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.
Skin to skin is a practice that has become so widespread in the last few years. When I first started working with moms and babies, skin to skin after delivery wasn’t a “thing”. In fact, I remember attending a birth as a doula several years ago and I requested that the baby stay with mom and the response I got from the nurse was “she can have the baby when we are done”.
Going from that, to encouraging skin to skin as soon and often as possible is a big jump. The benefits of skin to skin are just amazing, and I am disappointed that this isn’t something we have been doing all along. I mean…really…it’s so natural. When you think about it, as adults we like to be skin to skin with our partner if we can. It’s such a calming, comfortable place to be. Why wouldn’t your newborn baby want to be skin to skin with mom? It’s the next best thing to being in the womb. Babies that are skin to skin with mom after delivery are calmer babies overall, their body temperature regulates easier, respirations are even, breastfeeding is easier and oxytocin is flowing. If mom cannot be skin to skin with baby right away, this is a good time for partners to step up and tuck that baby into your shirt. Sometimes called “Kangaroo Care”, skin to skin has been known to save the lives of preemie babies in the NICU. This is one of the most important things you can do for your baby in the first weeks of life (and beyond).
This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about the benefits of skin to skin. Check it out here:
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.
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.