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Catholic Breastfeeding Resources
CatholicMom.com is thrilled to introduce our new Catholic Breastfeeding Columnist Pamela Pilch, JD, LCCE. With her new column, Mothering Through Breastfeeding, Pamela will provide support, information and encouragement to breastfeeding mothers and those seeking information about breastfeeding.
Statement on Breastfeeding - Pope John Paul II, May, 1995
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Breastfeeding Resources Recommended by our Catholic Moms
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The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - La Leche League's beloved classic has been revised once again to contain the most up-to-date research, while retaining the mother-to-mother encouragement generations have been relying on.
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth
to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition) - The Baby Book,
the "baby bible" of the post-Dr. Spock generation, already
embraced by hundreds of thousands of American parents, has now been
revised, expanded, and brought thoroughly up to date-with the latest
information on everything from diapering to daycare, from midwifery
to hospital "birthing rooms," from postpartum nutrition
to infant development.
The Nursing Mother's Companion - Intended as a practical manual, this book combines specific advice with frequent, clear, and informative illustrations. Huggins, a lactation professional and nurse, treats in detail the preparations to be made during pregnancy and the first two months of nursing. She also briefly discusses the later stages of breastfeeding and weaning.
Parenting With Grace: Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Kids - This book's "uniquely Catholic" approach to parenting combines vigorous relational advice with careful theology and plenty of good humor. (The chapter on family planning is entitled "Is Eight Enough?"). The Popcaks guide parents through each stage of child development from infancy to adolescence, offering age-specific advice on "parenting with grace."
So That's What They're for: Breastfeeding Basics - Filling the gap left in a market glutted with dated or dry books on breastfeeding, So That's What They're For! lends support and encouragement to those wondering whether they sould try breastfeeding, for pregnant women who are sure they will breastfeed and for new moms who are having trouble and are considering stopping. With hilarious anecdotes and wonderful illustrations, this comprehensive guide offers a supportive, pragmatic view from the real world
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers : The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solution Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America - Authors Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman have assembled a mass of real-life stories from their clinical experience, and with their straightforward, helpful advice, you'll be breastfeeding successfully in no time.
The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning - What is the best way to gently wean a baby? Should you be weaning your baby now? The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning, by Kathleen Huggins and Linda Ziedrich, is at times less a how-to and more a "why-not-to" book about nursing your infant, baby, and toddler. As such, it provides strong, supportive arguments for not weaning babies too early. Each of the possible impediments to nursing--physical reasons, logistical problems such as working, and emotional considerations such as critical family members--are discussed and dealt with sympathetically, reasonably, and with useful tips.
Tips from our Catholic Mom Community
One of my best friends told me "Don't watch the clock...just feed the baby" It's the best advice I ever received! Shell, Nebraska
Create a little basket for a "breastfeeding kit." Include a good book, a water bottle, some burp cloths, breast pads, lansinoh, some toddler books if you have another little one to entertain, some dried fruit snacks....those craisins are good, so you will have everything just right there when you need it! Lisalis
Remember to use cold cabbage leaves to help when there is a problem with engorgement! It really works great! I wish that I knew that with all of my kids. I wonder if that is where the Cabbage Patch Kids got their identity? Seriously, if you use them instead of nursing pads the cabbage leaves help with the discomfort etc...Rosanna (Editors note: Our users recommend using this and other natural remedies only on a limited basis, under a physician's care, and be sure to carefully wash prior to use.)
The Isis breast pump from Avent. It was the best!! Line up the help of a Certified Lactation Consultant. Invest in the help up front - avoid costs of formula later. Just get through the first six weeks...then the next few months...after three months it's the most amazing nursing relationship, at least that was my experience. Well worth the time and energy when you consider the length of time you nurse, especially if you choose child-led weaning. Blessings, Michelle - South Carolina
For problems with supply, stage a "nurse in" and climb into bed with your baby. Keep the baby latched on as much as possible, drink more, eat more REST more. Most babies do develop a breast preference, it is normal, don't worry about it. Always remember, only you can do this precious thing for your child. It is such a privilege to be able to provide for our newborn's primary needs in such a way. Try and cherish these moments, even though breastfeeding means night time feedings and the occassional sore breast and/or nipple, someday you will look back with longing for them and you are doing what is normal and therefore best for your baby too! Lisa, "MotherofMany"
Nursing in public for the first time can be a very scary thing... so, my piece of advice is practice, practice, practice. Get some good nursing bras and possibly some nursing tops and practice in front of a mirror. Once you realize that no one can tell that you are nursing, then you will be ready to go out and nurse in a mall or restaurant.
