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Managing Expectations: What to Expect When Breastfeeding

Managing Expectations_YbreastAs a general pediatrician and lactation consultant in a busy pediatric practice, my days are often filled with the stories and tears of new mothers. After all, giving birth is the single most life-changing experience most of us will ever have. While rewarding, it can throw even the best of us for a loop. And, breastfeeding certainly isn’t easy. I get it! To succeed, it starts with the expectation.

That being said, I find that the moms who tend to have the most difficult time, and often the least breastfeeding success, are the ones with the most unrealistic expectations. Realistically, one should expect the first 3-4 weeks of breastfeeding to be challenging… to say the least.

I, myself, have been there and with experience and time, I learned that while breastfeeding can be very difficult—at first—once you catch your groove and get past the sheer exhaustion that having a newborn naturally results in, it is infinitely easier to attach a baby to your breast at 2 AM than it is to get up and make a bottle. The trick is having a bit of patience and perseverance until you get there.

By |September 15th, 2014|

A New Mom’s Perspective: Tales from the Breastfeeding Frontlines

Perspectives_EditedMedical experts all agree: breastfeeding is not just the optimal choice of nutrition for babies, it is an absolute health imperative. It provides unparalleled protection against viruses, bacterial infections, and environmental toxins. It stimulates the physical, intellectual, and emotional growth of your baby and initiates important hormonal signals that prime both the body and brain for optimal development. Absolutely priceless, it is the ultimate superfood. But breastfeeding isn’t easy and it throws most new moms for a loop.

In a very special Q&A, we get the unique perspective of one new mom who shares what she discovered through breastfeeding—the joys, the challenges, and what contributed to her success.

By |January 20th, 2014|

Protect Your Baby with Breastmilk, It’s Baby’s First Immunization

We moms want nothing more than to protect our children from harm, and when our babies first arrive, the potential predators can seem endless. Germs are everywhere, so we wash our hands incessantly, shield our strollers with covers, and avoid public places. Most of us only start to breathe easier at six weeks, when our babies have had their first round of immunizations.

But did you know that long before that, you can provide your baby with his first and best defense against the deadly bacteria and viral microorganisms in your environment? One of the most powerful protections is right inside your underwire bra. That’s right: your breasts. By making breastmilk, we moms can construct an immunological fortress around our babies that nothing in science can even begin to approximate.

By |November 1st, 2013|

The Mystical and Magical Powers of Colostrum

Forget Dom Pérignon and Chateau Margaux: colostrum—also known as “liquid gold”—is the ultimate luxury beverage.  Like fine wines, it’s produced only in extremely limited quantities and lasts just a few days after birth.  You can’t buy it in a store or stock up on the Internet.  There’s only one source for this miraculous elixir: you.

That’s right—no technology can come close to replicating the nutrition and immunological properties of colostrum, which has some seriously mind-blowing benefits. It’s one of the first and greatest gifts that a mother can give her baby. So if breastfeeding is the only thing you accomplish during your infant’s first week of life, then you rock. This small-batch substance you’re churning out is truly lifesaving.

So why exactly is colostrum so incredible?  Let me count the ways.  

By |October 18th, 2013|

The First Latch Is the Key to Breastfeeding Success

Timing is everything in life: the perfect job, the perfect romance, or even just a free taxi at rush hour—so much depends on being in the right place at the right time. Breastfeeding is no different: get the timing right, and success comes easy. Get it wrong and you may struggle or ultimately give up. It all hinges on the very first time the baby puts her mouth to mom’s nipple and begins to feed. Done at the right time, in the right way, that first latch can put you on the fast track to breastfeeding success.

Here’s the thing that most moms (and even most “experts”) don’t always get. Babies are born with the instinctive drive to locate the breast immediately following birth. They have certain involuntary reflexes that encourage them to crawl—yes, crawl—toward their mothers’ breast. Within minutes of being born, babies are stretching and elongating their tongue muscles, rooting their heads and smacking their lips. All of these motions help babies physically ready themselves for the most important job of their little lives: getting fed.

By |October 4th, 2013|