Breastfeeding

Tender Seasons Fearless Nightgown shown in light green

Meet the Visionaries: Unveiling the Minds Behind Tender Seasons, Michigan’s Maternity Wear Icon

Guest blog post by Kayli Joann, Founder & CEO of Tender Seasons.

I stared in the mirror in disgust at the baggy, “cute” nightgown I had purchased for a little getaway with my husband. I was very pregnant and excited to get out of the house for a weekend! I had been on the search for something cute to make me feel pretty and more myself for my husband. This boxy, baggy, “pregnancy/nursing-friendly” nightgown that I had just gotten in the mail was such a disappointment. There had to be better options, I had scoured the internet for hours it seemed to try and find something that I felt confident in, to no avail. 

300x300 holding bb to feed in lace bra by Tender SeasonsAnd that’s how it started. A few months later, newly postpartum and feeling very much a stranger in my body – I sat down with my sketchpad next to our son, sleeping peacefully in his bouncy seat, and started to sketch the very first design that would become a total game changer in my life. Here was born the Fearless Collection nightgown that started Tender Seasons. There had to be better options out there for moms. Something to make us feel confident and pretty in this season of life that is so fragile. We so often feel like we are living in someone else’s body as we navigate pregnancy and postpartum in so many different ways. I just felt like I could do better, to design options for women that would put a total 180 spin on the normal designs for nursing-friendly, and postpartum wear.

It wasn’t long before I asked my sister-in-law to join me on this new adventure, I needed a partner to help me bring my dream to life. And what better option than a fellow mom that was no stranger to postpartum life, who also happened to be family and a dear friend. It became such a work of love for both of us, a passion to do better and make better options for moms that fueled body positivity in multiple ways! We poured our heart and soul into getting Tender Seasons off the ground. Everything from designing our website, to cultivating new product ideas, to photo shoots and product testing. It became so much of what we lived and breathed. 

Since that day, we have strived to keep the vision that started it all alive and thriving. To design maternity and nursing wear that combines comfort, functionality, and allure. Our goal is for you 
to feel beautiful and confident throughout every stage of motherhood”.

We have since designed more nightgowns, nursing bras, baby swaddles, and even commissioned a friend to make our famous all-over-baby balm that continues to be a mom favorite. 

This has not just been about starting a business to help our families financially, or provide a sense of purpose to “mom life”. Tender Seasons has been a game changer in the lives of so many women. We want to create a sense of belonging and community here. For moms to feel confident using our products. To know they’re beautiful and strong in every single season of motherhood. It’s not easy, each phase brings new challenges, hills, and valleys. We want moms to know they aren’t alone!

We’ve now been honored to be mentioned and loved in so many households across the United States. Our business has grown enough now that we are able to give back as well! Now, when moms shop with us, a portion of their purchase goes to a non-profit called Carry Them Ministries. A body of incredible people who have come together to provide nutritional and breastfeeding support to moms and infants in Nigeria. This has always been a dream of mine, to give back. And seeing it come to fruition is absolutely an emotional experience. We are working towards the day when Tender Seasons will be a casual household name in the world of mom brands. We’re getting there! 

We hope and pray always that our designs can make a difference, and that when moms put on our nightgowns or nursing bras they feel absolutely beautiful; because they truly are.

Meet the Visionaries: Unveiling the Minds Behind Tender Seasons, Michigan’s Maternity Wear Icon Read More »

Payal Adhikari resting her head on her hands wearing a black hat and black top against a brick wall

Breastfeeding and Infant Gut Health 101

Payal Adhikari, M.D. is a pediatrician and Clinical Implementation Director for Infinant Health. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and lived in Singapore prior to settling in Chicago with her husband and two kids. She encourages her patients to have fun with parenting and believes in the power of the microbiome to influence positive health outcomes.

Breastfeeding and Infant Gut Health 101

Breastfeeding can be a full-time job – Moms are literally dissolving their own bodies to feed their babies! Did you know that 15% of your hard-earned breast milk could be completely wasted by your baby? Human Milk Oligosaccharides, or HMOs, are the 3rd most abundant solid component of breast milk (after fats and lactose); While fats and lactose are food for your baby, the role of HMOs is to feed your baby’s microbiome, creating a calm and healthy gut. However, most babies in the U.S. are missing the key bacteria they need to digest HMOs, causing them to get pooped right out!

Researchers at UC-Davis Foods for Health Institute and Infinant Health extensively studied the stools of breastfed babies and found that there is a way to restore your baby’s gut microbiome, allowing them to use all the nutrients moms work so hard to create.

How do babies get their gut bacteria?

Infants are born with a clean slate. Their guts are nearly sterile and ready to be filled with bacteria from their environment – from the birth canal, mom’s skin, and even mom’s poop! Many years ago, babies were exposed to Bifidobacterium Infantis EVC001, whose job was to consume HMOs from breast milk. Due to the unintended consequences of modern practices (c-sections, antibiotics, even daily showering!), 90% of babies in the U.S. do not have this important strain of bacteria and are unable to utilize HMOs.

Why does my baby need a healthy gut microbiome?

Research shows that our gut health impacts many aspects of our overall health. Our microbiome’s influence extends far beyond the gut to provide signals to our neurologic, metabolic, and immune systems. Our gut bacteria have an important job to do!

Did you know that 80% of our immune system is in our gut? Research suggests that a healthy gut microbiome in babies supports the development of a stronger immune system
throughout life. It also has been shown to reduce “bad” bacteria that can cause inflammation. These “bad” bacteria have been linked to potential health issues such as allergies and other autoimmune diseases and baby ailments like colic and eczema.

How do I know if my baby needs a probiotic?

Research shows that gut health impacts the entire body, not just the gut. Infant dysbiosis describes changes in the baby’s microbiome that can be associated with various diseases due to abnormalities in the gut flora. The most common signs of dysbiosis and poor gut health are:

• Gas/fussiness

• Diaper rash

• Eczema

• Sleep disturbance

These symptoms are related to inflammation from an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria such as E. Coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus. Bifidobacterium Infantis EVC001, a “good” bacteria, reduces the growth of bad bacteria in your baby’s gut by 80%.

Almost 25% of babies suffer from colic, which is thought to be caused by an immature digestive system and these inflammatory bacteria – Introduction of
Bifidobacterium Infantis EVC001 reduces this inflammation by up to 98%, leading to less gassy, less inflamed, and generally happier babies!

In addition, babies born via C-section (almost ⅓ of babies in the U.S.) miss out on many beneficial bacteria from mom during birth, and babies who get antibiotics that can alter their gut flora can benefit from probiotics to help restore their microbiomes.

There are so many probiotics on the market – How do I choose?
Probiotics are a broad and overwhelming category of supplements! Like antibiotics, probiotics serve different purposes depending on who is taking them and for what reason. For breastfed babies, Evivo is the only probiotic that contains B. Infantis EVC001. While other probiotics may have different strains of B. Infantis, Evivo is the only one that can fully consume all of the HMOs in breast milk.

After introducing Evivo, the beneficial bacteria take over your infant’s GI tract, colonizing up to 80% of its surface – Leaving less room for the bad bacteria to thrive! More good bacteria means less gas, less inflammation, and happier babies!

In addition, Evivo colonizes the gut and can stick around long after you stop giving it. The latest research shows that babies given Evivo for the first month of life still had it in their GI tracts at one year of age. Studies also show that Evivo protects the mucin layer of the gut, leading to less mucousy stools. In addition, babies who get Evivo have less diaper rash and fewer, less watery stools per day; happier babies with less diapers to change for parents!

What if my baby is getting some formula?
Fed is best! We believe in finding a feeding plan that is right for your family. More than 70% of families in the U.S. combination-feed with formula or use formula exclusively. So how does Evivo play into families who aren’t exclusively feeding human milk?

Evivo only needs a small amount of breast milk to colonize your baby’s gut. Therefore, Evivo can be given with a combination of breast milk and formula and still gives your baby all the benefits from B. Infantis EVC001.

How do I give Evivo to my baby?
Babies can start taking Evivo as soon as they are born. Evivo comes in little sachets (much like tea!); Give your baby one sachet each day. Remember, the earlier you start, the more room your baby has for the good bacteria to take over. You can:

• Mix it with a few milliliters of breast milk and offer via syringe.

• Mix the powder with breast milk to form a paste; Apply the paste directly to your nipple before nursing.

• Put the powder directly into a bottle of breast milk or formula that you know your baby will finish.

You can order Evivo directly from www.evivo.com, from Amazon, or even add it to your baby registry.

How do I know if Evivo is working?
Most of the benefits of a healthy gut microbiome are long-term, but parents report some exciting short-term benefits as well: After one week of use, parents report decreased gas, diaper rash, colic, and improved sleep. Babies also usually have fewer and better formed, less watery stools – Who wouldn’t want to change less poopy diapers?

Breastfeeding and Infant Gut Health 101 Read More »

Father holding his baby while baby holds onto his finger

Newborn Sleep – What New Parents Should Expect

New parents often have unrealistic expectations about sleep when they bring a baby home. Some parents think they will get to sleep a lot because a newborn sleeps a lot. I’ve heard other parents say they don’t think they will get any sleep for weeks or months. I’m here to tell you that neither of those are true.

Yes, a newborn does sleep a lot. Yay! But they also need to feed often. Like every hour or two in the beginning. All day and all night! So while your newborn may sleep 19 hours in a day, that sleep is happening in several short chunks of time throughout a 24 hour period.

