It has been a busy April in Kansas and the first week in May has been even busier. As I have spent time getting to know the “dance patterns” of the new little ones this week, it has also allowed me to spend time getting to know the breastfeeding momma too. I love building a relationship with the families and getting to know their goals with breastfeeding. As we work together we talk about many things and I want you to know we discuss everything and nothing is off topic!
In my discussion about the early days of breastfeeding, the topic of conversation this week has focused on a reoccurring theme – “New breastfeeding moms need help in the first week of breastfeeding!”
**For those that don’t know what the “dance patterns” are, it is the term I use for the infant’s behavior at the breast. Each baby is individual and unique in regards to how they like to nurse or “dance” at the breast. Some prefer the cross-cradle hold and other’s like the football hold or a laid-back nursing position with their head slightly elevated. One little darling exhibited a hunger cue that went from, “I am sound asleep,” to “as soon as I wake up I am full-blown ravenous”.
We also had a little princess who was a gentle giant waking from a deep sleep and then preferred to ease into the nursing session. As you can see, each of these “dance patterns” are different and individual. The blessing is that is allows me to have time getting to know the breastfeeding mom and discuss things that they want to talk about.
Enough rambling . . . yes, new breastfeeding moms need help in the first week of breastfeeding. The picture I imagined as I sat down to write this article was that of beautiful palm trees swaying in the wind, a sky blue ocean, and the words “HELP” written in the sandy white beach. Moms feel like they can conquer the breastfeeding world in the first two days of having the baby. They go home, then, their support staff (mom, husband, friend, etc.) go back to work, and they are now alone on the deserted island.
Let’s think about what happens to the breastfeeding mom in the first week. Their breastmilk changes bring body changes; their breasts can feel like they are blown up like a tight balloon; they aren’t sure why the infant is waking more often and wants to nurse every hour at a time; and there’s no instruction manual that accompanied this new little angel. What do they do? What’s normal? What’s not? HELP!
That’s what we are here for as Certified Lactation Educators. To help the new mom navigate through, to build confidence, and overall, extend the length of time they breastfeed their little one. A CLE is there to help in every way possible. We are the light in the middle of the storm; we answer questions; and we help guide. If you are not a CLE, then I encourage you to find out more information about becoming a Certified Lactation Educator or a Community Lactation Educator. Together we are making a difference in the community and with the families we serve!
Our new breastfeeding moms this week tell the story so I’m going to share a few quotes from them (with their permission to share).
“Thanks, Stephanie for all of your help and guidance! I am so glad I came in to see you. We are doing wonderful and what we worked on yesterday totally helped me”.
“We are nursing in the cross-cradle hold and it went so great all day! Thank you! Thank you! I am so confident in breastfeeding and I am so glad _________ referred me to you!”
“We had a rough two days until we came in to see you, Stephanie. You are an angel and I am so happy that we came in to get help with breastfeeding. You are an amazing lady and we are blessed to have you to call on.”
The greatest blessing in my life is helping the breastfeeding families in my surrounding community and to build confidence every step of the way on their breastfeeding journey!
IBCLC, MT, RLC, CLE
Stephanie Henry owns Midwest Lactation Academy in Chanute, Kansas. She works with prenatal moms and breastfeeding families in her county through the Woman, Infant, Children (WIC) program. She serves as a board member for the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition and has a passion for helping build a strong mom and baby bond to the breastfeeding families she serves. Stephanie is a respected and self-motivated professional with 20 years of experience in the medical field. She has been joyfully married to Mike for 14 years and they have one son.