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Posts tagged ‘formula’

Breastfeeding- Yeah- It’s Not Exact or Precise

Cartoon by Neil

Cartoon by Neil

The truth of the matter is that doctors, physicians assistants, med students, interns, yes and many midwives plus many nurses working in the mother/baby environment SIMPLY DO NOT have enough education about Lactation and Lactation Management to adequately guide new mothers. It is sad and pathetic. The vast majority of these individuals would rather work with precise numbers and are actually happier if a mom is pumping and feeding her milk in a container to baby.

It is no wonder this has transferred to the vulnerable new mother. WE have done this to her. There is actually a new trend to pump and feed expressed breast milk instead of ever putting baby to breast. I can help you with that.  Please know that a large number of these infants do get some formula until milk supply is established. Make an informed choice. These breastmilk-fed babies are not usually exclusively fed expressed milk thru out the first few months. It is a hard job to pump and feed and pump and feed. It is a damn hard job to build and keep up a full supply long term exclusively pumping!! It has been done. You can do it. Mommas are very powerful and they can do it SO if that’s the choice you make then GO FOR IT!!! Give it all you have got. But CONSIDER putting baby to breast and feeding the way nature designed your body. Work with an IBCLC. We need good lactation programs at EVERY facility that provides childbirth services. We need IBCLC’s in the hospital. We need prenatal education about the benefits of breastfeeding so mothers make a true informed choice.

The more I speak with and counsel new mothers, the more I get asked for exact numbers when it comes to feeding instruction. It is no surprise that the number one question on the mind of a brand new first time breastfeeding mom is “HOW do I know my baby is getting enough milk?”

Babies were born to breastfeed

WATCH the baby, Listen to the baby. Look for feeding cues or little things the baby does which tell you he is getting hungry.

Lets make it EASY with very little “rules”. Think of these as TOOLS– not RULES

First:  Attachment to breast should be DEEP and COMFORTABLE

Second: Baby needs to do the RIGHT JOB of effective drinking

Third: Baby needs to do this OFTEN ENOUGH each 24 hours…. about 8 for most moms – more is very common- feed on cue

Fourth: By the fourth day ( give or take a day), and EACH 24 HOURS thereafter Baby should be having around 6 ”good” wet diapers and about 3 -4 poops that are starting to turn yellow.

Please KEEP your baby with you at a times!! Just.Say.NO.

 

Bottom lineWeight Gain. Baby should be at birth weight by Day 10 (or at least on a proven good upward trend) and be gaining about an ounce every day thereafter.

After the first 4-6 weeks. This little chart comes in handy:

Copyright Nancy Mohrbacher used with permission

Copyright Nancy Mohrbacher used with permission

If a doctor or  nurses first suggestion is to give formula to your breastfed baby—for whatever reason— ask to see a Lactation Consultant, an IBCLC.

These are the only numbers to remember. TRY to stop stressing out.

This blog post is not a replacement for medical advice should you or your baby have an issue. This is applicable to healthy full term infants.

Copyright 2014 StorkStories RN IBCLC RLC

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Supporting my Non-Breastfeeding Daughter-In-Law … Part II

Why is that some of the common childhood bumps, bruises or injuries have to happen for the first time when I’M in charge of the baby?? I swear…seriously.. I was right there! Please believe me! 😕

"The perfect Grandmother keeps the infant safe at all times and goes on daily outings..."


This is a continuation of Supporting my Non-Breastfeeding Daughter-In-law Part I

Let me back up a minute. I have been going down to Dave and Sadie’s regularly for help with babysitting my grandson Tommy. I was getting good at being just a grandma and not a nurse. He was growing pretty well even though we all had to put a lot of effort into getting adequate calories into the boy! He was long and lanky. A skinny lightweight. Both his parents are very tall so it may partially be just genetics. He had outgrown some of his feeding issues as he merged into toddler-hood. Then he turned into a finicky picky eater. Through out all this time, Sadie and I were feeling really comfortable with our relationship. At least I know I felt good about it and she told me she did also. We had developed a respect for one another.  She had been relying on me to come and help out from time to time.  I was always so happy to oblige so that I could see Tommy and enjoy some time with him. I remained respectful of how she wished his day should go for example, managing nap-time, playtime outside, meals and how to handle unwanted behavior. She didn’t have a lot of rules at all…just certain things she asked me if I could do to maintain consistency. No Problem. I know she appreciated it. Sometimes my son would call me to tell me that Sadie said I had done a really good job with the baby that day etc..  🙂

Tommy started talking! He mixed some letters in the beginning and came up with my name. Instead of “Grama”… it came out “Manga”! We all loved it and it stuck. Now I am forever… Manga! It is so delightful when when you are recognized and greeted with an excited little voice! And even more delightful when that sweet little boy calls you his own special name! We played lots of different things and I was having a blast!

One day as we were march-dancing to a little song in the living room clapping toys together, I sat down on the couch, getting tired, and Tommy came running towards me, dropped his toy, immediately tripped over said toy– flying face first into the coffee table! Oouch! He hit just under his right eye! He didn’t break the skin and his eye was fine. But darn it! He got hurt 😦  This was the FIRST face bump he had! One time he had bump on the back of his head from falling over a few weeks back and I had overheard Sadie telling one of her friends about it then saying “It did NOT happen while in my care, let me assure you!” I think my son was playing with him at the time. So needless to say, I was a little anxious to let her know what had happened but of course I had to tell her right away. I called her and explained what happened, how he was and that he was letting me hold ice on it while I had a video going and he was having milk. I KNOW she was upset…. what mommy wouldn’t be when something like that happens to their baby when you are at work. She was very good about it, asked me if I could take a picture for her and send it so I did.  Everything was OK… Tommy actually got his fair share of bruises and bumps!

The next one involving me was pretty upsetting. We were at my house, Tommy was in the high chair, his parents just left for dinner. I cleaned Tommy up and got him down. He ran past the sink where my husband was making the dogs dinner (Tommy had been playing with our Chocolate Lab all day) and the dog turned and snapped at Tommy as he went by!  That sweet little angel boy just sat on the floor stunned and didn’t even cry till I picked him up~ horrified~ and left the room to examine him. He had welts of dog teeth around his tender little calf. No broken skin!    Oh.My.God. This. Did. Not. Just….Happen!! Ice, snuggles with Manga, milk, favorite video and phone call to mommy again. They were both very upset but realized it was all an accident.  It was completely gone in a few days. Still. That was beyond sucky. 😕
I think part of learning as you go…as a parent helps you to de-sensitize yourself to some issues or things that you originally thought were such a big priority. You begin to accept some things as they are and not expect that you can have control over all the little things. This may have been what happened to Sadie. I saw her relax on things about which she had previously been so firm. I didn’t tell her I saw this transformation but it was there.

Sadie got pregnant again on their first month of trying!! They told me when we were out to dinner. I saw my son get up and move a lamp above my head saying the light was in his eyes, He sat back down again and said “I don’t think we’re going to make it up for Thanksgiving this year, mom.” “Why?” …I said (That was the one holiday they ALWAYS spent with my family…..) Dave says nonchalantly: “Because- it will interfere with Sadie’s due date.” I jumped up so excited!! (glad he wisely moved that lamp) then they said… “You are the first to find out Manga… we didn’t even tell Sadie’s parents yet!” I felt so honored!!  YAY!

Because I had previously been admonished for saying things in a way which I had felt was “just being  myself” and I obviously crossed the line, I wanted to be especially careful and respectful. There was always an underlying fear for me that I would screw up. I didn’t ask or talk about anything medical. I had learned how to just be a supportive Manga. Life went on, I was babysitting frequently and Sadie was already in to the second trimester.

“I want to make sure I get breastfeeding right this time.” Sadie said to me out of the blue while I was having breakfast with her one morning. “I’ve been reading about it and I want to do a lot of things differently. I don’t want all those people in the hospital. I just want it to be me and Dave and the baby.”  (I was quiet, letting her talk)    “I was really depressed after Tommy was born and I had tried to pump but not really very much so I never had much milk… I was reading you need to pump a lot” ( I felt so bad I didn’t know she had been depressed! She hid so much from me then…I should have seen it!)    Of course I was so happy to hear her say this on her own….  😀      In order to be most supportive, I needed to find out what her wishes and goals were… so that’s what I asked.  Then Sadie replied: “I want the baby to get all breastmilk for as long as possible.. I don’t care if the baby feeds from me or if it’s pumped milk.”… she continued… “I’m kind of afraid that I might not like it….  and I might want to see how much the baby drinks every time after what we went through with Tommy. What do you think?”

I said” You are an amazing woman! Anything you’ve ever put your mind to seems to be what happens! You should be able to do things however you like. I am so sorry you were depressed last time, that must have been so very difficult! (Pause for Hug) I will help you anyway I can if you want.” Sadie said she did want some help figuring out a good book to read and some info on pumping. I was totally happy! It wasn’t so much that Sadie had expressed her interest in breastfeeding (which of course I was over the moon happy about…) but more that she wanted to talk to me about things and wanted my guidance! I felt like we had really reached a milestone!

Once I got back home I got the PERFECT book ready to send her! “Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy” by Laura Keegan. I had met Laura online and we struck up an immediate friendship. She has the best approach to showing moms how to really have a very comfortable and enjoyable breastfeeding relationship. I have used this book as a teaching aid at work to help moms really visualize what we are discussing. I find it invaluable. Sadie got the book in the mail and read it twice through! She loved it! She started asking me questions a few times a week… referring to the book and looking past her immediate goals to future issues and asking about that! For the first time, after her mother’s negative experience, her own bad experience to the point where she just gave up even trying…. She was now seeing breastfeeding in all it’s beauty! I thank Laura Keegan for this fabulous book! Helping to gently open the eyes of a young women and empower her!

After more discussion, and checking Sadie’s wish list, I decided I would also buy her a high quality pump. She had checked with her hospital to see what they had there and it made sense to stay with the same kind. I got her an Almeda Purely Yours Ultra. We had a little breastfeeding class and pumping info class on a Sunday afternoon. She had Dave set up a little pumping station in their bedroom. All the while, I really only gave her info she asked about, the basics of milk productions and the importance of skin to skin and self attachment. I went into detail on what she wanted and highlighted things that were important for good understanding and good overall management.

Sadie went into labor again at about 38 weeks. My job was to stay at the house with Tommy. I left work early and got down there just after he went to bed. There was a babysitter there who then left and I was all alone…. waiting to hear.  Finally I got a text and a photo… Another boy!! Joseph or “Joey”. The text was from Dave and said “he’s never left Sadie except to get weighed and he’s been nursing a lot already, mom!” I was so happy for them! The next day, Sadie’s dad came to stay with Tommy so I could go over to see the new little family. The plan was for a quick little visit so I didn’t interrupt their alone time. Sadie called then and asked where I was, how far away because the baby was ready to eat and she want me to see if it looked alright. (The surprises kept coming.. I was really honored once again..) I got into the room as she was preparing to feed. She seemed so confident as she positioned herself and Joey. He opened wide and self attached beautifully with a big deep mouthful of breast! Sadie looked blissfully happy, had no pain and was experiencing the positive signs of hormonal surge. Joey began to have a rhythmic deep sucking pattern with audible swallowing. I was able to point out all these positive things to both of them. Like a well rehearsed play, it was as if the perfect script had been well acted!  I would not have believed it could have gone THIS well for them if I didn’t see it myself!! I thought I was going to leave then and she asked if I could stay and help her with the pump to make sure she knew what she was doing with that in case she needed it later… She wanted to pump anytime Joey was not feeding well. He was a great nurser but she pumped anyway so she had an excellent supply!

To get to this point has been a fabulous journey of learning more about myself and learning more about how to be the best support to other moms in my care. Sadie went on to nurse Joey or feed him pumped breast milk exclusively for the first 4 months. She continued to pump and nurse after that but had started to also use formula at times. She did a fabulous job! She is very proud of herself.  One thing she said to me a few weeks ago was that she thinks having her babies, and especially nursing Joey, has really made her feel so much closer to me. *tear**

Then she thanked me for hanging in there…… again……….

Support the mother, Support the mother, Support the mother most important of all!

And the Manga… Support the Manga! Most Manga’s want to to the best for you…

Show us how!

Supporting my Non-Breastfeeding Daughter-In-Law … Part I

 I first realized the initial true feelings Sadie had regarding breastfeeding before they were even married.  I was staying with my son and his fiance — my future daughter-in-law– while attending the ILCA conference in 2006. We were at an ice-cream stand on a warm summer evening. There was a family with young children nearby. The toddler fell down, then while the mother comforted him, he snuggled to nurse for a while. I looked on admiringly. Sadie was disgusted. She commented on how that was totally ridiculous for a baby that size to be breastfeeding! And in public no less! “It turns me off even more about breastfeeding! I will NEVER be doing that!”
I had often cared for young girls with negative feelings about breastfeeding in my career so that didn’t surprise me. What I wasn’t prepared for was that this young woman was going to be the mother of my future grandchildren. I was a little afraid inside. I don’t know why exactly but I was.  Somehow, it hadn’t entered my mind that she may not want to breastfeed. I took for granted that she’d want to breastfeed like all of my family had, and like all the next generation young females had indicated they would. That was wrong of me. I didn’t really know this young woman yet. I didn’t know her dreams, desires or plans regarding motherhood. I had to be able to support her– no matter what!

So how do I discuss this with her? How would you? Do I even go there? Does she even want to talk about it? All you breastfeeding moms with young sons out there….. have you ever thought about this?

As a breastfeeding advocate and a health care professional, I always encounter situations where a mom and/or her friends, partner, family etc., talk about breastfeeding negatively with obvious emotion and often certain misinformation. I try to carefully find an avenue to open the door to an informative discussion attempting to gently educate and dispel untruths. Sometimes that is challenging. Sometimes it is my professional responsibility.  Sometimes it is just an overheard remark by family and the opportunity isn’t quite ripe for a discussion so I can only say one little line with humor to “put in a positive plug” so to speak. It takes experience to know when to talk and a greater wisdom to know when to shut-up.

That day –> I choose to stay away from her personal feelings and instead said a few positive things about how the cultures around the world regarding feeding were so different from our American culture…. I was meeting amazing people at the conference… the average world weaning age was around 4 years old…etc…etc.  I talked about how her future husband was still taking a bottle at age 4 and how he needed that. Then I asked her if she had been breastfed. She was a twin and her mother had not wanted to breastfeed, so no.  She then told me that her mother tried to breastfeed her younger brother (Sadie was 14 at the time) but she had cracked bleeding nipples for 2 weeks and both her mom and her brother were always crying. Can you imagine how that experience, that imagery would stay in the mind of a young 14 yr old girl and impress her own feelings about breastfeeding? I’m sure! This had probably happened to many girls in America.

Through out the wedding plans and the actual wedding, Sadie and I were just fine. I was loving getting to know my new daughter-in-law.  I wanted to be a good mother-in-law and not interfere at all unless they wanted help or advice. Life was good. I let them alone and we enjoyed great visits/ great times.

Then Sadie got pregnant.

SO EXCITING!!! Now we have entered into my realm of expertise. I couldn’t help but ask some pregnancy health questions, feeding questions. I didn’t go crazy- believe me. She was open and sharing. I wanted to know a couple things every once in a while after she came from the doctor. I was wanting to have a feeding discussion with her so when the opportunity arose, I seized it. I was so thrilled that she told me she was going to breastfeed!!! I encouraged her to get some knowledge in ahead of time, like maybe a class or a book. I also said I’d be available to help or do whatever she needed. That may have been the last we spoke of it. At least while she was pregnant.

Our relationship then went straight downhill and it had nothing to do with breastfeeding! I had heard from the happy couple that they were going to have a boy according to the ultrasound. I was thrilled! So excited! I congratulated my son and later in the conversation mentioned to him that it is pretty good but not 100% accurate and that occasionally the U/S can be wrong…. I said this to protect them from possible disappointment. They both said they knew that and things were fine. We then had a case at my hospital where the baby was not the sex predicted by ultrasound! Like a stupid jerk, I immediately told both my son and Sadie. The reaction from Sadie was harsh to say the least. I got a long email from her stating that they had discussed it and they want me to be only a grandmother and not a nurse for any future communications! OK then. I had obviously overstepped! I needed to pull way way back. I was very hurt though. I had tried so hard NOT to be in her space. I deliberately tried to wait for information instead of seeking it out.  But I screwed up. I did. Now I felt like I couldn’t say anything…. EVER…. about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding….. my life, my work–stuff I knew a lot about! This sucked!

So I kept quiet. I didn’t let her know I was bothered. I tried to just talk like a grandma. What the hell do they ask anyway? Does a grandma ask how do you feel? Does a grandma ask if you are feeling the baby move? Does a grandma ask how your blood pressure is? What the doctor says? Or does she just ask about the names, colors of the baby’s room and stuff like that? How was I supposed to know? I asked “nursey” type questions to any pregnant friend of mine so I don’t really know differently!! The pregnancy continued and I got very little information. Only what they told me…I kept being happy and cheerful. I was a little sad inside but I couldn’t let her see that. It wasn’t about me. She was the pregnant mother– not me!!!!  One time I asked if it would be alright to get a call that labor started so I could drive the 2 hours to the hospital. I wanted to know if it was alright to be in the waiting room. Sadie said “Of course! Why would I even ask that??? I’m the grandmother for crying out loud!” (Oh…that’s what we grandmothers do) YAY!

I got a call from my son Dave one Friday afternoon while I was at work. He was animated and excited and proudly told me that Sadie was going to be induced on Monday! (She was 37 weeks as of today and would be 37 3/7 on Monday). I immediately thought something was wrong. I started asking if the baby was OK, her fluid levels, her BP etc… “Yes relax yes everything is just fine mom!” I said “Well- why do they want to induce her?” Dave said “Because he’s cool, he likes us, and I cut his grass.”      *** ARE YOU F-&$%*& Kidding ME???? ***** is what I’m thinking.  Out loud… I said: “Oh Honey, all the experts frown on inducing this early if there’s no medical need. Please talk about it some more and find out some of the risks.”…… “There are no risks Mom, I trust him. He knows what he’s doing.”. Later I get another phone call from my son where he told me he did not appreciate that I couldn’t be happy when he was telling me good news.  I just said I was only wanting to make sure he made smart decisions now that he’s going to be a parent etc and just tell me when and I will be there. I had to shut up.      What would you do? Would you say more????

The next day, Saturday, he called and told me the doctors moved it up a week. A week from Monday. Who knows why—I’ll never find out. At least she’ll be 38 3/7 weeks. The baby had other ideas. Sadie went into strong labor one day before her scheduled induction. Her labor was not long for a primip at all. A total of 8 hours. 45min of pushing. She had an epidural. Just Dave and Sadie in the room. The waiting room was filled with her family and myself and my daughter. I was told by the other grandma that the baby had already been to breast!! YAY! I was invited back to the room to meet the baby and it was a wonderful moment. I didn’t ask any questions just commented on how good Sadie looked and how good the baby looked. I think I was afraid to do anything except smile.. I was very happy and everything looked good.

Later in the room, there was a bottle of Similac in his bassinet. The room was filled with visitors. Sadie asked me if I could feed him. I only asked when he ate last. She said it had been hours and she couldn’t get him to eat. I sat down with my new grandson and started to work on feeding him. That’s exactly what it was. Work. He had some kind of disorganized sucking pattern. He seemed to have a weakness on one side of his mouth and didn’t form a seal well on the nipple. I have seen a lot of this before and have worked with both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding babies who present this way. I was able to get him to take 15 ml and he went to sleep. Sadie and Dave were relieved. The next morning, I came to the hospital with some outfits etc… As soon as I arrived, Dave wanted to go have brunch with me. The baby was alone with Sadie.  🙂  During the meal I asked him about being a new dad etc.. and I asked him how well the baby was feeding. He was difficult to feed most feedings and Sadie was feeling upset. I asked him if she was still interested in breastfeeding and he said “I don’t think so mom. I don’t think so.” SO at least I knew. I had been afraid to ask because of the history and I wanted to be offering the correct information if they asked me feeding questions. I wasn’t upset. I really wasn’t. I wanted Sadie to be comfortable and happy with her decisions. I didn’t want her to feel at all “pressured” by me or my line of work.

I started to think of how I could help Sadie the most. I began to show her ways to support the baby’s mouth on the nipple and techniques to improve the suck. Dave and Sadie initially began to rely on me for feeding help while I kept encouraging them each independently. They got the hang of it. The baby got the hang of it. My little grandson started growing. I drove down to their home for babysitting when Sadie had to go back to work. She used all available relatives to avoid daycare and we were all happy to help. When she came home from work, she’d always politely invite me to stay for dinner. I figured she didn’t need me around at all, she needed to reconnect with her baby. I would leave once she got home. When I’d babysit.. she’d leave me a list in the morning, I’d do as much as I could and document for her what her little baby did while she was at work.  He still had feeding issues… but they weren’t difficult if you knew what to do. Most often, I never even saw my son. Just the baby. One time Sadie told me I was the only one who did things the way she wanted.  Can you believe that??? I was beaming inside. Her own family wouldn’t try to get food in him, they would say “He won’t take it!” “He’s fine Sadie.. when he’s hungry he’ll eat.” They interjected their own 2 cents and felt comfortable doing and saying things to her as they had all her life. I would never be able to talk to her that way.

So she thanked me. Thanked me for hanging in there. Thanked me for doing what she asked. Thanked me for respecting her requests.

Thanked me for being such a good grandma!  ;-

 See also: Part One and A Half  Then:  Part II  … The next pregnancy and baby

“Breastfeeding is a Health Preventative Behavior” ILCA Press Release

Please send this press release too any local media companies!

United States Lactation Consultant Association Announces

Date: May 14, 2010
Contact: Scott Sherwood                                                      For immediate release
Tel. 919-861-4543
Email: ScottSherwood@uslcaonline.org

National Woman’s Health Week

Morrisville, NC- The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) joins the US Department of Health and Human Services in celebrating National Woman’s Health Week. The week of May 9th to 15th is dedicated to empowering women to make their health a top priority. In honor of this week the USLCA reminds women that breastfeeding is a health preventive behavior that reaps benefits for a lifetime. Avoiding or abandoning breastfeeding increases a woman’s risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease.

The decision to breastfeed is a health promoting public health behavior that benefits not only infants but also their mothers. During National Women’s Health Week, communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups work together to educate women about steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases. Women are often the caregivers for their spouses, children, and parents and forget to focus on their own health. But research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their family improves. Health care providers are urged to remind the childbearing population of women that they work with of the importance of breastfeeding as a method of reducing diseases and conditions that can rob them and their family of a healthy mother. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US. Epidemiological data suggest that women who do not breastfeed or wean too early face a higher risk of diease and early death.

USLCA president, Laurie Beck, RN, MSN, IBCLC would like to celebrate National Woman’s Health week by wishing all moms a Happy and Healthy Mother’s Day. “USLCA urges all mothers and health care providers to view breastfeeding as a health promoting and disease preventing behavior just like nutritious eating and physical activity.”

Knowledgeable professional breastfeeding support can be obtained from lactation consultants with the IBCLC credential (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). To locate a IBCLC for assistance with breastfeeding go to http://www.uslca.org


Mission: To build and sustain a national association that advocates for lactation professionals

Vision: IBCLCs are valued recognized members of the health care team.

The United States Lactation Consultant Association (ULSCA), is organized exclusively for the advocacy of Lactation Professionals.

“The American Propensity to Shun Human Milk is a Public Health Problem”

A Historical Perspective

Bulletin: Chicago School of Sanitary Instruction (June 3, 1911)

This is a part of my comment reply placed to an individual who had commented on The Feminist Breeder’s  post “When It Comes to Breastfeeding, We Can’t Handle the Truth”

“There were countless situations over the last 200 years which forced caregivers (whether the natural mother or another individual)to resort to artificial feeding of one kind or another. It is amazing what some of them came up with to try to feed those infants! Necessity was the mother of invention. And many were able to survive. It’s wonderful that they could. Many more, however, sadly died. Many many babies were sickly or died in those times.
You say: “The matter is that formula/breastmilk substitutes became so helpful that people continued for centuries to make it work.” I agree.
But my take on it is that the necessity of an available safe artificial alternative to breastfeeding for those mothers who could not breastfeed their babies took centuries to formulate…to make it nutritious enough and safe enough and to come up with a safe enough feeding container. It was just that.. an artificial substitute.
Gosh– I am NOT an expert on this aspect at all.
I just feel that the heart of this conversation is that artificial infant feeding has risks. Risks that mothers aren’t informed about because society has normalized artificial feeding. Breastfeeding is normal feeding.
No one should ever take away an individual’s choice..EVER…!!!!!
Mother’s simply need better information to make INFORMED choices.
I’m very sensitive and careful in my approach to moms… helping them with information they need to make the best choice for them. Then I will ALWAYS support that mother 100%.
Here’s an interesting historical perspective link for your review from the American Journal of Public Health | December 2003, Vol 93, No. 12
It covers history from about 1890 to early 1900’s.”

“Low Breastfeeding Rates and Public Health in the United States”

Here are some quotes and excerpts from this article published in the American Journal of Public Health (December 2003, Vol 93, No. 12 ) discussing Public Health THEN and NOW.

Quotes:

“Late-19th-century physicians . . . constantly
decried the ‘children with weak and diseased
constitutions belonging to that generally
wretched class called bottle-fed.’

“Today’s medical community recognizes what their
predecessors knew a century ago—that the
American propensity to shun human milk is
a public health problem and should
be exposed as such.”

Abstract: “The medical community has orchestrated breastfeeding campaigns in response to low breastfeeding rates twice in US history.
The first campaigns occurred in the early 20th century after reformers
linked diarrhea, which caused the majority of infant deaths, to the use of cows’ milk as an infant food.
Today, given studies showing that numerous diseases and conditions can be prevented or limited in severity by prolonged breastfeeding, a practice shunned by most American mothers, the medical community is again inaugurating efforts to endorse breastfeeding as a preventive health measure.
This article describes infant feeding practices and resulting public health campaigns in the early 20th and 21st centuries and finds lessons in the original campaigns for the promoters of breastfeeding today.”

I found this article to be very informative and very interesting.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED???


**ROAR** on Breastfeeding Guilt

10_Lioness-with-Cub-Feeding

(Image found at Google Images)

**ROAR**

The Mommy Wars over feeding babies continue..I guess it won’t ever be truly over. I’ve been following a discussion over at NursingBirth on  “Why Educating Our patients is a Professional Responsibility and Not about Guilt.”

I thank her for quoting me and including thoughts I wrote on what I have learned over the years talking to, educating and helping mothers.

I have re-posted this earlier segment  “Breastfeeding, Bottle-feeding and Somewhere In-between… Why the Guilt?” This post is about what I have learned speaking from a professional point of view. As a professional, it is inappropriate for any of us to imply directly or indirectly to any mother trying to make feeding choices that breastfeeding and formula feeding are equal.  They are not. Human milk is the superior species-specific food for Human infants. The recommended feeding hierarchy from the experts (AAP,CDC, WHO) is Breastfeeding, expressed mother’s milk, expressed donor milk then properly prepared infant formula. That’s why NursingBirth’s post is so important to understand. Reading the comments……

There are STILL moms out there confusing the issue.

All or most of this discussion is NOT directed at any mother who tried to breastfeed under any circumstance and wasn’t able to at all or wasn’t able to fulfill her individual goals. I applaud all your efforts for trying to give your baby the best food you could. I am so sorry that you experienced the difficulties you have. Your situation is not what this discussion is about. I think it’s very possible that advocates and some professionals lack sufficient skills to help you deal with the loss of a breastfeeding relationship. If breastfeeding is important to you then you would truly go through a grieving process and guilt would most likely come into play somewhere along the line. We do that to ourselves a lot as women anyway. I did personally experience that guilt. I had wanted to breastfeed my last baby for a full year and was unable to because of personal health problems. I had a lot of guilt. This discussion is NOT about these situations. Let’s stop making it about that. Please!

This mommy war guilt discussion as I see it is one where a mother who chooses to formula feed defends her choice and lays claim that those who are promoting or advocating breastfeeding make her feel guilty.

Guilt comes from within an individual if they feel they haven’t done what they “should” or wanted to. Guilt is a very strong emotion. NursingBirth has a great description of guilt as does The Feminist Breeder in “Mommy Guilt- Its all about Perspective.” It would be a good idea for guilt-ridden moms to read these articles. Those professionals or advocates who I have mentioned here or in my re-post are trying to do a good job of making sure people have the information to make educated decisions about health care issues.  Any professional who intentionally tries to make a mother feel guilty isn’t being very professional. If there is an advocate out there continually finding moms feeling guilty, perhaps you should change how you deliver the message. I said in this earlier post about how one single word can make a difference:

“She needs to be comfortable and confident with her decision. Perhaps her guilt comes from how one single little word or sentence was said, even if what was said is accurate and true. Perhaps her guilt is coming from her own internal struggles. I don’t know.  She needs to come to terms with that herself,  and not punish herself and or publicly criticize the advocates saying they are causing the guilt.  Although there are some very zealous advocates out there, I feel in my heart they are not trying to make any individual mother feel guilty. I read a comment from a mom somewhere that said something like… “perhaps if moms knew it wasn’t all or nothing, maybe more would try breastfeeding.”  My first thought was..why do they even think that..are there really mom’s who feel it has to be all or nothing? Is this causing the guilt because they don’t think they can breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months as the experts recommend??”

None of this changes the facts. Like it or not, breastfeeding is and will continue to be a major Public health Issue to the point of a public health crisis! As professionals and advocates, our work is not finished. I think sometimes that those speaking out against advocates get in the way of facts and put their personal opinions or views out in front and totally distort the issue. I read on someones blog this week (TFB) a great quote by Daniel P. Moynihan: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” and I loved it!

According to this article from the American Journal of Public Health:

“Today’s medical community recognizes what their
predecessors knew a century ago—that the
American propensity to shun human milk is
a public health problem and should
be exposed as such.”

I am still going to promote breastfeeding. I am still going to provide appropriate factual information to the mothers in my care and support whatever feeding decision they make. I will never be pushy. I will gently encourage those on the fence to give breastfeeding a try. I always support the mother.

But more people need to talk about the importance of breastfeeding.

Because it is

Important.

Don’t be guilty

Stop it

*ROAR*


Repost~ The Guilt trip~ Breastfeeding, Bottle-Feeding and…. Somewhere In-between…. Why the Guilt?

There has been so much discussion circulating in the blogosphere right now about breastfeeding.  I thought I’d add my 2 cents because….I have an opinion and….. I have just a little experience in this field both in study (2 year Lactation course, IBCLC for 10 years, current CLC) and in practice (35 years).

I thought I knew so much in 1988 after nursing 3 babies and assisting others for nearly 15 years. I actually thought I could just take the IBLCE exam based on my experience!

I was so ignorant and naïve!

I started to talk to some IBCLC’s and my eyes were opened wide to the real world. Up to that point, at that time, (I sadly and guiltily admit) I had no idea about the volume of study and research in the field of lactation. I had NO idea just how wrong we were doing things at my hospital.

I launched into a lactation course, soaking up all I could, 3 years of study preparing for certification. I set out to change the world… at least my world. I wrote big proposals for the hospital. I applied for grants to fund a lactation program. I developed education competencies for the staff. I started breastfeeding classes. I thought everybody shared my passion, that they too would want to learn …. because I was right!!

Instead I was the target of all the boob jokes you could think of and I had almost no support. My ideas were rejected left and right.

Long story short…it took me a long time to come to terms with accepting small changes, taking baby steps…..continuing to do the best job I could with each mother-baby couple and to keep a positive outlook. I needed to remain realistic about how much I could actually accomplish one step at a time. Slowly I began to have people under my wing trying to learn. Yeah!

I learned a lot about how to approach physicians, co-workers, managers and most of all …. mothers.

I am not an expert in journalism or critical analysis so this is my opinion of what is going on right now.

There have been some irresponsible journalists, those who have a bigger platform than most of us, writing negatively about something they have not studied or truly researched. They are expressing their opinion and including an emotional component which has, in my opinion, gotten the reaction they hoped for from breastfeeding advocates as well as those who concur with the authors. More hits, more readers. I feel they have twisted the facts to benefit or support a point they want to make. I read some of them.. other’s I really just scanned then brushed off so I don’t know everything that’s been said. On the positive side, these articles possibly give us a larger platform to provide correct information to a larger public in reply.

I read a lot of blogs and I really respect and admire all the research that many breastfeeding advocates put into their fabulous posts. These are educated women who are trying to provide current accurate information! (@phdinparenting, @bfmom, @MommyNews , @JakeAryehMarcus, @blacktating ,@AmberStrocel, and so many more). I applaud their passion and breastfeeding advocacy. They are doing a very important job. Breastfeeding IS very important and deserves advocacy, protection and support! There are still large scores of women out there making choices with only tiny bits of information, who really do not know the important benefits of breastfeeding. It is because of this, and because we still haven’t met the US Dept HHS Healthy People Goals for 2010, that breastfeeding advocacy needs to continue. I have been there, advocating in a time where I faced great adversity and a lot of negativity. I am bothered that it still exists…and exists now in so many new ways.

I am more disturbed that some mother’s out there are upset. I always try to understand just WHY a mom feels guilty if she chooses to formula feed or do some combination of formula and breastfeeding. I always hope she’s made her choice with good information and that it is her own true choice. Then good for her! I am not to judge. She needs to be comfortable and confident with her decision. Perhaps her guilt comes from how one single little word or sentence was said, even if what was said is accurate and true. Perhaps her guilt is coming from her own internal struggles. I don’t know.  She needs to come to terms with that herself,  and not punish herself and or publicly criticize the advocates saying they are causing the guilt.  Although there are some very zealous advocates out there, I feel in my heart they are not trying to make any individual mother feel guilty. I read a comment from a mom somewhere that said something like… “perhaps if moms knew it wasn’t all or nothing, maybe more would try breastfeeding.”  My first thought was..why do they even think that..are there really mom’s who feel it has to be all or nothing? Is this causing the guilt because they don’t think they can breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months as the experts recommend??

Over the years, I have learned this:

  • It is inappropriate for a health care professional to indicate to a mother directly or indirectly that formula feeding and breastfeeding are equal. Human breast milk is the superior food for human infants. Properly prepared infant formula is an acceptable substitute for those who cannot or choose not to breastfeed.
  • The first approach is probably the number one factor in gaining a mother’s interest in what you have to say.
  • The education process to a mother needs to be in small doses, sensitive to her unique learning abilities, her cultural beliefs and practices and most importantly, her choices and individual breastfeeding goals.
  • With that in mind, try to provide her with the information she needs to make her decision.
  • Never overestimate a mother’s desire to breastfeed her infant.
  • Never underestimate a mother’s desire to breastfeed her infant.
  • Listen to the mother; help her define her true desires and goals.
  • Many times, the first question she asks may not be what she really wants to ask.
  • The mother’s individual breastfeeding goals, how she defines them, how important they are to her and how she relates them to her actual breastfeeding experience all help define how she measures success.
  • Support the mother, support the mother, and support the mother.

Here are the top 3 responses to the feeding choice question pertaining to breastfeeding at my facility on admission:

  • “Breast and Bottle”
  • “I’m going to do both”
  • “I’m going to ‘try’ to breastfeed”

To each of these I respond very positively with something like… “Great! Tell me what you’ve learned about breastfeeding.”     I will then ask the mom a few questions to somehow find out her true wishes.

Then I say  “We will support and honor however you wish to feed your baby.  I’d like to give you some information so you can really understand and then tell us what you’d like to do.”

I explain some things,  i.e.: how the milk production works, the importance of early feeds etc.. and how formula introduced at that time could  interfere with the process of production, the baby’s ability to latch properly and so on… I usually end with..”We usually recommend to  focus on breastfeeding for now and then offer bottles later after milk supply is established if that is how you’d still like to manage feeding”. ETC…ETC….  Here’s what I then see:

  • There have been so many mom’s who — after a little  bit of information decide they would like to focus on breastfeeding. There have been many who totally fell in love with it.
  • There have also been many who really didn’t want to breastfeed after one single feeding.
  • There are many many still that like to breastfeed and bottle feed in combination right from the start. If they have the right info and understand how things may progress… I still say “Good for you!”
  • I have seen many continue that way for months and they are very happy with that.
  • I’ve seen many mom’s “partially” ( I don’t like to say it that way) breastfeed and feel very proud. I say “good for you!”  They don’t think of it in terms of “exclusive” or “partial”… It’s more like any breast at all…. is breastfeeding vs. no breastfeeding at all.
  • There have been many who also never wanted to try until all of a sudden they see milk leaking!
  • I’ve worked with mom’s where I can see tremendous improvement in her situation, I think she’s going to keep going…but she decides to totally quit. I simply praise her for all her efforts and help her feel proud of herself.
  • I’ve worked with mom’s who have hardly put forth any effort to overcome small obstacles, I think they will probably quit outright… Then..I find out they are the ones exclusively breastfeeding down the road.

I got a comment from a breastfeeding mom @TheFeministBreeder that I absolutely have to share. She describes her own experience in the full comment and on her new blog post.  She comments:

“Yes, I think that’s the most important part – informing a mother of any and ALL benefits/risks to supplementing, and helping them work through the option they choose.  But to tell a mother to supplement without explaining that it could undermine her efforts is just plain mean.  And too many medpros are doing it.  I’m glad there are more nurses like you who will give out the real information to empower a woman to make her own choice.  My smart friend always says ‘It’s not really a choice if you don’t have all the information.’ “

For those mom’s really trying to breastfeed and struggling, there’s more than I can say right here to cover that. I’m sorry for your struggles and hope it gets easier for you. It is important to have a skilled competent support person assisting you who listens thoughtfully and helps you get to the root of your problem… and helps you define and realize your goals. If you are experiencing guilt from your struggles or from not being able to fulfill your goals, desires to breastfeed….I think that kind of guilt is different from what I’m trying to discuss here. I am not a an expert on that. It is valuable to get the best help out there that you can as soon as possible.

I’m adding this after reading some comments on other blogs.. When approaching a mom to observe or assist with the latch process…. Permission is a must! I ALWAYS ask the mother if she would like any assistance with the latch or if  I may observe how well her baby is latching….. If that answer is yes… The next question is ALWAYS.. May I touch your breast? (if that needs to part of the process). I prefer to help moms by having the mom and BABY do the latch. I try to keep my hands out of it.  All nurses and LC’s should practice this. I am sorry for the mom’s who aren’t asked permission to be helped or touched.  😦

One of my favorite things I like to say to any breastfeeding mom is:

“Try not to make any final decision when it’s dark outside”.

On another note, regarding some reader comments on various blogs about public breastfeeding, a skimpy bikini or the bathing-suit issue of a favorite sports magazine show more skin in a provocative, sexy way than any mom breastfeeding. Even the movie stars in their gowns with plunging necklines are showing almost the entire breast! Somehow, that is OK. There are volumes of video footage and photos all over the place… even on billboards. It is sad that the public opinion of a baby breastfeeding (the most natural way for him to eat) is something that should be done in private … yet young girls are encouraged by media to bare more and more skin. Of course being discreet while feeding is important, but I can assure you, most girls in a tiny bikini are thinking more about “tacky exhibitionist behavior” than a mother breastfeeding her baby. Why aren’t law-makers focusing on any of that?

More Breastfeeding Cartoons ~ not #BAD09

I missed the Wordless Wednesday

I have nothing for the Blog Action Day 09

Instead, I’ll provide a little humor today

More Breastfeeding would help the planet anyway!

More Breastfeeding Cartoons by Neil

Enjoy!

10 6 09 031

10 6 09 039

10 6 09 015

10 6 09 057

My Breast Pump and I didn’t get Along 

Can I Pump my MILK?  Should I? …

or  Not.  Even.  Bother.


My Own Struggles with Pumping and Working

and doing what worked for me

Welcome to September’s Carnival of Breastfeeding!!!

I have this post AND an additional post All about Pumping including choosing a pump and how to Practice Pumping before going back. After you read this, check out the other posts on this month’s theme of “Breastfeeding and Work” linked at the bottom of this post. All links will be added as I get them hopefully by the end of the day Monday, so be sure to check back for the full list!

breast pump

A little history

As far back as I can remember, the only breast pump we had around in nursing school or when I first started working on the maternity unit was this thing that looked like a bicycle horn. This picture above is for an old “Breast Reliever”. It is glass with a rubber bulb to squeeze for suction. This particular antique is from the earlier half of the 20th century. We actually had a similar type glass model in Nursing school and on my 1st OB unit in 1974.   Historical use of breast pumps shows the first patent was issued in the 1800’s and a patent for a mechanical version was issued in the 1920’s. Information was scarce then. Not too many nurses knew much about it.  Mother’s were instructed to use it if they got engorged. I can’t believe it would have been very helpful.

pump70sold horn pump

We got a newer plastic version of this pump in the 70’s but still didn’t have any clear instructions for use. I was never taught by instructors or fellow nurses, so all I could do for the patients in my care was review the instructions on the box with them! I don’t even remember what that said. Those old horn pumps were trouble. They were traumatizing to the breast and the rubber bulb was just a trap for bacteria.

