Cluster feeding begins to happen at this time. Hang in there. Use the rescue remedy cream to help with sore nipples and airdry your nipples as much as possible. Also letting breastmilk dry on nipples is very healing (breastmilk is also great for pink eye and baby eczema…in some countries they store extra breastmilk to keep senior citizens healthy…you are creating great stuff!).
You have passed a milestone. Hooray! Your body has figured out the fluid level, the general timing of when and how much the baby wants to nurse.
You should no longer feel the engorgement/swelling and often this freaks moms out thinking “Maybe I don’t have enough milk”. You have enough milk, it’s just your body has adjusted.
How to check you have “enough” milk: Baby is filling about 10 diapers a day and baby is gaining weight.
If you have not already joined a breastfeeding support group or postpartum class now is the time! Nothing like hanging out with people having a similar experience to know that you are not crazy and all of this very new stuff is normal, maybe weird and wonderful, but normal.
You want to place the baby to the breast within the 1st hour if at all possible. This is when they are most awake and have the energy to learn how to suck. (just think of any energy it takes to learn something new.)
It usually take 3-5 days for your milk to come in. You do have colostrum (the stuff that was leaking out above). This is very high in sugar and babies only need 4-6 drops every 2 hours in order to keep their sugar levels normal. So don’t panic or worry that it isn’t enough. If your baby won’t suck, then squeeze out these drops on your finger and place the finger in their mouth. (If you want you can place the tip of the finger on the roof of their mouth to encourage the suck)
Nurse and nurse and nurse as much as the baby wants. The baby is programming your body to produce milk depending on demand.
When your milk does come in:
Your breasts are adjusting to all this new fluid and working on learning how to do fluid control. This means you can leak a lot, your breasts can become engorged and the let down can be intense for baby. All is normal and will eventually take care of itself…in the meantime:
- If you leak a lot: There are plastic shields to place in nursing bras that collect the milk. There are also pads, but I have found many women who use these pads end up with yeast (candida/thrush). If you suspect thrush or have a history of candida leave the flap s down on your nursing bra as often as you can so they can airdry.
- If your breasts are engorged: This is temporary. Do not pump lots out. If you need to squeeze a few drops out to get nipple accessible to the baby, you can hand express.
- If this is not enough and you are not allergic to sulfa drugs you can place a raw cabbage leaf (white or green stains less) between your bra and breast and the heat of your breasts will wilt the cabbage and release the chemicals to bring the “swelling” down.
Cluster feeding!!! Your babe will go through stages of increasing your milk supply by nursing closer together. This does not mean you do not have enough milk. It means they are about to have a growth spurt. All good. If you find your nipples sensitive then put the rescue remedy cream on right after nursing. It will melt in and nipples will be happy and so will you and baby. No need to wipe it off before feeding again (note on packaging is FDA required because the original preparation has a tad of alcohol in it).
Teas to support you throughout the pregnancy:
If you are interested in herbs do get Aviva Romm’s Natural Pregnancy book for some great insights and recipes. Otherwise you can trust Traditional Medicinal or Yogi Tea’s mama tea blends or go for singles.
1. Red Raspberry leaf tea: (to strengthen the uterus) weak at first and as you get into 3rd trimester make it darker and darker…this herb has been used to prevent miscarriage and to reduce naseau for eons. Best used from beginning of pregnancy on.
“Red raspberry leaf tea, 2 cups daily, on the other hand, is know to be safe in pregnancy, and several studies have now shown that taking it regularly in the last trimester can make labor easier, reduces the need for medical interventions in labor, and makes baby less likely to need any resuscitation. I’d say that this makes it a great herb to use for getting ready for birth! ”
– Aviva Romm, MD
2. Nettle Tea: provides some iron, increases milk production, decrease hemorrhoids.
3. Chamomile Tea: only if not allergic to ragweed and only 3 cups a day if no history of miscarriage, otherwise limit to 1 cup a day. *For electrolyte balancing: symptoms can be leg cramps, severe vomiting, generally yuk and sense of never enough water or endless urination drink
4. Recharge, Smart Water or your own blend : 1 quart of water, juice of one lemon, 12 T of honey, 1/4 t of salt, 1/4 t of baking soda…sip through out the day.
5. For hormone balancing: Rose hydrosol (also known as rosewater…found in gourmet, Indian or Middle Eastern stores) helps with hormonal headaches and feeling that you are overrun by emotions. Add 1 Tablespoon of rosewater to a large pitcher of water and sip throughout the day (also great for postpartum blues and hot-flashes).
