Breastfeeding support: coming to Sleep Effect

I have been working really hard during the pandemic to bring a new element to Sleep Effect. I know I’m crazy, I’ve had three children at home, some home schooling, running a small business and I thought some study might help with the chaos. I have loved it. I really enjoy learning new information and I love translating that into my practice.

Sleep Effect is all about offering rural and regional families the best of services in the comfort of their own home. The statistics tell us that 95% of people want to breastfeed at birth but in reality, only 39% are able to exclusively breastfeed at 16 weeks. There are many reasons this happens. If one such reason is professional expertise and it’s availability to help these families then I want to change this. Believe it or not breastfeeding consultations are really successful on platforms such as Zoom so do not feel if you are reading this in an isolated community that I cannot help, I encourage you to reconsider. I thought whilst I have focused on sleep and settle to date, I needed to complete the loop of the services I offer and have packages tailored to breastfeeding. That’s right I am on my way to becoming an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. I have now completed the education modules which have built on my midwifery skills and am waiting to sit the exam in September. It is quite a tight and rigorous process but I am so excited.

I have breastfed my three children all for different lengths of time Relative to what was happening in my life. I didn’t have problems with my first but I sought assistance from lactation consultants with the other two. It helped me so much in a time when I felt very vulnerable. The professional knowledge these women had was amazing and I will be forever grateful for them. Breastfeeding can be really challenging to start with and I want everyone to be able to have choice in health care providers and be able to access this in their home. My long-term goal is to be able to get healthcare rebates for these services, so watch this space.

Conversations around breastfeeding can be highly emotive. Women feel guilty for not being able to breastfeed, women who breastfeed may feel jealous of those who are not breastfeeding as they ‘can’t get away.’ Whatever your journey is, it is your own. I am not here to judge or pass comment on that rather provide you with honest and accurate information so we can make your breastfeeding journey as smooth as possible and help you get on track if it is not working. I am not going to sit on my soap box and scare everyone away rather share some of my professional knowledge with you.

Over the coming weeks I plan on developing some different breastfeeding packages. If you have any ideas on how this should look please reach out to me.

Today I thought I would give you ten interesting facts I have learnt about breastfeeding

  1. The size of your breasts is not reflective of your supply. Everyone has different storage capacity and your baby is super clever and feeding patterns can be reflective of this.
  2. The colostrum (first product produced by the breast) varies in composition depending on the gestation of your baby. It has higher levels of immunoprotective factors, protein, fat and so many other goodies. These are the necessary ingredients to protect and help your little one grow. I think this is so clever!
  3. The most common cause of sore nipples in the early weeks of feeding is poor attachment of the baby to the breast.
  4. Health professionals ask you to feed to your baby whilst they are doing a ‘heel prick’ blood test because the baby feels less pain when you are feeding simultaneously.
  5. Breast milk when you are sick often has a different taste, often saltier. Frequent and unrestricted access to the breast is important for your little one.
  6. Your baby maybe be gaining weight adequately but you feel they are still unsettled; this could be a fit and hold breastfeeding issue not a supply issue
  7. Breastmilk is pH neutral. That means that the refluxate (vomit) which can be expelled or rise after the feed is not going to ‘burn’ or cause pain. Gastroesophageal reflux disease does occur in 2% of babies but medication isn’t necessarily the solution. It does come with side effects. I encourage a lactation review
  8. If the baby is really unsettled crying or fussing at the breast, it is likely to lead to a gut event. I mean they are likely to vomit or poo if they are upset at the breast. We can work on some other tools to make feeding breast or bottle a more enjoyable experience for all.
  9. Research does not support holding your infant upright post feeds, burping and or the use of sleeping wedges.
  10. You can not invest enough time in making sure there is good positioning at the breast. As your child grows it is important to modify the way in which you are feeding so adequate milk transfer occurs.

Lactation consultants help families during pregnancy all the way through to weaning your baby. No breastfeeding or other feeding method is off limits. Can I ask you all to let your friends know I am available to help them now with their breastfeeding journey?