(With Leah Tribus, mama of 3, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) A blur. Like a bullet train speeding by you faster than you can say ‘Hallelujah, my boobs are growing!’…
During the days, weeks & months leading up to and after your pregnancy, you think of loads of questions. But if you’re like most of us, they come & go faster than you remember to jot ‘em down. Breastfeeding isn’t a walk in the park.
And sometimes those breastfeeding challenges make you feel like a failure. We ALL have those moments & have breastfeeding challenges- even if ”your girls” usually pump & flow like a West Texas oil well. But those challenges don’t have to own us, they don’t have to determine our overall breastfeeding success. You can do it!
So we called Leah Tribus, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and mama of 3, to give you the details you need to know, want to know & can use now… about breastfeeding.
She puts on a breastfeeding class for you- right here, right now…like “how will I know if my baby is properly positioned” & “how will I know if my baby is eating enough?” & more.
Leah suggests & actually demonstrates breastfeeding positions, to help you see exactly how babies feel super cozy & safe- so they breastfeed more easily.
She also gives us specific things to look for so we’ll know baby is swallowing & eating enough. One thing I loved is when Leah shared, what she calls her “dinner, dessert principle.” Check it out to learn how you can breastfeed easier.
You’ll Also Learn:
- Why Leah says that breastfeeding is an art, not a science.
- When your milk production will spike & why that’s important.
- How to know if you have a clogged duct & what to do about it.
- It’s normal for a baby to lose 5-7% of their birth weight in the day or two following birth- and why that is.
Who is Leah Tribus?
Leah Tribus is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), certified childbirth educator, Happiest Baby on the Block educator and currently works with Sentara Healthcare. She’s been helping mamas and babies since 2006. Leah also knows a thing or two about breastfeeding since she’s a mama herself, three times over. Leah and family live in Virginia Beach, VA.
Watch This Class [private Premium Membership|Gift-Premium Membership|Coaching|Vault](download MP3)
[/private]What do you think? Share in the comments below…
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Leah Tribus- Questions you FORGOT to ask about breastfeeding…
so we did it for you!
Sarah Blight: Hi, this is Sarah Blight with Your Baby Booty interviews, where we chat with real people who’ve had real experiences, so that you can have real takeaways for your journey to the motherland and to help you along your way. Well today, we are talking with Lea. She is a lactation consultant and mama of three kiddos, and Lea’s going to answer the questions that you’ve forgotten to ask your lactation consultant or your healthcare provider when you’re at your appointments about breastfeeding, and we know that we’ve all had these moments where we just forget our list of questions, or at our appointment and we don’t even know what to ask. So, here’s Lea, she’s going to answer the questions that you forgot to ask. So thanks Lea for being here today.
Lea Tribus: No problem. I’m happy to be here.
Sarah Blight: Okay. So the first question I’m going to ask you is, the question “How will I know if…” So how will I know if my baby is positioned correctly to breastfeed?
Lea Tribus: Uh, that’s a great question and it’s one—that entirely started doing this, um, beyond just being a mom and breastfeeding. I didn’t realize how important positioning really was. So, in order for a baby to get a good latch, for your baby to feel comfortable and to feel supported, position is key. So, a couple of things to think about: one is going to be—the biggest red flag if your baby is not positioned correctly is probably going to be discomfort with latching, so it’s going to hurt for you, mom, and the other issue is going to be—possibly it’s going to be that baby has a hard time getting a latch. If the baby feels—if you’re holding the baby, I have my little baby here, baby Leila.
If you’re holding your baby improperly or if you’re not well supported, the baby feels that they’re falling backwards. And when they have that sense, they’re going to do a couple different things. One is going to be that they’re just going to fuss and they’re not going to latch, because they just don’t have that sense that their body is secure against their body.
Sarah Blight: Mm.
