Once again I'm inspired by my friend, a brand-new momma, to write about babies. I talked to her husband a few days after the birth. Very casually, he said, "Yeah, her milk ran out today. She just stopped producing." Huh? I could not wrap my head around the idea of a brand-new mother running out of milk so soon after giving birth. My memories of the immediate post-partum period include leaking, wet shirts, lots of towels. I kind of stuttered, "Um, well uh, what does the doctor say?" As he told me they had not asked the doctor, I listened to the background noise. I could hear other people talking. Her family was at their house.
After we hung up, I thought about how my friend has been spending her first few days as a new momma. She lives very close to her tight-knit family. I could picture them coming in and out all day long, while she sat on the couch. I looked at some of her pictures on Facebook. There were about 20 family members and friends at the hospital when she gave birth, and they all wanted a turn holding the baby. Suddenly my vision grew crystal clear. Everyone wanted to help her by holding the baby so she could 'rest' on the couch and chitchat. Her family thought they were helping her out, but really they were helping her out of a successful breastfeeding relationship! Grandma (or Aunt, or Cousin, or Friend or Neighbor) likes to be able to connect with the baby, which is understandable. But from a health standpoint, it is more important that Mom connect with baby in those first few days.
I wrote her a quick email and advised her to tell her family to let her rest with the baby. Family members can do all kinds of other things to help Mom- bring a home cooked meal over, do the dishes, do the laundry, answer the phone, go grocery shopping, bring water and fresh cut up fruit to Mom, vaccuum, clean the toilets, dust, sweep, mop, take out the trash, clean out the car, bake bread, take care of older kids, answer the phone, make breakfast- you get the idea!
To paraphrase Dr. Bradley, author of Husband Coached Childbirth,
Mom and baby need to snuggle together in bed, nurse alot, and just rest for 3 days. It's not because you are sick, but it's to help you bond with your baby.For the sake of establishing a good milk supply, mom and baby should rest together. Sleep as much as possible with your baby. Try to figure out how to nurse laying down. If you have trouble nursing laying down, then sit up and nurse. But stay in bed for the most part. When you do get up, put your baby in your baby carrier and take a walk outside for some fresh air.
|My son and me|
Another thing you can do to build up a good milk supply is to delay using a pacifier and bottle. There will be plenty of time for these a few weeks down the road! Don't rush into using these just so that other people can hold the baby. If other people need to bond with baby, they can bathe the baby, change diapers, get baby dressed or hold the baby while Mom showers. The only one feeding the baby immediately after the birth should be Mom. (Ya'll, I'm talking about normal births where Mom is able and desires to breastfeed. I know there are special situations where this isn't possible).
By focusing all your energy on establishing a good milk supply, you are laying the foundation for a long and successful breastfeeding relationship
Do you have any tips for establishing (and maintaining) your milk supply?
Linked to WFMW.