What are new moms most worried about? We sat down with Kathleen Linzmeier-Lytal, MD to learn about the top concerns of her patients.
What are the biggest concerns new moms have when they have a newborn?
One of the biggest concerns new moms have when they have a newborn is related to nursing. New parents worry whether their baby is getting enough food and if their baby is latching on well. The most important measure parents can follow is if the baby is following their weight and the growth chart. Ensuring a baby is gaining good weight is the most important indicator as to whether they a baby is getting enough food.
For moms who are nursing, I also have them check to see if the baby is latching on well. A mom can tell if the baby is latching on well by looking to see whether their baby has that “suck and swallow” and if the baby is getting enough stools in per day and having good wet diapers.
What do you advise moms who are really struggling with breastfeeding?
For moms who are really struggling with breastfeeding, I first try to give them support. I let them know that nursing is very difficult, especially those first few weeks for first time moms. I highly recommend every mom goes to see a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are lifesavers in regard to nursing, especially for new moms.
Lactation consultants are so helpful in the early struggles with newborns and moms trying to figure out if it’s the baby or mother that has an issue. One example of an issue a baby can have that can cause a breast-feeding issue is “tongue-tied.” There is some controversy whether this causes an issue with latching, and there are different degrees of tongue-tied. Yet, often after a child will have his tongue-tied clipped, the child will often latch on right after. In the end, lactation constants are huge assets in allowing moms to be successful with their nursing.
For me personally, I went to a lactation consultant three times in the first few weeks after my son, Ryan, was born. That was a big trip for us with a newborn to drive 25 minutes one way to see a lactation consultant. It seemed like forever with a newborn because it breaks up your whole routine throughout the day.
Ryan had a tongue-tie, which I had clipped when he was 3 days old. That still didn’t completely help, so what I had to do was use a nipple shield. The combination of Ryan’s tongue-tie, the shape of my nipple, the shape of Ryan’s mouth, and his initial lack of coordination, I had to use the nipple shield. I probably wouldn’t have been able to continue nursing had I not had the nipple shield to allow Ryan to at least latch on. Eventually, after 4 weeks of continuing to pump, and then try to have him latch on a little bit, and then syringe feeding, he was eventually able to latch on his own once he got strong enough and big enough.
What is nipple confusion?
Nipple confusion is when a baby confuses a mother’s nipple with a bottle’s nipple, which can cause difficulty with breastfeeding. For at least the first few weeks, avoid giving a baby a bottle so that breastfeeding can be established. The same goes with pacifiers. Some recommend waiting 3 to 4 days to make sure the nursing is going well, but I would recommend waiting 3-4 weeks to make sure that feeding is going well.
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace medical care. As always, check with your doctor to discuss your feelings when pregnant to make sure the feelings you are having are normal and not antenatal depression.