It's World Breastfeeding Week!

Posted by Palestina Baronas on

It's World Breast Feeding Week 2017! We had a chance to ask local lactation consultant, Chrissy Nelson RN, BSN, IBCLC some questions about her work with families, as well as about breastfeeding in general. Here's what she shared:
What inspired you to work in lactation support?
I was always drawn to it. I was always that nurse that all the other nurses asked to go help their patients with breastfeeding.   I see a common need among families for breastfeeding education and support in the US. Lactation is a HUGE part of life with a newborn.  Newborns up to age four months eat every three hours or more… it takes a lot of time and energy from new parents.   I’ve found that with proper education, guidance, and support, mamas can have the most success with breastfeeding their babies.

Can you tell us exactly what types of things you support women with in terms of feeding?

Everything and Anything to do with the maternal mammary glands, newborn nutrition, breastfeeding and support.  Both through my home visits and my holistic breastfeeding class comes to one central solution:  successful accomplishment of the parent’s goals.  Sometimes the solutions are accomplished quickly, sometimes S-L-O-W-L-Y, and on rare occasion, parents cannot meet that goal, at that time, and a new goal is created.  A large part of what I do is to evaluate and reevaluate the situation from different approaches and numerous attempts to come to a working solution.  It just all depends: every baby is unique, every mama is unique, every family is unique.  I provide thorough education and specialized care to my clients to attain the best outcome that fits the family’s needs.  
 
What does a typical home visit with a lactation consultant look like?

The lactation consultation home visit is in the comfort of the family’s home.  They choose where is most comfortable for them, usually involving soft blankets and many pillows.  We sit down together, usually the baby on mama’s chest and dada with a loving arm around them. And we chat.  Chat about life with a newborn, what has happened in the past, present, and what their goal is for the future, both short term and long term.  After gathering information, and painting the scene to their families newborn picture, I complete a head to toe newborn assessment with emphasis on facial and oral features.  Mama always nurses the baby and work on things about it, whether its baby’s body, comfort,  or how dada can help.  We discuss many issues: lactation, volume, quality, quantity, different and new positioning, pumping, nutrition, holistic approaches, and psychosocial issues and so on.  My work crosses into many facets of care and I am pulling and drawing knowledge and resources from many different angles through many different sources. Then, together, we come up with a plan for how to best solve their issue.  There usually are many parts to the solution, and often stages in its completion as well.   Lastly, open lines of communication and several verbal and/or written follow-ups are an important part of every home visit as well. What we do, the style, and the framework changes from family to family because every situation is different, every mama, dada, and baby have their own unique ways that I always take into account and cater to them.
 
What is your favorite part about your work?
To help others with something that I am sincerely passionate about. To make a difference in a family's life. To cause the happiness and gratitude that parents express at the end of every home visit and holistic breastfeeding class.  To see the baby nursing better and the mother more comfortable and able handle her baby in a calm and confident way. For me, there is no greater feeling of joy at work and it brings a smile to my face EVERY time.  

What are some common myths you dispel for women who are struggling to breastfeed?
In the early postpartum period, colostrum is the first milk that is not high in volume, it is concentrated dense “liquid gold” that the newborn only needs a few DROPS of, the first day of life.  As your baby suckles at the breast more, it signals your brain and mammary glands to make more and more milk.  Milk production is directly related to how often and how long your baby is on the breast, especially after the first day of life.  It’s supply and demand.  Thus, the number one thing you can do, is keep baby with you and let baby nurse on demand, or as often as baby wants.  Every three hours is what you can expect, some feedings a day are every two hours as baby requests it.  
Another common myth, a baby who is not “taking to the breast” or “not getting enough”, typically shows signs of stress and avoidance.  It may not be that the baby “doesn’t like the breast,” but in actuality, the baby is trying to communicate with you.  First signs of baby communicating are stirring awake in a quiet-alert state, eye movements, putting his or her hands to the mouth, oral searching reflex. Baby may now be crying or extending his or her extremities, which is telling you that baby needs to be consoled and relax for a small amount time before attempting to feed again.  There are many other reasons for baby to cry such as overstimulation, gassiness, too hot or too cold, too wet or dirty, or a hair causing a tourniquet.  

If you could offer a piece of advice to new moms wary about breastfeeding, what would it be?
Try to go into your birth with the idea of “I will give it my best” and it will most likely happen.  Maybe not right away, and maybe not without its challenges. Breastfeeding takes work. And patience.    But, the relationship that develops between you and your baby will create an extremely strong bond and you both will learn to work as a team.  And together, you can get through it.  I assure you, you both will get REALLY good at it, and it WILL be enjoyable.  I am here to help support you through it.  

How can people benefit from World Breastfeeding Week?

With raising awareness of the beauty and benefit of breastfeeding, the more our future generations will thrive.  Every human being can be given the best opportunity for optimal health from day one, through breastfeeding.  Together, we can encourage each other, as best we can, to give that nutrition to our children, and` `watch one another`thrive.  World Breastfeeding Week is officially celebrated the first week of August every year to mark the anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration, and international document that aims to promote breastfeeding as the ideal source of feeding for babies. For more information, read https://www.unicef.org/programme/breastfeeding/innocenti.htm.  
If you are in need of lactation services, you can send Chrissy an email at lactationconsultantchrissy@yahoo.com or follow her on Facebook

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