Here is my advice and knowledge:
0-4 cms (some say 6 cms) is Prodromal Labor
- Timings of contractions are anywhere from 20 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart…and it can jump around
- Physical-uterus gets tight and there is tightness at top of uterus too when you have a contraction
- What to do-stay home as long as you can, learn how to ride the waves of the contractions, be prepared to go when you don’t have enough hot water to take showers to relax or when contractions are somewhere between 5-1-1 and 3-1-1
- Timings: contractions become regular, as if you can set a watch to it, generally 5 mins apart to start
- Physical Quality of contraction changes. Usually at about 4 cms you need to be focusing on breathing into contraction when it happens where before you didn’t have to. You may not be able to talk during a contraction due to focusing.
- What to do– begin thinking about how to gracefully transition into next location if there is one. Ie, going to the hospital or if birthing at home getting into the labor tub or ?? “Water” (amniotic fluid) can Break anytime (this is the fluid that the baby pees out. Sometimes before contractions start, sometimes after the baby is fully out. This can be a small rip and act like a leak or it can be the Hollywood gush like a broken pickle jar. If water breaks before labor starts then drink lots of water so the baby has fluid to relax in and contractions have some cushioning.
7-10 cms is transition
- Timings-usually about 3 mins apart going to closer together
- Physical-Quality of contractions change and getting into cat position can be quite helpful
- What to do-as the adrenaline kicks in remember that energy is what you will use to help the baby Trust your body and baby to know “what to do” DNA carries the information transition all the way through the birth canal
Baby travelling down canal
- Timings-contractions can often get longer apart
- Physical – Quality of contraction changes try different position and trust your body to tell you what is working
- What to do– Breathe, follow the body’s urges and remember that the baby is working as well to come out…it is not all up to mom. Baby can hear and know dad’s voice so dad can send encouraging words to baby. Nurse baby as soon as possible for best latch, best within 1 hour as they get sleepy from all the work they did to be born.
Parenting, it’s not all smiles and warm fuzzies. There is a lot of that, BUT a lot of parenting is trying to stay centered and embodied enough to know HOW and WHEN to respond to your little person’s life and decisions. It’s easy to get off center and so its important to get to know what works for YOU to get back on center. Just like in meditation it is a process of being aware when you are off center and then knowing how to find center again.
In the case of birth we have a 5 week window from 37 weeks (early term labor) to 40 weeks (term labor) to 42 weeks (late term labor) in which we can expect the child to decide it is time to be born. All we can really do is keep ourselves healthy, remember to breathe, take care of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally while we wait to RESPOND to their actions.
This is great preparation for the rest of our parenting lives. Once they are out we can SUPPORT them, but we can’t really make them do much…burping, farting, pooping, none of this happens on cue. As they get older it becomes sometimes even more challenging to let them do their thing and then know how to support them in their process and stay centered in OUR OWN PROCESS. Our children come as blank slates, but with a lot to teach us. If we can stay centered then we can LEARN from them and SHARE in their joys and sorrows.
Creating space for your organs and your baby can be a big deal in pregnancy and it is nice to know some poses you can do on your own!
This can also be used for others who need to create more flexibility in their ribcage.
Thread the Needle on the Wall:
Bring the chair to the wall and straddle the chair facing the wall. Place the arms up the wall and tuck the tail under. Take 10 deep breaths into the side of the ribs and also down in the sit bones.
Now, thread one arm between the chest and wall walking the arm and hand under opposite armpit and as far from the breastbone as possible. Turn the head so the ear is on the wall and the nose is facing the threaded arm’s hand. Angle the hand either in line with shoulder or lower, find your comfort zone. Take 10 deep breaths.
Come back to center walking both hands as high up the wall as you can and take 10 deep breaths. Feel the difference between the 2 sides.
Now, thread the other arm through finding the comfort zone for this arm and shoulder. It could be quite different. Honor that difference. Take another 10 deep breaths.
Come back to center and take another 10 breaths noticing the changes!
This is great for opening shoulders, chest and ribs and it’s easy on the knees!
In the last trimester of pregnancy getting a good deep breath or even having room for more than a snack can become a problem. Getting some temporary space can feel heavenly. Here is a partner pose that can help create space.
Mom sits with big toes together and knees far apart. She sits as heavily on her feet as she can while tucking her tail under while being pulled up.
Partner stands either in front (or for taller folk like in the picture, behind) and lifts mom from shoulders, while mom holds on to shoulders or arms. Partner gently coaxes the ribs up and away from the pelvis.
(Thanks to Mami and Paul for demonstrating!)
Now everyone take 5-10 deep breaths!
This can be helpful in labor as the sitting down action can help the baby drop while mom gets a good deep breath!