Articles in Category: Breastfeeding

I've got a baby now, and you're suggesting I take care of ME? Are you joking?

A student's experience at The WOMB

Jasleen Gakhal is a 3rd year nursing student at Ryerson University. She spent 4 months at The WOMB this year, learning what it means to be a mother, how to recover from birth, and how to care for the health of our newborns and babies. What she found is that mothers have very little time or energy left to give to themselves after having a baby. So she compiled the must knows for moms - keep it simple, keep it doable. 

Being exposed primarily to Western Medicine in her three years thus far at Ryerson, Jasleen's eyes were opened wide to the possibilities and the success of body work, restoring the body from the inside out, and the support and allies mothers need in order to transition into their new mother role. This is Jasleen's experience - what she gleaned from the experts of The WOMB and what she would want to share with new mothers.

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Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Tidbits
• Every time you go from a sitting/lying position to a standing/ upright position while you are pregnant, and postpartum, use the "sexy senior" or "rolling pin technique". This prevents future diastasis recti or "mummy tummy" from occurring.
• Caster oil can become your best friend, if you have had a caesarian birth. Using the pads of your thumb, and using an up/down simple motion across your caesarian scar will help the scar tissue heal quicker and more safely.
• While having a bowel movement, it’s ideal to be in a squatting position (the squatty potty can help!) rather than in a sitting down position. This helps with ease and assists in the passage of stool. Also, if you are having trouble voiding, turn/ twist your body towards your right side – this helps “squeeze” your colon/ intestines and helps with the bowel movement.
• Nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management are all key in determining health. They all equally contribute to your overall health and they each need individual attention.

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Naturopathic Medicine Tidbits
Probiotics can be very important. It is important to have a good balance of good and bad bacteria in your system - especially if you have had a caesarian birth. During a vaginal birth your baby is exposed to the natural flora and bacteria, which your vagina possesses. This promotes healthy gut flora and disgestion for your newborn. So if you've given birth by caesarean, supplementing yourself and your child with probiotics can cover for that loss.
• If you do plan on vaccinating your child, chose a time when your child is in optimal health. Moreover, a time when everyone in the household is in optimal health. It is not vital for you to follow the "regular" regime of the vaccinations schedule. It is possible to split up vaccinations, instead of doing them all at the same time. For example, if your baby needs 4 vaccinations, it is possible to get them 2 at one time and then the other 2, two weeks later. When introducing new strands of viruses to your baby, the last thing we want is your baby to be fighting something else along the way.

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Breastfeeding Tidbits
• Did you know your baby does not latch onto your nipple with their mouth or lips? They actually use their tongue to curl around your breast and this is how they draw milk from the breast.
• If babies are not getting enough milk, they tend to fall asleep at your breast because they are using more energy than they are gaining.
• Breastfeeding does not have to be painful! When it does become painful this should be an indicator that something is wrong.
• Putting breast milk or colostrum on your nipple can help keep them from drying and cracking and it can help draw your baby to your nipple (milk is sweet and smells good!).
• You can actually feed your baby if you get sick! This can help your infant build antibodies.
• A helpful indicator to measure whether your infant is getting enough breast milk in the first few weeks of life is to look at the number of wet diapers they create. For example for the first 5 days of life, your newborn should make as many diapers as they are old (I.e. 4 day old should make 4 wet diapers).
• If you would like to exclusively breastfeed your child in the first 6 months of life, try to stay away from pacifiers or fake nipples. This is because a baby can become accustomed to the size of the pacifier nipple, which can make it more difficult to latch onto your breast later.

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For more information on getting support and care for yourself and your newborn, call us or make an appointment today!

"I thought breastfeeding was supposed to be easy”

10 Tips to ENJOYING your breastfeeding experience

“I thought this just happened naturally”.

I hear these sentiments time and time again in the breastfeeding clinics I work as as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. In a society that has instant access to information, to ALL information, we know what is best for our babies. Google, Best Start, Baby Centre – the message bombards us everywhere: BREAST IS BEST. Yes, we know, we know!

TiredMom.jpgSo what if breastfeeding is challenging to the point of wanting to give up? What do we do when the pressure to live up to this expectation to breastfeed makes us feel that we will “fail as a mother” if we don’t?

What if you can feel empowered and like a success no matter what your breastfeeding journey - just through support, information and love?

Because I often am told, “I wish I had known these tips before I had my baby” by moms in our breastfeeding clinic, here are 10 valuable tips that can make your breastfeeding experience more successful and enjoyable.

