Ask IM: When Breastfeeding Gets tough Beyond the Newborn Stage

Ask Instinctual Mothering

I am humbled and honored every time a mom, mom to be, or even the occasional father contacts me for advice or information. It never occurred to me that people would actually value my opinion enough to seek out my perspective, it is a shock every time! But it is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to share my perspective and experience with you all.

I thought it may be helpful to publish the questions I receive on the blog in a series titled “Ask Instinctual Mothering”. Remember, the answers are only my perspective based off of my own experiences and what I have read or researched. I will never claim to know all there is to know about pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/parenting because I am still learning myself (and have no true accreditation besides a breastfeeding counselor certificate)! However; helping, encouraging, empowering, and sharing information with others is why I’m here typing. It is a true passion and gives me great fulfillment and I hope I can be of service.

I promise to only share real questions from real people and always with their permission (and never their name). If you find yourself pondering something yourself, please feel free to contact me with ANYTHING – even critical feedback! You can contact me through facebook, E-mail at Tmschult@gmail.com, or through the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Okay, enough blabbing. Here is the second “Ask Instinctual Mothering” installment! This was a message I received via Facebook.

When Breastfeeding Gets Tough Beyond the Newborn Phase

Hi Tara!! I hope you are doing great and feeling well!

I’m having a tough time and looking for some help. I’m feeling like I could throw in the towel on nursing my 9 month old. It’s become painful. She just wants to suck all evening and night. My nipples are tender and the one nipple has a milk blister which is painful. I feel like I feel her teeth when she sucks. And she pulls my breast away from her when she is nursing so it pulls my boob. I’m frustrated and yet I don’t want to stop. Any advice? 😢 Does it get better?  Did you ever want to give up? I don’t want to for her sake. I guess I feel defeated right now.

-Frustrated & Defeated

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The Road to Home Birth

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*I know that birth can be a controversial topic, as with any other controversial topic in parenting it comes down to your comfort level with the risks associated. I personally feel strongly about things like breastfeeding and natural birth and am not comfortable with the risks to the alternative; however, someone could talk to me about the importance of “extended rear-facing” until they are blue in the face and it will still not be THAT important to me. We are all different and will weigh risks differently and that’s OKAY, there is no judgement here. But I still feel it is important to share knowledge and perspective, you never know who may resonate with what you are saying.

Sometime in my daughter’s first year I watched the documentary “TheBusiness of Being Born”. It was Ricki Lake’s passion project after a hospital experience with her first son that led her to a homebirth with her second.

This documentary is a must see for all pregnant women in my opinion. It opened up my eyes to so many things regarding how we give birth in America. But even before that, I knew intuitively that my hospital birth experience just wasn’t right. I just felt in my soul that what I experienced was not supposed to be how we bring babies into the world.

Since watching that documentary a year or so ago, I threw myself into absorbing everything I could about birth. And I was more and more convinced that it had to be different the next time around.

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Santa BABY…

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post- but now you know why! Surprise!  Baby #2 is cooking!

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Holy whirlwind, where to begin.

(I want to warn you, I wrote most of this post in the first trimester when my spirits were at their lowest. I re-read it in the second trimester and edited it a bit but it still has a very “woe is me” undertone. I almost didn’t post this (it was almost embarrassing to read !) but decided that if I had/have these thoughts and feelings, someone else probably has too! Enjoy!)

Let’s see, I (we) are excited and extremely GRATEFUL to have another little bundle on the way and especially without the help of modern medicine this time around but also slightly apprehensive! Don’t get me wrong, we were actively “trying” and wanted another little one, but even though it was planned, I think a part of the magic about pregnancy is that all the planning in the world will not stop the news from knocking you off balance a little.