For a breastfeeding mother this is especially hard. She will be feeding her newborn every couple hours and that feeding could take 45 minutes. Let’s put that into perspective. Your newborn wakes to eat at 2:00am. You are done feeding at 2:45am, burp and change baby’s diaper, get baby back to sleep, and now it’s 3:00am. Your newborn feeds every 2 hours so that means you have one more hour to sleep until you start this whole process over again. Yikes!

Once a newborn becomes more efficient at feeding (or is bottle fed), they can often go three hours between feedings. This allows you more time to sleep between feeds.

Fathers/partners often wonder what they can do to help an exclusively breastfeeding mother. If/when a mother decides to start pumping, someone else can take over some of the feedings with a bottle. This can be a huge relief to mothers in the night and allows for one longer stretch of sleep. Partners can also help with diaper changes after a feed so Mom can get back to sleep sooner. They can also make sure mom is well fed and hydrated.

For bottle fed babies, fathers/partners/doulas/caregivers can help with feeds in the night while mom sleeps. For instance, mom feeds baby at 9:00pm then goes to sleep. Someone else does the 11:00pm feed, and mom wakes at 1:00 for the next feed. That allowed mom to sleep for four hours. It doesn’t seem like much now, but when you’re sleep deprived, a four hour stretch of sleep is the best gift anyone could give you!

For the first several weeks, there really is no predictability to a newborn. They will sleep a lot and eat a lot, period. If your newborn sleeps for hours at a time without waking to eat though, this is not a bragging right. This is something to call your pediatrician about. Babies need to eat frequently! On the other hand, if your baby doesn’t want to sleep and cries a lot, you should also call your pediatrician.

You get through the first 4-6 weeks or so, you’re sleep deprived and feel a bit hazy, but you start to notice that there are some predictable patterns happening with your baby. For instance, they are feeding approximately every three hours and can stay awake a little bit longer after feeds. What does this mean? They are slowly adjusting to a natural circadian rhythm. Every living thing has a rhythm. Our bodies naturally wake when the temperature warms and the sun rises (we produce serotonin to make us feel awake). When it’s dark and cool, our bodies are ready for sleep (we produce melatonin to make us feel sleepy). 

Follow your baby’s cues during this time. When you notice signs of tiredness, get them into the basinet for a nap. Try to keep them awake for a bit after feeds. Think of this pattern – eat, awake, sleep, eat, awake, sleep. This will do two things for parents:

1- Separate feeds from sleep. This is the number one reason parents call me for help. Their baby is used to only falling asleep while feeding or being held and they can’t sustain that long-term.

2- Awake time after feeds allows for lots of stimulation which makes baby tired for a nap. As a baby gets older, they are more alert and interested in their surroundings. All this mental and physical stimulation helps tire them out for naps.

So what does this mean for parents? Now you know in the initial weeks home with a newborn, don’t expect much sleep. Sleep when you can, limit visitors, and accept help! But after a couple months, you should see some predictability. This is when a baby becomes more efficient at feeding. More calories in during the day means longer stretches of sleep at night. Read that sentence again… I’ll wait. Focus on good feeds during the day and fewer at night as your baby gets older. A hungry baby doesn’t sleep, so good feeds are extremely important.

Your baby will slowly be able to stay awake for longer stretches during the day, creating a predictable nap routine. This allows parents to plan their days knowing when their baby needs to sleep.

Every family is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to sleep. If one parent stays home and does not need a predictable schedule, they may feed on demand and take naps during the day when the baby takes naps. If this works for that family, great! If both parents work, they usually need more structure, so having a predictable feeding and nap schedule, along with a set bedtime and wake time for the baby, is usually necessary. And some families will fall somewhere in between, where they want some structure, but the ability to be flexible. No matter what your parenting style is, don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help. If you need someone to come during the day to watch your baby so you can nap or shower, who do you have that you can ask? A friend or family member? Do you have postpartum doulas in your area? How about overnight sleep? Do you have someone that could stay overnight and help you with feeds so you can get extra rest?

Bottom line, it will be okay! You have resources that can help along the way, use them if you can. There are tons of free feeding support groups. Find other mothers or parents who you can talk to. Hire a sleep consultant if needed (a good one isn’t scary, I promise!). Check with your insurance plan to see what’s covered. You may be able to hire a doula or a lactation consultant. You may be able to take some newborn, breastfeeding, or sleep classes. Knowledge is power, so take the time to find resources that fit your budget and personal needs. 

You’ve got this!

For additional information about pregnancy, birth, parenting, and sleep, check out Ask The Doulas Podcast on whatever podcast platform you listen to.

Alyssa is co-owner of Gold Coast Doulas, co-founder of the BECOMING a Mother course, a Certified Elite Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, a Newborn Care Specialist, and a Certified Infant & Child Sleep Consultant. She offers custom sleep solutions to families across the country to help new parents find balance and rest.

 

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Dr Katie Swanson headshot

Breastfeeding and Tongue Ties

Breastfeeding is Hard Enough…

If you are struggling with breastfeeding or experiencing pain when nursing, there may be a reason. It is not normal to experience pain when nursing and may be a sign of oral restrictions such as lip, tongue, and buccal (cheek) ties that can impact a baby’s ability to breastfeed. Lip, tongue, and buccal ties are bands of connective tissue in the mouth called frenums that are normal structures but when too restrictive, inhibit proper functional movement of the tongue, jaws, and lip muscles leading to pain when nursing and many other issues.

Not every mother will experience pain when nursing if their child has oral restrictions. Sometimes a strong let down can mask the issue since the baby doesn’t have to work as hard to engage with the nipple to feed. However, over time this can lead to a reduction in your milk supply if your baby is not sucking effectively and providing the neurological/hormonal feedback necessary for your supply to stay up.

Your baby will often show physical signs of oral restrictions, including:

– Poor weight gain

– Spits up, vomits frequently

– Makes clicking sounds when nursing

– Shallow latch, difficulty staying latched

– Excessive gag reflex

– Frequently falls asleep nursing

– Very long, frequent feedings

– Gassiness, constipation, or difficulty with bowel movements

– Blistering/callousing of the lips

– A high arched palate

– Open mouth when sleeping

– Diagnosed with colic

All of these are signs and symptoms that are associated with oral restrictions that prevent your baby from creating a deep, comfortable latch. A tongue tie restricts elevation of the tongue to the palate and peristaltic, wave-like motions of the tongue necessary for proper suction of the nipple to the soft palate. Lip and buccal ties restrict lip and jaw movement necessary for a wide mouth opening to bring in and create a good seal around the nipple. You may notice your baby has a small mouth, lip blistering, and trouble flaring the upper lip when lip and buccal ties are present. Without the proper suction and seal of the nipple, babies end up breathing in a lot of air causing excessive spit up, gassiness, pain, and colicky behavior.

A lip, tongue, or buccal tie can contribute to issues later in life if left untreated. Children may have trouble eating solids, issues with speech development, increased risk of dental cavities, and problems with jaw growth. Children with tongue ties have narrow palates from the tongue’s restricted ability to elevate to the roof of the mouth, in turn, a narrow airway contributing to the development of sleep apnea.

A procedure called a frenectomy can be done to remove the extra tissue causing the restricted frenum and create more functional movement to allow your baby to latch and nurse effectively. This procedure is done safely in office using a soft tissue laser that gently vaporizes and cauterizes the tissue versus cutting the tissue, reducing post-operative discomfort for your baby.

A heed of caution if your baby had their tongue tie clipped at the hospital or shortly after birth. There is often remaining tissue that is still restricting tongue movement and preventing your baby from creating a deep, comfortable latch. A consultation with a specially trained pediatric dentist may be helpful if you are still experiencing issues nursing.

There is a lot of training beyond a pediatric residency necessary to understand how to diagnose and treat a tongue tie and other oral restrictions. Many providers are not as familiar with how to diagnose the varying types of tongue ties that exist, including anterior and posterior tongue ties, so they often go undiagnosed, especially if a baby is gaining weight appropriately. If you or your baby are showing any signs of having oral restrictions, I strongly recommend consulting with a pediatric dentist specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of lip, tongue, and buccal ties.

Breastfeeding is hard enough. You and your baby do not need to suffer through the pain and stress oral restrictions can cause. My best advice is to find providers who will listen to your concerns and help you find answers.

Written by Dr. Katie Swanson, Pediatric Dental Specialists of West Michigan
University of Pennsylvania/Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

 

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Kelly Wysocki-Emery

Meet our new IBCLC, Kelly Wysocki-Emery!

We are thrilled to have Kelly join the Gold Coast Team. Many of our doulas have used Kelly personally for lactation consultations with their own children. She comes to us with years of experience and a trusted name in the community.

1) What did you do before you became a lactation consultant?

In a former life, I was on a path to become a counseling psychologist. I was working on grad school in Oklahoma when I had my first baby; my life course then changed dramatically. My undergraduate degrees were in psychology and education, which serendipitously helped in my final career choice as a lactation consultant.

2) What inspired you to become a doula/lactation consultant?

I think it’s so true that we become what we wish we had. I was certified as a doula in the early 90s after having a difficult postpartum period with my first baby. I lived many states away from my family and friends, and felt the isolation and loneliness hard. I also had a rough time breastfeeding. As I crawled out the other side, I decided to help other women who were going through the same experiences I had been through. In the end, I gave up the doula role, went back to nursing school, and continued earning experience and education to become a lactation consultant.

3) Tell us about your family.

I have two adult children, girl and boy (or a woman and a man, now!), and four step-children; so six “kids” in our blended family. Although the kids are spread out over the country, we still get together throughout the year to enjoy each other’s company. My husband is an emergency medicine physician, who also works in medical education at Michigan State University. I am expecting my first grandchild in July of 2020, and am so VERY excited about that!

4) What is your favorite vacation spot and why?