Find out which malls/stores in your area have changing/nursing rooms. Some have "family rest rooms" that have a rocking chair in them, and I know that Macy's-Lazarus stores tend to have a mother's room, which is really nice. It can get you out of the house, without worry of what to do when you need to nurse.
Surround yourself with bf-ing friendly ppl... be they family members, friends, ppl at La Leche League meetings... whatever. There is just not a lot of support out there for bf-ing moms, especially if you are bf-ing longer than 6 months. So, find the support you need.
Do NOT have any formula in your home "just in case"... It's too easy to give in and just use it if you are having a tough time those first 6 weeks (which are hard for everyone). It's not worth it! If you end up being a mom who does need it, you can always get it. Just get rid of it and don't have it in your house until the time comes that you really do NEED it. (the free samples make GREAT fertilizer for your plants! )
If you think you have a plugged duct, mastitis or thrush, be sure to see your doctor, but know that the BEST thing you can do to make it end sooner is to nurse on that breast as often as you can.
Get a good bf-ing pillow... not everyone likes the Boppy, so try a bunch of different ones if you can. I personally liked the My Breast Friend... there are so many different options. Explore them all.
Remember that there are times when your baby will go through growth spurts... so there will be times when your baby will want to nurse more in order to increase your supply. It does NOT mean that you aren't making enough milk and that you need to supplement. Your baby is just trying to do the supply and demand thing that your baby needs to do in order to get your milk up. These growth spurts normally happen at about 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3-4 months and 6 months. You will begin to recognize them the longer you nurse.
Always remember that nursing a baby longer than a year is not only a good thing but not as uncommon as you may realize. If it's something that you are considering, I'd recommend "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" as a great read. Babies are only at 60% immunity by the time they are a year old, so bf-ing does have extensive benefits after a year of age. I know too many moms who felt they "had" to wean at a year, which is pretty sad. Jacqui, Louisville, KY
Make a committment to stick it out for 6 weeks. Most if any problems will be solved by then. And ASK for help...if your hospital has a lactation consultant, call her, even after you are discharged. Or contact the LLL. My baby spent a week in the NICU and I couldn't nurse her at all, so the LLL helped me get a hospital-grade pump, and worked with me to get my supply up. Now, at 10 weeks, Teresa is nursing wonderfully, has doubled her birthweight and has never had anything but my milk. For leakage, I like the BLIS system better than pads. Check it out at www.blis.com. Get yourself all set up to breastfeed before you sit down to do it--glass of water, remote control, cordless phone, etc. If you have a toddler, get a stack of books so he or she can curl up next to you and enjoy some cuddle time too. Get a BOPPY PILLOW...your back will thank you. Breastfeeding is a great time to play first little games with baby--like peek-a-boo with mommy's top or nibble-on-tiny-baby-toes. For nighttime nursing, if you have a TV in your bedroom, this is a great time to catch up on movies you missed. I rent a bunch and stick one in the VCR and at each nursing, I just hit play to pick up where I left off. Some women nurse lying down but I never could, and I grew to like the opportunity to watch a chick flick in peace. I also read during those nursings. When shopping, you can always breastfeed in a fitting room, so you can have some privacy. Maria, Columbus AFB, MS
My son had a very had time adjusting to breastfeeding for some reason --- and I didn't allow the hospital (or even myself!) to give him any bottles there. I cried for three and a half weeks straight everytime I had to nurse (sore nipples/bleeding etc). But eventually, at eleven o'clock at night one evening, he finally got it and hasn't looked back since!! Would I go through that again just to breastfeed? YES!!! My son is now thirteen months old and still breastfeeding. He's never had an ear infection or major cold. He had the sniffles a couple of times and a cough that lasted only a few days, but looking back I believe that had to do with his teeth coming in. He's so much healthier and more advanced than other kids his age I know -- and I attribute that to breastfeeding. It really is the best for your baby (and toddler!) in the long run. My suggestion would be to watch what you eat too -- make sure you're getting enough water, vitamins and calories (no time to be watching your weight or dieting!). During the early months of breastfeeding, I was tired a lot and really wasn't watching what I was eating -- this also lead to an achy feeling in my bones. Then I made sure I was eating enough and the pain went away. Oh, and one more thing....I was taught this in the hospital to help with breast pain during breastfeeding...Take one of those size 0 or 1 diapers and open up the top of it along the waistline in the back....put crushed ice in there and "fold" over the waistline and secure it with the tabs. This offers a perfect contoured fit over your breast and when the ice starts to melt, it doesn't leak out -- the diaper absorbs it! It worked for me. : ) God Bless, Tina C