Lea Tribus: Um, the other issue they might have is that they may start clamping down. So they may bite a little, and that’s where that uncomfortable feeling during latch is going to exist. So a couple of things to think about is baby’s alignment. Baby’s ear, shoulder and hip should all be in a line no matter what position they’re in. So if you choose to do the cradle—I prefer cross cradle for new mommies. You hold the baby’s head, the base of the neck with one hand and your breast with the other. And that cross cradle position is great. You’re able to really move the baby, the baby can mobilize his or her head, and that allows for really easy latch on, what we call a baby-led latch on.
Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.
Lea Tribus: So that the baby can kind of move and re-latch as necessary.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: The other position that I love for new moms is going to be your football hold, which is where the baby is kind of going to be behind you, and the football can take on two kinds of positions for the baby. The baby can either be facing—nose facing the ceiling, this way, or the baby can be sideways wrapped around your body. And that’s going to be just based on what kind of chair you’re in, your comfort level, do you have—sometimes in the hospital beds, the baby’s feet hit, and it’s hard for you to get that wrap around, so they do have to kind of sit and face upward, but this allows you to really visualize their latch, visualize—make sure that their positioning is close. But the key is just to always have that arm really hugging not just their head, but their body in, close to you. That way they feel secure during that latch on.
Sarah Blight: That makes a lot of sense, because they’ve been in your womb for 9, almost 10 months, in pretty close quarters, so it would seem like they would—that reflex would be to kind of be scared if they don’t feel super cozy…
Lea Tribus: Right—and we’ve all seen our babies sort of startle, you know, in the crib next to us, and they tell you, unwrap your baby when you breastfeed. Well, that’s great, it does help with their alertness, but it certainly makes them a little bit more prone to that startling or that feeling of security.
Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.
Lea Tribus: So keeping them close to your body is definitely a great way to make them feel comfortable in latching.
Sarah Blight: Okay, awesome… awesome answers. Alright, so you talked a little bit about your favorite positions—that was kind of my next question, was what are your favorite positions or the best positions for breastfeeding, and you showed us the two. Are there any others that you would recommend?
Lea Tribus: Um, certainly your traditional cradle is fine. But what most moms do with the traditional cradle, is they’ll start with the cross cradle—so they’ll have this hand here, though get the baby into a comfortable latch, and then they’ll slide this arm down and support the baby. The reason why we don’t like starting with this position, is that the baby’s head is kind of stuck in that crook of your arm, they can’t easily mobilize their head, and for a newborn that can be an issue. Now baby that’s mature and is big, certainly they can move their head however they want. But for that newborn, that can cause a little bit of an issue.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: And while we’re speaking to positions, a big thing is going to be position your baby however it’s comfortable to you. I mean, that’s really what it comes down to. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a book that you read, it doesn’t matter if you, you know, saw it online or read it in an article or a friend told you, really, any position goes. And some babies—if they have some reflex issues need to kind of sit upwards, and there’s interesting positions you can use for that. So I usually say don’t feel boxed in to ‘I have to do that football’ or ‘I have to do the cross cradle’. The football is a favorite amongst a lot of moms, but a lot of moms I see are like, I can’t do it. I don’t like it, I’m not comfortable with it. So, don’t feel forced to try any of them. You know, do what works for you as a mom-baby couple, that’s really like the key.
Um, whatever your position, you just want to always make sure that that alignment stays the way that we talked about. And then one other thing I hadn’t mentioned is that the chin always needs to be up. So whatever position the baby’s in, you never want their head being downward, and so when you’re positioned in there, you don’t—if the baby is like too far this way and here she has to look down. If the chin is ever to the chest, then you know that the baby’s not properly positioned. Again, usually that’s going to be indicated by tenderness to the mom, it’s not going to be comfortable. And then, same with the football. If the baby’s too far up this way, it has to look down to latch on; they’re not going to get on correctly. So, it’s really what’s a comfortable latch for you and does the baby respond? Is the baby happy? If the baby’s arching, pushing away from you, crying and fussing, having a very hard time, then we need to move on and try a different position.
