every 20 minutes all day and night and She was not getting enough... Due to not producing enough...Delete
My hospital does/encourages all this! They actually won't let you put baby in the nursery unless they're sick. And if you want to formula feed or give a paci you have to bring your own! When my son was born he was put directly on me for 2 hours before they did anything to him. All hospitals should function like this!ReplyDelete
Oh my gosh, I LOvE your hospital! I currently work on a Mother/Baby unit and wish we were like that....I suggest all the time to get rid of the formula and paci's...they are too easily distributed by staff.Delete
My home birth was pretty much like that 'ideal' described above... my first, hospital, birth wasn't. It's worth adding that if you have any choice at all in the matter it's WELL worth considering the place of birth very very carefully! Birth in a calm safe comfortable environment with trusted people who know and trust the birth, bonding and breastfeeding process is a magical thing.ReplyDelete
I think this advice can be applied throughout the breastfeeding journey. My twins were in the NICU for the first week, and were given pacifiers and formula without our knowledge or consent, but following all of these steps as much as we could while in hospital and religiously when they got home, is what helped me to be able to transition to exclusive breastfeeding.ReplyDelete
As a mother who struggled for 6 weeks to nurse my first born child and was unsuccessful with the help of several lactation specialists, breastfeeding support groups, breast feeding classes, supplemental feeding tubes, medication to help my milk supply, etc etc, breast feeding does not work for some moms. It should be noted that some women cannot produce milk (mine was only .25 ounces per feeding for 6 weeks straight) and it is ok if a woman doesn't or cannot produce milk for their child. They should not be looked down upon or told that "they can" nurse their baby when it's physically impossible and their body will not produce enough for their child(ren). Enough stress is put upon a new mom and being judged as to whether or not she can or decides to nurse should not be added to her. In a perfect world it would be wonderful if everyone could feed their own child, but some of us can't and that's ok too.ReplyDelete
So true. I tried as well and it just didn't happen. Thank you for your post.Delete
"They should not be looked down upon or told that "they can" nurse theirReplyDelete
baby when it's physically impossible and their body will not produce
enough for their child(ren)." Don't see where this article did that. There are a small amount of women who physically cannot nurse (it is a number way smaller than the current number of women who unsuccessfully attempt breastfeeding in the west because there are real "booby traps" preventing women who otherwise could nurse). This article doesn't say that the minority of women who are physically unable to nurse should be judged or looked down upon or that they could nurse if they really tried. It is advice to the general population and good advice too. A woman cannot know that she is physically unable to produce milk before having the baby, so why shouldn't she use these tips? If a woman does all this and she finds she has a medical/physical barrier from nursing then she will know that she has that. But, this knowledge is power for the majority of women who can breastfeed but may unwittingly do things or be coerced into doing things that get in the way of a successful breastfeeding relationship. Currently, breastfeeding is still way in the minority in the United States. Most women don't breastfeed or only breastfeed for a very short time. Therefore, this information seems appropriate and necessary. The amount of women who physically cannot breastfeed under the right conditions is a minute number. If as many women had to formula feed as do, our population would never have survived. So yeah, there are things women can do and things they can avoid in this modern world to help clear them of the booby traps that keep the numbers way higher than they need to be. I didn't see this article even mention the minority of women that are physically unable to breastfeed- let alone say that those women really can breastfeed or that they should be looked down upon. It doesn't even say anything about women who choose not to breastfeed even if they can! It just mentions tips for the general population to avoid potential "booby traps" that could keep them from a successful nursing relationship.
