When The MILC Group first started out we ran a series that we called "JJs Nip Tips." They were named for an adorable chunky baby who we spent a lot of time with. JJ is now a rambunctious preschooler and we wanted to take a moment to pull together a list of our favorite Nip Tips and post an adorable updated pic of our chunky mascot.
If you need breastfeeding support you can contact The MILC Group here:
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.
The topic of increasing iron intake for toddlers comes up often in our Support Groups. This recipe for a yummy quick bread was mentioned so I typed up the recipe for everyone to have. One tbsp. of blackstrap molasses provides 3.5 mg of iron. This provides half of the recommended daily intake for toddlers, and 13 percent of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women.
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.
Human milk sharing has been around most likely since the beginning of time. When women died in childbirth another woman would step in to breastfeed her child. When one woman was away from her child another would breastfeed that baby in a sort of informal shared parenting agreement. There were no bottles or breastpumps. Other cultures still share breastmilk with each other as a way to survive. Even here in the United States situations can arise where mothers are unable to provide breastmilk to their baby themselves but wish for their baby to receive the nutrition of breastmilk and so they enter into some sort of human milk sharing.
There are two basic types of human milk sharing. Those are formal and informal milk sharing.
Here at The MILC Group we as International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) uphold very strict health standards. We promote breastfeeding and support mothers in reaching their breastfeeding goals. We provide information and resources. However, we do not facilitate milk sharing or act as a go between for mothers. There are risks to milk sharing. A great discussion of these risks can be found in this article, Milk sharing and formula feeding: Infant feeding risks in comparative perspective? by Karleen D. Gribble and Bernice L. Hausman.
Nipple shields....are they good or a bad? There is so much conflicting information out there for moms so we thought we might try to clarify it.
Nipple shields have been used in one form or another for over 500 years! Early nipple shield were made of:
Fast forward to the 20th Century and we started to make nipple shields from rubber, latex and now silicone. They have come a long way for baby and are much thinner now than ever before.
We hear a lot about the possibility of nipple shield use reducing milk transfer. This most likely comes from a 1980 study which had this finding. The thing is that the nipple shields being used in 1980 and those being used today are quite different. The much thinner silicone shield allows for much more feeling for mother and thus less reduction in milk transfer and production. Some shields also have a cut out for the babies nose and this tends to aid in that touch component.
We recently asked a group of moms why they used a nipple shield and these were some of their responses (paraphrased):
Why Use a Nipple Shield?
Nipple shields can be a great tool if used with common sense. Good reasons include:
Ultimately, there are usually underlying circumstances for which a nipple shield is being used. It is imperative that families visit with a trained lactation professional to figure out what is going on and to make sure that we take care of those issues. Long term nipple shield use may be a challenge. Often babies will not take a nipple shield as they get older. Carrying a nipple shield with you at all times can be stressful and putting one on with ease before latching baby in public can also cause mom undue stress.
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!
What is the role of your Doula in supporting your breastfeeding relationship?
I was reading a Facebook post recently about a mother's first birth/breastfeeding experience. She made a comment similar to, "I did everything right. I hired a doula, had a natural unmedicated birth, etc. and still had breastfeeding issues." I thought to myself...what do mothers expect from their doulas in regards to breastfeeding support?
Doulas are Childbirth Professionals which doesn't actually mean that they are Breastfeeding Professionals. In San Antonio I am currently the only Doula that is also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Many of my fellow Doulas have made the effort to obtain additional breastfeeding education which is something I applaud them for and support them in doing. I love being a resource for my fellow Doulas who come to me asking which programs I recommend or ask for guidance on their road to becoming more breastfeeding proficient.
Two weekends ago my business partner Ginger and I taught a class to a group of newly trained Doulas on Breastfeeding. We loved working with these new Doulas and we loved putting together the class. Here is some of what we shared with those Doulas regarding the Role of the Doula in regards to Breastfeeding:
At your prenatal visits your Doula should...
At your birth your Doula should....
At your postpartum visits your Doula should....
What your Doula should NOT do....
Make sure that your Doula is covering the topics that we suggested and that they are not working outside of their Scope of Practice. Working with babies is a delicate thing. A newborn baby can start to go downhill pretty quickly if they are having issues with milk transfer or if you are having issues with your milk supply. You should always consult with your Health Care Provider as well as with an IBCLC when you are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties.
~Tina & Ginger