Sarah Blight: Okay. And—so how will we know if the baby is actually swallowing and eating, consuming the milk? How can you tell that?
Lea Tribus: Um, that’s absolutely a great question. One sign is going to be the sound that your baby makes. So every baby, when they first latch on and do some sucking, certainly a mom is going to feel that, they’re going to go, “Oh! Okay.” Um, there’s really nothing else to compare that to. Um, so that feeling is obviously a good indicator. “Okay, I feel the baby, it’s a strong suck. I can feel that there’s strong suction there”. Um, one thing you listen for is those pauses, which are—usually they kind of sound like—and hopefully you can hear this, it’s kind of like a “Ca- cah” sound. Um, it’s kind of just two pauses, little breaths of air that you hear when they’re kind of making that swallowing sound, and that’s what you listen for. So, if you’ve got a lot of visitors, there’s a lot of noise, if you’re from a family like mine that’s kind of loud and not real quiet, when you’re breastfeeding at first, it’s a great idea to try to keep things quiet, so you can listen for those sounds, so you can really see what’s going on.
Um, beyond listening, looking at the baby. So, on the science of our face, we have our jaw, and if this jaw is moving in and out and you see movement up by the temple of the baby’s face, that usually indicates a good, long draw on the breast, which is usually bringing in milk, that’s kind of a good science. We call that a nutritive suck. A non- nutritive suck would be that sort of quivering—where they’re just not on very, um, very securely, where you can easily remove the breast from the baby’s mouth without a problem, and that’s kind of what we call our non- nutritive sucking or comfort sucking.
Sarah Blight: Okay, okay, perfect. So how will a mama know if she has a clogged duct?
Lea Tribus: Um, okay that’s a great question. This is not something that you would see necessarily in the first week of life, but once you kind of think, ‘Okay, I’ve got this breast thing, breastfeeding thing down, baby’s kind of on a semi-schedule, I’m feeling good about this…” That’s when these kinds of hiccups can kind of come in to play. So, one thing is going to be is that every mom usually has kind of a fullness feeling to their breast when—before they have a breastfeeding—especially that first feeding in the morning. What happens with the clogged duct is, you’ll feed the baby and normally where your breast would be completely soft, you’re going to have an area that’s going to feel hard to the touch. It may feel a little bit warm, a little bit uncomfortable, and that’s an area that—it’s almost like it’s going to stay engorged, it’s going to feel engorged, so baby will have eaten, but somehow that’s not emptying.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: So that’s one sign. With a clogged up, you shouldn’t have any other, what we call systemic symptoms. So you—nothing else is going on in your body except for that little bit of pain, maybe that pinkness on the skin, and that feeling of swelling there.
Sarah Blight: Okay, alright. The next question would be, then what do you do about it?
Lea Tribus: Um, that’s a great question. If you are a repeat offender with your position, and so you use the same positions all the time, then you may want to switch it up. So if baby has been feeding on—in a cradle hold on that left side every single time, then the weight of the breast is emptied, it’s going to be the same all the time, and that can cause that clogging to occur. Um—excuse me [Coughing]
Sarah Blight: Bless you.
Lea Tribus: If uh—thank you. If you’re switching it up, so if I usually do the left and then I’m going to do—the left, I’m going to do the football, then the way the baby is drawing the nipple, and the way the baby is emptying the breast is going to be different, and that’s going to allow for a better emptying, sometimes of these positions.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: Um, another thing that you can do is apply some warmth, 3 to 5 minutes before a feeding and do some massage. And when you do massage, you never want to use like the pads of your fingers, because it ends up like you’ll like you’re really doing a good job, and then all of a sudden, you’re like, “Ow, that really hurt, which is being a little bit too rough. Um, so using the palm of your hand, doing massage, massaging towards the nipple is going to help push that clog through. Occasionally, you’ll see, um, almost what appears to be like stringy or thicker milk, when you do finally get that emptied. And what I would say is if you’d tried those techniques, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up, it could be something called a milk bleb, which is an actual little bit of a seal over one of the ducts that empties the milk.
