A New Mom’s Perspective on Breastfeeding

What are common questions about breastfeeding after your baby arrives. Join me in my discussion of latch, how long to feed and pump use with new mom Kailey.

Episode Transcript:

Hey, and welcome back. This is Bev Garrison from first breaths to first steps today, I have a special guest Kailey. She is actually a nurse that I worked with for about four years in general practice pediatrics. And she has her new little nugget Lucas who is 10 weeks old. And I thought we would put out a little bit of content on breastfeeding and what questions she had as a new mom, Kailey, like I said, was a pediatric nurse. I think she comes with some good insight because sometimes those of us in the healthcare field, we have the answers, but when you’re doing it in practice, it’s a little bit different than maybe what you’re experiencing at home. So welcome Kailey.

Thanks for joining me. Yeah, thanks for having me. So you and I have talked a lot just about Lucas getting here and all these things, and I kept asking you , what questions do you have about breastfeeding? And how’s it going? And I think you, and I really decided that :latch, knowing how long to feed your baby, as well as how to use your pump were probably the three most popular topics that you were like, wow, I thought I knew that, but I still have questions about that once he got here.

Definitely. Yes. So let’s talk about latch. What sort of questions, cause you know, even beforehand when you do your breastfeeding class or you’re talking about is get the right latch, get the right latch. But what questions do you think you specifically had about that? Like every new mom, I think to your point being a nurse is , you have the stigma. “Oh, I’m a nurse, so I’ll know it’ll be okay. I’ll know how to do that type of thing.” And then when you get here, it’s oh my gosh, this is my baby. And what am I doing? Do I just put them on my boob and just expect him to just be able to get it, which I was blessed. And he was pretty good about latching. And I know that some moms don’t always have that luxury, but the one thing that I really did do is really work with them to make sure that he was latched. Knowing what the right latch is versus the wrong latch. So him being on the nipple is obviously not the right latch, which I learned. And I learned too that that will make your nipples more sore because then he’s focusing and just sucking on the nipple alone compared to wanting the areola too. The questions I had with latching was is he latched and how are the ways that you can tell. That he’s latched.

Right. I think, and I do these cutesy little fun Instagram posts about latching. I say three things: nose to nipple. So your infant’s nose should be pointed towards the nipple. Body to body, so that baby’s body is facing and inward towards mom’s body. But then also really opening up a wide, wide mouth. You want to take a large part of the colored portion of the breast, the areola, like you were saying, and not snacking on the end cause snacking on the end hurts.

We talk a lot about latch. It’s really hard to put it into play until your baby’s here. Because just like you and I have talked before, sometimes patients do great with their first baby and then they get their second baby. And they’re like, I’ve done this before, but it’s completely different and they have a different time. Is a little bit hard to know about that. Before you’re actually doing it, but again, you and I have also talked about the importance of the breastfeeding class, just of get that knowledge out there so that you have a little bit of the preconceived plan. How are you going to do it? Hey, I can, this is what I’m looking for in the latch. Or I can try different holds that would maybe be easier to get him to latch.

But I think really the common theme with latches, if it hurts, it’s probably not right. So, take your small finger, put it between your breast tissue and the suction of your baby break that seal.

Don’t just pull your baby off, but break that seal and really take that time to achieve a better latch the next time. One thing I learned too, is watching his jaw muscle, by his ear because when I was in the hospital, the nurse was like, oh, can you feel him pulling? And I was like, Well, no, and even now I can’t really feel like my nipple being pulled really. But I can tell that he’s getting milk by watching his jaw line by his ear when he’s trying to watch him swallow, which is something that I learned as well, which helped with the whole latching. Cause I think every mom’s fear and especially, my biggest fear in the hospital, which nobody really told me and I don’t know if it’s because I was a nurse, so they assumed, I knew.

Was obviously every mom’s fear too. Is, is he getting enough milk? And how do we know that? And being in peds, I’m used to wet diapers. Oh, okay. Wet diapers, wet diapers, wet diapers? And one thing I didn’t realize in the hospital was he won’t have a wet diaper within the first 24 hours. But I don’t know if that would’ve helped with some of my new mom anxiety, because the whole time I’m focused on that blue line on his diaper. And the whole time I was , wait, why is he’s not hydrated? Why isn’t this? You know, so I think having someone to tell me that would have been a little less stressful because then I was very much paranoid of whether or not he’s getting something.

