Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Breastfeeding 101

No one ever told me that breastfeeding is very challanging. I remember those days like it was yesterday when I was struggling with my milk supply. In order to boost my milk supply, the LC told me to pump right after I finish nursing my son. The problem is my son wouldn't stop pacifying me or kept falling a sleep even though I stripped him down to his diaper. It was taking forever to nurse him, not to mention he needs to eat every two hours (from the beginning of his nursing), and I have to pump after nursing. I practically couldn't do anything but nursing. Luckily my mom was here to helping me out. Anyway, I would like to share some tips*, based on my experience, to all mommies who is having trouble breastfeeding.

1. Fenugreek and Mother Thistle Tea
A combination of two caps of fenugreek three times a day and mother thistle tea works like a charm to me. However, most doctors or pediatric are obligated to not recommending any herbal medication. Instead, they would recommend a prescription drug called Reglan. I took Reglan in the beginning of my breastfeeding dilemma, and I was constantly feeling tired as a result. If you have a history of depression, this drug is not for you. I strongly recommend this combination of Fenugreek and Mother Thistle tea. If you find any possible side effects you should consult your doctor.

2. Pump right after each feeding
Fenugreek and Mother Thistle itself would not do any good unless you pump. Obviously when you pump right after you nurse you won't get a lot. If I can remember correctly, I think I only got about a half ounce both breasts for each pump, but it's enough to feed my baby one feeding at night. Let your husband feed your baby and use this time as much as you can to rest. Get one of those electric double pump to save time and energy. Madela Pump in Style is the best product and I could not imagine my life without it. Another reason to pump is if you are a working mother, you need to start preparing your milk stash approximately 6 weeks before you start working again. Also, by allowing your baby to drink from bottle at least once a day, your baby will start to get used to drinking from bottle and will not be too shock once you return to work.

3. Don't let yourself stressed out and exhausted
Your stress level and exhaustion do affect your milk supply. One time I was so stress out because the minute I put my baby down to his crib, he started crying. He was constantly wanting to latch on me and I really hit rock bottom at that moment. Finally I told my husband to take my baby from me and gave him formula (I was still working on increasing my milk supply and didn't have enough in the bottle). Formula is more difficult to digest than breast milk; it tends to sit in babies tummy a little longer than breast milk. Therefore, by giving him formula he will sleep a little longer and I could use some rest that I was so dying to get.

4. Watch your baby cue
How much is too much? How many ounce of milk should I be giving my baby? In my opinion, your baby's cue should tell you how much he or she needs. There is an article from that says baby needs about 25 oz/day within the age of 1 to 6 months. Therefore, if baby still eats 8 times/day, that means you need to have about 3 oz per feeding (25 oz/8 times). I'm telling you, different baby takes different amount of milk. My baby took 6 oz of breast milk by the time he was 5 months old, but the amount kept steady until he was about 7 months old. I'm telling you, don't starve your baby just because you read an article about how much your baby should eat. If he's still hungry, give him more milk.... it's that simple! I know it's hard for some people when it seems like your baby eats more than what you can produce. Use formula if you need to. One feeding of formula is not going to kill your baby.

5. If all else fails
If you tried everything and nothing works, don't let yourself down. There is so much more in parenting than just breastfeeding, so enjoy your moments as a parent and make the best out of it.

*These tips are based on my personal experience. You should contact your doctor or lactation consultant for any medical concern.

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