All over the world, moms are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, some even honoring the event with traditions like the Global Big Latch On in some communities (come see us at the Global Big Latch on of Escambia & Santa Rosa Counties). In honor of this week, we are keeping it real.
It seems like the minute you announce your pregnancy, the advice starts to pour in from all directions--not just for pregnancy and birth, but for breastfeeding too. From "Don't eat broccoli or asparagus, it will give the baby gas," to "Never wake a sleeping baby to eat!" we are sure you've heard all the strange (and not-so-great) suggestions there are out there. And while there are some strange pieces of advice that are also mythical, there are also some strange pieces of advice that can be very, VERY helpful and real.
#1: Give the ladies air time.
Yes, we are suggesting you go topless once in a while. Letting your twins free while you're breastfeeding can be a very important part of the process--not only because your nipples are not accustomed to friction for 8 hours a day at first, and fabric against them can feel like rubbing shards of glass on them as they heal from any initial damage, but also because wearing a bra or shirt 24/7 can promote bacterial and fungal growth. Yeast and other bacteria thrives in dark, moist, warm places (aka, your nursing bra), and your breastmilk contains carbohydrates/glucose, which also feeds bacteria and fungi. So by going topless, you are not only giving your nipples time to heal and be more comfortable, but you are also allowing them to stay dry so that you can help avoid a thrush outbreak or other bacterial infection in your milk ducts. Wearing a button up shirt or a robe can facilitate this--hey, you could even just cut some holes in an old t-shirt and be set! Just make sure that you don't forget about your state of dress (or lack thereof) and accidentally answer the door for the UPS man.
#2: Strange breastfeeding positions are sometimes the best.
One of the most common issues in the early days of breastfeeding, and then later on during changes that can impact supply, are plugged ducts. This is when fat globules in your milk collect in one part of a duct and form a clog in the flow of milk. Many moms feel this as a hard knot that could be anywhere from the size of a marble to a golf ball. When this happens, one of the best ways to work the knot out is to lay your baby flat, and "dangle" your breast over your baby to feed, with the baby's chin against the knot. This allows gravity and the baby's oral movement to work the knot out. (See this position here).
Another fantastic breastfeeding position to help clear plugged ducts (or prevent them if you have them happen more than once) is the "over the shoulder" position. Imagine throwing your baby over your shoulder, upside-down, and you've about got the image! In this position, you are laying down on your side or back, and baby is lying with legs literally over your shoulder. (See this position here). These positions aren't just for plugged ducts, though. Switching the position baby feeds in frequently stimulates different parts of the breast, which can increase supply AND help prevent baby from developing a preferred nursing position or side. So, if you've struggled with plugged ducts more than once, or are uncomfortably engorged in the early days, this can be an especially helpful position if you have a very little one.
#3: Other Ways to Remove Plugged Ducts.
Plugged ducts can be nasty little boogers that are both painful and a precursor to mastitis (an even nastier booger). Thus, our desire to help you remove them as easily as possible, and avoid them in the future. And there is more than one way to fix this problem. The key with removing the clogged ducts is to dissolve the plug of milk fat--and this can require massage, heat or vibration. So, our favorite tools to suggest for plugged duct removal are:
#4: Put that stuff on everything.
This hearkens memories of My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the father of the bride believed that any ailment could be cured by Windex. Well, just switch out Windex for breastmilk and we've got a similar situation going on here. From pink eye, to scratches and cuts, to ear infections, lots of moms are now treating common ailments with a drop or two of anti-body filled breastmilk. In fact, many moms are stashing extra breastmilk in tiny syringes in the freezer just for situations like this. It might sound crazy, but there's lots of evidence that it works!!
So, in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, maybe stash away these "crazy" suggestions for later use--you might need them. And we'd love to hear about any weird or strange breastfeeding suggestions you've been given that have worked for you!
As early as I can remember, my grandmother always said, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Although she usually repeated this proverb to comment on the Jones baby’s outbursts at church on Sunday or to justify disciplining children at the local supermarket, this proverb took on a whole new meaning when I joined the Belly to Cradle team. Today I feel compelled to share some facts that make The Belly to Cradle Team unique in the world of birth care.
#1: Diversity of Caregivers
Talk about a village! At Belly to Cradle, you can personally choose the caregiver that best meets your desires and needs as a client. With four professional doulas and two board certified lactation consultants all with different backgrounds, personalities, life experiences, certifications, service fees, and all living in different geographic areas within the Greater Pensacola, FL, to Mobile, AL, you the client are more likely to find a caregiver that perfectly suits you and your family’s needs.
#2: Continuity of Care
When you hire Belly to Cradle, you’re not just hiring your individual birth doula or lactation consultant, you’re actually hiring a whole network--a whole force of knowledgeable, caring, professional women! Because we are a group of women in business together, we as a group are accountable to not only all of our clients but to each other. If due to some disaster or unforeseen circumstance your individual doula or consultant cannot make your appointment or birth, another Belly to Cradle caregiver will be on the way and will be able to seamlessly fill-in at no additional cost. Talk about great insurance!
Even more wonderful, is your ability as a mother and a parent to enjoy continuity of care with a business that you trust. Maybe you begin your Belly to Cradle journey by hiring a doula for your first birth and afterwards hire one of our lactation consultants to help your baby establish a better latch. Or maybe you needed some breastfeeding help from a lactation consultant and through your positive experience with Belly to Cradle decide you want to hire a doula for your second birth--however you choose to utilize our care, we are a "one-stop-shop" of caring, collaborative birth professionals.
#3: In-Home Care!
Going back to the grandma chronicles again; I always remember that dear old woman muttering under her breath about having to get all ‘dolled up’ to go see her various caregivers for appointments. “I remember in the good old days when people used to come to you,” she’d declare. At Belly to Cradle, just like grandma says, ‘we come to you!’ Don’t worry about the 3 day old breast milk sitting on the kitchen counter, laundry in piles on the couch, your toddler’s half consumed juice pouch stuck between the crevices of your couch. We’ve all been there…done that. Don’t stress! You just stay in your yoga pants and an old t-shirt and let us take care of the rest.
#4: Invaluable Connections and Local Resources
Belly to Cradle has been serving the greater Pensacola, FL area since 2011 and we have worked very hard to build and maintain a strong, professional reputation within the medical and birth communities in the local area. As our client, you will have access to countless resources during and after your pregnancy to chiropractors, photographers, midwives, massage therapists, many of which Belly to Cradle has a close, established working relationship with. In addition, depending on the additional service that you need, you may qualify for a discount of 10-20% off services with some of Belly to Cradle’s preferred business partners listed on our website.
#5: Alternative Payment Options
We understand that having a baby is expensive--and the thought of spending more than you absolutely need to for the cost of your care can be overwhelming. So, we offer various different payment methods and rates. Aside from offering a military discount to clients, our Gift Registry allows loved ones and friends to give you the invaluable gift of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum support by gifting contributions toward your balance with us. We also are willing to put your doula care payments on ‘layaway’ if you are not able to pay in full for services. We will work with your unique financial situation and will keep an account of payments made via our convenient and easy Payment Portal.
While we can't currently take insurance payments, we ARE approved to accept HSA and FSA cards as payment for any service that we provide. Now that’s something to get excited about!
#6: The Belly to Cradle Family
At Belly to Cradle our relationship with you and your family does not end after your
final prenatal appointment with your doula or your last house visit from your
lactation consultant. We stay in touch and will get you in touch with other local
Belly to Cradle moms and families through Facebook groups, local events, and Belly
to Cradle hosted mommy- baby get-togethers. You will be part of our Belly to Cradle
Birth is transformative. Ordinary women blossom into mothers, ordinary men
become fathers…and the family takes root. Whether this is your first birth or your
tenth, the process is messy, chaotic, unpredictable, but yet so incredibly beautiful.
And we, the women of Belly to Cradle, LLC can’t wait to squat, push, and latch with
you on the road to a happy, healthy birth and family experience!
