Ohhhh, We’ve Got Trouble, My Friends, right here in River City!
...With a capital T and that rhymes with B and that stands for Bottle!
You’ve gotten breastfeeding off to a great start; baby is happy, healthy, and gaining well. You’re feeling great about your breastfeeding relationship and that awesome milk you provide. A couple months down the road you decide to give baby and bottle, and she refuses!
For some families, bottles are essential for when the nursing parent goes back to work. For others, it may not be needed every day, but parents want to have some time to run errands, go to appointments, spend time with friends, and be able to leave baby at home. So what do you if baby won’t take a bottle?
Bottles & Milk
Alternatives to Bottles
Offering the Bottle
Some babies choose not to take a bottle. For short periods of time, they may not need to have milk. For extended time, they may choose to go without milk when away from the breast, and get all their milk in the evening and overnight. This situation may not be ideal, and may be more tiring for the nursing parent, but fortunately baby is still getting all his nutrients and is happy during the day.
Take your time
Your baby cannot be forced into taking a bottle through hunger and persuasion. You may have to work on it over time. It’s ok to let baby play with the bottle and nipple in her mouth, getting used to the idea.
All of these tips are for babies refusing the bottle out of preference for feeding at the breast. If it seems your baby is struggling with a bottle for other reasons, please speak with an IBCLC or your pediatrician to rule out anatomical concerns. Some IBCLCs (including myself) do bottle consults to work with your baby and help you develop a plan for guiding your baby towards taking a bottle. Bottle refusal is yet another time you are not alone. Always reach out for help.
I’ve also included this information in the attached PDF for easy printing and reference.
Silver Bells, Silver Bells, It’s Breastfeeding time at the Holidays
In the end, the most important tip is to treasure the holidays and this time with your little one. I know it can feel overwhelming, especially if you are struggling with breastfeeding or the postpartum period. Take a moment to breathe and know you have created this little being, or you brought him/her into your home to love. Through breastfeeding, you are sustaining your baby’s life and giving him/her all s/he needs. That is something to celebrate!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
I am thrilled to share that I am now an in-network provider with Aetna and its subsidiaries. Aetna members are eligible for up to six lactation consults, with no out-of-pocket costs.
While I am happy to be park of the insurance network, I know many of my clients, and many of you out there, are members of other insurance providers. So what does that mean for you? Can you get your lactation consult covered by insurance?
For many new parents, having access to a consult with an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is a crucial step in continuing their breastfeeding journey. Several years ago, breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling were added to the Affordable Care Act. This change in insurance law has made it possible for more parents to get the care they need, however, there are some bumps in the road and coverage is not always available. Understanding how lactation care and insurance intertwine can be confusing, so hopefully I can shed some light on the issues and provide not only resources for getting your consult covered, but also an inside look into the issues facing IBCLCs.
As previously mentioned, if you are unsure of the coverage extended to you, call your insurance company, and reach out to a local IBCLC for guidance. The insurance market is ever-changing. While we don’t know what changes will unfold in the next few years, IBCLCs will continue to promote lactation coverage for all families to ensure equitable care for everyone.
Whether you are singing out of tune, falling in love, or breastfeeding your baby, you can get by with a little help from your friends! Being a new parent is not easy, and the breastfeeding relationship is part of that. Finding a support group or friends group can help you have a more successful breastfeeding relationship. How can you benefit from being with other lactating families?
Even for people for whom breastfeeding comes easily and may not need professional support, a parent-to-parent support group can make a big difference in their parenting journey, especially that first year.
While most communities have formal support groups, an informal group of parents going through the same stages may also be just what you need. Check your local facebook groups and parenting sites for peer support groups.
I’d love to have you join me at our Breastfeeding Support Group. All lactating parents and their babies are welcome. It’s an opportunity to get out in the evening, whether you work outside the home or in the home, and you get the best of both worlds - professional advice and support from other parents!
Breastfeeding Support Group
1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30pm
Wellsview Cottage, Annapolis
Check the Lactation Life website and/or Facebook page for up-to-date changes
How many of you know the Hand Jive by heart? Did you perform it in Grease in high school, or jive in your living room with your friends? Maybe that’s just those of us who grew up in musical theater, but you were Born to Hand Jive, Baby! And now, as a breastfeeding parent, you were Born to Hand Express!
Hand expression has many benefits throughout your breastfeeding journey, and especially in the early days. It’s worth the practice!
Videos - There is more than one method of hand expression. I recommend trying different methods to find what works best for you. I am including several links to videos so that you can watch instructional videos and see it in action.
Babies are the best removers of milk from the breast, but once you’ve gotten good at it, hand expression is not far behind. After your baby is born, take a few minutes each day to practice and you may be surprised at how quickly your body responds.
You have hands - use them!
Do you use hand expression? How is it useful in your breastfeeding journey?
Cynthia Bischoff, IBCLC, is the owner and provider at Lactation Life, offering lactation consults in Maryland.