All hospitals should but certainly not all do - hopefully more and more will become breastfeeding-friendly. I'm so glad you had a good experience!ReplyDelete
Definitely! Glad you had some a wonderful home birth and breastfeeding experience :-)ReplyDelete
So glad to hear you were able to make that transition - how wonderful for you and your twins! Yeah, whenever my son and I hit a little "bump in the road" with breastfeeding in those first couple of months, I did these things (skin-to-skin, nursed often, etc) and we'd get back on track.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry to hear that you struggled and had such a hard time. This article is not about making anyone feel bad about either their choices or their circumstances - I'm sorry if that's what you got from it.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Grace, I think you captured our intentions with this post perfectly.ReplyDelete
I had a horrible time trying to breastfeed my son. I swore every single day that I was going to quit! He was a huge baby (9.1) so I didn't have the strength to support him for long periods of time in certain positions. My bff told me to try the lying down position and it changed everything. Finally after struggling for 3 months, crying almost everyday, something finally clicked for both us and I exclusively breastfed for 8 months. I knew when I was ready to be done. My point is, it is incredibly difficult but don't give up! I'm so proud of myself for sticking it out. It was inconvenient, it hurt, it was frustrating at times, but I'm so thankful I did that for him. One more thing, do not stress about your supply! I gave birth on a Tuesday and my milk didn't come in till Saturday. He never lost an ounce. Just when I was ready to pop open the can of formula, it came in. Be patient! In my opinion, your body will not fail you!ReplyDelete
This brought back many memories from when my son was born almost 3 years ago. The hospital frowned on me sleeping with him in my arms, but it just felt right. Remembering him latching on in recovery is the best memory I have (since I didn't get that chance with my 6 year old daughter). Thank you for this beautiful article!ReplyDelete
The hospital I was at specifically had posters telling new moms NOT to sleep with the baby.ReplyDelete
Even if they discourage or don't allow you to have the baby sleep in the bed with you, you can still have the baby "room in" with you - they can just put the bassinet right next to your bed.ReplyDelete
So glad you persevered and figured out what worked for you! I, too, had a big baby (9.6) and had an emergency c-sec with complications - so for those first couple of months, I couldn't bear to have my son across my abdomen - we were all about the football hold :-)ReplyDelete
My first baby is now 38..I wish I had a support net work inthe hospital while we were recovering. Jauntice did not help; nor did the hospital staff...Keep up the encouragement; and the great information!ReplyDelete
I'd just like to add, that even if you do all 5 of these things, it still can be a challenge. All 3 of my homebirths had these supportive opportunities and more, and only one took to the breast without trouble. PERSISTENCE is key!ReplyDelete
We will - and thanks for *your* encouragement!ReplyDelete
A note of caution:it is generally assumed that all can breastfeed, & enormous pressure is placed to do so. After 6 stressful wks of dealing with a screaming baby 24/7, monitoring showed a total daily output of 30 ml milk. My baby was in fact starving. I fed my baby on demand...every 45 mins.You assume that feeding is achieving the required nourishment. Baby No 2 was placed on bottle happily. I couldn't even contemplate reliving the stressful experience of baby No 1. Fast forward 21 yrs through my ongoing medical history to finally have answers provided. Symptoms would indicate that my pituitary gland failed during childbirth. Pituitary failure = no lactation hormones- rare, but it happens. I now have all 3 glands in failure- pituitary, adrenal & thyroid- & luckily have survived many unrecognised adrenal crises over the yrs. No-one identified or investigated my developing medical problems at the time. The focus was always centred around my children & their needs. Yet I sort endless medical opinion. My symptoms back then: no lactation, hyperactive- yet extreme fatigue, virtually no menstruation, no libido, adult acne, ongoing weight loss- nearly impossible to keep weight on...I could keep going- symptoms that were readily placed to stress of new-born/children & fobbed off by drs. I'm glad to finally have a conclusive diagnosis so that I can now monitor my health, & take each day as it comes. There are no cures- just management with adrenal & thyroid meds & self-awareness. An adrenal crisis can be fatal. So "MOMMA", please get a referral to an Endocrinologist & check YOUR health. I asked for a referral 21 yrs ago- I felt in my gut something more was wrong, & was told that there was no need...things would settle down with time! My babies thrived, & have grown into wonderful adults. I resent the critical judgement that was handed to me all those yrs ago by professionals...& friends- that caused me further undue stress.ReplyDelete
I feel for you! (And not just as someone who also has thyroid disease and relies on daily meds, too). I am so glad to hear you finally got the help for YOU that your body so desperately needed - I'm just sorry it took so long for your doctors to truly hear you. Glad you trusted your instinct and pushed for the care you needed.ReplyDelete
My hospital doesnt allow babies to room in. If you are asleep, the baby must go to the nursery. :(ReplyDelete
