Next to diaper cream, the most popular gift I got at my baby shower was lanolin ointment - all of my young veteran mom friends wanted to be sure I had a tube, and I'm so thankful that they did, along with sharing important info on breastfeeding that every young mom should hear. Such as, it can hurt! But it will get better, and it's totally worth it!! Just be patient with yourself and your little one and use the lanolin to sooth the soreness (I've also heard soothies gel pads and nipple shields work great). Newborns need to eat frequently (on account of their tiny stomachs), so you don't get much recovery time; but, here are some practical tips to help you succeed:
- Before you leave the hospital, take advantage of the lactation consultant. Have her visit as much as you need until the latch is correct and you've found a comfortable hold to use (my favorite at the beginning was the football).
- Don't hesitate to have your baby eat on one side for a round or two if the other one feels too painful (especially if it's cracked or bleeding). Just be sure to express or pump the sore side to avoid the risk of mastitis.
- Drink lots of water!!! Find a favorite water bottle and carry it with you everywhere.
- Give it about 4-6 weeks and you'll be feeling like a pro. But if you need help along the way call a lactation consultant or find a La Leche League in your area.
- If you're looking for a great online resource check out www.kellymom.com
I'm a big fan of the Bebe Au Lait nursing covers (they feature a rigid neckline that stays put and lets you see what's going on below). The tricky part can be finding a comfortable place to sit. I often just returned to my car and used the backseat or sometimes a store dressing room if they had one. It's also helpful to time your errands during naptime because newborns can sleep through a lot.
Nursing in Public
The craziest place I've ever nursed was at a museum exhibit for Pompeii surrounded by body casts! Thankfully, people didn't seem to mind. I was a little nervous that museum security was going to ask me to leave, until my husband pointed out that the brochure said, "Nursing: Anywhere in the Museum is fine." In case you're curious about the breastfeeding laws in your state you can check them out at http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx.
It can be tricky! Morning temperature readings (symto-thermal method of NFP) are likely not an option because of lack of continuous sleep, and mucus readings can be all over the place. You might have heard that breastfeeding suppresses ovulation, and it certainly can, but be careful to note that its level of reliability depends on three things:
Natural Family Planning While Breastfeeding
- you are fully breastfeeding (i.e. limited use of bottles or pacifiers, and your little one isn't sleeping through the night or starting solids
- your period has not returned
- your child is under 6 months old.
Erin is a breastfeeding mom to her seven month old, little Miss B. You can read more about her vocation as a Catholic wife and mother at threevs.wordpress.com (Via, Veritas, Vita).