WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE BABY ARRIVES:
How many times are expectant mothers told breastfeeding is natural, alluding to the fact that it should come naturally? For most mothers this is simply not the case, not because they are doing anything wrong but due to the fact that breastfeeding is a learned skill for both mom and baby. The dance leading to mastery of this skill can often be both challenging and rewarding in those early weeks with a newborn. For thousands of years, new mothers typically learned to breastfeed from their own mothers or other women in their lives. Culturally speaking there has been a gap in this shared knowledge base thus finding resources such as a breastfeeding class can support new parents as they gather the information needed to get breastfeeding off to the best start.
Below is a description of topics covered in the prenatal breastfeeding class. The goal of this class is to prepare mothers to successfully breastfeed during the first weeks post-partum. The instructor will provide information regarding what to expect while nursing as the baby ages along with how to find support when questions arise. The class is a two hour format with one break.
The following topics will be covered:
- Breast changes while pregnant
- Latching and positioning baby
- Infant sleep
- Feeding frequency
- Normal newborn behaviors
- Pumping when returning to work
- Common concerns while nursing
- Establishing and keeping a good milk supply
There will be plenty of time for questions within the structure of the class. Please feel free to bring your support person (one person included in the cost of the class).
For couples looking for one on one breastfeeding education, this class is the best option. It covers all of the same topics as the group breastfeeding class as well as offering guidance for a mother’s individual breastfeeding concerns. Mothers who have struggled with breastfeeding previous infants will benefit from the guidance and individualized plan created to address past concerns such as low milk supply, latch issues, and infant with tongue or lip-tie. Also expectant mothers who have had any type of previous breast surgeries or procedures will have the opportunity to discuss concerns while making a plan to support.
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE BABY ARRIVES:
This consult addresses any initial concerns mothers may have regarding breastfeeding. A full history in regards to both birth and breastfeeding will be taken at the beginning of the appointment. This consult will give parents guidance in learning to read infant cues and knowing when infant is hungry or cuing to nurse. There will also be information given regarding normal nursing behaviors through baby’s ages and stages. Within this consult, the lactation consultant will evaluate latch, positioning, infant oral anatomy, and milk supply. The infant will also be weighed on a pediatric infant scale to evaluate milk transfer. There is ample time for questions and an individual breastfeeding plan will be made with each consult to assist parents in addressing their concerns. The lactation consultant records all information from both mother and baby in a secure electronic medical record and can share information with both OBGYN and pediatrician if parents request this communication.
An opportunity to follow up with the lactation consultant regarding any concerns with breastfeeding that arise after the initial consult. The infant will be weighed in this appointment and the lactation consultant will observe feeding as well as latch and position. There will be plenty of time to discuss any concerns mother may have regarding breastfeeding. Breastfeeding issues usually do not resolve overnight but should improve within the first few days after a mother’s initial meeting with a lactation consultant (depending on the scope of the issues). If a mother is not having steady improvement, a follow up consult can be very helpful and can often prevent unnecessary frustration with breastfeeding.
A comprehensive appointment to discuss all mother’s concerns as she prepares to go back to work part or full time. This consult will provide education for parents and caregivers regarding appropriate amount of breast milk to give in the bottle while separated from baby considering baby’s age. If a grandparent, nanny, or family friend will be caring for baby, they are invited to participate in this consult as well. The communication between mothers and caregivers supports a good feeding plan for infants during separation. This consult also covers pumps, making sure the pump is a good fit, milk production while separated, how frequently to pump, and milk storage. The ideal date for this appointment is typically 3-4 weeks before mother returns to work or earlier if parents have questions.
After the initial consult, if parents have any concerns regarding their baby’s weight gain this quick follow up appointment can be very helpful. The purpose of this visit is to weigh the infant after a period of time when mother may be working on breastfeeding and needs the feedback on infant’s growth without having to take baby out to the doctor’s office. Many times it is also necessary to check weight a week after the initial consult to confirm that the breastfeeding plan is working well and can be very reassuring. The lactation consultant will not observe the infant nursing at this visit. The visit is strictly to weigh infant and make any necessary changes to the initial breastfeeding plan.