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baby einstein can be your breast friend

Posted Oct 30 2008 6:18pm

One of the greatest obstacles I faced when I brought my second son home from the hospital was breastfeeding. What had been the easiest, most natural thing in the world with my first son was an absolute nightmare with the second. Mainly because I was chasing after a toddler who was so young that he didn't even appreciate my attempts to "buy" nursing time with a Baby Einstein video. As it turned out, the video could not hold his attention long enough for me to feed his brother anyway. That on top of a baby with a lazy suck and a mommy with a low supply (no time to drink water=low supply=just as well since I don't even have time to pee so probably shouldn't be drinking alot of water anyway - you get the point).

Those first weeks are so crucial for baby (re-gaining birthweight ) and mom (establishing supply) that for any mom friend of mine facing this situation, I try to share what I wish I'd done differently:

  • Call in reinforcements. Have dad take that paternity leave, fly grandma in, hire the neighborhood teenager, use preschool, whatever. The mom of newborn thing will be old hat to you and you will feel comfortable with baby. As a second time mom, you probably even cook dinner the night you get home from the hospital. This time, rather than sleep/meals/laundry, you need someone to be the Toddler Clown Show so you can focus on baby! This was my single biggest mistake. A friend of mine with boys the exact same ages sent her oldest to preschool every morning for the first few months. Don't you know she made it a LOT longer breastfeeding the second than I did!
  • Strap big baby in the booster seat during feedings (at least then you know he is safe so you don't have to keep popping up to check on him when he leaves the room) and ply him with crayons, toys, raisins, and crackers.
  • Have special "nursing" toys that come out only during feeding time. These could be certain books, puzzles, PlayDoh, puppets, trains/cars, etc.
  • Settle big baby next to you with a doll (he or she can pretend to nurse/feed too) or a book (drag it out - talk ALOT about the pictures).
  • If worse comes to worst, try TV. You may nurse 8 times a day in the beginning but your toddler will be sleeping for some of them and if you have to park him in front of Baby Einstein for 20 to 40 minutes a day for a few weeks until you get the hang of things, it's not the end of the world.
  • Get a sling. You can wear tiny babies while you're nursing and still have free hands to make PB&J for the big baby!

I tried a few of these in a half-baked manner but was so frazzled that I didn't have the presence of mind to really fully implement some of these ideas (several of which I heard after the fact from friends in the same boat). Here's hoping this helps others be more deliberate in their plan of attack! Cheers, babies!

PS - Almost forgot my most important piece of advice. I am very pro-breastfeeding (if it works for mom AND baby), but if it doesn't work out, do NOT beat yourself up about it. I agonized over this for four months, finally giving up when my husband insisted that it wasn't worth the daily dose of tears I endured trying to balance the pumping/supplementing/cajoling baby to nurse game. I stopped at 4 months with baby number two and wouldn't you know it - this formula-fed baby turned out to be just as happy and healthy as his older brother!

This was cross-posted from Atlanta Parent, where Cara also writes.

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