Alright, mamas. Breastfeeding is HARD! Thankfully, I have had great breastfeeding experiences with 3 out of 4 of my babies. But the first time around with my oldest, I was misadvised which lead to pain, stress, lots of tears and eventually formula. And I feel like there is so much misinformation out there regarding nursing. So I brought in the best Lactation Consultant I know to answer some of those questions new and experienced mamas have regarding nursing! Amey Clark with Az Breastfed Babies is a literal Breastfeeing genius and so educated on every aspect of nursing! (and much, much more!) She has graciously answered some of the FAQ's of breastfeeding and given us her Top 5 Breastfeeding Tips! Check it out below and make sure you are following her, a part of her group and have her number on speed dial if you are pregnant or a new mama!
FAQ's of Breastfeeding answered by Amey Clark, RN IBCLC...
When can you start pumping after birth?
If a woman isn’t going to be working outside of the home she may never need to pump. I teach every mom I work with how to hand express milk, many women find that hand expression is more effective than pumping. Unless there is a medical reason, it is best to wait about 3-4 weeks after the baby is born to start pumping. If a women is returning to work I recommend that she start pumping once a day and pump every day. No women needs a freezer full of milk, she only needs enough milk for that first day back at work, usually about 8-15 oz. Pumping too much can create an oversupply which puts a women at risk for clogged ducts and mastitis.
I am a big fan of the new Haakaa silicone pumps. I bring one to every consult so new moms can try it.
How long should my nipples be sore?
There can be some nipple tenderness when breastfeeding begins. This may peak during the first few days when a new baby is learning and needs to breastfeed often. Mom is also learning, she is finding which positions feel better. By the end of the first week the tenderness should lessen and breastfeeding should become less painful. We don’t nipple feed, we breastfeed, so nipple pain isn’t something we should expect. If there is ever pinching or creasing of the nipples, cracking or bleeding, a mother should call an IBCLC right away.
What is the best product to put on my nipples for healing + protection?
There is nothing better for sore nipples than some expressed breastmilk. Breastmilk really can heal tissue that may be tender and abraded. For nipples that have cracks or damage I recommend and love Kelly Sunshine’s Sunshine Salve for nipples. I also like Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter. Both of these nipple creams have a protectant quality as well as calendula and other herbs that promote healing.
Can I drink a glass of wine wile nursing?
Yes!!! You can have a glass of wine while breastfeeding. I recommend that moms wait until the baby is about 3-4 weeks old and then you can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with your partner. I always provide evidence based information for my clients so that they can be confident they are making informed decisions. Kellymom.com is a great resource with some good information. http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/alcohol/
When should my milk come in?
Breastmilk comes in between day 2-5. If breastmilk is not in by day 5 there can be a medical reason. This doesn’t mean that a full supply cannot be reached. Sometimes it comes in gradually and sometimes it comes in as what I describe as, “an event.” There can be engorgement and painful fullness that usually doesn’t last more than a day or two. If engorgement is severe I would recommend contacting an IBCLC.
Is Colostrum enough for baby after baby is born?
Colostrum is amazing, we call it “liquid gold,” and is the ultimate superfood that is easy to digest. It’s full of the perfect combination of protein, carbohydrates and antibodies that a new baby needs. A newborn baby’s stomach can only hold about 5-7mL of milk on the first day, so this low volume, highly nutritious liquid gold is perfect. The best place for a new baby is skin to skin with mom, this way a baby can be close to the breast so they can breastfeed often. We know that most babies lose some weight in the first few days after birth so this frequent feeding will help bring your milk and your baby should start gaining weight.
Should I nurse on demand or put my baby on a feeding schedule?
I am a huge believer in breastfeeding on demand, except for the first week of life. You know that saying, “Never wake a sleeping baby?” A brand new baby needs to be fed often, so wake your baby up. It ensures your baby is getting what he/she needs and it sets the foundation for a good milk supply. A new baby should breastfeed at least 12 times every 24 hours. Wake your baby up to eat every 2 hours during the day but feed them more often if they ask to be fed. If they clusterfeed, or eat every hour for 2-4 hours, then you can expect a sleep stretch after that. Don’t let a new baby go more than 3 hours without breastfeeding at night until they are starting to gain their weight back and are consistently having yellow, seedy stools.
As you become more confident and see your baby gaining weight, having good wet/poopy diapers, you can start to trust that they are getting what they need, then follow your baby’s lead and breastfed on demand.
And here are Amey's Top 5 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding...
Don’t listen to other women’s negative breastfeeding stories
Find the success stories and you have found your supporter(s).
What are your breastfeeding goals?
Once the baby is here, it is best to have some, “bite-size” goals. Take it one day at a time.
Take a prenatal breastfeeding class.
* Bring a partner with you to the class, there is nothing as beneficial as having a teammate and cheerleader. I teach a free breastfeeding class every month and everyone is welcome. You can register at www.BellyBumpandBeyond.com
Set yourself up for success. #chooseyourteamwisely
* Make sure that your OB and/or midwives support low intervention birth and the hospital you are delivering at offers immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping. If a cesarean is necessary will they allow skin to skin in the OR?
Prepare for the postpartum period.
Anything that you can do make the first few weeks easier will help make breastfeeding more successful. Schedule a Great Start Lactation Consult with me, it’s like a breastfeeding class in your home with your baby in your arms. I can help you with becoming comfortable with breastfeeding your baby in different positions and in different parts of your home. You can become confident that your baby is getting what he/she needs. If supplementation is needed, I can help you supplement in a way that protects your milk supply and transition baby fully to the breast when the time is right.
Prepare ahead, make meals that you can heat up later and have a meal train organized so family and friends can help out too.
Consider a postpartum doula to help after.
find your #mamatribe. Breastfeeding support groups are held at every Banner hospital and every mom is welcome, even if you didn't birth there. Getting out of a house and physically being around other new moms, as well as having ongoing support has been shown to lead to better breastfeeding outcomes. I have a free postpartum support group that meets every Wednesday morning in Glendale. The event is always posted on my Az Breastfed Babies facebook page.