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News: What is Breastfeeding?


My name is Hilliary Smith, Health Care Navigator for Healthy Start, and I assist moms in the All About Women OBGYN Panama City, Florida, main location.


I want to share with you my unique opportunity to continue my education with The Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice, Inc. to become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC). This education will assist me working with moms, babies, families, and their breastfeeding wants and needs.


I learned that research shows the profound nutritious benefits of breastfeeding for breastfeeding moms and breastfed babies such as lower cancer risk for the woman, healthier intestinal tract for baby, lower rate of acid reflux for baby, skin-on-skin contact for bonding relationships, and lower risk of jaundice for the baby. To guarantee success of the breastfeeding experience and receive all these wonderful benefits, it is very important for moms to learn optimal breastfeeding positions and an asymmetrical latch for safe and productive breastfeeding, plus knowing who they can call when there is a concern or support needed regarding breastfeeding.


I encourage moms and families to seek out breastfeeding curriculums and peer counselors through programs such as Healthy Start, their delivering hospital, local health department, and the WIC program, a nationally recognized program which stands for Women, Infant, and Children’s program. One goal of CLC’s, and free, voluntary social service programs such as WIC and Healthy Start is to empower and equip women with knowledge and understanding about exclusive breastfeeding, so that the women and infant may reap the benefits for at least the first 6 months of the baby’s life.


Breastfeeding helps a mother and her infant to bond and strengthen their trust and attachment, as well as it is the most nutritious substance for her developing baby. We want our patients to know that Healthy Start and All About Women OBGYN promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding.


Did you know that there are different types of breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is a general term for your baby feeding on human milk, formula, foods, and fluids. Complementary feeding is when the baby is receiving human milk and solid food. Complementary usually occurs between 6-23 months of your infant’s age. Predominant breastfeeding is when the baby is obtaining human milk, vitamins, solutions, formula, and other water based liquids. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant is fed only human milk; however, the delivery method may be diverse, whether the baby feeds from the breast or if the mother expresses or pumps her milk into a bottle.


It is important for women to make realistic expectations of breastfeeding for themselves. How many months do you want to exclusively breastfeed? Can you exclusively breastfeed for at least the first 6 months of your infant’s life? Remember, infants should have at least 10-12 daily feedings. Take an account of your infant’s pre-feeding weight. If you observe that your infant is not gaining enough weight, or too much weight, then make the soonest available appointment with your trusted pediatrician.


There are two ways to implement breastfeeding: self-attachment and collaborative. Self-attachment requires skin-to-skin and a character of patience as it can take up to 2 hours for your infant to latch. Your infant is going to be putting in more energy to feed as it tries to find its food source on your chest. For collaborative breastfeeding, mother may assist her infant in feeding from her breast. The infants should be positioned tummy to tummy. Bring your infant’s nose 2-3 inches away from your nipple and your infant will gape wide and latch on. An asymmetric latch is key to pain free breastfeeding experiences. The baby’s mouth should be off center to the areola, and the nipple should be in the roof of the baby’s mouth. The sucking pattern of your infant will change, but be sure to always be an observer of your infant feeding and making sure that they are swallowing milk. The infant should not feel any pressure against the back of their head. The infants should be in control of their feedings of when they want to start and finish.


According to Cadwell and Turner-Maffei (2015), The 4 most common reasons why women stop breastfeeding are the following: “not enough milk, baby won’t latch, breast pain/soreness, and the work/school” (p.6). Why do these common problems occur? Again in line with Cadwell and Turner-Maffei (2014), these problems may be occurring because of inadequate breast stimulation, infrequent breastfeeding, inadequate milk removal resulting in engorgement, suboptimal hormone balance, smoking, breast injury, congenital breast anomalies, surgery, maternal depression, drugs, or a new pregnancy, (p.84-85). These issues can be relieved with milk expression, frequent breastfeeding, and communicating honestly with your doctors.


Moms who attend school and work to support their families have breastfeeding rights. Nursing mothers have the right for adequate break time and a location to express and store their milk. In the state of Florida, a mother may breastfeed her baby in any authorized location whether public or private (Marcus, J.).


Some reasons why an infant will not latch on could be because of positioning, indications that your infant senses something wrong with the breast such as cancer, the baby may have jaundice or your infant may want more snuggling and skin-to-skin contact. Another reminder: always observe and monitor your infant’s pre-feeding weight and make an appointment with your pediatrician if your infant is losing weight.


When you're correctly breastfeeding, then you should not feel any pain. When a mother is experiencing pain from breastfeeding, then that is an indication that something is not right. For example, a poor latch on, poor positioning, tongue tie, or inadequate milk removal from the breast can all cause the woman pain. 


Engorgement means that there is pressure on your ducts, and they need to be relieved. One way to relieve engorgement is by breastfeeding. Other ways are to hand express your milk or to pump. One method that might help relieve pain and pressure is a shower, bath, or a breast water bath in which you stand over a pan with your chest in lukewarm to help relieve compression and encourage milk flow.


Did you know that crying is a very late feeding cue? The infant is now demanding its caregiver’s attention as a call to meet their needs. Observe your infant and let them tell you that they are hungry. You will notice discernable feeding cues such as are rapid eye movement and the baby continually becoming more awake and aware of their surroundings. You will watch your infant reach their small hands in the shape of fists being brought to their open mouths, and their tongue might be sticking out, too. These are all obvious signs that the infant wants to feed.


Ask yourselves these questions to help assist you during the breastfeeding process and experience. Pertaining to pre-feeding, are you skin-to-skin to your infant? What state is your baby in and what feeding cues are exhibited? When latching on is the infant turned toward the mother, are shoulders and hips aligned, and is the infant’s arms and hands around the breast? During the latching on process, is the nose opposite the nipple to start? Does the infant have a gape response, tilt their head back, and is there bottom lip and tongue reach the breast first? During feeding, is the facial proximity of the nose and chin close to the breast? Does the angle of the infant’s mouth appear to be 140 degrees? Is the mouth seal of the top and bottom lip tight with a rounded, not dimpled cheek line? Does the infant suck in rhythms of 2:1 or 1:1? Is the latch type asymmetric and does the jaw move with a rocker motion? Is the mother’s comfort level experiencing tugging and feeling? Post feeding, does the baby release the nipple, and is the baby’s tone reflecting softness and relaxed hands? Does the mother’s nipple look similar to pre-feed? If your answer is yes to all of these things, then you are breastfeeding champion. Using a ‘Lactation Assessment& Comprehensive Intervention Tool,” these are all the check marks that a lactation counselor is looking for when assessing a breastfeeding mother. Every mother, infant, and breastfeeding experience is different, and is going to be different, and there are positive interventions to assist mother and infant’s needs in order to have the best, quality breastfeeding experience.




Cadwell, K., & Turner-Maffei, C. (2015). The Lactation Counselor Training Course Notebook, 2015-2016 Ed.East Sandwich, Massachusetts, USA: Healthy Children Project, Inc.

Cadwell, K., & Turner-Maffei, C. (2014). Pocket Guide for Lactation Management (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Marcus, J. (n.d.). Florida. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from

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