Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 35 ~ Breastfeeding Your Baby

Your baby's the size of a coconut!
He's about 17.2 to 18.7 inches. From here on out, he won't get much longer, but he's plumping up. He's now about 4.2 to 5.8 pounds, and he'll put on a pound or more of baby fat before birth. 
Growing, growing, growing. Yup, baby and you. You’ve reached 35 weeks, and your uterus has grown about 1,000 times its original size, a number that might sound exaggerated to everyone else -- but to you it probably feels more like a million. You can expect to gain about a half-pound a week before birth, and baby’s beefing up, too. At 35 weeks, some moms-to-be feel like they have a ton of stuff left to do before baby’s arrival. Others can barely wait for baby to make his debut. Either way, try not to stress. Baby will show up when he’s ready, and he won’t care if you haven’t checked every little detail off your list.
 How your baby's growing:Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.
How your life's changing:
Your uterus — which was entirely tucked away inside your pelvis when you conceived — now reaches up under your rib cage. If you could peek inside your womb, you'd see that there's more baby than amniotic fluid in there now. Your ballooning uterus is crowding your other internal organs, too, which is why you probably have to urinate more often and may be dealing with heartburn and other gastrointestinal distress. If you're not grappling with these annoyances, you're one of the lucky few.
From here on out, you'll start seeing your practitioner every week. Sometime between now and 37 weeks, she'll do a vaginal and rectal culture to check for bacteria called Group B streptococci (GBS). (Don't worry — the swab is the size of a regular cotton swab, and it won't hurt at all.) GBS is usually harmless in adults, but if you have it and pass it on to your baby during birth, it can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, meningitis, or a blood infection. Because 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women have the bacteria and don't know it, it's vital to be screened. (The bacteria come and go on their own — that's why you weren't screened earlier in pregnancy.) If you're a GBS carrier, you'll get IV antibiotics during labor, which will greatly reduce your baby's risk of infection.
This is also a good time to create a birth plan. Using our form will help you focus on specifics — like who'll be present, what pain management techniques you want to try, and where you want your baby to stay after you deliver. It will give you a starting point to discuss your preferences with your medical team. Childbirth is unpredictable, and chances are you won't follow your plan to the letter, but thinking about your choices ahead of time — and sharing your preferences with your caregiver — should take some of the anxiety out of the process.


It is my opinion that breastfeeding is the best way to feed a baby, as long as there are no physical restrictions that prevent it.  Breastfeeding is a natural and easy way that God designed our bodies to feed and nurture our growing babies.  Plus the bond you will feel with your baby is something that can't be explained or put in a bottle.  As the Above Rubies ladies say, "Prolactin is the Relaxin hormone!"  Sitting down to nurse your baby throughout the day is a great way to relax and enjoy your baby, and other children as well!

It has been my experience that unless you are very determined and/or have really good support, when things get hard (ie cracking; bleeding; mastitis, etc) it is easy to quit.  Please know that any problems you have with nursing can be overcome and are just temporary.  Seek help from a friend, lactation consultant, La Leche League (i have never been to a meeting, but have called the leader many times and they are so helpful!), or your midwife or doctors office.

Cracking and/or bleeding is usually a sign that the baby is not latched on correctly.  Always make sure that the baby's bottom lip is pulled out very wide, as well as the top.  I have had babies that i had to manually pull out the bottom lip every time they nursed for several months.  Try some kind of nipple cream like Lansinoh or Cocoa Butter, you can even use a nursing shield if it will allow you to nurse and not quit.  Just figure out what works for you and go with it.  It is worth it, so don't give up!

If you feel sharp stinging, like needles, this is usually a sign of a yeast infection on/in your breast and is almost always evident in the baby's mouth as white patches called thrush.  If you suspect yeast there are several methods that can be used to treat it.  A trip or call to your baby's doctor will most likely get you a prescription for oral nystatin, topical nystatin, or maybe even gentian violet (as our doctor suggested with baby #5-extremely messy, but helpful if you follow the directions carefully).  In addition, i use oral probiotics to combat the overgrowth of yeast inside my body as well as the baby's (via breast milk or orally by sprinkling it in the baby's mouth).  We use a brand called PB 8 (google it) in which i take 4 in the am and 4 in the pm.  This is also extremely helpful but only if you taper it off slowly.  Take 8/day for 2 weeks, then back down to 6/day for another 2 weeks, 4/day for 2 weeks, then maintain a healthy flora by continuing to take 2/day for as long as you need (another 1-2 months at the least-once you have a yeast overgrowth, it is very hard to get away from it happening over and over if you do not maintain!)  Also, sun dry all of your cloth items that touch your breast or baby's bottom- ie cloth nursing pads and cloth diapers.  Wash them normally, then hang them in full sun to dry to kill the yeast.

