When you are from the Queen City it is hard to not love the Royal family. With the birth of Prince Louis Arthur Charles everyone is talking about Kate and her beautiful baby, her stunning hair and makeup and that adorable red dress, honouring Princess Diana. What we talking about?
What does our team at Queen City Doulas & Co think about Kate, her birth, her experience and her appearance? Quite a bit actually, and the best part is, we have varied opinions. We are talking about the variations of normal. I think this is quite telling to how unique we all are in our experiences, how individuals relate to Kate, how they might not relate to Kate and if that even matters!
Now day 3...oh day 3, I wanted to hide in that lion den and not come out. I am sure Kate has a day 3 that many can relate to. There is crying and leaking milk and inflammation in the nether regions and tender breasts. She is likely at home, snuggled into bed, feeding her baby, recovering from pregnancy and birth, being a protective mama bear as long as she can be.
It is not a contest, that is for sure. So many variations of normal, but I actually think seeing Kate and believing that Kate is a real mother like every other mother, vs just believing it is a team of lady maids only making her appear that way, actually shows birth doesn't have to leave us wounded and broken and scared. In fact, part of why I wanted to share my experiences of births 4 and 5 was because 1-3 were hard pregnancies, challenging births and challenging postpartum times and I felt broken and scared. 4 and 5 were not like that and I wanted to tell everyone how damn proud I was of creating my own amazing experiences.
You might be asking, did I do something different with 4 and 5. Yes, I sure did. I did a lot different, but one of the key differences was HypnoBirthing. It is well known that Kate also used HypnoBirthing. Here is a short video clip discussing HypnoBirthing and the benefits it has to birth.
Earlier this week Anna Baker was able to share some of her thoughts with CBC. You can have a listen to the conversation here. There are a lot of good tidbits in there - such as "do you and don't worry if it isn't what others do", or pointing out how it took a team to make Kate look that way. I would like to add she also had a team of care providers supporting her, not just a hair and makeup team! You can also read a piece that Anna wrote for CBC as well.
If you are preparing for a baby, what our team hopes for you is that you have a positive experience and that you are supported to have the experience YOU want. That is truly all that matters. This is why we exist, to be the support you need. If you have the desire to have a HypnoBirth, we have that class to give you those tools. If you need someone else on your birth team, we have doulas for that. If you need more practical in home support post baby we have doulas for that have that, too. As Anna mentions in her interview, breastfeeding struggles occur, so we have help to get back on track ASAP (and we have a class for breastfeeding, too).
I believe you might not be as far off as having an experience like Kate, as you might think you are. You are just spared the pressure of having to present your baby to the world, 7 hours post delivery.
The Next HypnoBirthing Class starts Tuesday May 22nd and runs through June 19th. This is the last class until fall. Get more information here.
The next Your Breastfeeding Experience class is May 5th. There are a couple spots still open in this class.
The next Your Life with Baby class starts May 12th. There are spots still available in this class also.
In short, no pun intended, “ties” are tight skin/tissue adhering the tongue to the floor of the mouth too tightly, which can make the tongue appear short (but not always...tongue ties are sneaky), or skin/tissue under the upper lip attaching to the gums...and even in the cheeks adhering to the gums. These ties can cause issues for breastfeeding, so as you can imagine, I have much experience as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I might be the first person to start a conversation with a family about this concern or they might call me because someone else has questioned it.
Our hospital stays are too short to catch the tongue/lip tie concerns. Another variable is that common birth practices in our society right now can mask or mirror the same concerns that would signal a tongue/lip tie issue. It can take some investigation and skill to sleuth out what is what and know confidently the issues are related to ties.
