Breastfeeding Myths vs. Facts: The Truth About Tongue Tie and Successful Nursing

Breastfeeding Myths vs. Facts: The Truth About Tongue Tie and Successful Nursing S4|EP111

On this week’s episode of Sense, by Meg Faure, we dive into the intricacies of breastfeeding. We explore the challenges new moms face and debunk common myths. Our special guest, Jacqueline Kincer, a lactation consultant, shares her expertise on tongue tie and effective nursing.

Understanding Tongue Tie

Tongue tie is often misunderstood and controversial. Jacqueline explains that tongue tie is a real condition. It involves a short frenulum under the tongue, restricting movement. This restriction can cause breastfeeding difficulties for both mother and baby. Jacqueline emphasizes the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment.

Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Breastfeeding can be challenging for many new moms. Pain during breastfeeding is a common issue, but it is not normal. Pain indicates a problem that needs addressing. Jacqueline shares that improper latch or tongue tie might cause this pain. She advises seeking help from a skilled lactation consultant.

Observing Baby’s Feeding Cues

Jacqueline highlights the importance of observing a baby during feeding. Recognizing signs of effective breastfeeding is crucial. Moms should look for audible swallowing and a relaxed baby. Proper latch and baby’s comfort are essential indicators of successful breastfeeding.

Pumping and Returning to Work

Many moms return to work while continuing to breastfeed. Jacqueline provides practical advice for maintaining milk supply. She suggests creating a pumping schedule and discussing needs with employers. Proper planning can help moms balance work and breastfeeding.

The Role of Lactation Consultants

Lactation consultants play a vital role in supporting new moms. They help address breastfeeding issues and offer personalized guidance. Jacqueline stresses the need for lactation support, especially when facing challenges like tongue tie.

Listeners should tune into this episode to gain valuable insights into breastfeeding. Jacqueline Kincer’s expertise provides practical solutions to common nursing challenges. Whether you’re a new mom or a healthcare provider, this episode offers essential knowledge. Learn how to navigate breastfeeding with confidence and support. Don’t miss this informative discussion on Sense, by Meg Faure.

Guests on this show

Breastfeeding Myths vs. Facts: The Truth About Tongue Tie and Successful Nursing

Meet Jacqueline Kincer, CEO of Holistic Lactation®. Passionate about breastfeeding advocacy, she crafts premium lactation supplements, drawing from years of clinical expertise and using organic, scientifically-backed ingredients. Her platform, The Nurture Collective®, provides a supportive online community and courses. Hosting the popular podcast Breastfeeding Talk, Jacqueline shares insights and support. As a mother of two, she understands breastfeeding challenges and embraces a holistic approach, considering mental health, financial barriers, systemic injustices, and unrealistic expectations. Jacqueline empowers mothers to define their breastfeeding success, striving to dismantle obstacles and foster empowerment for families globally.

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Breastfeeding Myths vs. Facts: The Truth About Tongue Tie and Successful Nursing S4|EP111

What is tongue tie? Is it a myth? Is it a fact? And what can we do about it? It’s, it’s a real thing. It’s not a myth. And I think that anybody who says that just probably needs to go back to their basic, you know, medical training because it’s anatomy.

I mean, this is not something that’s, you know, made up or what have you. What are the common challenges that a mom will typically encounter as she starts on her breastfeeding journey? Welcome to Sense by Meg Fora, the podcast that’s brought to you by ParentSense, the app that takes guesswork out of parenting. If you’re a new parent, then you are in good company.

Your host Meg Fora is a well-known OT, infant specialist, and the author of eight parenting books. Each week, we’re going to spend time with new moms and dads just like you to chat about the week’s wins, the challenges, and the questions of the moment. Subscribe to the podcast, download the ParentSense app and catch Meg here every week to make the most of that first year of your little one’s life.

And now meet your host. Welcome back moms and dads to Sense by Meg Fora. I am Meg Fora and I am absolutely delighted that you have joined us here today for what is a very important topic and that is the topic broadly speaking of feeding your baby, more narrowly speaking of how to establish breastfeeding, but we’re going to go even deeper than that.

We’re going to look at a couple of tips around establishing breastfeeding and then we’re going to look at some of the issues that come up, including tongue tie. Now, I have done over a hundred episodes of this podcast and interestingly, we’ve never actually touched on tongue tie. So when I came across Jacqueline Kinse’s name, I was really, really fascinated by the fact that she wasn’t just a lactation consultant, but really had a special interest in tongue tie.

