Preparing for a Visit with a Lactation Consultant

preparing for lactation consultant__1457981121_162.206.228.38While a natural experience, many new moms find breastfeeding rather unnatural at first.  It’s sort of like camping out – you’re completely immersed in nature but yet you may not know exactly what to do.  You also may run into some rough terrain or scary challenges every now and then.  That’s where a lactation consultant can help!

If you find yourself in need of a lactation consultant as many moms do, you may be wondering what to expect and how to prepare.  Today we’re sharing ways of preparing for a visit with a lactation consultant.

  • When you call to make your appointment, be prepared to briefly explain the breastfeeding problems you’re having.  While the issues won’t be resolved on the phone, it’s good for the lactation consultant to know what’s going on between you and your baby to best help you during the visit.
  • Call your insurance company in advance of your visit to find out whether or not your consultation will be covered.  It’s better to know in advance because many facilities offer a lower out-of-pocket price if you are paying upfront at the time of your visit.
  • Bring what you need for breastfeeding.  This includes a favorite breastfeeding pillow, nipple shield, breast ointment or snack and water for yourself.  You’ll probably want your diaper bag so you’ll have diapers, a change of clothes for your baby (should you need it) and a burp cloth.  Bring along your pump as well.
  • Feed your baby 1-2 hours prior to your appointment time.  You want your baby to be hungry during the visit so the lactation consultant can work with you during a true feeding.  However, you never want your baby to be starving so don’t withhold milk if your baby needs to eat.
  • Plan on your visit lasting for about 2 hours.  This will give you a chance to talk to the lactation consultant about all of your issues and concerns, feed your baby and pump if necessary.
  • Bring a log of your typical breastfeeding schedule and any problems you’ve been experiencing.  Sometimes lactation consultants can find a pattern causing issues that you may not recognize.
  • At the visit, the lactation consultant will weigh your baby before and after breastfeeding to find out how much he has taken.  This is reassuring to many moms who are uncomfortable not knowing how many ounces their baby is getting.
  • The lactation consultant will also discuss various breastfeeding positions to help you find several that are comfortable for you and your baby.  Sometimes changing positions can resolve breastfeeding problems.
  • Latch is also essential for good breastfeeding.  The lactation consultant will look at your baby’s mouth to make sure there are no concerns with his tongue, gums and swallow reflexes.  Then she will help you ensure a good latch and often show you ways to encourage your baby to latch properly every feeding.
  • Lactation consultants may offer additional recommendations based on your individual needs.  These may include using specific nipple ointments, using a nipple shield, feeding more or less often, pumping more or less often and how to stimulate your milk supply.
  • You may need to see the lactation consultant 3 or 4 times before you and your baby get the hang of it.  Practice makes you better so continue working at it and let the professionals help as much as possible.

Get the most out of your lactation consultation by preparing for a visit with a lactation consultant.  Happy Breastfeeding!

 

Lactation Consultants: Why and How to Use a Lactation Consultant

Much like other areas of our lives, when we’re struggling with something, calling in a professional can be a big help. Although very rewarding and full of benefits for mothers and babies, breastfeeding can be a challenging experience for many moms.  Lactation Consultants offer advice and support that sometimes makes the difference between successful breastfeeding and an early dropout rate.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first year of an infant’s life, and they cite many additional benefits of breastfeeding for longer.  Even moms who read, take classes and do their research on breastfeeding before giving birth often have difficulties when it comes to putting the knowledge into practice.  Because there is a finite amount of time that women can maintain their breast milk, seeking help as quickly as possible is essential for a successful breastfeeding experience.

lactation consultantsEvery mother and child have a unique breastfeeding relationship.  Whether you are a first-time mom or a veteran, any mom can find themselves in a frustrating breastfeeding conundrum.  Lactation Consultants can help with a variety of issues that arise for breastfeeding moms.  The most common problems are trouble latching, maintaining a baby’s interest and low milk supply.

Lactation Consultants can often help with other issues including suggesting various breastfeeding positions, helping with transitions like returning to work or introducing solids, and breastfeeding through mastitis and plugged ducts.  Perhaps most importantly, Lactation Consultants offer guidance and support to encourage women to meet their personal breastfeeding goals.  While pediatricians, partners and friends are often supportive of breastfeeding, they may not have the expertise to give constructive advice to resolve breastfeeding challenges.

There are several certifications of Lactation Consultants.  IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, which have the highest qualification in the field and are considered experts.  They go through extensive education and take an exam for their certification.  Certified Lactation Consultants have mid-level training and also have to pass a course for their designation.  Lactation counselors or mentors may have no formal training but are experienced mothers or people interested in helping others succeed in breastfeeding.

