Breastfeeding Practical Aspects

This video talks about help and resources, positions, diet, birth control, and safe medications while breastfeeding.

Help and Resources: There are a lot of resources available to help with breastfeeding. Most hospitals have a lactation consultant available to help you with breastfeeding while you are in the hospital. This is usually a nurse who has specialty training in breastfeeding. They can be a great help and can teach you tricks and techniques that can make breastfeeding easier and more successful. Let your postpartum nurse know that you plan to breastfeed and would like to meet with the lactation consultant. Most hospitals also have a resource center which includes a lactation consultant that will be available after you go home from the hospital; ask about this before you leave the hospital. Many hospitals and communities have classes on breastfeeding that can be taken while you are still pregnant. Your obstetrician can give you information about these classes. There are doctors that specialize in breastfeeding that can be utilized if you encounter problems. You can ask for a referral from your obstetrician or pediatrician if you need this type of help. The La Leche league is a non-profit organization that helps women breastfeed. They have a large amount of information to help with breastfeeding moms. Look up the local number on the internet, they can be a big help.

Positions: There are many positions that can be utilized to breast feed. The football hold involves holding the baby in one arm like a football and having the baby nurse on the breast on the same side. The cross cuddle hold involves holding the baby across your chest and having the baby nurse on the breats on the opposite side of the arm that is holding the baby. The baby can also be put on the bed next to the mom and have the baby nurse while mom lays on her side. There are many other positions that can be utilized. With practice moms can find a variety of ways to hold the baby that can be used for different situations.

However the baby is positioned, it is very important that as much of the breast tissue as possible be put in the baby’s mouth. If just the tip of the nipple is in the babies mouth the breast will get sore. This can cause cracked and painful nipples, and can lead to infections and difficulties breastfeeding. So however you hold your baby be sure that as much of the nipple and breast are in the baby’s mouth as possible. It is also a good idea to let a drop or two of breast milk dry on the nipple after the baby is done breastfeeding. This acts as a natural moisturizer and can keep the breasts from getting dry and the nipples from cracking.

Diet: What you eat will affect the flavor of the breast milk. Each baby has its own preferences. Babies will let you know if something you eat causes the breast milk to have a flavor that the baby does not like. Watch for this. If the baby gets fussy every time you eat a certain food, then it would be wise to avoid that particular food as long as you are breastfeeding. This could be an individual food item or a class of foods. For instance, one of my children got mad if my wife ate broccoli, my other children didn’t mind this. Some babies may not like the breast milk if you eat spicy foods, others won’t mind. Just try to be aware of these things and adjust your diet as needed.

Birth control is safe with breastfeeding. One of the myths is that there are birth control methods that should not be used while breast feeding. This is not true. As long as you wait 6 weeks after delivery of the baby, all birth control is safe to use while breastfeeding. This includes all birth control pills, the patch, the ring, the shot, the IUD, and the implant.

Medications: Most, but not all, medications are safe while breastfeeding. Generally speaking, if a medication is safe while pregnant it is probably safe while breastfeeding. Most cold medications like Sudafed, Robitussen DM, and Theraflu, are safe to use while breastfeeding. Ibuprofen is not safe in pregnancy but is fine to use while breastfeeding. Many antibiotics are safe while breastfeeding but some are not. Let your doctor know you are breastfeeding if they are prescribing a new medication to be sure it is safe.