Breastfeeding: Dr. Jim Sears answers viewer questions
Samantha S. From Gallatin, Tennessee asks: I had latching issues with both of my boys. And out of frustration and being extremely exhausted... I gave up trying. I still regret my decision and my kids are 4 and 6. We plan on another addition to our family soon. Any advice on how I can successfully breast feed #3?
Even moms with older kids can experience this with their newborn. Women have been breastfeeding for thousands of years, so it seems like breastfeeding would be the most natural thing, but many mothers are surprised at how non-intuitive it can be. How do I hold my baby? Where should my hands be? Where should their head be? Why doesn 't he/she just latch on?
My number one piece of advice is to hire a lactation consultant. They are a better resource than the hospital nurses or even your pediatrician. I 'll tell you why: there are so many aspects to the newborn/baby stage of parenting. Lactation consultants have made this their focus, their specialty and their passion.
If you don 't have access to a lactation consultant, my number one piece of advice would be to make sure their mouth is really open wide. Gently press down your baby 's chin with your thumb. It becomes a two person job once there needs to be one person dealing with the baby 's mouth, one person dealing with the breast, and someone still needs to hold the child.
Denis G. From Spring Lake, N. Carolina: My wife and are expecting our first born this December. We were wondering if it's okay to nurse and use formula? Or should we only focus on one? What should we look for in a formula?
There used to be only 3 formulas. Now there are as many formulas as there are dietary needs: anti-diarrhea, anti-reflux. And, honestly there are really very subtle differences between them. Each one will give your child the nutrition he or she needs. The main ones you need to know are: cow milk based formula, soymilk formula, and hypoallergenic formulas. Just make sure you let your pediatrician know which one you are using, and keep track of how your child reacts to each of them.
Kayte W. From Charlottesville, Virginia: I had a lot of trouble with volume and making enough milk to feed my son. I drank a lot of water, took fenugreek like it was my job, decreased my caffeine to very little and cried. My son was starving and not gaining weight. Is that normal? I felt like a failure and started supplementing with formula. Did I do anything wrong? How can I make more for my second child, that's on the way?
With a bottle you can see: I had 4 ounces, there 's 1 left, my baby had 3 ounces. With breastfeeding, you see them suckling, but how much are they taking in? Take cues from your baby. How often are they pooping and peeing? Do they fall asleep easily after feeding? Is my baby gaining the right amount of weight this week? Also, your body will talk to you. Do my breasts feel as full? Am I leaking as often?
If you find you are not producing enough, try reducing your stress. Make sure you are staying hydrated. You can take some herbal supplements like Blessed Thistle or fenugreek aid in breast milk production.
The main thing to remember is that if you still do not produce enough breast milk, it 's not the end of the world. Sometimes moms don 't make enough. Don 't feel bad. You can mix breast milk and formula and your child will still get the nutrients they need. Breastfeeding is just one tool of parenting. There are many others that help you nurture and bond with your child. Focus on the others, cuddling, baths, etc… you will feel just as fulfilled.
Amanda H. from Milwaukee, Wisconsin: How early is too early to start night weaning? My baby girl is 3 months old and fed breast milk only from a bottle (I pump). She wakes up twice a night and takes a total of about 6 ounces throughout. Is 3 months too early? Its important to me that she gets the calories she needs!
There is never a "too early." Physically, if your child is feeding from a bottle or your breast, your baby is getting the nutrition he or she needs. Children can wean themselves, or lifestyle may initiate the change. Some children get all of the nutrition they need during the day and can sleep through the night. If your child is not sleeping through the night, there may be all kinds of distractions that make night feedings necessary. Try making a special dark room for day feedings, where there will be no distractions. The child can get all of their nutrition during the day, and can then be comfortable to sleep through the night.
In terms of emotional well-being, there may be a time in which the child is not ready to wean away from breastfeeding all together. My wife and I tried weaning our son. It turned out to be too early for him. We saw a huge decline in his behavior. We "un-weaned" him for a time and tried again later on; his behavior improved. He let us know when it was time.
Watch Dr. Jim Sears on Fox's "The Doctors."