I actually had a health unit nurse come to my home when baby was a day or 2 old to help with technique and such. This was provided by the hospital. The nurses were extremely helpful, too. I had a rough time, though and I wonder if they went easy on me lol.
My one thought is to educate dads, as well. Unfortunately my daughter's father was being pressured by his family to end the breast feeding. His mom and sister didn't do it and didn't believe that the baby would get enough nutrition from breast milk. He was likely around for the education sessions -- which is all a haze for me now -- but I'm sure it was directed more at me.
I'm not sure how appropriate it would be for hospital staff to include fathers, as some may be totally uncomfortable and some mothers, for that matter may be uncomfortable with it. But I would have loved to have a professional tell him the benefits of breastfeeding.
1. My son was born via c-section (breech). My lay (homebirth) midwife was with me as DH was out of town. DS has a severe tongue tie. Fortunately, my lay midwife noticed and advocated strongly (with my consent) that it be cut immediately. I'm so grateful she did this. Without her I'm not sure it would have been handled so well. DS had a great latch and nursed until he self weaned at 20 months.
2. Nurses at my hospital tried hard to grab him and force him to the breast. Fortunately I was aware that this hospital did this and was able to stop them. From the few posts I've read on this thread, seems like RNs may need some education. Our hospital has had several complaints that I'm aware of files against them, but continue to try to shove babies on the breast.
3. I did have one nurse help me a lot with positioning his head. It helped me to pinch him behind the ears (so left breast, pinch with right hand) to position his head.
4. I wish people were taught that the breastfeeding pillows (boppy etc) don't work for everyone. I wish people were taught/reassured that nursing in "weird" positions (standing, kneeling, etc) is fine. I wish people were taught about cluster feeding and about what a baby needs (especially in the first few days). Can't tell you how many friends of mine were worried that they weren't making enough (colostrum) and then fed the baby a bottle. I wish people knew that what you get when you pump is not representative of your actual supply. I sucked as a milk cow--1oz was a good pumping for me. But I exclusively breastfed my son until almost a year.
5. Resources; I recommend the book "the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" and the website kellymom.com. I did ok breastfeeding because I researched like crazy on my own and had support of my lay midwife. Oh and I was seriously determined.
6. We did baby led weaning (right to soft solid foods, limited/no purées, eating what parents are eating). I wish the info on this was more easily accessible.
Just a tiny bit is enough for the newborns. We weren't starving the child, like we worried during those first few days, LOL!
The "boob nazies" didn't bother me so much. They were helpful, but I am shy so I chased them away after receiving their tips. However, I liked the advice about skin to skin contact being most desirable from the baby's POV.
I was surprised how many doctors are unaware of babies being born tongue tied and how to treat it. I believe it's a male trait. It makes it difficult to nurse a newborn. In the old days, the doc would snip the attachment underneath the tongue to allow the baby to nurse better. Our hospital just shrugged and local pediatrician told us we had to see a specialist when the baby was 4 months old. The big deal is that they can only nurse for so long because they have to work so hard at it. This translates into more frequent nursing (try every hour or so 'round the clock) and frequent infections in mama from not emptying fully.
When our son was two months old, I sought other options and the local children's hospital did it in the office with a local numbing med. Our son nursed immediately. Most babies are actually underweight but ours was not. I worked really hard to keep him in shape. After he had the tongue freed up, it was smooth sailing.
Please know what the local resources are for this common condition as well as other conditions that are better treated immediately. The children's hospital will clip the tongue right away, if you bring in your newborn. I could have saved our son and I (and my husband) some sleep and frustration if I had known.
I had an unusually easy time nursing my children, I guess. I think that the only thing I wasn't properly warned about was engorgement - that was really very painful, and my poor baby about drowned when the let-down occurred while I was engorged. It was all better within a few days, but I swear I could have fed half the starving infants in Africa, I was so full.
Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom
Warning this is long, but i think its worth sharing just in case another mom is on a similar journey.
I think every ob nurse in the hospital came to try to get my daughter to nurse. They would all eventually leave laughing softly and saying things like you'll figure it out eventually or that's the most stubborn baby I've ever met (gee thanks). Finally one of the night nurses asked me what I was going to do when I got home. Bewildered I told her I don't know and she slipped me some bottles of premade similac, thankfully.
Then there was the bottle/nipple search. Finally discovered nipples for preemies that finally pleased the princess. The first 6 months were horrible, she was a very fussy baby and was finally diagnosed with severe reflux despite not having typical reflux symptoms. Zantac helped immensely, but she was still at 50% for height and 2% for weight up until she was almost 2. She hated solids, I couldn't ever get her to eat much of anything. It was definately a struggle and her pediatrician always just acted like I was a bad mom that didn't feed her kid. I would have given anything for advice that worked to get her to eat.
