When do you need help from a breastfeeding expert?
Breastfeeding questions, issues, and concerns can arise at any point, though most occur in the first days and weeks after a baby is born, when breastfeeding is being established and milk production is increasing. Having ongoing breastfeeding support in the early days and weeks is particularly important for moms and babies who have health issues.
Parents should see a certified lactation consultant or breastfeeding medicine specialist to address nipple and breast pain, difficulty with latching, clogged ducts, concerns about milk production, infant weight gain issues, and evaluation of the baby’s tongue. Tongue movement and mobility are important for extracting milk from the breast. But anyone who needs help, reassurance, or has a question about breastfeeding should make an appointment — the sooner the better to make sure that things are moving in the right direction and problems can be addressed early on.
Your visit could be either in-person or virtual. ”We see patients both in-person and via video visit, known as telelactation, in our Outpatient Breastfeeding Support Program,” says Dr. Glassman. “Telelactation can be a lifesaver in the early postpartum days after leaving the hospital, when breastfeeding issues often arise, and moms and newborns can have a visit from the comfort and ease of their home.”
Should you bring your baby to the appointment?
Whether in-person or virtual, bring your baby to your visit. It’s helpful for specialists to observe a latching session, measure how much milk the baby can take from the breast during a feeding session when in-person, and more.
Also, if you’re pumping, bring the pump to the visit so the specialist can observe the fit of the flange, the piece that fits over the nipple, during a pumping session.
How do you know if you’re breastfeeding right?
If the latch feels comfortable, your breasts soften with each feeding session, and your baby can feed directly from your breast and is satisfied after feeding, you’re doing it right.
From a milk production perspective, if an exclusively breastfed baby is gaining weight well and on track with their growth curve, milk production is where it needs to be. Within a few days after delivery, moms often experience very sensitive nipples and breasts can feel very heavy, full, and painful as the volume of milk increases and mature milk starts to come in. Discomfort at this stage — called engorgement — is normal.
Does breastfeeding hurt or make you tired?
In the early days, when nipples are very sensitive, moms may experience pain for the first few seconds of latching. With time and work on getting a deep latch, this should go away. Pain that lasts for an entire feeding session is a sign that a mom should seek help with latching. Breasts will get full between feeding sessions, so some parents feel breast pain if they go too long without latching or pumping. This pain should resolve as breasts are softened by a latching/pumping session.
The hormones involved in breastfeeding can make moms relaxed, but a newborn’s sleep schedule doesn’t allow for much deep sleep, so moms can feel drowsy while latching.