August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month–the perfect time to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. Many medical expert sources, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months. After the introduction of other foods, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding through the baby’s first year. Many expectant moms may be nervous about breastfeeding or may not be sure if it’s the right choice for their lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you prepare to breastfeed, and hopefully ease your mind when it comes to doing it.
- Find the right position for your baby. Help your baby find a comfortable position to breastfeed. They should not be turning their head too much. Their chin should be against the breast so that their head is tilted upwards to allow them to breathe comfortably through their nose.
- Look for cues from your baby. One of the most common concerns is knowing when your baby is hungry. Subtle signs that your baby is hungry include putting their hand in their mouth, fussiness, licking their lips, or sticking out their tongue. Additionally, a closed fist typically signals that they are hungry whereas an open hand signals that they are content.
- Maintain a good diet. Even when you’re no longer pregnant, you’re still eating for two. Make sure to stay hydrated, continue to take prenatal vitamins and eat a well-balanced diet.
- Take care of your skin. Maintain the skin around your nipples and breasts with a healing product. After a feeding dry your breasts with a soft cloth and avoid over-washing. That can actually cause your skin to dry out.
- Try to avoid breast engorgement. Engorgement is the painful swelling of breasts due to an excess buildup of milk. This usually occurs in the infant’s first week and is an effect of producing more milk than what your baby is consuming. You can pump breast milk to help alleviate the pain.
- Don’t give up! Don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t automatically latch onto you. Try your best to relax. The baby will respond to your emotions. If you continue to have trouble, don’t be afraid to ask other moms for advice, check out some helpful tips online or explore the option of Inpatient or Outpatient Lactation Services.
Breastfeeding also greatly benefits mom. It can help mom return to her pre-pregnancy weight quicker. According to research* women who breastfeed seem less likely to develop postpartum depression and feel a significant bond with their baby while breastfeeding.
If you decide to breastfeed, remember it’s a journey that you and your baby will learn together. To get in touch with one of our experts today, call 307-634-5216.
Did you know that Cheyenne OBGYN is a proud partner of the Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative? For many years, Cheyenne OBGYN has joined forces with the WBCI to make breast cancer prevention more accessible in rural Wyoming.
The Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative was established in 2016 and has been at the forefront of creating easier access regarding cancer resources in rural Wyoming. Its mission is to increase breast cancer education, financially assisting breast cancer screenings, facilitating patient navigation, and promoting survivor services through fundraising efforts across the state. The WBCI will be holding three Pink Ribbon Runs in August of 2021; the first will be on the 7th in Casper at the David Street Station, the second will be on the 14th at the Capitol Complex, the third will take place on the 21st in Riverton at the SageWest Health Center.
One of the WBCI’s long-time sponsors, Cheyenne OBGYN, will be tabling at the Capitol Complex run on the 14th. Cheyenne OBGYN was established in 1979 by Dr. Bob Mcguire who coined the motto “the patient comes first” and can be found under the Pink Blush Sponsors
under the WBCI sponsor list. In their mission, they emphasize staying at the forefront of technology and working as a large team to get you the treatment meant for you.
If you will be attending the Pink Ribbon Run on the 14th, stop by Cheyenne OBGYN’s table for stickers, information, and a smile or two.
It’s always necessary to take care of your health, but if you’re planning on having a baby, there are important steps to take in order to protect the health of both yourself and your future newborn. Preconception health refers to a woman’s health before she becomes pregnant. By being proactive with your health planning, you can help prevent issues that might negatively impact your baby or yourself. Here are a few things you can do to sustain strong preconception health.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and try to stay physically active. Male partners should also focus on maintaining good overall health. That includes reviewing any medications with a doctor to make sure none of them will hinder fertility. Many pregnancies are unplanned, so it’s always best for both partners to maintain a healthy routine in case an unplanned pregnancy occurs.
- Have open communication with your partner. If you are planning to get pregnant, make sure your partner is on the same page. Maintaining your health is easier when both partners are working toward the same goal. Plus, planning for a baby will make the journey more enjoyable in an honest, open relationship.
- Monitor your weight. It is helpful to avoid being significantly overweight or underweight leading up to a pregnancy. Either extreme can lead to health problems such as premature birth and birth defects.
- Take your vitamins. A multivitamin is always helpful to ensure your body is getting the vitamins it needs. Folic acid is commonly taken before and during pregnancy to help prevent significant birth defects in a baby’s brain and spine.
- Be conscious of your mental health. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Make efforts to reduce stress. Being active and getting plenty of sleep can help diffuse stress. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, speak to a therapist or counselor to help manage symptoms.
- Attend parenting classes. Especially if you are going to be a first-time parent, consider taking a parenting class to become familiar with all the baby basics, such as feeding and bathing your baby. This may help you feel more prepared and ease anxiety when a newborn is on the way.
- Schedule a pre-pregnancy checkup. A visit to your doctor will help you know if your body is prepared to be pregnant. Even if it won’t be your first pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to start your planning with a doctor’s visit. Bodies change and your body may need something now that it didn’t before.
If you have any questions regarding preconception health or would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to call our office at 307-634-5216.
Postpartum depression is a common but serious condition. Many parents may want to deny it because it’s not what they expected after the birth of a child. However, it does occur—in mothers and fathers alike. Postpartum depression might occur because the childbirth experience didn’t live up to expectations, or simply due to the fact that the parent is not feeling a connection to the baby. For most parents, these “baby blues” go away after three to five days. For others, the feelings of hopelessness and sadness may not go away quite as quickly. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, or lethargy for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a severe mood disorder. Many parents feel ashamed to admit they might have postpartum depression because they believe everything around a new baby should be blissful. However, the sooner you recognize the symptoms, the sooner you can seek treatment from a doctor and start enjoying life with your new baby.
Symptoms most often start within the first month of childbirth. For the birthing parent, they can begin during pregnancy and continue into the first full year after giving birth. Symptoms may include extreme sadness, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and crying spells. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, or fear that you may harm yourself or your baby, reach out for help immediately. Call a close loved one, 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK.
It has been difficult for doctors to pinpoint the cause of postpartum depression, but there are several factors that contribute to it. Emotional factors like stress and anxiety can make a parent feel overwhelmed and lead to postpartum depression. Sudden fluctuations in hormone levels or sleep deprivation can be contributing factors, too. A history of depression in your family may also make you more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
There are different treatments for postpartum depression a doctor can suggest. Therapy with a psychiatrist or social worker may be recommended to learn coping mechanisms for the different feelings depression can cause. A doctor may prescribe an antidepressant to relieve symptoms. Treatment will also depend on whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, too.
Remember, there is no shame in asking for help. It’s important to get treated to help yourself and your baby. Treatment will help address symptoms and can significantly improve the relationship with your baby and partner. If you have any questions or are concerned that you’re experiencing postpartum depression, please call our office at 307-634-5216.