New locations covered in Brisbane South

Brisbane Mums have spoken!

I keep getting calls from beyond my 15-20 minute travel range.  There’s a need for lactation consultant help and I want to reach these mums! So I’m headed further out to mums based in Mount Cotton, Logan, Browns Plains, Forest and Springfield Lakes area, all the way up to the Brisbane river. Anyone inside this boundary has no extra travel fee in their lactation consultant appointment. If you are outside this region, give me a ring because for a small extra fee I may still be able to visit you.

Many of my clients are locals from Moorooka, Tarragindi, Annerley, Coorparoo and Greenslopes.  Don’t worry, local mums,  I’ll still be here to help you out with breastfeeding issues so you can get back on track with breastfeeding.

Naomi Drew – Aspire Lactation.  Breastfeeding support for Mums and babies in Brisbane South.

Breast pumps

Are you thinking about buying a second hand breast pump?  Or has one been kindly gifted to you from another mum friend? If you are pumping to establish supply or you have a sick or premature infant who is unable to breastfeed, I want you to think about whether that bargain is worth it.

Do you know who owned the breast pump before you?  If this is bought second hand off sites such as eBay or Gumtree, who knows how many owners your pump has had before they sold it on?

Do you know how often it was used for? Many personal (non hospital-grade) breast pumps have a limited working life.  Motor life may be compromised from being a workhorse for too many times a day when it is designed to be used only 3-5 times a day.

Does it have a closed or open milk collection system? Closed = no chance of milk, moisture or mould getting inside the internal parts of the motor.  Open = potential for all of the above to travel in, particularly if milk has back-flowed into tubing during pumping.

Has the suction level been checked and is it working as well as it should be? A breast pump with poor suction – well, it SUCKS but for the wrong reasons! It will affect your supply and may leave you wondering if it is you that is the problem when it simply hasn’t been doing the job it is meant to.

Click on the pictures below for more (dirty) detail!

Low Milk Supply

worried about low milk supply?

Are you worried about whether your breastfed baby is getting enough milk? What are some of the reasons behind low milk supply?

There are SO many things that can impact on your milk supply, this list is not exhaustive.   Sometimes multiple reasons (e.g. mother and baby issues) can impact on your supply.  The good news is that you can get help and try to find the reasons behind your low supply so that a plan can be put in place.  I’ve been a low milk supply mum, and I know how exhausting and confusing it can be when you’re questioning your supply.  The only reason I got through it was from getting help and support from lactation professionals, my family and friends.  You don’t have to struggle on your own!

Some reasons for low milk supply can be:

Hormonal, sometimes seen in mothers with –

  • Diabetes (type 1 and 2), Gestational diabetes
  • Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • pituitary dysfunction

Ineffective milk removal –

  • baby with weak suck or poor latch
  • baby with tongue tie
  • baby with low tone
  • prematurity (born before 37 weeks)
  • restrictions to breastfeeding (e.g. scheduled feeding, timed feeding)

Underlying breast issue-

  • Insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) or hypoplasia. This is a great site to get further help and advice on IGT.
  • nerve damage from surgery (reduction or implants).  Having an appointment with an IBCLC before baby is born is a good start in these special cases.

If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough, you need to start looking at what is going on closer, so try to write feeds, wees and poos down. If exclusively breastfed, is your baby:

  • back to birthweight by 14 days? After return to birthweight, usual gains in the first 3 months are 175-225 grams per week.
  • Having frequent poos (bigger than a 20c coin), several times a day?
  • Has poo changed from meconium (first day or two), to green-brown (day three to four) and then to seedy mustard after day five?
  • having 5-6 heavily wet nappies after day 5? Urine should be clear and not smelly (no “rust stains” after 72hrs)?
  • Bright, alert and meeting milestones?
  • feeding 8-12 times in 24 hours with audible swallows?

If you are worried about anything in the lists above, contact your baby’s health professional and then seek lactation support ASAP from an IBCLC.  I’m available on varying days of the week and weekends, so give me a call so we can work out a good time to get together! If I can’t answer your call, leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible.

Baby-led attachment helps breastfeeding

Babies are SMART! If you give them the right situation to unleash their natural breastfeeding instincts, they can do so well.

I was lucky enough to photograph this adorable two week old baby, lying down on his mummy’s chest.  Even while dressed, he was able to search out the breast, move his head by bobbing and lifting to get over to the nipple and self attach for a breastfeed.  To get these baby cues even more released, try doing this skin to skin, with baby in just a nappy and you with a bare chest and tummy.

By letting a baby attach, and not forcing them to latch, they will often have their head extended, which gets a nice wide mouth happening (try doing opening your own mouth when your chin is tucked down into your chest, it’s much harder to get a wide mouth than with your head extended).

If your baby is having trouble attaching to the breast, you’re feeling stressed, take some time to hang out together in this position…you might be surprised at what happens next. For more personalised support with breastfeeding, give me a call and schedule a consult. I cover suburbs with home visits in the Brisbane South region such as Moorooka, Mount Gravatt, Tarragindi, Annerley and Greenslopes, plus many more!

Click on the photo to get a really good look at how amazing babies are.

I love my job!  Naomi x

This two week old baby shows that he knows what to do by instinct. He finds the breast and latches on with just mum’s arms supporting him. Click on the link to enlarge photo. Photo credit:Naomi Drew/Aspire Lactation. Copyright 2014. Not for reproduction.

If breastfeeding hurts – and what to do about it

As an expectant mum, you had probably heard many (unsolicited) horror stories not only about birth, but how your friends, family, (or even strangers!) breastfed through gritted teeth and painful nipples.  It may have even put you off thinking about breastfeeding before your baby was born.  As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and someone who has breastfed two babies, I can tell you:

Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.

There are many reasons you could be experiencing pain.  But don't grit your teeth and put up with it!

There are many reasons you could be experiencing pain. But don’t grit your teeth and put up with it!

Sometimes all it takes is some repositioning and letting the baby approach the breast differently.  Maybe you’ve never seen a mother breastfeed her baby and you’ve had to figure things out for yourself.  Or maybe you’ve had some conflicting advice about how to hold your baby and position yourself.  There is a lot of breastfeeding information out there on the web, and not all of it is good.

It might not be something you’re doing.  Breastfeeding involves two people – you and your baby (or more babies for multiple births!).  Sometimes there are physical reasons why an infant may be struggling to breastfeed and he or she hurts you, even when you have been told you have a “textbook” latch and nobody has a clue why you are climbing the walls in agony.  Tongue ties are a common culprit and Aspire Lactation will be posting about this soon.

Pinched or mis-shapened nipples post feed can be a sign that your baby is not getting enough of the breast in their mouth. Cracked or bleeding nipples can lead to further complications if not assessed and steps takes to minimise damage.

What can you do about this, when you’re probably exhausted, worried and confused about what to do? Pick up the phone and call an IBCLC.  As your lactation consultant, I will watch how your baby breastfeeds, and see if we can find a way to make things more comfortable.  I will look in depth at you and your baby’s history and can assess your baby’s suck during an oral assessment.  Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful and you shouldn’t have to go through this alone.  If you’re yet to have your baby and just want more information on how to get breastfeeding off to the best start, why not book a pre-delivery consult with me?

 

 

Finding your support network

In the many years I have been a nurse and as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, I have spent time with so many families and their babies. I have seen people from different social and economic backgrounds and from many walks of life. In caring for these babies, I often get chatting to mothers about their support networks, not just for a healthy baby, but those with sick or preterm babies.   What I hear from families is something that is becoming an increasing factor in stress in new parents’ lives. Isolation. Families that live more than a few hours away, or in another country. Parents being relocated interstate for work and moving away from their home base. Even though now the world appears to be shrinking as we Sykpe and Facebook our friends and family, actual physical contact can be so far away.  

A hug. A shoulder to cry on. Someone to listen to you without judgement. 

Although Australia is a large country, it is sparsely populated and this can lead to families being geographically isolated from their loved ones, and their support. Parenting (and therefore breastfeeding) skills that were once passed down from older generations are lost as we move away from relatives and parents are having to figure out things on their own, or from a barrage of baby books.¹ However, human beings are social by nature and studies have shown that social support has a direct effect on decreasing stress hormones and blood pressure.² Positive social support can lead to increased oxytocin.   Oxytocin is the “feel good” hormone that causes the Milk Ejection Reflex (or “let-down”), which you’ll see when baby starts rhythmically sucking and swallowing.  Another good thing about oxytocin is that it reduces anxiety and promotes sleep in mothers.  Breastfeeding mothers have lower blood pressure, and decreased psychiatric and cardiovascular issues than those who bottle-fed their babies.³

