Feeding Your Baby: Advice from a Lactation Consultant. Part 1, An Introduction
In my role as the hospital-based Physician Assistant, I work alongside the doctors and nurse midwives in caring for women in the first few days after delivery. I have the pleasure of witnessing new parents getting to know their babies.
I’ve also had the amazing experience of being a new mom myself. So I can tell you from both perspectives, that it’s a beautiful time, and it’s also a very stressful time. After labor, after delivery, after the initial rush of excitement, then it’s time to recover and figure out how to take care of this little person.
And I remember feeling like I REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO BLOW IT.
Everyone is watching your baby to see how he/she is eating, peeing, pooping, and losing/gaining weight. That sounds simple enough, right? But it causes enormous anxiety. Whether you are bottle feeding or nursing, or some of both, it is critically important to you that your baby is getting proper nutrition and meeting the newborn goals. You’re tired, (like T-I-R-E-D), you’re surprised by how much the baby cries and you are worried about ALL THE THINGS. What is this nipple confusion? Is it contagious? Will both my nipples get confused or just the one?! 🙂 Your hormones are playing jump rope with your (normally sensible and reasonable, and capable of making decisions) mind and all you know is that you want to make the baby fat and happy, but you’re not sure how. And also you’re tired.
Breast feeding does not come easily for everyone. For most of us, it’s a learning process with a pretty steep curve. We definitely encourage you to try, as there are many benefits to both you and the baby, but we know it doesn’t work out for everyone. And that’s OK, too. You will love and provide for your baby with the breast or with the bottle.
One of the most common sources of anxiety and frustration I see with new moms is over breast feeding. I will ask you to be patient and gracious with yourself and we reassure you that you are not alone in these concerns. Also, we will send the experts to help!! We have a team of 5 Lactation Consultants here at Troy Beaumont who work around-the-clock (and on weekends, over nights, on holidays- they’re here for you!) to help you achieve your breast feeding goals.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Beth Meeker, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, who has been a mother-baby nurse for 27 years and has been a lactation consultant for 20 of those. If you have worked with her, you know that she is warm and brilliant. She has helped countless women and babies learn to feed and she has also taught prenatal breastfeeding classes, staff development, and nursing orientation.
Beth and the other lactation consultants at Troy work closely with the mother-baby nurses in the postpartum unit to assist new moms and babies with their feeding goals and to help them overcome obstacles. They also provide many services throughout the hospital- from the Neonatal ICU to the Emergency Room to Pediatrics.
What to expect after delivery:
Beth says, “once a mother delivers, her nurse will guide and teach the basics of latching and breastfeeding. Lactation consultants will see a new mother and her baby closer to 24 hours after delivery so her baby can have time to practice latching and move through the expected recovery sleep phase.”
Lactation Consultants will assist those mothers who:
- struggling to latch a baby
- have twins
- have a baby admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care
- have questions about medications
- have a history of breast surgery
- have an infant with 10% weight loss
- request a consult
- have birthed their first infant
Mothers can speak to their nurse and request a consult or they can call the office once discharged, as they offer phone triage (248-964-6455).
What is your favorite part of being a Lactation Consultant:
“My favorite part of the job is when I help a family through an entire feeding and the mom is smiling because she is breastfeeding, and she can relax and enjoy the experience of feeding her precious baby. My goal when working with a mother is to leave her with a smile…whether I answered her questions, offered encouragement, or showed her how to use a breast pump. A few of my favorite memories are helping a mother breastfeed twins for the first time, together and the excitement we share when a mother collects the first ounce of milk for her premature infant.”
An ounce of breast milk is worth more than gold.
Beth has agreed to offer us advice and insights she’s gained over the years. Future posts in this series will discuss how to prepare for breast feeding, what pitfalls new moms often face early on, what supplies might be useful, what resources are available, etc, etc. She will also address your questions that you have provided us on our facebook page.
For now, the info sheet on breast feeding that you are provided during prenatal visits at our offices is also available in our “Frequently Asked Questions” tab on our website.
Stay tuned for more!
As always, if you have specific questions about your health or your baby’s health, please discuss with your provier.