Let's say you recently had a baby and started breastfeeding because it's something you have always wanted to accomplish, or maybe it's something you just wanted to try out and fell in love with the bonding experience it creates with you and baby. But maybe you've started to face challenges, or are just unsure whether everything is on the right track--well, that's where we come in!
But why does a 1.5-2 hour visit cost so much? Right now, an initial home visit with Belly to Cradle costs $125 (for around 90 minutes) and a repeat home visit (around 60 minutes) costs $75. In the office, you’ll pay $100 for that 1.5-2 hour initial visit, or $50 for a follow-up. Or, if you have an older baby, have already seen an IBCLC, or just need a weight check, we have some appointment times specifically designed for these scenarios, too. For a full list, check out our website here.
Initially this may seem like a lot to spend, especially with all the other baby-related costs you have to be concerned about, and we understand that! It’s tough to ask a family who may be struggling with breastfeeding to pay to get help -- we wish we could do this work for free! And who REALLY wants to discuss money?? It's safe to say that most, if not all, lactation consultants are in this business, not for the money, but simply to help moms and families have the best postpartum they possibly can, while helping babies eat! But, the time we spend with you at your consult is actually the tip of the iceberg.
But why is the initial visit the most expensive? Typically, we will spend on average 4 to 5 hours on each of those initial visits. We start by talking with you to figure out scheduling and what's going on with mom and baby, or by reviewing your submitted intake form and researching your concerns so we’re exceptionally prepared when you walk through our door (or we walk through yours!). Our goal is to make the most of our time together, so we try to get the formalities out of the way before we even meet you.
A home visit is a wonderful asset to your postpartum--not having to pack up the baby gear and the baby while wondering how you'll survive yet another appointment, being able to have a lactation professional help you breastfeed in your favorite chair--hey, you don't even have to get dressed or look "presentable"! We LOVE providing this service because of how many needs it meet in the days immediately following birth. The cost is higher in this setting though, because of the time spent driving to and from your home.
After the initial appointment, we generally spend about an hour charting (we are required to keep charts since IBCLCs are classified as medical professionals) because we like to spend the full appointment focused on the family and that beautiful baby, not staring at a screen. And, after any appointment with us, you now have 2 weeks of unlimited text, email or phone calls to ask any questions, get support or address any concerns you may have. That means you sometimes receive an additional hour or more of our time and attention -- and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We know you may not be able to remember everything we talked about in person, and you may have more questions or an ongoing difficulty we can continue to help with. This is yet another part of our care that we love to provide!
We are not of the opinion that breastfeeding is "best" for every family--some families benefit so much from reassessing their infant feeding goals and choosing alternative feeding methods (such as pumped breastmilk in bottles or formula). BUT breastfeeding is very important to many families, and since it is the biological norm, many more families are choosing breastfeeding after learning more about it and gaining support as they start out. And, some families are choosing feeding with breastmilk after assessing not only the health benefits but also the cost comparison with formula.
Breastfeeding is free! Yes, you can buy nursing bras, nursing clothes, boppys, breast pumps, etc. But none of that is NEEDED to breastfeed. However, to formula feed it's on average $1,733.75 for the first year to buy just the formula; that's enough money to take your family to Disney! When broken down, formula can be as cheap as 9 cents per ounce up to 31 cents an ounce (depending on what brand and type you choose). That cost does not include bottles or the potential increased costs of healthcare for those babies who don’t receive breastmilk. (And all of this doesn't even include the time spent preparing & cleaning bottles, or the money/time spent on obtaining sterile water for safe formula prep.)
We want your breastfeeding care to be affordable, of course. So here are some ways to keep it that way:
We are here for you no matter what you choose--from how you feed to your baby, to who you see for your lactation care. Let us know how we can support YOU!
Really? Another class? After the childbirth education classes and the infant care classes, and books, and webinars on the interwebs, all in preparation to give birth, there's yet ANOTHER class that needs to be taken? In the words of a YouTube visionary, "Ain't Nobody Got Time For That." Well...we respectfully request to disagree. Why?
