BREASTFEEDING HELP 4 experts give you their top tips for successful breastfeeding
Are you struggling with breast feeding but really want to continue? 4 Experts give you their top breastfeeding help
Christian Bates – Osteopath & Naturopath & author of Calming Colic
Lou Pickett – Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and Neonatal Healthcare Assistant from Boobies & Banter
Dee Bell – Tongue tie specialist & Lactation consultant
Emma Mills – Midwife and sole midwifery advisor to Boots UK
Foreword by Christian Bates
Issues with breastfeeding are common for mothers and it doesn’t matter whether you are a new mum or have become a mother for the second, third or even fourth time.
Over the last 20 years of being an osteopath at The Perrymount Clinic that I run in West Sussex, hundreds of mothers have brought their babies to me for Cranial Osteopathy treatments – many of them mentioning that breastfeeding has been an issue for them.
I always recommend for mothers to contact an expert in breastfeeding and have their baby checked for tongue-tied. I have witnessed in my clinic a number of issues that I have seen over and over again that can make breastfeeding problematic. What’s interesting is that NONE OF THESE ARE THE MOTHERS FAULT and yet mothers continuously blame themselves for failing.
Most of the issues come from the baby’s delivery. Although we can hardly “blame” a newborn, but rather what has happened during the birth has left them struggling to breastfeed.
I was extremely pleased to have my local breastfeeding specialist, tongue-tied professional and the midwife that also works from my clinic contribute their own help & advice for you.
This is such an amazing Blog! I’m really happy that there is so much information for you direct from experienced professionals. Read on…
Please feel free to email me for help firstname.lastname@example.org and also join up to my Facebook community page where I post LIVE baby help videos.
1. Does your baby only turn it’s head one way?
by Christian Bates, osteopath, naturopath & author
Very often babies do not feed well off one of their mother’s breasts, usually the feeding is worse on the right breast but less commonly it can be the left.
Have you noticed that when you put your baby down they always turn their head in the same direction?
If your baby naturally turns their head to the right, they will find feeding from the left breast easier. However, switching to the other side (left breast in this example) will be problematic. The latch might not be as good and you will have to fiddle with their head position, possibly using the ‘rugby ball’ hold to better effect as this gives babies more flexibility to turn their heads the way they like.
However, if you keep using the ‘rugby ball’ hold you will only be training your baby to look in the same direction all the time and won’t actually correct the underlying cause. It is much better to get the baby comfortably turning its head both ways, to face into your left and right breast when needed.
I think cranial osteopathy is the go-to therapy for helping your baby turn its head equally well in either direction so they can feed successfully off both breasts. The treatment helps ease the head and neck tension from birth, which in turn leads to successful breastfeeding off both sides. More successful feeding obviously leads to a less colicky irritability, windy and a much happier baby.
Advice I give parents is to encourage their baby to look in the direction they don’t like as much, by simply putting their toys on that side of the cot. Or play with them, so they are encouraged to look more in that direction. A baby will eventually start to look both ways equally, but cranial osteopathy speeds up the whole process up. This in turn leads to fewer mums giving up breastfeeding in the early weeks, giving them the option to continue with this method of feeding if they wish.
Look at this picture of a baby that was a patient of mine. Can you see how she is arching her back and has a big head rotation to the right. This was all rectified after cranial osteopathy treatment I gave her and her feeding improved vastly as she was able to latch correctly and get in a more comfortable feeding position. Can you see from this picture how it would be so difficult for the mum to feed her off her right breast?
Christian Bates qualified as an Osteopath and Naturopath in 1997 from the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy. In 2008 he opened the award-winning Perrymount Clinic in Haywards Heath.
Through his years treating babies for colic and other birth traumas, Christian has built up a strong reputation with local midwives and health visitors who have made hundreds of referrals to Christian over the years. His business soon began to thrive from word-of-mouth and local people spreading the word about his wonderful work
Christian looks at all his patients holistically, using both physical therapies and nutritional advice and his treatment of babies is no different. He will always treat using a combination of cranial osteopathy and nutrition for both baby and parents.
As Christian treated babies over the years he started to see patterns in the causes behind their colic, and from this he developed his own treatment protocols. When investigating the scientific research on these causes, Christian found plenty of data to back up his theories.
The love for his work coupled with wanting to help mothers and babies outside Sussex and Kent, led him to write a book called ‘The Calming Colic’. The book combines clinical experience and scientific data as well as Christian’s remedies and solutions to help with the condition. By writing the book, Christian also hopes to dispel the myth that colic is an unknown and untreatable problem.
If you would like an appointment with Christian at his clinic in Haywards Heath, West Sussex please call 01444 410944 or visit www.theperrymount.com for more information
Top tips from Boobies & Banter; breastfeeding peer support
by Lou Pickett – Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and Neonatal Healthcare Assistant from Boobies & Banter
At Boobies and Banter our aim is ensure Mothers feel supported without judgement. Passionate about breastfeeding but not pushy is our style. Our support comes from trained peer support and experienced Mums well versed in the art of reassurance. Our Facebook group supports over 1000 women and is a well moderated and safe place to share. Working with health professionals we are available in drop in clinics across Mid Sussex and available to all UK online we ensure a full circle of support for mothers to learn their art of breastfeeding.
Our top tips start with just that….
Guess what? No-one is born knowing how to do it. It’s a skill to be learned. Typically taking six weeks to learn it as a skill and about that time for supply and demand to fully become established so our first tip is *Be Kind to Yourself*.
Positioning and attachment; its hard!
Ask your care team again and again to observe you, if they tell you ‘that looks right’ don’t settle for that, ask them how they know! What are they seeing that you aren’t?
Our second tip is C.H.I.N.:
C is for CLOSE.
Baby should be turned right into you, tummy to tummy.
H is for Head.
Head should be free to bob on and off the breast. Don’t touch the back of the head they think it’s a nipple! And will also push against any resistance they feel.
I is for IN LINE.
Dad’s you can get involved! Spot check baby’s alignment for Mum. The Head, shoulders and bottom should be in one straight line. And while you are watching ask yourself; does Mummy look comfortable, are those shoulders down signalling she’s relaxed. If she’s tense just talk to her like she’s your friend not like she’s in charge of feeding, help her relax into the feed not put her under pressure. Relaxing equals milk let down for your baby.
N is for Nose to Nipple.
Baby’s nose should be in line with Mum’s nipple, this encourages the head to tilt back slightly creating a nice right angle under the chin for ease of swallowing but most essentially it draws the jaw down and encourages a nice wide mouth! Never negotiate with anything less. We all know spaghetti sucking is poor table manners, and it’s worse with your nipple!
3. Skin to skin; it is so much more than a cuddle. Your baby is born knowing only you. You are their safe place, their comfort and the one who will teach them confidence to learn to be without you. It takes time. They don’t want to be a cot by themselves they want the reassurance of you. You are all they’ve known in utero for 9 months, the first few months should be an extension of that, we call it outer utero it’s about reminding them you are always there when they call. This doesn’t create a dependency it creates independence and confidence. Kick start your breastfeeding with outer utero or as it’s more commonly known; skin to skin. When you hold your baby your scent and your heartbeat soothes them, reduces their anxiety and yours too, you settle each other and this allows your milk to let down. When breastfeeding isn’t going well, skin to skin is your friend. We like to say it’s like a hard reset on your iPhone, its like holding down the home and off button together and returning to factory settings.
4. You missus, you matter too! Stop being Supermum! Did you know tiredness, anxiety, not fuelling yourself works against your supply? You hear it all the time, are you eating, are you drinking? Well you will get it from us too. We like food! It fuels us to have the strength to breastfeed and be a happy Mum. You will never know hunger like it when you breastfeed! Eat guilt free and enjoy it! And slow down put that delicate supply first.
5. And finally; support. You need it more than you realise. There will be things about your breastfeeding journey you never saw coming. Reach out and we’ll be there. Every step of the way.
Please find us on Facebook. We are waiting for you. We are here. We are always listening.
Lou Pickett – Neonatal Healthcare Assistant,Breastfeeding Peer Supporter, Co-Manager of Boobies & Banter Breastfeeding Support.
Breastfeeding support is more than a passion, it goes deeper than that for me, it’s a privilege. In fact and in truth; my role is enabling women to make informed decisions regarding the method of feeding for their baby. I teach all methods with the same enthusiasm. All questions will be answered to the best of my ability and avoidance of maternal guilt is my aim and I feel, my responsibility. Whatever you decide I will help you.
What if your baby has a tongue-tie?
Read on to learn more from Dee Bell
The majority of the clients I see who are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding just need some support with positioning and attachment. However, sometimes a little more intervention is needed if the baby has a physical restriction from birth or the baby has a tongue tie.
What is tongue tie and is it really a problem?
Tongue Tie or to use its correct medical name ankyloglossia, is a congenital condition in which a small membrane under the tongue, the lingual frenulum, is too short or tight to allow the tongue its full range of movement. The literature records the incidence being anywhere between 1% and 10% of the population and it is more common in boys than girls, approximately a 3:1 ratio.
If your baby has a tongue tie ask around in your family, you might be surprised to find out who else has one too. If you know other babies in your family have been affected, it’s a good idea to have your baby assessed by an experienced Tongue Tie Practitioner.
