Parenting

5 Must Have Items For Your Baby/Toddler This Summer!

1. JJ Cole Outdoor Mat: it's big, it's waterproof, it's easy to wash, you can shake the sand right off of it, and it folds up into a convenient pouch and has a shoulder strap!

2. Snapperrock Bathing Suits: These bathing suits haveUV50+ protection, and come in many adorable designs and styles. They have suits in sizes for newborns through childhood! 

3. iplay Flap Sun Protection Hat: This hat has UPF 50+ protection, an adjustable draw string and chin tie to secure the hate in place, as well as a neck flap for added protection. It also can get wet and dries very quickly!

4. Native Jefferson Shoes: These shoes are a MUST for the beach! They are rubber, easy to clean, comfortable, and can be worn on the hot sand or in the water. 

5. Babiators: These stylish shades are 100% UV protection, and are flexible and durable. The added bonus? They will replace them FOR FREE if you lose or break them within the first year! 

How Do I Know My Baby Has a Good Latch?

As a lactation specialist, there are a number of elements that I look for, and tell parents about, in order to identify whether a baby has a good latch or an incorrect latch that needs to be adjusted. Here are the things I look for during every lactation consult in order to ensure mom and baby are off to a great start!

1. Does your baby have proper body alignment? Your baby's ear, shoulder and hip should all be aligned. This can be achieved by ensuring your baby is always "belly to belly", meaning your baby's belly is facing your belly.  One of the most common mistakes we make as breastfeeding mothers make is allowing our baby's torsos to turn away from us, and thus only the head is turned towards the breast. This does not allow for optimal transfer of milk from you to your baby. An analogy I often us is: think of it as an adult drink liquid out of a straw - it is much easier to drink out of a straw if it directly in front of you, as opposed to off to one side and you having to turn just your head to drink out of it. It's the same for your baby!

2. Does your baby open his mouth wide and tilt his head back prior to latching onto the nipple? It is important for your baby to have this "gape response" in order to ensure a proper latch. This wide latch allows for optimal transfer of milk and eliminates pain and damage to your nipple(s). Your baby will naturally open his mouth and tilt his head back prior to latching, so it is also important to ensure that his NOSE is aligned with your nipple when initiating a feeding at the breast. Aligning the nose with the nipple will ensure that when your baby tilts his head back to latch on to the breast, your nipple enters his mouth so that more of your nipple and areola are in the top half of your baby's mouth. This deep latch, allows him to draw your nipple along the tongue, toward the back of the mouth/throat, and up along the soft palate of his mouth to maximize transfer of milk and eliminate nipple damage caused by a shallow latch and your nipple being compressed against the hard palate of your baby's mouth. 

3. Are your baby's lips flanged out and does she maintain a wide latch throughout the feeding? It is important for your baby to have her top and bottom lips flanged out (i.e. "fish lips"), in order to create the necessarily negative pressure that will allow your nipple to be drawn into your baby's mouth and allow optimal transfer of milk. It is also important to ensure that she maintains the wide latch that was achieved by waiting for your baby to open her mouth wide prior to bringing her head to the breast. The easiest way to see if your baby is maintaining a deep latch is to simply press down on your breast near the corner of your baby's mouth to see if the angle at the corner of her mouth is a wide angle. 

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4. Does your baby's jaw move in a rocker motion while sucking? If you watch your baby's jaw line while he is breastfeeding, it typically only moves in two ways; either up and done (like a piston and/or biting), or back and forth (like a rocker). The optimal motion of your baby's jaw during breastfeeding is a rocker motion, as this is an indication of a deep latch. The piston/biting motion is indicative of a shallow latch, and thus can result in pain and damage to the nipple. 

5. Can you hear your baby swallowing throughout the feeding? Hearing swallowing is the best way to know that your baby is getting breastmilk (and it also a very gratifying sound to hear as a breastfeeding mother!). When your milk is fully in, you should hear swallows often, either every suck or every other suck. When your baby swallows, it sounds like they are pushing out a small push of air from their nose/throat. It can be difficult to hear to the untrained ear, but if you sit in a quiet room during a feeding, you should be able to recognize this sound after a few good feedings. 

