March 29, 2015
“It is better to look good than to feel good.”
Many mothers tell me that their breasts are painful and they want to know why.
“It could be the latch,” I offer.
“No, it is not the latch, the nurse/doctor/lactation consultant/my mother . . . (fill in the blank) said the latch looks great.”
The problem is that the mouth and tongue are complex and the movements are complex and can be effected by various outside factors.
Do you remember Billy Crystal as Fernando? His mantra was:
“Dahling, you look mahvelous! It is better to look good than to feel good and, Dahling, you look mahvelous!”
I believe that many health care professionals were trained to assess latch at Fernando’s Hideaway.
The latch is NOT marvelous if the mom is in pain. It is NOT marvelous if her nipples hurt, if the baby is not gaining weight, if the baby cannot maintain the latch for a feeding.
What can cause this poor latch?
There are a number of things that can make the latch un-marvelous. They can include:
- poor positioning
- birth trauma
- weak suck
What are the consequences of poor latch?
- breast infection
- low milk supply
- early weaning
- gassiness in baby
- fussy baby
- poor weight gain for baby
What can be done?
Understanding what makes a good latch. When there is a good latch both mom and baby comfortable and the baby moving milk appropriately.
Different remedies can help different challenges.
Positioning the baby close to mom is essential – the closer the baby the deeper the latch
If the baby is tongue-tied, this is where the frenulum that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too restricted, this small piece of skin can be released by surgical scissors or by laser.
This procedure is quick and can prevent a host of problems both immediately and down the road including poor weight gain, the need for orthodontia, digestive issues, premature weaning to name a few. Often when the tongue-tie is present there is also a thickened frenulum under the upper lip. This, too, should be evaluated.
If there is birth trauma healing can happen by bodywork by a practitioner skilled at working with babies.
This can include a chiropractor, a craniosacral therapist, an osteopath or a physical therapist. These folks are trained to help relieve muscle tension and to release the fascia. With birth trauma there can be misalignment in the babies oral structures. Sometimes the roof of the mouth is highly arched which can make the latch very uncomfortable as the breast tissue can be pressed into this area by the baby’s tongue. If this is the case often the baby feels tension and this makes his sucking more “chompy.”
Releasing the tension can help alleviate this pain and help to reorganize the baby.
If the baby has a weak suck there can also be therapies to help as well as suck training.
If there is a breast infection the mom can continue to nurse but she must be treated.
No matter what it is important to get the baby fed. It is also important to protect the milk supply.
When there is engorgement the mom can hand express, pump and/or nurse the baby.
When needing help with breastfeeding please do not accept that if it looks good then it is good. It should feel good and it should function appropriately.
If someone says “It looks good,” this is time to seek help by someone trained to assess the latch, inside and out.
In most cases that someone is an IBCLC – International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
March 25, 2015
The idea of most aspects of our lives needing to fit into categories seems to be coming up a lot the last few days so I thought I would put this out there again
Originally posted on mamamilkandme:
Computers are boxes that hold information. They are solid, finite. Computers rely on an algorithm of complete ideas. Computers categorize our lives, our files, our ideas.
Humans are not boxes. We are fluid forms, soft, curvy. Our ideas are amorphous and infinite. I worry that the coming generations are going to be trapped in these boxes, these categories.
I am a woman. I am in my forties. I am married. I am a mother. I am college educated.
These are categories in which I fit but this is not all of me.
I think of the challenges of checking off answers. The other day I called the United States Post Office. I needed to find out where a package was that my oldest daughter accidentally had shipped to our home address instead of her dorm. I needed to know if I could pick up her package even though it was…
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February 28, 2015
I think this is so relatable and funny and real
Originally posted on Mama Said:
It was some time between midnight and 3am. I was dead asleep. I’d fed the littliest at midnight so it was after that, and it was before he woke up for a feed at 3am. This hardly matters, because that time of night is Hell unless you’re pashing, happy drunk, smoking in a bar, dancing, or on drugs – y’know, generally having a fulfilling life that doesn’t involve milk dripping out of your breasts or playing the fart or shit game. So, I’m asleep and I feel this tiny hand on my face and then there’s a kiss on my forehead. And for a second I’m confused like – did the tiny one do that? He’s only four-weeks-old? Is he a mutant? That would be amazing. And then I realise it’s my big baby and I pull him into my arms while still asleep and think “oh he’s delicious”. But…
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February 6, 2015
In light of the conversation around marketing of formula I thought I would share this light hearted piece and maybe this puts things into perspective. Be sure to read the last line.