And then that’s when I did bring in and we’ve talked about it to my Haakaa. I brought the haka with me to the hospital. I did have it. Like my breast while on the other rest, while I was trying to get him to latch on one side. And I only kept it on there for five or 10 minutes. Cause you’ll learn quickly that it’s. A massive Hickey on your breast, just it just full suction. And it is sore because obviously your nipples are getting used to that too. So using the creams with the haka helps too, but I was able to in the hospital get some claustrum, which was nice because then we could syringe it and give it to him. And then that made me feel better because I was , okay, I know. Getting something.

You bring up a good point. I always say, one of, a couple of ways that you can really know if your baby’s getting enough is by looking at wet diapers, but you bring up a good point because the first couple of days when you’re just making claustrum, you’re really only making a couple of teaspoons to a tablespoon of feeding.

And so it’s not this big volume that you think about when more mature milk comes in. And so you’re right. I think sometimes we’re like, oh, we’re kind of. Get obsessed about, Hey, I’m not really seeing a wet diaper, but you gotta think, well, he’s also really not getting that much.

When they’re that little, the nutrients of it is really going to him. Not really being excreted there it’s being used for him, which is something to think about. Right on that as well. Yeah.

I think the second thing that we had talked about was really knowing how long should you be feeding for right. You read lots of different things, but I coach parents moms, dads and birth partners to aim for 10 to 15 minutes, each side. Lots of reasons for that. First of all, I think that it gives you enough time to really pull the milk in and to have you let down. I also feel that amount of time encourages your milk supply.

And thirdly, especially when you’re new, it really encourages that milk just to come from. Right. So not even this huge amount of volume, but that sucking along with hormones really is that signal to mom’s body. That, that breast milk is going to come through. Right.

Did you feel like you had a hard time keeping him awake to feed for 10 to 15 minutes at a time? Or what was your experience with that? I’m trying to remember now, lots of sleepless nights in between then and now I think you would do okay. I tried really hard to not let him get super upset and wait too long. I downloaded a breastfeeding app, which I think is really helpful too, because you can watch because when you’re tired, you feel like sometimes there’d be maybe on there for two minutes.

I swore he’d been on there for 15 or vice versa when he’d been on there for 15 minutes. I’m like, oh gosh, it’s been 15 minutes. I should probably switch to the other side. Sometimes he’d be sleepy. But if I brushed his cheek, then that would remind him , oh, okay I’m feeding, I need to wake up and swallow. I’d be on my phone of course, scrolling to try to help pass the time. But the app really helps to track the time and then also to pay attention. If he seemed to be hungry still, then I would do with an extra five. So that’s your 10 to 15.

You and I had talked a lot that Lucas was actually fairly easy to stimulate to keep feeding. But I think sometimes when we talk with the other moms, at least when I talk with other moms, I do hear them say, man, those first couple of days, it was just hard. Babies are really sleepy. It’s interesting because right after babies are born, they’re alerts. An hour. And then everybody, including mom, the adrenaline slows down and all the excitement settles and everyone gets really sleepy. I try to remind people and coach people who are breastfeeding to really try to make sure that babies aren’t just camping out at the breast that they’re vigorously sucking. Like you said, rubbing at the cheek, I also will tell parents, take your index finger and massage underneath the chin to get them going rub hands or feet. You can also massage their scalp a little bit. Sometimes in really drastic measures. I will tell parents.

It’s okay. To take a cool washcloth and wake them up a little bit because you really do want them to get a full fee, not only to get the milk, but help bring that milk in for you. And also so that they’re taking full feedings to be able to go two to three hours before their next feed.

Right. That’s what I think too. The using the Haakaa , helped me , especially in the hospital, because I was helping me to bring my milk in and my milk came in. The day that I got home from the hospital and I was only there we were really fortunate with them. I had regular healthy vaginal birth. We were discharged 24 hours after he was born. We were both healthy. My milk coming in by the time I got home. I honestly think that the stimulation to whether you use your breast pump or the haka at the hospital to help.

