Breast-Feeding: Nature's Formula for Success
Getting on the Right Track continued...
Line up a support network: Take a prenatal breast-feeding class. Find
out if your hospital or birthing center has a formal policy to encourage
breast-feeding (for instance, the AAP recommends nursing within the first
hour). Get telephone numbers of sources who can help once you're at home, such
as a breast-feeding hotline, private lactation consultants or your local La Leche
League, which offers mother-to-mother support groups. Referrals of local
lactation consultants are provided by the International Lactation Consultants
Association at (919) 787-5181.
Pain is a sign that something isn't right. Often the culprit may be
positioning, latching on or your baby's sucking skills, which can be remedied
with the help of a skilled mother or a lactation consultant. Red patches on the
breast and fever are signs of an infection, which require antibiotics. Draining
the breasts completely will help to prevent infections.
Optimize the transition back to work: Although you'll probably feel
bad leaving your baby, experts say nursing can actually help you feel connected
to your baby even though you're apart. To get ready for the separation, start
pumping and bottle-feeding your baby about a week, or so, before your first day
back. Introduce a bottle initially when the baby's not hungry so frustration
isn't compounded by hunger. If giving a bottle is unsuccessful, a flexible
plastic cup might work. Electric pumps with a double-collection kit, which can
be rented as well as purchased, are easier to use and more efficient than
manual pumps. Massaging and compressing the breasts while pumping are also
Make sure you marshal the support you need at work. "Typically what the
mom needs is a gatekeeper -- it could be her supervisor, a secretary ...
someone who makes sure that she's enabled to pump, typically two to three times
a day, and that co-workers are supportive," Walker says. Find a day-care
center that will respect your choice to breast-feed. She even suggests spending
time there each week, just hanging out so that your body will make antibodies
to germs your baby will be exposed to.