Posts Tagged ‘latch’

The Best Infographics for Understanding Infants

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Being a mom is hard when your kids are fully verbal and can tell you exactly what they need, so when you meet a friend or someone in your family has just had their first, you have a whole new appreciation for how hard that stage is. Even harder than the stage is all the crappy advice you get from other people on sleeping, feeding and generally caring for an infant.

What no one ever tells you is how much you’ll realize that personality has to do with their behavior, but you won’t even realize the huge role it plays until your child is a toddler. Then you smack yourself in the forehead and go, “THAT’S why they refused to nap!” or “THAT’S why they hated the (insert world-renowned baby-soothing device that never worked on your child here)!”

The best thing you can do as a first-time mom is just understand what you’re dealing with on a biological level. There are some things that are the same from baby to baby, always, no matter what the popular wisdom of the time is. For instance, tummy size:

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This is such a brilliant visual. As a mom new to nursing, especially if you are one whose family has no personal experience with breastfeeding, you totally freak out that you aren’t making enough milk. Because if you were, why would baby want to eat ALL THE TIME? This thought is bad enough, but then it’s echoed by all your family members, and you begin to think the problem really is you. Some moms don’t make enough milk, and that’s a for-real but pretty rare condition. For most, it just feels that way because baby wants to eat so frequently. And when you see this graphic, it makes sense. If I could only fit one side-salad at a time in my stomach, but I could have as many as I wanted, I would probably be eating every hour, too.

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I remember not knowing what an early feeding cue was until my second child. No wonder breastfeeding never went smoothly with my first! As heartbreaking as it is to pick up a baby who, the the untrained eye, appears to still be sleeping, it really works out so much better to grab them before they wake up and realize they are HANGRY. That extra five minutes you have until they wake up crying? Not worth it.

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I’ll confess: I’m a crunchy mom and I never read this book! Although it may have more wonderful information, this alone was a lifesaver. The 5′s worked and they were our go-to for those all-out freak-out crying spells. My first baby did use a paci, but my other two would never take one. The pad of your finger works well for non-paci babies. Why not nurse instead? Well, if your baby is freaking out enough to need these steps, they are also likely too worked up to nurse. Calm them using this method, then try to nurse.

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Another thing that will never, ever change, no matter how much we learn about babies: the latch. I know we struggled with getting a good latch until I knew what that was and felt like. My first baby wanted to curl her lips in and it left me with bloody nipples and a baby who was losing weight fast. After meeting with a lactation consultant (Who made housecalls!) I learned to flip that lip out, and I ended up having to do it repeatedly with all three of my kids until they got the hang of latching. Without flat lips, baby just can’t get the suction right, and it leads to slurpy sounding, ineffective nursing.

I hope these infographics help you as much as they did me! Biology, man, it never goes out of fashion.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three who lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

Breastfeeding and Tongue Ties

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

120608_BurtFamily_1143With my first two babies, I breezed through nursing with only a few minor issues that had to do more with me learning than the actual nursing act. But my third was different. By my third, I thought I had most baby stuff figured out. I mean, I’d been through it twice before and, yeah, there were differences but those were only minor variations of normal. I felt confident that I could add baby number three to our lives with only the normal bumps.

My third child and my second daughter, Maeve, was born at home and was everything you could hope for – healthy baby, safe delivery, and good bonding right away. I was still nursing her older sister, my second born and first daughter, Quinn, who was about two years old at the time. They both settled in to a tandem nursing relationship with ease.

Maeve seemed to not stay latched as long and didn’t seem to be as strong at nursing as either of my first two did. But, I brushed it off as just not remembering what a newborn nursing felt like. After all, I had a toddler that I was comparing her to. She gained fine and I didn’t have any damage or pain during nursing that would have indicated a concern.

By about two months old, she would latch on but my nipple would slide right out of her mouth unless I held it in place. This concerned me if we were going to do full-term nursing and baby led weaning as I had with my first two.

My first point of contact was an IBCLC who was also a long time friend of my family (she had been present at my own birth some 30 years ago!). She was the first one to really talk about the possibility of a tongue tie. She felt that there was enough concern to refer me to a pediatrician who was the leader in this field and in our area.

She did indeed have a posterior tongue tie and the pediatrician felt that it warranted correction. Posterior tongue ties can be tricky, as they are more difficult to see and the symptoms can vary quite a bit. It is also not an instant fix if correction is done, many times.

We had the procedure done and also followed up with my IBCLC to work on suck exercises to help her regain her suck and her latch. It took a good month for me to see an improvement, but at just over two years old, our nursing relationship is still going strong.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and have baby evaluated. Many times your local La Leche League is a great resource to start with in looking for recommendations and options. And, with the new insurance regulations, insurance often covers visits to IBCLCs; so check your plan if you are in need!

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones.