All Things Breastfeeding – Top 5 Breastfeeding Concerns

Why this podcast?
Not only is this podcast a fantastic resource in and of itself but it is part of a website called The Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor* which has everything you could wish for relating to breastfeeding.

The podcast is hosted by Barbara Robertson, an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), who has been supporting mums and babies on their breastfeeding journeys for over seventeen years.

Why this episode?
Many of us have worries about breastfeeding before our babies arrive. Will we be able to do it? How will it feel? Will we have enough milk?

I love that this episode addresses the most common concerns in a very down-to-earth, non-judgemental way and provides some great tips too.

The episode
After a few preliminaries, Barbara jumps into the first concern –

#1. Milk Supply
How can you tell if your baby is getting enough milk?

Two important things to check are:

Dirty nappies
For details on how much poop and pee your baby should be producing as well as all the breastfeeding info you could ever want, see the wonderful resource that is Kelly Mom.

Weight gain
If your baby is gaining weight well then they are getting enough milk.

What influences milk supply?

In order to ensure a good milk supply you need:

– Glandular tissue in the breast
– Intact ducts and nerves
– The proper hormone profile and, lastly, the one we have the most control over – 
– To empty your breasts often 

Each time you empty your breasts, whether that means your baby feeding, pumping or hand expressing, you are telling your body that it needs to make more milk.

It’s simply supply and demand.

Finding a good lactation consultant before you have your baby is one of the best things you can do. That way, if any issues arise, you have someone to call straight away.

#2. Pain
What’s normal and what’s not?

I love the simple answer that, if you find yourself dreading the next feed, you should seek support.

If you are experiencing pain one of the first things to look at is your baby’s latch.

It’s totally normal during the first week or two, when both you and your baby are learning how everything works, to experience a few seconds of pain when your baby latches.

If the pain lasts longer than that or you are still experiencing it after the first couple of weeks, reach out.

If you notice that your nipples are white after feeding (with or without pain) then you could be experiencing blanching and/or vasospasms.

The most common cause of the blood flow being cut off is compression of the nipple and the most common cause of that is a shallow latch. For more details please click here.

#3. Latch
If your baby is not latching, there’s a reason and some of the more common ones are:

– A tough birth
Birth is hard work for babies too and some births are harder than others. Your baby could simply be tired.

– A lip or tongue tie
This is something that should be very easy to have checked and treated if necessary.

– A Cesarean birth
Some babies who arrive via a belly birth may find feeding more challenging at first.

Here are some ideas on how to make the transition to breastfeeding as smooth as possible.

Seeking the support of a lactation consultant means you will get help with whatever breastfeeding challenge you are experiencing.

Not only that but you’ll get advice on how to protect your milk supply and ensure that your baby is fed whilst you work towards resolving the issue.

#4. Bottle feeding
I love that this is covered.

Paced bottle feeding is now recommended to avoid over-feeding and obesity and this page goes into detail about how much formula your baby should be drinking.

#5. Breastfeeding once back at work
Yes! Depending on where you live you may need to return to work when your baby is a few weeks, months or even years old.

If you want to continue breastfeeding here are a few things to think about:

Ensure that whoever is looking after your baby uses paced bottle feeding
This will mean that your baby is not over-fed and will still want to breastfeed when they are with you.

Take the time to empty your breasts often
Apart from pumping or hand expressing at work, prioritise feeding your baby often at home (see above).
Aim for 8 breast emptyings in a 24 hour period.

All pumps are not created equal
A high-quality pump will remove milk much more efficiently. Not only will this give you a better chance at maintaining your supply but it will save you time (and probably stress) as well.

Harpers Bazaar published an interesting piece about the problems of pumping at work so please check that out too.

To wrap up
I hope you listen to this fairly short episode in full as it covers a lot more detail than I can go into here.

If you had any big worries about breastfeeding please get in touch, I’d love to hear how you overcame them.

Until next time!

* I’m not sure why but I can no longer access this website. For that reason, I have not referenced resources on the Ann Arbor site though plenty are mentioned during the episode.

I hope it is just something strange with my internet settings and that you have more success. Let me know!

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.
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