Welcome to the World Breastfeeding Week Blog Carnival! From August 1-7, we'll be featuring breastfeeding experts sharing their expertise about breastfeeding and breastfeeding issues. Each day will bring something new! Day 6 features Mary Shay RN, MS, ICCE, IBCLC, a lactation consultant, talking about Common Breastfeeding Problems.
Some of the most common breastfeeding problems I see relate to the basics; positioning for one. Moms can read, twitter, blog and gain information from a variety of sources but when it comes to getting started, it’s the hands on practice that is important. Teaching a Mom to tuck the baby in close and to latch deeply and showing her how are so basic and yet easily missed and overlooked by staff. Misinformation about soreness and hurting in the beginning are common and teaching this isn’t so with good positioning and latching is surprising to new Mothers. The “Ah” factor and smile when good positioning and latch are done confirms the importance of this along with good milk transfer and baby’s out puts. It also prevents problems after discharge when home alone and growing in the role of Mother.
Another important problem is routine hospital practices that separate Mom’s from their infants, not only in the first hours of life but in the days that follow. Skin to skin provides so many great benefits and getting the routines to change can be a challenge. The ways I have seen the staff grow and accept this is by doing a research project on our unit and encouraging staff to become certified in Skin to skin. As staff begin to understand and actually see the benefits (bonding, temp. control, stabilizing of blood sugar and weight) they accept this whole heartedly.
As we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, going back to the simple basics can be a good focus. It’s exciting to see the positive influences and changes that are coming from the support from so many places, the wave has started and it is sweeping across our nation.
Mary Elliot Shay, RN, MS, IBCLC
Mary is a certified lactation consultant at Upper Valley Hospital in Troy Ohio. She has devoted most of her life to helping mothers breastfeed, in a variety circumstances. Mary's knowledge base and devotion to breastfeeding has made her an invaluable asset to the community in which she lives.