Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Treasure Trove of Breastfeeding Information:
Global Health Media!

We just can not say enough about the Global Health Media Project.

Their videos are an extraordinary source for Childbirth, Breastfeeding and Newborn care (and more). 
AND... wait for it - the videos are available in 20 languages!

 Our favorite videos are here (we have posted the YouTube versions so that you can see the videos directly from this page), but please check out their site to watch from their wonderful library!

"Breastfeeding in the First Hours"
This extraordinary video shows the birth, breast crawl and first self-latching of 3 different babies.
It's just so beautiful

"Attaching Your Baby at the Breast"
Describes invaluable information about how to get the deepest latch and
how to know if your baby is likely to be nursing effectively.

"How to Express Breastmilk"
Hand expression is an often overlooked skill.  It is invaluable for relieving engorgement
and for helping jump-start your supply.  It's also incredibly useful if you need extra milk for your baby in the first week, when learning how to pump can be challenging.

"Increasing your Milk Supply"
Describes how to use breast compressions while your baby is nursing
to help your baby get more milk and simultaneously increase your supply.

"What to do About Nipple Pain"
Like some of the resources above, this video describes how important a deep latch is
for pain-free breastfeeding, and how to alleviate pain.

"Is Your Baby Getting Enough Milk"
As valuable as knowing how to breastfeed is knowing how to
evaluate how well your baby is growing on your amazing milk.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How Can You Tell if Your Newborn is Nursing Well?

We see many moms at our meetings that tell us that breastfeeding started off well for the first few days.  But then things became more challenging when they got home, or the family found out at the first doctor's visit that after the normal initial weight loss, the baby's weight was still going down.

Sometimes it's really clear that a baby is not nursing well - mom might be in a lot of pain, or maybe diaper counts are low, or sometimes a baby has a hard time initiating a latch.

Often we find that latch problems can be solved with the "training wheels" of breastfeeding - the Laid Back Breastfeeding Position (see the amazing article "Many Moms Have Been Taught to Breastfeed Incorrectly"  and the wonderful videos by Nancy Mohrbacher), and also with the use of helpful Breast Compressions.  (And for more helpful links, please see our "Breastfeeding 101" info in the "Get ready for breastfeeding" tab (above))

Sometimes, though, it's easy to think that the baby is nursing well when they may not be.  In these cases the baby latches on, mom is comfortable while breastfeeding, and baby stays on the breast.  These families are told "yep, latch looks great!".  But, for too many families there's a critical piece of information that is not communicated - and that is:

What does it look like when a baby is drinking milk?

Jack Newman "Really Good Drinking" YouTube

We think this is essential information for parents to know and here's the trick - a baby truly drinking at the breast will open their jaw widely during the act of nursing (as shown in the video above).  As long as there are no problems with mom's supply, every time you see a baby's chin go to it's maximum opening and pause for a moment, baby is probably getting milk.

But, if a baby is nibbling at the breast - fluttering their jaw, sucking in their cheeks to generate suction - then it is very likely that their latch is not effective enough and needs attention.  Here's a good example of nibbling:

Jack Newman "Nibbling" YouTube

This video - Attaching Your Baby at the Breast - from Global Health Media is also a gem for learning more about this topic.  It covers how to tell if a baby is deeply attached, and ideas for how to achieve a deep latch.

A less efficient suck can lead to slow weight gain (or weight loss!), and a lower milk supply if unchecked.  When a baby is not gaining weight, or being very fussy at the breast, women are often told that their supply is the primary problem; and while some women do have supply issues to begin with, it is WAY more common for low supply to be caused by an inefficient latch.

There are solution for latch problems. Getting help from La Leche League and/or through a visit with an IBCLC (see tabs above to find lactation help) are among the best ways to find those answers.

The above videos, and many other excellent videos and information sheets (on a wide variety of breastfeeding topics) can be found on Dr. Jack Newman's website.  Also, this Facebook post from Dr. Jack Newman's page provides a detailed description of how to evaluate the effectiveness of a baby's latch as well.

