To all the partners and supporters of a nursing parent: thank you! Thank you for looking into how you can help your partner in their breastfeeding journey. It is a lot of hard work to breastfeed, but having a strong support system can help to build a solid foundation for the entire family. The fact that you took the time to read this – and probably other resources – proves that you are already doing an amazing job as a supporting team player. Did you know that the number one predictor of breastfeeding success is partner support?
Let’s start with some basics. It’s important that you begin to try and understand the process your breastfeeding partner is going through. To begin, it isn’t easy – it’s natural, but not easy. Even for those with an adequate milk supply, feeding a child or multiple children from one’s body can be taxing. It can be even harder for those with supply, latching, and/or painful feeding problems. Luckily, there are resources available for your family (like us here at Metropolitan Breastfeeding!). Be sure to be by your breastfeeding partner’s side and absorb all the knowledge you can!
How to Help
Next, lets discuss more specific ways that you can help your partner in their journey:
Signs to Look for
Your partner will probably only have their baby’s needs in mind and this could affect them in negative ways if they lose track of their own needs. Be sure to remind them when they aren’t eating with dinner already made or let them know they needs their rest by letting them sleep while you go settle the crying baby. Some things to look out for:
When mentioning any concerns, please be mindful of your partners stress and sensitivity levels. Do not place any blame onto them and be sure to vocalize that your concerns are based from love and supporting their goals. Ask a medical professional the best ways to help if you are still feeling uneasy or unsure on how to bring it up. There are plenty of family-based resources online and in person that are available. If you need assistance getting started, reach out to us for help!
Primary Practitioner, Ob-Gyn, IBCLC, or 24/7 Care?
When it comes to lactation problems, some parents aren’t sure who to see to help alleviate their concerns. Should you schedule with their primary practitioner, Ob-Gyn, IBCLC, or go to a 24/7 medical care center? Everyone is different, but there are some general things you can keep in mind to decided where to turn to when faced with a problem.
When to see a Family Practitioner/ Pediatrician
Your family practitioner/pediatrician will probably have the closest relationship to your family. They are normally the first you will go to with concerns of your baby’s health. If you have general questions or concerns, such as with baby’s weight gain and physical wellness assessment, you will probably go to them first.
When to see an Ob-Gyn
Your Ob-Gyn specializes in reproductive health. If you have any questions or concerns in that area, go to them. For example, if you are wondering about any birth control or fertility options, your Ob-Gyn should be able to give you a specialized plan based on your past medical reproductive history.
When to see an IBCLC
If you have lactation problems you should schedule to see an IBCLC. This can include latching issues, pain while feeding or pumping, and/or supply issues, Your IBCLC will be specialized in the lactation field, and normally general practitioners and Ob-Gyns will refer their patients will lactation issues to an IBCLC. Some general practitioners and Ob-Gyns may also be accredited IBCLCs, so be sure to ask.
When to go to 24/7 care
The medical professionals mentioned above normally operate during normal business hours and through appointment only. If you are having problems outside of regular business hours, cannot get an appointment, or are having an emergency, please go directly to urgent care or the ER (depending on the situation). After your visit with either urgent care or the ER, be sure to schedule a follow up appointment with either your primary practitioner, Ob-Gyn, and/or IBCLC for future care.
Knowledge is power, and a breastfeeding parent needs all the power they can get in their journey! Breastfeeding and pumping can seem alien to new nursing parents, so we’ve decided to break down 10 lactation tidbits into the following categories: breastmilk, pumping and cool facts. Let’s begin!
Whew, that was a lot! And all of that really only scratches the surface of the lactation world, but it’s a start! We hope that you found out at least one thing about your liquid gold that you may not have known before. Have any other facts? Let us know on Facebook!
The milestones of growing up can be exciting for the whole family! The first time babies smile at us, grab onto us, crawl to us, and so much more! Growing up can be fun – but it can also be challenging and painful! We all have to deal with the physical aches and pains that come with growing. One of the pains every child and parent has to endure is teething. On average, many babies begin teething between four and six months old. If you are a breastfeeding parent, you probably realized that if your goal is to breastfeed for at least six months you’ll have to prepare for breastfeeding a teething baby. We know imagining a teething baby going in to feed can seem a bit intimidating, but no need to fear! We’ve got you covered on ways to work around the fuss of teething and we’re going to go over a crash course on breastfeeding a teething baby.
Signs of Teething and Effects on Breastfeeding
There is a chance that your baby may seem fussy and irritable days or even weeks before the first tooth shows up. Even though the teething process lasts for about 24 months, the pain is much less intense after the first few teeth come in (thank goodness!)
Some general signs of teething include: gnawing on toys and/or fingers, swollen gums, increase in drool, fussiness, and changes in sleeping and eating. Some signs you may notice if your breastfed baby is teething are: change in latch, breastfeeding parent’s nipples becoming sore from baby ‘gumming’ while feeding, biting while feeding, frequent feeding and baby refusal to nurse.
Ways of Dealing with Teething
First and foremost, if you notice your child wanting to breastfeed more often, that may be their best way for them to cope with the pain of teething. Children that are breastfed are likely to feed more frequently when they aren’t feeling well, as breastfeeding helps to reduce their stress. However, if breastfeeding does not help soothe them, or you are looking for ways to help with gnawing or biting, do not worry as there are plenty of other methods you can use to help.
Try 30 Minutes Before Feeding – Give your child something to gnaw on. Normally when children are teething, the first thing many parents look into are safe-to-chew toys for their child. One amazing brand, Nibbly Bits, has a whole line of teething jewelry and toys that are safe for babies to chew on! It is recommended that the toy not be completely frozen, as it could be too cold and hurt the baby’s gums. One great alternative to chewable toys can be a cold wash cloth – just be sure to supervise when your child is gnawing on anything for pain relief. Also, if the gums are not swollen you can massage your child’s gums with a finger dipped in cold water.
If you are still having problems, discuss with your doctor about using a baby pain reliever.
Dealing with sore nipples
If you are experiencing nipple pain due to a change in latch, your child gumming on your nipples while feeding, or damage from biting, and natural or over-the-counter remedies aren’t working, please visit with your lactation consultant and/or primary physician to go over possible options.
Ah, one of the many challenges of parenting. But don’t worry, you’ve got this! Before you know it, your child will be losing their first tooth and hiding it under their pillow for the tooth fairy. It may seem a bit stressful but one day we hope you’ll look back to the days of teething and realize how awesome you were for overcoming every obstacle!