Originally posted on mamamilkandme:
Why are people up in arms about Mayor Bloomberg banning formula “gift” bags in NYC hospitals?
People think he is taking away a woman’s right to choose how to feed her baby. No, this is not the case.
Let’s talk about marketing. Basically the hospitals are marketing formula and they are not getting paid for this. In fact, it takes money to manage the storage and distribution of this product. Yes, the product. Formula is a product. The formula industry is a for-profit enterprise.
Let’s take Clinique. I love Clinique Bonus time.
I even subscribe to an e-mail alert system that tells me when and where Clinique is having their next Bonus. I remember in high school going to the Cross creek Mall with Mama and Traci and we would go to Thalhimers or Belk to the make-up counter and inquire about the next Clinique Bonus. Eventually the finely made-up…
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February 4, 2015
The word was accusatory. I felt her anger over the internet.
What had I done to her? I did not say anything about formula feeding. I did make the case against the unethical marketing of formula. That is distinctly different from condemning moms who formula feed.
There is a formula campaign going around social media under the guise of making the “Mommy Wars” go away. In actuality most of the conflict of motherhood, parenthood really, is sparked by media and advertising.
The line between marketing and entertainment is becoming more and more murky. I have learned for the most part to discern what is being sold to me as opposed to what is there to entertain me.
This is the comment I made:
This is not about breastfeeding vs formula feeding, it is about the nefarious marketing of the pharmaceutical industry that undermines all families. Formula has its place. This is about using guilt to promote their product and to make us divisive – are we really? At the heart of it on the playground I can say that most moms get along. The images in the media create fear and defensiveness. I work professionally to support all mothers, I know when formula is needed and wanted. People are not always given the opportunity to make an informed choice.
Why was she angry with me? Why did she think I was attacking her?
I started thinking about it. She was directing her anger at me because I am safe. She does not know me – I am just that breastfeeding advocate. What had happened to her? Was she really experiencing grief and anger over her baby feeding experience?
I have many friends who did not breastfeed and they are not angry at me. They made informed decisions or at least dealt with what they were handed and they have made peace with it.
I thought about the times I get angry at people. I moved to New York for many reasons but one of the big ones was for an acting career. I am not a Broadway or TV or movie star. I could list all of the obstacles that prevented me from becoming famous but it doesn’t matter. I still get jealous and angry sometimes when I see actors my age who have made it. I also wrote and performed stand-up comedy. I loved watching the Golden Globes but I felt little jolts of envy watching Tina and Amy up there.
These feelings are far overshadowed by my happy life. I have a loving husband whom I love hanging out with – he really is my best friend and I am looking forward to growing old with him. We have three awesome children who are smart, healthy and beautiful.
I have moved on. (Casting directors – I can still provide a resume!)
I am also a bit envious of the moms who have had babies at home. Complications prevented that from happening with my babies and me. Still, I ache a bit about some of the birth experiences my babies and I went through. In the end they are all healthy and we made it through.
I have worked out the things in my life that got in the way of some of my goals. I have accomplished many of my goals and I am a happy woman.
So, going back to the name caller, I think she is angry and sad that she is not breastfeeding. I do not know if her birth interfered with her plans. I do not know if her family gave her a hard time about breastfeeding. I do not know if she is taking a medication that is incompatible with breastfeeding. I do not know if her body never made milk. I do not know what experiences she may have had in her past that makes it uncomfortable for her to have anyone touch her breasts.
I sure as hell bet she loves her baby immensely. I hope she can find some peace. I will be the brunt of many a new mom’s anger and frustration.
That is a role I can play.
Originally posted on ofcourseitsaboutyou:
If you are a nurse, particularly a white nurse, working in postpartum or NICU and teaching new parents how to breastfeed, it is vital that you understand the history of breastfeeding among Black women. Up until late in the last century, Black women were still employed as wet nurses for White families. This robs a Black woman’s own child of nutrition. It also explains why many Black women have a negative connotation with breastfeeding. Rather than blindly push forward with lactation education, nurses need to work to further develop cultural competence and understand why Black women may choose not to breastfeed, and why their relatives may encourage them NOT to breastfeed.
Ultimately, breastfeeding should be the choice of the individual involved, not the choice of a nurse or family members surrounding the new parent.
@FeministaJones made a series of tweets regarding the history of breastfeeding and black women, as well…
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