Monday, October 5, 2009

One Thing I Wish I'd Known About Breastfeeding

I'd wish I'd heard about cluster feeding, where, in preparation for sleep, the baby NURSES HIS HEAD OFF FOR LIKE THREE HOURS. The reason this is an issue is:
1. You cannot fathom that your baby needs to nurse AGAIN.
2. Your spouse has just gotten home and wants to hang out with you/eat with you
3. You begin to think you have no milk.

What you need to do is just sit on your butt and nurse, but it is so hard because you really feel like you need to be putting on a good, cheery face for your husband. I am so glad that my husband and I realized that evenings might not be so easy and like they used to be. In those first few weeks, if the baby fell asleep at 7, rather than hang out with Corey, I'd go sleep too. I mean, it's total guerrilla tactics, but to survive and thrive as first time parents, you have to do crazy things like nap from 7-9 pm. (Because your damn baby is gonna want to nurse non-stop from 9 to midnight.)

I was just reminded of this when reading Nina Planck's Real Food for Mom and Baby. Yeah, I'm a hippie.
And this is me nursing Q when he was a couple weeks old, not in my nursing nook, but in the living room, still in maternity clothes, of course!

My biggest tip for cluster feeding is:
1. Get an awesome nursing pillow so you can nurse hands free
2. Get a laptop or a book and set it right in front of your nursing chair- better yet, get all the trashy tabloid mags, because your brain is fried.
3. Get a system, like unlimited texting for the iPhone, so you can summon your husband or mom to refill your water bottle, bring you socks for your freezing feet, or whatever.

I finally read "Bringing Your Newborn Home" AS I was nursing in those first few weeks when I was nursing 5, 6 hours a day, letting Q nurse as long as he wanted.

Letting your baby nurse as long as he wants is good for:
1. Making sure he gets to the fattier hindmilk at the end of the feed
2. Stimulating your prolactin receptors so you will always have enough milk in the later months of nursing
3. You, relaxing, reading, while the baby does his thing.

All that stuff about "don't let your baby use you as a pacifier" does NOT apply to the first month or two. Your baby is hard at work making your boobs into nursing boobs, and you need to ignore pressure from the outside world who say, "Didn't you just feed him?" "He's just using you as a pacifier." "Are you sure you have enough milk?" This is the kind of stuff that makes you feel bad about your nursing capabilities, when really, you are ROCKING IT.

Here are a couple of my fave nursing shots from the first month or two:

Nursing Q while visiting our friends Daniel and Zaida, who had their twins a few weeks after Q.

Nursing while watching Biggest Loser with my friends/coworkers. I swear, I nursed ALL THE TIME in that first month or two! Time or place, didn't matter. Just wanted that baby to gain weight.

The one thing I'm going to do differently with my next baby is nurse him or her more often in the first 24 hours. Long story, don't feel like getting into it right now.

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