I got 99 problems, but the latch ain’t one! lol.
When I was pregnant with Baby K, I had no idea what to expect with breastfeeding. Someone even told me before since I was part of the A squad with tiny little boobs that I probably wouldn’t have much milk! lol. I expected to struggle with it and was fully prepared for the possibility of supplementing with formula or having a completely formula-fed baby. After all, fed is best, no matter what! However, the benefits of breastfeeding are so widely known that I wanted to give it a shot for the health of my baby, even if it meant it wasn’t easy.
Fastforward to the day Baby K was born, and much to my surprise, breastfeeding came easy for us! He latched on perfectly right away, but it took a few days for my colostrum and then milk to come in. I was so stressed at first that I didn’t have any milk, but about 3 days after birth, my body began producing a TON of milk! I was shocked that I quickly became an overproducer and in the first 4 months was able to store about 800 ounces in my freezer from just a small hand pump. I wanted to share with you guys some of my breastfeeding tips. I am not a lactation consultant or breastfeeding expert by any means, but I am hoping that maybe some of these can help another mom out there!
Baby K was always hungry, which was awesome for establishing milk supply. I was told by a lactation consultant that milk supply is typically established within the first 2-3 months, when your body is trying to figure out how much milk to make. And during that early time, it’s most critical within the first few weeks. In the first few weeks, Baby K would want to feed every 45 minutes – 1 hour and after that through his fourth month every 1.5 hours round the clock. Not all babies want to feed that often but the majority will want to feed fairly often (around every 2-3 hours round the clock) especially in the beginning and feeding on demand helps to establish supply. It may sound really tiring and I was SO sleep deprived at that time but was able to power through it. Feeding without a schedule and on demand when Baby K was hungry helped to give me a great supply, and I still feed on demand during the day every 2-ish hours or so, and he now sleeps through the night.
Getting Enough Nutrients
Since getting pregnant, I stopped counting calories and macros and relied solely on my body’s cues to tell me how much I need to eat. When I am hungry, I simply eat, and try to stock my kitchen with healthy foods that keep me full. Nuts, nut butters, avocados, whole grain breads, lean proteins and fruits are my staples. If you are too tired to cook healthy food I would highly recommend a meal delivery service or having friends and family help you cook. It’s important to intake enough calories to maintain supply. I would strongly discourage any woman in her fourth trimester to try to “diet” and eat in a caloric deficit if you are trying to establish a healthy supply of breastmilk.
According to kellymom.com (a great breastfeeding resource) studies have shown that most healthy breastfeeding women maintain an abundant milk supply while taking in 1800-2200 (or more) calories per day. Consuming less than 1500-1800 calories per day may put your milk supply at risk, as may a sudden drop in caloric intake.
Of course the amount you should eat depends on your current weight and how active you are so if you are not sure, I would recommend meeting with a lactation consultant or asking your doctor.
Comfortable Positioning and Latch
Baby K didn’t have any latch issues, but it did take me a little while to get comfortable while breastfeeding. I have to admit that my posture in the beginning wasn’t that great when feeding, and my back suffered because a TON of time is spent breastfeeding as a new mom (so you’ll be in that position a lot). You can try different holding positions, my favorites are the cradle hold and football hold. I also have a great breastfeeding pillow. I use the Slumbar Sprout pillow that I used throughout my pregnancy for belly support as a breastfeeding pillow and it’s perfect! It also happens to be the official pregnancy pillow recommended by the American Pregnancy Association! when I’m not using it for breastfeeding, I lie on it for lumbar support to help me maintain a healthy spine.
Using a Hand Pump
One of the #1 breastfeeding tools I use every single day (I even bought a second one) is the Haakka pump, which is an awesome tool for collecting extra milk for your freezer stash. I have a lot of trouble with a regular pump and have a hard time with letdown on my Spectra 2. But using the Haakka I’ve managed to store over 1,000 ounces of milk in my freezer AND it helped me increase my supply in the beginning. The Haakaa is a silicone breast pump that uses suction to pump the milk. It works by using suction to help draw the milk out of your breast and is easy to carry around and use anywhere!
Is Baby Thriving?
At first, I wasn’t sure if Baby K was getting enough milk, because it’s hard to know exactly the amount your baby is eating when it goes directly from boob to mouth! lol. My pediatrician told me as long as baby is gaining weight and has enough wet/dirty diapers, he is growing appropriately! Expect one wet diaper on day one, increasing to 6 or more by day 4. I found the Baby Tracker free app to be helpful in recording feedings and diapers, especially in the beginning. Now even at 5 months, Baby K still has about 5-6 wet/dirty diapers and has grown a ton!
I hope all that is helpful for other mamas out there! If you have any questions or other tips, leave them below! Like I said before, I’m not an expert by any means but I wanted to share my experiences in the chance they could help another mom out there! If you have any specific medical questions or concerns about your baby, remember to ask your doctor or a lactation consultant!
Cheers to happy and healthy babies!