If you are looking for a lactation consultant to meet your needs, you can look for one in several places.  First, your OBGYN or pediatrician may have a referral for you.  Using someone recommended by your doctor or your baby’s doctor usually means they have a similar philosophy and style of care that you may already appreciate.  You can also find Lactation Consultants through databases from Breastfeeding USA or LaLecheLeague.  Both of these resources offer a wealth of certified Lactation Counselors in your area who you can call.  Another option is to call the hospital where you delivered for a recommendation.

Be sure to check with your insurance company about lactation support as well.  Under the Affordable Care Act, many policies include a stipend for lactation services to ensure new moms can be successful in breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is in the best interest of insurance companies, the healthcare system and the economy because breastfeeding often results in less illnesses for mothers and children.  This puts less stress on healthcare providers, hospitals, employers and families over time.  Therefore breastfeeding is an important measure in preventative care for young families.

If you experience trouble breastfeeding, don’t waste time.  Find a Lactation Consultant quickly to ensure you can meet your own breastfeeding goals and provide the best nutrition for your baby.

The People We Should Celebrate in Birth

Labor Day is this Monday and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than honoring the people involved in prenatal care, childbirth and helping you care for your new baby.  Having children is a “labor of love,” and there are many dedicated women who can help make it an easier, more comfortable and less stressful experience for you and your family.  From doctors and nurses, to midwives and doulas, in honor of Labor Day we are highlighting the professionals we should celebrate in birth.

OBGYN:  For most pregnant women, an Obstetrician is the primary practitioner who oversees care for both the mother and the baby while in utero.  Obstetricians specialize in prenatal care including a range of common pregnancy conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, edema and many more.

OBs and their staff help monitor the baby in the womb to ensure mom is providing the best gestational conditions and the baby is growing and developing properly.  They also test for potential birth defects and other problems that may threaten the health of the baby.  OBs are typically the doctors that deliver babies in the hospital and will continue to check on mothers in the days after childbirth.  Obstetricians often perform circumcisions on baby boys a day or two after birth if the procedure is to be done in the hospital.

OBGYN Nurse:  You may encounter many different OBGYN nurses at your practice who have different roles in your prenatal and postpartum care.  You will often work with a nurse prior to seeing your doctor at every visit to review your status, symptoms and other vital information.  Nurses may help your OB perform routine tests in the office.  If you call your doctor’s office, you will often speak to a nurse who can answer most non-emergency obstetric questions or can seek advice from your doctor if necessary.

The People We Should Celebrate in BirthIn the hospital, your nurses are usually divided into two teams:  labor and delivery, and postpartum care.   Labor and delivery nurses monitor expectant moms and their babies through active labor and assist the doctor or midwife in delivering the baby.  Nurses may specialize in vaginal deliveries or c-sections as the care and procedures vary.  Postpartum nurses care for the new mother and newborn after the baby arrives.  Nurses will consistently check vital signs and the recovery status of the mother, helping her work through potential problems and symptoms.  Postpartum nurses also help mothers navigate caring for their newborns with tips and advice on everything from breastfeeding and burping, to diaper changes and swaddling.

Doula:  Doulas are trained, experienced professionals who assist mothers before, during and after childbirth.  Birth doulas aid in the labor process and usually stay with the mom-to-be throughout labor.  Her role is to preserve the birth experience as the mother intends and provide comfort as the mother sees fit.  Postpartum doulas help mothers navigate their new role as a mother.  This may include newborn care, soothing techniques, infant feeding support, recovery solutions for the mother and family adjustment.

Midwife:  Midwives are often specialized trained nurses who provide prenatal care for mothers and their babies.  Midwifery is aimed at individualized care that takes each mother’s specific needs in mind such as their emotional wellbeing or cultural background.  Midwives foster personal relationships with their patients and often deliver babies themselves.  They are more likely to assist in labor support and postpartum care than Obstetricians.

Lactation Consultant:  A lactation consultant is a trained professional who helps new mothers in their breastfeeding journey.  Many new mothers, especially first time moms, are unsure about how to begin breastfeeding.  Lactation consultants help with logistics such as positioning babies and ensuring proper latch, milk production strategies, hunger signs, breastfeeding schedules and a healthy breastfeeding diet.  Lactation consultants usually make rounds in the hospital and offer new mothers fact-based information on infant feeding.  They can also see mothers in or outside the hospital on an appointment basis.

