Breastfeeding Takes Two: Lactation Consultant, LaShanda Dandrich, Debunks Common Nursing Myths
Our HATCH lactation guru LaShanda Dandrich debunks common myths throughout the nursing journey.
Nursing is one of the most frequent topics we get asked about by our community of mamas. So, in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we tapped our incredible lactation advisor, IBCLC and educator LaShanda Dandrich, on the 411 behind the most common themes she shares at her own practice. Check out LaShanda’s tips on the breastfeeding basics, below:
“Nursing is about teamwork. It’s about two beings working together to nourish and grow your little one,” says LaShanda. “And there are so many parts of mom’s world that come into play to make that happen. Making a plan to have the right resources and support ahead of time is the first step.”
Soreness and Pain Are Two Different Things.
The most common myth from new nursing mamas (or fearful mamas-to-be) is that breastfeeding is supposed to be painful. The truth? It’s not. Your nipples will be sore from overuse in the first few weeks as they’ll be in use quite often to feed your growing babe. A dull throbbing sensation is totally normal as you ramp up (until your body gets used to that sensation). However, if during an actual latch, there’s any biting or acute pain, then it’s time to bring in a certified consultant.
Frequency of Feeding has a Purpose.
One of the most frequent questions when breastfeeding is why so often? Is this right? The truth is that newborns are supposed to feed often, not only because they need the fuel to grow quickly, but also because in the beginning, the constant feeding and milk removal supports your milk supply. You’re working together in those first four weeks especially.
You WILL Have Enough Supply.
You really don’t need pumping in those first four weeks to build up your supply, so hold off and come together as a team with your little one. Breastfeeding takes two and you can do this together through frequency, relaxation and a strong support system that allows you to rest. Now, if there’s an issue with extremely cracked nipples or the baby’s not latching, then that’s when an IBCLC should enter the picture and when pumping may then be brought in.
Your Nips Know What to Do.
The old wives tales about toughening up the nipples in the third trimester are just that — tales. Some babies have stronger suckles than others and there’s no real way to prepare physically until you’re lived the action. For those who are on the more sensitive side, use any early breast milk production (errr leakage) through hand expression and rub them onto the nipps before air drying as a way to moisturize naturally. For those who have a tendency towards dryness or irritation, use balms in a thin layer so as not to block the pores.
Get Chilly With It.
After baby comes, it’s not uncommon to feel some throbbing or tingling when your breasts are filling back up for the first time — especially if baby fell asleep at the end of the feed. In this case, the best tool you can have in your nursing toolkit is a cold compress to lay on the breast after feeding. If you’re needing moisture, use a coconut oil or balm in a thin layer for each application as you don’t want to clog the ducts or put a barrier between your natural smell for baby to latch.
Positioning is Key.
Often mamas think they have a latch issue when it’s more about their position that’s being brought on by the wrong pillow purchase. Every woman’s body is different, so your ideal pillow may not be the same as your BFF’s. So, if you’re having any issues getting started, play around to find the best position for you. It’s about what works for you + baby, not everyone else!
Follow the Babe.
Breastfeeding can deplete you, and it’s easy to run on fumes when you’re not planning ahead or sleeping as much. So, mama, your rule of thumb is: when baby eats and sleeps, that’s what you should be doing as well. It’s critical to set yourself up early to have the support to allow for that. Sleep isn’t going to be 8 hours — it might be in 20-30min power naps — but taking that time to follow your baby’s lead is going to refuel you in a way that will truly allow for you to take care of them.
Take that Class.
Lastly, even if everything is going well, take a lactation class to learn all about the “why” behind the process early on, or check in with a lactation consultant via a home visit or support group in your area.