Myth: Nipple pain will go away. It's normal in the beginning. Fact: Nipple pain is not normal. Sure, it can take some time to learn to master a deep latch, but persistent or severe pain should be investigated by an IBCLC.
Myth: Some women just can't breastfeed. Fact: There are some women who will have great difficulty with milk production. This is true. Does it mean they can't breastfeed? No. I frequently work with mothers who partially breastfeed while supplementing with formula or donor milk. Breastfeeding is YOUR decision, and it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
Myth: You need to eat this particular food or drink tons of water to make milk. Fact: Milk production is primarily hormonal. Unless a mother is severely dehydrated or malnourished, her body will make plenty of milk if milk is removed frequently. Moms will feel better if they are eating healthy, but a special diet is not needed in order to produce milk.
Sometimes breastfeeding is just plain hard. Let's face it, sometimes we can feel out of control at times when breastfeeding isn't going as planned. Motherhood in general teaches us that we aren't in control. That's the hardest part, isn't it?
Maybe you have nipple pain. Perhaps you're having to pump and supplement to increase your baby's weight. At times it can feel like things aren't going to get better.
Let me encourage you. THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. I've worked with so many moms and babies who have overcome numerous challenges. While you're going through the situation, it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take one day at time, or even one feeding at a time. Reach out for help. There are so many breastfeeding resources in the Middle Tennessee area.
Everyone loves seeing new babies. Parents love showing off their new bundle of joy. Often though, visitors can be a burden when new moms feel the need to entertain or accomidate well meaning family and friends. This etiquette guide is perfect!
The arrival of a new baby calls for celebration. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are excited when a new baby joins the family. Many new parents have an entourage waiting outside of the delivery room, ready to welcome baby. But is this helpful to breastfeeding? If it causes interruptions for mom and baby learning to breastfeeding, no, it's hindering the process. One study showed that new moms experienced an average of 54 phone calls and visits in the first 24 hours after giving birth. How in the world are tired moms and new babies going to learn this natural, yet challenging new skill with all of those interruptions? Research tells us that skin-to-skin time helps orient babies to breastfeeding, as well as increase milk-making hormones in mothers. This skin-to-skin time is especially important in the first few days after birth. When baby is swaddled and passed from person to person, mom and baby miss this opportunity to get to know each other and learn to breastfeed. Baby's weight may even suffer as a result of interrupted feedings.
If you are preparing for birth, set your expectations ahead of time. It's okay to say "no" to excessive visitors. Let friends and family know that you'll be happy to see them once you're home and breastfeeding is better established. Even then, watch baby's feeding cues and be careful not to space out feedings too much due to visitors. This is a special time for your family, and you'll want to savor every moment of mom and baby time.
Life sometimes (okay, lots of times) throws us curve balls. Breastfeeding may go really well for some mothers, but for many, there are bumps along the way and help is needed. Maybe the baby has jaundice and won't wake often enough to nurse. Perhaps there is excessive weight loss and the doctor says it's time to supplement. Regardless of the breastfeeding issue, it's important not to wait too long before seeking help.
A mother's body decides how much milk to make long term during the first few weeks postpartum. This means if a baby isn't removing milk effectively because of latching difficulty or other medical challenges, the mother's milk supply may be compromised. Although not impossible, it is definitely more challenging to increase milk production when the problem is addressed too late.
Supplementation is often (but not always) needed when breastfeeding challenges arise. Bottles sometimes come into the picture even if you weren't planning to bottle feed. It's important to work with a lactation consultant when supplementation and bottles are needed. Babies may develop a flow preference to the bottle if not used correctly. There are many ways to reinforce breastfeeding with bottle feeding, and your lactation consultant can help show you how to use the bottle in a helpful way so that it isn't a hindrance to your breastfeeding relationship. If you are on the fence about reaching out for support, don't wait. When you see an IBCLC, she can help you come up with a plan to protect your supply and ensure you and your baby breastfeed for as long as you'd hoped.
Middle Tennessee Lactation offers several prenatal breastfeeding classes throughout the year. Complimentary classes are held at Pediatric Associates of Franklin. Please contact me if you are interested in attending. If you prefer an in-home consultation, those are available as well. One benefit of a private prenatal breastfeeding consultation is that the mother's health history can be discussed and she can be prepared before the baby arrives.
Today I'm sharing one of my favorite breastfeeding resources for moms in all stages of their breastfeeding journey. This is something you can enjoy while breastfeeding, cooking, exercising, driving, or working. The Boob Group podcast is radio show geared specifically toward breastfeeding mamas. It is hosted by a lactation consultant and a panel of mothers who discuss different topics on each episode. You can stream or download them to your phone for easy listening. I've listened to several episodes myself, and I highly recommend you check them out!
Babies are hard-wired to breastfeed. A mother's body is hard-wired to make milk. So why is breastfeeding so darn hard? Because you're both learning a new skill, and any new skill takes practice. There are definitely barriers to successful breastfeeding - jaundice, labor medications, and separation of mother and baby are a few of them. But even when the birth goes well and the baby is healthy, it can still take time.
Think of it this way, how many babies do you know who walked without falling the very first time they tried? How about potty training? Do most toddlers learn in a day? No, of course not. The learning period for a new skill can be challenging. It's not easy to be patient through the learning process. We love our babies and want the best for them. Rest assured though, you are already giving your baby a great start by breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is your first introduction to motherhood, where you'll experience lots of doubts and questions. But just like any other part of motherhood, you'll do everything you can to be sure your baby learns what he or she needs to know. We often imagine nursing our baby will be serene, peaceful, and calm. And many times it is, in part because the hormones associated with breastfeeding calm you! On the other hand, it may not be as blissful as you had imagined when you first planned to breastfeed. And that's okay. One day after many days of practicing, you'll sit down to nurse and be surprised that it isn't difficult anymore!You and your baby will be in sync, and breastfeeding will be the part of your day that you enjoy the most.
If breastfeeding isn't going as planned you don't have to do it alone. Call me and schedule an in-home appointment. It is my goal to help moms and babies enjoy their learning time together.
If you are expecting or have recently given birth, you have likely read many articles on the must-have breastfeeding items. So what is the one item every breastfeeding mother needs? No, it's not lanolin, a pump, or anything else you can buy. Every breastfeeding mother needs a CHEERLEADER. There needs to be someone you can count on to say "give it more time" or "you're doing a great job." It might be your husband, mom, sister, or friend that takes this role. Sometimes, it's not a close family member or friend who supports you. It may be someone you met at a La Leche League meeting or your Lactation Consultant. When I became a mother for the first time, there were times when I went to my husband, mom, and mother-in-law for breastfeeding help. When it was really, really hard, I even expected them to tell me to give up. They never did. They listened and encouraged. That was exactly what I needed at the time to have confidence that breastfeeding really could work with a little more time and practice.
Is there someone in your life who encourages you on your breastfeeding journey? If not, there are many local support groups where mothers can make like-minded friends. Find someone to connect with.