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!
I have been a lactation consultant for about 10 years now. More than that if you want to count the years I was working towards my certification. I have talked to so many mothers and heard so many stories about childbirth and breastfeeding and extended nursing…some heartwarming and some heartbreaking. I feel so honored when a mother trusts me with her story, this is information that will always sit close to her heart and live forever in her memory.
My son is 17 and my twins are 15. I remember the nurse who first helped me latch my son. 17 years ago. I remember the words she said, the encouragement she gave and how she did not breastfeed all 4 of her kids but she wished she had. I remember my twins’ cluster feeding in the hospital on night 2, and the nurse who came in to help me because I couldn’t figure out how to calm them both at the same time post cesarean section. I remember my dr telling me that I didn’t have to try breastfeeding both babies, I could alternate breast and bottle. I remember feeling defeated because I wanted help, and she was offering me an out that I did not want to take. I remember thinking “well, I guess I will figure this out on my own”. And I did. I remember the lactation consultant in the local hospital who handed me a pack of lanolin and sent me on my way when I went in looking for help with a bleeding nipple. These are memories that will stay with me forever, because these people were in my life during a very vulnerable time.
When new mothers tell me their story, it is usually in great detail, with emotion. Sometimes these stories haunt me for a long time. Sometimes I find myself so angry, angry at society for misunderstanding how important breastfeeding is. It is this that makes me a lactation consultant. It is my own experience that led me in this direction. I have told mothers that their experience will make them breastfeeding advocates as well, and to tell their story to everyone.
This week’s podcast is Part 2 of a story that came to us via email. Don’t miss hearing what this mom experienced during her breastfeeding journey.
I have told my story about how I got into the world of birth and lactation many times. If you don’t know, I’ll summarize for you – it was completely an accident. I didn’t know anything about lactation when I had my kids. I learned a lot when I was a new mother, and then when my marriage broke up my twins were just 2 years old, so I had to get some kind of job. I started as a peer counselor and the rest is history.
I wasn’t used to rubbing elbows with hospital staff. As a breastfeeding peer counselor who was trying to learn, grow and succeed, I did many hospital visits, networked with different groups and learned as much as I could. It worked. I learned a lot, gained a ton of confidence, and went back to school for my bachelors and then a masters. I became very comfortable interacting with doctors and nurses, medical directors, professors…anyone and everyone who happens to find themselves in the lactation and birth community. Some became very good friends; good enough to interact socially and spend time together outside of work.
Every once in a while I still come across a medical professional who doesn’t seem to accept “Lactation Consultant” as a professional title, let alone one that has years of education behind it and even more clinical experience. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but when it does it still catches me off guard. I am one of those personalities that finds good in everyone, so when I feel insulted, it is especially hurtful. Besides, doesn’t everyone have worth? If there is one thing I have learned in my years of becoming who I am, I have found that everyone has worth; everyone has something to bring to the table. If someone acts as if they do not need anyone else for anything, they will soon figure out why that is the wrong attitude to have.
Check out this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. Dianne and Abby will talk about Dianne’s recent interaction with a doctor, and Abby will tell stories about her interactions with authority figures. You don’t want to miss this one!
Returning to work after having a baby is difficult. Overwhelming in many ways. Mentally you are responsible for doing your job, whatever that may be, when your mind seems to stay with the little bundle of joy that was left behind for the day. Physically you are still in a state of recovery (unless you are going back a year after the baby was born, but many in our society do not have that benefit) you are feeling sleep deprived and your breasts will fill with milk every few hours. Getting milk stains out of your work clothes might be a new skill you never realized you’d need. Not to take away from spouses who most definitely hold down the fort while mom is on maternity leave, being a working mother is a whole different routine. Babies miss having that bonding time, and some mothers find that babies will spend the duration of the evening wanting to nurse. Babies that were sleeping longer stretches at night might wake more frequently again, trying to make up for lost time during the quiet hours of the night.
Yet as mothers, we do this. We stay dedicated to both employer and family. We are able to multi-task in new, imaginative ways (raise your hand if you have ever pumped milk while driving). I am beyond proud of the women I meet who are returning to work. The challenges of figuring out how and when to pump milk, worrying about milk supply. Afraid to upset the delicate balance of work life and family life, concerned that colleagues won’t understand the distraction. Add in figuring out child care for your baby, how much milk to leave and how to get out of that meeting that was scheduled during your afternoon pump…it’s just too much.