Also, mastitis is another one that makes mama's want to quit nursing or are advised to quit nursing (although this is incorrect-in fact you will need to nurse more often to clear the infection faster!).  Mastitis usually begins with a clogged milk duct.  If you notice a hot, red spot on your breast, start massaging it quickly with your hand (you can usually feel it).  The clogged duct needs to be opened so an infection (mastitis) doesn't set in.  Warm heat applied is also helpful or running hot water on the spot in the shower.  You will save yourself a lot of hassle if you just focus your time on opening the clogged duct.  Do whatever it takes!
 If however, the infection does set in you will begin to feel flu-like symptoms-fever, chills, aches, etc.  Most of the time it is best to let it run it's coarse while you nurse, nurse, nurse your baby, as often as possible.  I usually take lots of garlic gel caps, echinacia, and vitamin C to help my body fight it.  Most doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, although you won't feel better for another 24 hrs or so.  You will have to decide what is best for you and your baby.  I usually let it run its coarse, but with mastitis with baby # 5 at 2 weeks old, i went ahead and took the antibiotic.  I really wish i hadn't in retrospect because he and i both are still dealing with yeast overgrowth's over 2 years later.  I wasn't consistent with continuing the prescribed medicines so it kept creeping back in, over and over.  I am still taking probiotics to keep it in check!  So, moral of the story, avoid mastitis as best you can!

Anyone else have advice to share?  Please leave a comment!

Following are 10 tips for successful breastfeeding and a video taken from  Please be aware that the video does show breasts, as the video is on breastfeeding- haha!  Just maybe make sure your children aren't around if you don't want them seeing this!

10 tips for breastfeeding success

Watch a lactation consultant help a new mom learn how to breastfeed her baby.

How should I prepare for breastfeeding?

Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding even before your baby's born. Talk to other nursing moms, read books to familiarize yourself, call your local La Leche League International chapter, and consider taking a breastfeeding class (offered by most hospitals) some time in your last trimester. The more you know about how to get started and the benefits of nursing, the more likely you are to succeed at it.
Whether you think about it or not, your pregnant body is preparing itself for breastfeeding. That's one reason your breasts get so much bigger during pregnancy — your milk ducts and milk-producing cells are developing, and more blood goes to your breasts than before. (Learn more about how your breasts produce milk.) But breast size has nothing to do with your ability to nurse successfully: For example, it's not true that smaller-breasted women make less breast milk.

Do I need to toughen my nipples?

"No," says Kathleen Huggins, author of The Nursing Mother's Companion. The hormonal changes pregnancy brings to your breasts are sufficient preparation for most women. Don't rub or scrub your nipples — this will only hurt you and make breastfeeding difficult. Teaching your baby the right way to latch on to your breast from the beginning is the most effective way to prevent soreness.

What products should I buy?

These products aren't required, by any means, but they can make breastfeeding more comfortable and convenient:
Nursing bras: These bras are comfortable and provide the extra support your larger-than-usual breasts need. They come with flaps that you can easily undo at feeding time.
It's best to wait until the last couple of weeks of pregnancy to shop for nursing bras, when your breasts will be closest to their postpartum size. That said, once your milk comes in your breasts will be bigger. They may even grow another size or two! So keep that in mind when buying nursing bras, and when shopping in person look for a salesperson who's knowledgeable about fitting.
(You can wait until after you give birth to make this purchase, but in the early days after delivery you probably won't have the time or energy to go bra shopping.)
Nursing tops and camisoles: These tops have convenient flaps that allow you to breastfeed easily and discreetly. Some of the camisoles are very supportive and can function as a bra and top in one.
Nursing pillows: Specially designed to support your baby while you're nursing, these can help you avoid straining your shoulders or neck during feeding sessions. They're more convenient — and better at keeping your baby in position — than regular pillows.
Breast pads: It's normal for your breasts to leak while you're nursing, and another baby's cry or the sight of an infant can bring on a gush of milk when you least expect it. Disposable breast pads (or reusable, washable ones) will keep you and your shirts nice and dry.
A breast pump: Even if you're not planning to pump regularly, a breast pump can be a useful tool — to help relieve engorgement, for example. Find out more about buying a breast pump.
Other breastfeeding accessories: Lanolin ointment (available in many drugstores) can help relieve sore nipples. And hot/cold gel packs, which fit inside your bra, can soothe swollen or sore breasts.

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