by Dana B. Bryant
The benefits of breastfeeding are pretty well-known.
Breast milk contains a perfect balance of nutrients for your baby.
Breast milk digests easier than commercial formula.
The antibodies in breast milk boost your baby's immune system and are personalized to the exact "germ" floating around your household.
Breastfeeding might even help you lose weight after the baby is born.
You've got position and latch down and your baby's nursing like a pro.
Still, breastfeeding challenges can crop up unexpectedly. Maybe your baby's happy with one breast, but hates the other.
Perhaps you're wondering what to do when the poop turns green What about those gulps, gasps and other odd nursing noises?
While we can't cover everything about breastfeeding in a single article, we invited our pregnancy.org members to share breastfeeding tips to ward off five common, but under-discussed situations. Sometimes getting advice from your peers is just the ticket!
[Editor's note: If you have a medical concern, you are always best off consulting your healthcare provider!]
Pregnancy.org Member Breastfeeding Tricks and Tips
Gulping and gasping! Your newborn nursed 20 to 45 minutes per breast. Then your milk came in. He gulps the milk (almost struggles for breath) for about 10 to 15 minutes and falls asleep. Is it normal for babies to cut back on nursing time? Should they make a "gulping" noise?
Chris says, "I remember when my milk came in and my daughter would "gulp" but only when she was really hungry or at the beginning of her nursing. She still will "gulp" at times. 10 to 15 minutes per breast sounds about right. That's where we are most of the time but this can change from day to day or one nursing session maybe longer or shorter."
Not falling asleep! You can find twenty-seven ways to keep your newborn awake at the breast. What if your problem is getting that bright-eyed angel to close the peepers and nap?
Jackie says, "At this point it's really all about survival. It's common for them to still not have a clue about days and nights, but you can work on keeping lights going and not worrying about noise during the day and keeping it dark and quiet at night. I know it's rough right now but eventually it will pass. I'm sure you're doing a great job mama!"
"We have a humidifier in our room for white noise. Are you swaddling her in a onesie or just a diaper? Maybe she's getting too hot? Are you talking to her? If so, maybe stop? Try singing to her? Teagan responded really well to me singing to her. Have a stash of diapers in the co-sleeper pouches and just change her in bed on a little change pad," Erin shares.
Quick nurser! You've read that your baby should nurse 15 or more minutes per side. Your baby must not have read the same instructions. What should you do if the nursing session's over before you've barely settled into the rocker?
"My baby only took about five minutes a side as a newborn. Some babies are more efficient and your milk may be coming out fast, too. As long as you can see he's swallowing the whole time and he has wet/poopy diapers you are fine," Mel says.
Tiggersmom says, "My daughter was done in 5 minutes tops and never took both sides as a newborn. I'd try to keep her on longer because I thought that's what I was supposed to do but it just turned into a fight. She was gaining weight like mad (1.5 lbs per week for like the first 10 weeks) and had plenty of wet and poopy diapers."
Pinching and scratching: Suddenly your baby has a new "game." Instead of peacefully nursing and staring into your eyes, you're getting scratches and pinches. Your baby likes to keep that free hand busy pushing, massaging, scratching and kneading. How can you encourage an alternate activity?
"I used a nursing necklace. It doesn't have to be an actual nursing necklace as those can be pricey just because it's a niche market -- just something sturdy and chunky and not hideous. I also spent a lot of time looking into my daughter's eyes while holding and kissing her hands," Erin suggests.
"When that started, I finally started cutting my son's nails more often. The kneading actually helps bring in the milk faster to them, which is why many babies do it. Nursing necklaces help some. We started doing finger games. I sing to him. I read to him. I give him things to play with, like my phone or the TV remote," alwayssmiles says.
Teeth and biting: It's getting to be that time. Your baby should get a tooth any week now. What's that going to do to your nursing relationship? When a baby gets teeth, do they bite you?
"Both my kids nipped me a couple times when teething. With my first, I yelped so loudly and jumped and it scared the bejeepers out of him...he never did it again. My second got me a couple times, but we just end the nursing session, I tell him 'no' sternly and he gets the point. It's only when he is teething and at the end of nursing when he is just messing around and probably done anyway," Lauren says.
Angie says, "Nope. As long as they are latched properly they (99 percent of the time) won't bite. Their teeth do not get in the way at all. Allie bit me twice. Both times it was because she let go and I re-latched her thinking she still wanted to eat but she was DONE and she bit me to let me know."
Have you run into an unusual nursing dilemma? How did you solve it? Did you find our peer-to-peer advice helpful? Share your nursing stories just in time for World Breastfeeding Week!