Pediatrician:  This is the primary care physician for babies and may be a child’s doctor through her teenage years.  Pediatricians make first contact with the baby in the hospital as they check on the health and development of babies daily.  Then babies visit the doctor several times within the first month and typically again at two, four, six, nine and twelve months within the first year.  Pediatricians and their staff will weigh, measure and examine your baby at each visit.  They administer shots when necessary and may perform extra tests such as vision, hearing and other specialized exams.

Mothers:  Of course, the entire birthing process isn’t possible without the strength, courage and love of mothers.  Motherhood is a one-of-a-kind experience that requires a lot of patience, dedication, love and support.  When becoming a mom, many women have a newfound appreciation for their own mothers and other mothers in their lives.  Motherhood is enhanced through family and community, and finding support in other mothers with shared experiences.

This Labor Day, we hope you join us in celebrating all those who make birth and childcare their “labor of love.”  Happy Labor Day!

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is becoming the new must-have for moms and babies! Due to its unique richness of fatty acids it’s proven to be one of the best superfoods. Just like breast milk, coconut oil contains lauric acid, a healthy saturated fat, and with that comes many positive health benefits including better brain function, weight loss, and protection against harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. People who eat a lot of coconut during their lives are considered to be some of the healthiest people on the planet!

Coconut oil has even better benefits for breastfeeding moms and their babies. Feeding your child coconut oil can help their bodies grow up healthy and strong. It can help get rid of lice, ease the pain and itching of bug bites, it’s great for controlling wild hair, particularly curly hair, and it’s perfect to put in the tub for calming bath time. Here are five different ways moms and their babies can benefit from using coconut oil on a daily basis:

For Moms

  1. Breastfeeding Moms: Coconut oil is the best solution for mom’s cracked or sore nipples from breastfeeding. It can be used as a lubricant during breast pumping, and as an anti-itch cream while your belly grows during pregnancy. You can also increase your milk supply by ingesting coconut oil a few times a day.
  2. Beauty: Coconut oil will be your new best friend! Not only can it get rid of your unwanted acne, it’s the perfect moisturizer for your hair and body, a great makeup remover, and it can also help with the appearance of wrinkles! Plus, you can use it as a substitute for regular shaving cream and make your legs feel extra soft and sexy.
  3. Skin: Coconut oil has deep moisturizing abilities so it’s great for eczema and psoriasis along with reducing the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.
  4. Cooking: Not only can cooking with coconut oil give you amazing nutrients, but it also brings a delicious Mediterranean style. And because coconut oil is a natural energizer you will feel fuller longer and will always be ready to take on the day!
  5. Immune System: Consuming coconut oil helps your body numerously. It’s great for people with digestive problems, and it helps control bad bacteria to help women who struggle from yeast infections. Coconut oil also relieves heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, and it has anti-viral properties so it’s great for healing scrapes, bruises, and burns without contracting infections.

For Babies

  1. Pain Reliever: Teething can be a very painful process for your baby. Wipe some coconut oil on their gums to relieve the pain.
  2. Skin: Coconut oil is really great for cradle cap and strengthening your baby’s soft spot. It also will warm and turn into a liquid when rubbing it together with your hands so it’s perfect for infant massages, sunscreen, and works well with baby acne.
  3. Immune System: Coconut oil has anti-bacterial, anti-itch, and anti-inflammatory properties and can help with baby allergies, reducing fever, soothing chicken pox, constipation, and getting rid of Thrush.
  4. Diaper Changing: Coconut oil is great for soothing diaper rash and getting rid of stubborn meconium your baby might have during the first few days.
  5. Cooking: Feeding your baby coconut oil will broaden their tasting experience by trying new flavors. It’s also rich in lauric acid just like breast milk so it’s super healthy!

You will love the health benefits coconut oil will give you and your baby! If you’re concerned about allergies or your baby ingesting coconut oil, or other products, make sure to always speak with your doctor or lactation consultant before trying new foods. Also, before you go out and buy coconut oil make sure you are educated on what kind to purchase. Extra virgin coconut oil is all natural and contains no preservatives or harmful ingredients; therefore it’s the best one to buy!

 

 

 

Benefits of Cabbage for Sore Breasts

Benefits of Cabbage for Sore BreastsCabbage is an extraordinary thing. Not only can you make delicious recipes from its leaves, but they can give you amazing health benefits. Cabbage has been used for years to treat a number of things including constipation, stomach ulcers, eczema, arthritis, and scurvy, a Vitamin C deficiency disease that many professionals recommend cabbage for because it contains more Vitamin C than oranges. Including cabbage into your everyday diet is one of the best things you can do for your body. It has been known to increase recovery from wounds and damaged tissues, regulate your nervous and digestive systems, and can even help you sustain a healthy weight. Cabbage is also an excellent remedy for women during their maternity to help with discomfort.

