This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.
As NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center's blog carnival for World Breastfeeding Week wraps up, it's a chance to share any breastfeeding tips and tricks we've learned along the way. I'll talk to the mom's first and have a little bit to say to dad's in a minute.
New moms...please don't be afraid to keep asking for help. It really shouldn't hurt--it will be uncomfortable, but flat out pain isn't good. I cried every feeding for the first 6 weeks of Munchkin's life because of a shallow latch. She grew a little and was able to get a good latch and we were golden from then on out...but six weeks is way too long to have a problem. I technically understood the problem and the solution...but nobody was ever able to get me to understand how to apply it. Remember you're both learning something new, and while it is natural, it doesn't mean that it's instantaneous knowledge. Also, remember that each nursling is different, so don't expect every journey to look the same!
There will be times, especially if you have more than one child, that you will be absolutely and completely touched out. You won't want to have another human being be near you for absolutely any reason what so ever. That's ok. Try to stay calm (it's hard!!) and gently take time for yourself.
As you progress through your baby's nursing career, they will find increasingly interesting positions to nurse in. You'll have fingers in your hair, your nose, your mouth, your ears, hopefully not your eyes (but they'll try!), toes in your face...I've seen some crazy stuff, but as long as you can try to maintain a sense of humor, it'll pass. Lil Man is having to learn his nursing manners all over again because he LOVES to put his fingers in my mouth and flail his arm up and down. The only time he's a calm nursling right now is when he's that perfect amount of tired. And that's ok.
Oh, and one last thing before I get started on my advice to the dads...remember him? Yeah, he's new to this too and probably completely lost. Try to give him a break, ok? He's doing the best he can.
Alright, new daddies. Welcome to a crazy adventure. Oh goodness, you've just been through a lot and your wife is hogging the baby and ignoring you. Well, at least it seems that way, huh? With newborn's tummies being the size of a marble and breastmilk being so easily digested, they need to eat often. I promise that some of that time, Mom is really wishing you had a pair of lactating breasts too. Please, please, PLEASE, don't offer formula as an alternative if she really has her heart set on breastfeeding. Even if it comes from the nicest, truest place of you..don't. It will NOT come across as supportive and she's likely to get upset and angry. So right now, the best way to help your baby, is to help your wife. Make sure she stays hydrated--breastfeeding takes a lot of water and it's easy to forget to drink enough. Help her get comfortable, childbirth is hard! The kicker...remember that she DOES love you. It may not look like it, but she thinks you're amazing. It's a big adjustment for everyone. As the baby gets older you'll be able to do more than just change diapers. Another thing that is so important: be her protector. Even in the hospital. If the nurses and doctors try to push something that you as parents aren't ok with, that's your time to step in. If somebody gives her a hard time about nursing, you stand up for her. Encourage her, show her that you are proud of her. Oh, and be prepared to have the baby try to latch onto you. Munchkin loved to latch onto Daddy's nose as a newborn...he quickly learned to not let her face near his bare chest.
Nursing is such a short time in a child's life, my biggest "tip" is to try to enjoy it as much as you can. Celebrate every milestone, every achievement, cherish every stage. They're all amazing and you can't go back in time!
***Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:
(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)
- Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
- Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
- In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
- Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
- Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
- Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
- Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
- Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
- Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
- Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
- Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
- Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
- Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.
- Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
- My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
- My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E" — Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
- Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
- Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
- Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
- A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
- From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
- Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
- Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
- How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.