Keeping up with breastfeeding/pumping has been one of the hardest things I ever had to do. It requires so much patience, and many times you just want to give up.What keeps me going is the endless benefits of breastfeeding. Its more than just your baby getting sick less, it can lead to higher IQ’s, lowers risk of type 1 diabetes, lowers the risk of diabetes, childhood cancers and so much more.
Here are some facts about breast milk(be ready to be amazed)!!!!
Breast milk contains at least 100 ingredients not found in cows milk, that not be duplicated in commercial formula.
Raw materials are selected from the mothers blood stream as needed, altering the milks composition from day to day, feeding to feeding, as the baby grows and changes. Breast milk is custom made according to your babies needs.
Breast milk is also a lot easier to digest. Breastfeed babies are hardly ever constipated.
Nursing can also help burn off calories gained during pregnancy!!
You don’t get breast milk until your 3rd or 4th day home from the hospital. So don’t expect a fountain of breast milk, if you do have that, than wow!! But the majority do not.
Babies don’t need that much when they are first born. The size of a newborns stomach the first day is the size of a cherry(1-1.4 teaspoons). Day three its the size of a walnut(0.75-1oz) In one week its the size of an apricot(1.5-2oz). and than in a month its the size of a large egg(2.5-5oz)
So you only need a little breast milk, so don’t worry about creating a freezer stash.
The most common reason why mothers give up on on breastfeeding is because they think they don’t have enough milk to feed there babies. You have enough milk!! You are getting enough milk for your baby!!!
During pregnancy and the early days of breastfeeding your breast will produce colostrum.This special milk is yellow/orange in color.It is low in fat, and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to help keep your baby healthy. Colostrum is extremely easy to digest, and is therefore the perfect first food for your baby.Colostrum actually works as a natural and 100% safe vaccine. It contains large quantities of an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) which is a new substance to the newborn. Before your baby was born, he received the benefit of another antibody, called IgG, through your placenta. IgG worked through the baby’s circulatory system, but IgA protects the baby in the places most likely to come under attack from germs, namely the mucous membranes in the throat, lungs, and intestines.
The colostrum gradually changes to mature milk during the first two weeks after birth. During this transition, the concentrations of the antibodies in your milk decrease, but your milk volume greatly increases. The disease-fighting properties of human milk do not disappear with the colostrum. In fact, as long as your baby receives your milk, he will receive immunological protection against many different viruses and bacteria.
No wonder breast milk is also referred as liquid gold. There is nothing that can compare to breast milk. It is customized for your baby, your body produces what your baby needs.
Learning all the benefits of breastfeeding during pregnancy, I so motivated to make sure my baby was breastfeed, Tamanna deserved it.
Now here’s my breastfeeding experience!!
Tamanna is now 2 months and I have been exclusively pumping and then nursing at night and sometimes in morning. I give her formula 2-3 times a day.
Tamanna latched on within a hour after she was born, that moment was soo beautiful and it felt amazing. Tamanna was born early so she had a low birth weight. I was determined to feed her only breast milk, but ended up giving her formula twice a day. I didn’t have a pump at the time, and I didn’t know how much she was drinking.
So I would pump and then feed her, and record how many ounces she was getting. Pumping is double the work, first you pump and you feed it via a bottle. But I didn’t want her to get to used to only breastfeeding and not drinking from a bottle, so pumping worked out great. I used the tommee tippee baby bottles. These bottles made switching to bottle and breastfeeding easy. The nipples of these baby bottles mimic the natural flex, stretch and movement of mommies breast.
Being connected to a machine for 30 minutes every 2 hours is not fun, and even thou she was wetting the right amount of diapers, I still preferred pumping so I could see how much she was drinking, esp since she already had a low birth weight. In the beginning i didn’t have much of a milk supply, but breastfeeding is all about supply and demand, more demand=more supply. So I continued to nurse and pump and it made a big difference. My milk supply still goes up and down, but some breast milk is better than no breast milk, so don’t get demotivated and keep trying.
You must pump every 2 hours!! Do not go longer than 5 hours without pumping. When you continue to do this for about 3 months, you can pump every 3 hours instead. But you must put in the hard work first. I didn’t introduce any formula until after 3 weeks of birth, because I wanted breastfeeding to be fully established first.
After about a month and a half I started slacking on pumping and nursing and my milk supply decreased drastically!!!!!!!I was only able to pump half an ounce every 2 pump sessions.
I got so worried, I cried my eyes out. Ashamed that i slacked. I remember feeling really depressed and a failure as a mother. I kept pumping and pumping and nursing. I remember crying to my husband, he saw how stressed out I was, and said its okay, and if anything Tamanna can just drink formula, this made me burst into tears!!! But I want her to drink my milk, its good for her I cried!! He assured me that it will be fine.
To get my milk supply back up, I made sure I am always hydrated, drank plenty of water! This is the most important thing you need to do. Breast milk is 88% water(turn that water into milk girl!!!)
I made lactation cookies, which is basically oatmeal cookies with brewers yeast(will post another blog including the recipe for my lactation cookies) I also drank mothers milkmaid tea. During the night I would power pump, which is pumping for 20 minutes, then rest 10 minutes, pump again for 10, then rest 10 minutes, and then pump for 10 minutes on last time. Its like a boob boot camp. During the weekend I would try to nurse as much as I can. All this helped along with continuing to pump every two hours. I also made sure I continued to take my prenatal vitamins. Its also important to get rest, this can be very challenging with a newborn, but having extra helping hands makes this possible.
It required a lot of hard work, but i finally got my milk supply back in about 5 days!!
I made a breastfeeding basket, that I keep near my bed. These are products I use and love. I also keep my iPad with me, because pumping takes about 30-40 minutes. My basket also includes hand sanitizer, milkmaid tea, wipes, nipple balm cream, nursing pads, Lansinoh breast therapy pads, granola bar. The Nursing Mothers Companion Book, and my favorite sparkly cup.
When I am breastfeeding I use the Boppy Pillow, a product I absolutely love. It makes breastfeeding more comfy for both mommy and baby. It can also be used for propping the baby and for tummy time.
I hope this blog helped you learn about the benefits of breastfeeding, and hopefully it encouraged you to give breastfeeding a try. Make sure you surround yourself with people that support your decision, and are there for you on days when breastfeeding can just be really frustrating. I still have days where I slack on breastfeeding/pumping, mommies are human too, and some days we just need a break.
I believe fed is best, so even if you choice to bottle feed because that’s what works for you, than that’s great. A happy healthy mom equals a happy healthy baby. Do what works best for you and your little one.
For more information on breastfeeding, contact your local La Leche League or call (800) La-Leche(525-3243). Or check out there website at http://www.laleche.org.