Ask an Expert: Breast Fullness and Difficulty Latching

Ask an Expert is a blog feature hosted by a team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Once a month each IBCLC randomly chooses a question from The Badass Breastfeeder Facebook wall and provides their response on the blog.

By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA

Fan Question:

“I am expecting my 4th and would like to exclusively breastfeed this one, but I had issues with the 1st 3. My breasts get so large, my nipple almost disappears, and I have a hard time getting the babies to latch. Any ideas on how to fix this?”

It is not unusual for breast fullness that makes latching challenging to develop around Day 3-5 after birth. But there are a couple of easy fixes for latching problems at this and other times. One is a technique called reverse pressure softening. This involves using gentle but firm pressure to move any breast swelling away from the nipple and areola further back into the breast for an easier latch. See a YouTube video demonstrating this. You can also read about it here. Another strategy to make early latching easier for you and baby is using laid-back breastfeeding positions, as gravity helps your baby get on deeper. If you’re still having trouble, I would also recommend seeing a board-certified lactation consultant, as often just a little tweaking can make a huge difference. Best of luck!

unnamedNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA is a board-certified lactation consultant in the Chicago area who has been helping breastfeeding families since 1982. Her books for professionals are used worldwide. Her books for parents include Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, which she co-authored with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, and her tiny problem-solving guide, Breastfeeding Solutions  In 2013, Nancy released her Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app (available for Android and iPhones) to give mothers a quick, go-everywhere source of breastfeeding help. Nancy speaks at events around the world.

Technology That Prevents Death

There has been a lot of chatter on the internet lately about children being forgotten in car seats. My initial reaction is always to fiercely judge a person. “How in the world can you forget your child?” “How disconnected from life can a person really be?” “You must have serious issues to forget your own child.”

I gave birth to my second son 5 weeks ago. These last 5 weeks have been some of the busiest and most disorienting of my whole life. My husband and I have joked that during times of stress, toddler tantrums and plain old chaos we forget our second son is here. I mean he’s so small and quiet. Our first is so loud and boisterous. He keeps us on our toes all the time. During those times it’s happened that I will snap my head up and say “where’s Exley!?” Only to find him sleeping peacefully in the bassinette 2 feet away where I put him 10 minutes ago.

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Here’s my point. I have never forgotten my child in his car seat. I don’t think that I ever would. But I don’t feel it is out of the realm of possibilities for any human to make a mistake like that. We don’t know what people are going through. People of all walks of life have forgotten their babies. No one is immune to making mistakes; even this mistake. Also, Forgotten Baby Syndrome is real. David Diamond, PhD discusses here this syndrome and its role in vehicular heat stroke. The bottom line is this happens regularly. It’s a problem that we might be able to help people with.

Cars didn’t used to have technology to alert you that you left your lights on. People forgot to turn their lights off and their batteries died. People, for whatever reason, forget their children in cars. 15 of those children have died in 2014 alone. If saving a battery is worth new technology, isn’t saving a child worth it as well?

Please sign this petition to mandate car seat manufacturers and automakers to develop and implement technology to detect children forgotten in car seats.

Abby Theuring, MSW

In the Napping House Where Everyone But Me is Sleeping

You’ve had those days. I know you have. Where you are so tired. No, no. Like more tired than you ever thought was humanly possible and still be alive. So tired. Just so flippin’ tired. And you know there are people in the world who are sleeping and you hate them with intense passion. Just the thought that another human being gets to be sleeping makes you so spiteful. How dare they sleep while you, the most tired person on the entire face of the Earth, has to stay awake. So tired that you have bumped into several pieces of furniture and a few walls and door frames. Tomorrow your hips and shins will be covered in bruises. So tired that you don’t have control over your body anymore. You drop everything you pick up. You’re a little bit afraid to pick up the newborn for fear you just won’t be able to hold on. You’re so tired you find that you have been staring at the cartoons with your toddler for like 2 hours. Maybe. You aren’t quite sure how much time has passed. And you don’t even let him watch endless amounts of TV, but who really gives a fuck today? Mommy, can I have some ice cream. Sure. I’ll get it. Have we eaten breakfast yet? is it lunchtime? I don’t know. And after dropping the spoon several times and knocking all the bowls out of the cabinet you hand your toddler like 5 scoops of ice cream. At least someone is happy. You sit back down. Stare at your phone. Post some things on Facebook. Oh man, I hope I didn’t post that on my actual wall. What am I saying? People will think I am drunk. Suddenly you look up and around at the people in the room. And this is what you see.

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Do I look annoyed?

Abby Theuring, MSW

The Badass Breastfeeder on The Stir

Badass Breastfeeder Nurses Toddler and Newborn: You Got a Problem With That? 

Ask an Expert: Tandem Nursing

By Anne Smith, IBCLC

Fan Question:

“I nursed all my babies. My oldest was 8 months old When I became pregnant with my daughter so I stopped nursing him. It never occurred to me to continue or to try and tandem nurse them. I know with the first baby, your produce colostrum.  Now, if you are already nursing when baby number two arrives, will you produce colostrum again or will the new baby miss out? I see people frowning upon mom’s that choose to tandem nurse but the way I see it, as long as new baby gets it’s “liquid gold” and baby one will get a double dose of colostrum, Why would there ever be an issue? If I could go back in time, I would change the decision I made that day and kept nursing. (You may decide to leave out the section in italics)

Answer: During the second trimester, your breasts will begin to produce colostrum.. If  you are breastfeeding during your  pregnancy, your  breasts will produce a mixture of mature milk and colostrum (extra antibodies for your toddler!)

Both the quantity and the taste of the milk change dramatically during this time, and  some  babies will wean themselves when the milk changes. Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy your breasts will produce  more colostrum when you  give birth, regardless of  whether you are already nursing your older baby.

When the mother’s milk comes in a few days after birth, it is called “transitional milk.” This mixture of colostrum and mature milk is produced from 4-10 days after birth. 

Transitional milk may look yellowish due to the colostrum content. After 10-14 days, mature milk is produced. It still contains lots of valuable antibodies and immune factors, but no more colostrum, so it isn’t an issue after that time.

It’s a good idea to nurse the newborn first so that he’ll get most of the colostrum. but you don’t need to worry about limiting your older baby’s time at the breast.
Anne Smith, IBCLCAnne has been helping moms reach their breastfeeding goals for over 35 years, as a La Leche League and an IBCLC in private practice since 1990. Breastfeeding six children gives her a unique combination of first hand experience as well as professional expertise. In 1999, she started her website,www.breastfeedingbasics.com, with lots of information on breastfeeding and parenting, and a wonderful group of bloggers, including Abby from The Badass Breastfeeder, Rachelle from Unlatched, and Marie from Anarchy in the Sandbox.

Join the more than six millions of moms who come to Breastfeeding Basics each year for information and support, and visit Anne on Facebook.