The first few weeks of breastfeeding can feel quite overwhelming. It’s a learning time for both you and your baby, each of you getting a feel for each other. Your baby is slowly discovering how to breastfeed and find comfort outside the security of your womb. You are learning how to communicate with your baby and offer comfort and nourishment. Be patient with yourself and your baby; it will get easier, particularly once your milk supply becomes established. Having questions is normal. Trust your instincts, but also try to prepare yourself by understanding what to expect in the first few weeks. Below we’ve compiled some breastfeeding basics and tips from Day 1 to Week 6. What to Expect Your milk production grows from about 1 ounce (30 mL) to about 30 ounces (900 mL) between Days 1 and 40. Most mothers start to make noticeably more milk starting around Day 3 or 4. Your baby should be back to birth weight by 2 weeks. You can then expect baby to gain about 7 ounces (210 g) per week or 2 lbs (900 g) per month. Most babies feed 8-12 times per day, but not at set times. They may bunch feedings close together for part of the day (cluster feed). Your baby may want to feed again soon after breastfeeding. This is normal in the beginning. By Day 3-5, baby’s black stools (meconium) turn first green, then yellow. You can then expect 3 or more yellow stools every day. Also, expect 5-6 or more wet diapers a day by Day 5. If your breasts feel very full, breastfeed more or express milk. This will make you feel better, not worse. Most babies sleep for one 4-5 hour stretch each day. This may not happen at night, unfortunately. Fun Facts A baby’s stomach stretches from the size of a shooter marble on Day 1 to a chicken egg by Day 10. Babies may take one breast at a feeding, or they may need to feed on both breasts. Let your baby decide. Drained breasts make milk faster. Full breasts make milk slower. Breastfeed only if possible. Avoid pacifiers and any other liquids General Breastfeeding Tips Breastfeed whenever your baby wants to. You’ll know it’s time when your baby’s head turns from side to side with an open mouth. Or when she puts her hand to her mouth. Ideally, don’t wait until your baby fusses or cries. When upset, it’s harder to feed well. Use a position that feels good for you and your baby. Learn to sleep while you breastfeed. Practice during the day. If breastfeeding hurts, get help. A small change in how your baby takes the breast may be all you need to feel better. Find a mother’s group near you and spend time with other breastfeeding mothers. We are stronger together! You Know You Have Plenty of Milk When Baby is gaining weight well on breast milk alone. 0-4 months: 7 ounces (210 g) a week or 2 lbs. (900g) a month When to Seek Help If breastfeeding hurts. If your baby loses more than 10% of birth weight or after Day 4, gains weight too slowly. Even when breastfeeding is going well, you may experience some of the following: Your baby has fussy times – Most babies do. She wants to feed again soon after breastfeeding -Most babies do. She wants to feed more often – This adjusts your milk production Your breasts no longer feel full – Usually at about 3-4 weeks She wants to feed less often or for a shorter time – Babies get faster with practice Frequent night feedings – Babies need to do this to get enough milk She will take a bottle after breastfeeding – Babies like to suck, this might not be related to milk supply You can’t express much milk – This skill takes practice One thing that we can not stress enough is, be patient with yourself. Breastfeeding is natural but it’s also a skill, and like all skills there is a learning curve involved. You are not expected to know it all and there is no shame in asking for help and reaching out. Seek out the support you need. Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding ProductsCoauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers
The pain experienced during labour is different for every woman and can vary pregnancy to pregnancy. Preferences on how to manage that pain also differ, and each expecting mom will have her own ideal plan. Researching the available options is an important step in preparing for your labour. What is TENS for Labour? If you would prefer to avoid drugs or other medical interventions and are opting for natural labour pain relief, a TENS machine may be just the thing for you. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. The machine itself is a small box with a clip on the back that you can attach to your clothing. It releases little pulses of electrical energy. How does a TENS machine work? Leading out of the box are four wires connected to sticky pads. Ideally, your birth partner will place the pads on your back for you. Put one pad on each side of your spine, at about bra-strap level. The remaining two pads should be placed further down your back, near the base of your spine. The pads are covered in a gel to help the electrical pulses pass through your skin more easily. There are dials that allow you to adjust and control the frequency and strength of the pulses. There’s also a boost button for you to hold in your hand and press when you want maximum output from the machine to help you with a difficult contraction. Always follow the instructions that come with your TENS machine. How does a TENS machine reduce pain? There are several theories on what makes a TENS machine effective. One is that the electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. Another is that the pulses stimulate your body to release its own