Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Three lessons about breastfeeding

Having successfully nursed two babies through a total of 3 1\2 years, with some hurdles along the way, I thought I knew everything there is to know about breastfeeding. I've lived through plugged ducts complete with high fever, over-supply, suspected under-supply, overactive letdown, tongue-tie and D-MER (a condition which I understand is very rare, and which, blessedly, has not appeared this time). But... it turns out I'm still learning:

Co-sleeping - never tried it with my first two babies, was convinced I couldn't do it... had to do it this time because it was either this or no sleep at all. Now Israel is almost 6 months old (where does the time go?!) and we're still co-sleeping for most of the night. That is, he goes to sleep in his crib (progress!) in the evening, wakes up sometime in the night, I nurse him lying down and fall asleep again together with him. 

There are many morning when I wake up with him right next to me and know I must have picked him up in the middle of the night, but don't remember doing it at all. Which means my sleep wasn't very much disturbed. 

Nutrition and rest - I confess, I used to think that the immediate effect of food and sleep on breastfeeding is overrated. I mean, obviously it's important to eat enough and sleep well, but I didn't really notice that it affected my milk supply before. Lately, though, I realized that I have a significant increase in milk supply on Saturdays (a day when I eat more than usual and take a midday nap) and Sundays (which follow our day of rest). This made me pay closer attention to being properly fed and rested during the rest of the week, too. I thought just eating more would do the trick... nope. A nice cozy nap together with baby really does wonders. Isn't it great to take a midday nap with no scruples, knowing you're doing it for your baby's sake? 

Mint - Somehow somewhere along the road, when I've just had my first baby, I heard mint has a negative impact on milk supply. Ever since I avoided mint completely while breastfeeding. Some time ago, however, I really craved a nice hot cup of mint tea. Israel was a newborn and I happened to have very abundant supply, so I figured that even if I have a little less milk, it will still be more than he needs. Well, it turns out mint has no effect on my milk supply whatsoever, or at least not in the quantities consumed in a cup of tea now and then. 

7 comments:

Rosemary UK said...

I breastfed my daughter until she was three years old,she is now thirty nine.Not only was she nearly always sleeping with my husband and I but the only thing that upset her was the cream label stout which I had been told at the Hospital and my midwife I must drink !!!!!!!!!!! I wish I had known this earlier then her two brothers might have benefitted.

Lady Anne said...

My grandmother always told me "beer makes milk". I had asked my doctor about this and he did say that any liquid will make milk, but that a glass of beer in the evening will help make the baby sleep better.

Well. Instead of starting off with one of the lite beers, I poured myself a glass of Michelob (about a half a bottle), which is just short of rocket fuel. I hadn't had anything alcoholic during my pregnancy, and this stuff hit me like a BRICK! Between the rocking, sipping, and singing, I got so drunk I almost dropped the baby.

I had to go up the stairs on my backside, but the doctor was correct. We both slept *very* well that night.

Leah Brand-Burks said...

Good lessons from experience!

Anonymous said...

Here is some interesting new research about breastfeeding:

http://www.mothering.com/articles/natural-breastfeeding/

(I make the usual disclaimers about the comment section.)

After reading & hearing so much about breastfeeding problems, I am very thankful that my dear son caught on quickly & was a breastfeeding champ.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I forwarded your lessons to my dear daughter-in-law who just had her first baby and has some troubles with breastfeeding, and she found them very helpful. She is reading through your archives now.
Hilde

housewifing said...

I'm over a year behind on your blog! I stopped reading blogs much after my second child was born (a son, Samuel, because G-d truly does hear). I'm so glad to read that you finally got the son your heart longed for.

As for breastfeeding, it is amazing how we were created. The more skin to skin contact you have with your baby/child the more your body is stimulated to make milk. That's one of the reasons co-sleeping is so good for milk supply.

housewifing said...

I'm over a year behind on your blog! I stopped reading blogs much after my second child was born (a son, Samuel, because G-d truly does hear). I'm so glad to read that you finally got the son your heart longed for.

As for breastfeeding, it is amazing how we were created. The more skin to skin contact you have with your baby/child the more your body is stimulated to make milk. That's one of the reasons co-sleeping is so good for milk supply.