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Episode 83 World Breastfeeding Week
The focus of todays show is to highlight World Breastfeeding Week or otherwise known as: WBW2016.
Parents all over the world, need support in their roles as moms and dads.
Parents all over the world, need support in however they choose to feed their babies.
This week, we are highlighting WBW= World Breastfeeding Week breastfeeding and our goal is to do whatever we can to support parents in their efforts to breastfeed their baby. We live in a world where there are many barriers, that tends to make the basic act of breastfeeding a baby, uncomfortable and cumbersome for some mothers.
Today I am going to talk about breastfeeding in a way that perhaps you are not used to hearing. We will be talking about the pregnant mom who is looking forward to breastfeeding. I will be addressing new moms and experienced moms.
We will be hearing about breastfeeding from various perspectives and one of them is the mom who has had breastfeeding difficulties, enough that it was impossible or nearly impossible to breastfeed.
I want to acknowledge that WBW can be a very difficult week for some mothers. I want for everyone to take a few minutes to think about other mothers and empathize with what it must feel like to them.
Certainly, no one wants our pity. However, some gentleness, respect, and empathy for personal difficulties can go a long way in helping mothers who are going to be struggling to get through this week.
When breastfeeding hopes are disappointed, mothers often struggle with many different emotions. Mothers suffer with feelings of loss, sadness, anger, grief and shame. They tend to think they are the only one feelings this way. But these feelings are not at all unusual and they are a known risk factor for post partum depression.
These are words written by Hilary Jacobson, writer, researcher, holistic BF consultant and hypnotherapist. She has written a book called Healing Breastfeeding Grief. When I said that I was going to talk about breastfeeding in a way that perhaps you are not use to hearing, this is what I wanted to address.
Hilary is a guest on our show next week, so be sure to look out for Episode # 84 for the full interview.
I wanted to talk about the parents for whom WBW can be very difficult. I have had personal conversations with some moms who have said that they make a conscious decision to lay low this week, to not go out and about, to specifically make a conscious decision to stay off Social Media. There is just too much talk and advertising about Breastfeeding and the health benefits and moms talking about great and wonderful breastfeeding is. This is devastating to some… the grief that some mothers have described to me has been almost like a death… a major life trauma that they have had to grieve over, they have had to learn how to live with.
Moms tell me that they do go on, they live their lives, and they enjoy their children. And yet, the inability to breastfeed is always lying beneath the surface. For some, it is not too far buried, for others it is deep within. For many, WBW brings all these difficult emotions to the surface, and they just don’t want to have to really deal with these feelings. Having all the ads and the heavy promotions and get-togethers and Big Latch-ons all bring to the surface feelings of heartbreak and a sense of failure.
I want to highlight an article written by new mother and Huffington Post staff writer Emily Wax- Thibodeaux, where she talks about giving her son infant formula. Emily is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. She shares her personal story of how she was treated in the hospital when it came to breastfeeding. She describes a situation in which she was treated so poorly that I have to admit, my first reaction was to not believe her. It is very difficult for me to believe this truly happened and yet, I have heard some pretty disheartening stories in my career, so I do believe that she is being truthful. Emily writes how she was pushed into trying to breastfeed even when she said she did not want to. Another staff person told her something that I find so outrageous….“Just try,” they advised. “Let’s hope you get some milk.”
“It may come out anyway, or through your armpits,” another advised later when I was doing the usual post-labor, slow-recovery walk through the hospital halls.
That just seems so unbelievable to me! On behalf of all the rest of us “lactavists” who truly make it our mission to help mothers who want our help and would never, ever, ever dream of acting in such a way, Emily I am sorry for your experience.
If you would like to read her article and watch her video, I have posted a link to it in the show notes. I do want to add that while I wanted to highlight her experience, I don’t agree with everything in her article. Please read the article in full and watch her video where she talks about her experience. I have posted a link in the show notes.
What I really want to get across in this show is that while I am an IBCLC and I do my best every single day to help educate, support and advocate for the breastfeeding family. I do believe that it is not possible for all women to provide their milk for their babies. This week, I have cried tears with 2 moms I have been working with. I opened up an email from a mom who has been diligently pumping every 3 hours for her baby who is now 9 days old. yes, she got off to a rocky start. Position and latch was not the best, her baby was incredibly sleepy, and her supply just drops when she came to see me. After a full history and complete evaluation and great breastfeeding consult, I determined that her primary issue would be that she has a condition called hypoplasia, or IGT – which is insufficient glandular tissue. Hers was quite severe in that I could easily identify several of the characteristics that make up IGT, which are:
• widely spaced breasts (breasts are more than 1.5 inches apart)
• breast asymmetry (one breast is significantly larger than the other)
• in absence of breast growth, either during puberty or in pregnancy and post partum
• tubular breast shape (“empty sac” appearance)
I never know how her body will respond, how much volume she will produce, until we put her on a good care plan and do whatever we can to help her increase her milk production. We discussed ways to ensure that her baby is well fed, while she was given a realistic care plan to provide optimal breast stimulation. Sadly, after 5 days of round the clock pumping, every hours, with a good pump, she continues to be able to pump or hand express 3-5 drops of milk each time. Pumping is hard work. It takes away from time mom should be spending with her baby. When she sent me an email asking when it would be okay to stop, I told her that she can stop whenever she wants to and as long as her baby is happy to go to breast, this is what she should concentrate on and then offer baby milk in a bottle afterwards. She has been using donor milk up to this point but does not see that as being a realistic option for her for too much longer. She told me that she is okay and has accepted the fact that she will be feeding her baby formula and she also said that she is happy knowing that her baby is well fed, after losing a whole pound his first 4 days of life. This mom knows that I encourage her to do what is best for her baby and that while I am being there for her in the way that she needs me to be, this mom also knows that I am very active in the breastfeeding community and that I am involving myself in WBW by speaking at some Breast Feeding Mothers Group and doing in-services with medical staff. This is what I do. Support Breastfeeding Families. I can do this, while I can also understand the hardships of families who struggle with breastfeeding,
Breastfeeding Education and Ongoing and Universal Support are the two biggest barriers to breastfeeding.
