Troubleshooting Breastfeeding Difficulties Part 2
In my last blog post, I discussed different scenarios that are common for mother's learning to breastfeed. This week I want to talk about how to make breastfeeding easier:
How to Make Things Easier
It is important to remember that learning the skills of parenting a newborn take time and quite a lot of energy. Breastfeeding is one of these skills and if you can remain as calm as possible, you have a much better chance of success. Here are a few tips to make breastfeeding easier from someone who learned the hard way.
Latch your baby as he is waking up
Babies wake up hungry and if you wait to latch a baby until he is fully awake and crying, you have lost a good five minutes of time that the baby is sleepy and relaxed and better able to take the breast. You have extra time to get a proper latch and if it isn’t right, you are able to try again without you or the baby becoming upset. Once your baby starts to twitch and smack his lips in his sleep, prepare yourself for breastfeeding: go to the bathroom, get yourself a big glass of water and a snack, grab the portable phone, get yourself comfortable and organized and try to latch him while he is still half asleep. You get much better results if you do.
Get as much sleep as you can
You have more internal strength (and patience) if you have plenty of rest. One way to accomplish this is to spread out your available help after your baby is born and schedule visits from family members for after your partner goes back to work. This is a great approach because you have alone time to bond as a family and you can learn how to breastfeed without an audience. If your family members can come to see you and the baby after your partner returns to work, you have extra help with the chores that need doing such as cooking and laundry and you can take that extra time to rest and bond with your baby.
Delay the visits of the more critical people in your life
When you are feeling stronger and more secure in your parenting skills ask your critical people to come and visit. New parents are quite vulnerable during the first month or so of a new baby, especially a first baby. This is not a time to have to defend yourself from an overcritical family member or friend.
Thanks I’ll Think about That
If you get advice that is contrary to your way of thinking, all you have to do is say “thanks, I’ll think about that” or “I’ll talk to _________ (partner’s name) and we’ll think about that.” The person giving the advice feels heard and you are not obligated to do the suggested activity on the spot. Both of you save face this way.
Breastfeeding can be frustrating to learn for some women and if you find that you and your baby are struggling, get help immediately! There are great lactation consultants in your area – search them out! Check out La Leche League at www.llli.org to find a group of breastfeeding women close to you that would love to help you with your latch. The help of a positive, knowledgeable person could make the all the difference for you to successfully breastfeed your baby.
Do You Have a Fussy Baby in Your Life?
Oftentimes, fussy breastfeeding babies are either experiencing physical pain from birth, they are reacting negatively to the foods that their breastfeeding mom is eating, OR BOTH!
Birth is a very difficult process for babies to experience. If you suspect that your baby is in physical pain when you feed or diaper him or her, take your baby to see a pediatric focused chiropractor in your area. We are trained to gently relieve irritations to muscles and joints.
If your baby is fussy after breastfeeding or cries inconsolably in the evenings and won’t settle easily, chances are that your baby is reacting to foods in your diet.
If this is the case, please consider purchasing the Calm Baby Cookbook – it outlines the foods that commonly cause problems for babies to digest and offers 100+ delicious breastfeeding recipes to get started! It has helped to calm many babies in my practice and I sincerely hope that it will calm your fussy baby as well.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, a certified infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.