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After Audra Murray’s twins were born at 30 weeks, her breast milk took its time coming in. A hormonal condition, coupled with the fact that the babies were too weak to nurse, wreaked havoc on her supply. “My milk took about two weeks to show up,” says Murray, 37, who lives in Newton, Mass. “I was pumping every two hours every day, but my milk didn’t come in until I took Reglan [a drug that increases the milk-making hormone prolactin].”
When I had my first child 11 years ago, I was confident I wouldn’t have a problem breastfeeding. Not only had my three older sisters proved that the Anderson girls were lactation mavens, but the books and experts told me so: All women are made to breastfeed, they assured me, and all breasts are up to the task. And, sure enough, Dylan latched on like a champ and never let go.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends women exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and continue breastfeeding (while introducing solid foods) for a full year. Hands down, breastfeeding provides the best nutrition and immunity support for babies and endless health benefits for mothers. Breast is best and most women start out strongly committed to doing their best. And yet, the majority won’t make it to six months.
The vomit bug hit us all—hard. Charlie and Will got it so bad that they both puked for a good solid day and night. After watching Julia, then Charlie, and then Will go through it, I knew what was coming when I felt the first pangs in my own stomach. My first thought was: what if I get so dehydrated that I can’t nurse Jack? (OK, that was my second thought, after: “Dear God, WHY?!”)
For many men, breasts represent their young male desires and turn-ons. For women, too, breasts epitomize our sexuality and sensuality. However, as we approach motherhood, many of us begin to feel differently about our breasts. They now serve an evolving, biological purpose. So it’s no surprise that both men and women can have an ambivalent response to breastfeeding.
Painful, cracked nipples are most often caused by an incorrect latch, Morton says. So when you breastfeed, make sure your baby is positioned properly: on her side, with your bellies touching. Also ensure that she takes your entire nipple and a good portion of the areola in her mouth. If adjusting your nursing style doesn’t help, consult a lactation expert ASAP; visit the International Lactation Consultant Association at ilca.org for a referral.
Frequent nursing is the best way to ease engorgement, which typically occurs 72 hours after giving birth and can last up to a week, or until your milk production system adjusts to the job at hand. Meantime, aim to breastfeed eight to 12 times a day, or about every two to three hours, for the first several weeks.
As soon as your babe makes her entrance, you’ll put her to your breast, she’ll suckle contentedly and all will be good with the world, right? That’s the hope—but not always the reality. Alas, while nursing may be the most natural act, it isn’t always easy.
Lesley caught that cold that's been going around—the really nasty one that's been laying everybody up in bed for days. She wrote wondering what she could take that would be safe while breastfeeding. She also wondered how long her breastmilk will last if she doesn't nurse for a couple of days. Wow, she must be sick if she can't even breastfeed. Poor Lesley. You can take ibuprofen and Tylenol for sure. Ask your pharmacist or doctor before you take anything else though.
Chances are you’re pretty well aware of breastfeeding’s benefits. Most likely, your doctor has told you that breast milk is the best form of nutrition for your baby and that breastfed babies get sick less often. She also may have mentioned that nursing burns calories (hooray!) and that it lowers your risk for breast and ovarian cancers. Plus, it promotes bonding with your infant.
Like many pregnant women, Joy Chudacoff fully intended to nurse her baby. To help ensure success, she read two books on the subject and attended breastfeeding classes—all before having the baby. “I thought that I would have Jack, he would latch on and all would be well,” says the 42-year-old mother from Marina del Rey, Calif.
A mother nursing her baby — it’s one of the most beautiful images nature could create. It’s also one of the simplest. Breastfeeding is so natural, in fact, that we’ve been doing it for millions of years. (Indeed, without it, the human race wouldn’t have survived.)
Recently I saw a magazine article illustrating the basics of breastfeeding. It was titled “Breastfeeding Bliss.” I laughed out loud. As the first-time mother of an active 12-week-old boy, bliss wasn’t the first word that came to mind when I thought about my own early efforts to breastfeed.