So we’re going to be talking about breastfeeding, establishing it, and also a little around tongue tie today. So Jacqueline, I am super excited to have you join us here today. Yes, thank you Meg for having me.

I’m very excited and I just, I love the mission of your podcast and all the things that you talk about. So it’s a pleasure to be here. Excellent.

So Jacqueline, as you can hear, is not based in South Africa. She is based in the US, in Arizona specifically, but she has ties with South Africa. Very interestingly, her husband is South African.

And so we don’t have an only South African audience, but quite a predominantly South African audience. So Jacqueline, you are in very good company here today. Yes, I’m excited that I do have a connection to the country and yes, it’s great to be here.

Excellent. So a little bit before we get started, could you give us a bit of your background, actually how you got started working with mums and why breastfeeding and what was your route to becoming a lactation consultant? Sure. Yeah.

Well, I was working in finance when I got pregnant with my first child and I loved my job and it was a career I saw myself doing for a long time and I was doing really well. But then I had this baby and I thought that I was so prepared because I had taken you know, a 12 week long birth class and I had read some books and I had taken a breastfeeding class and there’s so many things about that experience that are still so clear in my mind. Like I can just recall every detail like the first time that I latched him and I realized I don’t know how to do this.

I took a class, I read books, but I mean I don’t I really don’t know how to do this. I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like and just feeling lost with not having enough education and then when I would tell people around me, my doula, the lactation consultant at the hospital, the pediatrician that I feel like I’m not getting this latch thing right and my nipples are hurting and I would you know seek out support groups but still not really get the information I needed. I go to the pediatrician, she tells me everything’s fine but I’m just not sure that everything’s fine because why are there bruises on my nipples and why do I still have to put nipple cream on all the time and you know you’re telling me it’s okay so I’m just very confused right and you know navigating that experience was really really difficult and when I started to connect with other moms through moms groups and just you know be in an environment where they’re likely to be moms and babies and I’d make new friends and I realized yeah I’m not alone in this.

This is really common and this is really sad because I felt like I did all the right things so I knew that I could not return to work as as early as I was expected to because we don’t have good maternity or parental leave in the U.S. so I decided you know it’s just too soon. I can’t go back in six weeks or 12 weeks. This little baby, I feel like I barely know him so I decided I would take more time off and during that time is when I really got myself connected to the community of moms in my area because I didn’t have any other friends that had babies yet so that was important for me and you know needed to I feel like I didn’t know anything about having a baby, raising a baby.

I mean sure changing diapers but I didn’t know what to expect, how often this little creature’s supposed to feed or any of that and I felt like none of these books answered these questions like nobody modeled this to me. I’m an only child. It’s not like I had an older sister or something you know I didn’t I didn’t watch my mom have other children so this all felt very foreign to me and you know I had to just you know trial by fire.

I felt like there was this huge learning curve and so throughout that experience and and then ultimately creating my own mom’s group and leading that somehow breastfeeding was the thing that I kept coming back to in terms of support where I felt like I was still kind of looking for answers especially as my baby got older and things were changing and other people were wanting those answers and I thought you know why don’t I maybe just take a class to get certified to teach breastfeeding classes. Maybe I could teach a class that doesn’t just tell me about the benefits of breast milk which was kind of what I had learned in my class but you know the more practical stuff that you actually need to know what’s the babies here so I did that and I just I couldn’t get enough and I was like what what’s next so I walked away from that career in finance. I did not return pursued my certification to become an IBCLC and then I got that certification in 2016 right after my daughter was born so my second child and I’ve been practicing and doing that work ever since.

That’s incredible and where do you typically see moms? Are you seeing them online? Are you seeing them in situ in your home or in a clinic? How does it work? I’ve done all of the above but you know most recently it’s been only virtual so only telehealth appointments which has been really great and that was something that I transitioned to even before the pandemic because there was a midwifery school that I was teaching for and those midwives came from all over the United States and Canada and many of them lived rurally so when they went back home they had clients that were also rural and they wanted to be able to connect them with somebody and they trusted me having been their instructor so I kind of started out doing that and then of course COVID happened. I also was in a really severe motor vehicle accident at that same time so physically I was not able to do in-person work so that’s why I’ve made that transition to online only but I’ve seen people in their homes. I’ve seen people in my home.

