Each and every time I work with a mom, it confirms to me the importance of taking the time to hear her story and asking and receiving answers to some very specific questions. Mothers have different medical backgrounds and babies can also come with different problems that they bring to the breastfeeding situation.
NOTE: If you are new to this blog, you will want to first read my December 28th post as that is the beginning of this story, which has 3 parts.
The facts surrounding what happened after Stephanie’s pediatric visit is what is most interesting to note.
Stephanie had not been pumping to increase her supply and was relying solely on her baby to remove the milk and increase her supply. Sadie had a very shallow latch which tends to reduce the amount of milk transfer. She also was a baby that seemed okay to be pacifying at breast without getting a good feeding. Sadies output decreased gradually which made the changes less noticeable. As the days went on, Sadie became labeled as a “good sleeper.” Stephanie and her family were grateful for this. While her energy level was gradually picking up after the birth, she was still quite tired.
Once I ruled out any anatomical issue in Sadie’s mouth that might be causing a problem with her achieving an excellent latch, I worked closely with Stephanie in teaching her proper position and latch. I wanted to be sure that by the time this consult was over, Stephanie could latch her baby on well and was comfortable doing so. I also discussed the importance of helping her increase her milk production as quickly as possible, however, until then, it would be necessary for Stephanie to begin supplementing baby again. While Stephanie was not happy about this, she understood that a poorly fed baby has a lack of energy and will make it more difficult to become a good breastfeeder. She understood this as she could relate with regards to her own fatigue issues.
Stephanies care plan was very specific to her and her babies situation.
1. She was to breastfeed with an excellent latch every feeding and be careful to keep baby at breast during nutritive suckling activity. This is the period when baby is actually transferring milk from the breast into the baby’s mouth.
2. Once baby tired and was no longer suckling effectively, she was given a bottle of milk, while Stephanie could then put her efforts into pumping.
3. She agreed to rent the hospital grade pump from me and was fitted with the correct size flanges, given detailed pumping instructions as well as offered herbs to help increase her supply.
4. Since her baby was 4 weeks old, I was realistic with Stephanie and stated that this could easily take several weeks or more until she has a full supply. There was also a chance that she might not gain a full supply and always need to be supplemented. The best she could do was stay on this care plan and check in with me every few days. Based on her feedback, I would help her moniter her progress and make changes as needed.
I am happy to report that it took about 3 weeks for Stephanie to have a full supply and no longer need to supplement baby with any milk in a bottle. She slowly weaned from her regular pumping, however, will continue to take a small amount of herbs on a regular basis at least for the next month or so as we continue to moniter her progress.
I wanted to share this story so my readers could see how a breastfeeding challenge that to some might seem hopeless, can be turned around into a successful breastfeeding experience.
I also wanted to share a few other important aspects of this story as I have found that sometimes mothers who are searching for answers can read a story and if it sounds like their problem, they begin to follow the care plan stated.
It is important to note that there are frequently variables in each mother/baby couple. There could be variations in mothers medical history, her breast and nipple tissue as well as something different with babies oral cavity that needs to be addressed. For all these reasons, I continue to fully support and encourage mothers who are suffering with breastfeeding challenges to seek the help and expert guidance of their local IBCLC. This is how we can assure that there are no missing pieces to the puzzle and all avenues have been pursued, before giving advise and suggesting a care plan.
I wish all my website and blog visitors and clients a very Happy and Healthy New Year.