Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just say YES to Breastfeeding!!!

My breastfeeding do’s and don’ts:
                Whatever you do, DO NOT…I repeat DO NOT listen to the nurses at the hospital who try to push formula while your milk comes in. Colostrum is THE BEST thing for your baby and though it will be painful, difficult, exhausting & very challenging let your baby suckle all day and night if need be to stimulate your milk.
                Colostrum is ALL your baby needs until your milk “comes in,” so please be patient and work though the initial pain and frustration. It WILL get easier…I PROMISE!
                Caving in and giving formula in the hospital before your milk even has a chance to come in, is setting yourself up for failure.
                Tell the nurses ‘Thank you very much,’ but you’re sticking it out and that you’re 1000% committed to breastfeeding. Give it a chance before jumping to formula! ;-)
                Ask to see a lactation consultant in the hospital twice a day if you need to. Tell them you want to use the hospital grade pump to further stimulate your milk.
                Either rent a hospital grade pump to take home with you or buy a very high quality double electric pump. (I had great success with ‘Medela pumps.’)
                Once you’re home, if your milk supply is low, pump after each nursing session to increase your milk supply.
                Don’t forget that the first month or so is THE most important, as that’s when your milk supply is being established. So this is the time to hunker down and NURSE, NURSE, NURSE.

FEED ON DEMAND! Here’s why:
                Please, whatever you do, DO NOT put your baby on a nursing schedule. Feed ON DEMAND!!!
                Beware of the results; you’ll have a very happy baby and simultaneously boost your milk supply! )
                If your milk supply is on over-drive, no need to pump more than once a day. I always recommend pumping at least once a day in order to start a reserve “freezer stash”.
                Invest in a deep freezer and pump a lot before your baby starts solids
                (the first six months is when you naturally produce the most milk before your baby starts solids)
                Working Moms — In order to build up your freezer stash and have milk for a year to come or if you plan to go back to work, pump, pump, pump!
                Milk can be stored in a regular freezer for 4-5 months and in a deep freezer for up to a year. I use the ‘Medela milk storage bags’ and labeled them with date and ounces.
                Be sure to freeze in varying increments because once you defrost you cannot reuse or reheat. I stored in 2oz, 3 oz, 4oz, 5oz and 6oz increments.
                Be careful of blocked milk ducts if you plan to try to sleep through the night. Xander is 11 months old and I still haven’t night weaned him for a couple of reasons: a) to keep him happy and well fed b) to keep my supply up. He goes to sleep at 6:30pm, I pump at 11pm before bed to add to my freezer stash and then he wakes at about 3am to nurse.

                It’s also a time of bonding for us when I go in and cuddle him in the middle of the night. I love our middle of the night feedings as they are so peaceful and tender and all about cuddling, love and true nurturing.
                Your baby will not want to wake up in the middle of the night forever, so my thought is to enjoy it while it lasts.
                Look at things positively instead of negatively. If you see it as a bonding time instead of a dreadful duty you will wake up happier.
                Please don’t make the mistake of having your hubby do a middle of the night feeding while you sleep. This is a sure fire way to lose your supply and get blocked ducked and/or mastitis.
                This goes for any time of the day your baby gets a bottle. Please have your nanny tell you the exact time she’s giving your baby a bottle and pump at that exact time so you’re on the same cycle. I can not STRESS how important it is to be on the same cycle.
                If you get blocked ducts and engorgement freeze cabbage leaves and put them inside your bra for instant relief. Our freezer was stocked with frozen cabbage for months!!
                Whenever your baby gets a bottle you must pump!
                I still nurse Xander on demand and believe it’s always the best way. At eleven months sometimes he wants to nurse after four hours and sometimes after two, but I always take his lead. It’s far less rigid and more organic and natural to allow your baby to let you know when they’re hungry. I do pretty much always offer him the breast every three hours though and he lets me know whether he wants it.

Co-Sleeping helps build milk supply and is a great bonding experience!
I believe in co-sleeping for the first six months. There are many ways to co-sleep. There are co-sleeping attachments for your bed or co-sleeping bassinets you can put in the middle of your bed. Or you can go the old fashioned route and just have your baby snuggled up against you, with the covers pulled down of course.
                I tried them all and eventually when Xander was 2.5 months old went the route of snuggling. He slept nestled in my breasts for six beautiful months and it was an amazing experience. Sure, I didn’t leave my house at night for that time or have plans with friends or see a movie or do anything but nurse and be with my baby but nothing can ever take that away from us. Hands down I will do it again with our next baby.
                Six months is a perfect time to transition your baby to the crib. By this point, the baby will be on pureed solids and will be able to sleep longer stretches and will not be too overly attached to co-sleeping.
                Yes, of course it will be a slightly difficult transition, but co-sleeping for the first six months is invaluable for your milk supply and for meeting baby’s needs by easily nursing all night long without having to get out of bed. —It’s easier on mom and baby!
                I also use ‘More Milk Plus’ supplements and ‘Fenugreek’ when needed. They can really help to boost your supply but must be taken regularly.
                Of course, eat oatmeal EVERY day and drink a dark beer at night, these are both GREAT for your milk supply. Limit the beer to one though.