While you breastfeed you may experience a time where you will feel uncomfortable, or in pain, from your swollen, engorged breasts. This is a common factor in women who are breastfeeding. It can happen any time during your maternity, but it’s most common during the first few days or weeks and during the following days or weeks after you stop breastfeeding. Engorged breasts can be very painful. Once you have given birth your body begins to produce breast milk to feed your baby. For the first few days trailing your delivery, you will more than likely have difficulty breastfeeding, especially if it’s your first baby. Your baby may have trouble latching and you could go a few days without being able to feed with your breasts. Until you begin a normal breastfeeding schedule you may feel discomfort in your breasts as they fill with unused milk. This discomfort will only last as short while, usually one to two days. Breast pumping can help too.

Cabbage is a great solution for your sore breasts. The leaves have been used for hundreds of years to soothe and cool sore or sprained muscles. Many people use it for sprained ankles or as a substitute for prescribed drugs when they get their wisdom teeth taken out. Many specialists and herbalists believe cabbage is rich in antibiotics and has anti-irritant possessions. Cabbage, just like broccoli and brussel sprouts, contains sinigrin, a glucosinolate which is a natural component in many pungent plants such as mustard and horseradish. When a plant’s leaves or tissues are broken it releases the antioxidants including sinigrin and in return they can heal the problem area naturally and quicker.

For the best use to heal your sore breasts from engorgement purchase a head of green cabbage from your grocery store. Once you get home gently tear off the leaves, wash them, and place in your refrigerator so that they can cool. You don’t necessarily need to put them in the fridge, but cool objects do help with swelling. After they are cool enough you will want to take a rolling pin or some kind of device where you can crush the veins on the leaves. Once you’re done doing this to several leaves place them evenly around each breast so they are covered completely. For the best results leave your breasts covered for twenty to thirty minutes and repeat every four to six hours or until your breasts feel less engorged.

 

Although cabbage leaves have worked for most women to release their pain from their engorged breasts, it’s always important you speak to your lactation consultant or doctor before using anything you’re unsure about because it may be harmful to you if you are allergic. Cabbage, along with many other foods, always need to be washed and cleaned before they can be eaten or put on your body to prevent attaining Listeria.

 

 

 

Breastfeeding Adopted Baby

Breastfeeding is a beautiful way a mother can provide beneficial nutrients to her baby. A special bond is created through the precious moments of skin on skin contact. By supplying your baby with food from your body, some mother’s believe it’s the greatest experience they can have in their lives. But what about mothers who have chosen to adopt? Many women might not be aware, but breastfeeding your adopted baby can be done. Even if you’ve never given birth or breastfeed before, your body is still capable of producing breast milk. Today we are going to discuss how breastfeeding your adopted baby is beneficial to their health and the bonding experience, along with ways to prepare your body before they come home.

Breastfeeding Adopted BabyPreparing yourself for breastfeeding your new baby can be difficult. Although it’s not an easy task, and it takes a lot of time and real dedication, it can be done and the benefits you will gain are well worth it. Creating that mother/baby bond is the most important thing you need to focus on because most infants who are adopted are known to experience and feel loss and abandonment after delivery. Babies can recognize their mothers right after they are born once they are placed on their mother’s chest. They can identify them through smell and touch. If they are not placed directly in their adoptive mother’s arms they could develop a fear of separation and begin performing a distress call/cry. By supplying your baby with your natural milk you are not only giving them the best nutrients possible, but you are also enhancing the bond and creating an even stronger relationship with your child that they need to feel loved and secure.

Getting your body ready to breastfeed isn’t a tricky process, but it can take a while before you are able to produce enough breast milk to fully feed your baby. Adoption can be an unpredictable course. Some women have no time at all to prepare while others might be given several weeks or even months. If you don’t have time you will still be able to produce milk for your baby, and don’t get turned off if it’s a very small amount at first. What’s amazing about a woman’s body is we can produce breast milk once a baby begins breastfeeding. The suckling sensation triggers our bodies to think we have just given birth! Women who have more time before their child is brought home can have the chance to teach their body how to produce enough milk. You can practice by gently massaging your breasts a few times a day. It’s also recommended and encouraged to try breast pumping to stimulate your breasts even more. The more your breasts are stimulated, and the more milk you pump, the more breast milk your body will produce.

Many women who have trouble producing, or want to make more milk, can be prescribed hormones from their doctors to influence their bodies even more. This can work for several women. Other options include formula or you can try a donor’s breast milk. Whatever you chose just remember it’s all about the bonding experience you share with your little one. And always talk to your doctor or lactation consultant about what’s right for your body and baby if you have any questions or concerns when it comes to breastfeeding.