When we conceived our daughter, we were desperately waiting for a child  and wanted her so badly. We had been through 3 losses, a year of trying, and a slew of fertility tests when we finally had a pregnancy that stuck. I welcomed and wanted every bit of pregnancy. If someone would have said to me, “Tara, you just have to live in this 1 foot by 1 foot cell and eat nothing but oatmeal for 9 months and then you’ll have a baby” I would have happily obliged. And boy, did she change my life forever. But this time was completely different, I had just gained some freedom with nursing and the shackles of infancy had been unlocked now that my daughter was a toddler. It is kind of scary to think that I will enter the labor intensive “baby period” all over again. And although we always knew we wanted another baby, it just seemed so far off in the future for some reason. I did not feel that pressure to be pregnant right away like I did the first time. And instantly, things had changed. Things I didn’t foresee or think about when thinking of being pregnant again came into play. The morning sickness and lack of energy, but also the biggest one being the change in my nursing relationship.

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Instinctual Mothering’s New Baby Must Haves

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Here are the items that worked for me – but every baby is different. I encourage you to talk to other parents to establish a better idea of what makes sense to you and what doesn’t. And the baby might get here and everything you thought was going to work may not work at all! In my experience, this whole baby thing is basically one big game of trial-and-error.

Here are my “Must Haves” (Click Here to download a printable List!: registry print out)

Bassinet for your room for the first couple of months OR a side-car co-sleeper or a product called an infant sleeper. However, DO NOT be afraid to have your baby in bed with you- you will both most likely get more sleep- this is how women survived the sleep deprivation for generations! There’s a ton of scary stuff out there about suffocating your baby, etc. by co-sleeping. There are ways to co-sleep safely. In most instances of tragedy involving co-sleeping they involved parents who were under the influence of some substance while sleeping next to their baby or falling asleep on a couch with their baby (which is a no-no). A baby sleeping in the same room as it’s parents actually reduces the risk of SIDS by 50%. To read more, read my Anti-Cry-it-Out post. BUT, with all that said- I was still hesitant to co-sleep when she was teeny tiny and used this bassinet next to my bed until she was a little more “sturdy” and I felt comfortable co-sleeping (maybe around 2-3 months which the “risk” of co-sleeping is statistically not existent at 4 months). If you go the bassinet route, I recommend this one from target. It is light and easy to transport.bouncy-2Bseat

 A bouncy seat  – Good place to put them when they fall asleep during the day or say you need to actually take a shower (which is the equivalent to a spa oasis with a newborn). It is lightweight and easy to transport.

A PLAYMAT! (and it’s counterpart the bouncer when they turn around 4-5 months old) this is a life saver! It occupies them and gives you time to say; brush your teeth for the first time in 3 days! Ha. I prefer the Baby Einstein brand. And it’s guilt free! because they are designed to promote “development.

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Changing pad and changing pad cover. I also like changing pad liners so I am not constantly washing the cover.

BABY WEAR! It will save your life and your sanity! Read more about my Babywearing Epiphany and find out the Benefits to Babywearing.

Ideally, you would like to have a wrap or wrap-like carrier for when they are newborns/small baby (until ~3-4 months) and I like a Soft Structured Carrier (SSC for short), like the Ergo or a Tula after the small baby phase. I liked the Baby K’Tan as a “wrap” carrier when she was really little.it’s easy to put on but takes some practice. You can find these for ~$50 at Babies R Us (and sometimes on sale).The only negative is the ‘shelflife” for this carrier is only about 3-4 months. Most babies will outgrow it after that. The Moby is also a good starter carrier also. If you really love wrapping, you can graduate up to a woven.ergo

The ergo can be found at common stores and has good positioning but can be a little more expensive (~$120). The SSC type carriers tend to be a little too big for newborn babies and do not fit them comfortably until they are a little older (~2-3 months). However, an infant insert can be bought for the Ergo, and I have heard great things about it. Do some research on baby carriers and see which one you think is for you if that’s the route you want to go, or try on some friends’ carriers first (I am a Tula and Ring-Sling lover). Or find a local babywearing chapter in your area through Facebook and attend a meeting where you can try on all types of carriers! But trust me it is a must have and MUCH easier throwing a baby carrier in the car than lugging around a huge stroller/car-seat everywhere. I have only used my stroller a few times since my epiphany.

