We're partnering with Expectful to provide our Solly Baby community with resources + support in all different facets of motherhood. This month, it's our pleasure to introduce you to Morgan Jackson, Lactation Consultant, BSN, RN, IBCLC, who we've tapped to share about all things breastfeeding, pumping, and beyond.
Hello! Kindly tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I classify my lactation care as holistic, comprehensive, and mother-driven. My goal is to come alongside a family and create a feeding plan that works for their particular needs. Every breastfeeding journey is unique, and my care is too. I am passionate about breastfeeding care and uplifting moms. I live in Kansas City, MO, with my husband and our two adventurous boys! This past summer I grew zinnias and discovered a passion for flower gardening, I highly recommend growing flowers as a form of self-care!
Every list of "tips for breastfeeding a newborn" seems to include "Schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant." But the notion can seem kind of foreign if lactation is new territory for you. What do those appointments usually look like, and why are they so helpful?
Lactation consultations often start with a pretty hefty health history intake. The reason for this is because there are many factors related to both mom and baby that can impact breastfeeding. Taking time to listen and talk through concerns and allowing a mom to vent is usually next up followed by an oral assessment of the baby, assessment of mom's breasts, and a feeding observation. It is not uncommon for a mom to learn a few new breastfeeding positions and pointers on latching baby deeply during this time. Lastly a plan is formed and, of course, time for questions and to share resources or referrals for further evaluation.
Consultations are lengthy because breastfeeding takes time and it often isn’t a straightforward process. Visits can be emotional and offer many opportunities for reflection, questions, and laughter. The benefit is in the built-in support, the understanding, and the shame-free guidance provided. Lactation consultants are one of the few health professionals trained to work with both the mom and baby to create a comprehensive breastfeeding plan.
What's the most common "fix" you offer to breastfeeding moms?
Painful latch is by far the most common breastfeeding issue I get questions about. My biggest tips are as follows:
- Mom, get comfy, grab your pillows and support your neck, shoulders, and back.
- Place your baby at the breast with their body turned in towards you, tummy- to-tummy, with their ear, shoulder, and hip in a straight line. Having your baby turned in towards you will allow them to extend their neck and open wide to achieve a deep latch!
- Watch for a BIG mouth (like a yawn) and bring your baby up and in towards your breast. Try to avoid pushing your nipple into their mouth which is a common mistake.
- Check to see if your baby maintains a wide mouth after latching, with a straight top lip, and turned out bottom lip.
- Watch for rapid sucks that slow down to a coordinated rhythmic pattern of suck-swallow-suck-swallow.
- Wait for signs of satiety.
- An average newborn feeding lasts anywhere between 10-40 minutes.
How can a nursing mom set herself up for pumping success when she heads back to work?
I love talking about returning to work and managing pumping. As a mama who has had to figure out pumping in many different scenarios, I understand how tricky it can be to find motivation to pump on a hectic day, or to troubleshoot when you forget a piece to your pump. Do not wait until the week before you return to work to start planning.
Speak with your HR department before maternity leave to learn about the pumping policies in your workplace. Talk with any coworkers who have recently had babies and learn about their experiences pumping at work—that way if you need to make some adjustments, you are well prepared. Make sure that your supervisor knows that you plan to pump and will be needing regular pump breaks. Explain that expressing breastmilk every few hours is important to your health and the health of your baby.
Plan to pump every few hours for 15-20 minutes. A hack that I love is storing expressed milk in a stainless steel water bottle so that way you do not have to worry about transferring it into bags or finding space to store multiple bottles. Returning to work is a big transition and for some women the stress can temporarily dip supply. Give yourself some grace and time to adjust to your new routine.
My biggest tip when it comes to actually pumping: have flanges that fit properly. (There are printable measuring tools available for free online!) A lactation consultant can measure your nipples and help you choose the best option as well. Also, understand how your pump works. You may need to play around with the settings to find the best suction cycle for your body.
Know that all pumps are not created equal, so do some research. Talk with other moms and an IBCLC to help you choose the best pump for your needs.
Lastly, it is important to know that the amount of milk expressed is not a direct reflection of the amount of milk your body is able to produce. Baby’s are far more efficient at emptying their moms' breasts than a pump. So don’t panic if you are expressing a little less than you anticipated.
Any tips on how to safely comfortably reduce milk production—whether a mom has decided to stop breastfeeding or not breastfeed at all?
If a mom has decided to stop breastfeeding, when possible, taking a gradual approach to reducing milk can help to prevent clogged ducts, mastitis and other issues. Slowly decrease the number of feedings or pumping sessions over the course of several weeks. Drinking peppermint tea, “no flow tea” or sage tea will help to naturally dry up breastmilk and speed up the process. If a mom decides not to breastfeed at all, then avoid breast stimulation during the first week postpartum. Breasts will feel full and tender for a couple of days; however, this sensation will pass. Wear a supportive bra but avoid binding. Use ice packs for pain relief and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed by your provider.
Talk to us about The Gentle Weaning Academy. What do we need to know?
The Gentle Weaning Academy takes a holistic approach for both mom and toddler! This course was created by breastfeeding mamas for breastfeeding mamas! The Gentle Weaning Academy is open to moms at any stage but is geared towards moms with toddlers 15 months and older who are looking to wean. Each module is bite sized and there are even modules from a sleep consultant and certified herbalist! We know that early weaning occurs for a variety of reasons and there is NO SHAME within the academy! Everyone is on their own journey and every drop of breast milk is valuable and beneficial for baby!
Thank you, Morgan!