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Helpful Tips for 5 Common Breastfeeding Questions

The first few days for mom and a newborn are filled with so many emotions… joy… nervousness… wonderment… exhaustion… and that’s just scratching the surface… We’d like to think mother nature takes over and everything is as smooth as clockwork. But that’s not reality. Every mother and child faces a unique set of circumstances and sometimes that may include a few bumps in the road.
Helpful Tips for 5 Common Breastfeeding Questions
Featured Speaker:
Molli Moen, RN, BSN, CLC
Molli Moen, RN, BSN, CLC  has been working in Obstetrics at Upland Hills Health for 7 years. A mom herself, Molli is a Certified Lactation Counselor, helping new mom’s get started with breastfeeding their newborns.
Transcription:

Caitlin Whyte (Host): The first few days for mom and a newborn are filled with so many emotions, joy, nervousness, wonderment, exhaustion, and that's just scratching the surface. We'd like to think mother nature takes over and everything is as smooth as clockwork, but that's not reality. Every mother and child faces a unique set of circumstances. And sometimes that may include a few bumps in the road. So, to talk today about breastfeeding, we are joined by Certified Lactation Counselor, Molli Moen.

This is the Inspire Health podcast from Upland Hills Health. I'm Caitlin Whyte. Without a doubt, every mom who wants to breastfeed hopes it will happen effortlessly. But is that a realistic expectation or to rephrase that, are breastfeeding challenges common?

Molli Moen, RN, BSN, CLC (Guest): So I'd like to be able to tell every mom that breastfeeding is going to come easy and natural, but many times that is not the case. For many moms, this is a new concept for not only mom, but also for your baby. So breastfeeding success usually comes with time, patience and a lot of practice.

Host: Okay. So I'm going to read five common questions that often come up for new breastfeeding moms. And we'll have you walk us through some tips that may help. So number one, my baby latched great right after delivery, but now it doesn't want to nurse. What should I do?

Molli: So this situation is super common. Sometimes it's even called a birthday nap or maybe recovery sleep for our babies. The sleepy period is normal and it's very expected. Sometimes these babies, it's just their way of coping with the big, exciting day that they've just had.

The best thing that mom can do in this situation is just continue to offer to breastfeed every two to three hours, babies put skin to skin as much as possible. And actually research has shown that babies feed more often when they are put skin to skin frequently, practicing hand expression of colostrum or breast milk, will keep our babies interested as well as help stimulate your milk supply.

And then also knowing that our babies only need to pee or poop once each in 24 hours. And if they've done that, they're doing just fine. The biggest thing that I want you to do as a new mom is not to stress or worry. Babies will, babies will perk up for feedings and sometimes even cluster feed to make up for these long birthday naps.

Host: Breastfeeding my baby is painful. What should I do about cracked, bleeding, pinched, painful or bruised nipples?

Molli: Okay. So sore nipples. Tenderness is okay and expected for a newly breastfeeding mom, but this should never develop into like a toe curling pain. The pain with breastfeeding should never make you want to quit breastfeeding. And if you're experiencing this pain, it's likely caused from an improper latch. So, this should be addressed with maybe different latching techniques or possibly a lactation consultant appointment.

Host: Number three, how can I get my baby to open wide and latch deeper or better?

Molli: So number one, the best way to start a breastfeeding session, it's going to be patience. I want you to put your baby skin to skin, position baby to belly with your belly, and then baby's nose should be across from your nipple. Once baby's there, you can kind of baby's upper lip or nose with your nipple to help simulate a root or a wide open mouth. When baby roots, you should aim your nipple towards the top of baby's mouth and tuck the baby's chin in close. And then you'll go up and over the nipple with baby's mouth to get the deepest widest latch.

Host: And how do I know if I'm making enough milk? Is my baby getting enough?

Molli: Okay, so this is a loaded question, but a few things that can help answer this question are is baby latching well? Are they feeding at least eight to 12 times in 24 hours? Are we hearing swallows with feeding and then also watching your baby? How is baby acting after a feeding? Are they content sleepy and relaxed? Are they frustrated, crying and they continue to root. Baby's hands actually tell us a lot as well. If their hands are relaxed and open after a feeding, this usually indicates that your baby's tummy is full and it's happy. If they have clenched fists, real tight hands. This could be maybe they're unsatisfied, they're hungry or they're still frustrated. And then another question with that, is baby's peeing and pooping adequately and this just means, are they getting one wet diaper and one poopy diaper in the first day and so on for each day up to day four. And then approximately they should have five to eight wet diapers and at least three to four dirty diapers each day. So, what goes in must come out. If you're seeing them having output, that's great. And then the last question I would ask in a situation, if your baby's getting enough milk, is if baby is gaining weight. This may not be an easy answer to get from home, but it could always be done if you're having concerns with a quick weight check with the birthing unit, or maybe the clinic staff as well.

Host: And the last of our five common questions. What supplements can I take to increase my milk supply?

Molli: Sure. So this is a super frequent question that I get all the time and I wish there was an easy and quick answer, but the big thing was supplements is, they only work if you're meeting the requirements of supply and demand of breastfeeding. So breast milk production is very much dependent on the demand and whether that's nursing with a baby at the breast or a pumping session, the more we demand, the more ultimately we will produce or supply of the milk. The frustrating part about this process is it takes the body numerous days, approximately three to maybe even up to a week or so of consistent demand to increase our production. So, the other thing you can help with this, other tips, would be hand expression or massage while baby's feeding or, or you're pumping, skin to skin frequently with baby, rest, good nutrition, proper hydration, and then reducing maybe caffeine levels and avoiding smoking will also help with your supply.

Host: Well, thank you so much for providing such a wealth of good solid advice for new moms, Molli. This has been interesting. We want all moms and babies to have the best start possible, and we are grateful there are people like you to help through the rough times. If you'd like to see the Birth Center at Upland Hills Health, you can do that right from your computer or smartphone.

You'll find a virtual tour at uplandhillshealth.org/babies. You can also find Upland Hills Health, OB GYN specialists available to you and the family medicine doctors who deliver babies at Upland Hills Health there too. This has been the Inspire Health podcast. I'm your host, Caitlin Whyte. Stay well.