1) Skin to skin – right after birth and for the first few weeks after baby is born. When your baby is skin to skin with you, your baby will cue to breastfeed more often and you will become familiar with the feeding cues (see below). Mothers who do skin to skin are much more confident. They are able to understand their baby’s needs and therefore are able to respond quicker.

2) You and your baby should not be separated unless medically indicated. There is no need for your baby to be separated from you. Rooming in together leads to increased breastfeeding success for many of the same reasons as above.

3) Nurse your baby frequently – a baby who nurses frequently (at least 8 times in 24 hours) will help you develop a good milk supply. Your baby will also gain weight and avoid things like jaundice and low blood sugar.

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Your newborn’s stomach is very small (think of the size of a chickpea) and cannot hold a large amount of milk. So your first milk (called colostrum) will be produced in small amounts chalk full of vitamins and immune factors that protect your baby. Because of that your baby will want to eat quite often (usually every 1-3 hours).

Even if your baby is not interested in latching, knowing how to hand express your colostrum and giving it by hand, cup or spoon will help your baby.

4) Learn your baby’s feeding cues – know the difference between an early feeding cue versus a late feeding cue. Responding to your baby's early cues will help you have a more peaceful, joyful feeding experience.

Early cues (“I’m hungry”) include

• stirring
• mouth opening
• licking lips
• turning head and seeking/rooting

5) Watch your baby, not the clock – There doesn't need to be any restriction on the length or frequency of feedings. Babies eat just like we do. Some feeds will be meals while others may just be a snack. If someone told you that you could only eat or drink every 3 hours and you had to eat the same amount every time, you wouldn’t be too happy, so why should we expect our babies to eat this way? Feeding babies on demand makes for a happy, healthy baby.

6) A good latch and comfortable position – it should never hurt to breastfeed. Please don’t let anyone tell you it’s normal to be in pain or that your nipples have to “get used to it”! If it hurts, something is not right. A good latch makes breastfeeding comfortable for both mom and baby, and ensures good transfer of milk from breast to belly.

A lactation consultant can show you what “transferring” milk looks like while your baby feeds. When transferring milk is not effective, you may notice your baby may never be satisfied and will want to eat all the time. Thus when your breasts are not emptied, feedback is given to your body that there is too much milk not being used and this can cause a decrease in your supply.

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There are many breastfeeding positions, so find a position that is comfortable for you. I prefer the Laid Back Breastfeeding or Biological Nurturing position where every part of your body and baby is supported especially your shoulders and neck. You will feel more relaxed and your tension will be reduced. And even better, in this position, most babies will self-attach!

7) Signs your baby is getting enough – this is the #1 question I always get, “how do I know my baby is getting enough to eat?” Weight gain is a good sign that breastfeeding is going well. All babies lose weight after birth and most will regain their birth weight by 2 weeks. Then babies typically gain between 15 to 30 grams/day. But you can tell from day to day if your baby is getting enough by diaper output. What goes in has to come out! If your baby is having at least 6 wet diapers and frequent bowel movements (1-3/day) then your baby is getting enough.

Other questions to ask yourself: Do your breasts feel softer after a feed? What is your baby’s mood like after a feed? Is your baby content, quiet, sleeping, happy to just play? These answers will tell you that your baby is satisfied.

8) Growth spurts and cluster feeds are normal – your baby will go through certain periods in the first few months when he/she will want to feed more often for a few days. This increased appetite is normal and will not only satisfy your baby’s growing needs but will also increase your supply to meet his/her growing needs.

You may also experience a period in the day when your baby will want to feed more often. This is called cluster feeding and it is normal. It does not mean you have low milk supply.

9) Get help/support – If things are not going well, please seek out help. There are various forms of support available for you. There are peer support groups, support from other breastfeeding mothers, friends and family, La Leche League, Public Health and private lactation consultants such as The WOMB. Challenges are easier to fix, if dealt with early but we are ALWAYS here to help you. We welcome you into a safe, loving and supportive environment where you will feel empowered to meet your breastfeeding goals.

10) Enjoy your baby – breastfeeding is about so much more than just feeding your baby. It is a special and intimate relationship that creates a special bond between mother and baby.

Want more information and tips on how to do all this? Get more at a prenatal breastfeeding class! Join us at The WOMB for our next class on August 10th, 2015. For more information or to register, go online or call 905.842.2434,

Anita Arora is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at The WOMB: The World of My Baby and sees clients in their homes privately and in clinic Mondays and Wednesdays. Anita’s aim is to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals in a non-judgmental, accepting and natural approach. Anita lives in Oakville with her supportive husband and her 2 wonderful children.


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