Bottle Feeding

I often get calls about a baby who won’t take a bottle.  This is usually accompanied by a plea from a desperate mother who is getting ready to return to work and fears that her baby won’t eat all day.  The internet is full of helpful (or not so helpful) suggestions for parents to try.  Some work, some do not.  Ideas such as “your baby will drink from the bottle when they are hungry” don’t usually work.  Young babies are not masters of manipulation and they are not refusing because they have a different plan in mind.

On the same level, I usually hear from someone that their first baby (or second, or third…) would not take a bottle.  Ever.

So what’s a mother to do? It has been my experience that if a baby will not take a bottle and you have tried all the other little tricks such as changing bottle nipples, walking with baby while feeding, paced feeding, there is one thing left.  It’s possible that your baby can’t take the bottle.  They can’t figure out how to make it work.  This could be a coordination problem, tongue tie, suck issue…there’s several to investigate.  This can be overcome, but the best thing to do is call a lactation consultant to assess the latch and see just what your baby is doing when bottles are offered.  Is she gagging?  Pushing the nipple out?  Rolling it around on her tongue? Chewing on it?  Remember, breastfeeding is instinctive.   Breastfeeding comes easier to babies than bottle feeding,  and your baby may need a little help to figure out how to do it.

If you never need to give a bottle, then you have nothing to worry about.  However, more mothers are returning to the workforce a couple of months after having a baby and giving a bottle is an important part of that.  Do you find yourself in this situation? Then you need to check out this week’s podcast.  All about bottle feeding, and what to do if it’s not working.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/707510-039-bottle-feeding

 

 

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Body Changes

I was a distance runner when I had my first baby.  I ran throughout pregnancy, and started running about 2 weeks after he was born (I DO NOT recommend that, BTW).  It was important to me.  I was a little surprised when I got pregnant with Nathan, and I was determined to keep life as “normal” as possible.

If I only knew then what I know now.  Famous last words, right?  Now I know that body changes happen, regardless of how you treat your body during and after pregnancy.  Body changes happen even if you didn’t gain much baby weight and are able to lose it quickly.  Body changes just happen.

I was talking with some new mothers at Breastfeeding Bootcamp, my support group for breastfeeding moms.  The conversation started because of nursing bras, and what to do about sizing. Breast size increases for most women during pregnancy, and even more after the baby is born and the milk comes in. A good fitting nursing bra can be a hot topic of conversation.   From nursing bras to new clothes – and the mothers got into a conversation about finding comfortable pants that fit after baby.  One mother, whose baby is 5 months old, confided that she is at her pre pregnancy weight, but her pre pregnancy pants don’t fit.

Body changes.

Things happen during pregnancy.  Body parts expand and grow and stretch to accommodate a growing baby.   Sometimes things don’t quite go back to where they were before pregnancy.  Hormonal fluctuations can bring on changes too.  This is a very normal part of having a baby.

Remember how I said that I was running again pretty quickly after I had Nathan?  Well, within a year and a half I found myself pregnant with twins. I was told that I could not run during my pregnancy this time.  I am blessed with big babies, and the twins were no exception.  By the time they were born, I was so big and stretched out. This is the conversation I had with my doctor at the 6-week checkup:

Me:  “where is all this extra skin going to go?”  I seriously felt like I could remove the skin that had stretched on my belly and build a new person with it.

Dr. V: “hmm.  Maybe no bikini this year”.

Seriously?  No bikini THIS year?  How about ever?

For years after having my kids I had that desire to look just like I did before I had kids.  Even now, there are days when I think about that. But the desire is not as strong as the love I have for my kids.  I worked hard for those body changes.  I am proud of that.  I want every mother to be proud of that.

For more on all kinds of body changes during pregnancy and post partum (I am sure there are more you have never even heard of!) check out the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week. Dianne and Abby will break it all down for you.  Don’t miss it.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/697681-037-body-changes

Milk

A few weeks ago I received a random text from Missy.  Missy has been my bestie since we were in Girl Scouts at the age of 8.
“Matthew is trying to tell me that we are NOT the only species that drinks a different species’ milk. Tell me he’s wrong”  the text read.

“Matthew is definitely wrong” was my response.  Knowing Missy as I do, I imagined she was enjoying her victory at that moment.  Matthew, her (usually) very knowledgeable husband, had to accept his defeat with this one.

When I first started to learn more about breastfeeding, I remember hearing someone say this exact thing. We are the only species that drinks a different species of milk. At least intentionally.  I really had to give this consideration at first – think about other mammals, whether or not I had ever heard about them feeding from other species. When you really look at it that way, it seems kind of strange to think that we are the only species that intentionally and willingly drinks the milk of another mammal, and consider it normal. Yet, feeding the milk that our body creates especially for the baby that we birthed is strange to some.  Am I the only one who sees this as odd?

I have no idea what sparked the discussion between Matthew and Missy about this very topic. Honestly, I have known Missy for so long that I didn’t even ask why they were arguing about human milk when their youngest child is a teenager and had weaned long ago.  This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Abby and Dianne talk more about milk because this is a question we get quite often. Not just about human milk, but about when to start babies on another species of milk and how to go about making that switch. Or do you even have to? Want to hear more about that? Tune in this week!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/687622-035-cow-s-milk

 

Birth Trauma

I cringe whenever a new mother tells me that her baby’s birth was awful, but all that matters is that her baby is healthy and well.

