Breastfeeding is a learning experience for mother and baby. It is definitely not as natural as many people think. While babies are in the hospital learning to breast feed they may prefer to latch to one breast over the other. I have seen this this time and time again after birth for the first 2 or 3 days. Even with lactation assistance these babies may have their own agenda. Often times it may be due to one nipple being a better landmark for the baby’s attempt to learn to latch. It could also be mom feels more comfortable holding her baby in a certain position at the breast and the baby will latch easier. I think it can be that the baby’s fine since of smell directs them to the breast that has more colostrum. From my experience, women usually have one breast that is larger and usually produces more colostrum and after engorgement it will produce more milk than the smaller breast. A baby will eventually nurse from both breasts. While in the hospital it is most important to teach the baby to nurse and to feed the baby. I encourage mothers to put the baby where the baby will eat. So mom, don’t stress over the baby only taking one side while in the hospital. Babies are learning to eat and are extremely smart. After baby learns to latch well from the easier breast they will figure out how to latch from the other one.
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TIP OF THE DAY
Salt water soaks heal sore nipples. Use 2 small drinking glasses ( shot glasses or juice glasses work well ). Put a very small amount of salt in the bottom. If you were to count them you would count about 30 crystals. You can also use sea salt but use fewer crystals. Salt can burn so you do not want to use too much. Fill the glasses half full of very warm water, as warm as you can stand it without burning you.
Place the glasses to your breasts getting your nipples in the glasses; push the rims of the glasses into the breasts making a tight seal and sit back. The warm salt water will bathe your nipples. Keep the glasses at the breast as long as the water stays warm or as long as you have the time to spend.
Do this procedure after each feeding or pumping. Your nipples should heal in a few days.
Breastfeeding is a Learned Behavior
It is not always easy to get breastfeeding established and some women go to remarkable lengths to make it work. You will hear many stories in future posts about these women. There are other women who have to stop breastfeeding after making the sad realization that, for whatever reason, they will not be able to breastfeed their baby. Many times, being successful is totally out of their control and they have to choose a different feeding option. Mothers should never criticize other mothers for not breastfeeding. There is an old saying; never criticize another until you walk a mile in their shoes. I can relate to these women due to my own struggles with breastfeeding. I think my own experiences have made me sensitive to others and admire and honor them all.
I met Julie when she invited me to come to her home a few days after leaving the hospital. Together we solved a latching issue and discovered she produced much more milk in one breast than the other. Actually she was very much an over producer of breast milk in the one breast. This made her very happy because she planned on pumping while she was off work to stock pile milk in her freezer. She purchased a chest freezer for the sole purpose of storing her milk. Julie was going to be home with her baby for six months. She had planned to stop nursing by the time she returned to work. Her plan was to give her son the frozen milk she had stored in the freezer for the second 6 months to get him to a year of age. Julie wanted to give her baby breast milk for his first year of his life.
She was off and running with pumping and storing her milk. When her baby was 3 months old she had breast fed him exclusively and stock piled 500-600 ounces of milk in her new freezer.
One day after having workmen in her home to do some minor electrical work she was horrified to open her freezer to find all her stored milk had thawed. The men had accidently cut off the electrical supply to the freezer. I heard her sobbing message she left for me that evening on my answering machine. I was so upset for her.
But Julie turned out to be a HERO of mine by starting all over again pumping and stored enough milk to meet her goal of giving her son 6 months of expressed breast milk. I greatly admire her determination!
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