does this happen to you?
you start to nurse your infant, and she sputters and gasps when your milk lets down. it's coming too fast for her, and she chokes on it. she's hungry but can't keep up. this makes her mad, and she starts screaming. your milk is spraying all over her face, and she is too worked up in her screaming fit to feed anymore.
if you experience this frequently enough to be reading this post looking for ideas, don't worry. you're not abnormal. you just have a fast/strong letdown. (imagine trying to drink out of a firehose and you'll understand why your child is upset.) here are some tips...
1. nurse more frequently. this way, your baby won't be ravenous when it's time to feed, and she won't get so upset when she can't keep up. by the way, if you are trying to do the "eat, activity, sleep" routine in the Baby Whisperer book and are afraid to let your baby "off schedule," don't worry. you won't scar her for life, and she will eventually get on your EASY schedule once she and your boobs get to know each other a little better and learn how to handle each other.
2. relieve the pressure. (this is my favorite but it's not a very commonly heard/seen tip; it worked for me, though.) before you start nursing, open up your nursing bra on both sides and tuck a cloth diaper/towel under your boobs. just sit there for a minute or so, looking at your baby and gently massaging your boobs. this most likely will get your let-down reflex started, and some milk may spray/dribble out. ahhhh. just feel those boobs relax a bit. now, put your baby on the first boob to nurse, but keep your other boob's bra flap open still. once your baby starts sucking and your milk really lets down, your other boob will dribble the milk out and the pressure will be relieved. now you can switch over to the other boob if things aren't going well on the first one. you will find that that initial let-down gush is gone and the sputtering/choking should be much reduced.
3. pump first. i didn't do this too often because it was such a pain to go get the pump and do it, but it does work. (try the Avent Isis breast pump because it's so portable and small.) before you put your baby on your boob, pump for 1/2 minute or so, just enough to get the let-down started and finished. bonus: you won't waste the milk like you would in option #2 above.
4. put your baby in a funky position. (note: this might not work at some earlier stages if your baby can't quite hold his head up, but give it a try.) consider this: if your baby is nursing in the cradle hold and your milk is gushing into his mouth when he's under it, it will be difficult for him to gulp that fast. think of it as being at the end of a beer funnel. remember how fast you'd have to swallow those things at your college-day parties? so DO try this at home: lay down on your back in bed and put your baby on top of you, belly to belly. show him your boob. he will try to nurse that way. if he can do it, then he is sucking the milk UP (picture sucking out of a straw) instead of being at the receiving end. he's working against gravity, so there won't be such a rush of milk. he also is more in control and can come off easier if it gets to be too much. note: this position can feel a bit weird when your baby's older, so it may not feel "normal" to you (you don't see this position in most breastfeeding books!). but it's worth a try. and, believe me, in the world of breastfeeding, "normal" is "whatever it takes!"
Thursday, October 12, 2006
does this happen to you?