natural, feel-good substances, called endorphins. It’s most likely that various factors interact to make TENS work. It may give you a feeling of control over your contractions, it may help you to feel less anxious, and it also may provide a distraction from your contractions. When and how should I use TENS? TENS seems to work best and give you the most effective pain relief when you start using it at the very beginning of your labour. TENS machines are available to rent or buy, so will be able to use it at home before you transition to the hospital (if you’re having a hospital birth). It generally takes about an hour for your body to respond to the electrical impulses by releasing endorphins, so start using it when you’re getting regular contractions or backache. You may find your machine works better at relieving your back pain rather than abdominal pain. Start with the controls at their lowest settings and gradually turn them up as your contractions or back pain gets more intense. You can use the boost button at the peak of your contractions for a little extra relief. What are the advantages? It’s portable and non-invasive. It’s under your control. It’s easy to use. You can keep moving while using it. You can use it for as long as you want and then take it off. There are no lasting side-effects. It’s safe for your baby. You don’t need an anesthesiologist, doctor or midwife to administer it, so you can start using it as soon as you want to. It can be used for a home birth. What are the disadvantages? You will need someone to help you put the pads on. It may only help in the early stages of labour. It may be difficult to find a TENS machine in your area. (http://www.motherschoiceproducts.com/) you can purchase or find a store. It may have to be removed if your baby’s heart has to be monitored electronically. If you want to use a birthing pool or have a bath, you can use TENS before you get in the water, but not when you are in the water. It can make it more difficult for your birth partner to massage your back, which can be an effective form of pain relief. Useful tips · Don’t give up right away if you think your TENS isn’t doing anything. It usually takes at least an hour of using it for your body to build up endorphins in response to the stimulation. · Take the pads off every three hours and reapply the gel to ensure good contact with your skin. · Keep mobile. Moving around during labour helps women feel more in control and should, therefore, enhance the effect of TENS. · If you don’t feel like it’s helping you, take it off and don’t feel bad. You’ve lost nothing. All other forms of pain relief, both medical and non-medical, are still open to you. Where do I find a TENS machine? You may need to call a midwife clinic to track a TENS machine down. Or if you are lucky enough to have an obstetrical physiotherapist in your town, try calling her office. Your doctor or midwife should be able to help you track one down; ask for their help during a prenatal appointment. Once you find a TENS machine, the midwife will show you how to use it during your labour. Prices will vary but generally hang around $100. You can usually find TENS machines at midwife clinics, select pharmacies, or online.
Simple Steps to Keep Your Ameda Breast Pump Clean Keeping your breast pump clean is not time consuming. But there are a few things you can do to simplify your pump care — so you can spend more time with your new baby. Sanitize Your Ameda parts Before the First Use Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If your pump kit package is not marked « sterile, » put all the pieces that come into contact with your milk in a pot, cover them with water, and boil for 20 minutes before using the pump for the first time. It is best to let the parts air dry so make sure you have a bit of time for this. With an Ameda pump that would be the bottle, flange (part that goes on your breast), clear valve, and silicone diaphragm. All Ameda pumps use the same kits so this will apply to any personal use pump or rental/hospital pump. Unless your doctor or hospital has told you otherwise, there is no need to do this again. Everyday Cleaning of Your Ameda Breast Pump With an Ameda pump, you don’t need to boil, microwave or wipe your pump pieces with disinfecting wipes on a regular basis. After every use, rinse the pieces that come in contact with your milk with cool water then wash them in warm, soapy water (using mild detergent), rinse with clear, warm water, and air dry. You can also clean pump parts in the dishwasher. You may want to get one or more extra pump kits and wash them all once at the end of the day. That way you don’t need to wash your parts every time you pump. To clean your pump motor or bag, just wipe it with a clean, damp cloth. This is also a good way to clean the outside of your pump tubing if milk drips onto it. No Tubing Care For mothers using a pump with tubing, any moisture in the tubing can contaminate their expressed milk with bacteria, mold and viruses. That’s why Ameda breast pumps have Proven Airlock Protection™. During pumping, Ameda’s diaphragm keeps the air from your pump from coming in contact with your milk. For mothers using a breast pump without a barrier at the flange there is a chance to get moisture in the tubing. Any moisture in the tubing can contaminate expressed milk with bacteria, mold and viruses Ameda has the world’s only breast pump with a proven protective barrier. Adapted from Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding ProductsCoauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers