Do you come to my house or do I come to your clinic?
I offer both options. I can come to you for an in-home consultation. The benefit of staying home is that you can practice nursing in your own home, with your own pillows and supplies. No need to pack up the baby and diaper bag. Or, you can come to me at One Sky Family Medicine. It’s almost like being at home. I work with a group of Naturopathic Physicians. So, if you need a prescription, or we need a doctor to treat a breastfeeding related issue, like mastitis, they are in the building. This option is also nice if having your health insurance cover the visit is more of the priority.
Do I need to prepare for an in-home consultation?
You don’t need to do much to prepare. Include your closest support people in the visit: spouse, partner, friend or parent – whoever is supporting you. Decide where you like to feed your baby the most. We will meet there. Have any supplies you typically use nearby: nursing pillows, nipple shield, breast pump. If you feed your baby by bottle or syringe have that available too. I will want to see all the ways you feed your baby. Write down any questions you want answered ahead of time. We only have 1.5-2 hours. It sounds like a long time but it will go by quickly.
Should my baby be hungry, or have just eaten?
I will want to see your baby feed during the appointment. It helps if they aren’t hungry the moment I walk in the door though. We will need a few minutes to set up. That said, you can’t always control when baby gives hunger cues. I suggest feeding baby about two hours before the appointment. Most babies will want to feed at 2-3 hours and that will be during our appointment. If your baby is really hungry and sucking doesn’t sooth them for a few minutes then offer a small “snack”, but try to avoid a full feeding. Do the best you can.
How often does my newborn need to nurse?
Babies under three months of age need to feed at last 8-12 times a day. That means they need to feed at least every three hours. Once baby has regained their birth weight your pediatrician will typically say that your baby can have one 4-5 hour stretch between feedings. Hopefully, that is at night, but we can’t control that. If you are getting a stretch of sleep at night don’t tell your friends. They don’t want to hear about it. They were up all night nursing.
Why do you say “nurse” instead of breastfeed?
When I am referring specifically to feeding at the breast I will say breastfeeding. In all other situations I have switched to saying nursing because my clients are all feeding in different ways. Some at the breast, some chest, some feed by bottle, supplemental nursing system, syringe, cup…Some are offering their breastmilk, donor milk or formula. Most of my clients are wanting to breastfeed and are at various stages of meeting that goal. And sometimes their goal changes. Everyone can nurse – feeding in a way that is nurturing, attentive, and snuggly with your baby. If you aren’t sure how to do that with your feeding method I can show you.
Is nursing as painful as everyone says it is?
Sometimes. More often in the first couple weeks. Too often we sugar-coat the early breastfeeding experience. We set new parents up for unreasonable expectations and when your experience isn’t matching up you think they are failing. You’re not. It’s just painful right now. When nursing is going well breastfeeding is pain-free. When It’s not, you may experience some level of discomfort or pain. Pain is always a sign to us that something isn’t right. Its our signal to get help, change what we are doing. Many times I can find a way to help you nurse your baby that is less painful than before I arrived. Don’t ignore pain. Do something about it.
How many appointments will we need?
I see most clients about two -three times. Follow up appointments are important to check on progress and to make sure the reason you called me is resolving. Learning to nurse isn’t usually a straight path. Any relationship has its ups and downs. And nursing is a relationship. It will have its ups and downs. And I will be there to support you through them.
Is it ok to give my baby a pacifier?
You will hear that pacifiers should be avoided, especially in the first month while breastfeeding is being established. There are a few reasons for this. When baby is sucking on a pacifier they can’t give us hunger cues and we miss feeding opportunities. Whenever baby wakes up from a nap, or shows hunger cues nurse them. This will get baby the milk they need and increase your milk supply. Sometimes a pacifier can be a helpful tool, used wisely. For example, If you have sore nipples that need a rest and your baby has a high need to suck then sucking on a parent’s finger, or a pacifier can meet the need. If you need to use a pacifier be mindful of when and why you use it.
What is nipple confusion?
Nipple confusion, or nipple preference is when baby begins to prefer bottle feeding over breastfeeding. It is something I am mindful of whenever suggesting bottle feeding as part of my care plan. I find that if breastfeeding has been hard for baby, and maybe they have been gaining weight slowly, or feedings take a long time – we offer a bottle as a temporary measure to improve the situation – baby sometimes says “finally, an easier way to eat! Yes, I prefer to eat this way!” I can’t promise your baby won’t develop nipple preference, but I do find that when we figure out why breastfeeding has been hard, and can make it easier most babies want to go back to nursing. I can also teach you how to bottle feed in a way that minimizes the chance of developing nipple preference. Bottles can be a helpful tool, but I am mindful about offering them in a way that supports your overall breastfeeding goals.
Do I need a breast pump?
You need a breast pump for the times you are not able to breastfeed. You don’t need a pump to breastfeed. Pumps help with increasing milk supply when baby is having a hard time doing it, they help when nursing is too painful, they provide milk when you aren’t able to be with your baby during feeding time. They play an important role in supporting nursing for many families. But you don’t need one to nurse, just to provide milk and protect milk supply when you aren’t available.
Can my partner feed the baby at night so I can sleep?
It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Pump ahead of time and let your partner bottle feed baby so you can get a longer block of sleep at night. Unfortunately, it is important to nurse at night. Removing milk at night impacts milk supply for the whole day. Lactation hormones replenish overnight. When you don’t nurse or pump the breast feels full. The full breast doesn’t send messages to the body to increase supply. If those messages aren’t sent then your body slows production. So, nurse or pump at regular intervals day and night. Of course, it is important to make this all manageable. Sometimes a longer block of sleep is needed when postpartum depression, or just plain old exhaustion is catching up to us. We will work out a plan that takes all of your, and baby’s needs into consideration.