Breastfeeding: 8 “Booby” Traps
Hello Mommas! The identified booby traps and their solutions come to us today from a very special person! She was my personal birth class instructor, breastfeeding class instructor, doula and is a close friend of my family. She gives the most amazing hugs and has the most comforting soul on the face of the planet. She speaks with such grace and authority. I know you will enjoy this article from her and learn a lot!
Hello, dear, dear Snap Moms—Becki here… passionate advocater / supporter of all things Pregnancy / Birth / Breastfeeding! May I just congratulate you on making the choice to nourish and nurture (because breastfeeding is more than just about the milk!!!) your babies in the very way your body was created! Your choice has HUGE social, health, economic and environmental impact that will affect you AND your babies’ worlds for lifetimes to come. That said, let’s “dig in” to some of the “Booby Traps”.
- Lack of preparation: Women planning to breastfeed should work to develop a network of support waaaaaaaaaay before the baby arrives… this is probably THE most important thing a woman can do to prepare for a successful breastfeeding experience.
- Lack of support: Before you even get pregnant, begin developing a network of support: Get to a full 4 part La Leche League series (find them here: LLLI.org) Find folks who breastfed successfully and begin developing relationships with them. I’ve never met a breastfeeding mother who is not willing to help others who desire to breastfeed. Find a supportive pediatrician (ask him / her what percentage of their babies are being breastfed by the AAP recommendations successfully (AAP Guidelines are 6 months exclusive breastfeeding and 1 year breastmilk, and for as long as mutually agreeable after that)
- Bad advice/info from well-meaning family/friends/doctors: Advice comes in two types — Anecdotal (story based on a particular experience) and Evidence-Based (shown to be true by research). Always evaluate the “advice” based on the question, “Is this their “truth” (Anecdotal) or is this “The Truth” (Evidence-Based). Next, develop (and rehearse with a trusted supporter!) an “elevator speech” (30-60 spiel) that expresses your philosophy on breastfeeding and parenting. Repeat as often as necessary to the naysayers in your life (those folks who are determined to undermine your best efforts with their stories of why it can’t work and how hard it is and how unfair to everyone it is — remember, these are their anecdotal experiences, and although they *believe* them, you do not have to do so.
- Bad latch leading to sore/bleeding/ cracked nipples: The following are important principles to the establishment of a healthy breastfeeding relationship between mom / baby… (including latch / milk supply / etc) Baby left with mother skin-to-skin for at least 1-2 hours following delivery. Rooming in with baby encouraged to nurse whenever he/she is willing. Avoid ALL artificial nipples (bottles/pacifiers/etc) for at least the first month. If breastfeeding hurts, something is wrong!!! Don’t wait till your nipples are sore / bleeding / cracked!!! Get help immediately (lactation consultant = IBCLC) ***Warning! Many nurses are well-meaning, but have not been adequately trained and give wrong information! Ask for an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)!
- Supplementing leading to low supply and perceived supply: Mother should avoid ALL artificial nipples (pacifiers and bottles) for first 4-6 weeks. Baby should be given free access to the breast during this time. This will help ensure a plentiful milk supply. If you are concerned baby is not getting enough milk, consult with a breastfeeding professional (IBCLC) who will work with you and your pediatrician to develop a plan for your baby’s nutritional health.
- TT/LT or high palate - If you suspect either one, request a visit from an IBCLC as soon as possible. (Click here to read about Tongue Tie and Lip Tie)
- Returning to school/work and not able to pump enough to keep up with supply: Pumping and feeding baby with bottle should be avoided until baby is 4-6 weeks old. This helps to ensure a plentiful milk supply. Then, when Mom does begin pumping, she should be able to pump enough to provide for her baby’s needs. Some considerations before the baby comes include talking with her employer / school about where she will pump and how often. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, provides for adequate breaks and private places to pump for breastfeeding moms. Also, purchasing (or renting) a double-sided electric pump helps to ensure adequate milk volume pumped. (click here to purchase a snap mom approved pump)
- Colic: (characterized by uncontrollable crying for extended periods of time in babies who are feeding well and gaining weight. That said, there are some considerations to think about if one is breastfeeding and has a fussy baby) (click here for colic calm)
- feeding one / both breasts at every feeding
- does the mother have an over-active MER (Milk Ejection Reflex or letdown)
- foreign proteins in mom’s milk (one of the most common culprits is dairy in mom’s diet)
Finally, if your healthcare provider is not supportive (with accurate information!!!), find one who is!
Click here to read birth stories
Becki Neely, RN BSN IBCLC, is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Registered Nurse and Certified Childbirth Educator. Having graduated from University of Florida (Go Gators!) College of Nursing in 1981, she practiced nursing for 5 years, until the birth of her first child. Becoming a mother unveiled her passion for all things Pregnancy-Birthing-Breastfeeding and she owned a Childbirth Education business in the Florida Keys for 15 years. Following relocation to Central Florida in 2004, she taught childbirth and breastfeeding classes at a local hospital, during which time she prepared for and attained international board certification as a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She was recruited by a national nursing education provider to teach lactation seminars to nurses around the United States, but has now returned to her true passion – advocating for and providing one-to-one breastfeeding support to mamas and babies.