I spent my morning at a Birthing Center here in Phoenix, Arizona called Babymoon Inn. You can find them by going to babymooninn.com
It is a wonderful place where moms can have professional midwifery care.
they can choose to have their babies with a midwife at the birthing center or at a local hospital.
Today, I met with some moms who came to hear me talk about breastfeeding. Several moms had their babies and 1 mom is due with twins.
This was so exciting for me to be talking to this group of moms and sharing some of my wisdom about breastfeeding and better still,
to have the moms who have already had their babies share some of their wisdom with the soon to be mom.
You see, we need to spend more time hanging out with other moms, seeing them breastfeed in public, learn that their breastfeeding beginnings were not always so easy. We need to spend time sharing stories and helping other moms.
One of the common themes that came up today was the lack of support moms feel about their breastfeeding. In particular with their Health Care Provider not really caring one way or the other if they were successfully breastfeeding. There was not this sense of urgency with Health Care Providers to help moms fix the breastfeeding if it is not going well.
Another common theme talked about was nursing in public. I appreciated hearing the differences of personal opinion about breastfeeding.
One of the moms even said that she herself realizes she was quite judgemental about nursing in public before she had her baby. She acknowledges that she just did not understand that it can be a hardship to try and settle yourself and your baby and
provide good coverage while nursing in public. Now she has done a 180. She said that while she may still not reastfeeding in public herself… I think she feels she cannot do it as discreetly as she is comfortable doing so, but she now has an attitude.. hey if another wants to breastfeeding in public,,, Go for it! Your baby needs to it.
We talked so much and lots of good info was shared that we did not even get to talk about a subject that I had intended to. That is preparing to return to work. Helpful hints on pumping and storing milk, and all you need to do to get ready for the transition back to work.
Oh well, I walked away from this group this morning, knowing that I had not covered all I wanted to, however, the impact on the info that was shared will be far reaching as these moms will share what they learned with other moms. I would like to extend a special thank you to the moms of Babymoon Inn for having me today. It was a lot of fun.
I had home visits after the morning talk. One in particular really stood out. This first time pregnant mom is intelligent, health conscious, runs her own business, counsels other families, and yet her knowledge base about breastfeeding was quite basic, real basic.. in that she has been told that you have baby and breast and be sure to feed your baby, wake them up every 2 hours to feed. Now while having a baby and a breast is simple enough, I love that… I would have liked for her to have learned more about the early days of breastfeeding… things like signs to know breastfeeding is going well. How do you know your baby is getting enough? How do you know if you need help? What is normal newborn breastfeeding behavior. I had the pleasure of spending time with her so I can share some really important information on breastfeeding with her.
Now, this is my rant about that. She is about to give birth and going to be doing one of the most important things a new mommy can do is breastfeed her baby. Yet there was little to preparation about breastfeeding as part of her prenatal care. She has not grown up surrounded by breastfeeding families, she had no idea what a good latch should be like, and she will not be surrounded by anyone who knows about breastfeeding when she is home post partum.
Am I grateful for WBW? Absolutely! It it gives us in the biz a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness in our home towns and communities and help mothers get connected with other breast feeders and breastfeeding helpers. We want you to be successful. We don’t want you to fall through the cracks. We want to be able to help you understand why you might have difficulties breastfeeding. We don’t want you to blame yourself if things don’t go as planned. We want to be there for you in whatever capacity you need for us to be.
I am going to close out today’s show by encouraging you to do several things. First thing: If you enjoyed this show, share it with anyone you know who can benefit from this information. Second thing I would like to share is if you go to the show notes page: allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/podcast you will find the shown notes to this episode # 82. There you will find links to several breastfeeding related products, as well as links to the big latch on and to Emily’s article.
As always, thanks so much for taking your time to spend with me, listening and learning about all things related to breastfeeding. Remember to look out for Episode # 83 with Hilary Jacobson. Until then, bye bye
Links to Discounts mentioned in the show on the right side of the page:
The Perfect Latch
Emily Wax- Thibodeaux,article:
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