Monday, September 22, 2014

Breast Feeding 101

Sometimes life education is the best way to learn a new concept. As for breastfeeding I think the best advice I could give someone is to obtain a doula for their birth. If you have a doula walking by your side through a natural labor; then you have a great jump start for the best possible outcomes for breast feeding success.  The doula can support you before, during and after your labor.

The doula can even support you when your birth ends in c-section, and aid in finding the best latch after surgery. However, when one uses a doula, your rate of a c-section is about 30% lower than the national average. More about the c-section rate in states, counties and countries in a future post.  

Lets talk about newborn breastfeeding.  For starters there are many positions that a baby may want to eat. A baby may prefer the "football hold" or a baby may prefer "laid back breastfeeding" where the mom is reclined.  Or after a c-section a mother laying on her side may be the best position.

As you can see, toddlers get excited over mama's milk, too.  La Leche League is one of the best supporters out there of breastfeeding moms.  The leaders are warm and non-judgemental.  You can nurse in the comfort of other mothers for at least 2 hours, 1 time a week.  Older children are also welcome and can learn just as much about the lifestyle of breastfeeding.

In a recent La Leche League meeting one of the leaders brought up the fact that baby need to nurse on both sides to help develop their brain and physical formations of their skull.  A baby may prefer one nipple more than another because no two nipples are a like.  However, the baby still needs to nurse or mimic nurse from both sides.  Even if you had a breast surgery on one or both breast/nipples, you can still nurse.  Even if you are bottle feeding, switching the sides you hold the baby is important for brain and skull development.

I would also like to point out that adoptive moms can nurse their babies as well.  I recently ran into an adoptive mother at La Leche League.  She was using donated milk with a Medela Starter SNS with container.  The baby was learning how to latch onto her, however, and then drink the donated breast milk with the milk starter. 

There are even stories of mothers whose baby will not latch "properly" due to tongue tie, etc.  I really like the story of this Mom who talks of her various obstacles of breastfeeding. However, she was able to persevere and her baby was able to get the full benefits of mama's milk.  Another Mom's advice for breastfeeding can also be found here.  She nursed eight kids and has one on the way so I think she would have some intuition on breastfeeding.  

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