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For some women, breastfeeding goes smoothly; for others, it can be difficult. That’s when advice from a certified lactation consultant is invaluable. “We help women separate fact from fiction,” says Debi Page Ferrarello, I.B.C.L.C., director of the Breastfeeding Resource Center in Glenside, Pa. “There is so much conflicting advice—our job is to help new moms feel confident.” Even if you haven’t had questions or challenges, chances are you will at some point. Here’s a look at some of the most common concerns.
Month 1} I’ve heard that getting a proper latch is essential for successful breastfeeding. Is it really that important? Yes, it’s that important. If you don’t get a proper latch, your baby may not get enough milk, and you could develop cracked and bleeding nipples. Following are tips from Corky Harvey, a certified lactation consultant and co-owner of the Pump Station in Santa Monica, Calif., on how to get it right: n Position your baby so he is lying on his side, his belly tight against yours. n Prop up the baby with a pillow and hold him up to your breast; don’t lean over toward him. n Place your thumb and fingers around your areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple). n Tilt your baby’s head back slightly and gently touch him with your nipple just above his upper lip. n When his mouth is open wide, “scoop” your breast into his mouth by placing his lower jaw on first, well behind the nipple. n Tilt his head forward, placing his upper jaw deeply on the breast. Make sure he takes the entire nipple and at least 1 1/2 inches of the areola in his mouth.
Month 2} How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk? The best way to tell is by monitoring his weight (your pediatrician will watch it closely, especially for the first few weeks) and his stools: They should be dark and sticky until about 3 days of age, after which they should be “seedy” and mustard-colored. But you also need to pay attention to the number of wet diapers he has. “After the third day of breastfeeding, a well-fed baby will have at least four wet diapers every day, and six to eight daily by seven days,” says Jeanette Panchula, I.B.C.L.C., a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association. “As long as your baby is gaining weight consistently and his diapers show that he is eating enough, you can assume that he’s getting plenty of milk.” If you’re still concerned, schedule a weight check with your pediatrician.