We are here to help you. Often mothers are worrying about all of this before the baby is born. I get questions about pumping before the baby is born. What kind of bottle to give…and what is paced feeding anyway?? This week’s Badass Breastfeeding Podcast will cover all of that, and more. If you are planning to return to work at any point, you don’t want to miss it.
It’s one of the most common parenting suggestions around. I think every family I have worked with has reported hearing it at least once…maybe from a family member, friend or a provider. Parents look on in fear, their minds racing. “What if it already happened?” They are thinking. “What if I ruined everything?”
Spoiling your baby.
It doesn’t even matter in what context it’s suggested in. Feeding? If you breastfeed too much or too long, you risk spoiling. Nurturing? If you hold your baby too long or too often, you can spoil your baby. Responding? If you pick your baby up when he/she cries, you are spoiling them. Parents are left wondering what they should do, how to avoid this obviously terrible fate of a spoiled baby and how much is really too much. I’m here to set the record straight.
You can’t spoil a baby. Pretty crazy, huh? Truth be told, feeding and nurturing and responding to your baby are necessary in creating security and trust with your baby. Your baby needs you, they depend on you. As newborns, babies aren’t hardwired to manipulate you into picking them up when they cry. Instinctively, babies cry because there is a need to be fulfilled. That need may be feeding or it may be comforting. It’s quite possible that your baby doesn’t even know what he needs, he just knows that he wants his mother or his father, and that is all that matters at that moment.
This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, the hot topic is spoiling your baby. Want to hear more about that? Check it out here:
Aversion. It means to dislike something or feel repulsed by something. Those are strong words. What if that something is breastfeeding? The one thing you can absolutely count on to soothe your child. Breastfeeding aversion can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Not everyone experiences this, and unfortunately I don’t think a lot of mothers talk openly about it. It’s really hard to talk about how you absolutely do not want to put the baby to your breast anymore, and you can’t really explain why.
There are ways to deal with breastfeeding aversion (or nursing aversion). You have options, and it isn’t all about weaning the baby. Some mothers aren’t quite ready for that step, either. There are other coping skills you can use to get you through to where you need to be. Maybe it’s a distraction for you, or setting boundaries for yourself and the baby (or toddler).
There are many reasons why researchers think this is happening, but no one really knows for sure. It has been linked to hormones (maybe if pregnant while still breastfeeding or menstruating), lack of sleep, and lack of self-care. Regardless of why you are experiencing it, it can really catch you off guard.
If you think this is something you may have experienced, or may be experiencing, check out this week’s podcast (what the heck…check it out anyway!) Dianne and Abby talk all about breastfeeding aversion, including some ways to combat it. Dianne and Abby will also share some coping skills to help keep you going just when you thought you would need to wean your baby off the breast.
Nursing in public. We in the breastfeeding community like to refer to this as NIP. NIP can be quite a hot topic among members of society, and opinions can get pretty heated at times. Every breastfeeding mama has their own comfort level when it comes to nursing their little one while they are with others. Some say that they are perfectly comfortable anywhere, and with anyone. I have heard others say that if they were with other nursing mothers, they wouldn’t think twice about breastfeeding. However, once out in public where they feel like they may be the objects of someone’s abuse, they would rather go under cover. We should never make a breastfeeding mother feel as if she can’t feed her baby wherever she happens to be, yet this still happens everyday.
We have all seen those pictures on Facebook and the like- pictures of mom breastfeeding and someone always pipes up with a comment about how inappropriate it is to breastfeed in public where the whole world can see you. First of all, most women are pretty discreet and it can be hard to tell that breastfeeding is actually happening, unless you are really staring at the mother and her baby (which is pretty creepy anyway). Second, if it is legal (and usually is) it is really no one else’s business. Now that we have cleared that up, let’s talk about it.
There are plenty of ways to breastfeed in public and be comfortable doing it. When it comes right down to it, this is about you and your baby. Does your baby need to eat? Yes. Should other people have an opinion on how that will happen? No. Check out episodes 12 and 13 of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. It’s all about nursing in public, how to feel comfortable, best ways to get started, even information about nursing while baby wearing. You’ll be a pro after these 2 episodes. Be sure to tune in for Episode 14 (coming soon!), which is the last in a 3 part NIP series.