Posts Tagged ‘lactation consultant’

Getting Over the Fear of Not Making Enough Milk While Breastfeeding

Monday, November 21st, 2016
getting over the fear that you aren't making enough milk

“When a baby is hungry, he tends to clench his fists tightly and bring them toward his face. If he falls asleep hungry, his fists usually stay clenched. But when he gets milk, he relaxes starting with his face. Then his shoulders relax, and finally those fists unclench. Eventually they’re as limp as the rest of him. Thing of his hands as a built-in fuel gauge.” p.120 Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

When my son was first born, we had a difficult time figuring out breastfeeding. It was challenging and stressful for both of us. In the very beginning, he lost weight instead of gaining and was extremely fussy. I contacted my acupuncturist and told her I thought my milk supply had decreased significantly. I didn’t think that I was making the amount that my baby needed and didn’t know what to do because my goal was to breastfeed until he was 12 months old. She had me come right in and she worked her magic with her needles to help get the milk flowing again, if it was true that I was having issues with my milk supply.

The amount of milk that a baby consumes while breastfeeding can be such a mystery, especially if they are exclusively breastfed like both of my children who refused bottles. It can be nerve-wracking wondering if an extra fussy baby means that they are actually starving because they are not getting enough milk. Since it was my first experience with breastfeeding, I was always seeking proof that my body was making the correct amount of milk that my baby needed.  These are some ways that eventually helped me feel confident that body was doing the job that it was supposed to, so I could get over my fear that I was not producing enough milk:

  • At breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants weighed my baby right before I breastfed him and then immediately after.  The number of ounces that he gained was proof that he was consuming a good amount.
  • Regular wet diapers proved to me that the process was working.
  • Appropriate weight gaining was on track and was proven at regular doctor check-ups.
  • Pumping milk into baby bottles to maintain a back-up supply showed me the number of ounces that my body was producing.

With my second baby, I learned to trust the process and reminded myself regularly that my body knew how to do it and would get the job done.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers.  She nursed both of her babies until they were almost 2 years-old.  Now, she wonders if her picky eaters are getting enough food at each meal.

5 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Many women often think breastfeeding will come easy because the female body is designed to produce milk to nourish offspring. However breastfeeding often gets off to a rocky start for many, many mothers. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to establishing successful breastfeeding. Some factors are within our control and/or we can strongly influence, however other factors may present us with enormous obstacles to overcome. I would like to offer five suggestions that could positively influence your breastfeeding relationship. These do not cover solutions to specific breastfeeding concerns or issues, rather they provide evidence-based information regarding establishing successful breastfeeding.

1. Nurse on Demand – What does it mean to ‘nurse on demand’? It means following baby’s hunger cues as opposed to following the clock. A rigid feeding schedule often does not meet a newborn’s nutritional or emotional needs nor does it adequately establish a mother’s milk supply. By responding to early hunger cues such as rooting or sucking on hands, you are also likely to have an easier time getting baby properly latched on as opposed to responding to late hunger cues (ie-crying).

2. Offer Milk Frequently – In addition to nursing on demand, you might consider frequently offering your newborn the opportunity to nurse throughout day and night. Newborns are obviously still developing the ability to regulate their hunger and elimination needs, so you don’t want to just passively wait for them to tell you they are hungry. You want to remind them on a regular basis that milk is available to them. Additionally this allows you lots and lots of opportunity to practice positioning and getting baby latched on properly which are much easier to do when baby is calm and peaceful as opposed to fussy and tired.

3. Surround yourself with support - Surrounding yourself with compassionate women who have breastfeeding experience and will positively support you in your breastfeeding journey is invaluable. This may include family members or friends who have older nurslings than you and can offer gentle, loving guidance. However if you don’t already have someone in your life who fits that description, you may seek out such friendships through attending La Leche League Meetings (many of my dearest friends are women I met at LLL). Other places to seek out a community of support might be a breastfeeding class held at a hospital or a local store store that sells breastfeeding accessories might host social and/or informational gatherings for breastfeeding mothers.

4. Understand How Birth Choices Can Impact Breastfeeding – By informing yourself how certain birth practices can positively or negatively impact breastfeeding, you can make educated decisions that will optimize your breastfeeding relationship. You can also better advocate for yourself and your baby to ensure you receive attentive care that supports best practice for successful breastfeeding.