I want to scream “NO! That’s not all that matters!  YOU matter just as much!”

Somehow, society has decided that what happens during the birth is obsolete, and all that matters is a happy, healthy baby.  Of course we all want a happy and healthy baby, no one is denying that or saying anything contrary to that.  However, if things do not go as easily as you had hoped, that can be disappointing, upsetting, and downright traumatic.  When someone tells you that its ok, the healthy baby is all that matters, they are minimizing the reality of what really happened.

Traumatic birth is a real thing.  It happens a lot, way more than people think.  It is talked about even less.  Often the mothers I work with tell me they just want to forget what happened, put it behind them.  Who can forget the birth of their baby?   It’s a significant life altering event.   Finding a way to process what happened is a meaningful and important part of recovery.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about traumatic birth.   Tune in to hear more!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/678392-033-birth-trauma

 

 

Partner Support

When I had my first baby, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I was so unprepared for the whole experience and I didn’t know how to ask for the help I needed – if I could even articulate what that was. I figured people would just know what to do.

They don’t.

If you don’t know what you need and don’t know how to ask for what you need, you will be doing way more than you should be doing. If you are one of those strong-willed mamas (I happen to be one of those) that denies needing help or figures that it will be easier to do it yourself, well…you might learn the hard way.

We weren’t meant to do this alone. We were not meant to have a baby and do everything by ourselves without support, guidance or both. Maybe you’re thinking “it’s ok, I have a wonderfully supportive partner”. Well, that might be enough. However, the chances are that your supportive partner doesn’t know what to do either.   Somehow, as the generations moved on, we lost the art of community support. Families used to rally around new mothers, helping with meals and other children and recovery. Mothers and babies were left to bond, breastfeed and recover from the childbirth experience, knowing that their aunts, mother, sisters, neighbors were there to pick up the slack. It’s not like that anymore. Well, I’m sure it’s like that somewhere, but it is no longer the expectation. We are almost offended by the offer of help, as if it is the universe’s way of telling you that you aren’t good enough. I think it’s time that it circled back around again, and we appreciated this for what it is – a celebration of bringing a baby into the world and supporting the new family as they learn the parenting ropes.

This week Dianne and Abby talk all about partner support and how this looks. Check it out here:

https://www.buzzsprout.com/116924/673762-032-partner-support

 

 

Distracted Breastfeeding

You finally get on a roll with breastfeeding. It felt like it would never happen – then all of a sudden your sweet baby is breastfeeding well, is more efficient, even sleeping longer stretches. And then it happens – distraction.

Distraction sets in around 4 months or so. One day your baby is breastfeeding just fine. The next day every little noise makes him turn his head. Sometimes while still holding on to the nipple (not pleasant at all). Any noise. Is the tv on? Did the cat come in the room? Is the dog barking? Phone notification go off? Or maybe your baby just wants to stop and gaze into your eyes.

I admit, part of me loves this stage. Your baby’s brain is growing at an amazing rate and he is starting to recognize the whole wide world around him.   There is so much to look at and so much to learn! It may seem like your baby isn’t feeding as much, may even seem as if she’s weaning, but that’s definitely not the case. You may have to start changing your patterns a little to accommodate your new routine. Take your baby in a dark, quiet room for feeds, limit distractions, get a nursing necklace…or just accept that your baby is enjoying everything that is happening around him and trust that he will get what he needs when he does eat.

Listen to more discussion about distracted feeding on this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. Lots of good suggestions to help you through this next part of your breastfeeding journey!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/116924/663760-episode-30-the-distracted-baby

 

 

The Constantly Nursing Baby

Feeding a baby is all consuming in the beginning. Not just physically, but mentally as well. I think that comes as a real surprise to so many new families. Not only do babies eat often to grow, latching and nursing also fulfills a need to soothe, offer security and nurture. In the early days, it can be easy to forget (after all, you are running on little sleep) that feeding for your little one is not all about the food.

We are talking about the constantly nursing baby.   Have you met that baby? I have met thousands of them.   The confusing thing isn’t necessarily that they are feeding frequently; the confusing thing is all the conflicting information new mothers receive about WHY the baby is constantly feeding. There’s even a name for it – cluster feeding (if there’s a name for it, then it’s a thing, right?). Here’s the breakdown:

Cluster feeding is when the baby will nurse frequently over a period of time. Some families will notice that their baby is fussy in the evening and cluster feeding calms him down. He may nurse for a few minutes, doze off, wake 20 minutes later and want to nurse again. Or maybe it is happening in the morning, after several hours of sleep. During these frequent feedings it is really hard to remember that it is normal and expected for babies to do this, and not a supply problem or a feeding problem. You do not need to give additional bottles during this time. Sometimes it is more of the act of nursing – the comfort and security – that your baby is looking for.

Try to keep in mind that this is a temporary thing. Once your baby is a little older you won’t experience this as often as you will when they are newborn. This too shall pass.

Here is a little more info on cluster feeding.

https://kellymom.com/parenting/parenting-faq/fussy-evening/

Check out this week’s BadAss Breastfeeding Podcast for more on the constantly nursing baby!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/629280-the-constantly-nursing-baby