A Lactation Expert Gives Tips on Successful Breastfeeding

The end of August means we are wrapping up breastfeeding awareness month, but RMC is always here for mothers on their breastfeeding journey. According to the CDC, 83% of infants receive some form of breastmilk within their lifetime. However, at the one year mark that number drops to 35.9%, and the Southeast is the most likely area of the United States to stop breastfeeding. RMC aims to support mothers on whatever way they choose to feed their baby, and gives mothers who choose our facility to bring their infant into the world access to breastfeeding experts. Our lactation consultants are available for follow-up visits every day until your child’s first birthday.

We sat down with one of our lactation specialists Jennifer Gallahar, RN, who has 22 years of helping mothers feed their babies.

Is breast feeding painful?

Breastfeeding should not be painful. Initially mom may experience some tenderness with latch, but pain is more than tenderness. Pain with breastfeeding is most often associated with improper latch or position. If the latch is painful, unlatch baby and try again. Mom should always a nurse or lactation consultant to assess her latch if she experiencing pain.

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?

Weight and diapers are the best way to ensure a baby is getting enough breast milk. Once milk is in well, babies should have at least 6 wet and 3 bowel movements per day for the first month of life. After one month and baby is exclusively breastfeeding, bowel movements tend to slow down to maybe a few per week. For the first few days after birth, babies typically lose anywhere between 7-10% of their birth weight. Around 1 week of age, baby tends to regain, anywhere from 4-7 oz per week or more. As long as baby is gaining within a normal range and diapers are within normal limits, you should feel assured your baby is getting enough at the breast.

I’m a working mom, can I still breastfeed?

You absolutely can work and be a breastfeeding mom. Many mothers pump when returning to work. If you could pump about every 2-3 hours that you are separated from your baby, you should be able to keep a good milk supply. When you return home, continue with latching the baby until your work day returns. Some moms feel pumping at work is too stressful. However, you can continue to breastfeed while you are home and supplement during your work hours if you desired. You can train your breast not to make much milk during work hours, and have more milk during hours at home with the baby. A few weeks before returning to work, be sure to contact a lactation nurse to help you plan your time away from the baby.

How do I store my breast milk?

Breast milk can be stored at room temperature for about 8 hours, refrigerated for about 8 days, frozen for 6 months, or placed in a deep freezer for about 12 months. Milk is typically stored in storage bags specifically for milk storage, or in plastic/glass bottles. Milk should never be microwaved to warm for a feeding. Place in a cup of warm water or a bottle warmer for heating.

Are there foods to avoid while breast feeding?

Mothers should not avoid any particular foods when breastfeeding. If a mother is concerned that her baby may be sensitive to her diet, she should speak to a lactation nurse to review a dietary history and get tips for reducing symptoms.

What can a new mother do to become more successful with breastfeeding?

First, educate yourself and get support from friends, family, and medical professionals that are supportive of breastfeeding. The most common reason we see mothers decide to stop breastfeeding is due to the influence from those closest to them, dad/grandmother/sister/friend. When those you look to for advice most often are the ones encouraging you to stop breastfeeding, their feedback usually wins. Other things you can do is to avoid rubber nipples, no bottles or pacifiers for 3 weeks or so. Many babies will stop latching well once they have been exposed to a pacifier or bottle feeding. If you need to supplement, use something like a dropper or syringe to finger feed. And, when you have concerns, reach out to an IBCLC (International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants for help.

What support can RMC offer me?

RMC Lactation Center is available for phone consult both prenatally and after delivery. We assist with all breastfeeding moms after delivery. You can also call our office for questions 7 days a week. Please leave a voicemail if we do not answer and we will call you back when we return to the office. We also have other options for breastfeeding support in our community such as home visits by an IBCLC (covered by most insurance companies), local physician offices with an IBCLC on staff, and when visitor restrictions allow, we plan to return to our in-person support groups for breastfeeding mothers.

You can reach RMC’s Lactation Consultants by calling 256-235-5132 ext 1. Remember to leave a voicemail so your call can be returned. You can also visit this link to learn more about how RMC is a Baby Friendly Hospital.

Want to hear more from Jennifer? Below she answers these questions and more! Who do you you call to see if your medication effects your breastfeeding? Do you know how long it’s recommended to breastfeed? Watch below!