The Lactation Consultant is Coming! How do I Prepare?

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Getting some reassurance from an IBCLC

You have just had a baby. You’ve always known you would breastfeed, but things are not going well. Perhaps your nipples are sore. Or you’re struggling with engorgement. Maybe you’re worried about milk supply. Or your baby has hard time latching. Or maybe you just have a lot of questions. In any case, you and your healthcare provider have decided you need the help of an expert. It’s time to call a lactation consultant.

You’re happy to hear that the lactation consultant (IBCLC) your doctor recommends will come to your home to help you. You make an appointment with the consultant, and then you wonder….”What should I do in preparation for her visit?” Continue reading

My Baby is Tongue Tied?

 

Type I tongue tie–tip of tongue “tied” to floor of mouth.

My lactation consultant told me my baby is tongue tied and she needs to get her frenulum clipped so she can breastfeed. What is a frenulum? Why does my baby need this procedure?

The frenulum is a (usually) thin, fibrous band of connective tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The mere existence of a lingual (tongue) frenulum is not an indicator of a problem. The important thing is whether the frenulum restricts the movement of the tongue in a way that interferes with its normal functions.  If it does, your baby has a condition known as tongue tie or ankyloglossia. 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

My Baby Won’t Latch!

I hear this phrase several times a week. It troubles me because it implies that the baby is unwilling breastfeed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You baby was born to breastfeed! She is hard-wired to seek comfort and nutrition from you breasts. This is, after all, how babies survive! When a baby is unable to latch and breastfeed it simply means that she is unable to latch and breastfeed—not that she is unwilling! Continue reading

Let Your Baby Lead with the Latch!

As a mother, you want to help your baby breastfeed. But often our help results in uncomfortable, ineffective breastfeeding. Many of you have already experienced the “help” of a well-intentioned nurse or lactation consultant who forces a baby to the breast against his will. Ramming a baby to the breast will only result in frustration and tears for everyone. In addition, a baby treated this way may learn to avoid the breast altogether.

Healthy newborns are equipped with instincts and reflexes that facilitate breastfeeding. Continue reading