Nipple Confusion…Really?

I have never, in all my years of breastfeeding help, seen a case of nipple confusion. There, I said it. For many years I thought I saw it. I bought the whole concept that introduction of bottles too early would cause a baby to reject his mother’s breast. That somehow the baby would get “confused” and suddenly not know how to breastfeed.

So what made me change my tune? The babies themselves. They proved to me over and over again that the idea of nipple confusion is nonsense. They showed me that they are infant mammals and that mammals are hard-wired to do this thing we call breastfeeding. And they showed me that they are born to be adaptable and perfectly capable of adjusting to a wide variety of challenges that life doles out on a daily basis. Continue reading

Breast Engorgement and Cabbage Leaves?

Let’s be honest. Overly full, engorged breasts are uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful. Fortunately, under normal circumstances true engorgement can be prevented with frequent breastfeeding in the first few days/weeks after the birth of your baby. Some breast fullness and tenderness is to be expected in the first week postpartum as your breasts prepare to provide nourishment for your baby or babies. It may feel like you have enough milk to feed the entire neighborhood, but keep in mind that much of the swelling you are experiencing is simply that—swelling. It’s not just milk “coming in” that is making your breasts feel so full. After the birth of your baby; water, blood and lymphatic fluid rush to your breasts in preparation for breastfeeding. With adequate breastfeeding, the discomfort usually passes in a day or 2. Many mothers don’t experience anything but mild fullness.

Currently, however, many mothers in the U.S. experience births that are anything but “normal.” Epidural anesthesia requires that mother receive an IV of fluids. Inducing labor with pitocin requires extra fluid. C-sections require IV’s. If a mother receives any extra fluids via IV, she will continue to retain the fluid for some time even after the birth of her baby. That extra fluid often results in swollen ankles, fingers and even breasts! Continue reading

Breastfeeding Help Long Distance

This young mother called me at the urging of a friend who already knew and trusted me. Breastfeeding was very important to Marissa, but she didn’t know how she could go on with so much pain. Normally, I would have seen this mom and baby in person. She lives in another city, however, and she felt most comfortable working with me. I gave her guidance over the phone several times over the course of a few weeks. Since her baby was gaining weight and she had a great milk supply, she just needed some minor adjustments to make breastfeeding comfortable.

Here is a portion of her story: Continue reading

Breastfeeding in Public-The First Time

This is a short story from client who learned something very important from her baby: Breastfeeding can happen anywhere and any time without any special gadgets or preparation.

The first few weeks of breastfeeding Bernie were very draining for me. I was constantly worried that he wasn’t getting enough, taking any unsatisfied looks from him personally and feeling isolated due to the long nursing sessions. I started taking Bernie for daily walks in my neighborhood within days of getting home from the hospital so at three weeks, I thought we could make it three miles around Green Lake without having to stop.   Although I was occasionally pumping, I had not prepared a bottle for this walk and instead fed him before we left and figured I’d feed him again as soon as we got home.  Bernie lasted one mile around the lake before he decided to make me and everyone around us know that he was hungry.  My mother-in-law was along for the walk. Had I been alone, I would have hid behind a tree, but she encouraged me to nurse him on a bench along the trail.

Continue reading