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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our HIPP Contribution

In last week’s post, I talked about the release of the July-August 2009 issue of HIPP Parenting Magazine. I was able to obtain a copy over the weekend. One of the articles is called “Breastfeeding 101” and includes 101 tips compiled by HIPP’s holistic mom columnist, Dona Tumacder-Esteban. Dona asked me to contribute some tips from my almost 20-month breastfeeding journey.

There were a couple of other moms who contributed their own tips. One of them was my own lactation counselor, Abbie Yabot who shared her own experiences as well as the experiences of other moms she counseled. My co-Latchers Melody Tan and Irene Recio-Nicolas also contributed their own tips. Dona compiled tips from moms in various situations such as a full-time working mom, exclusively pumping mom, stay at home mom, celebrity mom and toddler nursing mom (me!) She also asked my husband, Stan, to contribute his own tips (on supporting a nursing wife). I will be sharing mine and Stan’s tips below. For the 91 other tips, check out HIPP’s July-August 2009 issue.

Stan’s tips:

1. Play an active role in taking care of the baby to give your wife a break.

2. Attend classes or join groups with your wife. I attended all my wife’s lactation consultation sessions and I repeat to her the tips of the counselors whenever she feels down or hopeless.

My tips:

1. Breastfeeding is natural but must be learned by both the mother and baby. Ask to be roomed-in with your baby and have your first feed within 1 hour from birth.

2. Look for breastfeeding-friendly doctors (pediatrician and ob-gyne). We are a doctor-believing society. If your doctors do not truly believe in the benefits of breastfeeding, then you've lost the fight, even if it hasn't started. Ob-gynes can choose to prescribe non-breastfeeding friendly medicines/painkillers, while pedias will prescribe formula from the start.

3. Enlist your husband and make sure that both of you are on the same page to breastfeed successfully. Support of the husband is essential - especially during the difficult early days. My post here is about how my husband supported me.

4. Prepare a list of references (lactation consultants, massage, support group) so you know who to approach when times get tough. I've compiled a list of support groups/resources here.

5. Feed your baby on demand. Watch your baby not the clock - no truth to the claim that baby must finish each side in 15 minutes. There are different types of nursing babies - nibblers, gobblers, etc. and some finish quicker/longer than others.

6. Do not give your baby the bottle or artificial nipples too early, lest your baby have nipple confusion - like what Naima had.

7. It is okay to nurse in public. To build confidence, practice at home in front of the mirror and make sure that your baby's head covers your breast. [Actually, this should be to see that your baby’s head covers your breast, so there is no reason to be self-conscious]

8. Talk to your boss and tell him/her about your plans to pump at work. Check your office's policies on breaktime. If you don't have a private room or a lactation room, look for a place where you can pump - preferably not the toilet.

9. Nursing a toddler presents unique challenges such as nipple twiddling, boob grabbing, and shirt pulling. She is now in her twiddling stage and I always hold her other hand when nursing to prevent her from twiddling the other nipple.

10. I also taught her the sign for milk and later. So she doesn't scream and shout when she wants milk. And if I am driving or if we are unable to nurse immediately, I sign later and she quiets down. It's also important that you teach your toddler the right word for milk - use a word that you won't be embarrassed to hear in public.

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