Now at 3 1/2 she's a bit better at 50% for height and 35% for weight but still a horrible eater.
5. Resources; I recommend the book "the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding"...
Diana West (one of the co-authors) was my LC, that we hired to come to the house and help us to fill in the gaps the hospital LC left (and there were many). And, frankly, if I'd had an LC like her in the hospital, we probably would have managed breast feeding a lot longer than we did. She diagnosed my son's tongue tie in minutes, didn't make me feel guilty about having to supplement with bottles until we could get it sorted (on our own dime as we had no insurance coverage for it). The book is an excellent supplement for those who are getting the proper support.
I was blessed out by a nurse for giving my son cereal at three months. He was taking an eight ounce bottle every two hours! I had nursed the first six weeks but went back to work and could not continue.
A small bit cereal in the morning and he was much more satisfied. He was top of the chart on height for his age and near the top for weight. Just a big boy that needed more food.
My pediatrician had a LC on staff and she was far more helpful than the ones in the hospital. But everything in the hospital is such a blur, and they pretty much grab your boob and shove it in the baby's mouth for you. Which is actually appropriate but for most people it just seems so foreign it is off putting. A warning, maybe, that your boobs are just tools to the nurses and not to take it personally might help. we are generally used to spouses handling them with a bit more, ahem, reverence and care.
Also, a lot of it does seem to need to come from somewhere but you won't have space to address everything. Provide ways so people can find what they need. I had excess lipase issues, so whatever I pumped when i went back to work had to be heated to 160 for 1 minute immediately or it would go bad in under an hour--very metallic and undrinkable. Without kellymom (a great website if you can stand the preachiness) I would have had to stop nursing when I went back to work.
I've nursed three for over a year, the last for over two, and am getting ready to nurse the fourth when the wee one arrives. I'm as pro breastfeeding as they come. But I nearly quit with my first because everyone kept telling me that pain and chapping was really abnormal an we must be doing it all wrong. We were just fine, but I was a very delicate skinned first time mom with a baby who nursed all the time - it was completely normal! Everyone also thought it was crazy that a newborn would be nursing about fifty percent of the time. Again, normal, and I would have been fine with it had I not been being told - by the LCs even - that it was awful. Having more knowledge about what the initial stages are like would have helped immensely!
My experience was pretty good! I had read lots of breast feeding books before having my daughter, so I felt very prepared. Obviously it was harder than I thought, and it was so painful I would cry through nursing sessions. But I was very determined to bf for a full year and I did.
I went to a mothers breast feeding group after giving birth and it was run by a LC. So that was nice.
If I were to change anything, I probably would not have been such a nazi about it and allowed my DD to have formula once in awhile. One time in particular I had the flu and my supply dropped and I think I gave her formula I had gotten as a sample, while I pumped extra so my supply would come back. But she was a small baby, and I had to give her extra feelings (at least 3x night until she was about 8 months) and in hindsight, I could have easily replaced one feeding with a formula.
It is not rocket science so it shouldn't need to be " taught" really. I breast fed all 3 of my kids when they were born in the 1990's. The nurse came in and made sure that I could see/ feel what it was like when my son latched on. I had ZERO baby experience and no problems except he would nurse for comfort as well as hunger and get too full so that when daddy got home and picked him up, he would spew milk all over the front of dad.
I used a hand pump to express milk when he was away from me and couldn't be fed, but that wasn't hard either. The biggest thing is to get the mom to be relaxed with it from the beginning. I always had a " no big deal" attitude about it and it is really not hard. Sometimes the most problems come when the mother really doesn't want to do it. I couldn't afford not to so I had real incentive and no choice really, but I planned to all along anyway.
As far as solid foods, when your child is no longer satisfied for long periods on milk alone I started with the baby oatmeal or rice cereal and just added the fruits, veggies as well as small cheese cubes, soft bread cubes, crackers, scrambled eggs and things that they could eat easily and that were good for them.
One thing I used a lot were the things( shields) you put in your bra when the " let down, spray" occurs upon hearing anyone's baby crying. Saves a lot of wet shirts and embarrassment :-)
I think one of the principles of Attachment Parenting is to "Feed with Love". I love this phrase because it really just means that it's a personal decision and your love and bond with baby is what matters most. As a stay at home mom, I felt that I HAD to BF exclusively because I had no "excuse" not to. I sought out an LC/post partum doula who helped me with different issues for both my kids. Basically I would want to know from a pamphlet- the health benefits of breast feeding to both mom and baby, and that there is a solution for almost every issue if you want to put the work in- low supply, poor latch, etc. You CAN work through those issues. However, if it stops feeling like a loving situation and becomes resentful then it's better to find another solution.
Wow- I wish I had heard this! I nursed/ pumped til 1 yo while working full time and nursed a while longer at night. In retrospect I think I would have been happier/ less stressed and a better mom if I had stopped pumping after 6 months or so.
