Emily here. I am breaking the fourth wall to share a proud motherhood victory with you.
Laney, our five month old baby girl, weighed exactly six pounds at her very first doctor appointment. Our pediatrician told us he wanted her to gain an ounce a day before her next checkup.
Here are the three strategies that I used to help Laney gain weight: (You don’t want to miss this!)
Breastfeed On Demand
The American Academy of Pediatrics, La Leche League and The World Health Organization all recommend breastfeeding on demand. This is the best way to ensure that your baby is getting all the nutrients they need while synchronizing mom's milk supply with the eating habits of her baby. Breastfed babies also provide their mothers with information as they breastfeed, which changes the contents of the milk. For example, if a baby is sick, mom’s milk will respond by producing additional antibodies to fight the illness. Likewise, the components of breastmilk changes throughout the nursing session, throughout the day and as your baby grows. (Seriously!)
Help your baby gain a healthy amount of weight by breastfeeding on demand (Dewar, 2019).
Parenting Science addresses the importance of breastfeeding on demand by stating that “adult-imposed feeding schedules are ill-suited to the task. The best way to ensure that babies get enough milk is to let them tell us when they are hungry and to allow them to continue feeding until they appear sated.”
I nursed my first daughter, Darcy, until she was 18 months old and plan to nurse Laney for as long as we mutually want. Nursing on demand has been crucial to maintaining my milk supply and helping Laney gain weight at a healthy pace.
BONUS! The more I breastfeed, the more time I am spending skin-to-skin with my baby.
Wear the Soothe Shirt®
I also owe some of my breastfeeding success and Laney’s weight gain to The Soothe Shirt®, from Lalabu. I ordered my shirt soon after I delivered Laney. She was so tiny and I wasn’t comfortable putting her in a traditional baby carrier yet. Little did I know, this would be one of the best baby product purchases I have ever made.
Laney spends the majority of her time in my arms and holding her all day can be difficult when I have a busy toddler to chase. The first day I wore my Soothe Shirt® I was hooked. It allowed me to be more active with Darcy and hold Laney close. The built-in nursing bra also made breastfeeding around the clock easier. This is an actual statement I made to my husband: “The success of my day depends on if I wear my Soothe Shirt® or not.”
I have a vivid memory of building blocks with Darcy when Laney was just a couple weeks old. While we played, Laney peacefully snoozed in my Soothe Shirt®, her heart beating against mine. I remember feeling a wave of stress roll off of me. I felt so relieved that both of my girls were content; I could have fun with Darcy and nurture Laney at the same time.
We were soon washing my Soothe Shirt® every night so that I could wear it every day and be the best mom I could be to both my little girls.
Keeping Laney nestled so close to my chest contributed to my breastfeeding success because it initiated nursing, thus aiding in my milk production and Laney’s weight gain.
Practice Skin-to-Skin Contact
Babies spend nine months warm and snug in their mothers womb. Skin-to-skin contact makes transitioning from the womb to their new world more comfortable and loving. Newborns crave continued closeness with their mother or caregiver; peacefully sleeping on your chest, skin-to-skin, is your baby's favorite place to be.
Laney and I practice skin-to-skin contact every day and continue with this important practice. Laney’s Bonsie Skin to Skin Babywear allows me to practice skin-to-skin contact anywhere, anytime. (It’s also so soft and snuggly! And there are no buttons or zippers to slow down diaper changes.)
Put on the Soothe Shirt®
Put Laney in her Bonsie Footie
Open up the front of the Bonsie
Tuck Laney into the Soothe Shirt® pouch so her bare chest is against mine
That’s it! Skin-to-skin contact on the go!
This was my outfit every day for the first three-ish months of Laney’s life: sweats, my Soothe Shirt® and a comfy sweater.
Laney and I could practice skin-to-skin while I worked, went on a walk with Darcy, or had a tea party with her dolls. This frequent skin-to-skin time helped us during the first few months of her life in so many ways:
Laney slept like champ
She cried very little
She nursed frequently for full feedings, which boosted my milk supply
She did not get sick for the first few months of her life (Did you know skin-to-skin boosts the immune system?)
It helped us both to relax (a relaxed baby=a relaxed mama)
It made our attachment stronger
The beautiful thing about these three pieces of advice is that they all work together to keep your baby healthy and your attachment strong. The closeness provided by breastfeeding on demand, wearing the Soothe Shirt® and practicing skin-to-skin contact is the trifecta of bonding with your little one.
So, guess how much Laney weighed by her following doctor appointment?
SEVEN POUNDS, EIGHT OUNCES!
She gained an ounce and a half a day! Our pediatrician said it was a new record.
Dewar, G. (2019). Breastfeeding on demand: Benefits, questions, and evidence-based tips. Parenting Science. https://parentingscience.com/breastfeeding-on-demand/