Why does it seem like there are so many ties these days? I am not a researcher but rather a clinician so I am not involved in looking at what “might” be causing it (is it an external force or is it just always been this way) but rather dealing with the management of them. I will say, I have been in a breastfeeding helping role for 13 years and it is a subject that is brushed over in trainings of all sorts. I was an IBCLC for a couple years before I found myself in deep conversations about them - and if you know anything about becoming an IBCLC - there is a lot of training, education and exam taking...so a lot of opportunities to learn and to learn from different sources. I was NOT taught in any of my training how to do a proper infant exam. How crazy is that? That someone can become an IBCLC without learning how to do proper visual exam and functional exam. Once I learnt this skill I added it to my assessments, I began to observe and learn significantly more about infants oral structures. Do I see more tongue ties now than I did before then? Of course, I do. But I wasn’t looking for them before. We are taught that ONLY a heart shaped tongue, tissue right to the tip of the tongue and likely not latching, is a tongue tie. And that they are also not common at all. This is why I also say you cannot see just any IBCLC and if you see one IBCLC and you are not getting the results you want, get another one. IBCLCs are not all created the same. All while this is happening and professionals are learning more, families are learning more about breastfeeding but also COMMITTING to breastfeeding. This means that when they have trouble, they are reaching out and saying “help me”. That means our population of babes to check for ties has gone up so of course we are going to see more. In previous times, these families would have said “I tried breastfeeding but it didn’t work”. Researchers are working on the questions of why are human babies born this way. It sure would seem like the human race is setting itself up for failure as a species with how hard breastfeeding has become.
Who is the right person to see for tongue/lip ties and what are the steps after a diagnosis? Truthfully, I am biased in this. Maybe not biased but I am being aware of how my answer will be seen to others. I believe strongly the first stop needs to be a skilled IBCLC. There are so many reasons for this but with years of working with families with ties, I want to be able to set a plan for success up for families. This means all the steps and expectations are on the table, that before any treatment takes place, the parents know what it looks like, what to expect and how important a proper process is for success. Some plans are designed to fail and then it can leave the families more frustrated than they were with concerns.
Let us think for a few minutes about what complaints we hear about breastfeeding…I will make a really short list just as an example:
I mentioned mothers health playing a factor - maybe there are indicators that her own health is impairing milk supply. Babies respond to flow and without that flow, they also don’t want to try and improve anything. Add in a tongue tie and they just don’t care to breastfeed nicely. If supply is low, again even with a revision, they just are not happy breastfeeders. Then we have people saying “the tongue tie wasn’t the issue” and sometimes add in that “they did the procedure for nothing”. Or because intake is low they supplement, babies stops breastfeeding and everyone says “it is because you gave a bottle”. I make plans to not only increase supply, but supplement in a manner that breastfeeding still works.
We also need to know that the baby is healthy enough and strong enough for a revision. By that I don’t mean babies have to be 7 lbs or some random weight. I mean where are they in regards to their expected weight gain. Maybe they are not gaining weight, maybe they are gaining weight, but slowly - so maybe a baby that isn’t back to birth weight at 2 or 3 weeks yet or just slowly gaining over weeks and months, maybe they are gaining weight a little faster and maybe not getting much concern from anyone but still not growing on “their curve” or are they babies who are gaining weight exactly like we expect and on their appropriate growth chart. This matters! This is a very important factor. No one is checking this before performing a procedure. Babies with low weights, have low stamina and low appetite and don’t care to breastfeed better tongue tie or not, with or without a revision. If they go ahead and have a revision sometimes they start to refuse the breast when they have previously latched or just are still sloppy feeders, or tired feeders, frustrated feeders. I am really making sure this growth part gets figured out first. If we can get the weight up first and not just up but to their appropriate weight for age based on proper growth charts, then when they have a revision, they usually get it all sorted out much faster and kick compensations like nipple shields, supplements, nursing all the time, being at the breast to soothe or moms having to be particular about positions, etc. Each baby needs a unique plan to get to their weight up and that is a key piece of what I provide. A breastfeeding plan HAS to include something more than “just supplement after a feed”. It also has to have a plan to assess if function is regained after a revision or if there needs to be some work put into helping baby use the tongue and other facial muscles to feed. Again, an IBCLC who is skilled is vital to this. It is not just "suck training" like a finger or soother that is going to do this. There are so many actions and exercises to help.
