Although breastfeeding is a natural behavior, it is not always instinctive for mom and baby. Whether it is going well or there are struggles, I would like to offer some helpful hints to make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
- Prior to giving birth, check with your OB and your future pediatrician to find out what lactation services are offered. If there are services available, you may want to attend a breastfeeding class or speak with a lactation consultant prior to giving birth. In doing so, you will feel more prepared for breastfeeding your newborn.
- Most hospitals offer lactation support in the form of one-on-one lactation consultants or group classes.
- Mothers who wish to breastfeed should put the baby to the breast as soon as possible (within 2 hours) after giving birth.
- Many parents worry that their baby is not getting enough nutrition in the first few days because mom’s milk may not be in yet. Although this is a common concern, Mother Nature has built in a period of days where baby really only needs what mom has (colostrum). However, the hospital staff will monitor your baby and make suggestions or changes as needed.
- For those mothers whose babies will not latch right away, do not be dismayed. This is a common occurrence, and most issues can be remedied with the help of a skilled lactation specialist. In order to build your milk supply even when your baby isn’t latching, please ask for a hospital grade breast pump, if not already offered by the nurses or lactation staff at the hospital. Pumping your breasts consistently every 2 – 3 hours for 15 – 20 minutes should bring on and maintain your milk supply. Any pumped breastmilk can be offered to your baby while you and baby are working on things.
- Sometimes things are going very smoothly in the hospital, but seem more challenging at home. Reasons for this include change in environment, breast engorgement, very sleepy newborn, and low supply issues. All of these challenges have solutions which can be worked on with an experienced lactation specialist.
- The current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine state that all breastfeeding mothers should have a follow up weight check after their initial newborn visit, ideally with a lactation specialist. This follow up with a lactation specialist can be very helpful even when things seem to be going very well.
- The breastfeeding relationship for mom and baby can be very intense and time consuming. Often, the baby’s non-breastfeeding parent is left wondering what role he/ she plays. In fact, the role is more important than ever. On a very basic level, the non-breastfeeding parent can help bring baby to mom for feedings, do the diaper changes after or before baby has been fed, and keep a watch on mom to make sure she is eating and drinking (which will ensure that she has adequate nutrition to feed the baby). On an emotional level, the non-breastfeeding parent can provide unequivocal support to mom during the post-partum period.
I am committed to supporting breastfeeding families in any way possible. With that being said, each family has their own set of goals and I will tailor my approach to meet the specifics needs and wants of each family. Your agenda is my agenda, and we will work together to make that possible. I welcome Doctors’ Pediatric families as well as families outside the practice looking for a lactation specialist. Please contact our office for more information.