Breastfeeding Support Resources

I hope you enjoyed my first blog series this month! Next week I will begin a blog series on Babywearing! We will be addressing the benefits for both mama and baby, it's use in a more clinical practice, as well as how to find the best carrier for your family. I have listed some resources for my previous blog series. I often find myself checking and re checking sources when I read informal blog topics, so to make it easier for those that do - here they are:

"Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding" by Jack Newman, Teresa Pitman


The Importance of Breastfeeding Support, and How to Decide What Works for You

Last week we addressed the first few days of being home with baby and breastfeeding. Between adding new responsibilities to your previous agenda and waiting for your milk supply to drop, you can accrue quite a lot of stress. 

This is why breastfeeding support is so important in the early stages. Once you find a rhythm, it will simply be clockwork, but you have to put in the time to find that rhythm. Thankfully, most hospitals have seen the value in lactation support and now offer the support of a Lactation Consultant (LC). The LC will be able to show you multiple ways to find the best latch for you and baby. All latches vary because all breasts are different. Also, consider keeping your baby in your recovery room with you, this way you can allow for cluster feeding and nipple stimulation to bring your milk in faster. If your baby is placed in NICU and you are put on a schedule immediately, don’t let this discourage you, you can ask the hospital for a breast pump to stimulate between each feeding with baby. Some mothers will be asked to supplement with formula; again, don’t let this discourage you; You can continue to nurse in addition to the supplements. Once baby surpasses his/her birth weight, you should have no problem continuing to breastfeed.

 Some women find the first few days home with baby a bit daunting. Those feelings of inadequacy come back, and they feel like the baby is always on the breast. They panic and forget the tips given, and with the lack of sleep, everything can be very overwhelming. Now a’ days, there are resources for the family to have in their own home. Lactation Consultants, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), as well as Postpartum Doulas will make house calls. Which one is best for you? An LC will help reinstate those tricks learned in the hospital before coming home. An IBCLC will virtually do the same; however, they will be able to assess baby’s latch, in addition to diagnosing a tongue tie on baby, and refer you to a physician that can correct it. Tongue ties are common, and easily corrected. IBCLCs are also great for assisting in better milk production. Some mothers experience low lactation due to meds they take, or previous breast reduction surgery. A Postpartum Doula can assist you in establishing breastfeeding in addition to helping you create the most nurturing space for you and your family.  A PPD can be available in the afternoons to help you attain the goals you have for the house to give you time with the baby, or take the baby while you shower and nap. They even hang out with your other little ones and make sure they are adjusting to having a new baby home. PPDs also offer overnight assistance so you can maintain your feeding schedule, but still get adequate sleep.

It is important to remember that you are human, and you can’t do everything at once. These resources are put in place to help build your confidence as a mother, and to help ease you into the transition. Try and practice as much patience as you can muster, and don’t be hard on yourself, breastfeeding is sure to become an everyday thing added to your agenda.

Here's a list of some of Austin areas own Breastfeeding Support:

The Importance of Breastfeeding Support, and How to Decide What Works For You

Last week we talked about the physical changes in our body that supports the nature of breastfeeding. This week we talk about how the process of breastfeeding begins. 

Mothers produce colostrum in the beginning stages of baby’s life. Colostrum is a highly nutritional substance that helps prepare baby’s system to digest. It is low in fat, and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to keep baby healthy. Women begin producing this in the late stages of pregnancy in preparation for the first feeding. It comes in small doses (measurable in teaspoons), yet it is highly nutritional and maintains baby until mother’s breast milk comes down. Colostrum will also help baby pass his/her first stools, which can help prevent jaundice. Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for baby, it helps in mother’s recovery as well. By stimulating your nipples it helps shrink the uterus, and prevents the potential postpartum hemorrhage.  It also burns calories and can help in losing your pregnancy weight.

Breast milk will take time to come down. The time can very between 3-7 days; every woman is different. For some women this can seem alarming, or make them feel inadequate, but truly it is completely normal. In the first week, baby will do what is called cluster feeding. Having baby at the breast as often as baby wants will help your body to produce the amount of milk necessary for baby. The first few weeks can seem very agitating, with thoughts that you are not providing for your baby, or that your milk is not enough for baby. The truth is, your body and baby are developing a system for the best possible breast milk ever. By allowing your baby to be at the breast, the stimulation will bring your milk down in the amount your baby needs.

Your body takes cues from your baby and it's demands. Finding a schedule with your baby's feedings will be helpful in reducing the stress of making breastfeeding work for both you and baby. Next week I will fill you in on the many resources in support of breastfeeding, and how you can use them to best benefit your experience. 

The Importance of Breastfeeding Support, and How to Decide What Works for You

Preparing for a new baby can be exciting and daunting all at once. It’s hard not to hold yourself to a certain standard before baby even arrives. Luckily, there is a slew of information out there to help you prepare for this exciting change in your life. Take breastfeeding for example: the general consensus regarding breastfeeding is that it is the best and most natural way to feed your baby. While that may be true, we have lost sight of how challenging it can be. Over time, we have developed an entire industry to supporting breastfeeding mothers. I’m going to take you through the general facts of breastfeeding, how it can benefit both you and baby, and how to master it.

Unlike our animal counterparts, human babies are born physically and neurologically underdeveloped. Breastmilk has a highly nutritional blend that benefits both baby’s mental and physical growth. You will notice a change in your nipples during pregnancy. Those little bumps on your areola will swell a bit, those are the Montgomery Glands. These glands are highly important in the process of breastfeeding. They secrete an oil to keep the surface clean, in addition to tracking your baby’s digestion needs. When your baby’s saliva comes in contact with the Montgomery Glands, they send a message to your body to produce certain nutrients for baby. They even alert your body of your baby getting sick, sending a message to your white blood cells in order to produce antibodies for whatever illness your baby contracted. According to the Center for Disease Control, breastfed babies are less likely to develop diseases early in life.

Pretty wild huh?! Our bodies have all the right mechanics to support the health of our offspring. We even gain information biologically through kissing our babies on the forehead-that is a whole other blog topic. It really does offer another perspective on a mother's intuition. 

Next week I will cover coping with the first few days after delivery. I vow to stay diligent in posting, give or take the normal bumps in life's road. Thank you for participating, and I look forward to keeping the conversation going!!