Hey everyone! My name is Brooke Parker. My husband, Stephen, and I are brand new parents to a beautiful 4 week old baby boy (Dawson). I am currently a fourth year medical student but going to be graduating this spring and starting my psychiatric residency this summer! To say we are in the thick of it is an understatement. We are constantly learning and adjusting to what our little guy and our family needs both day and night (goodbye sleep)! But the biggest learning curve has been one of the things I thought would come the most naturally: breastfeeding. As a new mom, I just assumed that my little guy would come out knowing what to do and be ready to start breastfeeding. What I have learned is while newborns have the suck and rooting reflex to direct them, they still need to learn to breastfeed and some babies take longer than others.
When Dawson was born, he did not show any interest in breastfeeding. He also had a weak suck reflex! We had a lactation consultant who came in and was able to give us tips and tricks to improve his suck reflex and latch.
Tips for improving suck reflex & latch:
- Try multiple positions such as the cradle hold or football hold
- Support the babies head and upper back with one hand and then cup the breast in a sandwich hold with the other. Massage the breast to help get the milk flowing for baby.
- Keep the breast a happy place. If the baby gets too frustrated, consider a bottle and trying breastfeeding again later
- Using a nipple shield if available and as directed by a lactation consultant or pediatrician (would need to learn how to wean back off shield)
Tips for bottle feeding if needed:
- Use a slow flow nipple such as a number 1
- Used paced feeding to better mimic breastfeeding
Tips for pumping prior to milk coming in:
- Pump after every feed to help milk come in
- Once milk is in and supply is established, then you can pump as needed
Even with all these tips for latching, we still had to bottle feed at times and supplement with formula if he wasn’t getting enough through breastfeeding. Which I was very happy to do because a fed a baby is a happy baby in my opinion! It has been challenging but our little man has been improving every day and is gaining weight at every appointment. For other moms out there, breastfeeding may come easy or be challenging but if you decide that you want to breastfeed your little one, keep pushing because you will figure it out together! ❤️
THANK YOU Brooke for sharing your story and this helpful information!
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