Beginning Your Breastfeeding Relationship
Beginning your breastfeeding relationship can be a bumpy road for some new mothers. Metropolitan Breastfeeding’s owner, Dr. Kathy McCue, has literally written the book on the beginning of breastfeeding! Titled “Start Here: Breastfeeding and Infant Care with Humor and Common Sense,” she has graciously allowed us to excerpt one of our favorite bits below. Enjoy!
Understanding Your Baby’s Sucking: Wall Stickers and Sleepy Slugs
Some kids suck so hard that when they breastfeed they’re like land-sharks or barracudas, and their jaws are snapping even before mom’s blouse is unbuttoned. One of the doctors in our practice jokes that these kids could “suck the chrome off a gear shift.” I also call them “wall-stickers.” They could easily attach to a wall with those lips and just stay there.
There are also the “gourmets” or “sleepy slugs.” They use the “suck and snooze” method of dining. After a few meager sucks, their eyes roll into the back of the head for a much needed rest.
Infants are so in love with you (their mom) that many of them literally collapse at the breast. They love everything about you – the way you sound, the way you smell, the way you feel, and the way you taste. They’re simply in heaven and don’t even know you’re two separate people, so, of course, they doze off! Life is so much less confusing when you’re with the one you love, isn’t it?
Kathy goes on to explain some techniques to help stimulate baby and restart the sucking:
Speak to your baby by calling his name and wait for a sucking reply.
Rub the back of his head or bottom of his foot.
With the hand holding the breast, use your index finger to come out under baby’s chin and give him a little tickle.
Rub the shoulder with a little gentle squeezing action between your thumb and index finger. (I’m convinced there’s a hidden string under the skin that goes directly from the shoulder to the bottom of the baby’s chin that this rubbing stimulates.)
Start gentle breast compressions, either starting at your chest wall and smushing toward the nipple or just a gentle, solid squeeze mid-breast.
Dr. McCue finishes with her “golden rule:”
My rule is to never do anything mean to the baby or anything you would not like done to you. Parents have said that they’ve tried ice cold, wet washcloths on the baby’s face or blowing in the baby’s face to keep them feeding. Remember, if you wouldn’t want it done to you, they probably don’t want it done to them, either.