The most immediate impact of tongue tie can be on the baby’s ability to breastfeed, as the front of the tongue needs to be able to cup the breast and the middle of the tongue needs to rise and drop efficiently in order to effectively draw the milk out of the breast. A baby with a tongue tie may or may not go on to have problems with eating solids, speech articulation and orthotics later in life.
If your baby has a tongue tie they may feed very frequently, or for a very long time due to inefficiency of milk removal. Some babies tire early during the feed as they have to work against the tightness of the frenulum on the lower jaw and after a few sucks just give up. You may experience sore or damaged nipples and each feed may feel like a struggle.
Help is at hand
Research shows that when a frenotomy (division) is performed for a clinically significant tongue tie, there is a significant reduction in maternal nipple pain and improved breastfeeding. Some babies with tongue tie also have trouble with bottle feeding.
If you are concerned about your baby’s frenulum contact, have them professionally assessed with a supporter with a specialism in tongue tie to assess your baby and talk things through with you. Breastfeeding is instinctual for babies but birth processes and hospital protocols can often hinder these natural instincts. Many mothers need to learn this new skill and it can take a few weeks to get things right. Give yourself and your baby time, with the right support you can do it.
Dee lives in Brighton and can be contacted via the following:
Dee Bell is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and has been a registered Midwife for 14 years.
She specialised in Infant Feeding in 2008, working for both the community and the Acute Trust in West Sussex. Dee coordinated the establishment of several community Breastfeeding ‘Drop ins’ along the South Coast. Whilst also working as Infant Feeding Lead at Western Sussex Hospital Trust where she delivered training to hospital staff and Breastfeeding Peer Supporters.
Dee led the Infant Feeding and Tongue Tie Clinic at the hospital for many years before going into private practice and has performed tongue tie division on several thousands of babies both through the NHS and privately without incident.
Problems she is extremely experienced at helping with include: Poor latch, sore nipples, baby weight loss or poor weight gain, insufficient milk supply, Mastitis, Thrush, Reflux, Tongue Tie, baby fussing at the breast and feeding twins.
‘How do I know how much they are getting?’ – The worry every new mum has when starting breastfeeding
by Emma Mills, Midwife
Nearly all new parents (myself included) worry in the first few days of breastfeeding that their baby is getting enough milk. The mere fact that you cannot see how much they are taking at each feed is disconcerting. Your role as a parent is to care for this tiny individual’s every need and keeping them fed is an essential part of that role and you can’t even tell how many mls they took at the last feed! However, be reassured that there are very clear signs that show you your baby is getting enough breastmilk. The table below identifies some signs to look for and reassure you:
SIGNS YOUR BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH MILK
- Your baby starts feeds with a few rapid sucks followed by long, rhythmic sucks and swallows with occasional pauses.
- You can hear and see your baby swallowing.
- Your baby’s cheeks stay rounded, not hollow, during sucking.
- They seem calm and relaxed during feeds.
After a feed:
- Your baby comes off the breast on their own at the end of feeds.
- Their mouth looks moist after feeds.
- Your baby appears content and satisfied after most feeds.
- Your breasts feel softer after feeds.
- Your nipple looks more or less the same after feeds – not flattened, pinched or white.
- You may feel sleepy and relaxed after feeds.
Other signs your baby is feeding well
- Your baby gains weight steadily after the first two weeks – it’s normal for babies to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the first two weeks (Your baby will be weighed within the first week by a health care professional)
- They appear healthy and alert when they’re awake.
- From the fourth day, they should do at least two soft, yellow poos the size of a £2 coin every day for the first few weeks.
- From day five onwards, wet nappies should start to become more frequent, with at least six heavy, wet nappies every 24 hours. In the first 48 hours, your baby is likely to have only two or three wet nappies.
Emma is an experienced midwife, practicing in the field of midwifery for over sixteen years, and a mother of two. She feels passionately the need to provide women-centred, one-to-one care to women and their families in the prenatal and postnatal period.
Emma is a qualified and practicing midwife here in the UK and have practiced abroad. She has worked within the NHS, private practice, the charity sector and independent midwifery, providing prenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care to women in hospital, birth centres and the community.
Emma has also worked within high risk units in London, New Zealand and Sussex and was the sole midwifery advisor for a private obstetric practice in central London.
She ran and managed a team of specialist midwives to provide pregnancy health information for women and their families through multiple communications platforms and set up and project managed helpline services for national charities.
Emma is the sole midwifery advisor to Boots UK and act as their midwifery spokesperson, providing regular press interviews on topical clinical issues.
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