Anywhere I can be warm and near water, and not have to wear shoes or a coat! I’d have to say Greece, if I had to be more specific. I went to Greece to help pregnant/breastfeeding refugee women in 2017, and fell in love with the place so much that two years later I returned for a vacation there with my girlfriends. I definitely will be going back with my husband in the upcoming years. The climate AND the history/culture/people/food of Greece have won over my heart forever.

5) Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

Patty Griffin – She sings the raw truth with her beautiful voice. Got me through my divorce intact.

Beatles – I discovered them in early college and connected immediately.

Eagles – A band from my childhood with so many songs that spark memories for me.

Eminem – Don’t ask me why. I just do. Don’t judge me.

Aerosmith – I have a secret thing for Steven Tyler. Again, don’t ask why. I just do.

6) What is the best advice you have given to new families?

Your baby is going to love you no matter what. Remember the big picture: Lead with love. You are not alone in what you are experiencing, and it can, and does, get better in time. Hang in there!

Oh, and you’re doing much better than you think you are!

7) What do you consider your lactation superpower to be?

I’m pretty good at getting babies off nipple shields. Not every single time, but often I can do it!

8) What is your favorite food?

Lately, I am really enjoying miso soup and sushi at Ando.

9) What is your favorite place in West Michigan’s Gold Coast? 

I’ve moved downtown and live by the Grand River now, so my husband and I really love walking or biking up and down the river, exploring the landscape, watching the fish and birds (the Osprey are our favorite), and seeing the city grow and change each and every year. We can really stare at the water all day and be content.

10) What are you reading now?

Just finished up Tongue Tied by Richard Baxter. Very interesting new research and helpful modalities for babies who are having trouble latching/nursing.

11) Who are your role models?

My mother, who taught me about unconditional love, loyalty, how to work hard and do things that you are afraid to do, how to make people feel welcome, and how to have fun.

My husband for his incredible work ethic and ability to plan for the long-term; I continue to learn so much from him about how to have a healthy relationship with money.

 

Meet our new IBCLC, Kelly Wysocki-Emery! Read More »

Jamie Platt

Jamie’s Breastfeeding Experience: Podcast Episode #76

Jamie Platt, Birth and Postpartum Doula with Gold Coast Doulas, tells us about three completely different breastfeeding experiences with her three children.  This podcast was recorded over a year ago, and Jamie is now a certified lactation counselor.  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Alyssa:  Hi, welcome to another episode of Ask the Doulas.  I am Alyssa, your host for today, and today we have a special guest, Jamie.  Hello!

Jamie:  Hi!

Alyssa:  Thanks for coming!  So we were talking the other day, and you’ve had three really, really different experiences with breastfeeding with your three children.  Tell us a little bit about your three kids and how breastfeeding went differently for each of them.

Jamie:  Sure!  So I have three children.  My oldest son, Noah, is 14.  And then my two younger children are five and three.  So I was a young parent and gave birth to my oldest, Noah, when I was 21.  My breastfeeding journey with him was very short and limited.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and I received a manual pump, I remember, at my baby shower.

Alyssa:  Did you even know what it was?

Jamie:  No!  No one ever showed me how to use it.  I knew what it was for, and that’s it.  And I remember in the hospital, no one ever gave me any tips about breastfeeding.  It was expected that I was going to breastfeed.  My mom breastfed all three of us for over a year.  It was challening not knowing what to do with breastfeeding.  The funniest story I remember from that journey was, since I was young, I went back to work right away.  I was coaching volleyball at the time, and I went to a tournament and coached all day.  I didn’t bring a pump; I didn’t know that I was supposed to be pumping this whole time.

Alyssa:  That’s what this whole manual pump was for!

Jamie!  Yes!  And I looked down during a break at a game, and my shirt was all wet!  I had leaked through my shirt, so I had to put a sweatshirt over me, and of course, it was so hot in the gym all day.  And shortly after that, I stopped nursing.  I don’t recall how old my son was, but it had to be within a month or two.  And so I wish, looking back, that someone had sat down with me, shown me what I needed to do to nurse and to pump, but that didn’t happen.

Alyssa:  Do you think that it lasted such a short period of time because — I mean, did your milk supply just dry up because you were back at work and not pumping?  Or did you just say, I’m so over this; I’m just going to stop?

Jamie:  It’s hard to remember the details.  I just remember stopping.  I was in school at the time and working, and just one day, I stopped.

Alyssa:  So a lot of things all mixed together, I’m sure.

Jamie:  Yeah.  So when my second child was born — he’s five now — I knew I wanted to do things differently.  I was older and wiser; knew a little bit more about breastfeeding, but still not enough to know what to do in certain situations.  I nursed him until he was about 18 or 19 months old.

Alyssa:  Wow!  So you learned a lot more, then.  I mean, in nine years time, to go from one month to 19 months.

Jamie:  True.  There were just a few different barriers along the way.  I was a single parent, so I went back to work when he was around three months old.  However, he wouldn’t take a bottle at the time, so with that situation, my sister came to my home and was watching him for me, but she would bring him to my work, or I would quick drive home on my break just to feed him, and that lasted a good one or two months.  And I knew what to do at the time, as far as I was trying different bottles, but I did feel quite alone trying to figure this out.  And then while working, I pumped for over a year.  Another obstacle I had to overcome was with coworkers.  A friend of mine told me that a coworker complained to my manager that I was still pumping, and my child had reached a year old, so I shouldn’t have these pumping breaks anymore.  And the manager never said anything to me, but I had heard this through the work grapevine.  I also had an experience around the time he was a year old with his pediatrician at the time.  We went in for his one year well child check, and they ask you if you have any questions.  And I asked about nighttime feedings.  I think that’s a popular topic.  He was still feeding through the night, and it didn’t bother me, but at the time, I thought it was something to bring up.  The pediatrician told me that I had to stop nighttime nursing immediately, that she had done it with her kids; he’ll be fine, that he was going to get cavities — which we know from research that that is not true.

Alyssa:  Cavities from breastmilk?

Jamie:  Yes, during the night.  That’s still kind of a popular myth that’s out there.  And the big thing she told me was that he wouldn’t be potty trained by the time he was eight, and that sticks into my mind because she chose the year eight.

Alyssa:  Okay, that’s really confusing.  If you breastfeed your one-year-old at night, they won’t be potty trained when they’re eight?

Jamie:  Yes.  So this wasn’t our usual pediatrician; she had stepped in.  And immediately after she told me these things, I wanted to leave.  I stayed, but she could tell that there was a problem because I was silent.  She asked me if there was anything wrong, and I said yes, I don’t agree with anything that you’re saying!  The visit ended shortly after that.  I was kind of angry that she was telling me these things because I knew better.  So I called my dentist’s office, and I asked them about the cavities with breastfeeding.  I reached out to other individuals that I knew were very knowledgeable about breastfeeding and asked them different questions, and I ended up looking up scholarly articles, anything that had to do with research, that I could bring back to her and tell her that she was wrong.  I ended up calling the office a few days later.  I had all my stuff in front of me when I called.  I spoke to the manager, and I ended up speaking to the pediatrician.  I remember telling her that I felt sorry for her patients that believed everything she told them.  I said, “I am an educated person, but some people might not know as much about breastfeeding or they don’t know to do the research about it before making a decision, and they would go along with what you said.”  And she apologized.  She said she had no research to back up the potty training claim.

Alyssa:  Oh, wow.

Jamie: And she did end up sending me something in the mail, as well.  Ever since that encounter is when I became passionate about breastfeeding and being up to date on the research about it, sharing with others about it.

Alyssa:  And you joined several lactation support groups, correct?  You belong to a couple now?

Jamie:  I am on a couple of local Facebook groups about breastfeeding, and I talk to a lot of my friends about breastfeeding.  I just really want to educate people more about it, after that encounter.  So that’s just when I really started to delve into researching more about breastfeeding and the benefits that it has for both mother and baby.

Alyssa:  So what happened after the pediatrician visit and you realized that information was wrong?  Did you continue nighttime feeds?

Jamie:  I continued nighttime feeds.

Alyssa:  No cavities, and he potty trained?

Jamie:  No cavities, and I left that office and found a new pediatrician.  He’s a healthy, happy little boy.  He did end up weaning on his own because I was pregnant with my youngest at the time, and I could tell that had something to do with that.  But I was the working, pumping mom.  I brought my pump to work every day.  And it is a lot of work to pump at work, making the time to take those breaks.  I worked in a busy medical office, and it is hard to say, “I need to do this for my child,” when you know that other people are picking up your slack for a little bit.  But I think if, as a culture, we all realize that breastfeeding is good for mom; it’s good for babies; it’s good for our society.

Alyssa:  And aren’t there studies that say that women who breastfeed actually overall have a better sense of self-esteem, better sense of self, almost?  Like, they are actually more productive, even though we like to look at them and say, oh, well, I have to pick up your slack while you’re pumping?  Well, you know what, because you’re pumping, you actually are more productive when you are working.  Does that make sense?  I swear I’ve read things about that.

Jamie:  I’m not sure about that, but I do know that research shows that mothers miss less work because their babies are sick less and they’re not taking their kids to the doctor.  So it’s better for the economy overall.  We actually save millions of dollars; the United States saves millions of dollars every year through moms breastfeeding, so it’s important that you support your coworkers if they’re nursing.  It’s for a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things, and it’s great to also find those breastfeeding buddies at work.  I had other moms that nursed.  I had my nice, double electric pump, and it hurt when I pumped, but I never could figure out why, and finally I complained about it to a coworker who was also pumping.  She was a little more experienced mother, and she helped me realize that part of my pump was too small.

Alyssa:  Were the nipple shields too small?