Wow, I never heard of that! Please don't be discouraged - these tips are just meant to be general guidelines; no *one* thing is a dealbreaker. But if you can do as many of these as possible, it can help you get off to a good start. Best of luck!ReplyDelete
That is AMAZING! I wish our hospital had these policies.ReplyDelete
Ashley Kizer I had an emergency c-section after 20 hours of labor. Long story-short; when my son was born he was taken to the Nicu - he wasn't allowed to nurse (or eat at all) for 6 days. I spent as much time by his side pumping to ensure a good milk flow and held him kangaroo style as often as I could. Fortunately, our hospital was very pro-breastfeeding and offered free use of a pump while my son was in the Nicu and on-going lactation support. My milk came in on the 6th day when he was able to nurse. It was not easy for him to latch at first, but after a few days we got the hang of it. He is now 7 months and we are still nursing as his main nutriition several times a day. I wanted and planned to do all the things in this article and was devastated when I couldn't. I allowed the nurses to let him have a pacifier for comfort when he wasn't allowed to nurse. I thought it would affect our bonding and ability to nurse, but it didn't/hasn't. After leaving the hospital he refused pacifiers wanting only breast. Sometimes things don't go the was you plan but it doesn't mean you can't breastfeed. Also, my son was circumcised at 7 days old (when he was released from Nicu) and this had no affect on him nursing.ReplyDelete
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First of all, good for you! Sounds like you had a lot of challenges, but you really stuck with it - so glad to hear you've already had 7 months of nursing your son! And you're right: you can definitely still breastfeed, even if everything doesn't go "according to plan." I, too, had an emergency c-sec (with complications) and was nervous that the meds would affect nursing, that the stress would effect my supply, etc. But I - like you! - kept at it, persevered...and nursed my son for 27 months (much longer than I intended to or even thought about!). Keep it up for as long as it works for you and your son :-)ReplyDelete
While I didn't feel the article was trying to be preachy or judgmental, there are moms like myself who desperately wanted to breastfeed and tried everything and still couldn't do it. There is a lot of guilt and feelings of failure in that, which makes us resentful and touchy when someone suggests that all we needed to succeed was kangaroo care, rooming in, and supportive friends/family. I did all that, I nursed on demand, I took supplements and then medication and pumped for hours trying to boost my supply. Nothing worked. It's supposed to be this natural thing, what our bodies are DESIGNED to do...but when yours doesn't it feels awful. So then when well-meaning bloggers post about these "tricks to breastfeeding success" that pretty much everybody already knows and didn't make a damn bit of difference, it's hard to take. Don't even get me started on the "lactivists" who assume that I am lazy or just don't care about my baby because I fed him formula. Would they prefer he starved?ReplyDelete
I am almost 63 and fortunately breastfeeding came completely naturally to me with my 3 children, BUT so appreciate your great advice to young mothers...You ladies are awesome...ReplyDelete
Thank you, Nancy, for your very sweet comment!ReplyDelete
I love this. For too many women, the hospital experience of giving birth and afterwards can be marred by not being able to do things the way they want to. I think that this blog instills the confidence and know how to make for happier days after giving birthReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Pauline!ReplyDelete
Supportive people doesnt mean pushy... I decided to breast feed my first daughter and I thought I had supportive help and it turned out tobe more stressful with my support there due to them pushing me to do what they knew rather than what i was comfortable doing.ReplyDelete
Sounds like you had some "breast frenemies" - check out our post about that topic: http://fullbellysisters.blogspot.com/2012/04/bosom-buddy-or-breast-frenemy-sometimes.htmlReplyDelete
Wow! feel really lucky, all of the above mentioned tips are actually standard midwifery support in UK National Health Service hospitals. We also have excellent follow up support once we get home as new mums. As a result of this, despite a tricky start with both my girls I successfully breast fed them both of them. Just goes to show that the right advice costs nothing and means everything...ReplyDelete
Yeah, there's definitely a move in the U.S. toward better support, but there's also a lot of resistance :-(ReplyDelete
My first child was about 20hrs labor followed by c-section. It took 3 days for my milk to come in but I was determined to breastfeed!! He had a hard time latching on so we used the nipple shield for several months. When my milk finally came in I had enough for two.ReplyDelete
My second child was scheduled c-section, he came out ready to eat! No problems whatsoever. Latched on great and plenty of milk.
My 3rd child was another scheduled section. Had a lil' trouble latching on. We used a shield again until he got the hang of it. Due to a lot going on at the time my milk supply wasn't that great. (stress WILL affect your milk production) So I started baking pound cakes and scarfing them down and taking lots of rest breaks. (yes pound cake will help you make milk, it did me anyway). My 3rd baby just turned 1 on Aug. 4 and we are still happily nursing:))
I said all that to say this: No situation is ideal, as she stated in her post above. DETERMINATION is the key. Its not always easy, but it is THE BEST thing for your baby! Not to mention all the benefits to the mom. Which is a whole other chapter:)
Wonderful Post! Thanks for sharing!