However, I feel a stroller will come in handy for long day trips (like the zoo) if even it’s only purpose is to hold bags. So in my opinion, it is still a big ticket item you should include on your registry. I registered for the jogging travel system and used the infant car seat for her entire first year. However, I will warn you the jogging travel system is large and bulky and cumbersome to transport. We typically only used it on all-day trips.

Invest in a good forehead thermometer. They can be expensive, but the convenience of knowing their temperature in one second (which you will check about 30x an hour when they are sick) will keep you from prematurely dialing 9-1-1 in the event of your child’s first cold.

Bath towels/wash clothes- at least 7 of each.

Receiving blankets. I prefer regular blankets over swaddlers. There is some evidence that swaddling can inhibit a baby’s hunger cues. Rather than swaddling I propose babywearing to keep the baby close to you- the mother’s baby is a baby’s natural habitat!

Clothes! You will need clothes…This is something I dropped the ball on. Because those 6 outfits your Aunt Mart mailed to you seems like enough stuff, right? Wrong. A lot of times, you get an abundance of one size and none in the other, and then some are completely the wrong season. Babies grow FAST, making a working wardrobe cumbersome. I did not have any newborn size clothing when she was born because didn’t 0-3 months technically include newborn?! Yeah, no. Average size babies will not fit into 0-3 months until around 1 month old. If your baby is born in a warmer season: they will probably wear only newborn onesies the first month. If they are born in the colder season; newborn sleepers. Or any outfits that are soft and cottony. Trust me, they are so fragile that you are afraid of changing their diaper, let alone squeezing them into that pink tutu. After one month old, go crazy on the cute 0-3 month outfits!

Repeat after me: You Can Never Have Too Many White Onesies and Socks.

nosefridaThe NoseFrida– A life saver when they have a cold!

 

 

 

 

A Baby “Grooming Kit”12873028

A baby bath tub– a cheap one is sufficient.

A car-seat (obvi). My car-seat was included in the deluxe travel system my mother sacrificed for months to buy (Kidding), but now only 7 months later, I am shopping for a convertible car seat because the infant car-seat only lasts until around 1 year. I recommend also registering/buying a convertible car-seat from the beginning that can hold a newborn – 65lbs because you are going to have to buy it eventually anyway. Britax is the safest brand and the best bang for your buck.164554-850x850-covers

I would also try to plan ahead for the cold weather season. Invest in an infant carseat cover, it is the safest to have the straps flush against their bodies, this is hard to achieve if they are wearing big fluffy coats or snow suits. This car seat cover allows you to have a safer car seat position and not have to fumble with jackets and snow suits in the winter.

Burp Clothes– You will use a lot of these so register for more than just a pack.

Bottles– You do not need a ton. If you are breastfeeding, you won’t use them often. If you are breastfeeding and will be returning to work and pumping- 6 bottles is still plenty. Try to stick with one type- baby’s have little minds of their own, and have preferences. It is important to pick a bottle that mimics the breast and to be sure the nipple is slow flow. If you are nursing, you will only need the 6oz bottles; as the volume of breastmilk you produce does not change all that much (about 3-4oz a feeding) even as your baby gets older. The content changes as your baby’s needs change, not the volume (Another fascinating fact about breastmilk!).

A bottle warmer– no need for a fancy one.

Drying rack for bottles and bottle brush.sterilizer

Microwave Sterilizer!! I use this a lot.. I sterilize everything in it; bottles, pump supplies, milk storage bottles, even toys. All it takes is some water and 6 minutes in the microwave.

I encourage Breastfeeding!!  If I had to wake up in the middle of the night to prepare formula/bottles I don’t think I would have survived post partum seriously.  I always have milk ready and available and never have to worry about bringing bottles with me, etc. I won’t get on a soapbox in this post but it’s been one of the most amazing/rewarding experiences of my life. Please read many of my posts on Breastfeeding for more information.

I felt self conscious registering for breastfeeding supplies during my pregnancy, but what a mistake. It is basically the only thing I did in the beginning and all I really needed. I had my husband running to the store everyday to buy more supplies.