Jamie: The flanges were too small, yeah, so I had to buy new ones, and that made a world of difference.  So it’s really helpful to find a more seasoned breastfeeding friend who can help you along your journey, because there’s lots of little things that you may not know about.

Alyssa:  Or a lactation consultant, right, if you get into those serious binds?

Jamie:  Yes.  Thankfully, I’ve never had mastitis or a clogged duct, but if I did, I definitely would have called a lactation consultant for help.

Alyssa:  So tell us about your third child.  I think your youngest has been a little bit longer, so tell us how that journey went.

Jamie:  Yeah, so my daughter turned three on Halloween, and I am still nursing her.  So this is definitely another new experience for me.  I would never have imagined I would be nursing a child for this long.  I have realized that I did have some preconceived notions about extended nursing; maybe some judgmental thoughts about it, as well.  And I honestly still struggle a little bit with those internally myself as I’m still nursing, thinking, man, you know, you should really stop; you should be done.  And while I would love to be done, I do want my daughter to wean on her own.  I tell myself I am decreasing my risk of ovarian cancer every time I nurse!  Even when you nurse your baby longer than the one or two years, it’s still healthy for Mom and it’s still healthy for Baby, and it’s been a very different experience doing this.

Alyssa:  So tell people what it looks like.  Having a three year old; it’s not going to be nursing every three hours.  Is it a nighttime feed kind of thing, or when she’s sick or tired?  Is it more like a comfort thing almost at this point?

Jamie:  It is more of a comfort thing.  She nurses at night.  However, I’ve been on three or four extended trips, and by extended, I mean I’ve been gone for four to six days at a time at conferences, and thinking every time I leave, this will be our last nursing session, and I come back and I don’t bring it up, but she still wants to nurse.  So it is usually just at night; if she’s feeling sick, then she’ll nurse a little bit more.

Alyssa:  And you don’t lose your milk supply after six days of being gone with no nursing?

Jamie:  I did not.  The first time I went away, she had just turned two, and it was the first time I had ever been away overnight from her, actually, when she was two.  So I did bring a pump with me, but I didn’t produce a lot when I pumped, so I knew that for my next trip, I wasn’t going to bring a pump with me.  But I still have a supply, and I was lucky enough with her, as well, to stay home with her for almost the first full year and nurse, and that was just a blessing.  I hadn’t been able to do that before with a child, and it was so nice not to have to pump for that time!  And then right around a year is when I started nursing school, and so I would pump when I was away from her.  And I finally decided to stop pumping.  Pumping is so hard!  If you’ve done it, you know!  And we’ve just been nursing ever since.

Alyssa:  Well, it sounds like a lovely plan.  You know, you say you had maybe judgments about nursing for that long.  What still bothers you that you think shouldn’t, or what have you had to tell yourself to get those thoughts out of your mind?

Jamie:  It’s still hard to get over the way our culture thinks about breastfeeding.  That you shouldn’t breastfeed in public; Mom should cover up; anything over a certain age is gross or weird, or why are you doing that?  Once they have teeth you should stop; once they start talking and can ask for it, you should stop.  All these different things our culture tells us about breastfeeding is a little backwards.  We know, if we went to a different country or a different culture, that things are definitely different than they are in the United States, but it’s just the media that always sexualizes breastfeeding as well, and you grow up with that.  So you’re growing up in this culture that sexualizes breasts, when we know that you use them also to breastfeed your child!  And so for me, it’s just getting past those thoughts that I’ve had growing up about breastfeeding and just telling myself this is normal and it’s okay to do.  It’s not hurting anyone.  It’s my decision as a mother.  It’s been a really neat and wonderful journey that I never though I’d be on.

Alyssa:  Well, and I imagine nursing a three-month-old and a three-year-old, you’re probably not going to attempt to breastfeed your three-year-old in public.  Or have you?

Jamie:  I don’t, but she doesn’t ask to, either.

Alyssa:  So it’s almost like you guys have this unspoken thing; that it’s something in private that you two do together, and I’m sure it’s still this amazing, beautiful bonding experience, just like it is with a newborn.

Jamie:  Definitely a strong bond, and again, I as a mother and a parent and working, I did reach a time where I wanted to be done.  I’m like, okay, we can be done with this now!  But I’m just letting her take the lead with it, and I can tell you that I do hope she’s done relatively soon!  I have another week-long trip coming up in three weeks.

Alyssa:  Maybe that will be it?

Jamie:  Yeah, we’ll see if that’s the end of our journey.

Alyssa:  You know, I wonder culturally, too, if it was a son who was three, would it be different, because of the sexualization of breasts?  Would it be different if it were a boy?  I don’t know; can they remember that at three when they get older?  I don’t know.  Just a thought that I wonder if that would make a difference.

Jamie:  I’m not sure.  I’m sure that for some people, a boy versus a girl breastfeeding is different.  I’ve had people very close to me tell me I should stop breastfeeding.  This was with my middle son when he was around six months.  I was still nursing, and I got asked, when are you going to stop?  He’s six months old!  And I tried to throw all the evidence-based research at them to show them that this was still okay; the AAP and WHO, all these big organizations say you should breastfeed until one.  And so then I got to one, despite people telling me to stop.  I just pretty much ignored them because I can be stubborn like that, and when he turned one, I got the same comments again.  When are you going to stop?  And it’s funny that once I just plowed through all the negativity and judgmental comments, I haven’t had those same comments with my last child, because I think those people know — well, obviously, she’s three now, but when she was younger, they knew I was going to continue breastfeeding her for as long as I wanted to.  So people may not talk about it a lot, but I have had the challenges at work with comments from people; I’ve had people very close to me have very negative comments about breastfeeding, and you see all the big media stories that just happen to pop up because social media is so prevalent now.  It is everywhere, but there’s all those things that women that you know may be experiencing but they don’t talk about it.  It doesn’t reach the news.  And so we really need to support everyone in their own breastfeeding journey because you don’t know what someone may be going through.

Alyssa:  Right, and I think as postpartum doulas, we have a unique experience and a unique opportunity to deal with this with new moms right when they come home with their babies, to really help support them.  Maybe we are that one person who’s cheering them on, in the face of everyone else who’s saying, why in the world would you do that?  Or isn’t that weird?  I remember having friends saying things that were trying to make it sexual when it’s not at all!  It’s something you can’t even describe to someone who doesn’t understand, this crazy bond.  And I get that.  Like, you so want to quit; some days, you’re just like, God, when is this going to be done?  But then when it finally is, you don’t get that back!  And then you actually kind of miss it.  It’s like you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  And I do; I think back on it.  My daughter just turned five, so it’s been a long time since she breastfed, but I think back to those days, and there’s nothing like it.

Jamie:  One of the things that I really love about being a postpartum doula is the fact that I get to help mothers with breastfeeding.  That’s something I really enjoy, especially — they may have gotten some help from the lactation consultant at the hospital, but when they get home, that’s another ballgame.  Problems can start to arise.  They don’t feel confident anymore.  They think their milk’s not coming in.  So it’s really a blessing to support them.

Alyssa:  That’s one of the biggest fears for moms, I feel like, who are breastfeeding, is how do I know that the baby’s getting enough milk?  How do I know that the latch is right?  How is this supposed to feel?  There’s just so many questions about this thing that’s supposed to be so natural.  Like, we have boobs to breastfeed and it should be so natural, but it’s sometimes one of the most frustrating and difficult parts of having a baby, I feel like.

Jamie:  Definitely.  I would strongly recommend, if you are having problems with breastfeeding, there’s a lot of community support right in our own area.  There’s breastfeeding support groups from the hospitals; Le Leche League; we have wonderful lactation consultants in our area that will go to your home.  So it’s really important to utilize the resources that you have and reach out for help.

Alyssa:  Shira is our in-house lactation consultant, and having that consult in your home: it’s quiet; it’s one-on-one.  There’s nobody in the hospital coming to check your blood pressure and poke and prod you.  She spends two hours with them at that first visit, and she really gets to know you and what’s going on and figure out a solution.  So I feel like, yeah, that’s — I wish; if only I had known Shira four and a half years ago!

Jamie:  She’s very knowledgeable!  I do have lots of friends who ask me questions about breastfeeding, but I have sent her a quick text to say, hey, this is out of my scope of knowledge; can you help me with this problem?  And she helps me out.

Alyssa:  I think it’s great to have the support of postpartum doulas, and you have even more extensive knowledge than I do because of all the groups you’ve been in and the research you’ve done.  I’ve breastfed one child; you’ve done three.  I feel like we can do only so much for clients, though.  It’s good to know that they have a resource beyond our scope, to really help with the hard things.

Jamie:  Definitely!

Alyssa:  Well, thanks for sharing your stories!  If anyone has questions about breastfeeding or more questions for Jamie, in particular, you can always reach us at info@goldcoastdoulas.com.  Remember, these moments are golden!

 

Jamie’s Breastfeeding Experience: Podcast Episode #76 Read More »

postpartum doula

Benefits of A Postpartum Doula and Why Should You Hire One?

Author Bio: Roselin Raj is a journalist and a writer. She has been writing extensively on health and wellness related topics for over a decade. Besides her professional interests, she loves a game of basketball or a good hike in her free time to fuel her spirits. “Health is wealth” is one motto of life which she lives by as well as advocates to every reader who comes across her blogs.

In the months leading up to my first delivery, I had many emotions ranging from excitement to fear. The idea of delivering a baby was daunting and had occupied my headspace completely. Though I had a consulting doctor and limitless information on the internet, getting the personal assistance and care from a doula did the trick. 