Please contact a leader if you have any questions or concerns!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fun, information and support - October in Hershey PA - who could ask for more?

Some of the most treasured family memories come from the many wonderful
La Leche League conferences that we attended.

Those weekends were filled with:

- education on parenting and breastfeeding
- support for our family's choices
- breastfeeding babies and babywearing EVERYWHERE
- and so so so much fun!

Here is your chance to get support and make some memories of your own
at a full weekend breastfeeding and parenting conference not too far from the Princeton, NJ area!

October 21 -23, 2016 in Harrisburg, PA
Sponsored by LLL of Eastern PA

Check here for more information about the conference and how to register

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Turns out it's pretty normal to wake up at night (even for adults!)

As described in the fantastic book "Sweet Sleep" (published by LLLI and written by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Linda J. Smith and Teresa Pitman), researchers are questioning the idea that humans must sleep 8 hours straight every night.

In LLL meetings, we frequently talk about how it's totally normal not to expect a baby to sleep through the night.  Babies have tiny tummies to fill, and a constant/biological survival need for warmth, protection, love and nourishment.  Many moms report feeling more rested by going with the need, rather than fighting it.  Breastfeeding and bedsharing make going with these needs easier for everyone.  The book Sweet Sleep discusses many ways to get more rest at night while also nourishing your baby.  The information in this wonderful book discusses breastfeeding, how to bedshare safely and enjoyably, and also other practical ideas for families that do not bedshare.

But, it's interesting also to note - according to both Sweet Sleep and this article "Try a Bi-Modal Sleeping Pattern If You Frequently Wake Up At Night", that it's completely normal for humans of any age to wake up during the night.

So, it seems that the phrase "burning the midnight oil" could be not one rooted from people over-doing it, but from the totally normal human activity of getting up during the night and using that time for all kinds of activities.

I particularly like this quote from the article "Of course, if you’re already sleeping well and feel rested during the day, there’s no reason to change your patterns. However, if you’re struggling to get the sleep you need, it may be worth considering if the stereotypical model works for you. If you frequently wake up during the middle of the night, getting up to do something rather than staring at the ceiling."

This way of thinking can be very relaxing - instead of thinking there's something wrong with your baby (or something wrong with you) if you wake up up at night, try thinking of it as totally normal.  Get up and do something enjoyable.  You may just fall back to sleep quickly, or you may just enjoy your nighttime activities.  Either way, you will feel more rested having spent less time worrying about it - a win-win situation for sure!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Breastfeeding feeds the human microbiome

Here are links to two articles describing just one of the amazing properties of human milk - how it uniquely feeds the microbiome residing in our gastrointestinal tract.  Perfectly designed to nourish our bodies and set us up for our normal pattern of growth.

(1) The New Yorker article "Breastfeeding The Microbiome

(2) The AAAS article "The Infant Gut Microbiome"

image (from article #2) depicts the variations in gut microflora that can occur
with both type of birth and type of feeding method

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Get ready for breastfeeding, or get help now!

See our tab above (or here http://lalecheleagueofprinceton.blogspot.com/p/get-help-now-with-more-breastfeeding.html) for the 5 most important things you need to know to get a great start with breastfeeding!

How to Contact a Lactation Consultant In Your Area

IBCLCs are healthcare professionals, covered by insurance, who do pre and postnatal home visits.  Visits include full evaluations of you and your baby, latch assistance, pumping techniques and much more. IBCLCs are covered by insurance, by the Affordable Care Act. Please read "Ten Facts You Must Know About Insurance and Breastfeeding Support" for more info.

IBCLCs possess extensive training to provide clinical care in the management of lactation - from pregnancy to weaning.  IBCLCs help mothers and infants to breastfeed in hospital, outpatient and home settings as an integral part of a mother’s healthcare team.  IBCLCs assist not only healthy babies but also critically ill and premature babies.  Lactation consultants also provide clinical skills, education and support to help mothers overcome physical and other challenges to successful breastfeeding, and work as part of a team with your doctors, midwives or other providers in your healthcare support system.

See the tab above to find many IBCLCs in the Princeton area and beyond, or click here: