Breathing is regulated by the autonomic nervous system and is subconscious. Breathing and our breath are things that we mostly take for granted. So, why am I writing a blog post about breath?
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.
Most babies will lose weight after they are born. We like to say that babies are born "juicy" and so weight loss is normal. A study published in the December 2014 issue of Pediatrics (the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) confirms this. The study is authored by Dr. Flaherman of the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues.
In this era of induction and cesarean births we are seeing babies with higher weight loss percentages than in years past. Having worked in lactation for over 16 years I have seen these expected percentages change over the years. In the 1990's a 7% weight loss was what was considered "normal." Somewhere along the way it became 10%. I now consistently see babies losing 10% and sometimes more. My colleagues and I work with mothers who are on IV fluids, pitocin and epidural drips for 24 hours or more. That is a lot of fluid being taken on by the mother and in turn the baby. A few days after an induced or cesarean birth the mother usually finds her legs are swollen up like tree trunks and her feet won't fit into anything but flip flops. Where do we think these fluids go for baby?
According to the authors of the study of the 108,907 exclusively breastfed newborns, 83,433 were delivered vaginally and 25,474 were delivered by cesarean. "Differential weight loss by delivery mode was evident 6 hours after delivery and persisted over time. Almost 5% of vaginally delivered newborns and >10% of those delivered by cesarean had lost ≥10% of their birth weight 48 hours after delivery. By 72 hours, >25% of newborns delivered by cesarean had lost ≥10% of their birth weight."
We regularly tell parents that their pediatrician will expect their baby to be back up to "birth weight" at the two week appointment. We will see if this study will change these guidelines or if they will stay the same. Either way we at The MILC Group will continue to support the families of our community in feeding their babies.
On October 8th, 2014, The MILC Group was so honored to be a sponsor of a special mothers-only day at French & Michigan Gallery. The exhibition we were there to enjoy....Supply and Demand by Sarah Sudhoff.
From the French & Michigan website, "Turning to the politics of breastfeeding, Sudhoff pulls from her inability to produce enough milk for her then-young son as inspiration for documented performances, milk typologies, self-portraits, and sculpture. The milk serves as subject and metaphor for feelings of loss and failure experienced by so many mothers, while highlighting the way in which breastfeeding is highly medicalized and undeniably personal in contemporary American culture."
Thank you to all the mothers who came out with and without their babies. We would also like to thank Celeste Wackenhut who has so beautifully curated this exhibit and brought us into the project and Elizabeth Pearson who is the most amazing chef we know and provided the delicious treats we enjoyed that morning. Most of all thank you to Sarah Sudhoff for this beautiful work!
Supply and Demand by Sarah Sudhoff
French & Michigan
115 Michigan Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78201
~Tina & Ginger