You've raised an important point: not only is the breastfeeding experience different for every individual mom, but even for each individual child! And, yes, stress can definitely adversely affect milk supply. Glad you stuck with it, glad you did your best, glad you shared your story with us :-)ReplyDelete
I agree- I too was unable to produce enough milk for my son. I went to great lengths and through a lot of stress trying to get my body to produce milk and ultimately had to resort to formula. I felt a lot of guilt and shame for not being able to produce. I am hoping that the next time around goes better!ReplyDelete
As a postpartum RN for many years, it's wonderful to hear the teaching repeated practically word for word. I would emphasize that rooming-in is wonderful, sleeping-in (sleeping in the same bed as baby) is dangerous. The photo you have of baby sleeping on its side is misleading. Always place baby on its back to sleep on a firm mattress as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce the risk of SIDS.ReplyDelete
Yes, the stuff that I teach as a Mother/Baby nurse and Lactation Consultant is the stuff that has worked forever. I don't have recommendations either way regarding the "family bed" since for many cultures it is the preferred and traditional way to sleep. I will agree that this photo may mislead and will acknowledge that the baby in the photo was born a few hours prior and we were all around her watching her sleep soundly. Technically no blankets and flat on her back is the way to go for optimal safety.ReplyDelete
Absolutely. But complications don't necessarily mean that you cannot breastfeed, either—you don't have to have a perfect labor and delivery to breastfeed. I didn't. I had an emergency c-section that led to complications; I had a complete dehiscence, which meant I had an open abdomen for 4 months. I still exclusively breastfed. And it kept me sane during a terrible time to know that I could provide this special food for my baby.ReplyDelete
The *most* important thing to getting to breastfeeding for NICU parents/babes is to establish milk supply early. We (in NICU) encourage hand expression as soon as possibly after birth, and then at minimum every 3 hours after it, adding a pump around 24-48 hours, as well as skin to skin as often and as soon as possible (so, exactly the same principles you've described as above, just without the baby!). Milk killers are stress, sleep deprivation, dehydration and separation of mom and baby.ReplyDelete
My daughter had no trouble latching on, but I sadly had to quit nursing at 6 months. I was only getting 3 ounces after pumping 4 times at work which wasn't enough for even one bottle. I cried at losing that special bond with her, but am so glad I was able to nurse even for just the short amount of time I did. I believe stress from me job & money worries killed my supply. The lactation nurse at the hospital was great & I called on her numerous times after I left the hospital. To all who breastfeed good luck & keep up the good work& to all who wanted to but couldn't, you tried & as long as your baby is healthy that is all that matters. Don't let anyone make you feel bad.ReplyDelete
I cried for 7 weeks with my first baby before my son and I got it right but I refused to buy formula. My problem was I never asked for help. Another bit of advice: a baby can suck more from a breast than any man-made device so if mothers are only getting a few ounces from pumping you can be guaranteed your baby is getting more.ReplyDelete
Great piece, though i don't agree with the part on needing sleep aids if you send your baby to the nursery for a few hours to sleep. If mom isn't well rested it will play a role in milk production and bonding.ReplyDelete
I think this mother was only trying to help by sharing her story. Yes, this article is great help for us new mommies but her story also encourages us not to put ourselves down if it doesn't work out as planned. So many women get discouraged and depressed when they are unable to breastfeed but her post shares that you're not the only one and it's nothing to put yourself down about. I appreciate this mothers post as encouragement if that situation does arise for myself.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for this! I'm pregnant with my second child, and with my first I tried to breastfeed, but have up after about a month because he left me cracked, bleeding, and in tears. As a family we decided that it was probably better for our bonding that I quit rather than get upset every time he needed to eat, but I was so disappointed that it didn't work out. With this one I'm determined to get it right, and thanks to your post I feel a lot less angsty about it! :)ReplyDelete
I think some of the negative reactions to this post (and I'm about to add one, sorry!) are probably stemming from the title - do these things to ENSURE breast feeding success! That's a really big promise, and while these things certainly help, I don't think they are fireproof insurance against nursing problems. When you make it seem so foolproof, moms who do have problems, legitimate problems, just feel like failures and losers, like they somehow must care less or not have tried hard enough.ReplyDelete
Even though we followed all the tips you have listed above, breast-feeding my son was a nightmare. He was an emergency c-section, and I had so many drugs in my system, I wasn't allowed to try and nurse him for 48 hours (so, formula whether I liked it or not). After that there was no milk - pre-eclampsia stole my milk from me, and I barely had a drop for 6 days. You can starve a baby for a week while you hope your milk is going to come in. Then we couldn't get him to latch, because it turned out he had a recessed jaw and I had flat nipples. And then after we got things going with nipple shields, he went on a nursing strike at 6 weeks old, because he also had severe GERD, and would get hysterical every time I even put him in nursing position.
