This 6-day old baby just had plenty to eat!
Wouldn’t it be nice if your breasts were equipped with little gauges that indicated how much milk was removed when your baby ate? Fortunately there are other ways to measure milk intake when a baby is breastfeeding.
Your baby should eat at least 8 times every 24 hours. If your baby is eating and not just sucking, you will be able to observe swallows. Swallows will be infrequent immediately after birth, but will gradually increase to about 1 swallow per second around day 4 or 5. Continue reading
I hear this almost every day: My baby had to have formula in the hospital because I didn’t have any milk. Or, My baby wanted to breastfeed constantly so the nurse gave him formula.
Way too many healthy newborns are given formula in the first 48 hours after birth. New moms are often told that their baby is “starving” because they “don’t have milk yet.” Unfortunately, frequent feedings are seen as a sign of inadequate milk production instead of a sign of a healthy baby who is learning to breastfeed. Continue reading
Myth: It’s normal to have sore, cracked nipples the first few weeks of breastfeeding.
One of the most common reasons women give for not initiating breastfeeding is “I’m afraid that it will hurt.” Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt! Ever! Think of all the mammals who nurse their babies. Are they grimacing? Are they trying to avoid breastfeeding because of pain? Absolutely not. They look peaceful and relaxed. We are mammals too! Breastfeeding is a normal process that is meant to be enjoyable for mother and baby.
So, what are normal sensations when breastfeeding? Continue reading
Why do some mothers seem to be overflowing with milk and others barely keep up with their babies? The answer to that questions remains a mystery. We do know, however, which practices enhance milk production and what may decrease milk supply.
Newborns need to eat frequently. All that early suckling before your milk “comes in” helps set the tone for later milk production. Think of as your baby placing an order to be filled at a later date. On the other hand, restricting breastfeeding in the first few days may lead to decreased milk production overall. Continue reading
Do you feel that you are breastfeeding “all the time”? Does it seem that your baby is never really satisfied at the breast? Is your baby wakeful? Fussy? Sometimes, despite doing all the “right” things, you may find yourself producing less milk than your baby needs. Here are some things you can try:
- First, check with your lactation consultant or pediatrician to get an accurate weight for your baby. Then you will know if your baby needs some extra nutrition while you are working on your supply. Continue reading
As I’ve stated many times to anyone who will listen, nipple shields can be helpful if a baby is having trouble breastfeeding. In the wrong hands, however, they can be downright dangerous. Just today I saw 2 moms who were given nipple shields in the hospital within 48 hours of their babies’ birth. Their 2 stories had very different outcomes.
Story number 1: Three -week- old baby. Mom given nipple shield day 2 because baby was having a hard time latching. Baby was able to latch with the shield, but he nursed for 45 minutes to an hour each feeding and never seemed satisfied. Things seemed to go OK the first week, but at a routine check-up 2 weeks later, baby hadn’t gained any weight. The pediatrician told mom to start supplementing immediately and referred her to me. I saw her the next day. Continue reading
Nipples shields are molded silicone “nipples” that fit over a natural nipple. They look a bit like a sombrero, and the rim or base of the shield extends out about an inch to adhere to the breast. There are usually 4 holes in the nipple that mom’s milk can flow through. They are very thin and made in several sizes and styles. They are designed so that baby can latch on to the shield and get milk from mom.
So why on earth would anyone want to use a plastic nipple?
Nipples shields can be helpful when a baby is unable to form a strong vacuum at the natural breast. Sometimes, if baby’s tongue is not doing what it should, a nipple shield can enable a baby to breastfeed who otherwise would need to be bottle fed. Continue reading
“I’m pregnant with my second child and planning to breastfeed. I had an extremely challenging experience with my daughter and ended up exclusively pumping for about 5 months. My confidence level is pretty low, so I’m planning for lactation support soon after my baby is born. I was wondering if you offer prenatal consultations or if you would recommend I sign-up for a breastfeeding class.”
Yes! A prenatal consultation or private breastfeeding class would be perfect for you. You can address your specific challenges and fears in a safe, private setting.
Many lactation consultants are happy to meet with you prior to your baby’s birth to help prevent problems. It can be very helpful to establish a relationship with someone before a situation is urgent and you’re feeling stressed. These prenatal meetings are particularly helpful under the following circumstances. Continue reading
Help for sore nipples.
Breastfeeding should be enjoyable for you and your baby! If either one of you is not having a good time, something is not right. As a new mom, you have instincts to guide you. Your baby has instincts and very strong reflexes to guide him. But neither one of you has ever done this before and, most likely, you have never seen a baby breastfeeding. It’s likely you will need some help.
Contact a lactation consultant immediately if you experience any of the following: Continue reading
Breastfeeding is a normal, biological process for babies and moms. It is not a “condition” that requires medical training. Your doctor helps you with medical concerns. A lactation consultant will help you with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants may work in hospitals, clinics or may come to your home.
A lactation consultant is a skilled healthcare professional who specializes in the science of human lactation (breastfeeding), and in the assessment of breastfeeding women and their babies. Lactation consultants come from a variety of professional backgrounds. To ensure that a consultant has the minimum competencies recognized in the field, see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). “Breastfeeding specialists” or “lactation educators” have not met those minimum competencies. Continue reading