The last thing that I tell all breastfeeding mothers is that it's ok to break the seal if your baby has a bad latch, and in fact, I encourage this! If you are experiencing pain throughout the feeding or in the middle of a feeding that is going well start to feel pain or notice a change in your baby's latch, then break the seal by placing your finger in your baby's mouth. Then re-latch the baby and ensure she has a good latch by using the points above. And as always, whether you are off to a good start or a bumpy start, reach out to a lactation specialist near you! And for all you Massachusetts mama's feel free to reach out to us by clicking here, to schedule your in-home appointment with one of our lactation specialists. 

Jaundice in Newborns

Boston NAPS blog about Jaundice

If the term jaundice is new to you, it may sound scary and have you a bit worried about your little one. You may be thinking, "Have I done something wrong?" "Can this be avoided?" "What are the potential risks?"

First, there's no need to panic. Jaundice is relatively common in infants and is easily treated if caught early. If you're a new parent, be sure to read this short post on jaundice, so you can be aware and prepared. 

What are the risks?

Most cases of jaundice are mild, caught early, and easily treated. However if left untreated, or if the bilirubin level (the chemical that causes jaundice) increases quickly, the biggest risk is that it can cause brain damage at very high levels. 

What are the signs?

The first sign of jaundice is yellowing of this skin (this is the definition of jaundice), caused by the build up of bilirubin within the baby's blood. The yellowing appears first on a baby's face, and then moves to the trunk, arms, and legs if/when the bilirubin level increases. You may also notice yellowing in the whites of the eyes. 

Should you be concerned?

In most cases, no, jaundice is not something to be concerned about. The reason being, it is recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants born in the hospital be screened for jaundice and its risk factors and then have a bilirubin level drawn prior to being discharged home if indicated. It is also recommended by the AAP for newborns to have a follow up with a healthcare provider 3-5 days after birth and be screened again for jaundice and its risk factors as this is when the bilirubin levels peak in newborns. This screening process allows for early detection of jaundice and thus early treatment. Treatment is recommended and performed for bilirubin levels that are much lower than those that would cause brain damage. Reasons to be concerned would be if the yellowing of the skin gets worse (i.e the skin turns more yellow or the trunk and limbs begin to yellow) or if your baby is already jaundice and then becomes very lethargic and difficult to wake for feedings. 

Do You Have A Picky Eater?

Boston NAPS blog post

If it hasn't happened yet, chances are, it will. It can easily feel helpless and hopeless (and very frustrating) when your child is just not happy with the food you are offering.

Here are a few tips we offer our moms of children who are picky eaters...

Bring you toddler/child grocery shopping with you.

  • Make this a special even for you and your child(ren). Let them ride in the cart, of if it is a grocery store that has small carts for children, let them use one and pick out their own food items. Children are more likely to try new food if they are the ones who picked it out. 

Allow your child to help you prepare food.

  • Bring over a step stool or a chair and allow your child to participate in the cooking process. Let them mix, add ingredients, and even make suggestions. Just be careful that they aren't around when you are handling anything hot or sharp. 

Hide healthy items in foods they normally eat.

  • Don't be afraid to cut up and add extra vegetables to your grandmother's sauce or meatballs (without offending grandma!), or mix some veggies into the fruit smoothie you make for your child every morning. 

Eat dinner with your child and allow them to eat what you eat

  • Children are more likely to eat more and try new things if they are sitting at a table with their parent(s) and are eating the same foods as us. 

Don't be afraid to let your child go to bed hungry.

  • Some kids are just going to flat out refuse to eat dinner. Don't go crazy offering them a dozen different foods or making each of your children a different meal. Allow your child to eat what you eat, and on those nights they just won't eat anything no matter what you do, don't stress. They will make up for it in the coming days.