Breast Feeding Tips from a Lactation Consultant

[ 0 ] September 22, 2015 |

I have been working with breastfeeding women for nearly 20 years.  When you work exclusively in a Lactation Consultant role, you see all aspects of breastfeeding…and I mean all!  In my role as a Lactation Consultant I also do phone triage for breastfeeding parents and address all their questions and concerns.  Questions of all types which range from low milk supply, getting baby to take a bottle, returning to work and calming a fussy baby.  Sometimes the questions seem more obvious to me, but that doesn’t make it less important to the mother.  Sometimes the calls are asking if it’s safe for her to get her hair colored if she’s breastfeeding?  Is it ok if her baby only had 4 dirty diapers yesterday when the previous days they have had 5?  How will mothers newly sprained ankle impact her breastfeeding?  I think you get the picture!  Anyway, in these next few blogs I would like to address the more common concerns of the breastfeeding mother.  I would like to begin with calming a fussy baby. breastfeeding

Providing ways to comfort a baby seems like it should come naturally.  Remember each baby has a unique personality and the parents/caregivers will likely use a trial-and-error method to discover comfort measures specific to each baby.  It will get easier for parents as they get to know their baby and their own little personality.  They have to remember to be patient with themselves.

There are several different reasons babies are fussy.  Once parents have taken care of the immediate demands of hunger, burping and changing the diaper, they might find some of these comfort measures helpful.  Remember there is not one solutions for each baby and each situation.  Be creative and patient and look to how the baby is trying to communicate to you.

Remember they are comforted by the parents (specifically the mother’s)  calm voice,  heartbeat, familiar smell and being held.  They can sense when the parent is tense and frustrated, so try to remain as calm as possible.

Doing skin-to-skin with your baby is a sure-fire way to calm them down.  I mentioned this in my book, 20 minutes of skin-to-skin decreases baby’s stress hormones by over 60%!   It’s home sweet home, the best place for them to be.  Skin to skin is also good for the mother, stress hormones decrease by more than 45% for her also.  So when in doubt, snuggle baby and let the moment take you away.

Here are some other helpful hints that  may be useful:

  • Avoid over feeding.  This will cause them to feel bloated and uncomfortable.  Keep track of feedings, as each feeding may run into the other and it will be easy to think they must be hungry.  Feeding a baby that is not hungry will likely cause them to be fussier.
  • Swaddle your baby until they calm down.  However, don’t have your baby sleep swaddled tightly.
  • Change your environment – go outside or in the car if possible.
  • Try firmly patting or rubbing their back to release a trapped burp.
  • Place them on their tummy.  This may help release some trapped gas.
  • If you can’t do skin-to-skin, hold them close against your chest so they can hear your heartbeat.  Playing sounds that mimic the womb are especially helpful.
  • Calm them by giving a massage; working head to toe usually works best.  Massaging may help them to  relax an pass trapped gas.  When you get to their feet, use firm circular motions on their soles.
  • Rocking motions are almost always helpful.  A swing, stroller or wearing a Moby wrap are all helpful ways to calm your baby.  Remember they were used to activity and motion while they were inside mom.
  • Calmly talking to or singing to baby will be familiar to them and they often respond by calming down to listen.
  • Give them a bath.  The warm water is comfortable and calming and may also help relieve some trapped gas.  You could give that massage after their bath to complete the event.

I hope some of these suggestions will be helpful.  In a nutshell, here is my overall advise for the parents and caregivers of a fussy baby.   Don’t doubt yourself as a parent.  Remember no one knows your baby better than you do.  Trust yourself and enjoy the new adventure.

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Category: Health, Women's Health

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About Jill Lindquist: Jill Lindquist is very passionate about breastfeeding and helping moms and babies along their breastfeeding journey. She’s also about empowering the mother and giving her the confidence and education she needs to love, nurture and [...]
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