One tip I would tell moms would be to bring your breast pump your personal breast pump. If you have one with you to the hospital, because the nurses there for the lactation nurse can.

Because I had no idea. What do I do for sure. So just it back up for people that don’t know a haka, which is spelled H a K a is a silicone manual pump. It’s not electric. It basically works by negative pressure. So envision a bottle with a nipple Flint. Connected to it all one piece made out of soft silicone. When I have helped moms with a haka, I tell them, take the flange. You can either put it directly on the breast tissue or you can peel it back. And then take your hand and press in the bottle portion so that you attach it while it’s depressed and then get the flange fitting properly over the nipple, release the bottle. And it sits there, like you said, it’s almost like a Hickey just that negative pressure. You don’t want too much pressure cause just. What Kaley’s saying you don’t want to Hickey at your breast tissue, especially when milk’s coming in and you’re sore and your nipples hurt. But it can just have enough of a pull that helps to bring that milk in.

And plus if you’re collecting any Colostrum that first couple of days, or that first day in the hospital, you can syringe it to your baby. You can, put it in a bottle and give it to them. That colostrum is So, so important and it’s nutrient packed. I mean, that’s like, the multivitamin of all multivitamins!

Yeah. It’s kind of cool to see it too. I mean, that’s the one thing that breastfeeding, you don’t know the volume. I think at one point I had MLS that I’d gotten my Haakaa which was great. Cause we were able to give it to him. That made me feel better. Yeah, for sure.

Kailey and I talked about that . It’s an interesting point that your nurse was maybe a little bit unexpected that you were going to collect this. Colostrum so ask for syringe, you can just syringe it right into their mouth for them to take it.

It’s not hard. You don’t necessarily have to offer a bottle, although you can take a bottle with you to the hospital as well.

But getting back to the pump I know in particular for you. Spectra one, there are so many different pumps out there. You can listen to some of my previous podcasts. I talk about different types of pumps, but the spectra is one of my favorites.

There’s two different models, the spectrum one, which is the one that you have Kaylee, you can charge it so that it doesn’t always have to be plugged in, or you can plug it into the wall. You bring up an awesome point. It is probably good to break that pump out before you deliver, look at it, put all the pieces out, kind of investigate what you got.

It’s pretty intuitive. The pieces, as far as the flange sits on top of the bottle has a little, some sort of pump mechanism inside. And then tubing, but I think taking a little bit of time beforehand to set it up and look at it and just know that it works, plug it in. You should hear it a little bit, although there are a lot more quiet than they used to be, but I think that’s time well spent for sure.

And sterilize it. You want to make sure you sterilize all the parts before? Cause that’s definitely the last thing you want to be doing when you have your baby and your desk is your parts and you’re trying to do all this. Also definitely measure your flanges. That helps too. Sometimes what’s your pump not working it’s because you need a different part. Which it comes with two standard ones. I think one is a 24 and a 20 or something. Obviously everybody’s anatomy is different. They do make smaller ones or larger ones that can affect your pumping too, if it doesn’t fit. And it’s kind of by design, right? Because when your milk first comes in, you’re like, holy cow, my breast size is way bigger.

And then as things kind of settle down and your body is adjusting and your baby is adjusting and you guys were kind of figuring out that relationship with breastfeeding, you may need a smaller size. You may not be as big as you were. Initially. that’s a really good thing to keep in mind. Just like when we say latch with your physically, with your baby, shouldn’t be , popping, clicking, slurping sorta sounds, same sort of thing when you put the flanges on.

So. Suction. That’s a great point.

A couple of ways you can sterilize your items for the pump. Typically you want to keep the tubing dry. I can remember sometimes there would be condensation that will build up in those that I would notice moms would tell me about. You can just put a little drop of alcohol in that, and then swing the tubing like a lasso and it helps to push the alcohol through, which will dry out that condensation and all. Physically shakes out the water. But that part doesn’t necessarily need to be washed or sterilized. Everything else you can use, warm, soapy water to clean it, and then to sterilize it, you can either do boiling water over top of it and let it air dry.

Or there are some bags that you can buy and put all your equipment in it and throw it in the microwave, depending on the strength of your. Microwave and whatnot will depend on how long you put that equipment in the microwave to sterilize. They do have machines that will sterilize it’s kind of bulky.

