What I Learned at Lactation Class

* You really can eat what you want, the breast milk is so fortified already that the baby is largely protected from a lot of what you ingest in the first place.  And if you’ve been eating a lot of things you normally would (spicy, etc), the baby is already getting used to those things.  What you eat and drink doesn’t affect their stomachs (gas, colic).  They will likely get those things anyway.  Their body is adjusting to having something other than amniotic fluid going through their digestive system.  It’s always going to create a period of adjustment for the baby.

* You can have beer or wine (1-2 servings), the body metabolizes alcohol very quickly, and if done right after a feeding, it will likely be mostly gone by the time the baby wants to feed next.  In fact, the barley, hops and wheat that goes into beer actually helps the body produce milk.  (Obviously, don’t be stupid and go overboard.)

* Pump and bottle extra breast milk.  It can be stored in an every-day use freezer, in the back, for up to 6 months.  In a deep-freeze (chest freezer, etc) it can be kept for a year or more.  It’s very stable.  Bottle feeding breast milk is just as acceptable as breast feeding only.  Fathers can bottle feed breast milk to give mom a break, or if dad is watching the baby while mom is out or at work.  Early on, bottles are better given by dad, so that there isn’t nipple confusion because of mom giving both.

* You can NOT overfeed on breast feeding.  The baby will self-regulate their feeding.  They will let you know when they are hungry, they will also let you know when they are full.  The baby self-regulating is a really good thing, because it helps boost the instincts for portion control naturally.  Formula feeding, and making the baby take an entire bottle even if they do not want it, can cause issues with portion control later on.

* Breastfed babies are less susceptible to SIDS.  The more natural and easier-digestible proteins and fats in breast milk help baby to be able to wake themselves easier than babies that are formula fed.  Formulas are made with proteins and fats that are far larger than those produced by humans, therefore making them harder to process for baby.

* Night feeding is so common because the Prolactin that the body produces is produced at a higher rate at night.

* Breast fed babies are often far less sick than formula-fed babies.  There are natural protections that we human mothers produce and pass through our breast milk to the baby, fortifying the baby’s defenses.  Antibiotic qualities, antibacterial qualities, can also help prevent some diseases, as well as contributing to far less dental and mouth problems in the future.  Studies have also been done on the breast milk of humans on cancer cells.  It has shown to fight and kill some cancer cells, including breast cancer.  Breast feeding can reduce the risk in both the mother, and the baby by breast feeding. (There has also been studies in Africa looking at the lowered transference of HIV/AIDS from mothers who breast fed only versus mothers who mixed formula feeding with breast feeding.)

*  Recent studies are showing that breast feeding as long as possible (up to 2 years) is actually extremely beneficial for the children.  Toddlers that were or are still being breast fed are less sick, less often, and are far less susceptible to sicknesses passed in group settings.  An alternative to literally breast feeding a toddler, is to provide breast milk from pumping through other means, either via bottle, or sippy cup.

* Breast milk is naturally sterile.

* Formula feeding isn’t just expensive on the front end.  If the baby does not take a full bottle, you can not save the portion for later.  It breeds bacteria very quickly and could make your baby extremely sick.  Breast milk is less likely to breed bacteria, but will, if left out long enough.  But since breast milk is free, you aren’t dumping tons of money down the drain every single time you have to pour out the rest of that particular bottle.  Force-feeding the baby a whole bottle that it doesn’t want or need at that time isn’t the way to save money.  And this is even worse, when a baby won’t take normal formula and you need to get the more specialized, expensive kinds.  (You can easily save over $3000 a year by not formula feeding.)

* Yes, a mother is perfectly capable in nearly all cases to produce the milk a baby needs.  Too many people give up too quickly when the baby doesn’t take to the breast immediately, and they aren’t coached properly in getting past the difficult, and sometimes painful stage of learning how to breast feed properly.  Do not give up, find a really good, educated and skilled lactation specialist to help you if necessary.

* While trying to get your baby to latch to the breast, they will naturally fuss and push.  This does not mean that they do not want the breast, or that they are not hungry.  It’s a natural movement for them, so keep at it until they latch.

* Rub the nose tip then bring your nipple down from there until the baby opens their mouth wide, then insert your nipple and areola.  They root from side to side when seeking a feeding, so the movement from up to down will get their attention more.

* You want them to latch past the nipple to the areola.  Just the nipple will be extremely painful, and the natural movements of their mouth and tongue on the areola stimulate the milk passage.

* You do not want to “rough up” the nipple for feeding.  Old wive’s tale, painful and pointless.  Baby your nipples.  Love your nipples.  Lanolin is a good soother, as well as warm pads or cool compresses in between.  However, lanolin (Lansinoh brand) is a wool-related product.  If you’re allergic to wool do not use.

* A newborn’s stomach is extremely small.  It will take weeks for it to get to the point of you feeding multiple ounces in a feeding.

* A newborn will feed 8-12 or more times in a 24 hour period.

* In the first 24 hours of life, a newborn will likely only wet one diaper.

* Wet diapers are the best indicator of whether or not your baby is getting enough breast milk.

* Colostrum (the first type of milk you will produce and deliver upon the birth of your baby) is so thick and rich that it will cause more poopy diapers than wet diapers.

* At about 6-10 days old, the baby will give you about 6-10 wet diapers and 3 poopy diapers in a 24 hour period.

* The first 8  minutes of suckling will give the baby the foremilk.  This satiates their thirst.  After about 8-10 minutes, you will let down the fattier milk, which satiates their hunger.  Feedings should last about half an hour give or take a small amount of time, due to the two stages of milk-let-down that your body goes through for the baby.

* If pumping as well as breast feeding, double pumping should take about 15 minutes.  Single pumping takes about 30 minutes.

* If in public and you feel a milk-let-down and fear a leak, you can cross your arms over your chest and apply pressure for a minute or two to temporarily stop the flow so you can find a place to check/place/replace nursing pads, or set yourself up for feeding.

* Educate yourself on FEDERAL laws surrounding breast feeding in public.  They supercede local/store policies.

* DO NOT FEED IN BATHROOMS.  You don’t eat in them, don’t let someone make you try to feed your baby in one.



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Wife, student, new first time mother. Crafter and creator. Animal enthusiast. I had a miscarriage in March 2011. But we tried again. March, 2012 was the birth of my first child. Off and on I have been dabbling with small business, trying to get it off the ground since, every so often changing direction.

One thought on “What I Learned at Lactation Class”

  1. Nobody – no mom, no baby, nobody, is born knowing how to breastfeed or nurse. Babies are generally born knowing how to suckle, but not what to do with the reflex. It’s up to each nursing pair to figure out what works for them. And in the meantime, it can hurt, it can be frustrating, it can be exhausting. And then, usually, one day, it just clicks for both parties in the nursing pair. For some nursing pairs, that’s day one. For some, not for several months. But that day almost always comes.

    Babies can and should be taught nursing manners (once everybody’s got the routine down pat). If baby bites, if baby hits, if baby is flashing mom to passers-by, it’s ok to say NO and unlatch for a moment. They learn fast with repetition. A comfortable nursing pair is a sustained nursing pair.

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