I could go on for a long time about everything I’ve learned about breastfeeding, but there are already numerous resources out there for that, so I won’t. But I will give a tip that has saved me a few times now, especially if you’re breastfeeding for two.
Pump. Even if you’re staying home with your baby, even if you’re breastfeeding exclusively. As soon as you can, find a time during the day when you can regularly pump. Store the milk in the freezer if you have space, or keep it in your fridge (it’s good for about 5 days) and replace it as necessary. This way, when your baby is fussing and ready to go into a total meltdown, and you’ve already let her nurse on both sides, you have some milk READY, and it feels like it’s saving your life.
Siren has had a terrible time going to bed lately. Last night she would go to sleep but wake up after 5 or 10 minutes, crying. I kept letting her nurse, but I don’t think she was getting enough. Tonight I let her nurse, then gave her two ounces I’d pumped earlier today, and she has been asleep for 40 minutes now. Thank goodness. Apparently she was really hungry. Oops.
If you give your baby(ies) some formula, this isn’t really a problem for you. It has been my goal to not have to use formula, mostly because it is really freaking expensive, so this hasn’t been an option for me. 1- I don’t want to. 2- I don’t have any. Unfortunately when you’re exclusively breastfeeding, occasionally supply doesn’t always meet up to demand. So for over two months now, I have been staying up about two hours after the girls go to sleep to pump, and that allows me to have some extra milk on hand without having to worry about my supply decreasing, since every day I’m already putting out more than I’m using.
I just wish I’d known this early on. When the babies were about three weeks old, they each went through a growth spurt. Siren’s came a few days before Imogen’s, which is the only reason I survived it. Basically I spent the entire day nursing. I had to nurse the growth spurting baby every 30 minutes or so while still nursing the other baby the normal every 60-90 minutes. Cluster feeding, as it’s called, signals your body to increase the amount of milk it produces. So it’s good to try and feed your baby as often as she wants to during these times. What’s not helpful is that the baby is constantly hungry, and therefore cranky, until your body catches up, usually in day or two. So I would rather do my catching up with a pump than with a ravenous baby. It was too late for me to do anything about it that first growth spurt, but I was ready for the next one (which happened around 6 weeks.) And it only took 2 nights of Siren being super fussy before it occurred to me this time.
Anyway, this all might be TMI for some of you, but I hope it’s helpful to someone else out there. Now I have to wrap this up because I have to go pump. 🙂