Now, when I get called after a revision, I can still help and we can get past these remaining pieces, it just is in reverse but I find it is a bit more stressful for moms and families because they also have a cranky baby and after care exercises to get in, and often pumping & supplementing as all. It is better when I can set it up as steps and one focus at a time. Once supply and weight is up, it is one less stress, so then they can handle the stress of the aftercare and extra needs of the baby.
If you suspect your baby has any sort of tie - tongue/lip - and are needing some help navigating it all, I am happy to be a resource for you. You can see more of what I offer for consultations here.
Are you expecting a baby, planning to breastfeed and looking to learn as much as you can before baby comes? If this is you, we have the perfect class to get you started. There is so much to learn about breastfeeding. The GOOD news is you do NOT have to be an expert in breastfeeding to breastfeed. You just need to have some basic understanding and a bit of a plan. We have that covered in Your Breastfeeding Experience.
There are 5 things that I think are key to preparing for breastfeeding. The first one is "Breastfeeding Education". The other 4 we discuss in the class. This class helps create a breastfeeding vision statement and goals unique to each attendee. It creates a unique feeding plan for the immediate postpartum and early weeks. It establishes a resource list and list of support people so you are supported and prepared to get help if needed. It covers what breastfeeding looks like in the first 6 weeks, which is the crucial point for establishing that long lasting supply so that breastfeeding can continue as long as you would like.
You will learn the practical stuff
That is usually what most people need to know to get off on the right foot and continue ahead. In this discussion will be the moments immediately after birth, what happens at the hospital, soother use, pumping (hmm, good idea or bad idea), coming home, breastfeeding lifestyle, etc.
LOTS of information.
Now we don't get into too much about the different reasons breastfeeding might be difficult. I know as an IBCLC people want to be really prepared for all the *bad* stuff that can happen. The class is really intended for normal expected management of breastfeeding. I could teach an entire class on all the ways breastfeeding can be hindered. Many of those issues could be alleviated for people, simply by taking this class. The reality is that you might have zero issues breastfeeding or you might have one or two of those experiences but you won't have ALL of them. It really is best to get one-on-one help after baby is born if things are not as expected and you are having difficulty, vs referring back to information given in a class on breastfeeding so you can have a plan and treatment specific to you and your baby. With that said, you will go home with a manual that has lots of information to read through and has a troubleshooting section so you can navigate breastfeeding common issues and know when to recognize when more help is needed.
See you in class!
“Hey Kim! Is there a place in Regina that I can donate frozen breast milk. I have so much more than I need and don’t know what to do with it.” This is a common text or email that I receive. The short answer is “Yes”. There is a formal route and an informal route.
Northern Star Mothers Milk Bank in Calgary is the closest milk bank that we have to donate to in a formal manner. In Saskatchewan, we do have several depot drop points for approved donors. Approved donors; what are those? Mothers have to be screened and approved before they can donate to the milk bank or take to the milk depots. You can see eligibility criteria here. If you are eligible you can start the intake process. At the Northern Star Milk Bank donated milk is pooled, pasteurized and tested. This milk is then provided, at a cost, to sick babies in hospitals and homes around the country.
Do you think having a baby-feeding plan would help you to be more successful in meeting your breastfeeding goals? I think, indeed, a feeding plan is not going to let you down!
As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in Regina, I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked "why don't you teach a class?". In consults, I get told all the time, the info I give at consults should be given prenatally. I didn't disagree, I just was busy with life - kids and clients and was relying on the local health region to fill that spot. I have taught breastfeeding for years informally at the end of all my childbirth classes and with doula clients, but now the time has some for Your Breastfeeding Experience! No more relying on someone else to do this class and get this information into your hands before you have your baby!
In this 2 hour class we look at what you envision breastfeeding to be like, we will explore the breastfeeding lifestyle & prepare for your breastfeeding experience. This is solid, practical ways to explore what YOU think about breastfeeding, to examine preconceived ideas you have. We look at your personality style and how that affects breastfeeding, and figure out your why with breastfeeding. Everyone has different outlooks on breastfeeding and has their own unique path to take.
