Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Nursing Tale

A friend recently brought it to my attention that through the feeding experience with Everett, I learned a lot of precious information (and so did Andrew!).

I thought I would share much of it here, in hopes that it helps someone else! That being said, if you have a health practitioner you should ask their advice and follow that - this post should give you lots of things to ask them though :)

Our Schedule at the Beginning when Everett was in the NICU:
  • Nurse as soon as you can see the baby.
  • Go every three hours to feed the baby (or as often as the NICU nurses will let you).
    • Do a combination of attempting to nurse and bottle feeding.
      • Nurse for a few minutes, then bottle feed (or let partner), then pump for 15 minutes on a medium setting.
  • Drink a glass of water and have a snack every time you feed/pump.
Other tips for increasing supply:
  • Nurse more often (if that's humanly possible...)
  • Skin to skin
    • Also known as cuddle time :)
    • Helps promote milk production.
    • Helps baby to moderate their temperature (up or down).
    • Good for partner too!
  • Pump, pump, pump!
    • Have a picture of your baby nearby or visit the NICU and imagine your baby nursing while you pump, or if possible sit near your baby!
    • Make sure you have correctly sized phalanges.
    • Invest in a double electric pump, it saves time and makes it easier to actually pump when you don't want to.
    • This is my pump. (I love it).
      • Drink nursing tea
      • Sleep!
        • If your baby is taking a bottle/supplementation anyway, take one of the 12 feeds off a day and sleep/rest through it. This will help with supply as a well-rested body can make more milk!
      Don't be afraid to try other things:
      • Bottle feeding:
        • You may need to bottle feed while nursing is being established, don't feel bad about this!
        • Use a bottle that has a wide nipple to simulate the size/feeling of a breast. We used this kind.
        • Have someone help with the bottle feeding at the beginning as nursing and pumping is more than enough effort and you will need your rest.
        • Someone else will need to wash (and if using formula, sterlize) the bottles. This is something that should be delegated at the beginning.
        • Have baby sit up to eat out of bottle so that he is forced to draw the milk down the nipple and it isn't poured in (simulating real nursing I was told).

      • Crazy straw mechanism - Lact-aid
        • Didn't work well for us since Everett was annoyed by the straw's presence in his mouth and tried to spit it out.
        • Works amazingly for others!
      • Nipple shield
        • Apparently good for torn up nipples, also has other uses.
        • We used it to get Everett to sustain a latch on the breast as it would engage his sucking reflex much like a bottle.
        • Only warning we heard was to not use it exclusively if you're needing to increase your supply as the baby's direct latch works better for that.
        • Goal was to use for a few weeks only (for Everett to wean the baby off the bottle and onto the breast).
      • Hand expression
        • Not something that was particularly easy for me, especially when establishing a supply.
        • Here's a link to an explanation and how-to for hand expression and massage.
      • Massage
        • Worked well before pumping.
        • Helped with clogged ducts.
        • Brought milk down to make it easier for Everett to get milk sooner (at beginning).
      • Other Supplements:
        • Never used either, but work for lots of mamas!
          • Fenugreek
          • Blessed Thistle
      Great Resources:
      • La Leche League
      • Breastfeeding Buddies
      • Pre-birth Breastfeed Class
      • Health professional (lactation consultant, midwife, family doctor)

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