According to What To Expect, “Doulas, who offer non-medical emotional support, are growing in popularity in the delivery room (or birthing center), but many also do postpartum work, helping new moms navigate the stressful, bleary-eyed early days of parenthood. Here’s why you may want to consider hiring a postpartum doula to help you through the fourth trimester.” With the rising popularity of doulas, let us understand what a postpartum doula is and how they help expectant mothers through and post pregnancy. 

What is a Postpartum Doula?

As mentioned earlier, a doula is a trained professional who guides mothers with information, emotional and physical assistance before, during, and a short while post birth. The guidance and assistance are given to expectant mothers to make the process a healthy and less stressful experience. However, a postpartum doula extends their assistance until the baby has adjusted with the family. 

A postpartum doula is skilled to assist with a variety of needs and requirements according to each family. For instance, once the baby is born, all the attention is directed towards the new bundle of joy. But the physical and mental health recovery of a mother is very important. A postpartum doula can help the mother ease into motherhood, provide necessary information on caring for the baby or help with breastfeeding issues, and much more. But a postpartum doula is not a nanny and helps the mother emotionally to recover after the birth of the baby, bond, offer newborn care, sibling care, and lighten the load of household tasks.

Benefits of a Postpartum Doula

The work of a postpartum doula extends post birth, unlike a birth doula. The postpartum doula’s main purpose is to make the mother comfortable with the baby and support her in doing so. The tasks may vary from mother to mother, and she is equipped to do the best in any situation. Here are a few of the tasks a postpartum doula can provide:

Postpartum Care for the Mother

Once the baby has been delivered, the mother requires a lot of caring and help. The basics involve eating healthy food, drinking water at regular intervals, and most importantly, rest. A postpartum doula will help in cooking, running errands, etc. to allow the new mother to recover. In the case of c-section delivery, she can assist the mother with the newborn, household tasks, offer support and resources, rest and healing, and aid in hassle-free recovery. 

Women are usually emotionally weak post-birth with chances of depression and anxiety. Postpartum doulas can help create a stress-free environment, take care of the baby, and be emotionally available for the new mothers. 

Breastfeeding and Newborn Support

Postpartum doulas are equipped with complete knowledge of handling newborn babies, and they help mothers to ease the process of parenting. The next big challenge after giving birth to a child is often breastfeeding. And as you are probably aware, it can be a challenging experience for both the mother and the baby. 

In such cases, the doula helps with information on newborn behavior, soothes the process of breastfeeding or transitioning to bottle feeding. If further breastfeeding support is needed, she can offer local resources to an IBCLC (Board Certified Lactation Consultant).

Finding the Perfect Doula for You

Doulas can be found through word-of-mouth or going through service providers to find certified doulas as per your needs. The idea is to get a suitable doula who is certified, experienced, and well-synced to you and your family requirements. Before hiring a doula, talk to the agency regarding their qualifications, certifications, insurance, etc. to get a clear idea of who you are hiring. 

Doulas or the agencies usually charge for services by the hour, location, services required, and the experience of the doula. There may be provisions to use your Health Savings Account (HSA) to hire a doula. Clarify with your insurance provider or the doula agency before going ahead with the plan.

Photo credit: The People Picture Company

 

Benefits of A Postpartum Doula and Why Should You Hire One? Read More »

lactation consultant

Meet our new IBCLC, Cami!

We are so excited to announce that we now have a Lactation Consultant on the lakeshore! Cami comes to Gold Coast with an amazing medical background and almost 20 years of experience as an IBCLC. Let’s get to know her a little better.

1) What did you do before you became an IBCLC?

I have been an RN for 28 years.  I worked many years in the Surgical Critical Care unit at Spectrum Hospital. Once I started my family, I switched to Labor & Deliver, Special Care Nursery, Postpartum Care and normal newborn nursery, mainly working Labor & Delivery and Special Care Nursery.   After my first child was born in 2000 I began helping in the Lactation Office, and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consult in 2001. After many years of working many positions on the birthing center, I began to concentrate on my skills as a Lactation Consultant. I have been working in the field of Lactation soley since 2010.

2) What inspired you to become an IBCLC?

While working on the birthing center, I found I truly enjoyed working with the mother baby dyad and their breastfeeding journey.

3) Tell us about your family.

I’m a single mom of two children. My son Jarek is 19 and just recently joined the Air Force. My daughter Skyler is 16 and is just finishing up her Sophomore year at Zeeland East High School.

4) What is your favorite vacation spot and why?

With a busy family life, vacations are hard to come by. My daughter and I enjoy horseback riding, feral cat/kitten rescue, hiking the lake shore, and hammocking. My son and I enjoy hanging out together watching movies, working on his car, and attending car shows.

5) Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.

I enjoy all types of music, however my go to music is 80-90’s Alternative. Bands such as The Cure, Smiths, Cranberries, and the Pixies.

6) What is the best advice you have given to new families? 

My advice to new families is to be open to change, talk to your partner open and honestly. Enjoy every step, the good and the challenging because the days go by quickly.

7) What do you consider your superpower to be?

I find that as a Lactation Consultant I’m able to connect with families and help moms reach their goals. I love new families, and it shows in how passionate I am at what I do.

8) What is your favorite food? 

I love finding new fresh foods. I have Celiac disease and enjoy turning normal dishes that I grew up with into Gluten Free dishes. Italian food and desserts are my two loves.

9) What is your favorite place in West Michigan’s Gold Coast? 

Saugatuck Dunes is my favorite place to hike and to enjoy the coastline of Lake Michigan. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy horseback riding on West Michigan beautiful beaches, enjoying summer rides, and even a few Christmas eve rides with the snow billowing around my horse and I.

10) What are you reading now?

I’ve recently been reading about and studying the Baby Friendly Initiative, and I have been involved with research over the years to help determine what can help increase the breastfeeding rates in MI. I’ve just joined an amazing group of woman on the lakeshore to form the first Ottawa County Breastfeeding Coalition.

11) Who are your role models? 

My Grandmother and Mother are my biggest role models. My Grandmother passed away many years ago, but she was a huge influence in my life, always showing love to anyone in need. She raised 12 amazing children.  My Mom has always been my biggest supporter and has the same spirit as her Mother. She has a huge heart and passion for life. She has helped mold me into the Mother and friend that I am today.

 

Meet our new IBCLC, Cami! Read More »

Adoption

Doula Support for Adoptive Families

Most parents probably don’t think about hiring a doula if they aren’t pregnant. They think of a birth doula only supporting a laboring mother, but that couldn’t be farther from reality. Birth doulas can support any parent. Postpartum doulas can support adoptive families by helping them to prepare for baby’s arrival and in-home after baby arrives. There are so many ways doulas can support families that are adopting!

At Gold Coast we are focused on educating parents. We offer several prenatal and postnatal classes to help new parents navigate this new territory. We offer a Newborn Survival class that goes over essentials of surviving those first few weeks and months home with your baby. Real life scenarios and raw topics are discussed to help parents feel confident in their roles.

We also offer a Prenatal Stress class. This is designed for any parent, pregnant or adopting, to understand the affects that stress has on a developing child’s brain, not just throughout pregnancy but through their growing years as well.

Infant Massage is a great way for adoptive parents to bond with a new baby. Our instructor offers classes as well as private in-home instruction. Another great way to bond is babywearing. We have a certified babywearing expert that does in-home instruction and can show you how to safely use your carrier(s).

For parents that might be bringing multiples home (twins or even triplets) we offer a Preparing for Multiples class, and we have a postpartum doula that is a mother of twins herself. Her in-home support, expertise, tips, and tricks are invaluable!

If grandparents will be primary care givers, we offer a class called The Modern Grandparent that updates them on the latest safety information as well as informs them about today’s parent and how parenting styles differ from generations past.

Our lactation consultant can help adoptive mothers induce lactation and can also offer advice about chest feeding.

At Gold Coast, our postpartum doulas are available day and night. Daytime support includes help with baby bonding, newborn care, help with older siblings, meal prep, and evidence based resources. Your postpartum doula is your trusted guide for anything baby related. Overnight support allows parents to get a full nights rest while the doula takes care of the baby through the night. The doula will feed the baby, burp, change diapers, etc allowing the parent(s) to get as much rest as possible knowing there is an experienced professional caring for their child. 

A postpartum doula is an amazing gift idea for baby showers! We can create a custom insert for your shower invitations and you can also register online for any of our services at EcoBuns Baby + Co online.

We also offer Gentle Sleep Consultations. Sleep is critical for adults and babies. Babies needs proper sleep for brain development and physiological growth. Parents need sleep to help manage the day to day obstacles of parenthood as well as for basic health and wellness.

We also have doulas specially trained in grief that can help you through loss.

Some of the trusted resources we suggest to families are:

Kelly Mom https://kellymom.com/category/parenting/ Athough there is alot of information about breastfeeding on this site, there are some relevant parenting and adoptive parenting tips as well.

This link features several apps our clients like. http://redtri.com/apps-every-new-parent-needs/slide/3

The Baby Connect Tracker App is also popular with our clients. https://www.baby-connect.com

At Gold Coast Doulas, we pride ourselves on being the premier doula agency in West Michigan. We offer judgment-free support to all families regardless of their parenting styles. We are here for your family, wherever you are in your journey.

 

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breastfeeding

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding

Today’s guest blog is written by Natalie Michele of Maternity At Home.

As soon as you start to breastfeed, most of the women you meet on a daily basis, including your mom, friends, and even acquaintances, will have one or two things to tell you about what to do when nursing a baby. Some will tell you that eating cabbage will work wonders for you while others will advise you on when to start expressing milk by use of a breast pump. However, there is a whole lot of information that is left out. Here are some of the things you probably didn’t know about nursing a baby:

1. Your Diet Does Not Define You

Naturally, your body will make quality and healthy milk for your baby. Adopting a healthy diet while breastfeeding is not about producing “healthy milk” but is more about making sure your body maintains both its health and energy. Therefore, there is no need for you to agonize over not eating like a dietician. 