Sarah Blight: Huh!
Lea Tribus: And so that’s another issue, that if you’re not getting result with the clogged duct, you want to get that checked out and make sure that there’s nothing going on beyond just that clogged duct.
Sarah Blight: Okay. That moves us on to my favorite topic of
Lea Tribus: Coughing.
Sarah Blight: —sure.
Lea Tribus: Sorry.
Sarah Blight: that’s okay. So that moves us on to my favorite topic of mastitis. So how—cause I had it twice, but how do mamas know if they have mastitis? And maybe just give a quick lowdown on what mastitis is for those who many not be familiar.
Lea Tribus: Um, there’s different types of mastitis—one of them is called inflammatory mastitis, where, okay, so all of this time, Mia and I were so excited, baby’s sleeping through the night. But what that means for a mom that’s been breastfeeding throughout the night is, “Oh my goodness, my breasts are really, really engorged, they’re full, we maybe start with a clog duct, which sometimes, if we’re a busy mom, we just miss. We’re [0:12:09][Phonetic] doesn’t get result, and all of a sudden now, we have a fever, maybe up to 101.3…
Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.
Lea Tribus: Or higher. We’re starting to get chills, flu like symptoms, achy body, you really feel like you’re coming down with something.
Sarah Blight: Uh-hm.
Lea Tribus: And then, that typically is a result of milk—that’s basically, we call it milk statis, so milk that’s just not moving through and it’s just a breeding ground for bacterial growth, bio growth, that kind of thing, so that’s where mastitis comes from. It’s milk that’s not getting flushed through, it’s kind of backing up, and it’s causing an infection.
Sarah Blight: Okay, the question that comes to my mind is, it—once you get things moving, so I think, what would you say—I was on medication, but I don’t know, antibiotics. What other thing can you do for mastitis, or is it depend?
Lea Tribus: Um, yeah—no, you’re typically going to do similar things that you did for your clogged up to keep things going. One of the biggest thing we want to hit home is that you do not stop breastfeeding on that side.
Sarah Blight: Right.
Lea Tribus: There are very few reasons why you would ever stop, but stopping can causes much more serious complications, so it’s important that if you have mastitis, you keep on feeding, and often we recommend that you actually breastfeed on that side, at the beginning of every feeding, juts to make sure that you’re emptying that breast and preventing any further infection or further milk- statis, so we’re going to keep having you feed on that side. And the medication—oh, go ahead.
Sarah Blight: Yeah, no I—you’re probably going to answer it, I was going to say is it okay for the baby to drink this milk that may have that kind of bacteria floating around in it?
Lea Tribus: Yeah, you absolutely can—and again, there’s very few times when you can’t, and what’s really amazing about breast milk, is it has active, live cells in it, so it’s unlike any other material that we would drink. There’s T- cells in there, fighting off all sorts of infections, and they’ve done studies that show that an hour after a mom pumps milk, the bacteria level in the milk actually goes down, and that’s because those active cells, the immune-factors in the milk are actually killing any bacteria that’s in there.
Sarah Blight: Wow, that’s cool.
Lea Tribus: So it’s – yeah, it’s pretty amazing, so—yeah, that milk is safe. There’s—again, very few times when it would not be safe. Even a mom that gets even a really deep infection is able to breastfeed.
Sarah Blight: Okay, alright. So, the other things are—did you mention like redness? I think you may have…
Lea Tribus: Oh, no [0:14:27][Phonetic] sign, so beyond your clogged up, it maybe a little bit pink and warm to the touch, we’re talking about a bright red look, sometimes streaking that goes away from the nipple up or out away from the nipple. We talked about kind of the systemic feelings of the fever, the body, aches, all of that going on. And then you can have kind of a tightness look to the skin as well, but those—but the biggest indicators are going to be your systemic feelings, so that feeling of being sick, and then of course the hard lump at—in that hot to the touch tender, so, um, beyond all the things we did for the clog up and getting checked out by the doctor, you want to feed frequently which we talked about.
You can do cool—cool is actually going to reduce you inflammation, so a lot of people think heat, heat, heat to keep the flow going, but you really only want to use heat that 3-5 minutes before of feeding, because just like in a summertime when our rings get tight, the more heat you pile on, the more inflamed things can become, So by applying, like a cool pack for 20 minutes, intervals—in 20 minute intervals, that’s going—that’s what’s going to really help.
Sarah Blight: Perfect, okay, good to know. Um, okay, how is a mama going to know if her baby is getting enough to eat? That’s probably the biggest question that you probably get as a lactation consultant. [Laughter]
Lea Tribus: Yeah, that is the age old thing. They want to know, like, how many ounces is my baby getting, I mean, you know this. Um, what’s great about breastfeeding generally, and what most moms I think kind of grasp about it, is that baby is really self- regulate. So they eat what they feel that they need and they stop when they’re done. When you breastfeed, you’ll have one let down that will ejac a bunch of milk, and if the baby keeps suckling, you’ll have multiple letdowns.
Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.
Lea Tribus: So a big, chunky baby that needs a big feeding, they’re going to keep on eating. A baby that’s full isn’t going to keep on sucking, therefore they won’t get those additional let downs. So, some things are—that you can tell with your own body, are going to be that your breast feels full at the beginning of the feeding and then becomes soft.
Sarah Blight: Uh-huh.
Lea Tribus: So that’s a number one thing. Um, the second thing is that the infant appears content after a feeding. So, um, and just kind of an FYI, the first three to five days before your milk is in, none of this applies. [0:16:41][Phonetic] behave very erratically until the milk comes. And so we just tell you, feed on demand, feed when the baby’s hungry, feed, feed, feed in those first couple of days. Um, but when your milk comes, um, so knowing that your breast is full and then you’re empty.
Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.
Lea Tribus: Um, that feeling of contentment by that baby, so baby’s going to come off the breast, he’s going to have that happy look on their face. If they’re a little uncomfortable and you burp them, they should then be content. And that contentment should last 2-3 hours, so, um, if, you know, your baby is not content, then we look into other issues, but sometimes it’s just, like I said, an air bubble that needs to come out or something like that.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: Um, a big other one that the doctors are going to tell you to look at are going to be adequate stools and adequate wet diapers and what is adequate? Um, and you’re going to hear different things. Some say five to seven wet diapers, some say 6 to 8, really what I want to hit home with is, that it stays like a norm for your baby. So after the first week ok life, if you’re baby’s having five soaking wet diapers in a day, you know that’s normal for your baby. If that were should decrease, you would know that was abnormal. Our diapers nowadays hold so much urine, if you’re a thrifty mom and you don’t want to change it when it’s barely wet, you may say, “Okay, well I change five diapers, but I know my baby’s peeing a lot more than that, and that’s fine. You got to have to know what your norm is. Um, in terms of the stools, most breast-fed babies stool more than once a day. But really, anywhere from one to four times a day is going to be okay, as long as it appears to be soft—and most of the—breastfed babies have actual liquid stool. It’s different, the diarrhea, and it’s fine. Um, a liquid stool is fine, a breast milk is a laxative, t has the kind of effect to it, and it’s a good think, it kind of keeps everything going. Um, and then the last thing that you’re going to look at is you’re going to be your weight game.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: So, babies are going to be checked usually, one or two days after your discharge from the hospital for adequate weight gain or weight loss, and then again at 2 weeks. You should expect that your baby’s going to lose 5 to 7% of their birth weight while you’re in the hospital, and until you milk comes in. Um, they can even lose as much as 10%…
Sarah Blight: And why do they lose weight after they’re born?
