Sometimes breastfeeding mothers find themselves with breastfeeding problems (including sore or damaged nipples, recurrent plugged ducts, mastitis or thrush, vasospasm, low milk supply or over supply) or a baby who isn’t gaining well, has difficulty latching, makes clicking sounds, or chokes frequently, despite their best attempts to correct positioning and breastfeed frequently and effectively.
This is the seventh and last in a series of posts and videos describing how effective positioning promotes effective latching. In this video I describe how to troubleshoot and fix a painful latch by changing the baby's position.
The first step is to check the elements of an effective latch to see what is out of place:
This is the sixth in a series of posts and videos describing how effective positioning promotes effective latching. In this video I describe the side-lying position. This position can be helpful for nighttime feedings because often the mother can doze or even sleep while her baby breastfeeds. This position can be helpful for mothers with a fast flow or heavy milk ejection reflex. It can work for very young and older babies, although many first time mothers need a few weeks to a few months before they feel confident with this position.
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This is the fifth in a series of posts and videos describing how effective positioning promotes effective latching. In this video I describe the koala position. This position often works well for mothers with a fast flow or heavy milk ejection reflex, babies with head or neck pain after birth, and babies with reflux. It can also be useful for a baby who has nasal congestion. It can work well for very young and older babies.
This is the fourth in a series of posts and videos describing how effective positioning promotes effective latching. In this video I describe the clutch or football position. This position often works well for mothers with large breasts and mothers of multiples. It can work well for very young and older babies. In this video I demonstrate the correct position and describe some common mistakes and how to avoid them.
A recent client gave me permission to share her story along with some youtube videos she made. Her videos document the process she went through and you can read her story in her own words in the “About” section of each video. To protect their privacy I will call mother Amy and baby Trina (not their real names) in this post. Amy and Trina had a rough start to breastfeeding. Trina was born full-term by emergency cesarean and spent her first week in the NICU receiving IV antibiotics.
This is the third in a series of posts and videos describing how effective positioning promotes effective latching. In this video I describe the cradle position. This position often works well for mothers of babies a few months old or older. It is a position we see frequently and many mothers expect to breastfeed in this position. In this video I demonstrate the correct position and describe some common mistakes.
This is the second in a series of posts and videos describing how effective positioning promotes effective latching. In this video I describe the cross cradle position. This position often works well for new mothers in the first weeks and months of breastfeeding.
This story was written by a mother I worked with recently and is shared with her permission. We both hope her story will help other families dealing with tongue tie by giving them a glimpse into the process of diagnosis, decision making, treatment and recovery.
"I noticed something wasn’t quite right the first time Mr. T, my third baby, nursed after he was born. It hurt. Nursing isn’t supposed to hurt, right? I assumed since I hadn’t nursed through pregnancy this time, it was just like having nipples of a first time mom, tender. Maybe. Big maybe.
Many mothers wonder if they are latching their babies correctly and how to position their babies most effectively. Latch is how the baby attaches to the breast and it is important to get a a good latch so that the baby will be able to get milk effectively and prevent nipple soreness.
I have recently had the privilege of working with a couple of mothers before the birth of their babies. Each knew she was at risk for low milk supply and breastfeeding difficulties and wanted to set out a plan to get breastfeeding off to the best start possible.
As a lactation consultant, clients like this are some of my favorites to work with. The motivation level is high, and there is so much more that can be done to prevent and minimize difficulties if you start early.
I am pleased to be offering a breastfeeding workshop for doulas at the Santa Barbara Birth Center Annex (2958 State St Santa Barbara, CA) on April 13th from 8:30 am - noon. This 3.5 hour class meets the requirement for DONA certification, and it's great information for anyone working with breastfeeding mothers. Space is limited so register early!
I received Florence Williams’ book, Breasts, for Mother's Day last year. It’s a fascinating book, whether or not you are someone (like me) who works with women and their breasts on a regular basis. Breasts turn out to be an incredibly complex topic which she explores from a variety of angles. I cannot do this incredible book justice in a blog post, but hope to share with you some of the information I found most interesting and surprising.
I recently attended a webinar with the subtitle, “Why Do Babies Suck So Much?” This tongue-in-cheek description of newborns is a great way to begin a discussion about what happens for mothers and infants during the first days and weeks of breastfeeding.
Paced bottle feeding is a method of bottle feeding that is designed to mimic breastfeeding. There are many reasons families might decide to try it.
Some mothers find that when they return to work and their babies are receiving breastmilk or formula from a bottle in childcare, their babies become less interested in breastfeeding at home and some may even refuse the breast.