If you’re breastfeeding, you will need:

Nursing clothes! Invest in some nursing camisoles, low cut t-shirts and nursing bras (at least one padded “leaving the house”  bra and a couple of “sleep” bra’s to wear to bed).

A nursing cover (a receiving blanket works just fine or you could not cover at all and still be discreet which is what I prefer).

A BIG bottle of an all natural nipple cream: Enough said.

Disposable nursing pads – breastfeeding is messy; You will leak A LOT in the beginning.

If you are returning to work you will need a decent breast pump– which most insurances cover now 100%, so it’s free! I am partial to the Medela Pump In Style Pump and accessories.

Breast storage kits (carry cooler, ice pack, and storage bottles) that fit your pump.

If you are staying at home, but would like to pump for times when you will be leaving the baby, you can get away with an inexpensive pump (~$150) and one set of accessories.pTRU1-16791197dt

Medela Starter Kit: Tubing plus breast flanges plus storage bag and bottles.

A Video Baby Monitor –  You won’t use this until they are in the crib which depending on your preference won’t be for a few months probably (or rarely like me!). I will say that being able to see her on the video monitor gives me great piece of mind when she is sleeping in her crib.

Highchair- I did not get the expensive “4 in 1” highchair, however I wish I did because it is very versatile and is easy to travel with.

Diaper Genie– A Must!

Baby Lotion & Body Wash – People are going to buy you gift set after gift set of bath supplies, you will end up not using most of it. Try to go for all natural brands. A lot of the mainstream brands are loaded with chemicals (Johnson & Johnson being one of the worsts). I use coconut oil as lotion and Babyganics Foaming Baby Shampoo and Wash. I am a big fan of the foaming wash. No more furiously trying to get suds on the wash cloth!

Baby nose saline spray/infant tylenol you will want to have on hand.

Pacifiers– I personally never pushed the pacifier because they can interfere with breastfeeding in the beginning, and then after that it just kind of seemed unnatural to me (she also never took one anyway!). Also, what could happen when they’re teeny tiny is they will use all of their energy sucking the pacifier that they will become too tired to eat and skip very important feedings. There has also been studies that show a baby’s sucking is related to their hunger mechanism, not necessarily their tummy’s being full- so they think they are eating when sucking on the pacifier, when in reality they are consuming no calories. BUT it’s a personal decision and for a lot of people the pacifier is a life saver, especially for older babies or babies who love to comfort nurse (and definitely in car rides!). The Soothie pacifiers are the type the hospital uses and what I recommend. Be sure to follow the age limits on the packages- they actually mean something!

Newborn mittens because they are too little to cut their nails at first and will scratch their tiny little faces.

Diaper Bag- can be any large tote bag really.

Diaper bag essentials – A travel wipe case, travel hand sanitizer, and if your diaper bag does not come with one, a travel “changing mat”. Trust me, you will NOT want to put your baby down on a bare public changing table.

A Boppy Pillow– This is the one item I have used since birth. You will use it for feeding/nursing the first few months, then tummy time, then for support when they are learning to sit unassisted. It is a great investment.

My highchair/grocery cart cover has become something that I cannot live without. You will not use this product until your baby is sitting up unassisted so around 6 months old. It has made going out to eat so much more enjoyable!

If you’re like me and like to  be overly-prepared, I would invest in at least 2 cases of size Newborn and size 1 diapers (I am a Pampers Swaddlers girl myself) as well as a case of wipes (I prefer the Huggies natural wipes). Also, invest in some big bottles of hand sanitizer to keep around the house and especially by the changing table.

We did not register for our nursery bedding decor and furniture, but many people do and our family did help us by buying our crib. This would include a crib, a changing area, a dresser (could also serve as the changing area), Crib bedding, and décor.

I personally found it easier to do my registry on-line where items were categorized and it was easy to find items/navigate. I was so overwhelmed with all of the options in the store that we left after only 30 minutes. Try not to get overwhelmed, you won’t really know what works for you until the baby get’s here and remember, all of this stuff is just fluff that makes life easier- a baby doesn’t NEED much except for you!

Good Luck!

Click Here for a printable List! : registry print out

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