Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breastfeeding 101

As we have joyfully welcomed boy #3 into our home and hearts, I have begun the breastfeeding journey once again...  It is a well-worn road in our home and one that I cherish traveling with each of my children.  Baby J is no exception and has been taking to feeding famously!  Hallelujah!

Though with each child I'm learning that everything is different and in some ways, it's like I'm a new mother all over again.  Thank goodness for the lactation nurse who I met the other day at our pediatrician's office.  She was a gem of a woman and made me feel on top of the world for choosing to nurse my child.  Along with her encouragement came two precious nuggets of wisdom that I wanted to pass to all of our readers...  If you're nursing now or know someone who's going to breastfeed, keep these pieces of info handy!!  They were such a blessing to me.

*Baby falling asleep while you nurse? 
Try clavicle massage!  The clavicle or collarbone extends from the middle of baby's neck to his/her shoulder.  If you're noticing a slowing in nursing or if the baby is beginning to fall asleep, give the clavicle a circular massage which should initiate the suck reflex.  The nurse said that this should work to initiate sucking even while the baby is asleep.  And so far, it's worked like a charm!!  No more having to antagonize my poor babies to keep them awake--all it takes is a little massage!

*Sore and cracked nipples?
Try caffeinated regular tea bags.  Stick the tea bag in a mug of hot water (as if you were preparing tea) and wring out the water.  Then place the tea bag on the nipple and allow it to cool.  You can heat it up once more and apply before discarding and starting over.  While I haven't tried this one, the nurse promised it would work wonders.  Anything to prevent sore nipples while nursing--nothing is worse!!

Blessings to all of our nursing mother readers out there...


Carolina Girl said...

I wish I had known about the clavicle massage when Grady was an itty bitty! He always fell asleep and I would try everything to keep him awake. I'll keep that in mind for the next baby!

Juris Mater said...

B-mama, so glad to hear you're up and alive! And passing along wonderful wisdom to the rest of us. Cool about the caffeinated tea bags... what ailment can't be cured by a little caffeine? : )

God bless your BEAUTIFUL family.

Anonymous said...

Great info about the tea bag. I too have just recently found another AWESOME product for sore cracked nipples that starts working after the first application...way better than the Lansinoh stuff. It is called Motherlove nipple cream...the website is www.motherlove.com but it is available at Whole Foods Markets. This product is 100% organic and does not have to be removed before nursing. It also can be used as a diaper rash cream. I just recently had my fourth baby 2 weeks ago and WISH I would of had this product with my first!! It truly is amazing!!
Congrats B-mama on the new baby, I am so happy for you and your family :)

Right Said Red said...

I would like to second the suggestion for motherlove products. I have used their post delivery bath products and they are fantastic!

Second thanks for the clavicle tip. What a great idea.

Finally, even for those of us who have previously nursed our babies, problems can arise while nursing future babies that leave us feeling a bit lost. In my own personal case, I had recurrent mastitis with my 3rd baby, and I think I delayed really seeking help as to why this was recurring because I figured I knew what I was doing. Even if you know what you are doing, if something seems awry, it probably is! I should have sought help a bit sooner.

For help, call a lactation consultant, and maybe more than one. The la leche league has a great website with local lactation consultants. Sometimes these consultants are hit or miss--so call more than one if their advice doesn't sit right.

Erin said...

B-- thanks for the tips...I am in the midst of breastfeeding for the first time and can use all the help i can get! Just today i had to put ice cubes on SBG to get him to wake up to eat (I swear, nothing else works... and he even falls back asleep as soon as i take the cold icewater off of him)! A nice massage sounds so much more peaceful-- for both of us! Good luck on nursing baby J, it is a wonderful sacrifice for our babies :)

Erin said...

Another question from a first-time breastfeeder-- I have read that it is better for sore nipples to let them air dry and not to put products on them. Of course, i have heard that nipple cream works wonders too (like Motherlove, above). I have been going back and forth between the airdry/no product method and using as much lansinoh as possible and i don't know which to stick with. Does anyone have opinions about which method is better-- if the no-product route is worth it at all?

B-Mama said...

Erin, best of luck as you brave this new trail! What a gift you're giving to your little one...!!
I've also heard that airdrying the nipples is the best way to take care of soreness, but usually am so impatient to DO something that I've never really consistently tried this! Maybe try one method for a couple of days to discern whether or not its effective and then move on. Also, in the meantime, try to work on the baby's latch! That will help the most... And if you're really sore, try pumping for a feeding just to give your nipples a break. I found this to be the only remedy for my cracked, bleeding nipples last baby!! Within a day, they were much happier!

Joanne said...


The longest I would leave my nipples to air dry was however long it took to be out of the shower and put on that cursed nursing bra again. I used Lansinoh (although I am making a mental note about the Motherlove products) by the bucketful and it really seemed to help. I have also squeezed out some extra milk and rubbed that on them and that seems to help.

Mostly I think time helps, though. There is a time for me, in the early stages, where I just need to wait a few weeks for the baby's mouth to get a *little* bit bigger. I also used ice whenever I could just to help with overall soreness. It's hard but for me, it was worth it to fight through the pain. Now that my second baby is seven months old, it is truly a hazy memory and I just appreciate the convenience of it all.

Kate E. said...

I used this product called Soothies which were gel like pads. I kept them in the fridge and they really helped me.

Having said that, I have friends who are prone to have thrush and they can't use them because they leave the nipples to wet and more likely to get yeast kicking. I also did not leak a lot (at least in comparison to some friends, I certainly did leak) and I think that makes a difference in how they work.

Just another option!

B-Mama said...

I also use Soothies for the first few days before my milk comes in... Then I have to hit the heavy duty nursing pads because I leak way too much! The Soothies + Lansinoh cream seem to be a good double for early relief!