I am a mom so am not an authority on pregnancy and breastfeeding. But because I had first hand experience, I would love to share some important points with you.
1. This was a handy advice from a nurse-midwife in Heidelberg who handled my pregnancy exercises. She said, 'If you plan to breastfeed and you want to avoid the uncomfortable wounds that's most likely to happen, try to apply toothcream on your areola, at bedtime, a few months before giving birth.' Stop when you gave birth. And dont forget to clean your breasts of the cream when you go to the hospital when its time to gave birth. The taste and the minty smell would turn off your newborn.
As first time parents, we're really clueless. So we grasped this advice. I dont know remember any more the toothcream brand that I used. But it was effective. I breastfed my eldest for 18 months, and the second for more than 32 months. Oh yeah, once or twice, they tried to bite me. But the only uncomfortable and painful latches during those times were mostly caused by the pressure from the electric breast pump.
2. To make sure that I would be really lactating, my nurse-midwife also told me to drink a specially prepared tea. (Good thing we have malunggay in Pinas) And to try to ignore coffee and black tea. I drank a drumful (am exaggerating, it seems like it, though!) everyday. Those teas can be found in drugstores and herbal stores, too. Very effective. When I am expressing milk during those times, I can fill up sometimes more than half a cup from only one breast! P.S. Make sure that the clothes you bring at the hospital would be comfortable for breastfeeding (re: buttons or zippers up front).
3. This came from my gynecologist in Heidelberg. 'Acupuncture can help in preparing the 'uterine orifice' (the vaginal opening) to be ready for birth, especially for first time moms.'
Ok, I have heard about acupuncture as a healing method but for birth assistance? I tried it of course. Around five sessions. Once every week, a few weeks before giving birth. I guess it was good. The labor and giving birth took around four hours. As they said, the second one would be easier. So I missed on acupuncture. It took longer and the labor was more painful than the first. Kaya naman when it was all over, I said, 'no more babies for me.'
4. Tender breasts? Lactation going on. Here's a theory I read from Wikipedia. It states that the human breast evolved in order to prevent infants from suffocating while feeding. Since human infants do not have a protruding jaw like human evolutionary ancestors and other primates, the infant’s nose might be blocked by a flat female chest while feeding. According to this theory, as the human jaw receded, the breasts became larger to compensate. Thus, our new bra sizes. In Germany, it is a must to have nursing bras (with practical opening on the nipple surface for easy nursing). Although sports bras are also recommended and they are a lot cheaper than nursing bras. Dont buy a lot because your size would definitely change again, and again, during pregnancy.
5. During labor. Pain comes intermittently. And it would take hours. During the pregnancy exercises (not lamaze classes, just plain exercises for preggies), my husband and I were taught a special massage that could help to alleviate the pain. Just find your sacrum and massage it continuously during labor. This is really good!
You can do it alone, but it is best to have someone with you. Try to find your sacrum. According to Wikipedia, sacrum is a large, triangular bone at the base of the spine and at the upper and back part of the pelvic cavity where it is inserted like a wedge between the two hip bones. Its upper part connects with the last lumbar vertebra and bottom part with the coccyx (tailbone). I would try to explain where the sacrum is, but try to check out the web, too. (Sorry, I dont know how to add links!)
Approximately, sacrum could be found a few inches between your bottom and the end of your spinal chord. Give it a massage now and you'll feel already a certain relief. Walking around helps, too.
1. I am sure this is already a standard procedure. A few minutes after giving birth, the baby was already asked to latch on my breast. To try to stimulate lactation. It is not easy but with a special 'stillkissen' (special pillow for nursing moms) which you could fit around you and your baby, it gets better.
2. On galactostasis. It is a condition which occurs when a mother's milk is so abundant that the offspring are unable to suckle enough to empty the breasts. I experienced this more than once. It hurts, a lot! I got a special tea mix for this to drink. Before nursing, I also place warm bottle over my breasts. And a cool compress after. A massage helps, too. Try a circling massage from your outer breasts going to the nipple surface. Plus, relax. A warm bath would be good, too.
3. Flowing milk? I am sure you've experienced this, when a mom heard some babies crying, even not your own, your breasts weep, too. I used breastpads. But a mom from babycare.com said it was not enough for her so she instead used sanitary pads, cut into the right sizes. I havent tried it, though.
4. Expressing milk. I do these regularly even though I am a stay at home mom. We loaned an electric breast pump from the pharmacy and bought the necessary accessories. Because of the tea I was drinking, which helped increase milk flow, I have more than enough. Aside from the baby bottles, we armed ourselves with small containers, too. If we are planning a long road trip, I leave enough expressed milk on the ref to cool. It stays fresh for three days.
I put the rest of the milk on containers and freeze them. It must be used within three months, though.
5. On warming the expressed milk. Best not to use the microwave. The bottle warmer is the best choice here.
6. On bathing the baby. Use mom's milk, too. It is good for a newborn's tender skin. My husband used them, too. For scratches and pimples, mom's milk is the best healing rub, too. (HERE IS AN ADDENDUM: JUST ADD A BIT OF MOM's MILK ON THE BATH WATER OF THE BABY! I had to make it clear coz a friend asked me how much mom's milk should be used for bathing.)
7. On nursing in public. Am glad to hear that nursing/breastfeeding stations are sprouting in the Philippines. I really had a bit of a problem with nursing in public. I used to have with me a large blanket to cover my breast while the baby is doing her work. Nope, not my face :-) But after a few months, I am all bared. Wala na akong paki! Especially when the kids were old enough to reach up and latch ng walang pasintabi. I just make sure that my clothes are ready-for-breastfeeding type. Meaning, with buttons or zippers in front, or big enough for them to wiggle in!
P.S. Try to avoid lemon, pineapple and the likes while breastfeeding to avoid colic condition on infants.
I have exhausted the best of my knowledge on these subjects. Choose the best for you and let go of the rest.