I was cracked and bleeding with my first 3 babies. Persistence certainly paid off. Someone else told me to suck on a hard piece of candy during the very painful beginning to our nursing sessions. I actually used caramels instead. The idea is by the time you have sucked on the candy, baby should be in a good nursing rhythm and the pain should be less. It is more of a distraction technique than anything else. During those quiet middle of the night hours when you are nursing, that is a great time to pray the rosary....Invest in a baby sling. You can stand in line at the grocery store or sing in church while nursing your little one and NO ONE will know!! Denise, Seaside CA
Not everyone sails into nursing. It is ok if you find it awkward at first. You will find the right position for you and baby. Expect some bumps in the road, it doesn't mean you are a failure. There is for sure a learning curve! Hang in there, it always pays off. Donna Austin,TX
Keep yourself away from cool/cold drafts to ward off plugged milk ducks. I found when I did get one, say on the top of the breast that I could easly get it to let go by changing my baby into the football hold and gently massaging the swelled area. "Chinupmommy"
One of my standard lines for everything: This too shall pass. Be it sore nipples, breast infection, plugged ducts, whatever. It will pass and get better/easier. And my other standard line for most anything: Drink more water. Yours in Christ, Kathy
I just thought that I would add to be careful what you eat at first when breastfeeding. Some foods like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflour, spicy foods, and chocolate can cause the baby to get gas pains. Also eating too many things containing sugar can cause trouble. I have had to watch what I eat when nursing or the baby did really cry and I felt bad for eating something that caused the trouble. As the baby gets older you may be able to incorporate some of those foods that just aren't agreeable with the baby at first! Rosanna
I always kept a nice, big glass of ice water by my side when I was first nursing. I always seemed to be thirsty. I love the Isis breastpump by Avent. Very comfortable. I used Lanisoh ointment for my aching nipples. It is a little on the expensive side, but well worth the investment. You can pick it up at Target.
Relax as much as you can when you are nursing. With dd3 I was so uptight about when my dh was going back to work and who was going to shuttle the kids back and forth to activities that I didn't give myself the "relaxed edge" I really needed with getting the nursing going. After a week, I gave up and put her on the bottle. I still think that was the best decision I made. With dd4 it was a little easier, but not smooth sailing. With dd5 she latched right on and hasn't given me a moment's problem with nursing. Each baby is going to be different. The best advise I can give is to be relaxed (maybe be away from the other kids, and everyone else) and just concentrate on your baby. "5girls4me"
The weight charts that pediatricians use are based on formula fed babies who tend to be a little bit overweight (because formula is harder to digest and babies have to eat more to get the same amount of nutrients), so if your breastfed baby is on the small side, but healthy, happy and developing as he should be, don't worry and don't feel pressured to 'supplement' with formula! The difference in size tends to even out around 6 or 8 months when all babies start solid foods. If you are worried that you aren't producing enough milk stop using bottles and pacifers completely. Many women are able to give their babies an occassional bottle and let them use a pacifer without a problem, but for some anything that reduces the amount of time that their babies spend at their breasts causes a decrease in milk production. If you are still having problems with engorgement after the first week or two, eating a few peppermint Altoids every day can help. (I haven't tried this, but my sister's midwife recommended it and it certainly can't hurt.) Elaine76
I would also use a safety pin attached to my nursing bra to help me remember which side to feed the baby on first. I would move the pin to the other side before I would begin nursing. So each time I would nurse on the side that had the safety pin on! It really worked well! Rosanna
Get some good washable cotton nursing pads. They are so much more comfotable than the disposable kind. Never, ever, ever let baby nurse if the latch on was bad. Take baby off and start over. Poor latch on is a huge source of nipple pain. I learned this the hard way. Taking a tylenol 30 minutes before nursing (only after checking with my doctor, of course) was the only way I made it through the first 2 weeks with child#2. I allowed him to nurse even though the latch on was bad, and he clamped down so hard that he caused bruising to my nipple. For the next couple weeks I had to use my breathing exercises to get through the first minutes of nursing until it healed. Once let down happened it was ok. Don't make my mistake! Lanisoh cream is a God send. I wish I had learned about it with my 1st child instead of my 5th. MrsPaws
Don't *try* to breastfeed, *decide* to breastfeed-- as others mentioned, make a commitment to breastfeeding, and that will help through any challenges you might face. If you don't feel confident about advice you've been given, even by a medical professional, check it out with someone else who is more aware of breastfeeding needs-- Feel proud of yourself-- what you are doing is really important. Mary
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