And lastly, words of encouragement: DON’T GIVE UP!!
                Breastfeeding is not without challenges but it is SO worth it! I had severe blocked ducts, engorgement & mastitis. I had to go on antibiotics twice.
                I had a lactation consultant come to the house three times to help relieve my engorgement and help educate me on what to do. I did a ton of research. I refused to give up.

I promise there is another side to the madness at the beginning and it does get easy and becomes second nature. It will be something you will always fondly remember and cherish and something no one else can give to your baby. This is what we were meant to do as mothers. There is simply no comparison to a mothers milk. It will make your baby healthier, stronger & smarter. Just say YES to breastfeeding!!!! xoxo 


  1. I love this post! My son has never taken a bottle and so I have not left his side for the past 17 months. He nursed every 2 hours throughout the day and night until 10 months, now we are down to nursing just at nap time. He is the sweetest and most well adjusted baby I know. In addition to that he has never been to the pediatrician for anything other than his well visits. I lost 90% of my friends because they did not understand why I was so devoted to breastfeeding and in turn became put off by my being unavailable to go out at night and I would do it all over again! Mastitis, exhaustion, no social life - all completely worth it. Thank you for being such a public advocate.

    1. Hi Elise! I am SOOOO passionate about breastfeeding and knew it was the one thing that mattered most to me to "get out there" when I decided to do Beverly Hills Nannies. I have gotten a lot of off-putting comments since last weeks episode with my frozen milk supply but that will not stop me from being outspoken about something that is so important. Sadly in this day and age many people are judgmental about breastfeeding. As mamas we must do whatever works. They are little for such a short time and we must cherish that time. You will get back to going out with friends at night and it will mean that much more. You are a great mama and don't let anyone try to take that away from you, ever. We must ignore the naysayers. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is that YOU know what kind of mama you are. Trust me, I have learned that going into the public eye and getting a lot of insults from people who are unnecessarily judging me for things that are farthest from the truth. None of it matters. All that matters is that you are a great mama to your little angel. Best of luck and keep in touch. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting!! xoxo

      PS Keep nursing!! My little guy LOVES nursing and although it's the biggest commitment bc as you said you can't really leave them, it's the most amazing gift you can give your child. My goal is for more people to recognize this.

  2. Thank you for this blog post! I didn't have such a successful time breastfeeding my daughter and the hospital did force the bottle on me since my milk didn't come in until 5 days after her birth. I had anemia so I started bleed badly after I delivered so it delayed my milk since I lost so much blood and needed fluid and blood pumped back into me. This time with our son due in 7 weeks I'm determined to breatfeed him and not use formula at all! Thank you for the information! I'm reading everything I can about breastfeeding!

    1. Hi again Fab Mom! :) I cannot tell you how happy I am that my breastfeeding tips have helped you!! The most important thing to successful breastfeeding is to be armed with information and support. CONGRATS on your baby boy to be, soooo exciting!! There is no better gift in the world than a newborn baby and how absolutely perfect that you'll have one girl and one boy! I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!! Your determination alone will get you through, it did for me!! So many people told me to give up when I had mastitis and blocked ducts and was in so much pain I could barely stand it. I had to take antibiotics and sure, it would have been easy to give up but I was determined. That's all it takes. Please feel free to email me or message me on Facebook with any questions you have, now or after your baby arrives. I'm more than happy to help you in any way I can and give you any support you need. Btw, my hubby went to the AF Academy and was in the Air Force for seven years. I saw your hubby is a Marine. Amazing!! Please tell him thank you. We are HUGE supporters of the military. Good luck mama and thanks again for writing!! Please keep in touch and don't hesitate to contact me if I can help in any way with breastfeeding. xoxo Marika

  3. Marika, wonderful to chat with you last night (very late :) on Twitter. I love this post! I agree with everything, but I didn't have a nanny and didn't feed L solids until 9 months -- everything else I could have written! As you were able to see from my posts, we believe in the same kind of parenting, we have the same philosophy.

    We need to hear more voices like your to encourage more moms to breastfeed their babies, to at least try. Thanks again for being such an outspoken breastfeeding advocate!

    Dagmar ~ Dagmar's momsense

    1. Hi Dagmar! Thanks for reading my blog and commenting! I only wish I had more time to write amazing blog articles like you do!! It's on my list. It's so wonderful to be in touch with outspoken breastfeeding advocates, especially for extended breastfeeding. I greatly admire you going so long. You're a wonderful mama! I will probably have questions for you down the line. :) I'm enjoying nursing my budding toddler more every single day. It's the greatest joy and bond in the world that I wish every mama could experience. We lovingly gaze into each other's eyes while nursing and laugh and smile and coo. It's the best thing ever. I know you know exactly what I'm talking about and more. I can only imagine the relationship once they're talking! :) Please please keep in touch. Take good care mama! xoxo