To (Breast) Feed Or Not To (Breast) Feed?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...10, 11, 12,...now I lost count.  Listed them down and I just finished at 21!  Wow I can't believe I know 21 women who are all due, or have given birth, between June to early 2010!  Every month I hear of another preggy woman among common friends, so what's with the baby boom this year? This number did not even include those who have already popped during the first half of the year!  And as I promised in earlier posts here, here, and here, I will feature more baby-related entries as a tribute and share with my expectant and new-mom friends my own journey to motherhood.

To (Breast) Feed Or Not To (Breast) Feed?  I don't think it should be a question anymore. Breastmilk is, no doubt, the best, and only milk babies need in their first 6 months of life. Tons of info are already out there to tell you all about it, and the many wonderful benefits for mother and child.

Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from human breasts rather than from a baby bottle or other container. (from Wikipedia)

Successfully breastfeeding my children has been my goal since I conceived. Daunting as it may, the sense of pride and joy just overshadowed the sleepless nights, post-partum pains and depression that I have been through. I am pro-breastfeeding. I'm no expert, but with my 18 months of breastfeeding (12 months exclusive), I am able to share my personal experience to those who seek my help or advise.

Exclusively breastfed @ 10 months...yeah, those are big teeth, but thankfully, she doesn't bite!

With my first-born, I was fortunate to have a friend who just gave birth a few days earlier, and she has generously shared her breastfeeding class notes with me to provide guidance and encouragement for a new mom's first attempt to breastfeed.

Full and happily in deep slumber after feeding (from the bottle, with expressed breast milk)

This is NOT Breastfeeding 101, but a basic guide made easy for me to understand, and simplified the challenging, yet very rewarding, task at hand.  Best of luck to all the moms, and lots of support from the dads!

So here are the notes (slightly edited and paraphrased to simplify the outline):
Outline from breastfeeding class conducted by Ms. Chiqui Brosas-Hahn
A.   Preparation & Feeding
1.    Massage/stroke breast before feeding.  Circular or stroking motion towards the nipple. Then lean forward and give your breast a gentle shake.
2.    Position in breastfeeding:
a.    Step on stool or elevate your arms for baby’s body to be parallel to your own body, his stomach to your stomach, tickle cheek, and as mouth opens, pull him towards your breast (always mouth to breast, not breast to mouth).  His mouth should cover most of the areola, and his chin should touch your breast.
b.    To unlatch, put pinky in between gum then latch out. Do Not pull away.
3.    Approximately 15 mins. for every breast. The first few minutes, early secretion is like their water, the next flow of milk will be the one that makes them full. The last breast he feeds on will be the first one on his next feeding.
4.    Best to give both breasts during the day.  At night, it’s ok if only one breast every feeding.
5.    It is suggested to burp baby after every breast immediately.  They burp faster that way.
6.    Wait a few minutes for the burp, with light tapping of the back. If none comes, it's okay.
7.    Stick to the feeding time, even if baby is asleep, wake him by changing his diapers or stroking him to encourage feeding.

8.    Time between feedings should not exceed 4 hours.  But as baby grows and feeds more, timing in between can extend.

9.    Don’t wait for baby to cry before breastfeeding. Once baby wakes, he will play with you, about 10 mins. of this alertness, you can feed him.

10.    Good indications if baby is getting enough milk:
a.    First few days: 1 diaper a day is ok
b.    After the third day: about 6-8 diaper changes

11.    Make sure baby has secreted his meconium poop (black), normally it’s the first poop.

B.   Breast Care & Milk Storage
1.    For Engorged breast:  warm compress/packs; or can pinch areola inwards then out, all around the breast. This is also a technique for manual expression.

2.    Drink a lot of water when feeding.  Other form of liquids are fine (broths, juices).

3.    For sore nipples: try breastmilk around nipple/areola. If nothing works, then ask                 doctor what cream can be used (Lasinoh is a good brand).

4.    To avoid cracked/sore nipples: air/sun dry, if you need to rush, you can use hair dryer. (Luckily, I didn't need to do this one!)

5.    If baby must take glucose water, use a dropper or cup.

6.    Breastmilk storage: don’t forget to write date and time on a masking tape to label your bottles. Newborns will consume about 3 oz. - can store for 3 months in freezer (with door separate from the fridge); 8 days in fridge, and about 10 hours at room temp. depending on humidity.  (I only store mine in the refrigerator for 3 days)

8.    Always check if milk temperature is enough by doing a skin test. And smell also in case it turns. When in doubt, don’t use.

9.    Best to give pure breastmilk for 6 months. During this time, they can do without water.

10.   When to bottlefeed: If possible, at least after 6 weeks of breastfeeding.

C.   Others
1.    It is suggested to room-in baby. But once baby is released, you can’t put him back to the nursery. Bring diapers and all other stuff you need to bathe and change the baby.  (I personally do not want to room-in baby, mainly due to germs carried by visitors, and also, I went thru C-Sec which required me not to move too much or sit upright. I think I went to the nursery to breastfeed on the second day)

2.    Bring salbabida (life savers / inflatables) to the hospital.  This is for the mothers’ comfort due to the sutures / or even hemorroids (for normal delivery).  But kids’ salbabida is ok, inflate halfway.

3.    Don’t give up. It is normal that for 3 days, you won't have milk.  You might think you are not expressing any, but you are - it is the colostrum that is clear/rusty in color.  The creamy while milk will come several days after, as you continue to feed, or pump.
*Thanks to my friend Mina for sharing this to me :)

This note definitely does not cover everything you need to know about nursing your child.  Here are more helpful guides as well as local sites I have used in the past, and groups like L.A.T.C.H and La Leche League offer counseling and support for your nursing woes and queries.

So to the new moms, are you ready to breastfeed?

Sharing my breastfeeding 'adventure' here: It's World Breastfeeding Week

Related posts:
Baby Checklist
Baby Boom