Forever Freckled is very excited to welcome Pamela Mazzella DiBosco as our first guest expert blogger! As a Pediatrician, I find a lot of women are not equipped with the tools necessary to overcome the challenges of breastfeeding. While we understand that the decision to breastfeed is personal to you, in the event you choose to breastfeed your child, we have brought in the best to help our readers prepare for breastfeeding and to provide you with a resource if you approach obstacles with nursing. Pamela Mazzella DiBosco, BA, IBCLC, RLC has been helping babies and mothers breastfeed through a variety of challenges for over twenty five years. She has helped mothers overcome a wide range of breastfeeding obstacles, ranging from managing milk supply to finding solutions for sore nipples. She passed a rigorous exam after years of preparation to become an IBCLC. To find out what it takes to be an IBCLC, check out www.iblce.org. After years of volunteer work and working for WIC, Pamela opened a private practice focusing on helping women in the privacy of their own homes as their babies learn to breastfeed. Most importantly, she is the mother of seven children including a set of twins, all breastfed, and a very proud grandmother too! Without any further introduction, we are pleased to provide the following advice directly from our first guest expert blogger, Pamela Mazzella DiBosco:
As a lactation consultant, I am often asked, “what are the benefits of breastfeeding?” The truth is that breastfeeding is not about benefits– there is no need for a benefits vs. risks analysis when we choose how babies should be fed. Breastfeeding is the way human beings are fed as infants. Women make milk to feed their babies, and babies receive that milk. It’s how we survived as a species since the beginning of humanity. Then came alternatives and we forgot that breastfeeding is how babies eat. Not too long ago, the question “breastfeeding or bottle feeding?” was not even asked because so few women breastfed. Today, not only is the question asked, more women are answering “breastfeeding.” Women know why they want to breastfeed and they know the mother’s milk is what a baby needs. What they need to know now is how to make breastfeeding work for them.
- Learning about breastfeeding begins before the baby is born. Pregnant women can attend classes and support groups and learn what breastfeeding is about from other new mothers. Check out your local La Leche League group at www.lli.org for free breastfeeding support in your area. Make a prenatal connection with someone who can help you when baby is born so you don’t find yourself in the middle of a challenge trying to figure out who to call.
- When you have your baby, as soon as possible, place your baby skin to skin and wait. There is no rush to make the baby latch. Be patient. Follow the baby’s cues and let the baby look and show interest in being ready to eat. Think of yourself as a guide helping the baby find the way, not so much in charge and rushed to force that first attachment to the breast. Your baby has some innate skills for finding food, but it’s still totally new for the baby to eat!
- Breastfeeding should not hurt. I realize that for many women it does hurt, but it should not be painful to feed your baby. When there is discomfort, mom and baby need some extra help and guidance to determine the cause and solution for the pain. If you are breastfeeding and it hurts, get help. You can contact the lactation consultant at the hospital where you gave birth, you can attend a local support group or you can contact a private practice lactation consultant who is an IBCLC (check www.iblce.org to be sure the person you hire is a registered lactation consultant). It is best to not wait hoping it improves. Get help at the first sign of pain.
- Most mothers want to be sure their baby is getting enough to eat. This is a very basic maternal instinct: Feed the baby! Make sure the baby is not hungry! This is vital to survival so the feeling is strong. A mother knows her baby is doing well when there are several diapers to change every day and the baby is steadily gaining weight at the baby’s appropriate pace. Some early weight loss in the first days is normal, but if your pediatrician is concerned, it is a good idea to have a lactation consultant teach you how to protect your breastfeeding while you feed the baby as needed. .
Breastfeeding is natural, but it does not always come naturally to mothers. We learn how to feed our babies even if our babies know how to eat. There is no such thing as only one way to successfully breastfeed your baby.
Pamela Mazzella DiBosco, BA, IBCLC, RLC