After the breathing, and the contractions, and the pushing--then what? The average mom will spend 5-8 hours a day feeding her baby. Yup. Like a full time job. That means that in the first 6 months of your baby's life, you will spend around 1,000 hours--that's ONE THOUSAND HOURS--feeding your baby. So why wouldn't you take a class on something you're about to spend up to 40 hours a week doing? Well, let's talk about why you would take a breastfeeding class.
You get to establish a relationship with breastfeeding professional who can then provide support after baby comes, if you need it. Reaching out for assistance after baby comes can be daunting, overwhelming, or even intimidating, especially if the people you need are strangers. Get the niceties out of the way before baby arrives, in class! A familiar face always makes things easier. And during class, you'll learn how to identify reasons why you would need more support after baby comes, so you'll have an action plan in place if you face challenges.
You get to build the breastfeeding knowledge of your support network so that your partner/auntie/grandpa/sister can better help you. We encourage you to bring your whole posse to our breastfeeding class! Whoever is going to be hanging out with you to help after baby arrives should have the same information you do--not only so they know the whys behind what you're doing with breastfeeding, but also so that they can remind you if you forget something. Sleep deprivation, hormones, and all the newness of the postpartum can give you the infamous Mommy Brain, and having someone to remind you of what you learned in class can be absolutely priceless!
You get to learn the NUMBER ONE thing you need to do to get breastfeeding off to a great start and how a lot of families (unknowingly) mess it up. Even if you don't recall anything else from class, you will leave knowing THIS one thing. We would tell you this one thing is but we have to save some of our secrets for class!!
"Learn the NUMBER ONE thing you need to do to get breastfeeding off to a great start and how a lot of families (unknowingly) mess it up."
You get learn what a truly good latch looks and feels like. Since this may be your first time breastfeeding, you may not know what to look for when it comes to your baby's latch right after birth. Or maybe your last baby didn't have such a great latch and you're trying to improve on it this time. Having your family there too will help them be able to see whether or not baby has a good latch--especially since it can be hard to get baby latched on well the first few times with only two arms.
You get to practice coordinating breastfeeding holds through the use of our weighted dolls. While this may seem sort of strange at first (or even a little creepy--darned little eyes that open and close), it can actually be a real eye-opener (pun intended) to position a doll that weighs close to what your own baby will weigh. Just don't look the doll in the eye.
Join us as we start our very own breastfeeding class, Belly to Breastfeeding, which will be available every month, starting July 6!
Ever since I became a lactation consultant in 2015, I have encountered misconceptions about what the role of a lactation consultant really is--the main one being that we only approve of breastfeeding, and judge families who choose any feeding method other than breastfeeding. Friends would find out that I was a lactation consultant and say immediately, as though I might automatically judge, "Well, I couldn't breastfeed because..." Patients have told me, with shame, "Last night I gave the baby formula during cluster feeding, but I only gave it one time. I know I wasn't supposed to."
My answer, always and immediately, is that there is no right or wrong way to feed your baby. You have to do what works for you, not what pleases everyone else. As a lactation consultant, I will reassure you that no matter how you feed your baby, it is never "wrong" or "harmful."
So let's clear up some of these misconceptions about what lactation consultants do and don't do.
Lactation Consultants DO:
My answer, always and immediately, is that there is no right or wrong way to feed your baby.
Although that sums up our job description, the role of a lactation consultant is so much more than that. Just because breastfeeding is healthy and natural, doesn't mean it comes naturally. This is more than just a job to us--breastfeeding is something we are truly passionate about. We are passionate about helping moms and families achieve their desired feeding goals. We want to be your support system during this exciting, stressful, scary and emotional time in your life.
Here at BTC, we:
Ultimately, we will help you find out what is best for your family and then we will support you on your journey. We want to give you the confidence and support you need in order to reach your goal of a positive mother/baby bonding experience. Our goal is to help you feel proud of the goals you accomplished and guide in how YOU choose to feed your baby. After all, mom knows best:)
To schedule an appointment with either Kendal or Jen, visit our Lactation Appointment Booking page today!
This is us.
We are Women. We are Moms. We are here to help your family blossom.