Lea Tribus: When their weighed, so that initial weigh point—put that baby on that scale, their gut is full of that lovely, back meconium stool, okay. It’s also—they also have some fluid on board, just like we mommies get our swollen feet, babies get—if you’ve had IV fluids during labor, babies are going to get some of that as well, so one example of this is with moms that have had caesarean, often those babies have many more wet diapers than a baby of a mom who had a quick vaginal delivery with no fluids. So you’re going to see some fluid reduction, where the baby’s actually getting rid of that fluid, and you—they’re going to get rid of all that black tarry stool. You’re amazed at how much is in there.
Sarah Blight: Yeah.
Lea Tribus: And the amount they’re putting out just doesn’t equal the small amount of colostrum they’re putting in.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: So that [0:19:40][Inaudible] is absolutely normal. Even if—a baby that’s getting formula is going to lose some weight.
Sarah Blight: Okay, good to know. I think that’s—a lot of people kind of freak out when they’re like, “My baby weighs less” and that’s—it’s good to know it’s normal.
Lea Tribus: Right, exactly. Knowing that upfront, a lot of parents when I go in to check, I’ll be like, “Oh, your baby only lost 5%” and they’re like, “My baby lost weight?!” So yeah, absolutely normal, it’s okay. Again, we watched that stool come out. All those diapers you’ve changed, they’re—it just doesn’t equal the Colostrum they’re taking in, so…
Sarah Blight: Okay, alright. So is it true that the more that you nurse, the more, you know, your milk production increases?
Lea Tribus: Um, yes, that’s actually a great question. Some moms feel like if their breast don’t have that really full feeling, there’s no milk. Okay, “Oh no! All of a sudden my baby’s eating every hour, there’s something wrong with my milk”. Um, babies have growth spurts. So when your baby has a growth spurt, eating every hour is very normal. And you’re never completely empty, you’re constantly making milk. So, your milk production usually peaks at about an hour after a feeding. And if your breasts are being emptied, what signals your body to make more milk is emptying of the breasts. So one of the key points that we tell our new moms is breastfeed and let the baby empty one breast before you switch the baby to the other side. It’s what we call the dinner dessert principle. So the first side is dinner, the second side is dessert. Don’t chimp—you know, skip dinner to get the dessert. So, all those years where we’re telling moms 15 and 15 minutes really isn’t valid. Every baby is different. I have three children, my first took 10 minutes one side, my second fed about in 15 minutes from—and would do a combination of both sides, and then my little baby, who happens to be my fattest baby, would do somewhere between the 6 to 8 minute range on one side, and she gained the most weight. So, it’s not always time that’s the indicator. It’s how fast is your let down and how efficient is your baby at getting that milk.
Sarah Blight: Good to know. Why is it that some babies seem to prefer one side over the other? I mean, I know personally, I dried up on one side because my baby like refused to nurse on that side after a couple of months. Why is that?
Lea Tribus: Um, there’s a couple different factors. A new born—it may be a matter of preference. So let’s say your baby was positioned in utero kind of leaning on one side. So when the baby comes out, you find, okay, well, you know, here she does fine, cradle hold on this side, but when I do cradle hold on that side, here she’s not having it. It’s just—they don’t act comfortable or whatever. So with those moms, we say, kind of trick your baby. So put him in cradle hold and then just slide him over into football. So that’s one reason. But since your baby did it a little later, sometimes it’s a production issue. Usually one side does produce almost double what the other can, and that can be normal. So if a baby’s a little bit older and just gets smarter and says, “Hey, that’s the one with all the milk in it”, there tends to be sometimes a preference for that side, and some babies will nurse longer on that side, which ends up, see, emptying you more, having you make more, and so it’s kind of like a vicious cycle.