If you have chosen to eat two Oreos instead of a plate full of veggies, don’t get depressed or suddenly think you aren’t going to produce the very best milk for your baby. You can always fill the nutritional gap by simply taking a prenatal vitamin. These vitamins are often loaded with iron, calcium, and vitamin D.

2. Expect Increased Cramps

Oxytocin, the same hormone that is responsible for milk letdown is also the culprit for increased cramps. This hormone causes your uterine wall to shrink and as a result, triggers contractions from the uterus. 

As annoying and uncomfortable as these cramps may be, it is a good sign; it shows that your body is healing well. Some researchers believe the pain increases with subsequent pregnancies; this is because the uterine wall stretches a little bit more every time you have a baby.

3. Leaky Breasts

You can blame this on the same hormone, oxytocin. A single thought about your little one, talking about him or her, or hearing another baby cry will often trigger your body to release oxytocin and most likely a little bit of breastmilk along with it.

This could be embarrassing more so when it happens when you are out with friends, at work, or even on the streets. However, this should not worry you. It happens to each and every mom who is nursing a baby. To sop up the milk leakage, you could buy yourself some nursing pads or reusable silicone cups whose pressure prevents any milk letdown.

4. Your breast milk is different from the milk from a cow’s milk

Your breast milk will look different from time to time and does not in any way look like cow’s milk. Your breast milk changes every now and then to meet your little one’s nutritional needs. 

In the beginning, your breasts will produce yellowish-white colostrum that is quite sticky and loaded with proteins. A few days later when the milk letdown increases, your milk will have two parts; you will see these two parts separate when stored in the refrigerator. One part is watery while the other contains more fat and has more cream thus making it appear thicker.

5. Latching on can be super hard 

Lactation Consultants believe that by establishing a good latch, many other breastfeeding problems can be avoided. For you to have a good latch, you have to make sure that your nipple and at least half your areola are inside the little one’s mouth as you breastfeed. 

A bad latch will cause you to feel a pinch while nursing which will eventually lead to you have sore or cracked nipples. If this happens you may want to try pumping and storing your breast milk to help you while your breasts can heal. 

6. A quality bra is a must-have

While breastfeeding, most women’s boobs grow bigger. For this reason, it is important to wear a quality bra that will not only offer you comfort but also minimize the sagging of breasts that often happens post pregnancy. Invest in a bra that has a wide band that fits comfortably under the breasts and has cups that offer support without being too tight. You want to take care of yourself as best as possible.

Avoid wearing bras with an underwire as they could inhibit the flow of milk and cause your milk ducts to get clogged. If you are not so sure about the right bra for you, feel free to get a professional fitting from a medical care store or the maternity department.

7. You may experience breast engorgement

A few days after delivering your baby, your breasts will begin to produce lots of milk. When your breasts are full you will experience engorgement. Initially, it may be super uncomfortable, but the situation will get better as your milk supply syncs with the little one’s demands. 

To relieve you from the engorgement pressure, you could:

  • Wake your baby up for breastfeeding
  • Consider expressing milk using a breast pump
  • Shower or bathe with warm water

To avoid the feeling of engorgement, you could:

  • Keep switching the first breast you offer the baby during the nursing sessions
  • Breastfeed for 15 or 20 minutes on each side before switching

References:

https://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/problems/breastfeeding-soothing-solutions/

https://www.thebump.com/a/11-things-you-didnt-know-about-breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding

Nursing & The Entrepreneur

Today’s guest blog is from our dear friend, Kristina Bird. She is a partner with The People Picture Company, a photography studio located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids committed to producing magazine quality photography for all of life’s milestones.

Sitting in my car, the beating hum of my pump out of sync with the radio, I express as much milk as possible during my strategically timed “break” from photographing a wedding. That’s where you would have found me if you were looking last Friday. I am a photographer, business owner, and mom. Not in that order. Actually, the order gets a little muddled from day to day.

Most days, I’m a mom first and foremost. I follow a routine that keeps the house in order, so I can spend all day with my 15 week (3.5 month) old son, MacGregor. I read blogs about sleep training, and development stages, and 10 ways to help my baby with gas. I research how to clean stains out of eco-friendly cloth diapers, and do a lot of laundry. I am a typical stay-at-home-mom.

Except I’m not. I own a business. It’s a photography studio with an upstairs flat, which means I literally live above my work, and it’s always on my mind and in my ears as I hear the work day go on without me. I am blessed to have a husband, who is not only my partner in life but also my partner in business, keep everything flowing with our amazing team. We are a family and I love being able to watch my family grow – all of them. But in order to grow my businesses, I have to take time away from my son, which means I have to pump.

Being a nursing mom is hard. Being a nursing mom and owning a business is even harder.

Being a mom isn’t pushed out of my head when MacGregor is in daycare and I’m in the studio or on a photoshoot. There are a thousand and one things about him that I think about during the day, but one that is the hardest to ignore is nursing – mostly because it comes with a friendly, sometimes painful, reminder. If I’m at the studio, it’s a bit time consuming and interruptive, but easy for the most part since I live upstairs and have a pumping station setup with everything I need. I’m lucky.

When I’m on a photoshoot, I join the thousands of other working moms who need to worry about having everything packed – and I mean everything. A forgotten hands-free pumping bra required me to hold both pumps up to my breasts in a shower room (what I was offered in place of a nursing/lactation room) not too long ago. With both hands occupied, I had no access to my phone, which meant no looking through photos of my son to help trigger a let-down, no updating social media to share anything from the photoshoot I was on, and no reading articles to occupy my brain in the very bland, nothing to look at, bare walls. It also meant that if I didn’t triple check that I locked the door, I would have been showing a little more than intended if someone entered the room.

Which also leads me to location location location. A shower room is not ideal, but it is one step above a bathroom stall. If there is no nursing room and no office I can get permission into, I typically will pump in my car. It’s such a frequented location, I’m thinking about setting up a pumping station. But one thing that is always a concern, no matter where you pump, is the dreaded spillage. Whoever said not to cry over spilt milk was not a pumping mom. You will do it, you will cry, and it is ok. Thinking about it, I might want to add a change of clothes to my car pumping station.

Then there’s the whole concern about having enough expressed milk stored for when MacGregor’s in daycare, and starting a stash for when our nursing journey ends. Plus finding a place to store it all! My freezer is 70% milk-related, 20% frozen food, and 10% ice machine. Making sure I’m bringing enough expressed milk to daycare is a challenge. Calculating how many ounces he should be drinking throughout the day, estimating how much he drinks when we’re nursing, and always sending that one extra bag. Luckily, there’s help.

It takes a village.

There’s a reason they say “it takes a village to raise a child,” but I believe the village is not just the raising of a child, they’re helping raise parents too.

We have a multitude of resources available to us, let’s take advantage of them! Chances are your pediatrician’s office has a nurse on call, specifically there to answer your questions. Postpartum doulas and lactation consultants are also great sources of information and guidance. Our bodies went through so much change in 9 months, and they’re continuing to change postpartum as we nourish our children. We should lean on those that have seen it a few times to give us help.

I get a lot of support from my breastfeeding group. Not only can I better track MacGregor’s weight and calculate how much he’s getting while nursing, I can talk with other moms who are having similar experiences. Crowdsourcing with other moms and a lactation consultant at the same time has been wonderful for me. I’m also learning about future hurdles I may have to jump over.

I’ve also joined a nursing moms Facebook group, which has been amazing for crowdsourcing. Thanks to the group, I now use my limited freezer space wiser without bags of milk spilling out (yes, I cried). Facebook groups are also perfect to scroll while you’re pumping on the job – help another mom out with her questions, give support to struggling moms, we’ve all been there – we’re all there right now! One thing to remember, you are also a part of someone else’s village. Help them, and send positivity into the universe, it’ll come back your way.

Is breast best? For some, sure. For others, it might not be for a variety of reasons – I’m not going to judge. For now it works for me, we’ll see what the future holds. Either way, to all the mompreneurs out there, we got this.

______

Photos by The People Picture Company

 

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tandem nursing

Tandem Nursing

This article was written about four years ago by Kristin when she was tandem nursing both of her children. She recently stumbled upon it and we thought it would be a beautiful piece to share with all of you!

I never imagined myself as a tandem nursing mom, it just worked out that way.

My children are 21 months apart. We night weaned Abbey during my second pregnancy and I had planned to fully wean her before our son was born. She wanted to be close to me though, and my nurse midwife and friends in the lactation community thought that it would be too much strain on my body to wean during pregnancy, particularly with the potential for the re-emergence of preeclampsia that I had experienced with my first pregnancy.

It is interesting that my daughter loved nursing as much as she did given the challenge it presented early on. I was induced a week early due to the preeclampsia and Abbey was born with low glucose levels. In the NICU she was given an IV, then enhanced formula, and shortly after my pumped milk. Things had to be regulated and scheduled in the NICU. I was given ten minutes to nurse toward the end of her stay, and with such limited exposure it often didn’t work out well. I pumped like crazy, and my husband and I took turns feeding her pumped milk.

When I got home from the hospital, I was overwhelmed. I went back to the lactation consultants at the hospital for assistance and had help in home as well. My husband sometimes had to help me get Abbey latched. After a month of this, she finally took to nursing. I felt like I could finally provide for her. Without support, I would have given up completely. She grew to love nursing so much that it was tough to wean her, even during my pregnancy when I wasn’t producing much milk.