5. Seek professional help during early stages of struggle – No matter how minor you might feel a breastfeeding concern is, addressing it promptly can ward off further more complicated issues. Therefore seeking out professional help during early stages of struggle is typically a wise investment. It may help you avoid further and more costly complications and ultimately help preserve your nursing relationship. If you wait until there are major problems to seek out support, irreversible damage to the breastfeeding relationship may have already occurred. You can ask your maternal health care provider for a recommendation for a Lactation Consultant or do a search on the International Lactation Consultants Associations website to find a provider near you.

What breastfeeding tips would you give to a new mommy? What helpful breastfeeding tips were given to you? Would love to hear from YOU! :)

-Sarah

Postpartum Surprises: The Stuff No One Talks About

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

There is a great deal of information available about the changes your body goes through during pregnancy, however your body continues to experience many changes postpartum as well. Here are five things women frequently experience during the early postpartum period. Despite that these are completely normal and common symptoms, women are often surprised by them or even concerned. Knowing what to expect might help you better prepare for your postpartum care and have the necessary supplies/materials available.

1. After Pains
Many women are surprised to discover contractions continue after birth. I know I was! These postpartum contractions are called After Pains. They caused by the shrinking of your uterus. Typically they are most intense during nursing and with subsequent pregnancies. They may last a couple weeks, but the first few days will be the most intense. You can take ibuprofen to help reduce discomfort from after pains. If you prefer to use alternative medicine you could use an herbal remedy called Cramp Bark. A heating pad or warm bath is another option to help alleviate pains.

2. Excessive Sweatiness
Your body goes through significant hormonal adjustments after giving birth and to produce milk. Those hormones can cause you to sweat excessively which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Remind yourself that it’s a normal part of having a baby and that many, many women experience sweating through their clothing, especially during the night. Selecting lightweight, breathable fabrics can help you feel more comfortable. Using an extra strength deodorant might also be helpful in decreasing sweatiness. It may last a few months postpartum, but it will eventually subside. I ultimately started packing an extra Tshirt for myself in the diaper bag just in case my original one became too sweaty to wear comfortably in public.

3. Bleeding
A friend of mine who recently gave birth to her first baby expressed to me at 8 days postpartum she wished someone would have prepared her better for dealing with postbirth vaginal bleeding. She really had no idea that she would need to wear a maxi pad for several weeks following birth. Postpartum vaginal bleeding is simply the body expelling excess mucus, placental tissue, and blood and is usually not cause for concern. Initially the bleeding may be heavy enough to consider wearing Depends disposable underwear. You might even pass a few decent sized clots. A certain amount of bleeding is normal, however if you experience excessive bleeding (commonly described as soaking through a maxi pad in an hour or less or a clot larger than a golf ball) you’ll want to contact your health care provider.

4. Vaginal Discomfort
Depending on the circumstances of your birth, the degree of postpartum vaginal discomfort will vary as well as duration. If you experienced a tear or had an episiotomy you will probably experience more discomfort and take a longer time to heal. Comfort measures include sitz baths, witch hazel pads, warm peri bottles, limited activity, kegel exercises and ice packs.

5. Sore Breasts
Breastmilk is likely to “come in” about day 3 postpartum for a first time mom; although can take a little longer. With subsequent pregnancies it can happen even sooner than day 3. If someone asks you “has your milk come in?” and you respond with “I don’t know” then the answer is no…because you WILL know. You will be very engorged and leaking milk when it happens and there will be no uncertainty about it. It’s actually a very exciting time to know your body is producing milk to nourish your baby, but it can also lead to discomfort. There are several comfort measures you can utilize with engorged breasts. Taking a warm shower or bath can help relieve engorgement. Gentle breast compression or massaging the breast tissue can help. Another common suggestion is to put cabbage leaves over your breasts. Cold compressions are also useful in relieving engorgement. Typically engorgement only last a short period; less than 48 hours. If you are unable to find comfort or engorgement continues, you might consider seeking the support of a lactation consultant.

What surprises did you experience postpartum? What did you wish someone would have told you ahead of time?

Looking for a yummy treat to bring a new mommy? Check out tomorrow’s post with a recipe for Lactation Bars!

-Sarah