So, the key for those moms that experience that and if like the next time you have a baby, what you would want to do is just focus on getting the baby to go on that side. So it may mean almost starting on that side every time. If you know there’s less in there, and then doing the other side. So we can work with babies—and sometimes it’s actually a nipple preference. Some babies were not perfectly symmetrical; sometimes it has to do with that as well.
Sarah Blight: I have to say, it was pretty inconvenient for the old, like, bra sizing, cause I’m like, “Okay”, I’m like, you know, totally two different sizes at least and it was definitely just stick in the old sock in the [Laughter] in the bras, since you keep things even.
Lea Tribus: Yes—no, it absolutely is true. You will completely become lopsided.
Sarah Blight: Yeah, yeah. Okay, um, what is your feelings—and I’m kind of guessing we’re heading into some preferential territory here, but some people may want to know how to get their baby on a schedule.
Lea Tribus: Sure.
Sarah Blight: Or, is it the on demand feeding better? So what are your thoughts on that topic?
Lea Tribus: Um, this is one of those topics that—you’re absolutely right, it becomes where I always like to sort of [0:24:01][prefecit?] with that parenting, labor and childbirth, all of that, pregnancy, it’s an art, it’s not a science, so you’re going to hear lots of opinions from different people, and—on what’s right and what’s wrong, and a lot of parents get very frustrated, like I just wish everybody would say the same thing.
Sarah Blight: Yeah.
Lea Tribus: That would be the easiest thing, which I completely understand but this is what I say. “Take what you hear from these different people, and you find out what works for your family and you go with that.” So, absolutely, some people cannot—they just simply cannot allow their baby to feed whenever they would like, so scheduling could be important. Um, it is absolutely a matter of opinion. I would say that the first 6 weeks of life is not the time to really try to get your baby on a strict schedule. And this is because so much growth is occurring. Lot of brain develop—this is kind of when they’re just coming into their own, you’re giving a routine, your supply is getting, you know—fully establish after the first two weeks and they you’re actually able to get that kind of better routine going on, so that would not be the time to do it. What I would do in those first 6 weeks is follow baby’s cues.
So you’re going to know your baby. This doesn’t mean that every time the baby cries, you’re feeding the baby, and that’s where some parents, I think, have an issue. They think that, “Oh my baby’s fussing. If I’m going to demand feed, that means I’m feeding the baby whenever the baby’s fussing”, and that’s really not the case. Demand feeding means when you learn your baby’s cues and figure out what those are, feeding the baby on those cues. So, that may mean—okay, my baby always, when I brush her teeth and she’s hungry, she roots. You know, she reaches to the side and opens her mouth. Or, when she’s hungry, she sucks on her hand, and you kind of figure that out as a parent, and there’s no, again, perfect manual cause every baby’s different, what those cues are.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: Uh, the first couple of weeks of life, we know—they’re the lip smacking, the rooting, all of that. After that, it’s kind of a [0:25:57][Phonetic] the parent to kind of hone in on, “Okay, is this a I’m hungry cry, is this a I’m sleepy cry…” What kind of cry is it and follow your baby’s cues at that point. But first six weeks I say, kind of feed on demand based on cues, and then after that, you can start thinking more about doing a stricter schedule.
Sarah Blight: Okay, last question. Um, is—well, I actually have two more questions. I’ll ask this question first in case we run out of time. Um, is it true that what you eat and drink affects your baby—if they’re breast feeding?
Lea Tribus: Yeah, that’s a great question. It certainly depends. Certain medications do cross into the breast milk. We have very good books that tell us about that. We know that nicotine, if you’re a smoker, does cross into the breast milk, it can make a baby a little bit irritable if they’re used to having nicotine and then they sort of withdraw form that, they get a little grouchy sometimes. And then alcohol is one that a lot of moms have questions about. Is it okay? Um, the kind of rule of thumb is one drink is okay.