When Seth was born, he nursed easily even with a moderate tongue tie that was corrected within his first few weeks of life. Abbey wanted to nurse whenever Seth nursed, which became a challenge; dealing with toddler gymnastics adjacent a new baby. Seth became accustomed to his sister’s presence on the breast, and the two would latch at the same time during daytime hours.

On my best days of nursing, I felt so present with them. I think about the bond they were building during this time, brother and sister holding hands on my lap. It was beautiful and blissful.

On my worst days, I felt touched out. I wanted to wean them both. I wanted my body to be my own. Sometimes I even wanted to scream, but then I would breathe deeply and realize that this is such a short window, and that they would wean soon enough.

Some of my friends and family disapproved of, or failed to understand, my need and desire to have extended breastfeeding and tandem nursing. I just did what I felt was best for my kids. I took things day by day. That worked for me and for my husband back then.

My kids were healthy and ate well. They never used a pacifier, a bottle, or a blanket or a toy for comfort. It was me they wanted. I could soothe them when they fell. I could make them feel safe after a bad dream. I got to enjoy the bond that they had with each other, sharing my love in that way. It was our life in that moment, and I miss those moments now that they are long gone. I did wean them separately and it wasn’t a problem.

We all have our own individual journeys as mothers. Let’s treat each other with kindness, even if our journeys are much different. If you need help weaning, Gold Coast is here to support whatever your circumstance is, day and night, without judgment.

photo credit: Brooke Collier Photography

 

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Breastfeeding

Can My Body Make Enough Milk?

Fact: Most breastfeeding mothers, at one time or another, worry about their milk supply. They wonder whether their body will make enough milk for their baby; if their supply will last.

Not surprising, since most of us have heard stories about moms who, despite wanting to breastfeed, reported not being able to; their milk dried up, baby refused the breast, they were told their milk wasn’t good, etc. Many mothers head into breastfeeding with an expectation that milk production will be a struggle, due in part to these stories that are shared widely by well-meaning strangers, friends, family members, and even healthcare providers. But the reality is that most mom’s bodies can make plenty of milk. The fear of low supply is much more common than the reality!

Before I go on, let me be clear that not all women who want to breastfeed can make enough milk to sustain a baby. There are many physical conditions that potentially impact milk production including birth complications, thyroid conditions, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and other hormone conditions, anemia, retained placenta, breast or chest injuries/surgeries, various illnesses, medications or hormonal birth control, or Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT – the technical term describing when breasts contain less milk-making tissue).  It’s important to recognize that low milk supply is a very real scenario that many struggle with, and it’s a serious topic that deserves a lot of attention of its own. But here we will focus on milk production in mothers with no prior physiological limitations; specifically on how low milk supply is less common than people think, and that it is much less common than “perceived low milk supply”.

Perceived low milk supply, or Perceived Insufficient Milk, is when moms are making enough milk but think that they are not. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Why? Because, despite having no physiological basis, perceived low supply is one of the most frequently-reported reasons for early weaning! And it’s a very stressful thing to worry about.

The good news: Perceived low supply does not equal actual low supply.

The bad news: Perceived low supply is very common, and, in addition to the fact that worrying is no fun, perceived low supply can cause low supply!

How can perceived low milk supply cause actual low supply?

When moms believe their supply is low, the way they feed changes, and how we feed has a strong influence on milk production. For example, moms might introduce supplemental formula if they perceive baby to be dissatisfied or hungry after nursing, or if baby is nursing more often than they expected or is waking frequently at night. It’s easy to assume that low supply is the cause of these things if we aren’t familiar with normal breastfeeding behaviors (especially when formula-feeding culture perpetuates unrealistic expectations for breastfed babies). Feeding on a rigid schedule, sleep training a young baby, or otherwise altering baby’s feeding routine can impact milk supply very easily, so understanding the nuts and bolts of milk production, baby behavior, and growth patterns is important. All of the conflicting advice we receive from family, pediatricians, and friends is confusing! Knowing how to tell when things are going well gives parents confidence to keep going through the ups and downs. Since perceived low supply is not a physical issue, it is totally avoidable, as long as parents have support and access to good information.

How does milk production work?

Milk production begins as a hormonally-driven process, initiated by hormone changes at birth. Over time, it becomes a supply and demand process (meaning that, ideally, the body will adjust to make exactly what baby needs – no more, no less). The baby communicates how much it needs by eating exactly what it needs! If it needs more, it will suckle more, sending hormonal signals to mom’s brain, which in turn tell her body to make more milk. This is one reason babies might seem to nurse around the clock during growth spurts. Not only are they trying to eat more, they are also instinctively “putting in the order”, so to speak, for more milk to be made to accommodate their increased needs. Simply put, the more milk is removed, the more milk the body will make. Milk can be removed in a number of ways: directly feeding baby at breast, or expressing with a pump or by hand. If milk isn’t removed regularly, milk production will be altered. This is how extra pumping can increase supply, or how skipping feeds or going long stretches between pumping at work can decrease supply. This also explains why babies who struggle to transfer milk can result in decreased supply over time, even if they are at the breast a lot! (There are many reasons why a baby might struggle to transfer milk effectively. Their feedings might take a very long time, or they may fatigue easily at the breast. If you suspect this, it’s a good time to call a lactation consultant). But, compared to pumps, babies are usually more efficient at removing milk, due to the additional stimulation, warmth and eye contact inducing more milk-making hormones. Expressing milk, however, is very effective for some, and is a necessity for breastfeeding moms who work out of the home or are separated from their babies.

For more about milk production, look for a future post all about how to maintain a good milk supply!

If you need support in the meantime, an IBCLC, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, can help answer your questions about supply, foods and herbs to support lactation, help you determine if baby is getting enough, or troubleshoot concerns even before your baby arrives!

Author: Shira Johnson, IBCLC

 

Can My Body Make Enough Milk? Read More »

The BIG Latch On 2017 Logo in color

The Big Latch On – Grand Rapids 2017

 

World breastfeeding week is coming up! Why do we care?  

Each year, World Breastfeeding Week presents many opportunities to celebrate and promote breastfeeding. From August 1-7, this global movement strives to support breastfeeding by cultivating awareness and cooperation within and between communities worldwide. One big way we come together during World Breastfeeding week is with The Global Big Latch On.

The Big Latch On: 

The Global Big Latch On was started in 2010, and has since taken place annually during World Breastfeeding Week every August. Big Latch On events are held in communities throughout the world, with the shared goal to protect, promote & support families, strengthen support for breastfeeding, and improve the health of children and women around the world.

The Global Big Latch On reports that these events are “community initiatives that raise awareness of breastfeeding, encourage the formation of support networks between breastfeeding persons, and aim to normalize breastfeeding as a part of daily life”.

What to expect when you attend a Big Latch On Event:

Families with breastfeeding children (this includes all forms of providing breastmilk, including pumped milk, supplemental nursing systems, etc.) gather together to show support for our breastfeeding community, and to be counted for the Global Big Latch On count – where we strive to break the record numbers that were set the previous year. When you arrive you’ll be asked to sign in, get comfortable, and then at the same time, all the nursing babies/kids at each event location will be instructed to “latch on” (or otherwise demonstrate their means of receiving breastmilk), the organizers will count each participant, and send those numbers in to The Global Big Latch On headquarters be tallied with the numbers from other events all over the world.

Often there are snacks provided, fun giveaways, and an opportunity to connect with other families as well as some local family-friendly businesses and services.

Since 2010, attendance to these events has skyrocketed. In 2010 there were 147 total locations with ~2,000 babies counted. Just 6 years later in 2016, there were 758 locations in 21 countries, with nearly 18,000 nursing babies/children counted! Last year in Grand Rapids we had 45 nursing babies. We’re sure 2017 is going to be even bigger. Come help us break some records!

More information is available here.

With events planned for all around the world, including multiple locations in Michigan, we excitedly prepare to come together in Grand Rapids at our own local Big Latch On Event on Saturday, August 5th 10:00am-11:30am at Briggs Park in NE Grand Rapids. Make sure to sign in before 10:30am to be counted! Bring your picnic blanket and get comfy, mingle with other families, or just come to show your support.

Global Big Latch On objectives:

  • Provide support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally.
  • Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
  • Make breastfeeding as normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increase support for women who breastfeed – women are supported by their partners, family and their communities.
  • Ensure communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services.

Other related World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations include Express Yourself (for all those women who provide breast milk to their child/children without latching them and those that donate milk either formally or informally) and Selfies Sunday (a count of all breastfeeding or expressing selfies posted on Sunday, August 6th with the hashtag #mybiglatchon).

Why is this important? Why do we participate?

Breastfeeding around the world deserves recognition and celebration! Some people don’t understand the hype around breastfeeding promotion. After all, we each have the right to feed how we choose; why all the attention for breastfeeding? Well, while I agree that parents should never be bullied or shamed about their feeding choices, I believe (and research consistently supports) that most parents, to varying degrees, want to breastfeed. We know this because the vast majority of families in the United States start off breastfeeding, or at least make an effort to. But despite this obvious desire to provide breastmilk, there remains a wide discrepancy between what is recommended, parents’ reported goals, and what is actually being done.

And we know that breastmilk is not only valuable to individuals for optimal nutrition, immune properties, and more, but many don’t realize how much breastfeeding is also an important and growing public health issue, as breastfeeding is associated with lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and many other health concerns that extend beyond infancy.

In the United States, breastfeeding initiation rates are quite high (80-90+% in many states), but quickly decline within the first 3 months (despite recommendations by both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics to provide breastmilk exclusively for 6 months).