I remember one mother in particular in 1975 had been readmitted with bleeding, gone to the OR for retained placental fragments at 2 weeks postpartum. She was breastfeeding and having trouble. I took care of her postop. She said “I can’t believe how much milk I have, what can I do?”  I promptly went for the only pump we had and went over the directions with her. She was saying it hurt but felt better at the same time because it did help to drain some of the milk.  I didn’t much know then about how the retained placenta can delay hormonal shifts and your milk coming in. She and I both thought at the time it was because of being separated from her baby!

ANYWAY

By the time I had my first baby in 1979, (YES- 30 years ago) I had become more familiar with pumps because I had a friend pumping and now I was very personally interested. I wanted to pump just like her! I want to store milk for my baby when I went back to work. Her baby was 3 months old and she had gone back to work. She pumped in front of me once to show me how easy it was. She used a cylinder style hand pump similar to this picture. She got 8 ounces of milk in about 10 min!

70s pumpIt had one chamber inside the other. To pump, you would place the cone over your breast and pull the outer chamber up and down. This was a very popular style pump at the time. Easy right? I promptly went and bought one! I can do this!

My son was born weighing 6 lbs 9 1/2 oz. Breastfeeding got off to a great start, there were no problems at all. I was very confident about that and had great support from my best friend. My son weighed 7lbs 2oz at 2 weeks and nearly 10 lbs by 6 weeks.

I had plenty of milk!

None of which hit the bottom of the chamber when I first tried to pump….  no matter what I did! I knew nothing about the technique of pumping. I worked and worked at it.  I could playfully squirt milk across the room. I had squirting contests with my sister. We cracked up laughing! I could not get any milk with the pump.

I had never practiced. I thought that once I was away from my baby, I would just pump… thought the milk would just come out like my friend. I went to work, let myself get a full feeling and tried. Nothing.  I woke him up when I got home and made him eat!  The next day… same thing.. Nothing.  Luckily I only worked 2 days a week so I nursed him all the rest of the time. I kept trying- week after week– I thought I just had to get used to it. I am sure I was very stressed each time, never using any of the tricks I teach moms today.  I still never thought to practice when I was home with the baby. The most I EVER got after 45 min of pumping was one ounce.  I gave up and only fed formula while at work. My body adjusted and I was happy doing what I was doing.

I wrote a guest post over at Breastfeeding Moms Unite on pumping including choosing a pump for you and practicing to pump. All moms are so different and many have no trouble at all expressing their milk. Others have  trouble releasing their milk to this plastic “thing” on them that doesn’t feel like their baby. It’s just not the same! In that post I say:

I have found it’s important for mothers to understand that pumping is a substitute for the real thing and that it takes practice for lots of moms. I always say to expect hardly anything the first time you try then whatever milk you may get is wonderful! One very important point to realize is that whatever you see come out with a pump or hand expression is NOT a reflection of how much a baby gets in a feeding when he is well latched and effectively feeding.  What you see come out with the pump is what your body released at that moment in time. Even women with a great supply and healthy growing babies can have trouble learning to pump. The baby is the master … you are merely trying to imitate him! The type of pump used and when you pump in relation to the age of the baby as well as the time of day, frequency etc. can have a big impact on your results.

My second baby was born in 1985 . Another 6 pounder at birth with rapid weight gain, a great milk supply for me.  I had some improved pumping results with him partly because of better pumps and mostly by sheer determination to help him heal through major surgery at  3 months. The Children’s Hospital had a hospital grade electric pump, a pumping room and directions on what to do. Because I was able to provide milk for him in the hospital, I had renewed faith in myself that I could pump once I went back to work.

pump 80s

There were different pumps, better pumps available. I tried my old pump and some piston style pump like above. I don’t remember the name of that either. I tried many…still waiting to pump again till I had eventually gone back to work. There were some battery/ AC adapter electric ones to buy. I had one, but don’t even remember the name.  I had to push a button to make the suction go on and off –>  otherwise there was constant suction on your breast and no control on the degree or amont of suction. Some people told me to keep the suction on till it started to flow then push that button on/off.

Well it didn’t flow, it hurt. I never released any substantial milk for any of these pumps. I wasn’t able to keep it up. I ended up doing the same as I had with my first son. I made a routine which worked for me of nursing all the time at home and formula when I was at work. We didn’t have any hospital grade mechanical pump until the 1990’s at my hospital, long after my third baby and after I became a Lactation Professional.

I had dealt with so many other issues after my third baby that pumping was never much of a thought in my head. I simply fell back into the routine that had worked for me with the first two babies. She is the baby that nursed the longest even after I went back to work!

Looking back, I think if I had access to the information I know now, and the availability of today’s high quality pumps…I might have, possibly would have had better success pumping. The most important point is that I still felt successful  and was happy with my breastfeeding relationship for all my children!

After all, I could squirt my milk the farthest!!

😉

More Carnival Posts:

Initial Low Milk Supply: A Breastfeeding Story – Case Study

034     The History:

 One typical busy morning coming on shift, one of the couplets I received report on was a 3 day post-op C/S mom and baby who were scheduled for discharge this same morning.  She had been a long 3 or 4 day failed attempt to induce a vaginal delivery for fetal macrosomia (big baby) at 40 5/7 weeks before the C/S.  Lots of IV’s, lots of Pitocin… all before the birth.

Her baby weighed 10 lbs 4 oz at birth. We got in report that his glucose sticks had all been over 60 initially so they were stopped early on. His exams were normal.  His total bilirubin this AM was 11.3 at over 72 hours of age. He was “breastfeeding only”  (*sigh*from the nurse giving me report).  She then expressed a concern that  he was down 10% from birth weight weighing 9 lbs 4.5 oz today.  When I asked her about the feedings, she said he’s been nursing beautifully all the time but nobody’s had time to stay in the room and watch him feed. I asked about the output and she reported he’s been voiding, the last stool was a couple shifts ago.  Then the nurse added “We told her you were here today, Melissa, she has a lot of questions for you. ”

I was able to juggle some things around, have staff cover some of my other responsibilities temporarily to make this a priority. Since I am a general staff nurse, there are often more pressing situations. Fortunately, today I was able to manage the time to see her right away.

