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My story: Breastfeeding was something I thought would be the most natural thing in the world, and that both my daughter and I would just KNOW what to do. Mommas and babies have been doing this since the beginning of time, right? Instinct should surely kick in.
Let me tell you how wrong I was. The struggle was REAL. I watched Youtube videos, searched the internet, video chatted my momma friends, practices different holding and positioning techniques. Nothing worked. For a month, I toughed out the cracked nipples, the intense pain that had me tense and cringing every time she latched.
I honestly think if I wasn’t so stubborn, I would have given up by now. I have no issues with bottle feeding, but I was hurt and offended that something that was supposed to be so natural wasn’t working for us. My last ditch effort was to go to a lactation consultant. It should have been my first resource. 30 minutes later, we were breastfeeding like a champ, and no problems at all since. Even Ember, as little as she was, could tell a difference. I could feel her little body relax into mine, and we became breastfeeding champs together.
If you are having any issues or concerns about breastfeeding, please don’t struggle for so long like I did! Reach out to a lactation expert as soon as possible!
“So many benefits to hiring a private practice IBCLC. Private practice IBCLC’s are able to spend more time with mom’s and babies working in your own environment. Not having to leave the house when you just had a baby is a big deal. Most Private practice IBCLC’s also have extra training in evaluation of oral function and assessing for oral restrictions and work with local providers to get the care you need. Breastfeeding support last a lifetime and worth the investment.”
As an IBCLC, Ashley can help in areas such as breast and nipple pain, low milk supply, tongue and lip ties, pumping, latch assessments, pumping, clogged ducts, mastitis, and so much more!
I wasn’t sure what training/certification is required for lactation consultants, so Ashley explained the requirements. “An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a health care professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. It’s the highest standard of lactation care. IBCLC’s have to have 1000 hands on hours, 14 health science college classes, 90 hours of Lactation specific education, pass an international board exam after completion of the following above. Required continue education to maintain licensure.”
Ashley says the best time to schedule a consultation (which can be done in-home, office or virtual) is before the baby arrives. That way prenatal lactation support can help prepare you for breastfeeding expectations and goals.
“A home visit runs between 1-1.5 hours. When I arrive at your home I will set up my supplies and baby scale. We will go over the chart that goes over your goals, expectations of the visit, and health history. If baby is ready before talking we start with the feeding first. I do a weighted feeding with a hospital grade scale and observe a feeding and support with permission. I make suggestions as needed. After the feeding I will do an oral exam to assess function of the tongue and use a light to assess under babies tongue and upper lip and refer appropriately if I suspect any restrictions that may be affecting feeding. If time allows we discuss your pump, flange fitting, and make sure you know when it’s appropriate to use your pump. We go over bottle feeding a breastfeeding baby and so much more. At the end we come up with a care plan that works for you and your family. I meet you where you are at in the journey.”
Ashley describes what to expect at an in-home consultation– click here to read more!
Ashley recommends a natural nipple balm, support pillows (not necessarily breastfeeding pillows, snacks and water (create a breastfeeding station!), proper fitting flanges and an electric pump, and a network of support as her top 5 essential breastfeeding must haves! Your support network can be your partner, a friend or parent. Someone that you can reach out to on tough days. I asked her what advice she would give to mommas when they are struggling: “#1 feed the baby, #2 protect your milk supply. If you are struggling to breastfeed reach out for support. You don’t have to do this alone. Best tip someone every gave me when I was struggling with my kids was to Never quit on a bad day.“
How long should breastfeeding take?
“Breastfeeding times vary from 10 mins of good sucks and swallows to 30-40 mins at times. I don’t always recommend watching the clock but watch your baby for full tummy cues or when it’s time to switch sides. Babies need 8 or more feedings in 24 hours. My saying is “Dinner and Dessert” Let baby finish on the starting side when baby slows down even with stimulation then perfect time to switch sides. Some babies will burp and some will not. It’s okay if baby doesn’t burp.”
Want to learn more about Ashley and Chattanooga Lactation? Be sure to check out her website to see more about services she provides, testimonials, and insurance information. You can also follow her on Facebook!
Are you ready to book your maternity and newborn session? Best time to save your spot is when you are in your 2nd trimester! Click HERE to find out more!
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