Meme credit: Matthew Gallagher. Used with permission

Meme credit: Matthew Gallagher. Used with permission

So what can we do as a community to support mothers who are socially isolated? Friends may need to step into the role that family once did, and provide advice on parenting and settling their baby. Rather than coming around and visiting the baby, do something helpful for the new mother (who likely has only just changed out of her pyjama pants and brushed her hair for your benefit). Bring some meals she can freeze or eat later. Do the dishes. Hang a load of washing out. Fold washing. Before coming over, ask the new parents if they need any milk or bread, that you can pick up on the way.

Set mum up when she is breastfeeding, so that she has everything within arm’s reach: a snack, water, something to read.  Partners can have the baby ready for a feed by changing bub up and bringing the baby over (this is especially good at night).  If mum needs to pump, her partner can make sure the pump pieces are washed and ready to go.  Support breastfeeding, by engaging an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) if things are not going to plan with your partner.

You don’t have to help someone you know: help a mother get her groceries out of the trolley while she has her baby strapped to her (it gets hard bending into the trolley to get the last items out and I always appreciated the offers from my local Woolies checkout supervisors). Invite that mum on the table at the coffee shop to join your mothers group. Get a new mother in the shops talking about her gorgeous baby and make her feel positive during what could be the only grown-up interaction she has until her partner gets home!

My thanks:

Thank you to our families for the help over the last few years.   I might have seen ungrateful for your help at times, but it was probably just my stubborn proud streak that made me ashamed for not “having it together” enough in my eyes.  

Thank you to my husband, especially for those instances when I need some “me time” and you took a frazzled baby or toddler off on a walk so I could rest or gather my wits. Thank you for understanding that my level of cleanliness has changed considerably and not griping about it!

Thank you to Sunny who stopped by when she herself had 4 month old and brought quiches to keep us going in our early weeks post first baby.

Thank you Kirby for coming over with a slice that was so amazing, it got us through “3:30-itis” for the rest of the week, when we were exhausted with a new baby. I still remember it nearly four years later :)

Thank you Bec for bringing your baking, fresh fruit and helping hands over to visit with both my babies. Even if I declined your offer to do housework, because I was just happy to have your company! 

Thank you Claire, for giving me your phone number the day we met at the local chemist for a baby weigh.  It felt weird for me to ask for a number (kind of like asking for a date!) but we have found some great friendships in the local mothers group that came out of random meetings.

Oh, and I’m no longer a new mother.  But if anyone wants to fold the three or four loads of washing on the sofa as I type this, I will gladly accept your help! I’ve been walking past it for two days and I think it’s not planning on going anywhere soon….

Washing monster!

 

Where else can you meet other parents to create your support network?

  • Queensland ‘s Child Health Service has a program which runs for one month for new mothers.  After the program is completed, mothers can swap contact details and arrange to meet up in the community as a group.  This is often booked out quickly as it is very popular, so contact your local office.  For those in other states, contact your local child health service.
  • Playgroup Australia has listings of open playgroups that allow new mums to join, search your local area.
  • The Australian Breastfeeding Association runs local groups and is another way to meet parents
  • Some churches may have groups, such as MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)
  • You may have even struck up a friendship with other parents at antenatal classes or on the postnatal ward. Swap details and keep in contact!

If you are finding transitioning to parenthood and breastfeeding difficult, speak to your partner, family, close friend or health care professional. Having an IBCLC such as Aspire Lactation as part of your team, will help you find the road to confidence and breastfeeding success.  For your comfort, you don’t even need to get out of pyjamas when I come to your home for a consult. I won’t judge, and I will support you.

A health care professional can help identify the signs of postnatal depression and arrange support and follow-up for you. For more information visit Beyond Blue. 

References

1. Porter, B. (1990) ‘Abandoned’ Parents – A Challenge for Health Professionals, Clinical Pediatrics, 29: 610-613

2. Kikusui, T., Winslow, J.T. & Mori, Y. (2006) Social buffering: relief from stress and anxiety, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 361, 2215–2228

3. Groer, M., Davis, M., & Hemphill, J. (2002) Postpartum Stress: Current Concepts and the Possible Protective Role of Breastfeeding, JOGNN, 31, 411–417