Breast feeding is the ultimate challenge when you have preemies. In the beginning it’s hard because you are pumping to keep your milk supply and feed them. A balance between time and consistency as well as the input (the food you eat) versus the output (amount and quality of milk). Nutrition is key. But you don’t have to go on some crazy super diet to be able to give good milk. In the beginning it was overwhelming because there are things that I just did not know. I feel like if I would have known I might have done some things differently. So in the hopes to help other first time mother’s I’m going to share my milk lessons with you.
Milk Lesson #1 Save the Colostrum
This stuff is a powerful puzzle piece in the development of a newly born baby, The first liquid that comes from your breast helps in the development of the digestive system. Humans have very immature digestive systems when they enter the world. Inside the colostrum there is a light laxative that helps your baby make the first poop (meconium) pass. It also helps remove bilirubin which builds up in the body and causes jaundice. Most babies whether they are preemies or newborn have jaundice but it’s nothing a little sun and some colostrum can’t cure. Also it gives antibodies to the babies immune system to help prevent sickness. If you decide to formula feed for one reason or another, if you can get this to your baby(ies) it will help , a lot.
Milk Lesson #2 Breast feeding can be birth control
Yea, I was really excited to hear this when I learned it. My friend Emily told me. It’s called LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method). Basically, you must be doing these things and be committed to doing them for it to work. 1)You cannot substitute other foods for a breast milk meal. 2)You must feed your baby at least every four hours during the day and six hours at night. 3)Have not had your period since you delivered. This method can be effective for 6 months after pregnancy and if done correctly can be very effective. How effective? 1 in 100 women who do it consistently and correctly will become pregnant and 2 out of 100 women will become pregnant if they don’t always practice it correctly.
The first time I seen green milk come out of me I freaked. I took my temperature and checked my boobs for infection or mastitis. My fore milk had a mint green tinge to it. Apparently it’s common. “suspected causes of green milk include seaweed (especially when ingested in tablet form), green-colored sports drinks, herbal vitamins, and iron tablets.”-Stanford School of Medicine. Mom’s who breast feed can have green tinted milk from their red blood cells getting in milk(rusty pipe syndrome) too. Sometimes it just happens. There’s nothing wrong with this milk.
Milk Lesson #4 Clogged Milk Ducts
The milk ducts in your boobs can become clogged or plugged. It is the most painful thing ever. This happened to me and it hurt like a motherf&$kin b&6%h! The first thing I thought was “F&ck my breast is infected” But I asked a couple different nurses at the hospital about it and they told me I had clogged ducts what I could do to fix it. It can take 2-3 days to unclog and all that time it hurts. It hurts when the milk comes in, when you’re pumping, when you move your arm, it just hurts. To fix it you can take a hot shower and run water on it and massage the area towards the nipple. You can pump a lot on that boob. You can put a heating pad when you sleep. And if your lucky enough to have someone who is brave they can suck it out for you. Your partner or whatever, (yea this sounds crazy) can suck your milk out and the clogged part. Which is what worked for me and made the clog go away in a day. It’s funny because when the nurse told me she said this, “Okay, this is going to sound strange, don’t think I’m weird, but he can help you get it out.” And in fact, that was what got it out and that is what made the pain stop and that is all that matters when it comes to clogged milk ducts is stopping that horrible pain. You can read more about this by clicking here. It’s a great site for explaining and telling you what to do.
Milk Lesson # 5 Milk is different from beginning to end
The human body is pretty amazing and makes a special meal for your child. It will change to accommodate your child(ren). Foremilk is the thinner milk that comes out first and hindmilk is the thicker more fat milk that comes out last. With preemies the hospital wanted my foremilk and hind milk divided so they could feed the twins milk with more fat to help them gain weight. You can tell by looking at the milk which is which. The LLL (La Leche League International) tells us this, “[When] baby begins nursing, the first thing he receives is this lower-fat foremilk, which quenches his thirst. Baby’s nursing triggers the mother’s milk ejection reflex, which squeezes milk and the sticking fat cells from the milk-making cells into the ducts. This higher-fat hindmilk mixes with the high-lactose foremilk and baby receives the perfect food, with fat calories for growth and lactose for energy and brain development.” So your milk is a complete meal and is in order the way it needs to be for your child. So if you empty your breast when your child feeds they will get the most out of breast feeding.
If your plan is to breast feed your preemies do it as much as you can with them. And pressure the hospital to find out when you can start. I asked the doctor and he told me you can start when they have nasal cannulae and even when they have gavage tubes. We started at 33 weeks but we could have started sooner. Breast feeding is a kind of bonding only you and your child can share that gives your child not only the nutrients they need but the emotional bond that helps them develop their brains. During this time you can stare at them and people won’t think your weird. Because I find myself doing that a lot. Just gazing at them. They are amazing to me. And I hope yours will be just as amazing to you.
Milk Lesson #7 Multiples equals multiple milk
The more babies you have the more milk you will make and it doesn’t matter what size your boobs are you will produce as much milk as you need. I make a lot of milk. The pictures above are the fridge and the freezer at the hospital full of the milk I made.
1) It’s better to smoke cigarettes and breast feed if you’re a smoker, than to not breast feed at all. You can read about this here.
2) Breast feeding can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer.
3)Salma Hayek breast-fed a starving child in Sierra Leone and you can breast feed other babies too.
4)You can use breast milk to treat pink eye, ear infections, sore throats, skin rashes, warts, cold sores, chicken pox (relieves itching), sore nipples, cuts, scratches, scrapes, burns. Because it is a natural antibiotic.
5) You can cook with breast milk. Google breast milk recipes. do it.
6) You can use breast milk as a make-up remover, skin cleanser, or to cure dry chapped lips.
7) You can use breast milk as a sexual lubricant. What?! yes.