Friday, July 29, 2011

Breastfeeding -Part 5- Nursing A Newborn

Nursing A Newborn

Those first few days and weeks, don't plan on doing much more than nursing because newborns nurse...a lot. You're a milk machine. Period. Eventually you'll be allowed a shower & change of clothes, but until then keep nursing and reading your facebook newsfeed.

Seems trivial to rewrite what's already been wonderfully outlined for you over at [educate yourself!], but here are some of my odds & ends suggestions...

1. Frequency: I prefer to nurse a newborn on demand, after a few weeks I will become more scheduled [2-4 hours], but to help my supply get [and stay] going I nurse as often as they like and if they don't wake up [very common] I wake them up every 1.5-3 hours]. Use the timer on your cell phone. Remember these numbers are based on the start of your last feeding...for example, if you nursed at 12, you nurse again at 3. Not, you started nursing at 12, finished nursing at 12:45, so you nurse at 3:45. That's really making the child go longer than 3 hours. I don't personally think you can nurse a newborn too much.

2. Pacifiers: I like them personally and try to get my kids to take them, but usually my children don't like them till after they are one month old. Two of my three kids have kept them. I think if your supply is low or struggling you should steer clear for the time being. They can cause nipple confusion. 

3. Positions: I started out with my first nursing only in my recliner chair with my Boppy. However, I became very crazy due to my sleep deprivation & one too many episodes of Law & Order at 3am. By the time I had my second and third, I loved side lying to nurse them those first few weeks. If you're larger chested this may or may not work as well. I found a way to lay on my side and nurse while still snoozing. Some call this unsafe, but it worked for me. I always kept my arm in a way so that I'd roll onto my arm before the baby. I also put a body pillow behind the baby so it wouldn't fall off the bed and faced the baby away from my husband so he couldn't roll on him either. I liked the nurse in the cradle hold, but would use football hold sometimes if my nipple became too sore on one side [also great when they get their teeth in to rotate positions]. 

4. Latch: I think this is probably also one of the biggest reasons people quit nursing. That darn latch. I'm not going to lie, it's a tricky deal. Sometimes more so than others. I think people exaggerate how important it is to the point where they stress moms out. I know I was. The fact is, if you have a bad latch, yes you're going to be more sore than if you didn't, but you can keep working at it and eventually they will be a few days older/wiser/less sleepy and fix their latch with some help from you. I think it's something better demonstrated than read about though. If you don't have a friend who will show you, go over to YouTube and do some homework. Something that worked for me was to have the baby completely naked except diaper & for me to be topless and put us skin to skin sitting up. Obviously teaching them to latch a few times doesn't require you both stay nudist, but it did help my first son "get it". Another trick I like is, like in this video, where you "tease" the baby with your nipple on the roof of their mouth and then usually they will go for it...and that's when you "shove" your nipple in their mouth. Sometimes I'll use my pinky finger to do this first and then try to nurse. Finally, I think it's always important to remember to drop your breast into their mouth verses laying the baby on top of your breast, just makes it difficult for them to breath and neither of you is comfortable.

5. Eating: I already wrote about on my feelings about taking care of yourself in the eating department, but another tip I have for you is...oatmeal! Real oatmeal [not instant], is a great milk-supply booster, my personal favorite is McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal. I took this along with Mother's Milk Tea. Don't be too shy to try some herbs either. Also, don't make the mistake of thinking that what you eat won't effect your baby. Not every mommy or baby is the same so don't think just because it didn't bother your friend's baby it won't bother yours. For example, I can eat spicy foods, but I can't have any milk products that first month unless I want a very-fussy-gassy-won't-nurse-well baby. 

List to consider avoiding at first:
1. Coffee [or caffeine drinks, cruel right?]
2. Chocolate [no chocolate cover strawberries for me]
3. Citrus Fruits [strawberries, oranges, you name it]
4. Broccoli [what makes you have gas makes them have gas]
5. Alcohol [wine totally makes my babies unhappy]
6. Spicy Foods [for the most part I seem to be okay with this]
7. Garlic [semi-notice this]
8. Peanuts [did notice pb&j made baby a little unhappy]
9. Wheat [I was fine with this]
10. Dairy [the worst, no ice cream for 30 days!]
11. Corn [didn't notice]
12. Shellfish [for allergy reasons]
13. Eggs [didn't effect us]
14. Soy [don't use]
15. Fish [just like pregnancy, the mercury ain't so good to have a lot]
16. Peppermint [used for weaning, actually reverses supply]
17. Parsley [also reduces supply]

Trust me, a fussy baby won't be worth the coffee or milk shake *speaking from experience*. Remember to send this list to those bringing you meals too---otherwise you'll just be watching your husband eat it all.

What was your experience?


  1. Just a few tips from a former Lactation Educator- those precious first days of nursing used to by my profession. Just a few things I can think of at the moment.

    Position: which ever you choose my mantra is "chest to chest, nipple to nose". That means you must turn the baby into you! You don't want the baby having to turn his/her head to find the nipple. Also line the baby's nose up to your nipple so that when they root and latch their chin will be off their chest (try and put your chin to your chest and swallow- not that comfy).

    For new moms don't let a list of things you can't/shouldn't eat scare you. Aside from alcohol, tobacco and any drug not approved of by a doctor that knows you are nursing- I would try and not limit moms. Every baby is different. For example, (right or wrong) I lived on caffeine, chocolate, dairy and everything else I ever ate before. I did not notice a single thing that I needed to take out from my diet as a result of nursing.

    Enjoy that little babies and the three a.m. feedings, they really don't last long!

  2. I used the side lying position too and it worked very well for my son and me. My son never seemed to have any issues with the food I ate, so I didn't need to remove anything from my diet.

    Not sure if you are going to include this in any other posts, but at what age did you start to include solids into your baby's diet? I have heard that you should wait untill they are 6 months, but our pediatrician wanted to start at 4 months. So I started solids for my son in the middle at 5 months. Just curious what everyone else started at. Not sure if I should have waited longer.

  3. Thanks so much for doing this series! Great to refer back to once the kiddo is here (SOON!) - so pumped to have good, easy info and some encouragment to stick with it!

  4. You're welcome! Thanks y'all for reading, commenting and sharing all your knowledge with me [and us!]



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