Part of pregnancy is trying to prepare for everything! You research the best car seats, cribs, and even laundry detergent! But one thing you may not have considered researching is your future pediatrician. So many times, we hear from clients that they wish they had known their provider’s stance on breastfeeding before they brought their baby to them.
Many pediatric practices offer tours or complimentary consults for expectant parents. Take advantage of these! Take this opportunity to find out in advance how their practice handles breastfeeding challenges and how up to date the doctors are on breastfeeding recommendations. Unlike IBCLCs, doctors receive very little lactation education and are not required to stay up to date on the latest research in the field of lactation unless they choose to seek out that knowledge on their own. It’s not their fault; it just isn’t their area of expertise! Human lactation is an ever-evolving field as new research emerges! If a pediatrician was licensed 25 years ago, their knowledge of breastfeeding might be 25 years old!
This list can help you choose a pediatrician who will be an active and supportive member of your breastfed baby’s Care Team!
“Your baby isn’t gaining enough weight because you’re producing skim milk.” First of all, the idea of skim milk comes from cows who produce milk, which is then processed and turned into skim milk, allowing you to enjoy your cow’s milk with less fat. COWS DO NOT PRODUCE SKIM MILK. It is a drink only possible because humans processed that cow’s milk. Nobody is processing your milk; it’s coming out whole human milk.
There are a lot of reasons I cannot stand when someone tells a mother she is producing “skim milk,” but the biggest reason is that the person (who is clearly uneducated in lactation) can often invokes feelings of “not being enough” for a mother. This FALSE statement can lead to discontinuing breastfeeding before she is ready.
Some mothers will discontinue their journey earlier than they had hoped for and some others will fall prey to products marketed to increase fat content of their milk. It doesn’t even have to be products you find on Facebook or Pinterest. I’ve heard of medical professionals advising mothers to consume a lot of fat (good and bad!) or even to put coconut oil directly in a baby’s bottle (seriously, don’t do this).
Before you spend your hard-earned money on a product you found recommended online from someone who is NOT a lactation expert, let me explain to you how the fat content in breastmilk works and the couple of ways you can change it.
Are you going back to work soon? It might not be what you want to think about while holding your precious and perfectly adorable baby, but it’s probably a reality for you if you’re here. You've probably put a lot of time and effort into establishing your breastfeeding relationship, some of you more than others if you're really struggled. You might have JUST FINALLY found your stride so the idea of going back to work might be the last thing you want to worry about. I have some good and bad news for you. The bad being you do need to start thinking about it before you actually go back. The good news is that everything you need to plan for your SUCCESSFUL transition back to work has already been researched and put together for you.
You need to start preparing yourself ahead of time because the truth is, 80% of women give up breastfeeding within just weeks of going back to work. Those might sound like really scary odds, but it doesn’t have to be if you prepare yourself and come up with a plan for success.
You've heard it before. Everyone has. "Breast is Best." But what does that really mean? Best for babies? Moms? Better for their physical and mental well being, of course. But what about the environment? Breastfeeding is very green! Society at large? Surely the global economy can't benefit from your breastfeeding relationship, right? Think again! A study completed in 2017 showed that if just 50% of the world's infants were exclusively breastfed for 6 months, it would save 300 billion (yes, billion with a B) dollars and 520,000 children's lives. Those are some big numbers. For every $1 invested in supporting breastfeeding mothers, that dollar generates $35 dollars in economic returns. Talk about a good return!
What does that mean for you personally?
When I was just starting out on my breastfeeding journey, I ended up in rough shape just a few days in. I had no idea why my nipples were cracked and bleeding, but I knew I couldn’t go on that way and I was determined to find a solution.
While it was a great, positive mindset and I’m happy I didn’t give up, my search for a solution wasn’t easy. During my unpaid maternity leave, I was stretching every dollar for essentials. Unfortunately, I wasted a lot of time and money trying to troubleshoot a solution on my own.
*Nipple cream for the pain
*A Manual Breast Pump to relieve engorgement
*Disposable Breast Pads to catch the drips
*Bottles and Pacifiers to give me a break
And all of it was a waste and actually NOT AT ALL WHAT WE NEEDED! Great. Here's what those products ended up doing for me....... They wasted my time. They wasted my energy. And I was still in a really rough place with breastfeeding.
Are you breastfeeding and have been told to give up dairy? This advice may have come from your doctor, a good friend, or another breastfeeding momma. I hear this advice given regularly as a solution to solve certain symptoms in babies- especially in mom groups!
As a lactation expert, this is one of the most frustrating pieces of advice people give to my clients. Gassy baby? Give up dairy! Baby spits up? Give up dairy! Fussy baby? Give up dairy!
Giving up dairy seems to be the "cure all" to everything these days- when it's actually usually NOT the answer.
Going back to work is HARD. There is so much to navigate and so much advice out there you can feel like you don't know which way is up and which way is down! Thankfully, we've got you covered with info you need for successful pumping, and the back to work advice that will not only set you up for success, but give you a REAL plan to get through and do so successfully.
The good news is, with these tips and hacks from REAL breastfeeding moms, pumping at work is about to get a whole lot easier! Here are the top tips from our Successful Breastfeeding Veterans taken from our poll in the Successful Breastfeeding Community.
One question I am often asked is how long are you supposed to breastfeed? Well, the answer is simple. There is no right or wrong length of time to nurse your baby. There are expert recommendations, for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing to the age of 1 year and beyond. The World Health Organization recommends nursing until the age of 2 years and beyond! So, even our experts can't agree!
The simple answer is IT'S COMPLETELY UP TO YOU! Breastfeeding is a relationship and it takes two for it to work. No matter who decides it's time to stop, mom or baby, then that is the right time for that specific dyad. There are many reasons a mother may want to wean, and for some, weaning when baby is still very young is the healthiest option for both involved. No matter when, or why, when you're ready to wean you'll need to know how! I have put this guide together for YOU momma, for when you're ready. So when it's time for your breastfeeding journey to come to an end, you'll know how to get through it.
Congratulations!! You're thinking about breastfeeding and looking for some tips, or maybe you've just had your baby. Either way you've stopped in the right place.
If we haven't met yet (I'm Kelly btw) then you probably don't know too much about me and what we do here at Successful Breastfeeding. I'll spare you all the details for now, and give you the short run down. We are a team of lactation experts, and wrote this post based on our almost 20 years of combined experience to help you prepare for your own Successful Breastfeeding Journey!
So, whether you're making plans and preparing for your baby's arrival or looking for some tips and suggestions for right now.... click on through and check out our tips that are proven to make breastfeeding as easy as possible!
So, Here’s The Problem.
Child care providers have it rough. Especially infant caregivers.
You have to bend over backwards to gain the trust of the families who are touring your facility for the care of their new baby. New mothers are emotional about going back to work and being away from their babies. They come to you with 1000 questions, concerns, and many also will break down and cry. Breastfeeding mothers have even more to worry about.
How many times has a mom expressed to you the anxiety she is feeling about being a working and pumping mom? This breastfeeding mom may fear her baby will reject her for the bottle, or not want to take the bottle at all. (And I’m sure you’ve seen that happen before.) This last fear produces the most anxiety and emotion for her.
What about when she is a couple weeks in, pumping isn’t going as well as she hoped? She is now concerned about her milk supply- it’s decreasing. She has come to you, her caregiver, to ask you to start supplementing her baby with formula- with tears in her eyes.
What do you say? How do you reassure her?
She obviously is in need of support, and you may not know where to refer her. Now, this mother is weaning, and has given up continuing breastfeeding.
For her, this is devastating, and for you it’s frustrating.
It seems there may be nothing you can do, so you accept her fate.
The benefits of breastfeeding are widely known, and breastfeeding rates are increasing. For you, this means more moms are choosing to continue breastfeeding when they go back to work. Supporting breastfeeding moms and breastfed babes is your new reality as a caregiver. However, like the breastfeeding mom above, few of them will make it past the first few weeks. Going back to work is hard, and there are many obstacles a mother may face. Working moms are high risk for early weaning. Statistics show that 80% of working breastfeeding mothers will quit breastfeeding within a month of returning to work. This is a grim outlook for your moms to have.
Improvements for breastfeeding moms are being made in the workplace, however there is one component being overlooked- YOU- her childcare provider.
How many working families can you think of who started out breastfeeding, and then switched to formula?
Sometimes the switch is sudden, and sometimes more gradual. Working mothers switching over to formula may seem normal, and frequently happens. Infact 80% of working moms who start breastfeeding will switch to formula in about a month!!!
This doesn’t have to be normal, and shouldn’t be.
So here’s the question:
How do you gain this moms trust, and remove some of the anxiety and emotion with her breastfed baby in your care?
That’s a big question. Thankfully one with a simple answer.
What if I told you can take simple action to make your life as an infant caregiver easier?
You can make it easier to gain mom's trust, learn how to support her and guide her questions, which will lead your working breastfeeding moms meet their goals!!!
Child Care Centers across the country are taking the leap and learning how to support their working breastfeeding moms.
YOU CAN TOO!!!!
And Now, The Solution.
Here’s how it works. Here’s how you can do it too.