Is Breastfeeding Supposed to Hurt? A Look at Common Nursing Issues

Is Breastfeeding Supposed to Hurt? A Look at Common Nursing IssuesWhile discussing breastfeeding with a loved one, trusted friend, or lactation consultant is very helpful for expecting moms, sometimes misinformation can make a pregnant mom-to-be hesitant to try breastfeeding. It’s important to remember that nursing will not be the same experience for every mom, even if it’s your sister or mother describing a particular nipple pain or let down issue.

It’s not uncommon for a new mom to have some pain associated with breastfeeding in the beginning. Not only is body sensitivity heightened after giving birth, but many women report feeling nipple soreness as baby’s first learning to latch. Engorgement can also be the source of breastfeeding pain; in the days following birth, breast milk “comes in” and can cause breasts to feel overly full and uncomfortable. New moms should try and prevent engorgement by nursing frequently and concentrating on letting baby eat fully at every breastfeeding session.

Lingering, burning pain that’s associated with breastfeeding is a sign that a visit to the doctor is in order. Not many moms experience infections or deep, throbbing pain, but any issues should be resolved as quickly as possible so breastfeeding is not disrupted. If you think you’re experiencing engorgement, you might have a low fever, harder than normal breasts, or nipples will flatten out. The best way to treat engorgement is to gently massage breasts and give frequent cool compresses before nursing for at least twenty minutes at a time.

If you feel nervous about breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to talk about your feelings with a lactation consultant or a veteran breastfeeding mom. Sharing experiences helps to build the nursing moms’ community. As long as you can remember that everyone’s breastfeeding journey is not exactly the same, then you will feel prepared to nurse your own little one.

Nursing Pads: Best Breast Care Practices for Nursing Moms

Loving Moments Washable Nursing PadsWorried that using nursing pads will cause discomfort or leaks in public? It can be very uncomfortable when your nipples stick to nursing pads or your bra cups. Breast milk contains a high amount of lactose, which can be sticky. Once the breast milk dries in the pad, it may cause your nipples to stick to the nursing pads. Applying a thin layer of lanolin-based nipple cream will help you avoid any discomfort in your early breastfeeding weeks.

If you have an overabundant milk supply, you must pay special attention to changing your nursing pads frequently.  Don’t despair, an overabundant milk supply usually only lasts the first few weeks after your baby is born. Regardless if you use reusable or disposable nursing pads, you may find absorbency to be an issue with each type. My recommendation would be to change the pads frequently and avoid waiting until the nursing pads are soaked through. If you are going to be out and about, you may want to throw a few sets of Loving Moments nursing pads in the diaper bag and change the ones you’re wearing as soon as they get too damp.

Hope this advice helps, new moms! Have breastfeeding questions? Leave us a comment and we’ll help you get the answers you need.

Colostrum and Important Breastfeeding Health Benefits for Your Baby

Colostrum and Important Breastfeeding Health Benefits for Your BabyDid you know that your breasts start producing liquid gold in the final weeks of your pregnancy? No, not the real kind of gold you’d find in Fort Knox, but a substance more precious to your newborn’s health. Colostrum, nicknamed “liquid gold” by nursing moms and lactation consultants, is the nutrient-rich breast milk a woman produces just before birth.

Why the nickname? Colostrum is not only precious for your infant, but typically carries a yellowish hue when discharged. This special breast milk comes in before your normal breast milk supply and is very important for your newborn’s immune system. While is rich in proteins, vitamin a, and antibodies, colostrum is also low in fat. Its natural composition makes it the best first food for your newborn. Also, colostrum has been shown to stimulate a baby’s digestive system without fuss. Packed with white blood cells, colostrum keeps infections at bay while your baby happily nurses and gets stronger.

After the first few days nursing, the colostrum will be replaced with regular breast milk. This natural transition is nothing to worry about—your baby will still get essential nutrients and vitamins without colostrum. With a proper feeding schedule and enough breast milk, your baby will continue to gain weight at a healthy pace. Colostrum jump starts the entire process and creates lasting immunity that’s crucial to protecting your baby against disease. Experts agree that babies fed colostrum have better immune systems long-term and are less likely to struggle with diabetes or obesity. Breastfeeding sets the tone for your baby’s health and lifestyle, so take steps to try nursing your little one, especially in the days just after delivery.

Worried about breastfeeding? Make an appointment with a lactation consultant to get all of the information you need. You can also turn to a female family member or friend who has nursed before for practical advice and support. You’re not alone in this, so reach out to others for emotional support while you get the hang of nursing!