Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ladies, check your nipples

So, having done it once, I am now an expert on giving birth. :-)

Anyway, the first piece of advice I have that might do someone some good is to find out in advance if you have flat nipples. Having spent a good portion of my time worrying about my nipples showing through when I teach, I had absolutely no idea that they were flat until after Dianthus* had arrived and was trying ineffectively to drink from them.

Secondly, if you are planning on breastfeeding, make sure that ALL of the nurses, particularly the night nurses, know and understand that you do not want your baby fed anything else and that you need help (particularly if you are still attached to IVs) getting the baby breast fed. This may not be a big deal at birthing centers or more progressive hospitals, but at a small hospital in WV where most patients are on medicaid and don't end up breast feeding, the night nurses are all to happy to feed and play with the babies while letting new moms sleep.

Third, if you think that you want to have a "natural" delivery (especially if on pitocin) I suggest having a better plan with your partner than just trying relaxation from yoga. It apparently worked in my case, but somehow doesn't seem like fully adequate planning.

Finally, if you somehow manage to find a nursing bra that is simultaneously cotton, supportive, non-underwire and comfortable, buy a bunch. If it happens to come in a 42F, let me know.

I'm not suggesting that I wouldn't have spent some part of every day for the last three weeks crying if I had done all of this, or that I would have gotten any more sleep, but I likely wouldn't have stressed as much about my baby not gaining enough weight or whined about my boobs quite so much. Both would have been good things.

*From the common name for Dianthus barbatus.


Jul said...

Awwww. Your still one of my hero-mommies. And I've gotta say, that may be the cutest and most appropriate internet code-name I've ever heard. You're so clever, you minx!

Jennifer said...

I hope that things ease up for you in the next few weeks. I know I am prone to tears when I have not had enough sleep. I can't imagine how that is compounded with a new little one to worry about. So how does one know if their nipples are flat or not? Just curious.

Sparkling Squirrel said...

Oh, I also forgot to mention that when one's milk comes in, your whole body can swell (I had it in the tops of my feet, Irene in her hands), one can sweat all the time (I'm still doing that) and one might get horrid chills.

Jennifer-- I'm not exactly sure. If they curl in when stimulated, they are "inverted". I suppose one can look at breast feeding material and realize that "normal" nipples stick out like the ones in the photos. If yours don't look like that and/or you can't actually see a part a baby could grasp (the whole of mine sticks out evenly, so there is no protrudance), you could ask a cool nurse or lactation consultant if they are flat.

Beth said...

I am also prone to tears when tired and everything is worse. ((hugs)) I have no advice on breastfeeding but I do recommend Irene. :-) Also swelling in the tops of your feet sounds painful.

Irene said...

On the subject of nursing bras - I never found one that was 'perfect' but probably my favorite one was made by La Leche League. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to come in a size that might fit 42F.

It's amazing how much crying happens in a household with a new baby. And how much of it isn't coming from the baby! I lost track of how many meltdowns I had during Annika's first week, but about 80% of them had to do with my boobs.

Beth said...

So I typed in your size and nursing bra in google and this site seems to have some in your size that look like Irene's favorite. Nordstrom might too but I know their prices are $$$$.

My current favorite bra is by Natori and has memory foam in the straps and cup - although I would guess that nursing and that bra would not go well together.

Sparkling Squirrel said...

I can also fit into 42DD right now and have a set of bras I like, but none with the total combination. Some don't breathe, some support but jab in the middle when the baby is feeding, several cling on the outside. Thanks for the suggestions.
Feet swelling was painful, but fortunately went away. I was having > 5 lb shifts in weight daily for a while.

Tucson Trekker said...

Good to have some news SpSq! (I have been remiss in checking blogs lately.) Irene's comment simultaneously cracked me up and gave me a reality check. Tears have been no stranger here and we don't even HAVE the baby yet! Gulp! I'm going to check SSY next, but have things settled down at all and is the Dianthus having an easier time eating? I loved reading about how great your parents were (which, of course, was no surprise!). Do you still have help around the house? Good luck with everything!!