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.
I know I have mentioned this before, but I knew absolutely nothing about breastfeeding when I had my kids. It was probably better that way, to some degree. One thing I do wish I had known about was food consumption, caffeine and alcohol.
It wasn’t like I wanted to go out and get trashed. That wasn’t it at all. However, I remember being at a winery and was offered a taste and declined because I was breastfeeding. I remember not drinking anything with caffeine for the same reason. And food…well that’s a whole other story for a different day. But really, the alcohol. This is one of those questions that I get so often, that I am almost surprised people don’t already know the answer. Quite the contrary, most new mothers (and their support person) are under the impression that you CANNOT have a drink for the duration of your breastfeeding relationship with your child. That’s simply not true. Alcohol is safe, just like most other things, when done in moderation. What is not safe is what happens when you are under the influence of alcohol. It is a bigger problem to drink and make poor decisions involving you and/or your baby – such as bringing the baby to bed with you or driving your babysitter home. Having a glass of wine pales in comparison to something like that.
Breastfeeding is not a deal breaker for living your life. You should be able to get back to things that are enjoyable. I get this question most often during the summer months when families are going to graduation parties, weddings and picnics and just want to know that they are safe to drink if they want to. The other time I get this question is during the holidays, when it is not uncommon to have a drink while at holiday gatherings.
If you decide to have a drink, be sensible. There are no set-in-stone guidelines for how long to wait (if at all) before breastfeeding. Basically, if you feel ok and you do not feel drunk, you are fine to breastfeed. Since everyone metabolizes alcohol at different rates, recognizing how you feel is the best way to determine if you should breastfeed. I can tell you t his – it would take quite a lot of alcohol to really make a difference.
Want the numbers? Abby and Dianne break it all down for you this week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. You don’t want to miss it!
Birth Interventions and breastfeeding can be somewhat controversial. Meaning that there are still some people out there who believe that HOW a baby was born does not have any affect on HOW that baby breastfeeds in the early days. Contrary to that, birth, birth interventions and medications received can play a large role into how feeding is initiated, how things progress and how mom and baby adapt to their new life.
In a perfect situation, this is information that women should receive well before the birth of their baby. It goes along with informed consent, and laboring women should be aware that what happens during labor could potentially make breastfeeding a challenge in the beginning. This does not mean that women should not be encouraged to have the labor they want to have. It just means that being educated on choices is an important part of the whole process.
Regardless of how things progress with breastfeeding and why, a solid support system makes a big difference if a new mother is struggling at all. Good breastfeeding support, information that pertains to their specific situation and follow up are the foundation to ensuring that mom and baby are off to a positive start.
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.
It’s hard to be sick, no matter what the situation. It seems like there is always way too much to do, and recovering from illness is never on that list. The feeling intensifies when you are a mother. Who will take care of kids or the house? Or you? These are questions that usually go unanswered. Mom always seems to be it.
When I was a little girl, I remember asking my mom why she never got sick. Her response was always the same “mothers don’t get sick. We don’t have time.” Of course, when I was 8 I thought that was a pretty cool advantage to being a mother. Of course I know differently now.
This time of year, I get a lot of questions about breastfeeding when sick. We are in the throws of flu season, cold season, RSV, sinus infections…the list goes on. Not only does the concern hover around breastfeeding the baby and risking getting the baby sick, what can you take to help you feel better? Doesn’t everything transfer to the baby? What medication is ok?
And what about the baby? What if the baby is already sick. Does this alter breastfeeding routines at all? Check out this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, and you will hear Dianne and Abby talk about what happens when mom and / or baby gets sick, and how to handle breastfeeding until everyone feels better. For additional information, check out these tips as well.
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:
It’s your first day home with your baby. Could anything else feel more terrifying? I don’t think there is a new parent out there who didn’t say to themselves “I am not qualified to take care of a baby!” at some point in those early days. When you are in the hospital (if you gave birth in a hospital setting) there are nurses and doctors checking on you, visitors coming to see you and the baby, help with diaper changes, bathing, changing clothes. Even your meals are brought to you. Everything you need is just one push of the call button. It’s blissful. Then you’re discharged.
This is when all the chaos starts. The first night home can be challenging. In all the preparation families do to bring a new life into the world, I don’t know how many actually prepare and learn about HOW baby will react to coming into this world. It’s cold and loud and bright – babies are used to a cozy womb. Overstimulation is common during the newborn period. Reading baby behavior can be difficult, especially if this is a foreign language to you and you are sleep deprived. Maybe you envisioned yourself holding your sweet baby, breastfeeding, and setting your baby down to sleep. Everyone sleeps for a few hours and then up again. In reality, the baby wants to eat every 30 minutes, cries if you put her down and no one is sleeping. And it’s all perfectly normal. In fact, I would expect nothing less.
This week’s Badass Breastfeeding Podcast is all about the first few days home, what to expect, and how to survive. Don’t miss it!