Monday, July 5, 2010

Birth Trauma and Breastfeeding Remedies

Wouldn't it be nice if our bodies and babies came with a guidebook specifically for written for each of us?

We could know ahead of time that labor could potentially be 25 hours long. We could plan on how to deal with the back labor and the third degree tears. The cracking, bleeding nipples from breastfeeding would be anticipated and we could seek help before that ever happened. We would know that the hormones that are trying to balance out are going to give us some serious ups and downs and that just looking into the sweet eyes of our baby will make us cry for no reason at all.


That isn't reality.

Thankfully, they write books to refer to once you know you are dealing with these issues.

I have been referring to The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears and Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett. In addition, I have been consulting a fabulous lactation consultant in my area.

So, here are some of the things I have been doing to recover from birth and baby.

Repair "Down There"...
For the first two days after the repair of my third degree tear I used herbal ice packs on the inflammation. These were made from soaking sanitary pads (overnight and regular size) in the herbal bath blend and freezing them. I changed them as needed. They melted, so I put this frozen pad onto another large pad they gave me at the hospital when I went in for the stitches after my home birth and then I put on a Depends. It isn't the most glamorous look, but for anyone who has had a tear that needs comfort, you know you don't even care at that point. After day two, I spread Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm onto a pad and it soothed the area. In fact, two and a half weeks later, I am still occasionally using this balm. It is definitely some amazing stuff.

Nipple Trauma and Repair...
For some reason, I have had issues with my left nipple. The right one has been just fine. My baby has a really great latch. If he happens to latch on incorrectly, I take the time to reposition and relatch as much as I need to until it is correct. My left nipple, however, started cracking and bleeding. I "toughed it out" for a few days and it just wasn't getting better. Just so you know, I don't recommend "toughing it out". Consult your lactation consultant right away if you think you may be having a issue with breastfeeding. But, I knew he had a proper latch according to the book and my knowledge of breastfeeding. When reading up on sore nipples and nipple trauma in Breastfeeding Made Simple, I discovered I had all of the following...
  • intense, toe-curling pain
  • pain throughout the feeding or between feedings
  • broken skin, blisters, or color changes
  • a burning sensation during, after or in-between feedings
  • persistent soreness that does not improve after a day or two of trying to correct the problem
My book suggested that if I have any of the previous issues, to contact a lactation consultant immediately. The next morning, I called Mellanie Sheppard, IBCLC first thing. Her advice was to ensure the proper latch, use a saline wash after each feeding. I make this from 1/8 teas. sea salt and 1 oz. water in a shot glass and seal it over the nipple and areola to soak for 2-3 minutes. Don't soak for longer than 2-3 minutes or the nipple will get too soft. After the soak, I apply colloidal silver directly to the nipple as well as take 1 teas. orally to prevent further infection. Then, I use either Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter or a Lansinoh Soothies gel pads to ensure that my nipple does not stick to the nursing pad and cause further trauma. She also suggested to use a product by Medela called Soft Shell for Sore Nipples. I haven't tried those yet. In addition, she recommended taking supplements to boost my immune system in order to not fully develop mastitis. So far so good. My nipple is slowly recovering and I can tell a difference with each feeding.

We can't always prepare for all the what-ifs before they happen, but we can consult some great books and wonderful professionals for their advice once we know what kinds of things we are dealing with after birth.

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