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10 Tips to Successful Nurse Your Baby

August is breastfeeding month and I am feeling a bit sentimental. You see my daughter stopped nursing after her fourth birthday this May. I nursed her for four long years and I have no regrets. I have a happy and healthy little girl, who is just so in love with her mom and looking forward to having lots and lots of siblings that she can help take care of. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she beams and says, “I want to be a mom!”

I am glad we live in a time when breastfeeding is the norm.  However, this does not mean that it comes naturally to most, especially since our moms were raised in a generation where breastfeeding was not encouraged.  I had to fight some battles to succeed at nursing my baby. I hope this blog entry can somewhat help new moms.

ID-100172067                                     Photo Courtesy of JomPhong at


*Decide early on that you will breastfeed your child no matter what.  This  will strengthen your resolve when the going gets tough or when you get comments from relatives and friends like:  “What if you don’t have enough milk?” “Paano yung maging lawlaw ka?” (What if your breasts sag?)   “What if you can’t tolerate the pain?”

*Give yourself good reasons to breastfeed. More than convincing myself that breastfeeding is the best for me and my baby, I needed some psyching up. When a nursing wear brand went on sale (50-75% off!), I went shopping and bought a dozen nursing clothes! No turning back now, I thought. And that really helped. I used those clothes from maternity to 2 years of nursing, until they got too loose.

Someone I know invested on the latest, most expensive breast pump. That was her motivation. You don’t need to spend  a lot of moolah for this, a little encouragement like losing weight fast and getting into to old clothes sooner would do! Oh yes, breastfeeding 24/7 really does make you lose weight fast!

*Ask advice from breastfeeding experts, relatives and friends.  Do attend breastfeeding seminars.  Talk to friends and family members who have successfully breastfed their kids. I remember having phone conversations to my friends Edel and Josie to help me deal with mastitis and the fear that my milk may not be enough for the baby. Their words comforted me and gave me the resolve to continue.

*Do not expect to have lots of milk from the get-go. A newborn baby is born full because of the food piped in by the umbilical cord. It does not need a  lot of milk right after birth, so do not panic if you seem not to be producing anything. Let the baby latch. The colostrum and milk will eventually come. Your body knows how much your baby needs.

When I was first nursed my baby, I couldn’t feel that there was even a trickle coming out. Then came the pedia who commented’ “May nakukuha ba yang bata? (Is the baby getting milk?)”  I should have been discouraged by her remark, but instead I replied, “Meron yan, doc. Tingnan mo, basa yung diaper. (I am sure she is, doc. Look at how wet her diaper is.)”

*Expect  pain but push through it. Breasts can become very tender and painful during the first few days of nursing. They can even bleed. It does not mean that you should stop feeding your child. Breast tissues are a marvelous thing! They heal very,very fast! And you do not  need to put any medicine. The best remedy for sore and painful breasts is breast milk! Just express a little and spread it over the area. Another useful tool for sore breasts are breast shells or nipple shields. I found Philips Avent Comfort Breast Shells to be very helpful. Since I had a barracuda feeder, these helped a lot in between feeding, since it was too painful for my clothes to touch the area. Be encourage, though, nipples toughen up fast.

*Avoid breast creams. Some contain harmful chemicals such as parabens. There are  natural alternatives, but  they may give off a foul taste that will discourage your baby from latching. You would be better off using your own milk to help soothe and heal cracked nipples.

*Learn to trust your body to do what it has been designed to do.  Your body is a wonderful machine. It was able to grow and nurture your baby for 9  whole months, without you being conscious of it. Trust that it can feed your newborn now that it is out.  “Ay, parang wala kang gatas. (It looks like you do not have milk.)” a nurse commented. I asked her why she concluded that. It seemed that way to her because I was not visibly dripping milk, whereas in her experience, her breasts would engorge and drip milk even while she was pregnant. I was a littled discouraged by this, but God sent another nurse who was at that time also nursing her 6 month old baby. She told me, “You have milk.”   You have to understand that not all women feel engorgement. I certainly did not, but I was able to exclusive breastfeed my child for 2 years (before she started drinking fresh cow’s milk).  My daughter’s encouraging pedia (not the pedia  from the hospital) also told me: “Walang formula sa bundok, paano kaya nabubuhay yung mga bata nun? (There don’t have baby formulas in the mountains. How do you think babies survive there?)”

*Do not use the breast pump as your gauge as to how much milk you are producing. If I did this, I would have stopped in the first few weeks as I could only pump 1 to 2 ounces every 1 to 2 hours. This continued for years. My wise nurse  told me that the baby could extract more milk than what the manual or electric pump is capable of. I believed her and my daughter grew without having the need for supplementation.

*Invest in nursing wear and nursing covers. Ahh, I am so grateful for the ease  nursing clothes afforded me when I had to nurse on the go. It certainly takes away the stigma and embarrassment of feeding my child  in public. A lot of the nursing wear nowadays do not look like they were made for nursing. They have been part of my wardrobe even after we stopped nursing.

These are some nursing wear brands you can try:

*Mamaway      *Blissful Babes   *Tiny Tots   *Mamabella   *Mommy Matters 

*Elin        *Mommyfideph          *Eden Design Lab

*Continue taking prenatal vitamins & supplements. Remember that you  are still recovering from delivery and your body needs all the necessary nutrients. Vitamin C and zinc will help your body heal faster. Your calcium stores are also being used up by your child so keep drinking milk, or soy if you are lactose intolerant. Take fish soup with malunggay. We know that this wonder herb is very high in vitamin C and calcium as well as other important nutrients, and fish is high in DHA, which contributes your baby’s brain development.

Breastfeeding your baby can be a wonderful experience. Give yourself and your baby time to adjust to it.

I can’t wait to nurse our next child. . . 🙂


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