I Breastfeed for Selfish Reasons
This post is for all my mommas (especially my diabetic mommas) and it is all about NURSING. Breastfeeding your baby is so important no matter who you are, there is no better way to nourish your baby and to build their immune system. But did you know that breastfeeding also helps regulate your blood sugar and is just as healthy for mom as it is for baby? It's true, I selfishly breastfeed. But not just for all the amazing health benefits, but also because I am lazy overworked tired mom. I don't have to pack bottles or formula when I leave the house. I don't have to shuffle down the stairs to go make a bottle at 3 am (let's face it I don't even open my eyes for nighttime feedings). And when my toddler needs lunch I can just strap the baby in a carrier and let him nurse.
So please be encouraged, if breastfeeding starts out rough (and oh did mine ever) it will be worth ever tedious task because in the end you will have a well fed (did I not mention FREE milk?) baby and a happy more relaxed momma.
Since my youngest was 4 weeks preemie he stayed in the NICU for four days. I was determined to pump my milk for him and the first thing I asked for when rolled into recovery from my C-Section was a pump. However, because he was bottle fed right from the start it proved very difficult and he absolutely refused to nurse. When we returned home I then had to pump every three hours for weeks in order to feed him, this worked for now but definitely wasn't a long term solution. After about a month he finally accepted nursing which brought me so much joy and much more sleep but due to all the pumping and lack of consistency my milk supply immediately plummeted to almost nothing and I knew I was in a crisis. I immediately began researching ways to SAVE my breastmilk and luckily was able to implement them all just in time. These tips literally saved my nursing relationship with my son who is almost 5 months and is quite the chunky, happy guy. As a diabetic I lowered his risk and my own by nursing, I am able to naturally build his immune system and let's face it, with a toddler at home we are exposed often to germs. Want to hear another selfish part? Losing baby weight and still getting to EAT! Here are the tips I used and hopefully they may work for you if you find yourself in a milk supply crisis. And be encouraged, soon nursing will be so easy you can do it with your eyes closed!
- Drink Water (you don't need to drink more than the recommended daily intake of water). 8-12 glasses of water is just fine but make sure you actually are drinking water. It is easy to become dehydrated, especially as a diabetic and you run high glucose numbers. Or just being a busy mom in general.
- POWER PUMP. This truly was my miracle worker. And this tip is great for working Moms. Power pumping is setting aside an hour of your day, I preferred the evening time after feeding the baby. You pump for 20 mins, rest for 10, pump for 10, rest for 10, and lastly pump for 10. The point isn't to get a ton of milk so even if you only have drops in your container don't panic just relax, watch some TV or read a book (but really if you are sleep deprived mom like me you probably will be falling asleep and bouncing awake due to the drool dripping down the side of your face). Do this for two or three days in a row max. This is all about providing stimulation, and it WORKS. You usually see the results within 5-7 days so be patient, you are telling your body you need more milk and so it starts producing it. This is great for busy working moms, so even setting aside a weekend time to do this once a month can do wonders.
- Supplements! It's very important to continue supplements after pregnancy. Your baby will get everything they need from your milk so the supplements are really for you! Consult your physician as to what you should take but the basics would be continuing your prenatal vitamin and calcium. I loved to add vitamin D and Simple Green powder which is loaded with nutrients to boost milk supply. You can find these at Trader Joes. I also personally love Fenugreek. Did you know that it lowers blood glucose? I also thought it did boost my milk supply, but beware some babies can be fussy and gassy from this supplement so use caution as the last thing you need is screaming baby (which happened to me)!