So, you know, some wine with dinner, a beer at the ballpark is going to be okay, that’s going to be fine, because the amount that’s getting in the milk is just a fraction of what you’re having. Um, so that’s completely safe. Um, food wise, pretty much we say, eat normally. If you ate crazy foods when you’re pregnant eat them when you’re breastfeeding, because chances are is that the baby had a taste of those things, the amniotic fluid becomes tainted with what you eat, so if you eat garlic, then the amniotic fluid is swallowed by the baby, they have tasted that garlic already. And there are studies that show like breast milk that taste like vanilla, breast milk that taste like garlic, babies actually suckle at the breast longer when they get that variety. So, um, so it’s okay to eat whatever you’d like.
Parents that are concerned about allergies or gas or things like that, one of the only things that I would say you really want to watch is if you know you’re very lactose intolerant and you have a family history of that, and you have a very, very fussy baby, it’s worth doing what’s called a trial, where you take yourself off of dairy for a week or ten days, and then slowly add it back and just watch your baby. But in terms of other foods, if you ate spicy foods before, then most likely you’re going to be okay. And we talked about how other cultures—in other cultures they eat very spicy food or they eat certain things, and those babies do fine.
Sarah Blight: Yeah.
Lea Tribus: So really what it does is it help expands your baby’s, um, kind of food vocabulary, so that when you’re starting your solids, they’ve tasted some of these things before, they have, you know, they’re used to kind of variety and the taste of your milk, which ends up making their feeding a little bit easier as they get bigger.
Sarah Blight: Very cool. Okay last question is, um, what – should mamas pump?
Lea Tribus: Okay, good question. That is completely up to mom and based on what’s going on. You should not have your pump over your shoulder and go to the hospital with your pump.
Sarah Blight: Okay [Laughter]
Lea Tribus: I would say—I wouldn’t even buy a pump until later. So if you’re going to go back to work and you know you need a pump for that, absolutely. You know, you’re ready for that. Or if your baby has an issue, say, latching on one side and you know you want to pump that side to try to make more milk, get a pump at that point. But until you meet your baby and know what’s going on, you don’t need to make that kind of investments, so if there’s any issues going on in the hospital, they’re going to provide you a pump most likely. Um, they’re going to provide you with that, so if your baby was born a preemie, um, and you want to pump so that the baby can get breast milk, absolutely, great reason to pump.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: If you’re going back to work and you want to provide breast milk for your baby while you’re at work, yay! Pump. Um, if the baby has any latching issues—so, some babies are born with something called a tongue tie, which is a whole ‘nother topic, but um, that can affect their ability to really stimulate your milk supply. So anything that would affect your baby’s ability to stimulate the milk, you would want to pump. But not every mom needs it. So, for example with me, I was able to work a limited schedule—I worked nights. I just bought a hand pump and used that on occasion, because I didn’t need to pump on a regular basis. Um, so not every mom is going to pump, it’s really up to you how much you want to share the experience with your significant other. Those are all reasons why you would want to pump, but you don’t necessarily—not every mom—it shouldn’t be on your supply list, for every mom.
Sarah Blight: Okay.
Lea Tribus: Some moms would find it indispensable I’m sure, but other moms say, “I bought one and I never used it”.
Sarah Blight: So we can take it off the registry and see what happens.
Lea Tribus: That’s right, yeah. Well, leave it on there but don’t open it and then exchange it if you don’t use it.
Sarah Blight: There you go [Laughter]. Well, mamas who are watching, we’ve been chatting with Lea Tribus, she is a lactation consultant who’s been answering all the questions that we all forget to ask our lactation consultants or healthcare providers about breast feeding. So we want to thank you, Lea, for answering these questions and for sharing your expertise. To all the mamas who are watching, if you have any questions or comments about what we’ve discussed today, please leave them in the comment section below and we’ll make sure that they get answered. Thank you guys for watching and we’ll see you next time.
Lea Tribus: Bye.
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