At Burdett Birth Center, it is our belief that evidence-based lactation care is every family’s right. In a previous blog post, we answered a few Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). With input from Burdett’s certified lactation consultants, we’d like to discuss more breastfeeding topics and questions that parents ask Burdett Birth Center’s doctors, midwives and nurses about every day.
Question: What should I do if I am having trouble breastfeeding?
We know that breastfeeding isn’t always easy, even though it’s a natural process. Just know that things do become easier with time. Taking care of a newborn is overwhelming no matter how you are feeding them, and the first few weeks of learning to breastfeed can involve many ups and downs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends seeking help from peer counselors, nurses, doctors and certified lactation consultants. At Burdett Birth Center, we offer weekly drop-in Breastfeeding Support Groups in both daytime and evening sessions. These support groups are free to attend and provide instruction and lactation support to nursing parents before, during and after the birth of a baby. Check over on our Childbirth Education Classes page for a full schedule. You can also schedule a private appointment with one of our Board Certified Lactation consultants by calling the lactation office at 518-271-3368. You don’t have to face breastfeeding challenges alone.
Question: How do I get my baby to latch on to my breast correctly?
Latching on refers to when your baby properly takes your nipple and areola into his or her mouth and begins to suck. A baby’s natural instinct is to latch on. The ACOG says that holding your baby directly against your bare skin after birth helps trigger that instinct. At Burdett we encourage all newborns to have uninterrupted skin to skin time right after birth when they are able to so that latching on is easier and more effective for everyone. Your baby will have an easier time latching on if they are tight against your body with their head in a lifted position and their nose at the level of your nipple. Wait for a very wide open mouth and bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby. The baby should take as much of the areola into their mouth as possible. A great indicator is to look and see if your baby’s nose is almost touching your breast, but not pressed against it. The baby’s cheeks should be round and full, without dimpling during sucking, and you should not hear clicking sounds when he or she sucks. You might be able to hear swallows though! Our staff can help you learn how to tell when your baby has a deep latch to the breast and is drinking well. Just ask!
Breastfeeding should not be painful, but sometimes there might be an initial pain when the baby latches on, that goes away after 30-60 seconds. Normally, it should feel like strong tugging and not pinching. If you continue to feel pain, try to reposition your baby at your breast. If you are unable to nurse your baby without pain, it could mean one of two things. First, it could mean that you just need help getting your baby to latch on correctly. Second, you may have a nipple injury or breast infection. Call your doctor or lactation consultant in either of these cases.
Question: How do I make breastfeeding more comfortable?
Being comfortable when you nurse your baby is good for you and for the baby to help with proper latch on. Find a comfortable seating arrangement to establish a routine that you and your baby feel comfortable with. Using footstools and pillows can provide extra support for your back and feet. Wraparound nursing pillows and backrest pillows with arms are great to have on hand. Many moms like to sit in glider chairs with cozy armrests. Keep your supplies nearby areas where you frequently nurse. Such necessary items include burp cloths, blankets, and diapers. Other items might include books and magazines, snacks, bottled water, your cell phone and remote controls.
Have any breastfeeding FAQs that you’d like us to discuss? Post them in the comments below and we may address it in our next blog post. Please consult your health care provider on any medical issue related to breastfeeding.