Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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"Honey," your husband says sweetly one morning, putting his hand on your exhausted shoulder, "why don't you pump some extra milk today and I'll get up with the baby tonight so you can sleep?" Music to your ears, undoubtedly—but not necessarily a terrific plan in the feeding scheme.
"It's a lovely thought," admits Harvey's business partner, Wendy Haldeman, R.N., C.L.C., co-owner of the Pump Station. "But if a mother consistently sleeps when her baby needs to be fed, her milk supply may drop."
If your kind and thoughtful spouse extends this generous offer, thank him profusely and suggest a compromise: He can retrieve the little noisemaker, change her, bring her to you and then return her to her crib or bassinet once the feeding is over. And when you're craving a delicious slice of slumber, keep your eye on the prize (untold health benefits for your baby and you) and remind yourself that it won't be long before the midnight buffet closes permanently.
Maybe you're convinced that your barely A cups couldn't produce enough milk to feed a newborn mouse. Or you're afraid that your baby will never be able to latch onto your pancake-flat or inverted nipples.
Although a tiny percentage of breastfeeding mothers may have milk-production issues, and especially in the early days, nearly all women are able to nurse their babies at least some of the time. "Smaller breasts can make the same amount of milk as larger ones, although the capacity to store large amounts of milk may not be as great," Huml explains. That means if you're tiny up top you may need to feed more often, but rest assured that your baby will get all the milk she needs.
If you're the owner of flat or inverted nipples, be aware that they can make it difficult for your baby to latch on properly to the breast. Keep in mind, though, that your nipples may extend naturally as you reach the end of your pregnancy; if they don't, pumping immediately after giving birth often helps draw them out.
If that still doesn't work, don't despair: Using nipple shields almost always solves the problem. These clear, pliable plastic devices feature holes in the tip and are worn over your own nipples—they stick on with a little water, like a suction cup—giving the baby something substantial to latch onto. If you're a candidate for nipple shields, Harvey says that it's essential to seek the assistance of a certified lactation consultant.