Breastfeeding for the Working Mom: Baby is Here!
Yay!!! You’ve nested, labored and delivered, and now you have finally met this little person that will absolutely flip your whole world upside down. It’s the greatest feeling in the world and the scariest, too, the first time around.
But don’t be scared of your newest love. Take a deep breath. Here are some things to think about when baby actually arrives.
(AGAIN, THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE- and ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR)
- Begin feeding ASAP. Let them latch on in the labor and delievery room. There are even potentials to talk to your doctor about being able to breastfeed directly after C-section. Explore those options ahead of time!
- Deep Breath. Baby will mirror and amplify your stress (and this lasts pretty much forever- you are the adult and you control the thermostat of the home unless you hand off that power…different post…). If you are anxious, they will feel it. Deep breath. If someone is stressing you out by trying to advise you, kick them out (nicely, of course). Oftentimes your doctor can help you with this if you just let them know. Do whatever works to keep you as relaxed as possible as you and baby are getting to know each other and learn how to do this. There’s a learning curve for both of you the first time. So don’t get discouraged! Take a deep breath.
- Consult lactation. Most hospitals have a specific person that is a certified lactation consultant. If not, get help from the nurses. Even if things are going well, it can be nice to have someone check in and give some tips/tricks. They often have access to shields, gel pads, and other tools that may help get you over some obstacles that could be easily remedied.
- Nipple Shields. I put this here because I always have gotten them from the hospital. You put them on the side you are going to nurse, and it just kind of helps get them to get latched on correctly. It is easier to make their lips turn out on them. I actually only used them on one side. She seemed to latch on fine on one side, but the bigger side (you know what I’m talking about) she had difficulty with. Put that nipple shield on to start then take it off after baby has gotten a good latch. Works like a charm.
- OMM. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. Here’s what I can tell you. I have been on rotations where we have treated newborns for “poor suck”, and I’m telling you, it works. Even if your OB or pediatrician is not a DO or OMM trained, you can oftentimes find someone who is that will treat baby specifically for that. Get them in as quickly as possible. Make an appointment in advance if you can find someone who will do that for you. It works!
- Try to avoid the bottle for a whole month. This includes in the hospital. Now. If a complication has arisen, baby needs to eat, and you cannot for whatever reason accommodate it, then by all means, let the baby eat. But just because someone “wants to help” doesn’t mean it’s going to be worth it in the long run if you truly want to breastfeed. I think this is what got me the first time. She had a bottle, and it was wonderful for me. There was no cramping or increased nipple tenderness. And it was easier to avoid it the next time. And the time after. If you are going to be working, it’s best if you are able to build up a supply as early as possible. When you pump, you don’t get the same nipple stimulation. And oftentimes, you’re tempted to skip one of the feedings here and another there. This may also require feeding in public…
- On feeding in public. This is a huge controversy. I get it. Whatever you decide to do, just do it. My personal opinion is pretty complicated. I think I will leave it out as that is not the purpose of this post…and that is all that it would become. That being said, if you are going to avoid the bottle for a month, you will have to feed in some sort of a public setting unless you plan on being a hermit. Have a plan. Have what you need available. And for the first few times, surround yourself in those settings with people who will be supportive of whatever your plan is.
- Pump after feeding. You don’t have to do this every time. I did it probably 2-3 times per day for the first couple of weeks, and I have been satisfied with the results. I have a friend who pumped after every feeding and she had a much larger stockpile than I do. That’s up to you. But, again, if you are going to be in any situation that requires you to be away from baby (school, work, a night out), it’s nice to have a real supply that doesn’t stress people out because they are scraping the bottom by the time you get back to baby.
- Hygiene. Besides taking a shower and washing your hair when you can, this is something to think about. Ever heard of thrush? It’s miserable. You have to wash everything and soak everything in vinegar and no one is happy (been there, done that). It is also something that you can pass back and forth between you and baby, so sometimes to break the cycle, you may choose to eventually only pump. There are a few things that you may be able to do to avoid this situation. Change your breast pads and change them often. When in doubt, change them. It is not worth the hassle if you don’t, especially in the beginning when you’re leaking all the time. Another thing, when you are nursing or pumping, make sure you get everything as clean and dry as possible when putting them away. I think they make special wipes for these…but if you have a diaper bag handy, you have baby wipes. And tissues with a little air-drying are fine, too. This can be tempting to forget when it is the middle of the night, and you’re bound to choose sleep over this here and there. But try to make it a habit.
Up Next…Heading Back to Work…
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