So THEN I pumped and bottle-fed, exclusively, for 3 months, and you wouldn't believe how mean people were about it, because they thought I was feeding him formula. Perfect strangers would come up to me and lecture me about how I was doing a disservice to my baby, and that "breast is best."
I had totally accepted that I was going to be a pumper for the long haul, when I was rocking him one day and thought "hey, let's just give it one last try, just to see what happens." And what do you know, that 4 month old baby latched on for the first time in his life like it was nothing! And he breast-fed great from them on.
All that is to say, if you want to ensure breast-feeding success, you can follow all these rules and things still might now work out. And you might break all these rules and not breast-feed forever, and then pick it up later and be awesome at it. But please, don't promise success, because it doesn't acknowledge or honor the women for whom there ARE legitimate problems. It makes us feel like second-class moms, like we just don't love our babies as much, or try as hard, or want it enough.
The title of this piece says "Help Ensure" not "Guarantee." I'm sorry you had a hard time, but the piece was about giving new moms goals for the first 24hrs and in no way does it suggest that necessary interventions such as emergency c/sections that lead to separation or babies with low blood sugars that need emergent formula are proof of bad, disinterested moms. The point of the piece is to highlight positive proactive things families can do to point them in the right direction. Most primary care physicians or cardiologists when counseling a patient on the importance of losing weight and exercising to try to achieve optimal cardiac health would not say "let's work on your diet and get you exercising several times a week, but fyi you might drop dead in spite of your efforts." Imagine how counterproductive that would be.ReplyDelete
Breastfeeding, parenting, careers, marriage...all these life experiences are about writing your own story. It sounds like you did that by trying the 4 month latch and it turned out successfully for you guys. How wonderful. You gave it a shot and it worked. Had someone whispered in your ear "what's the point...he probably wont latch" would not have helped you in that moment.
In regards to Becks and the other comments... I do not think it is the educators responsibility to prepare us for things that come up. This article was meant to be helpful advice. Not a guarantee that if you do this it will work.ReplyDelete
I don't see anywhere here where this promises success. I am a huge fan of this site. These ladies would never treat anyone like second class moms because they couldn't get a baby to latch.
I could not get either of my kids to latch and pumped for months. I still received the love and support from this community.
I am a single mom who was in labor for 46 hours (44 at home with doula, 2 in a hospital birth center) before giving birth to my daughter naturally, no medication. After she was born she breastfed and was held in my arms almost for another 24 hours consecutively. Our second night together absolute exhaustion set in and I could no longer maintain safety with her in my arms yet she would cry while not being held. I was grateful to have another loving set of hands to take care of my little one in the nursery while I slept a few hours and recovered. I breastfeed exclusively, practice parenting in the attachment style and love her so much - but those hours in the nursery saved my experience from being miserable and dangerous and helped me emotionally recover and find the peace to move forward joyfully with my little girl. I don't believe rigid guidelines help anyone.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for your kind words and for being part of the FBS community!ReplyDelete
Wow, that would have been great, unfortunately, even though I was able to have a few moments of skin to skin, my son was rushed to the NICU with breathing problems. I was unable to hold my son for days and he had to be fed formula through a tube while I pumped to get my milk started. I also had to go home before him. Even though I was able to pump a lot of milk for him, and able to hold and get him to latch while he was in the hospital, breast feeding just did NOT work in the long run for me. I only wish I wasn't constantly bombarded with things that make me feel like a failure of a mother for not living miserable to maintain barely an ounce of breast milk a day.ReplyDelete
Did all these things and my baby was never able to suck hard enough to get my milk to come in Dont be ignorant. Breast feeding doesn't work for everyone.ReplyDelete
One of the worst things I see as a nurse in a large Woman's and Infant's hospitals, is too many visitors! New moms can't rest with all those people in and out all day and it's hard for an emotionally fragile new mom to ask people to leave or to not disturb the baby. PLEASE, for all your excitement and good intentions, wait until the family goes home and then ASK if they are up for a visit. Then keep that visit short and bring a meal for them. Exhaustion can undermine the best intentioned new mother. Too many people treat newborns like toys and totally disregard what the mom and baby might need-some time alone to get to know each other.ReplyDelete
How do you know how much you made? Pumping is not an accurate way to determine milk output! The more you nurse the more you make.ReplyDelete
I agree with you! We started out at a birthing center hoping that a few hours after we delivered we would go home and welcome visitors a few days after. 13 hours into labor I was transferred to a hospital via ambulance and had an emergency c-section. Everyone felt they could come for a visit since we were in a hospital. I didn't feel comfortable telling people they couldn't come. So my baby and I didn't have as much time. The nurses also pushed formula. At four months we finally stopped trying to breastfeeding. It was a tearful end, but now I know that I need to stand up for what's best for me and baby next time! I thought this article was helpful and encouraging for the next lil babe!ReplyDelete
You can weigh the baby prior to nursing and then after nursing. The difference should be the amount of milk the baby drank. This is how my lactation consultant determined I lacked the milk to feed my son. Besides that, my son screamed in hunger after I ran out of milk and always wanted to nurse. So, the more you nurse, the more you make is not always the case.ReplyDelete
There are no level one studies published to support the claim that rooming in is helpful in ESTABLISHING breastfeeding. To claim that the lack of sleep required by rooming in is in any way beneficial is ridiculous.ReplyDelete
Premature babies, or those of low birthweight or born to diabetic mothers may NEED supplementation with formula. It will not hurt the baby, not will it undermine breastfeeding.
