Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Woman to Woman: Breastfeeding, Pt. 3

(Part 1)
(Part 2)

Nursing Problems
  1. What can I do if my supply dips?

    Thankfully, I have not had a lot of experience with  low milk supply. If the low supply is caused my the body's inability to produce enough milk, I have no advice to offer, but if the low supply is a result of busy baby or busy mama, I have a few practical tips:
    • Drink lots of water and get adequate nutrition.  Seems simplistic, but supply can be affected if you are not providing your body with what it needs to make milk. 
    • If your baby is older consider limiting your baby's solid food for a time.  Use common sense, but if the baby is hungry, he will nurse...and if he nurses, your supply will increase again. 
    • Encourage your baby to nurse for a few minutes even when you are busy and even when he doesn't seem overly interested.  Even short bursts of nursing can help reestablish a lacking supply.

  2. What kinds of problems have you had with nursing?  What did you do?

    I nursed Gavin from birth with never a problem.  It was too easy.  Then  Maddie came 20 months later and within days of her birth, I woke up in the night shaking uncontrollably.  The next day I was achy and miserable...and dealing with my first case of mastitis.  I've since had mastitis at least seven more times and seem to be rather prone to it.  I've had the range of symptoms-- fever, chills, aches, generalized pain, and headache.  Though mastitis can clear up on its own, I've generally had to resort to antibiotics to get any relief at all.  Wicked stuff!

    Then there were the milk blisters when I was nursing Benjamin.  Google it if you must, but let's just say it was no fun and extremely painful.  Turns out, mine were a result of thrush.  I continued to nurse while gritting my teeth and the condition healed with no medical treatment.

    I also dealt with tongue tie when Benjamin was born.  I wrote about it in detail here.  In our case, he was able to latch properly and nurse well.  He was gaining weight and thriving, but I was in excruciating pain so we chose to have his tongue clipped. 

    I am currently being challenged by a very reluctant nurser, but I'll save that story for Part 4.


  1. For milk supply issue there are also a lot of natural herbs that can help increase your supply. Many of these can be easily taken in tea form.

    However, do your research, especially if you are pregnant (which I've been for most of my nursing life) some herbs aren't safe to take while pregnant.

    Nettle and fennel seem to be fine, but fenugreek is a no-no. Just talk with your healthcare provider. But keep in mind, many doctors don't know too much about herbs (midwives should have a greater knowledge).

    My biggest advice would be to just continue nursing. Many times your supply will dip because of growth spurts, sickness, etc. Simply keep nursing.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Each of mine has been a VERY different experience. All 5 are different people so I've come to realize that each child will nurse and learn to nurse differently! But all in all I stuck it out and nursed them until they've wanted to wean anywhere from 14-20 months old.

  3. Correction: "most of my nursing life"

    Should be: "much of my nursing life"

    I counted it up and I've been not pregnant and nursing for 4 months more than pregnant and nursing :)


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