Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

I finished reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International, and I definitely recommend it. Although it left me feeling like I still need to take a class or watch some videos in order to truly understand how to achieve a proper latch, I appreciated the comprehensiveness of the book, in terms of its attention to the emotional aspects of raising children.

Here are some of the small details I learned and want to remember:
  • Rinsing nipples with plain water is less drying than using soap.
  • Going braless for a part of every day will allow the nipples to benefit from the air and light friction of the outer clothing.
  • When purchasing nursing bras, be sure to make sure you can open it with one hand.
  • It's a good idea to vary breastfeeding positions to put pressure on different parts of the nipples.
  • In the early days, it is best to offer both breasts to the baby at each feeding in order to stimulate milk production and keep the breasts from becoming overfull.
  • Wash your hands before nursing, especially in the hospital.
  • Six to eight wet cloth diapers a day (5-6 disposable) means the baby is getting plenty of milk.
  • For the first six weeks or so, a breastfed baby will usually have 2-5 bowel movements a day.
  • When using the cradle hold, baby's head should be in the crook of your arm with your hand holding his/her buttocks or thigh. Baby's body should be turned on his/her side, with his/her whole body facing you, and your nipple directly in front of his/her mouth so that s/he doesn't have to turn his/her head to reach it. Your other hand should support the breast with your thumb on top, behind the outer edge of the areola and your index and second fingers below the breast, behind the outer edge of the areola. Tickle your baby's lower lip gently with your nipple so that s/he opens his/her mouth very wide. Center the nipple quickly in the portion of his mouth above his tongue and pull baby in very close. His mouth should be positioned as far back on the areola as possible before he beings to suck. Check to make sure the baby has not pulled in its lower lip along with the nipple. Also check to make sure the baby is taking a large portion of the areola under the nipple.
  • When removing him/her from the breast, always break the suction first.
  • Be sure that your baby is opening his/her mouth very wide.
  • Dealing with sore breasts: apply heat, get plenty of rest, and frequently nurse.
  • Make sure your nursing bra doesn't put unnecessary pressure on your breasts.
  • In the first three to four months, the average weight gain should be about 1-2 pounds per month.

Next Steps:
  • Attend a La Leche League meeting to start building a support network.
  • Start reading breastfeeding message boards to read about common issues and solutions.
  • Develop a system to help me remember which breast I last fed on.
  • Figure out what I'm going to do with the baby when I'm in the shower.
  • Plan healthy snacks to eat while I'm breastfeeding.
  • Get drain plugs for our bathtub and our kitchen sink.

As a side note, I added this information to my ongoing list of "infant care" notes here, if you're interested...

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Mia said...

For the third point :
Rings or bracelets exist to remember wich breast was the least (right / left).

Anonymous said...

I read your blog all the time. I just had a little boy in October. Breastfeeding has been a challenge but I'm so happy that I've stick with it and been able to provide my baby with all the benefits of breast milk.

My tips: If it's difficult at first (which it is!) stick with it, it WILL get better!

-I use a safety pin to remember which breast he fed on last. Just pin it to the bra strap.
-I've been using nipple shields, and while I know they can affect their supply, I haven't had that problem. Keep them in mind if your nipples are hurting or if he is having problems latching.
-Get some nursing tanks! The ones from target are great, that's pretty much all I've been wearing the last few weeks.

I hope this helps
Enjoy your coconut! :)

Anonymous said...

Re: the snacks you mentioned while nursing. Nursing stimulates contractions, and for me that has resulted in feeling nauseated (tummy contractions?) while nursing. This hasn't been a big deal (afterall, I've been nursing 10+ months and have no plans to stop until my baby wants to!)... but it has meant I don't feel like eating anything while I'm nursing. So if don't be alarmed if you aren't in a snack-y mood while breastfeeding!

Heather said...

I don't think you can really understand a good latch until you are actually trying to get your baby latched on. Plus, every baby nurses differently.

With my first, I think I was surprised by how awkward it was in the beginning. And by how they look like they can't breathe because their nose is all smooshed flat.

My tip: always make sure you have some water to drink near you. When my babies were newborns, the minute they would latch on I would be overcome with thirst.

Cathy Anderson said...

This bra is exactly what I have been looking for. Loved this bra so much I have ordered 1 in every color that Playtex. I love playtex 18 hour front close bra

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