Probably takes about 30 minutes. I would say, not a huge time saver as far as doing it with microwave or just boiling water and throwing it over it. I have found in counseling. Moms sometimes I feel like an electric kettle is just as quick you know, wash it with soapy water, put all the pieces in a glass bowl , and then just pour the boiling water over top of it. Let it sit a few seconds and then move it to a towel to air-dry. So I feel like it’s one less piece of bulky. We just throw it all in a bucket and then same thing. We just warm, soapy water it, and then we put it on the grass . We do have one of those boiling water kettles that’s a good idea to just pour it over that. I think my electric kettle takes minutes to heat up. As far as getting it done quickly.

But that also brings up another good point is it’s nice to have at least two or three sets, especially if you’re going to be a pumping mom. That’s also, offering bottles because you need to turn around a whole nother set for the next day.

And it’s nice not to have to do this process with every single time you use your pump.

Definitely. And they have extra bottles. They come in one, but it comes with the bottle, the lid, another flange, all the coordinate you need with one, and I think it’s 30. But we bought two extra ones. That we have a set of four or two sets. I personally pump on one breast or sometimes in the night, I’ll feed him on one for the full 15 minutes and then I’ll pump the other breast. Definitely worth it to have extra bottles. We learned that real quick. The last thing you need is. Want to go wash it down at 2:00 AM in Washington, sterilize your stuff. That’s why we keep a big bucket that has some water in it. So that for those midnight feedings and night feedings, I can dump it in there and know that it’s not sitting in there and it’s soaking.

That way I can clean it in the morning. After coffee or whatever.

I want people to know when Kaylee’s talking about grass, it’s this drying mat that you can put your pumping pieces or bottle pieces all on it. And it drains the water out. It’s actually really cute. Didn’t have anything like that. Back when my 21 year old baby was born, but it is super cute.

The other thing that I wanted to bring up about the pump is, when should I use it? You know, at least the first couple of weeks, you want to make sure that you’ve got good latching, physical latching baby to mom established. You don’t want to be caught in the spot of, oh my gosh.

I just pumped in my baby. My baby is hungry. So with that in mind, I always say, try to pump after you have fed your baby, fairly quickly after you fed your baby. So you’re not stuck in that position of. I just pumped everything out and he’s starving,. Again, pumping after does help to increase supply, right?

Because you’ve had this stimulus of your baby and now you’re putting the pump on, which is another stimulus. So yes, you can make more. So remember supply and demand is real. The more we demand of the system. The more you’re going to make later. Is a great way to help increase your milk supply.

Like what you’re saying for going back to work or wanting to be just out and about. Not slave to being home and feeding all the time. I usually do tell moms too, that when you pump in the morning, that’s to get a lot of volume to build up your stock, get ready to go back to work when you’re pumping in the afternoon and the evening naturally your, your milk supply goes down.

It doesn’t mean it’s deficient, but it naturally goes down. And I say, when you pump in the afternoon, it’s more to increase that demand. So that.

Yeah, you can see your milk change from what you eat. If you store your milk and you have it in a little bottle or bag or whatever, you’ll see a top layer to it almost like a foam coating at the top of the fat and sometimes you’ll see, oh, It was a little bit a little bit more than that.

I must’ve had something a little bit more rich, a little bit more nutrient bound there.

Well, Kaylee, I really appreciate your time today. Hopefully everyone found it helpful for us to talk about latch and how long we should be feeding our babies for and the importance of getting familiar with your pump.

But I think all of that. Tips and tricks that you and I discussed can be really helpful to other moms out there. So I appreciate that. Yeah, I’d say the biggest thing is to just have patience I know it’s hard when you’re exhausted and especially when it’s your first baby and you’re frustrated and you feel like you’re failing as a mom.

It’s normal, especially with those hormones. But persistence and patience are the two PS to remember and just keep going. Eventually it’ll work, so it will work. All right. So if you guys found the information that Kaylee and I discussed today and my podcast helpful, you can click on the link below for a transcript copy of the notes.

Also, if you’re interested in working with me in helping to coach your family from first breasts to first steps, you can reach out to me at bevgarrison.com until next time be well.

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