Chinn GYN, LLC

The Fourth Trimester: Breastfeeding & Beyond

Breast is Best. Breastfed babies not only have a healthier start in life but also have healthier lives as babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults.  Human milk is the perfect food for a human baby.  It is not replicable by any company.  It is so important for babies that hospitals with critically ill babies use donated breast milk to feed those babies, because they know those babies will do better.  Feeding babies human milk can literally save their lives.  The numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both moms and babies have been widely researched and publicized. We know breast milk is the best milk.  And, moms know it, too.  In the United States, 85% of women who have babies begin their baby's nutritional lives with breastmilk.  The data show they care about breastfeeding.  The data show they try.  The data also show that the vast majority of these moms fail.  By three months of life, fewer than half of all babies are breastfed.  The reasons that most moms who want to breastfeed fail in the United States is not because they don't know that breastfeeding is good for them and for their babies.  It is not that moms don't want to breastfeed.  They do.   It is that our general medical approach to infant feeding does not truly support or promote breastfeeding and our modern society does not make it easy.  Women want to breastfeed, and we fail to adequately support them through it.  Women are told that breastfeeding is "normal" and "natural," and they find themselves without resources when they struggle.  Most obstetric nurses and providers have not been trained specifically to help establish breastfeeding or to manage problems when they arise.  In the United States, lactation is treated as a "condition" that can be prepared for with a single one-size-fits-all class and that can be managed with isolated, erratic "consults," which sometimes occur in the hospital before feeding problems could even be identified and sometimes occur long after problems have already become deeply entrenched.  The medical system generally and health insurance providers across the board have yet to recognize the importance of providing high-quality, continuous support to breastfeeding moms. We recognize that such support is monumentally important; we believe that women can and should be supported better, and we believe that the time immediately after a woman welcomes her baby is more important than the time she spends expecting her baby.  Lactation services in the United States are often very fractionated, being delivered at different times by different people with different credentials.  A provider who can intervene to address medical problems as they arise is generally only involved as an afterthought.  Our approach to lactation services seeks to correct these ways the existing systems fail women and their babies. 

Lactation Support Services

Breastfeeding is not a singular event.  It is not a static process.  Breastfeeding is a dynamic process for which a woman's body is preparing before her baby is even born.  In the case of a woman who gives birth to a baby, the hormones produced during pregnancy stimulate their breasts to prepare to make milk.  In the case of a woman who adopts a baby, hormones will have to be initiated to mimic the same. A variety of underlying conditions could impact the initial production of breastmilk and need to be identified and treated before the woman is planning to produce her infant's complete food supply.  The time immediately following birth is critical to the establishment of breastfeeding, and breastfeeding must be prioritized in the midst of many other competing demands.  Often, breastfeeding initiation is disrupted because its value isn't fully recognized.  The unique interplay between the physical attributes and processes and the behaviors of both mom and baby will require ongoing assessment and adjustment during the first few days of a baby's life.  These are things that cannot fully be anticipated or planned for.  These are things that develop day by day and moment by moment.  Then, once a woman is home without in-home healthcare support, the real process starts, and her milk fully comes in, which poses a host of different challenges.  And, on a daily basis, every baby is growing, developing, and changing, which will impact the breastfeeding process and experience. 

Support Through The Fourth Trimester

Preparation

Lactation begins before milk is made, and underlying conditions that may impact milk production, supply or ability to effectively breastfeed ideally should be identified and addressed before a baby is present and dependent on the mother for food. A thorough, comprehensive consultation with an assessment of medical history and physical examination BEFORE the baby is born is essential to set the stage for successful breastfeeding.  This is not a group class.  This is a personalized encounter that provides an individual pre-lactation assessment with recommendations for preparation and tips for your breastfeeding success. 

Initiation

Once baby arrives, the time immediately following delivery is crucial to the success of the long-term breastfeeding experience.  The assistance you receive from the personnel attending your delivery is a bit of a crapshoot, as there is no standardized or required training for providers and nurses assisting with delivery to help them understand how best to assist mothers with initiating breastfeeding.  You will receive information to contact your provider in anticipation of your delivery, and your provider will assess you and your infant and ensure successful initiation of breastfeeding immediately after delivery.  Your provider will again visit you wherever you have delivered within 24 hours to ensure continuing success. You will be able to contact your provider with concerns between face-to-face encounters.

I Feel So Alone!

You should never feel alone in this process.  We will be there every step of the way, checking in on your success, visiting you in your home during the first week following delivery, and providing you with personalized service to address your needs as they arise during the first few months of breastfeeding. You will have access to face-to-face visits as needed as well as telephonic, electronic, and video visits to touch base as needed and support you through all possible challenges as they arise. Many moms have logistic challenges arise during the first quarter of their baby's first year of life, including the decision to return to work outside the home, which poses one of the most significant logistic challenges for breastfeeding women.  We will assist in anticipation of challenges, early identification of problems, and intervention as indicated along the way.

Lactation Support

The Fourth Trimester package includes all visits, regardless of location, all variety of frequent check-ins, the development of a comprehensive plan, tangible resources and tools given to you for your personal use, and ongoing access to providers to address concerns. 

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