At Pediatrics East, we know that child healthcare begins even before birth. When your baby comes into the world, it can be overwhelming in so many ways: overwhelming amounts of love, excitement, and, often, worry.
One of the aspects that causes the most worry as a newborn’s parent is their feeding. How will the baby be fed? How often? Breastfed or formula? As with every patient and situation: every family is different and will make the choice that fits them best.
Additionally, some parents may come in with a plan of how to feed their child, only to have problems. While many women may go in with a plan to breastfeed, sometimes this plan is not always possible.
Since breastfeeding or formula feeding can often be a decision that needs a little help, we have lactation consultants on staff who can help you through the process. Whether you need some help getting started with breastfeeding, or if you have questions about what formula is the right choice, our lactation consultants, Cindy Earle and Brandi Jordan, are here to coach you, help you, and encourage you.
Brandi is in our Cordova office on Monday and Tuesday, and in our Bartlett office on Wednesday and Thursday. Cindy is in our Collierville office on Friday. Click below to schedule a consultation with one of our expert lactation consultants.
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Common Breastfeeding Problems
From the first moment your baby is born, your body is rushing with changes. One of the most prominent changes occurs in your breasts. Many women immediately have their milk “come in,” where the milk ducts are full and ready for a feeding.
For other women, there can be issues producing milk. Along with producing milk, even starting breastfeeding can be a painful process. For first-time mothers especially, the entire concept of breastfeeding can take some getting used to.
Here are some of the most common breastfeeding problems that our lactation consultant sees and can help with:
Not enough milk production
In this instance, we advise to continue trying to breastfeed especially in the early weeks. The more it is attempted, the more your body will react and increase milk volume.
While breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, even resulting in cracked or bleeding nipples, painful feedings should be addressed and fixed quickly. Breastfeeding should not hurt. The most you should feel is a tugging sensation. Most often, there is a latching problem. Once you correct the latch, the pain should go away. Our lactation consultant will work with you and your baby to help correct the latch. It can take a little bit of practice, but remember, you are both learning together. You will get the hang of it. If you experience a clogged duct or infection, our consultant will offer guidance on what to do and how to prevent them in the future.
Issues with baby latching
This problem can be among the most frustrating. Many mothers look to breastfeeding as an opportunity to bond with the baby. When the baby doesn’t latch quickly, you may be worried. The first way to try and fix this is by using the skin-to-skin method, where you both remove clothing from the waist up, allowing for the natural closeness with skin to make latching more natural. Still, there can be latching issues that linger, and our lactation consultant is here to help!
This problem can be among the most frustrating. Many mothers look to breastfeeding as an opportunity to bond with the baby. If your baby doesn't immediately latch correctly, you may be worried that breastfeeding might not work for you. Our lactation consultant is here to help. She will help you with your baby's latch, including using different holds and methods to encourage a deep latch. If you still have some issues with your baby latching, try some skin to skin time. With skin to skin, remove your clothing from the waist up and have your baby in just his or her diaper, allowing the natural closeness of your skin touching make latching more natural.
Getting back to work
There is no doubt about it: breastfeeding is hard work. Especially when you are trying to get your life back to a normal schedule by returning to work, many workplaces are not understanding to the demands of breastfeeding and pumping. Your lactation consultant can offer some tips on how to handle this, along with helping you get on a schedule that works.
When you breastfeed, it becomes a single-parent endeavor. This can feel a bit lonely and even stressful, for both you and your partner. Find other ways for your partner to be involved, including helping with bath time, tummy time, diaper changes, and other one-on-one activities that can encourage bonding.
While these are just some of the common challenges, there are plenty of others that can be unique to the mother or the baby. Between the help of your pediatrician and lactation consultant, we can work together to find solutions that help you.
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Breast Milk or Formula?
More than anything, our lactation consultants want the mother and baby to both feel happy and healthy when moving forward with feedings. At Pediatrics East, our care extends beyond our little patients; we know that our patients will live better, safer, and happier lives when their parents are engaged and making good decisions for the baby.
That’s why we see the pros in both breastfeeding and formula feeding. While this has become a controversial topic for many, it is put quite simply for us: do what is right for your family. A happy baby is a fed baby. Below, we outline some of the benefits of both breastfeeding and formula feeding approaches.
- Health benefits for baby – less likely to develop allergies, illnesses, stomach issues, and asthma down the road
- Health benefits for mom – helps you heal after delivery, helps you burn calories, and can postpone the return of menstruation
- Stronger bones – helps your baby get strong and more likely to maintain a normal weight
- Cost benefits – cost of formula can add up; but breastmilk is free
- Always available – a substitute for mothers who have problems breastfeeding or producing milk
- Easy on newborns – good for babies who are allergic to milk, suffer from acid reflux, or experience other stomach problems
- A solution for multiple babies – often used for twins or other multiples, to help keep up with feedings
- Flexibility – rather than pumping at odd times and managing feedings on your own, formula can make things a bit easier
Typically, breast milk is encouraged for at least six months, especially in the first four to six weeks of life, to help ward off future illnesses and help with immune system building. However, we know that everyone is different. Together, we can create a good plan that helps mommy and baby.
What Do Lactation Consultants Do?
As you have probably seen by now, feeding a newborn is tricky business. Along with the changes your body is experiencing, the baby is also relying on you to stay healthy and strong. With so much responsibility on your plate, a little help is always welcome.
Our lactation consultants are important staff members, who are available before and after the baby’s birth to discuss options and tactics for feedings. Especially once the baby is born, you may run into a little more unanticipated issues with breastfeeding than you originally thought.
A lactation consultant identifies problems, offers tips, and helps breastfeeding be more comfortable and natural for both you and your baby. A lactation consultant can help you with:
- Latching problems for the baby – whether an issue with the baby’s mouth and tongue or the mother’s nipple
- Helping set a feeding schedule and determining how much to feed the baby
- Assistance with pains and offering remedies to help
- Offer tips for increasing milk production, including how often to breastfeed and certain foods and supplements that can improve milk output
- Teach you how to pump, what equipment to use, and to give tips on storing milk for future use
- Restoring confidence that you are doing a great job – no matter what happens with your breastfeeding journey, you will be supported for navigating motherhood in your own way!
Your pediatrician partners with you and your lactation consultant to see any physical problems with your baby that may make breastfeeding more difficult. Palate, tongue, or reflux issues can all play into problems with feeding your baby. Together, we work to get your baby fed and feeling great!
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Lactation Consultants in Memphis, TN
From the moment our little patients enter the world, we want to be sure they are in safe, healthy, and loving environments. Our pediatricians offer new parenting classes and come to the hospital to check in at the baby’s birth; these, along with our lactation consultants, are just a few ways we support parents in this exciting new phase of life.
Whether you are a new parent or you are awaiting the arrival of your baby, we want to help you be prepared. Working with our lactation consultants can give you the insight you need to keep breastfeeding, or options that can keep both you and your baby healthy.
If you are interested in learning more about lactation consultants, breastfeeding, or other questions about your baby’s health and growth, give us a call. We can create a personalized plan for you that fits your baby’s needs. You can also download our Breastfeeding Evaluation chart.