Since breastfeeding (“Giving C some boo boos” as J likes to say) is something that I am once again doing, say, 10-15 times a day, I figured I’d share a few of the tips and resources that have helped me navigate my cumulative total of 3.5 years of boo boo feeding.
1. The “laid back” breastfeeding position. I discovered this when I visited Janaki at East Bay Lactation Associates in the midst of the breastfeeding crisis I had a few years ago with J. I was worried about my milk supply and we’d been supplementing with formula and J just seemed, in general, unwell. In the hour I spent with Janaki, her kindness, wisdom and humor sunk into my tired self like a salve. And she showed me the “laid back” position. It changed everything for J and me. I’ve been using it with C from the beginning. It magically turns breastfeeding into the relaxing break it was meant to be. Here’s me, a few days ago, all laid back in our front yard. Yes, I breastfeed in our front yard.
The great thing about this position is how easy it is. You…uh…lay back. Wherever you happen to be. Couch, chair, bed. Prop yourself up with as many blankets and pillows as you need to be 100% comfortable relaxing every muscle in your body. Really. Every muscle. Janaki told me that you’ve done it right if you could fall asleep in that position. Then drape your babe across your abdomen diagonally, so that you’re belly to belly. I like to position C so he has one leg on either side of my leg, sort of horsey ride style. Then you just support the baby’s upper back, where their shoulder blades are, with your hand. When you support them like this with firm pressure, babies gain some leverage and are able to move their heads more freely to initiate the latch. (The same way that sit ups are easier when you brace your feet under the couch.) Then you sit back and relax. That’s it, folks.
This somewhat upright position makes it easier for babies to feed, instead of having them in those perfectly horizontal positions that breastfeeding pillows encourage. (Would you rather guzzle down a big glass of water laying flat or propped up?) It also has the extra added benefits of giving your tired mommy arms a break, giving tired mommy a break, and making it more pleasant for your baby to breastfeed, since you’re a relaxed mommy. So throw your breastfeeding pillows out the window, ladies, cause all you need is to lean back!
2. Kelly Mom. By far the best online breastfeeding resource out there. If you have a question, they have a helpful, well-resourced article on it. Like this one that helped us navigate our first bottle feedings with both C and J. Or this one that helped me through a painful bout of mastitis that I had when J was 2.
3. If you have a partner (or a really generous friend) and a baby who will take a bottle, and you want help with night feedings to get more uninterrupted sleep, consider how your Crock-Pot could help.
Here’s a how-to on how to duplicate our life-saving, DIY, middle-of-the-night, on-demand bottle warmer:
As a parting shot, I have to share this sketch. A year(ish) ago, I audited a birth class for my doula training and gaped over the shoulder of one of the dads in the class as he whisked his pencil ever so lightly across the page and created this gem in a couple minutes.
When you’re breastfeeding, think of it like your baby is at a bar. You don’t want her to just occupy a stool at the bar, you want her to get drunk.
So go forth, lay back and get ’em drunk, ladies.