Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not That You Asked: Breastfeeding (2)

Er... I had some things to say. I think. The brain, it is mush.

But first, a poll! Dear readers, tell me if I should kill the blog. It seems to be ailing.

*gone now*

More on breastfeeding: time for more unsolicited advice!!

**OH, I remembered what I wanted to say:
-Breastfeeding is boring. Netflix and a laptop and some headphones are your friend.
-Little babies usually can't nurse laying down. This is very frustrating if nobody told you.***

After a couple months, your baby will (probably) stop waking up every hour or whatever, demanding boob. Really. It gets better.

A nice breastpump is worth it. I got a Medela Pump In Style at a garage sale for, oh, $15 or something. Warning: Medela does not recommend reusing breast pumps. Ever. (Of course, then I left it in a closet for 6 months, boiled the living daylights out of all the bottles and stuff, and got new tubing. I, personally, am not worried about organism contamination, but it's a personal choice.)

If you get thrush, you really, really need to boil all the pump parts that touch the boob. Every time. Access to a microwave makes this a lot easier: wash out, run hot water over, stick in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Voila! Or, if you have a coffee maker at work with a hot water tap, even better.

It is also worth it to raise hell at work until they provide a suitable pumping space. Preferably one you don't have to tote the pump in and out of because OH THE HASSLE. (I am lucky enough to have a private office.)

Nipple shields do help with the pain and agony of shredded nipples. They also decrease how much milk your baby gets, and, fairly soonish, decrease your supply as a result. My LCs recommended using them as little as possible, because if you use them too much, it'll just make all your problems that much worse.

La Leche League can be your friend. The leaders around here, at least, have a hotline you can call day or night. They don't know everything, but they're nice, and helpful, and free. (With the exception of the group that JP was unfortunate enough to encounter.) A group that meets at an after-work time is more likely to be working-mom-friendly.

Dr. Jack Newman's website is also extremely helpful. With diagrams! And everything! Likewise, his book (called something with "Breastfeeding Answers" in the title) has a reasoned perspective on breastfeeding, especially where medications are concerned. (My favorite quote goes something like, 'If you must use cocaine while breastfeeding, wait at least four hours.' Not that he's advocating cocaine use, mind you, quite the contrary.)

Motherrisk also has excellent, well-researched information on what is and is not safe while breastfeeding (or pregnant!) which, if necessary, you can use to enlighten your medical providers.

Much like any other kind of provider, lactation consultants vary in ability, experience, and knowledge. Seriously, I saw four. (I think the first one was a little miffed but... oh, too bad. My pain vs. her hurt feelings, pain wins.) If you really want to breastfeed, you may have to be your own best advocate; as I and some of our fine commenters have mentioned, most GPs are not very knowledgeable about breastfeeding.

The Pumpkin also ended up seeing someone who's basically an occupational therapist for babies, and it made a huge difference. Also a $200-sized dent in my pocketbook, but whatever. LCs and LLL people may know of someone in your area who could help.

A lot of people find it easier to co-sleep while breastfeeding and will tell you how wonderful it is. And it can be. My baby thrashes in his sleep and now? He has his own room. Co-sleeping is not for everyone.

And finally, however your baby latches on and eats, as long as 1) it doesn't hurt 2) doesn't drive you nuts and 3) gets the baby enough to eat... is FINE. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Additions from my fine readers?