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I NOW HAVE A BREASTFEEDING HOTLINE. I CHARGE TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR A TWENTY MINUTE CALL.
Breastfeeding is best for your baby. Many hospitals now offer Lactation Consultants. However, when you get home and you are still unsure of what to do, a Lactation Consultant can help you one on one with a good latch. I help many moms find a good latch in my private practice. Furthermore, as you begin your journey of breastfeeding your baby, it is essential that you get comfortable by placing pillows on your lap, or on the side of you or behind you for back support. In fact, the baby breastfeeds better when it is well supported too and its body is properly aligned to yours. Therefore, it is important to hold your baby towards you on its side facing your tummy and putting your baby's tummy close to your body. Next you need to try to get your breast nipple close to your baby so you can tickle your baby's upper lip with your nipple. Wait until the baby opens wide and then quickly put the baby onto your breast. If it does not feel good, try to adjust the baby's chin by pushing it down a little bit. Support your breast using a C hold, that is your thumb on top of your breast and the rest of the fingers are underneath your breast. Then bring the baby a bit closer to you.
Some babies may slip down onto the nipple while breastfeeding and may need to be repositioned again. Break the latch by inserting your finger in the corner of the baby's mouth or by pulling down on the baby's chin and try it again. Do this until the latch feels comfortable. If you allow the baby to stay latched on incorrectly when it hurts you, this may cause nipple soarness and not allow the baby to empty your breast properly. Remember, if it is a good latch, then it feels good. Breastfeeding should not hurt. The first second may hurt but it should feel much better real soon. Furthermore, the exact alignment of the baby's head to the mother's breast is crucial to have a successful latch on. If the baby is not latching on well, you may want to try to hold your baby skin to skin, Then wait until the baby is not in a very deep sleep and try to breastfeed your baby again. Occasionally, if the baby is not sucking well, further investigation needs to be done to see why the baby is not sucking well, one possibility may be the baby's tongue. You can ask your pediatrician if this is the case and your pediatrician will further assist you to help you find a good solution for your situation.
If the baby is not latching on well, the mother still needs to keep up with her milk supply. Therefore, she needs to pump. A hospital grade pump is the best however, there are many good double or single pumps on the market. I recommend my moms to double pump because it is more efficient, you get milk out faster and better. Usually, a mom should pump anywhere from 10-20 minutes a session while double pumping every three hours, if the baby is not latching on well. Until your baby does latch on you need to keep this up. Once the baby does latch on well, you do not need to pump that often. You can always e mail me or contact me with your particular situation and I can help you anywhere in the world. By the way massaging your breasts or placing a warm wash cloth for a few minutes, helps the milk flow better while pumping.
If a baby does not latch on well because the mom has been bottle feeding, I usually have to introduce a nipple shield for a few weeks to get the baby back on the breast. Then afterwards, the baby will learn to suck without one. If the baby is having a tough time latching on remember the baby will need lots and lots of skin to skin time.
Cesarean births can sometimes affect how soon the mother is able to start to breastfeed. It may be more stressful and painful for the mother. A Lactation Consultant can help you find a good position therefore, helping you to latch your baby on well. Many times I instruct my moms to use a football hold if the baby likes this position. It relieves pressure away from the stomach, which is a good idea for a Cesarean section.
When a baby is having trouble latching on, sometimes it is a problem that the mother's nipple is too big for the baby's mouth or the mother has inverted nipples or flat nipples. A Lactation Consultant such as myself, can help guide you to help resolve this problem. We are specially trained for these types of situations. Sometimes, in these cases, a nipple shield is temporarily used, until the baby grows a little. All these things can be figured out with the help of a Lactation Consultant.
In conclusion, the most important thing is to enjoy breastfeeding your baby. This is a special time to bond. Make sure you have a good latch on so breastfeeding won't hurt and remain pleasurable. Have fun with it. By practicing breastfeeding, you the mom will learn how to help your baby latch on correctly while the baby figures out how to suck correctly. This may take time, patience and commitment bit it will be well worth it in the end.