I went in and introduced myself to Meg*, Brad* and their son Mikey* (*names changed). They had indeed been waiting for me.  Breakfast was underway and Mikey was asleep in his crib. I asked her a few general questions in a relaxed manner about breastfeeding first to try to establish some background: Mikey’s energy level, drinking pattern, feeding frequency, and diaper checks.  It is important to gather information and observe the feeding  in the process of  a full evaluation to determine adequacy of feedings.  The information I got was concerning.  He spends a lot of time at the breast, falls asleep quickly, not very energetic with every feed, not much change in her breasts at this point and no stool since yesterday. I did not tell her I was concerned at this point, nor did I mention the weight yet. I asked if I could check him now and if  it would be alright if I observed the next feeding.. We determined that should be with in the next hour. I talked about feeding cues and asked her to get me if  Mikey seemed ready to eat before I came back.  His vital signs were normal, jaundice not too significant for his age, diaper contained a small amt concentrated urine, and Mikey went immediately back to sleep.  I felt he was OK at the moment and needed to go do a few other  things with other patients.
 
At this point I am feeling pulled in different directions because Meg’s situation could easily take hours of my already busy morning. I am upset that this has possibly been going on the last 3 days and hasn’t been evaluated properly, now it’s day of discharge! How do you do the proper evaluation, give the needed gentle support, make possible feeding plan arrangements in fragments of time? This is what I am trying to change…in my opinion, we the hospital, helped contribute to this situation of possible inadequate feeding and supply… we need to help her! I talk to the charge nurse and it’s cleared to keep my coverage the rest of the morning.. good thing L&D was quiet!
 
Mikey’s doctor comes in and thankfully it is a partner who is very pro breastfeeding and open minded to try options a mom may choose. I gave her report on his physical status, VS, weight, earlier glucoses, and the Bilirubin. I summed up my plan to evaluate feeding quality but suspected he has been ineffective at the breast & milk supply/production may be delayed. I added that I was going to check his glucose if he had low energy level, and encourage pumping or expression for the mom and get that milk into the baby as well as encouraging her to stay for a few feedings to work with me. The MD was happy with these ideas but requested he be supplemented (complemented) with formula at all feedings now until his weight came up. She supports the theory (as I do) that the birth weight can be somewhat inflated with all the pre-birth IV fluids mom rec’d and some of what he lost may be fluid.  The MD said that if things were better by afternoon, he could go home. She went out to examine him at mom’s bedside.
 
I went in for my feeding observation a little while later. Meg now knows his total weight loss and feels very upset. I give her a lot of support and agree with the doctor that some of that could be fluid. I then find out..Meg is an RN here at my hospital on another floor! It had not come up in conversation! So now I know she is even more worried because we nurses always think the worst! I do my best to think simple and encourage her to do the same… it is very early and we can turn this around quickly with a strong approach.
 
My Evaluation:
  • Good independent maternal positioning, holding and offering of the breast
  • Nipples erectile, breast tissue soft, pliable, small amts colostrum expressed–> mom reports her breasts were “swollen first 2 days”
  • Latch fairly adequate but not optimal-> improved greatly with football position and instruction on asymmetrical latch approach (I’d like to say here that I have a” if it’s not broke don’t fix it” attitude. I don’t correct a latch for a mom who has no pain and good milk transfer, we talk about it in case it may come up for though)
  • Mikey very sleepy at breast, difficult to maintain latch, no milk transfer observed–>breast massage during feed tried without improvement
  • Due to continued low energy level (suspected caloric deprived state causing sleepy ineffective feeding behaviors) a bedside glucose was checked. Result was 49.
  • Diaper dry–> the previous concentrated void was only his 2nd in last 24 hrs No stool last 20 hrs and that one was dark.
The mother’s feeding plan:
Many options and teaching points discussed with Meg including the need to boost caloric intake –>starting right now, methods to get her milk or formula into the baby avoiding bottles, a vigorous pumping plan to augment breast stimulation, alternate breast massage, how to observe for swallowing and milk transfer at the breast etc.. I also discussed with her how in my experience, sometimes it is like magic once the baby regains up to birth weight… they just take off!
She chose:
  • Cup feed formula now while she pumped –>Mikey would not cup feed so we used a syringe, 18 cc, repeat glucose 62
  • Pumping round the clock, double pumping –> Meg rented a hospital grade pump for home use
  • Keep close eye on feeding cues, put Mikey to breast in football w/ latch process discussed earlier
  • Closely watch signs for milk transfer, correct feeding activity while at breast, sucking rythym 1 or 2 sucks /swallow ( Brad was very involved in this process of learning the observation techniques)
  • Use breast massage/ compression while baby @ breast through feed to increase milk transfer
  • Goal of min 8 effective feeds in 24 hr..wanted to try for 10 –>agreed to feed expressed milk or formula 1/2 to 1 oz after each feed first 24 hrs until re-weighed next day
  • Have as 1st 24 hr goal:  to see 3 -4 increasingly wet/clearer diapers and at least 2-3 good sized stools
  • Return to MD for F/U bili and wgt check next day
  • Call IBCLC for eval in next few days if weight not adequate and not independently breastfeeding/output  within safe parameters for age

The follow up reports:

  • DAY 1 (In hospital) Mikey fed 3 more times in the hospital at 2 hour intervals.  Each time he had about 15 to 20 cc of formula by syringe. Each feed was improved but not adequate quality of milk transfer. Meg pumped 4 times before discharge not getting much first 3 times but 4th time she got almost 10 cc! Mikey had 1 conc wet diaper and a med sized dark stool. We re-weighed Mikey prior to discharge and he was 9 lbs 5.5 oz.  Meg left the hospital late that afternoon while I had been called to a STAT C/S. She was determined to go home after all the time she had been there! I called her later and she was on target with her plan.
  • DAY 2 (first 24 hrs home) Seen at Peds office. (reported to me from MD)  Bilirubin 10.6, weight–> 9 lbs 7.5 oz! Baby more energetic, better quality feeds reported. Meg still power pumping, now getting 1 -2 oz per pumping and giving to baby with syringe and only used formula occassionally if no breastmilk.  Had 3 wet and 2 stools since discharge, stools lighter in color. MD arranged F/U weight visit for 2 days, will arrange IBCLC if no strong improvement before 2 more days
  • AGE 6 1/2 days Seen at Peds office. (reported to me from MD) Weight–> 9 lbs 11 oz !!! Meg having fairly same routine but not always pumping if she feels Mikey had good milk transfer. She reported increased  breast fullness, 6 wetter, lighter urines and 4 mostly yellow stools in each of the previous 24 hr periods.
  • AGE 2 weeks  I don’t have MD office reports but Meg called me to tell me Mikey was 1o lbs 7 oz at his 2 week check up and nursing a lot better EVERY feeding!! She was still attached to her pump, gradually decreasing the sessions, just felt safer to keep going with that. If she gets milk she was still giving it to him. This was her security blanket and she was happy doing it. She was very proud of herself and crying happy tears! 🙂

Meg’s case was a beautiful example of HOW a situation can turn around quickly.  An individual mother’s determination coupled with a productive plan can produce these results. All situations are different.

Every mother and baby deserve our best!