I’d like to tell you the story of The Green Garden Childhood Development Center. They have taken initiative to increase their appeal, while raising the bar for the families in their care. They easily earn the trust of their breastfeeding moms, and remove much of the frustrations that come with supporting them. Green Garden’s founder, Erica Tank, takes pride in standing out as a facility with exceptional care. She is committed to providing a healthy and natural environment for the children. In fact Green Garden’s centers are the first and only to be 100% organic in the state of Michigan. This isn’t the only first for them. Green Garden is also the very first childcare to take steps to becoming a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facility ™. The working breastfeeding mothers who come to their facility will have access to some serious benefits, exclusive only to a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facility. It is obvious why Green Garden is the most popular child care facility in their area, with an extensive waiting list.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Erica Tank, and got some great insights into how this program is expanding her child care business.
“I see the benefit for this program all around - for my staff, our families and of course the babies.”
- Erica Tank
The Breastfeeding Supportive Caregiver Program was inspired by real working breastfeeding mothers, and the challenges they face. These mothers are excited about this program. Working moms see the value the Breastfeeding Supportive Program adds to their childcare providers, and when asked, they ALL said they would choose a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Childcare over any other.
The program combines caregiving methods and feeding practices to offer support and peace of mind to breastfeeding moms. Caregivers are trained in what is known as the Baby Led Feeding Practices; which includes understanding paced bottle feeding, infant hunger and satiety cues, truly knowing exactly how much milk is appropriate for a baby to drink, and so, so much more.
“Before this program we really didn’t know how to support our breastfeeding moms. It is important to me that our teachers understand breastfeeding supportive feeding practices and also that they understand the importance breastfeeding has for mom and also baby.” - Erica Tank
Research shows us, and what many breastfeeding mothers can attest to, is babies are unintentionally being overfed by their caregivers.
This alone puts extra pressure on the working mother to provide more milk than her baby actually needs, and more milk than she is producing. The extra pressure from her baby’s providers and the obstacles of pumping at work combined eventually leads to weaning, and the mother is left feeling like she failed.
Erica recognized this in her own facility and, frustrated, decided to take action.
“We’ve seen countless moms come in for a tour very anxious about going back to work, and nervous they won’t meet their breastfeeding goals. Time and time again we see them give up within about a month of going back to work because it’s too hard for them to keep up with pumping, and their baby is eating too much at day care. Mom isn’t able to match her supply to what baby is drinking, and our caregivers were asking mom for more milk, when admittedly, they just weren’t recognizing the baby’s cues.” - Erica Tank
One of Green Garden’s core values is to establish relationships with the families they support from the moment they come through their doors. Since taking the Breastfeeding Supportive Training Erica’s staff has been able to further establish trust with the breastfeeding mothers interested in the facility, and offer them peace of mind.
“Having the certification gives us the extra edge and shows our commitment to breastfeeding families and really sets our program apart. This certification shows our families that we put in the work, and we know how to support you. We are always looking to be innovative, and we already do many unique things at our facility, and this fits in perfectly with our mission to offer the highest quality for the families in our care. This certification further proves how much we care.” - Erica Tank
The Baby Led Feeding Practices Training has an extra benefit for caregivers and the babies too!
“Rather than just rush through bottle feeding, our teachers have slowed down with the paced bottle feeding, and this has greatly strengthened the bond between the babies and teachers. I’ve seen them become more and more comfortable with the children and the children become even happier in our environment and the parents really value this.” -Erica Tank
The families at Green Garden are already benefiting from the small changes the Green Garden staff has made after the Breastfeeding Supportive Caregiver Program. Now Erica, and her staff, have the skills and knowledge to properly care for a breastfed baby. They have the power to melt away the anxiety and empower the breastfeeding moms with the skills they need to be successful from the start.
“Not only is our staff able to provide peace of mind that her baby will be in the best care, as a certified facility we will be able to give her support with the Return to Work planning through Successful Breastfeeding.”- Erica Tank
Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facilities have exclusive access to the Back to Work online workshop. This highly valuable service is included with the Breastfeeding Supportive Facility Program and available to families enrolled at certified centers- FOR FREE! Just one more way to attract prospective families. Having the luxury to offer this to your families is incredibly impressive, and has them eager to enroll.
“Caregivers play an important role in the breastfeeding relationship when it comes to day to day support. We spend the majority of waking hours with these babies and it’s incredibly important we support the breastfeeding families, especially. I love that the training has given us the information we need to pick up on potential red flags of weaning and direct mom to research based resources and community support.
We all gained so much. The Breastfeeding Supportive Caregiving Practices and other skills makes all the difference when it comes to making sure babies are not being overfed. I am so excited to be bringing this level of care to our families and setting our breastfeeding moms up for success at work.”
- Erica Tank
This program has so much to offer you, your families, your babies, your community.
Take initiative like The Green Garden Childhood Development Center. Enhance your skills and make your childcare irresistible to new moms.
Sign up for your training today, and take the step to be a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facility.
Your families deserve it, and you deserve the recognition.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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