I'm really eager to talk about breastfeeding again and how things are going this time around, but in order to do that, I need to take a step back. It's important to lay out things I'm doing different. This time, I went into the newborn phase with a plan of action.
Oh, breastfeeding. I had such a love/hate relationship with it the first time (more love than hate after we jumped through the initial hurdles, mind you), but I’m determined to do everything I can this time to make this happen smoothly.
I know every baby/pregnancy is different and I know things probably won’t go according to this “plan” of mine. We’ll have bumps, hurdles, cracked nipples, and sleepless nights, and we’ll have to take things one nursing session at a time. But last time I had the mindset that breastfeeding was the most natural thing in the world and I wouldn’t have to work at it to make it successful for both of us. This time, I want to at least feel prepared and know that I can control some things.
So here’s my plan:1. I’m going to focus on is relaxing. I was so stressed last time that I’m pretty positive it contributed to many of my issues. Between every-other-day weight checks for my little one and post-pregnancy complications for me, we were in and out of the hospital/clinic every single day for a couple weeks straight. People told me to just slow down and enjoy my baby, but I wasn’t even home enough to relax and establish a good breastfeeding routine. This post by the La Leche League, while talking about extreme stress, explains that some situations can bring a temporary drop in milk supply. This time I’m going to do everything I can to have a peaceful and restful/relaxing experience post-baby.
Thankfully, the pediatrician we have is very breastfeeding friendly, and gives moms a chance to actually bond and feed their child before requesting more weight checks. Going in every two days for a couple weeks was extremely stressful, especially when Julia’s previous pediatrician pushed formula on us very early on. I’m going to listen to my gut this time. While I’m not opposed to supplementing if it’s for the good of the baby or going in for more frequent weight checks, I’ll do whatever I can to make breastfeeding work.
2. My next goal is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I’m not sure if I drank enough water last time. Yeah, I drank it all the time, but I don’t know if it was enough. I plan on drinking like a fish this time around. My husband is on “water duty” and he said he’ll make sure I’m sufficiently hydrated, especially while I’m actually breastfeeding. He even taught Julia how to say, “hydrate,” and she brings me my water bottle now!
3. I’m going to eat all the (lactation) cookies. Oatmeal can do wonders for milk supply, according to Kellymom, and what better way to eat it than in the form of cookies? I also plan on making a batch of my Baked Oatmeal Muffins, some “Booby Bites,” and of course, I'll eat a good ol’ fashioned bowl of oatmeal.
4. Next, I may pop some pills (fenugreek pills, that is). Galactagogues (like fenugreek, blessed thistle, etc.,) are also good ways to increase supply. I have a bottle of More Milk Special Blend (contains fenugreek seed, goat's rue, blessed thistle herb, nettle herb, and fennel seed). I also have a box of Mother’s Milk Tea on hand and ready to brew (contains sweet fennel seed, anise seed, coriander seed, spearmint leaf, lemongrass leaf, lemon verbena leaf, althea root, blessed thistle herb, fenugreek seed—whew!).
5. And last, but not least, I plan on drinking some beer (or at least cooking/baking with “it”). This goes hand in hand with eating cookies, but brewer’s yeast deserves its own category. After nine months of not having a drink, it’s nice to know that beer—or brewer’s yeast—is a galactagogue. I’m absolutely not suggesting I go out and get drunk now that I’m not pregnant anymore, but time and time again, I’ve heard and read that having a beer while breastfeeding isn’t a horrible thing. It helps you relax and contains brewer’s yeast—win/win. As far as actual brewer’s yeast goes, it contains iron, protein, and Vitamin B, and it’s easy to put a few tablespoons into recipes while I’m baking.
So that’s my plan. I’ll be back to update how our breastfeeding journey is going this second time around!
This post was originally published on Hellobee (february 27, 2015)