You've seen "lots" of IBCLCs ... Why should you see The MILC Group before you give up on Breastfeeding?
I read or hear this statement, sometimes daily, but definitely weekly. A desperate parent posting on the Internet that they are about to "give up" on breastfeeding. When asked if they have seen an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), they say that they have. They often add that they have seen "lots" of them. They say that the visits helped a bit with latch or positioning, but for whatever reason their nipples are still sore or baby is still not gaining weight appropriately. This is where I wish I could say, "but you haven't seen us!"
Why don't I say it? Essentially because it's rude. How do I say that we are better? What makes us better?
Many parents have met with a breastfeeding helper (hopefully they are an IBCLC) in the hospital in the days immediately after baby is born. Unfortunately, during their shift the hospital IBCLC is tasked with seeing an entire list of new families as well as the babies in the NICU. They are allotted about 15 minutes per family. Sometimes a family gets lucky and the IBCLC has more time to spend with them.
During an appointment with The MILC Group we spend 1.5 to 2 hours with families. We have the opportunity to fully listen and discuss the issues the breastfeeding dyad is having. We can examine the baby and observe a relaxed nursing session. We feel privileged to have this time with you.
Some families have gone back to the hospital lactation centers for outpatient visits to work on the latch, etc. It would be my expectation that during that consult a full and thorough oral examination would be done as well as looking at the baby's structure and function. Time should be taken to listen. A full health history can show much about what is going on. Sadly this is often not the case.
Why do the IBCLCs of The MILC Group take more time doing the type of exam mentioned above? Part of it is experience, but more so training we have received. We have chosen to pursue additional hands-on training as well as other professional development which has assisted us in identifying issues that others miss. Taking the time to really look at a baby. Is the baby's alignment straight or crooked? Does their body curve one way or their neck twist another? How does their mouth move when nursing? How does their jaw look? What is going on inside of their mouth?
This past week, a parent posted in an online group. They wrote they were switching to exclusively pumping and bottle feeding. They had seen several IBCLCs at the hospital and they were still having latch and pain issues. I tried to explain the bottle can get the job done feeding their baby, but the issue causing feeding at the breast to go poorly is still there. This is a hard thing to explain to someone who is in pain and desperate.
How many kids do you know who get pulled out for speech therapy in elementary school? How many times do you hear a parent say that their kids are picky eaters, won't eat foods with certain textures, that they can't swalllow pills, etc.? These are often signs of an oral issue that might have been caught with a thorough examination by a well-trained IBCLC. Taking a full and thorough health history and asking questions about family oral anatomy can tell so much! I always get excited putting the dots together for people. You can switch to bottles as so many families have done for the past 100 or so years BUT that oral anatomy won't change.
Can The MILC Group fix every problem? No. We can do our best though and through our Weight Check Wednesdays and Friday Breastfeeding Support Group we do our very best to continue supporting families who are having issues and working through problems. We offer support and encouragement. We provide referrals. We hope to be the people who keep you going. We do this because someone did it for us.
Your baby has arrived and you are having problems breastfeeding. What should you do? Some of your knowledgeable friends suggest that you should see an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). That sounds okay, but you want to know what to expect during a meeting with one. Here is what to expect if you choose to meet with an IBCLC from The MILC Group.
We hope that this answered your questions about what to expect if you schedule a Lactation Consultation with The MILC Group. We look forward to meeting with you and your family!
We can be reached by phone at 210-960-MILC/210-960-6452.
Low milk supply seems to be a main concern for today's breastfeeding mother. I do remember mothers asking, "how will I know that my baby is getting enough?" and, "how much milk does my baby need?" back when my first child was born (19 long years ago). The difference I suppose was that we were satisfied with the answers we were given and we never pumped to see how much our body was presumably making. We relied on observing our baby. Today's mother seems to want more answers and to know exactly how much milk she is making. Here is a brief overview of Low Milk Supply.
When should we be concerned that our milk supply might be low?
What can cause a low milk supply?
*Note that the majority of maternal issues would be present from the onset of the breastfeeding relationship.
What can we do?
With any of these concerns the first step would be to work with an experienced Health Care Provider (HCP). This can be your OB/GYN, Pediatrician and/or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Who you work with depends on which issue you are dealing with. While seeking out a professional who can assist you and working on a care plan you will want to:
Ways to Increase Milk Supply
There are many great Low Milk Supply Resources. Following is a list of just a few:
If you have questions or concerns about your milk supply we will be happy to meet and discuss those concerns with you either prenatally or after baby arrives. www.TheMILCGroup.com 210-960-MILC/210-960-6452
Last summer Ginger and I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful workshop at the Texas La Leche League Conference. We attended the daytime session led by Jaye Simpson, IBCLC and thoroughly enjoyed hearing in-depth information on "Structure and Function" as it relates to the anatomy of the infant and what could be contributing to breastfeeding difficulty. That evening we attended a hands-on clinical session where we observed techniques and put them to work evaluating an infant. We attended many other wonderful sessions in lactation education; however, the sessions taught by Jaye had the most impact on our work. I would say that this information was so empowering and helped us to become even more confident in our evaluations of infants during our lactation consultations.
This knowledge coupled with our years of additional training and experience would lead me to say that here in San Antonio we may be the lactation consultants doing the most thorough examinations of babies and catching oral and physical issues that other practitioners miss. This may be because they are either rushed through visits (often not by choice when the practitioner works in a hospital with limited time resources) or because they lack the extensive training that we have received. Ginger and I continue to seek out courses that further our education and we are excited to team up with other lactation professionals in Central Texas to educate ourselves more fully on how different practitioners working together can get a baby nursing more effectively, gaining weight better and nipping (no pun intended) oral or physical issues in the bud before they effect a baby's later development.
On our website www.TheMILCGroup.com we have compiled a short list of wonderful resources for parents who are seeking information regarding a possible tongue tie, lip tie or other oral issue in their baby. We include practitioners who our clients have found helpful as we want all of our clients to have the best possible experiences. We do suggest that parents seek out the guidance of a lactation professional to help them to decide what kind of practitioner will best serve their needs.
If you suspect that your baby has an oral issue and would like to meet with us for a full evaluation you can contact us by phone at 210-960-MILC/210-960-6452.
For those parents not located in San Antonio, South Texas or the surrounding areas, we suggest that you seek out the support of your local La Leche League Leader or IBCLC to find resources to assist you with your breastfeeding issues. We are always happy to support families who are not located near to us in finding the support that they need.
This week I had the pleasure of meeting with a local San Antonio pediatrician. Her office had contacted us and asked for a meeting. We were pleased that they had reached out but also wondered what they would want to chat about.
Since we started The MILC Group late last year we have worked hard to market the business to local health care providers as well as the families that we serve. We strive to have professional integrity and we want the families that we work with to know that we represent them and not the interests of any particular care providers. We LOVE that our location is not affiliated with any particular medical practice and we don't pander to any certain medical practices. When asked if we can recommend a pediatrician we give out several names often based on location but always based on our knowledge of how supportive those doctors are of breastfeeding.
Our chat with the local pediatrician went really well! Ginger was not able to make it because it was smack dab in the middle of her busy time of day shuttling her kiddos around. I was rushing that day from one thing to the next and came directly from the elementary school track meet so I was sweaty and feeling sunburned...lol. At first it seemed like it might be a short chat and she asked me a few pointed questions. We then started a more casual conversation about birth, her own breastfeeding experience, her own children's oral issues (or maybe what I thought they might be from hearing her descriptions of nursing issues), her desires for her patients, etc. It turns out we are very much on the same page. Bottom line...we both care about the health of our client's children. We both feel that breastfeeding is extremely important in the development of that good health. We both want to make sure that babies are being fed adequately. I explained what we do during a consult and how we strive to educate our client's on the importance of the baby transferring milk well and what factors can impede that. I talked about our desire to keep baby at the breast while still providing the baby with the proper amount of nutrition and if supplementation is necessary then supplementing with their own breastmilk is our first choice. It was refreshing to hear a health care provider express such a clear interest in the care of her patients beyond the hot topics like vaccines, etc. Our chat led me to want to write this little post and stress the importance of finding a supportive health care provider for your baby.
Questions to ask when looking for a breastfeeding-supportive Pediatrician/Health Care Provider:
1. What are your thoughts about breastfeeding?
2. What are your thoughts about breastfeeding beyond 6 months? beyond a year?
3. Do you have referrals to offer if I am in need of breastfeeding assistance? or are you an IBCLC?
4. Do you have a list of local breastfeeding support groups that you could give me?
5. If my baby needed to be supplemented would you go first to breastmilk or formula as a supplement?
6. What percentage of your patients are breastfeeding exclusively at 1 month?
How to know if a Pediatrician/Health Care Provider is NOT breastfeeding friendly:
1. If they give you formula samples when you meet with them.
2. If they tell you that breastfeeding and bottlefeeding are the same.
3. If they advise you to stop breastfeeding because baby is sick or if they give outdated information about breastfeeding.
4. If they act shocked that you are "still" breastfeeding at six months.
5. If they tell you not to allow baby to fall asleep at the breast or if they push rigid sleep scheduling early on.
6. If YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BREASTFEED IN THEIR OFFICE OR WAITING ROOM.....RUN THE OTHER WAY!!
We are so happy to have many supportive health care providers here in San Antonio but are always looking for more. If you have a great one, let us know!
Starting childcare and going back to work may be an emotionally challenging time for parents and baby. Here are some tips that can help families and caregivers make this transition:
1. Parents might consider spending time at the childcare center before they return to work or school in order to let their baby get comfortable with their new surroundings.
2. Parents may also consider returning to work on a graduated schedule, or working shorter weeks at first.
3. Parents might leave something that smells like mother; for example, some parents may leave a T-shirt mom may have slept in.
4. Baby may cluster feed in the evening or wake more often to feed at night; during the first few weeks in childcare, it is normal for breastfed babies to choose to not feed during the day while in childcare.
5. Getting a daily update on baby’s activities to include diapers and feeding can make parents feel more connected with their child’s day.
6. Parents may find that wearing or holding their babies often in the evening helps reestablish the emotional connection.
7. Mothers may plan to breastfeed at the childcare facility when dropping off and picking up to ease the transition.
~Tina & Ginger