We are not meeting our national breastfeeding goals, and in many cases not our individual goals either. Reasons for this vary from family to family, but three big ones are:

  1. Lack of breastfeeding education: Lack of understanding about normal breastfed baby behavior, lack of understanding about how breastmilk production works, lack of information and resources for troubleshooting issues when challenges do arise.

Studies suggest that more than 90% of breastfeeding moms report having struggled or encountered a challenge during the early weeks of breastfeeding. This statistic isn’t intended to be discouraging, but rather to normalize the experience of struggling to breastfeed, to say, “just because you experience a problem doesn’t mean breastfeeding isn’t right for you or isn’t going to work for you”. Often it’s just a matter of having access to good information and support to get through the rough patches.

  1. Going back to work or school: Poor maternity leave rights and lack of options put most U.S. women in a position to return to work in the early months of life, often sooner than they may want to, which can disrupt the breastfeeding relationship.
  2. Lack of community support: Breastfeeding in the U.S. has been on the rise since the early 1990s, but we still don’t have a deep breastfeeding culture. Formula-feeding is still very much a cultural norm in many parts of the country. We no longer live in villages with extended family and other parents caring for babies in community. We suffer from a deficit of breastfeeding normalization, meaning most of us in the U.S. don’t experience many opportunities to witness, watch and learn from other breastfeeding moms when we are young. Many modern parents enter their own breastfeeding relationships in relative isolation, with little understanding of breastfeeding norms, and oftentimes less than adequate support to meet their own goals.

In many parts of the world, including the United States, breastfeeding can really benefit from more attention and support.

2017 marks World Breastfeeding Week’s 25th year. This year’s theme is about working together for the common good! Working together to “call on advocates and activists, attract political support, media attention, participation of young people and widen the pool of celebrants and supporters”.

Let’s come together in West Michigan to support one another, support healthy babies, and strengthen our breastfeeding community locally and globally!

Author: Shira Johnson, IBCLC

 

The Big Latch On – Grand Rapids 2017 Read More »

Am I producing enough breastmilk

Can My Body Make Enough Milk for My Baby?

We are pleased to present a guest blog by Shira Johnson, IBCLC.

Can My Body Make Enough Milk for My Baby?

Fact: Most breastfeeding mothers, at one time or another, worry about their milk supply. They wonder whether their body will make enough milk for their baby, if their supply will last.

Not surprising, since most of us have heard stories about moms who, despite wanting to breastfeed, reported not being able to; their milk dried up, baby refused the breast, they were told their milk wasn’t good, etc. Through no fault of our own, many mothers head into breastfeeding with an expectation that milk production will be a struggle, due in part to these stories that are shared widely by well-meaning strangers, friends, family members and even healthcare providers. But the reality is that MOST moms’ bodies can make plenty of milk. The fear of low supply is much more common than the reality!

Before I go on, let me be clear that not all women who want to breastfeed can make enough milk to sustain a baby. There are many physical conditions that potentially impact milk production (including birth complications, thyroid conditions, PCOS -Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome- and other hormone conditions, anemia, retained placenta, breast or chest injuries/surgeries, various illnesses, medications or hormonal birth control, or Insufficient Glandular Tissue -IGT- the technical term describing when breasts contain less milk-making tissue).  It’s important to recognize that low milk supply is a very real scenario that many struggle with, and it’s a serious topic that deserves a lot of attention of its own. But here we will focus on milk production in mothers with no prior physiological limitations; specifically on how low milk supply is less common than people think, and that it is much less common than “perceived low milk supply”.

Perceived low milk supply, or Perceived Insufficient Milk, is when moms are making enough milk but think that they are not. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Why? Because, despite having no physiological basis, perceived low supply is one of the most frequently-reported reasons for early weaning! And it’s a very stressful thing to worry about.

The good news: Perceived low supply does not equal actual low supply.

The bad news: Perceived low supply is very common, and (in addition to the fact that worrying is no fun) perceived low supply can cause low supply!

How can perceived low milk supply cause actual low supply?

When moms believe their supply is low, the way they feed changes… and how we feed has a strong influence on milk production. For example, moms might introduce supplemental formula if they perceive baby to be dissatisfied or hungry after nursing, or if baby is nursing more often than they expected or is waking frequently at night. It’s easy to assume that low supply is the cause of these things if we aren’t familiar with normal breastfeeding behaviors (especially when formula-feeding culture perpetuates unrealistic expectations for breastfed babies). Feeding on a rigid schedule, sleep training a young baby, or otherwise altering baby’s feeding routine can impact milk supply very easily, so understanding the nuts and bolts of milk production, baby behavior and growth patterns is important. All of the conflicting advice we receive from family, pediatricians and friends is confusing! Knowing how to tell when things are going well gives parents confidence to keep going through the ups and downs. Since perceived low supply is not a physical issue, it is totally avoidable, as long as parents have support and access to good information.

How does milk production work?

Milk production begins as a hormonally-driven process, initiated by hormone changes at birth. Over time, it becomes a supply and demand process (meaning that, ideally, the body will adjust to make exactly what baby needs – no more, no less). The baby communicates how much it needs … by eating exactly what it needs! If it needs more, it will suckle more, sending hormonal signals to mom’s brain, which in turn tell her body to make more milk. This is one reason babies might seem to nurse around the clock during growth spurts. Not only are they trying to eat more, they are also instinctively “putting in the order”, so to speak, for more milk to be made to accommodate their increased needs!)  Simply put, the more milk is removed, the more milk the body will make. Milk can be removed in a number of ways: directly feeding baby at breast, or expressing with a pump or by hand. If milk isn’t removed regularly, milk production will be altered. This is how extra pumping can increase supply, or how skipping feeds or going long stretches between pumping at work can decrease supply. This also explains why babies who struggle to transfer milk can result in decreased supply over time, even if they are at the breast a lot! (There are many reasons why a baby might struggle to transfer milk effectively. Their feedings might take a very long time, or they may fatigue easily at the breast. If you suspect this, it’s a good time to call a lactation consultant). But, compared to pumps, babies are usually more efficient at removing milk, due to the additional stimulation, warmth and eye contact inducing more milk-making hormones. Expressing milk, however, is very effective for some, and is a necessity for breastfeeding moms who work outside of the home or are separated from their babies.

For more about milk production, look for a future post all about how to maintain a good milk supply!

If you need support in the meantime, an IBCLC, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, can help answer your questions about supply and foods to support lactation, help you determine if baby is getting enough, or troubleshoot concerns even before your baby arrives!

 

Can My Body Make Enough Milk for My Baby? Read More »

breastfeeding class

Why Take a Breastfeeding Class?

Why Take a Breastfeeding Class?

We are pleased to present a guest blog by Shira Johnson, IBCLC . 

Breastfeeding is natural, right? Well, yes… But it doesn’t always come naturally!

Just like parents educate themselves about pregnancy and birth, it’s valuable to have basic knowledge about breastfeeding before baby arrives (we don’t read up on childbirth while in labor, after all). Breastfeeding is a relationship, a complex dance between mom and baby, and many factors influence how each pair works together. Even if mom knows just what to do, it might not come as easily for baby (or vice versa!). Getting off to a good start begins at birth, and in the hours and days following. Having resources and realistic expectations can help.

Facts about Breastfeeding Education

  • Parents who receive prenatal breastfeeding education have more successful breastfeeding outcomes
  • Fears about breastfeeding? Have you heard horror stories from well-meaning friends or family members? Are you worried you’ll have to restrict your diet, worried about making enough milk, or about breastfeeding in public? You’re not alone! These unknowns and concerns are common, and they undoubtedly influence our expectations! It’s no fun to head into something feeling nervous or skeptical. Having a basic understanding and being prepared with tools and resources can set the stage for success.
  • Many parents who start off breastfeeding don’t meet their own breastfeeding goals. Many stop breastfeeding before 6 months, despite health guidelines (by the American Association of Pediatrics, as well as the World Health Institute) to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and provide breastmilk for a minimum of 1 to 2 years. Yet in 2016, only 22% of babies were exclusively breastfed for 6 months, and only 50% were still received any breastmilk at 6 months. Most parents start off breastfeeding, but many stop before these suggested guidelines.
  • The most commonly-reported reasons for early weaning (such as concerns about milk supply/production, pain associated with breastfeeding, and going back to work) are typically addressed in a breastfeeding class, preparing parents with information and resources to successfully troubleshoot these most common challenges and obstacles.
  • What’s so great about breastmilk, anyway? Most of us have heard “breast is best” and similar hype about the magical health benefits of breastmilk. Well, there’s a reason for this. New research continues to come out every year about amazing discoveries around the functions and content of breastmilk. While formula might be nutritionally complete (and is an invaluable tool, when needed), the nutrients in it are not as bioavailable (not as easy for the body to access or utilize). Also, formula does not have the amazing protective and immune functions that breastmilk has. Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese or have diabetes later in life, and breastfeeding reduces risk of cancer not just for baby but also for mom! Breastfed babies tend to get sick less often, and recover from illness more quickly than their formula-fed peers. The majority of parents who sign up for a breastfeeding class are often already planning to breastfeed, but if you’re on the fence about breastfeeding, or are concerned about whether it is worth the effort, these cool facts might inspire you. A breastfeeding class can help you weigh your baby-feeding options. There is certainly no shame in feeding your baby in any way you choose to. But having more information can help this choice be an easier one to make.

 

If you are a parent who plans to breastfeed or just wants more information, if you’re curious about how it all works, how to do it, whether or not it’s “for you”, how to return to work as a breastfeeding mom, or if you have any concerns, fears or simple curiosity and a desire to learn more, then a breastfeeding class is for you!

 

Why Take a Breastfeeding Class? Read More »