August is National Breastfeeding Month, so we sat down with Lindsey Shipley from Lactation Link to learn more about breastfeeding and get her honest and helpful tips for new moms! Read our Q&A with Lindsey below and be sure to follow her on Instagram for more great advice! (p.s. Did you know a breast pump fits perfectly inside our Tote? Just saying.)
What inspired you to start Lactation Link and what is your mission/goal?
As a Labor and Delivery RN I saw so many moms overwhelmed after delivery, and I saw lots of moms feeling pretty in the dark about “what comes next." I also saw how much support was needed for breastfeeding in those first minutes, hours, and days. A lot of women got poor advice that they would just “figure it out” once the baby arrived or someone could help them at the hospital, but most RNs aren’t certified consultants. After I certified as a lactation consultant (IBCLC), I considered a few hospital-based positions but I soon came up with other plans and Lactation Link was born! Jenny Wecker, the founder of Fawn Design, was actually an attendee of one of my very first in-person classes (in my living room—true story!).
Our mission statement is to “Create Confident Moms and Families” when it comes to breastfeeding. The online classes are designed for parents to guide the process: setting goals, asking questions, and choosing from research-based methods that fit their lifestyle and support the very best possible health outcomes! We do everything we can to remove any fear or uncertainty and give families easy-to-implement tools so they can navigate the process and trust those parental instincts. Our focus is prenatal education through our online classes, and then offering support after delivery through consultations.
What are the most common concerns/hurdles you hear from moms when it comes to breastfeeding?
The top three reasons that mothers stop breastfeeding before they are ready include: difficulty with latch, experiencing pain, and feeling like they don’t have “enough” milk. Let me touch on each topic:
1. DIFFICULTY WITH LATCH
Getting the latch isn’t time sensitive! Did you hear me? Not all is lost if baby doesn’t latch right after delivery. That’s why we teach every client of ours hand expression, so they know how to hand express their milk and feed it to baby after delivery. This allows the baby to keep their blood sugar levels up while they continue to practice latching. Some babies get it after a few tries, and others need more time, practice, and support to master it!
2. EXPERIENCING PAIN
The majority of moms experience some nipple and breast tenderness in the early hours and days postpartum. This is due to a shift in hormones and also fluid in the body being “sent in” to the breast area. Though some moms don’t experience much of this, this can be considered “normal." However, when you are experiencing “Ouch, ouch!!” pain, something’s not right with the latch. If you’ve tried simple things like ensuring the baby is facing you in skin-to-skin contact and trying a different position with no improvement, it’s best to have a board-certified lactation consultant take a look. Sometimes the problem is simple to solve and other times it takes more on-going management!
3. WORRIES ABOUT MILK PRODUCTION
It’s true that some mothers don’t make enough milk. But do you know what the chances of that are? Between 1-5% of mothers can’t produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed. That’s a small group! Most of the time, our bodies were made to do this! We just have to remember that milk is made on a supply and demand principle: the more that is “demanded” through direct breastfeeding or pumping, the more the body is signaled to make. Since there seem to be so many messages floating around about why we shouldn’t trust our bodies and our instincts, so many moms fall victim to milk supply myths! This means they become convinced they don’t produce enough when actually everything is just fine. Bottom line: If your baby is growing well, having good diaper output, and feeding frequently, try not to worry too much!
What can new mothers do to prepare for their first feeding?
I’ve heard an old wives tale being passed around on Facebook groups and in conversation that you should “rough up” your nipples before delivery to help you “get used to it.” No! There is no research to suggest this would help in any way. Also, this could actually make you more susceptible to mastitis shortly after delivery because harmful germs could easily get inside broken skin on the nipple. The very best thing to do before delivery is to take a breastfeeding class and setup a support system of at least two people you can turn to for breastfeeding support such as a spouse, sister, mom, friend, aunt, neighbor, LLL leader, or lactation consultant.
What are some of the benefits for baby and mama when it comes to breastfeeding?
Benefits of breastfeeding for baby are a decreased risk for things like ear infections, respiratory illness, and infectious disease. Breastfed babies also have fewer sick trips to the pediatrician and InstaCare their first 12 months. Many people don’t know that breastfeeding also provides long-term health benefits for mothers. There is a decreased risk in illnesses such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. The greatest protection against breast cancer comes when you’ve breastfed for a combined period of 12 months. When breastfeeding is going well, it can decrease your risk for postpartum depression—each time your milk is released, a hormone called oxytocin is released too. It can help you to relax, and it’s dubbed “the feel-good” hormone.
What are a couple of tips, tricks, or favorite resources for pumping and storing milk?
Pumps are a great tool for when babies are born early, for mother baby separation time, and for mothers when they return to work. Some moms choose to exclusively pump and they can do really well as long as they keep up on their frequency. But let’s be honest, pumping can be a little boring and tedious! You want to be sure you know how to pump to get the most milk out in the shortest amount of time, right? My online course on Pumping and Storing Breastmilk tells you everything you need to know!
A couple quick tips for you are:
- Use a milk catcher on the other side while you're breastfeeding, that way you can collect and store excess milk without having to use the pump as much.
- Also! Did you know that breastmilk is good for at least five hours at room temperature? So you don’t have to feel like you need to hurry and store the milk and wash the bottles every time you pump.
Speaking of your online courses, they are designed to help educate and empower mothers—can you tell us more about the breastfeeding courses?
I created the online courses because I got so many requests on Instagram from mothers who needed breastfeeding education they could trust. The classes are available on-demand, on your smart device, and you can even take them in your PJ’s! You can take just one of the courses or all three: Breastfeeding Basics, Breastfeeding Hurdles and How-To’s, and Pumping and Storing Breastmilk.
I would suggest taking the courses before delivery because you will be able to learn and retain better. That way, after delivery you aren’t starting from scratch! I’ll also teach you a backup plan in case baby isn’t latching right away. You can go at your own pace and also refer back to them whenever you need to because they don’t expire. The courses are also Healthcare Spending Account or Flexible Savings Account eligible which is a bonus! We also have a private Facebook group where you can ask questions anytime for those that enroll in the 3-video bundle!
Photos: Lactation Link