Breastfeeding seminars

When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Come Naturally

New mothers often hear “breastfeeding is natural,” but for many, that doesn’t always sound like it.

I am a mom, nurse, certified lactation consultant and mom of four young children. I consider myself very well versed in the ins and outs of breastfeeding. However, when I gave birth to my fourth child about seven months ago, all did not go well. As we left the hospital, we struggled with a painful latch due to the pregnancy of my baby. lip and tongue tie – a band of tissue that attaches the tip of the tongue to the floor of the mouth – as well as bleeding nipples and newborn jaundice. The transition at home was difficult, but we experienced it as a team.

Breastfeeding is not an all-or-nothing method of feeding your baby – every mother’s journey is different, with some exclusively breastfeeding, some pumping, others supplementing with formula – and it has both triumphs and struggles that can come and go throughout breastfeeding. journey.

I found this point really resonates with a lot of new mothers out there. In 2020, I created a website offering guides and online courses to help new moms with breastfeeding and infant care, and started a Instagram Feed for the parents. In both cases, breastfeeding questions and concerns are always front and center.

Yes, breastfeeding can be extremely enjoyable and make a mother proud, but it can also feel very lonely and isolated when there are difficulties in making it work. There’s so much to navigate not just in the early days, but even in the later months. Parents need help to learn how to handle different situations, but they also need the support of a community.

Feeding my daughter taught me what it means for the body to need help

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding.

After the baby is born, what should I give her until my milk ‘comes’? I’m afraid the baby is hungry.

Your body actually starts producing a substance called “colostrum” or “first milk” during the second trimester of pregnancy. Colostrum is a thick, nutrient-rich substance that can nourish your baby through mature milk production. If you’ve decided to breastfeed your new baby, it’s important to breastfeed or express your milk frequently for the first few days as your body transitions from producing colostrum to mature milk. This usually happens between three and seven days after giving birth, with the huge change in hormones after birth. Whether it’s a breastfed baby or a breast pump in the first few days, the milk will probably not come out in large quantities. But these frequent breastfeeding sessions actually give your body signals that there is a “demand” for mature milk. During this time, it’s important to work with your healthcare team to make sure your baby is latching on well — mother and baby may need some practice to get a good latch — and to check that your breast pump fits/works effectively if you pump. It’s also important to follow up with your baby’s pediatrician to check their weight to make sure your baby is getting enough milk through breastfeeding and is developing well.

Why do we understand so little about breastfeeding?

I heard that breastfeeding was painful at first, is that true?

Although breastfeeding your baby in these early days may cause nipple soreness, it shouldn’t be painful. If there is pain, it is a sign that something needs to be adjusted. This may be related to positioning while breastfeeding, the baby not latching deep enough, or oral attachments in the baby’s mouth – which impede tongue movement. You can hire a lactation consultant if you don’t know what to look for. It is important during this time to work on finding and correcting the cause of the pain. It’s also important to take care of yourself and your body – there are nipple balms, creams and gel pads that provide soothing relief while you and the baby get used to breastfeeding.

My baby started sleeping longer at night. Do I need to wake up to pump in the middle of the night to keep producing enough milk?

Typically, your body will adapt to meet increased demand from your baby during the day, allowing for those longer nighttime stretches without the mother having to wake up to empty the breast through breastfeeding or pumping. With this change, you may notice your breasts feel hard and engorged at night as your body adjusts. It is important, especially during this time, to take care of yourself physically and keep yourself comfortable. If you wake up engorged and uncomfortable in the middle of the night, you can use a pump or manual express to draw enough milk to feel relief, but not enough to empty the breast, which would signal the body to continue to produce this. lots of milk at night. Some people, however, find that not breastfeeding at night due to a baby’s change in sleep affects their milk supply – reducing it – during the day. In this case, you may need to add a middle-of-the-night pumping session or a “dream feed” – where you offer your baby a breastfeeding session while he sleeps – back into your routine. . Every woman is different and how her body adapts to different situations can vary.

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Should I start saving milk for my return to work?

First things first: you don’t have need a freezer full of milk to get back to work. You only need enough milk saved to last the next day away from your baby. If you work away from home, you should find a quiet, private place to express your milk to replenish the breastmilk the baby uses every day. However, some women like to try pumping a little “extra” every few days or so to keep them in the freezer. In case. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, look for opportunities to collect milk, especially during the first few weeks of maternity leave.

When you breastfeed your baby, milk usually flows from both breasts, although you can only have your baby on one breast at a time. Many women like to use breast “shells”, which cover the breast and catch leaks, or a silicone hand pump, like the Haakaa pump, which attaches to the non-breastfed breast, while the baby suckles from the other side . A few weeks after giving birth, some women also begin to introduce one session a day with their electric breast pump per day to collect “extra” milk to store for later. It also allows you to familiarize yourself with your pump before returning to work. Remember that even a little a day adds up over time.

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How long should I breastfeed?

Many women choose to continue breastfeeding after returning to work, and some choose not to. It’s important to find what works best for you and your family and your work/life balance, as well as for your mental health. Some mothers choose to continue breastfeeding as much as they can in their new schedule, some right after the workday is over, some right at bedtime (or upon waking), and some not at all. Studies have shown that the health benefits of breastfeeding can last well beyond a year, both for the baby when the milk changes and for the breastfeeding mother. There isn’t a “switch” that flips at six or 12 months where breastmilk is no longer beneficial. It is important that parents feel educated and supported in their decisions, whether to stop breastfeeding or to continue beyond a certain point.

Karrie Locher is a Mom/Baby Registered Nurse and mother of four children ages 5 and under. She runs karingforpostpartum.com which offers online courses for new parents and an online Instagram community for parents on www.instagram.com/karrie_locher/