I think focusing on the benefits by time of nursing to show the benefit of nursing just 3 months is helpful.
I am thankful I had a wonderful Doula who after a few days of labor/ hours of pushing and an emergency C-Section was still there to help me get started. I did get help from LLL and an LC after leaving the hospital and was able to work through all of my issues. I think I put too much pressure on myself though. I really could have used an extra half hour of sleep over a power pumping session after getting my baby to bed in the larger scheme of things.
I think a pamphlet should focus on the key issues and reflect that above and beyond that choices will differ for what works best for baby/ mom and family.
My daughter stole a piece of banana from me at 4 months and begged for more- so we gave her banana and avocado prior to the 6mo which was in vogue for solids when she was born. I think she was just ready. At daycare she started crawling and stealing dropped food off the floor- so I told them to put her in a chair and feed her too. She scarfed it down. She has always been a good eater.
When I was still in the hospital my milk didn't come in for days and DD was not peeing. We were discussing options and as an engineer I asked why they didn't have a bottle with a straw you could tape to your nipple so they would still nurse - bringing in your milk but actually get something. The nurse looked at me funny and said- we have that. Why did I have to envision it before it was offered. The SNS was a PITA but saved my nursing relationship at that point. Otherwise we would have gone to a bottle as we went over 36 hours with no pee.
I breastfed mine. I don't remember learning how do it, we just figured it out. She was born overseas, so... kinda stuck figuring out a lot of stuff on my own! I remembered it hurt like heck the first couple of weeks. The engorgement was weird, as well as the let down when I heard another baby cry. Also, when she was nursing one side, the other side would be squirting all over, I'd have to get a towel or something to keep it from going all over the place.
I was determined to breast feed. No way was I going to make bottles and do all that stuff when I had a perfectly good milk production system right there! It was nice having big boobies for a while, now they're all flat and covered with strech marks, but it's all good.
I was way too lazy, and cheap! to hassle with bottles and formula. I knew I was going to breast feed and I asked for her right off even though my delivery was rough. Took us about two weeks to get the latch on and let down thing together. I guess I was lucky, the hormone surge of let down was really blissful. You know how cats just lay there and look blissed out? That was me.
But, she ate nonstop it seemed like, just like kittens, every two hours and if I happened to be anywhere too bad. Stop the car and pull over.
I had SO MUCH support from my DH. He was aware of the health benefits of bf, he was really invested in his child and he made it easy for me. I did bf for quite some time, without a second child coming along she was starting to talk by the time we weaned - but I'm an old hippie with a relative that lived at The Farm back in the day so I wasn't blazing a new trail in my family.
I think a lot of it is that people grew up with bottles and that's what they are used to. If they breast fed a lot of times it was viewed as what poor people did because they had to and they were going to live a better life here in the USA.
I didn't have a whole lot of professional help, IIRC there was just too darned much info and I'd already gone into the pregnancy knowing I'd bf. I was lucky that it all worked out after the two weeks because they were a bit frustrating, but I'd had some coaching from coworkers that had bf'd too, including the "my whole nipple fell off!" story so I did do some deliberate sandpapering to thicken the tissue and only half my nipple fell off, LOL.
I think that you have to approach the whole family - anybody who has influence over the new mom, in order to get uniform support for the process, otherwise you'll have auntie poo pooing the idea or the husband freaking out over his sex toys getting spoiled, or girlfriends talking about nipples falling off, etc etc..
Both my pregnancies were high risk, so I had a lot of support and attention all around. First, born in 1990, was born at 26 weeks, so he was not strong enough to nurse for a while. The nurses in the NICU got me a big, hospital grade, pump and showed me how to use it. He was fed breastmilk through his NG tube until he was strong enough to suck...then I had help from the NICU nurses again at getting him to latch on and all. I nursed him for about 20 months.
Second was born 12 years later and he stayed where he belonged for 37 weeks! I did have a section and so was in the hospital for five days with him. Of course, from first one, I already had a clue, but the hospital sent in an LC and they also had a daily group breastfeeding class on the floor. Did well with son two as well and nursed him for 33 months (I know that will upset some people, but it worked for us).
I think the early support helps...especially in the case of the preemie, where I had to establish and maintain supply without a baby to nurse. I did get awfully good at pumping and managed to donate lots of excess to a bank, with both boys.
I'm not sure people having uneventful labors and deliveries get the same support as the ladies on the high risk wards get, which is too bad.
No advice, it's been 33 yrs since #1 and 29 since #3. I was lucky as both my mom and my mother -in-law breast fed 8 babies between them. So there was a lot of support and no negativity. I didn't have any trouble with my 3. I guess the only surprise was the vacuum hose effect and the soreness on day 2 or 3 because of it.