A lot of what I do as a Breastfeeding Educator is explain to the parents what normal newborn behaviour looks like.
Normal baby behaviour is not something most parents are taught about so they are often guessing and wondering and feel unsure about how to interpret their baby’s behaviour. And babies pick up on our feelings of uncertainty and are more difficult to settle. It’s good for babies when parents feel confident and sure in their parenting. And breastfeeding is an aspect of parenting. When parents understand the baby, and the baby’s needs, they are able to relax and work on developing a relationship, a partnership with their baby.
My main approach to breastfeeding is to use Laid-Back Breastfeeding and Baby-Led Latch. These approaches are based on the baby’s basic competence and ability to get to the breast and remove the milk. They help the mother and the baby develop a way of working together. I find that these techniques can often get babies to the breast more easily, with less resistance on the part of the baby and less pain for Mom. But one size never fits all, and I have a lot of other tricks up my sleeve. We will use whatever techniques and whatever positions work best for this Mom and this baby.
Most of my breastfeeding education services are provided one-to-one in individual breastfeeding consultations in The Nest (our consulting room at The Mothering Touch Centre). I will occasionally go to Mom’s house, but this takes a lot of my time, so if she can come to me, that if much preferable.
I meet with Mom and her baby and any other family member of support person she wants to bring. Partners/Dads are very useful to help Mom remember all that we discuss at the appointment. I ask that Mom bring her baby HUNGRY – so that we are most likely to see the baby go to the breast with enthusiasm. This means that the baby should be fed about two hours before the appointment time and then not fed again until the consultation.
I ask Mom to bring any gadgets she is using for breastfeeding – nipple shield, tube, supplemental nursing system. If Mom is pumping, she should bring a small amount of pumped milk in a bottle for us to use if we need to coax baby to the breast. If Mom uses a particular nursing pillow at every feed – and really likes it – she should bring it to the consultation if she can. Otherwise, we have plenty of pillows to work with if we need them.
I charge $55 an hour for breastfeeding support. Usually 1-2 one-hour visits are enough to help mother and baby breastfeed more comfortably and more effectively.