It wouldn't be a breastfeeding class without the anatomy & physiology of breastfeeding, with facts and not myths. We will explore how breastfeeding works, what influences outcomes. We will discuss navigating your early breastfeeding experience while considering your birth location and care provides. Your options will be discussed so you have a good understanding of what to expect, what to do if you don't get what you are expecting and how to get back on course, if you get off course. At the end of the class, ultimately you will have what you need to make a baby-feeding plan and how the info and skills to communicate that plan to the appropriate people.
There will also be lots of tips and tools for success & a take home breastfeeding parent guide/workbook!
If you would like to join us for the next Your Breastfeeding Experience class register now!
Today we celebrated breastfeeding with the help of Evolution Fitness. They were the first to answer my call to action!
“I thought I’d be absolutely fine ... I thought I’d just get on with it and it would be easy really ... (but) people were really shocked by the fact that you’re breastfeeding in public. I kind of felt like I didn’t care, but I did care a lot, and it was really difficult ... I just found it really stressful, really embarrassing, really horrible” (Boyer, 2012, p557).
Breastfeeding is universally acknowledged as the normal, expected way for an infant to get nutrition in the early months and years. Despite strong recommendations from the World Health Organization and essentially every national health body in the world, breastfeeding rates, and in particular exclusive breastfeeding rates at six months, remain lower than recommended around the world. Health survey data Canada found a breastfeeding initiation rate of 87.3% and a six month exclusive breastfeeding rate of 25.9% in 2009-2010.
We live in a complex world and as such, breastfeeding in our complex world comes with challenges. There are themes across all groups of women regardless of age, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. It is important to view breastfeeding not simply as a technical task, which is where most of my time is spent helping breastfeeding mothers, but it truly is as an important part of the transition to motherhood. This transition into motherhood is so vital and is a driving force into my I desire to support women in getting breastfeeding off to as goos of a start as possible. Who wants to transition into motherhood on the wrong foot? Women’s breastfeeding decisions are made in relation to the circumstances of her life, her sociocultural context and her individual experiences such as how much support she has at her disposal. There a several layers to mothers breastfeeding successfully. These layers can be identified as the family; the healthcare system; the community; and society. Today I am focusing on the community aspect. The community should be on layer of support she can rely on.
Breastfeeding in Canada is a protected right. Women can breastfeed their babies wherever they are so long as mothers and babies are allowed to be in this space. Clear examples of a place that breastfeeding is not allowed are situations like a children not being permitted to be in the lounge the mother is in because infants are not of majority age, she can’t breastfeed there. Or, if there is a place like a gym area where children are not allowed for safety reasons, a mother cannot breastfeed there. Pretty common sense, no? Women otherwise cannot to be told they have to move, cover up, turn another direction, stop breastfeeding or leave the facility (or any other variation of the sort you can come up with). Even though the law is on their side, mothers still experience criticism and discrimination. With two incidents in Regina that lead Regina mothers to social media to share their stories, I put out a call for action to Regina businesses.
It is so important to create community spaces where women feel truly comfortable breastfeeding. Women who are breastfeeding sometimes describe feeling isolated and excluded from society, primarily because of the social disapproval around breastfeeding in public places. Mother’s describe the feelings they have while breastfeeding in public or even thinking about breastfeeding in public as anxiousness and disapproval. Many women stop breastfeeding sooner than they intend to because of the sense of isolation that results from this reluctance to breastfeed in public places. Developing policies and practices in the community that actively support breastfeeding can positively contribute to breastfeeding rates.
I am so excited that Evolution Fitness reached out to my call to action for Regina businesses. Upon touring the facility yesterday, not only does Evolution fitness support breastfeeding in their facility, they have the capability to provide infant and/or sibling childcare for that new mother, a woman’s only facility in case a new mother wants to have a more private smaller space to work out and they want to provide education to new mothers that help them meet their fitness goals, while continuing to breastfeed. They invited us to host an event at their east location today to celebrate breastfeeding and to let the public know their commitment to breastfeeding. You can see the Global News video coverage or written coverage of the event here.
Even more on top of that, Evolution Fitness wants to challenge other businesses to be leaders in this area to show us how they support breast-feeding in their facilities. Is your business ready to show your commitment to breastfeeding?