Yay for 5 Years!

Five years of Lactation Care with Elizabeth in the books! And 1-2 years of those years were deemed “unprecedented” for various reasons. We are thankful to be here another year supporting and encouraging families as they progress on their breastfeeding journey (or multiple journeys for some).

It is hard to put into words what has been accomplished in 5 years. There has been much in the way of personal and professional development and change for our consultants. We have met so many parents and children. We have celebrated with newbies and graduates, shed tears, offered a shoulder to cry on or to hold a baby (someone may have even napped). We have done classes together, encouraged others through support groups, sponsored other industry professionals, and even did yoga together!

Looking at the numbers is humbling and inspires gratitude. According to our scheduling program, we have over 1000 client names (some of which have multiple babies now). We have seen tremendous growth since the first year with last year topping out at 1057 appointments that encompasses over 1000 hours. That is a lot of lactation support! This year we expanded our reach into the Richmond/Berea area through classes and appointments with Ashley. Thankfully, babies continue to be born despite current events, and we were able to maintain growth over the past two crazy years as well.

As we come upon the day to celebrate, we hope you’ll reminisce with us. We would love to see pics, before and after support, or born and weaned, or pumping, or feeding with a spoon successfully. Or just smiling faces of our wonderful clients who have made 5 years possible! More words and wisdom to come from our expert lactation consultants in the next few weeks. They continue to develop their skills, add in new approaches and options, and expand their reach in lactation support. They will be sharing about these new areas of interest and treatment soon!

Finally, YOU ARE ALL INVITED! Please come celebrate your lactation journey as we celebrate our 5th birthday. Join us at our office October 1st, 2022 from 10am – 12pm at 109 Dennis Drive in Lexington for goodies and giveaways, and hopefully just a good time!

Cranialsacral Fascial Therapy (CFT)- What is that?

Cranialsacral fascial (pronounced fash-al) therapy, also known as CFT, is a modality of bodywork that helps release fascial tension. Fascial tension can be caused from birth, injuries, poor positioning, or oral restrictions. The list is really endless!

What is fascia? From hopkinsmedicine.org, fascia is a 3 layer connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place. The tissue does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin. When stressed, it tightens up. It is very dense around the brain and spinal column

CFT is an incredibly gentle practice. I use the cranialsacral system to help guide me toward fascial tension and then work with my hands to allow the body the space to release the tension. Sometimes you can see the tension and strain in the body, other times you can not.

What does this have to do with our clients? Most babies with oral restrictions also have fascial tension. By releasing the fascial tension we help free up some of the muscles of the mouth in order to provide the space for the muscles to work better. CFT is often paired with oral exercises, chiropractic adjustments, occupational therapy, and/or cranialsacral therapy. A great addition to a treatment plan, CFT is a crucial piece to address when oral restrictions are suspected.

Engaging in Mindful Breastfeeding

I am so pleased to have completed my Mindful Breastfeeding Certification! This means I have training in intentionally adding mindfulness, emotional support, relaxation, and visualization into my lactation support practice. I have been doing some of these as your lactation consultant already. You know those times when I tell you to take a deep breath, feel your body in the chair, feel your love for your baby, feel confident in your body? That is part of mindful breastfeeding.

In our efforts to offer breastfeeding help and encourage clients on their breastfeeding journey, we want to address more than getting a good latch or flange fitting. What is exciting is that science backs up this mindful breastfeeding practice! Breastfeeding is controlled by an abundance of hormones, and if we can get more oxytocin and less cortisol by decreasing stress and increasing relaxation, it benefits your milk supply, as well as feeding and bonding with your baby! I will continue to incorporate more of these methods into our appointments and recommendations as well as practicing them myself!

Another way we provide support, in addition to lactation care, is through groups and classes. Our New Mom Circle will be a place to learn how to implement some of these techniques, so I hope you will join in to meet some new friends and have a chance to experience some relaxation!

-Elizabeth

Migraine Triggers During Lactation

It’s migraine month!  Thankfully pregnancy and breastfeeding can be protective against migraines, but some things in lactation can also trigger headaches.  Some people experience headaches with oxytocin surges during letdown, overfull breasts (relieved by feeding/pumping), or baby sleeping through the night (which causes overfull breasts and decreases hormones for lactation.)  

If you are struggling with headaches, try to make time for self care, including eating, drinking enough water, exercise, and getting enough sleep. All of these things are challenging with a new baby, so call in your support people and do your best!

Bodywork can often be helpful, so schedule a visit for yourself when your baby is getting work. (Cranial sacral therapy for moms coming soon!) Check with your doctor or midwife about medications; in general the normal ones you take are compatible with breastfeeding but I am happy to check for your specific medication so you can make good decisions on your care. Also, see our Resources page for the link to Infant Risk Center to check medications.

I hope you don’t struggle with headaches, but please don’t suffer alone if you do! Your lactation consultants are here to support you in your journey to health and feeling good!

-Elizabeth

(Reference: Breastfeeding and Human Lactation by Wambach and Spencer)

Surviving, and Thriving, through the Formula Shortage

Families are struggling to find formula to feed their babies.  This puts a huge burden on families that are already stressed in so many ways.  Many babies that breastfeed also get some (or a lot) of formula, so the families that I see are included among those with this added stress. 

Here are some ways we can help:

Helping families meet their goals.  While I would love for all babies to exclusively breastfeed, there are so many reasons why that doesn’t happen.  It can be a baby struggling to latch, a mom with low supply, a poor or late start with lactation in the hospital, or a family’s choice not to breastfeed.  We work with where a family is when they get to us and help them meet their goals.  This can mean moving from no supply to a little supply, increasing supply, decreasing supply, moving to breast, moving off the breast.  We are here to help YOU meet YOUR goals, whatever they are.

Helping educate families on what is possible.  If you are currently formula feeding and want to start or increase your milk supply, we can help! Relactation or increasing lactation is a process and you will still need something to feed your baby while working through the process, but it is usually possible to do a number of things to increase milk.  (Low suppliers, we see you and your struggles.  We know how MUCH EFFORT you put forth and will help you with all the support you need for your unique journey.)

Helping families find milk.  

  • The Milk Bank provides screened, pasteurized human milk. 
  • Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has a protocol for community sourced milk sharing.
  • Eats on Feets connects babies with donor milk and has a great page on how to screen donors if you are looking at milk sharing.
  • Human milk 4 Human Babies has local resources on facebook for milk sharing.
  • For formula, please contact your pediatrician or WIC office for resources.  Please do not feed your baby watered down formula or goat milk or cows milk.  Alternate animal milk is not nutritionally complete for human babies.  Babies need the right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals to stay healthy.  Human milk or formula properly prepared is what babies need.

Helping provide early support for successful breastfeeding.  We LOVE to do prenatal visits to discuss how to get off to the best start possible with breastfeeding.  Then we love seeing babies early (squishy fresh newborns are my favorite!) and making sure the latch is good, baby is transferring, mom is comfortable, and everyone is off to a good start.  Of course we are available to help throughout the breastfeeding journey.  I saw a 7 month old baby this week- it was our first visit and mom needed some tips for how to navigate their current stage. 

Helping with encouragement.  We celebrate all victories!  Often in a visit, we will stop for a moment and remember how far along the journey a family has travelled.  Or sometimes mom needs a nap or a massage or a moment to relax.  We have space for that as well.  Check out our social media for weekly affirmations to help remind you that YOU are the PERFECT PARENT for YOUR BABY.  

Please don’t struggle though your feeding journey alone.  We are here to support you with breastfeeding help, lactation support, and encouragement on this journey.

-Elizabeth