Mother of three preemies, who never roomed in, were given bottles with formula, could not be held skin to skin (ventilators and all), could not latch or be in the same room (isolettes and ventilators), but all of whom breastfed for over a year.
I had an emergency c-section with my last one. I was in labor for 30 hours prior so I was exhausted. We posted on Facebook that we were to have NO visitors. We also posted a sign on our hospital door and told the nurses to kindly turn away visitors at the family's request to let momma sleep and rest up but they could call us as soon as we are home to come visit.ReplyDelete
Then we called the inlaws and said, you have 30 minutes....come when you want, and don't expect new mom to be sociable. LOL It worked for us.....
At the time I had my daughter, my hospital did not practice this & she was away from me for 4 hours directly after birth. I java terrible time nursing. They have since changed this policy & now have the new child stay with the mother. I am so excited to bring my next one into this world, especially bc of this change!ReplyDelete
I agree with just about everything you say, except the pacifier statement. Research shows that non nutritive sucking does tnot diminish a baby's ability to latch correctly, in fact, it actually helps it through strengthening the babe's oral tone ,they also help with developmentally appropriate self soothing.ReplyDelete
This is exactly the kind of treatment the OP was advocating against. Rather then listening to the mother's story and accepting her, you have undermined her and told her she must have done something wrong.ReplyDelete
I wish I had seen this when I had my daughter. I had a horrible nurse postpardem whi told me I was feeding my daughter all wrong. I wasn't feeding her enough, and then had the audacity to take her to the nurswry for 7 hrs and not release her to me. She wasnt sick at all. Turns out she was feeding her in the nursery and that's why she wasn't latching and feeding from me.ReplyDelete
Wonderful article! I was unsuccessful at breast feeding due to many unforeseen booby traps and lack of knowledge surrounding the possible challenges of breast feeding. I struggled to pump for the next 3 months and suffered horrible gut and postpartum because of it. It is heartbreaking that the hospital pushed me to supplement when my baby was in the nicu after being born by 'emergency' csection when he arrived 5 weeks early. Knowledge is power, and I am 20 weeks pregnant with my second child and I greatly look forward to overcoming the obstacles I encountered in my 1st pregnancy and hope to have a completely different birth experience as well as successfully breast feed!ReplyDelete
I recently delivered and the hospital where I delivered has been voted a Baby Friendly Hospital. They practice all these steps and I contribute my breastfeeding success to them. Once she was born they laid her on my chest for an hour and a half and encouraged me to get her to latch on. Once we were moved into our room she stayed in my room during my entire stay. This helped me pick up on her cues. My lactation specialist told me the more often you get her to latch, the better. Just think of it as every time she is placing her milk order for the future. My milk came in, in less than 2 days.ReplyDelete
Have you heard of the brand My Tummy? www.mytummy.co.uk They were recommended to me for maternity wear and they have some really lovely designs and maternity trousers that aren't frumpy and boring like the rest. They also do great looking breastfeeding clothes (including breastfeeding dresses which I'm in love with!). Please do a post on them if you check them out! xReplyDelete
Thats exactly what I did with my youngest and we had the perfect time. I was breastfeeding my girl for 2 1/2 years.ReplyDelete