Sunday, November 18, 2012

Breastfeeding: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!

So that sums up our visit with the lactation consultant (LC) on Thursday! She was absolutely lovely and very knowledgeable and I'm glad we went to see her.

The reason why I wanted to take Ethan, was because in the last week and a half he's gotten very "sucky" (literally) when he eats and very very spitty (which I was reeeeeeeally hoping to avoid with him). I figured he was probably getting so spitty because of all the extra air he was sucking in when eating and wanted to see if she could help fix his latch.
Ethan Nursing
I am a big fan of and highly recommend it for any breastfeeding moms out there, and had done some research on fixing latches. My SIL Laura is also very knowledgeable and she suggested I try the cross-cradle hold vs. the cradle hold that I've always used. I found I could get him on 80% of the time on the left with a better latch, but rarely on the right. With my knowledge not only as a mom who had eBF her first son until 5 months and then weaned just after his 1st birthday, and as a nurse, I knew that there wasn't necessarily a problem with Ethan's nursing...just with his latch. He is gaining well, peeing, pooping....thriving!

The LC watched me feed Ethan on the right side, my more difficult side, and she did see immediately he drew back and didn't have that full latch. She showed me some techniques to help him get a deeper latch, like holding him closer to me and supporting between his shoulder blades vs. his head, and even just those little things helped a lot.

But, her biggest recommendation was: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

As I just said...he's eating, he's growing (like a weed!), peeing, he's obviously getting what he needs. He's very gassy, but also not in pain from it and I'm not in pain during or after I feed him. We figure that he's compensating for my extremely fast and strong let down. He literally only has to be on for 5 seconds, not even feeding, and I let down. It's like he's sipping through a straw vs. chugging it down - which he knows he can't handle. I'm one of those women who just randomly lets down multiple times throughout the day, not triggered by anything either. I don't have over-supply, just a lot and my let down is strong.

With Braden, he couldn't handle my let down very well. He'd choke and spit while trying to I guess Ethan figured out how to handle it! I guess I'll just have another spitty baby, lots of bib-wearing and LOTS of laundry to do. But that's okay! I've done it before and I can do it again. The important thing is, is he's healthy and growing.

They say in the first month breastfed babies are supposed to gain 20 - 40 g/day. gaining >50 g/day! Over achiever! If he's anything like his big brother, and most breastfed babies, he'll continue to really gain the next 2 months and then plateau until we start solids. But, my 3 month old breastfed nephew is 16 there's exceptions to every "rule"!

BUT, I think he has reflux. Praise God he is NOT in pain and not bothered by it at all, but last night, I swear he spit up every.single.drop of milk he drank. I know he didn't, but man oh man that poor kiddo just spit and spit and spit. He's in good spirits when do I worry about this? I'm quite certain Braden wasn't this spitty.

The LC is going to call me later this week for a follow-up conversation so I'm just going to mention it to her and see if she has any words of wisdom about a non-painful reflux baby. She did recommend something, I forget the term she used, but it's essentially like "rebooting your computer" where a couple of times a day I would pump on both sides until I'm literally dry. She was going to forward the research on this to me, but she said sometimes it helps with a super active let-down. It's worth a try.

Do you have any tips for me on a super spitty/refluxy baby? I have tried:
  • Burping before, during, and after feeds
  • Keeping him upright after a feed for 15-20 minutes (this has proven to mean he just spits in front, and not to the side when lying down!)
  • Reclining during feeding to use gravity to slow my let down
  • Fixing his latch
  • Only feeding from one side so that he gets the fatty milk and doesn't have to drown in two let downs
  • Note: I really don't want him on meds, I think they really just help for pain not for actually stopping the spitting!
Well, that's about it for now. I'll update as our journey continues!

Also, have you ever gone to an LC? Did it help?