Early parenthood is a challenging time for most parents. They are bombarded with advice and suggestions about how to cope and get through that first year. The advice comes from everywhere: family members, friends, neighbors, healthcare providers, books, websites and random people at the grocery store to name just a few. Much of the advice is conflicting. Some suggest putting baby on a feeding and sleeping schedule from an early age. Others say to follow baby’s cues for everything.
Too much milk? Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies. Can there really be such a thing as too much of it?
Some mothers find that in the early weeks as their milk comes in, their baby begins to show signs of struggling with their mother’s overabundant supply and the strong let-down reflex that often accompanies it. To those struggling to increase their milk supply, this may sound like a wonderful problem to have, but it can actually be a frustrating and confusing time for mothers and babies in this situation. The good news is that decreasing supply is always possible and almost always straightforward.
The most recent issue of the Journal of Human Lactation has a fascinating article entitled, “The Concept of Milk Kinship in Islam: Issues Raised when Offering Preterm Infants of Muslim Families Donor Human Milk.”
Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand basis and the majority of women can and do make enough milk for their babies. Every woman’s body is unique, and while some women’s bodies make more milk than their babies need, others struggle to make enough. Milk supply is a complex topic and the information I give here may not meet everyone’s specific needs or fit every situation.
I recently had the honor of being invited to speak at a nearby International Cesarean Awareness Network group meeting. I spoke on the topic, “Healing After A Cesarean.” Upon reflection, I think that a lot of what I talked about to the ICAN group applies to mothers who feel disappointed with their breastfeeding experience.
Many mothers have difficult experiences with breastfeeding and stop before they had hoped to. This can be devastating to come to terms with, and it is even harder if the mother does not understand the reasons breastfeeding didn’t work out for her and her baby.
Many families wonder what to do when those first baby teeth come in. Can babies really get cavities? Should we brush our baby’s teeth? If so, should we use toothpaste? Floss? How often? If my baby does get cavities, then what?
I do not have all the answers, but hope that the tips and links below will be enough to get parents pointed in the direction of useful resources as they begin to explore this topic.
The big question - does breastfeeding cause tooth decay? - is not as straightforward as it might seem. From various sources I have compiled the following:
I told my husband I was going to blog about nursing strikes and he said, “Tell the moms to improve working conditions! Increase wages! Negotiate with the unions!” Funnily enough, his joking response may not be too far off the mark...
How Do I Know If My Breastfed Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?
One of the ways breastfeeding is very different from bottle feeding is that it is hard to tell how much milk a baby is taking at a feeding. This leaves many mothers wondering if their baby is getting enough to eat.
Jaundice is a common condition in newborns during the first few weeks of life. Before babies are born, they need extra red blood cells. Once they are born and begin breathing air, they no longer need as many red blood cells and the extras must be broken down by the body. A by-product of this process is a substance called bilirubin which causes the yellowish skin color characteristic of jaundice. The bilirubin is processed by the baby’s liver and is eliminated through the stools. This process occurs smoothly in the majority of newborns and at least 50% of breastfed newborns will experience some level of newborn jaundice. Some research has shown that bilirubin, which is an antioxidant, may actually benefit newborns. In many cases all that is required with newborn jaundice is monitoring. With frequent breastfeeding, most babies will pass enough stools to keep their bilirubin levels within safe limits and breastfeeding can continue uninterrupted.
As we work to promote and encourage breastfeeding, a lot of emphasis is given to all of the reasons breastfeeding is great for babies. I will make that the topic of a future post, but today I want to focus on why breastfeeding is great for moms.
There are many things families can do to prepare for breastfeeding. While we never know exactly how the birth and other events in the early days are going to go, here are some things partners and other family members can do that will generally help get breastfeeding going smoothly.
There are many things moms can do to prepare for breastfeeding. While we never know exactly how the birth and other events in the early days are going to go, here are some things moms can do that will generally help get breastfeeding going smoothly. (My next post will be about how partners can help get breastfeeding off to a great start!)
“My baby is gassy. Is it something I ate?” As a lactation consultant, this is a question I hear frequently from mothers of young babies. Many babies who are less than 3-4 months old can be gassy and uncomfortable, during, after or between feedings. This leaves many mothers wondering if something in their diet is contributing to their baby’s discomfort.
Many mothers want or need to express milk for their babies at one time or another. Some mothers need to express their milk if their babies go to theNICU because they are born early, or for some other reason. Many mothers need to express if they are going to work and want to leave breastmilk for their babies.