My Top 10 Favorite Moments as a Lactation Consultant: #6
Why do people choose the profession of lactation consultant? I probably chose it because of the difficulty I had breastfeeding my own children. There was no one that understood breastfeeding problems. My first child did not gain weight well even though I was producing plenty of milk. I didn't know about feeding babies on demand. Instead I was scheduling him like my friends and doctor suggested. Every morning I was waking with very engorged breasts. Why didn't I have the common sense to feed him more frequently? Duh! Post partum brain syndrome? Lack of lactation knowledge for sure. I was told to supplement him with formula and down the slippery slope we slid.
Well that's enough about me. I want to tell the story of a dear woman that called me for a home visit with her first baby. She was like most new moms experiencing breastfeeding difficulties: teary, exhausted, frustrated, discouraged and suffering with severe nipple pain. I suggested she lie back and put her baby on her bare chest. She immediately melted into tears of joy. I witnessed her letting go of seventy two hours of distress and weariness and falling in love with her tiny newborn. After she was feeling pretty good about letting him latch, we went upstairs to her bedroom for her to lie down. When her little boy latched right on and started to feed, her face lit up with ecstasy. She looked up at me with beautiful eyes wet from tears and said, "I want to be a lactation consultant. I want to do for other mothers what you have done for me."
Just writing about this brings joy to me as I remember her face gazing up into mine with such pureness and innocence. Yes, I thought, you will help other mothers like I do. You may not become a lactation consultant, but you will do everything you can to help other mothers breastfeed.
I just had the pleasure of seeing her again two and a half years later, this time with her second baby. Breastfeeding has been a breeze this time. And I have heard her talking with and supporting other mothers at our Bistro. She is a "lactation consultant".
- Do you remember when something like this happened to you?
- How has breastfeeding changed your life?
- Did you ever expect to be helping other mothers breastfeed?
Thanks for the great comments and emails. You keep me going!
Tags: breastfeeding, milk production, new mom, babies, breastfeeding babies, oxytocin, baby, breastmilk, Nursing, new mother, new baby, new mothers
I have not blogged since the end of July. I have missed you and your comments. Between a heavy client load and a nice, long vacation at Lake Winnipesaukee in NH, I stayed very busy. I hope everyone has had a great summer.
Many people ask me about let downs. The production and letting down of milk is a natural occurance in mammals, as all mammals survive on their mother's milk. This is of course central to breastfeeding. But what does it really mean for milk to let down?
- Breasts are mammary glands.
- Glands produce important substances, such as saliva, sweat, hormones, etc.
- The mammary glands contain numerous alveoli or cells, which produce milk.
- The sucking of the infant at the breast causes the secretion of oxytocin-a hormone- from the pituitary gland. This triggers the 'let down'.
- Oxytocin, in lactating mothers, acts on the alveoli to contract and squeeze or 'let down' the milk into the ducts, making the milk readily available to the baby.
- Mothers will have multiple 'let downs' during a feeding.
- Some mothers feel their 'let downs'; others do not.
- The size of the milk ducts seems to play a part in feeling the 'let down'- smaller ducts register the pressure of the milk; larger ducts may not.
- Various things can trigger a 'let down':
- skin to contact with your baby
- your baby sucking at the breast
- the scent of your baby
- your baby crying
- someone else's baby crying
- thinking about your baby
- a back and neck massage
- breasts full of milk
Different mothers experience different 'let down' triggers. What triggered your 'let downs'?
For those of you that pumped part time or full time, share with us your tricks for stimulating a 'let down'.
Have a great Monday!
As I watched Matt dancing in all of these parts of the world, I couldn't help but think that in all of those places babies breastfeed, even the whales and the monkeys. Other than my thoughts, this has nothing to do with breastfeeding, but is very entertaining. Enjoy!