Uniquely Fed: An Honest Look at the Realities of Breastfeeding, Part 5 – Expert Advice
We come now to my final post in this series. If you are just joining me and would like to read the previous posts, you can navigate to them here.
- Part One: My Journey
- Part Two: Common Breastfeeding Issues
- Part Three: Real Breastfeeding Stories
- Part Four: The Importance of Support
- Part Five: Expert Advice (you are here)
After having shared both my personal experience and the personal experiences of 25 other moms, I thought that you would find it beneficial to hear from professionals who work with breastfeeding moms and babies. So I spoke with 4 of them and asked this question:
Within the framework of your professional experience, what advice do you have to offer moms who are either just starting out breastfeeding or who are struggling with their breastfeeding relationship?
Here’s what they had to say:
“Craniosacral therapy is very effective for newborn babies and in addressing latching issues. During the birth process, the baby’s cranial bones are supposed to overlap to prepare baby to come through the birth canal. This overlap provides stimulation to the cranial nerves. Sometimes due to a fast birth, cesarean birth, forceps delivery, or even a long labor, these cranial nerves are not stimulated enough. This lack of stimulation can result in latching, sucking, swallowing, breathing, and/or drooling issues. A craniosacral therapist’s goal is to optimize oral-motor function and release cranial nerve dysfunction due to these issues that may have stemmed from in-utero conditions or the actual birth.
As a craniosacral therapist, my goal is to correct the imbalance in the cranial nerve dysfunction as well as the connective tissues. Some of these imbalances can affect the face, jaw, neck, tongue, throat, and/or mouth. In my sessions I educate parents with take-home techniques that can improve functionality of oral-motor control and facilitate a better latch.
If you are experiencing breastfeeding or latching issues, get a recommendation for a craniosacral therapist from your IBCLC, midwife, or chiropractor. Be sure that the craniosacral therapist has additional training in working with infants.
Click here for a listing of therapists who have taken specialized training in working with infants, infants with tongue-ties and those that have ties that have been revised.”
About Cheri: Cheri Gillham has been a Licensed Massage Therapist and Bodyworker for 24 years. In 1995 she pursued Craniosacral Therapy and completed much of her Craniosacral Therapy training with The Upledger Institute. She was a teaching assistant for The Upledger Institute for all levels of Craniosacral Therapy training including Somato Emotional Release, Advanced, and Pediatrics. She later studied Craniosacral Therapy with Carol Gray and Cranial Nerve Dysfunction with Michelle Emanuel. While she sees all ages in her Craniosacral practice, her primary focus is working with moms and babies. To learn more about Cheri or to schedule an appointment, visit www.bodywisehealthcare.com.
“I am in the unique position of being both an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant as well as a Diplomate Certified CranioSacral Therapist.
I think if I could only say one thing to parents starting or struggling with their breastfeeding relationship it would be that breastfeeding when it is working properly should be easy. Your baby should be a pleasure to be with.
If you are struggling, trust that “parent gut” that you didn’t even know you had and keep searching until you find practitioners who are willing to listen to you and help you search until you find answers.”
About Patricia: Patricia Berg-Drazin is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Diplomate Certified CranioSacral Therapist, and owner of Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions where she has worked to support mothers and infants since 1989. You can learn more about Patricia and Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions by visiting her website.
“The most important advice I would give to moms is to prepare themselves by building a knowledge base of reliable information well before delivery. What I mean by this is:
- Take a quality breastfeeding class or read a quality book.
- Map out available resources for help, like knowing where IBCLCs can best be found and what services are free or private pay, etc.
- Make sure to choose a breastfeeding supportive pediatrician who is familiar with breastfeeding management and will refer to lactation resources when needed. A breastfeeding supportive pediatrician will help mom meet her goals, rather than imposing their goals on the mom.
- Join a reputable breastfeeding support group.”
About Laura: Laura María Gruber is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of Breastfeeding Housecalls, LLC in San Antonio, TX, where she helps families overcome their breastfeeding challenges. You can read more about Laura and Breastfeeding Housecalls, LLC on her website.
“One of the first things I would recommend for a mother beginning her breastfeeding journey is to find a way to surround herself with others who are breastfeeding or have breastfed in the past. This could include mother-to-mother support groups, online forums, or reaching out to friends and family. I would highly recommend seeking as much information as possible about breastfeeding while still expecting. This could include attending breastfeeding classes, reading books, researching online, and/or attending mother-to-mother support groups.
For those who are having difficulty with breastfeeding, the earlier you can seek help the better. It is important to “go with your gut”. If you feel like something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Find a lactation consultant who will be able to assess your baby’s latch and any factors that may be impacting breastfeeding (i.e., mother’s anatomy, baby’s oral anatomy, positioning, etc). If you continue to have difficulty, consider a second opinion. I have heard from numerous mothers that they had a feeling something wasn’t right from the very beginning, but for one reason or another they waited to seek assistance.
Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to be painful. If you are experiencing pain with breastfeeding, reach out for help. Please know that you are not alone in your breastfeeding journey.”
About Stephanie: Stephanie is a Speech Pathologist and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in San Antonio, TX.
I am so thankful for all the contributors who helped make this series possible. Thank you to all the moms who shared their personal stories and to the professionals above who shared their advice!
After all the struggles, heartache, and mom guilt that I have waded through (and am still working through!), I have felt passionate about reaching other moms who might be experiencing similar things. This whole Uniquely Fed series has been a labor of love for me and it is my sincere hope that it has reached the moms who needed to hear the information, real experiences, and advice. If you have found it helpful or encouraging, please do share it with other moms you know.
Whether you breastfed for 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months, or 5 years, breastfeeding is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows and we all need a little support from time to time. Especially if you happen to be struggling. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help! You’re not alone in your struggles and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
I would love to hear from you in the comments. What has your breastfeeding journey been like? What have you done to get support when you needed it? What advice do you have for other breastfeeding moms?