Breastfeeding Failure: How This Therapist Coped

Rachel1Breastfeeding: it is everywhere. Even for people who choose to formula feed for whatever reason, they are reminded of the benefits of breastfeeding on the can of formula that reads “breast is best.” For some, we allow breastfeeding (or lack of breastfeeding) to define the type of mother that we are. I was one of those “some”. The sad part is, it took me two years to realize it was in MY head and MY issue.

First off, allow me to provide some background information about myself and my journey. It is relevant, I promise. After a year and a half of not being able to get pregnant, my husband and I decided to seek treatment from a fertility specialist. For anyone who is fortunate enough not go through this process, count your blessings. It is an emotionally draining process to say the least. Fortunately, after about a year from the time we sought treatment, I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful seven-pound baby boy. He was (and still is) absolutely amazing.   I knew infertility could negatively impact a mom’s ability to breastfeed, but I was determined to breastfeed. Determined. Continue reading

Black Breastfeeding Week: Hell YES we need it.

World Black Breastfeeding Week begins on August 25 and I am Ashley2already hearing the negative, disapproving “buzz” in the lactation community. I will never understand why anyone–especially lactation consultants– disapproves of World Black Breastfeeding Week. As IBCLCs we have an ethical responsibility to support all cultures, and this includes African-American women. As a white and privileged RN IBCLC, I ask myself, “What do I know about the cultural norms of infant feeding in African-American communities?” Answer: absolutely nothing! I decided to reach out to my friend and colleague, Ashley Russell,  to educate lactation consultants about the importance of World Black Breastfeeding Week. This is what she said:

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The Breastfeeding Mom’s Plugged Duct Tool-Kit


Are you struggling with plugged ducts? I have a few tools you can use to help open your plugged duct and also a tool to prevent them! Here is my Plugged Duct Tool-Kit.

1. An Infant Diaper- Use a wet newborn diaper and heat it up in the microwave for heat application. Please test the temperature to avoid burns. The diaper is perfect for cradling around your breast and is mess free and reusable. You can also use an infant diaper for cold application, by placing it in the freezer.

2. An Electric Toothbrush- Use a new electric toothbrush, the flat, back-side only, for vibrating and massaging directly on the hard lump. Milk cells called lactocytes, are VERY sticky and vibration will loosen them so that massage can help open a plugged duct. Continue reading

Negative Breastfeeding Campaigns: How They Impact Mental Health

I am thrilled to post my interview with Steph, who is a blogger withIMG_0054 Grounded Parents.  Steph talks more about how negative breastfeeding campaigns impacted her mental health.  Steph has really good ideas about how to implement positive infant feeding campaigns.

Q: As a new mom who was struggling to breastfeed your baby, did negative breastfeeding campaigns impact your emotional health? 

A: With my first baby, I was so intent on exclusively breastfeeding. Everything that I had seen on the subject from posters and newscasts to books and brochures told me that breast was best and EBF was necessary for a healthy baby. Continue reading

Part 2 of My Interview with Human Milk Researcher, Shannon L Kelleher, PhD: Pre-term Infants and NEC

I am thrilled to share part 2 of my interview with human milk researcher, Shannon L shanKelleher, PhD. I wanted to share with everyone that Dr. Kelleher is doing exciting studies currently, one right here at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit:

Dr. Kelleher’s goal is to start a Lactation Research Center here at Penn State Hershey!!! I hope to collaborate with her so that together we can do great things to promote the science of human milk.
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