I’ve seen people in other physician offices. I’ve had my own clinic and then of course online. That’s amazing.

So if people want to get hold of you they’re able to and we’ll give them those details at the end and that’s really excellent. You know my journey to breastfeeding was very similar to yours. I mean I had always prioritized breastfeeding.

I felt like this was going to be the gold standard for my baby and I was one of those A-type moms so I didn’t want to do anything wrong you know like most moms I guess and I came into breastfeeding and I’ll never forget first of all my midwife said to me who did my childbirth classes she said to me you know what expect to breastfeed 18 out of 24 hours a day and I was like no I’m not going to do that because I’ll just fall over. I’m not going to do that you know so I ended up on very poor advice trying to get my baby breastfeeding on a four hourly routine from day one which of course won’t happen and I got myself very, very, very stressed. I had absolutely trashed nipples.

I mean I think you know they were bleeding. I was having ultraviolet lights. I was having physiotherapy to try and heal them and I also had unbelievable pain with letdown so I would have to count backwards from 15 in order to you know until the pain stopped every time I had letdown.

So it was just a fraught journey. I mean I did end up breastfeeding all three of my kids for six months and maybe a little longer but it was a journey to get there. So when you say that that was a kind of a pain point for you I think it certainly was for me and I think it is for many moms.

So when we’re talking about these challenges and I mean I’ve listed a whole lot of mine here. What are the common challenges that a mom will typically encounter as she starts on her breastfeeding journey? Yeah I think it’s you know really all of the things that you and I have both experienced but you know it’s pain that’s very common. Pain with latching or nursing or even pain with pumping.

It can be that you know there you know it could be low milk supply or perceived low milk supply is actually more common where you know moms are thinking their baby isn’t getting enough milk but they are or something is maybe not going well with milk transfer during nursing but you know the supply is okay for now. So something like that but you know babies that you know maybe they start out latching maybe they never do latch and and that can be a common issue as well but I think it’s really a lot of just not knowing what to expect and not knowing how to tell if things are going well or not. So I’ve had so many moms say you know I’d rather pump because then I know how much my baby is getting.

So that tells me well no one’s ever told you how to observe your baby while they’re breastfeeding to be able to know that and I don’t think you know tools like feeding logs and diaper logs you know are those somewhat valuable data points yes but it doesn’t instill much confidence in a mom and you know doesn’t really help her learn you know how things are going or if there’s you know ways she can improve things. So I think there’s also this this messaging and maybe this is more U.S. centered but it still is out there and very pervasive this breast is best or you should breastfeed right and I think you know that message is well intended but it also comes with this unspoken message of breastfeeding is natural so therefore it should just come naturally like I think there’s this assumption that moms think you know the baby comes out and I put them near the breast and just magic happens and it doesn’t very often work out that way. So I think there’s this misunderstanding that while lactation is is a normal like physiological process that will happen after birth and is you know begun during pregnancy breastfeeding is something that requires a you know conscious interaction between a mother and a baby so it’s not something that just automatically happens on autopilot.

Oh you are so absolutely a spot on there I mean and I do think we have this expectation that because it’s natural it’s going to come naturally and it just doesn’t always. Two things in what you said have sparked in my mind. The first is that you mentioned something about how will a mom know that she’s got a good enough milk supply just by watching her baby.

Can you tell us a little bit more about that? What are we watching for that will tell us that our milk supply is good? Yeah that’s that’s a great question. You know I think it’s multiple things for one is you know if you know your baby should be getting their weight checked you know frequently especially in that first month of life so if there’s an issue with weight gain then we know that there’s an issue with your baby getting enough milk. Your baby getting enough milk and you making enough milk are not necessarily the same things especially early on.

So what I mean by that is your baby’s ability to remove milk from the breast is what’s going to determine how much milk they drink. You may be making more than they’re able to drink but they’re just not getting that. Now long term your body will decrease how much you’re making because you’re not removing all of it.

So ways that you can you know work to observe that or try to look at that yourself when you’re when you’re nursing your baby is trying to understand and you can probably honestly just go on on YouTube. Not everything on YouTube is great but look up videos of you know a baby swallowing while breastfeeding and there is a different way that that suck looks when they’re swallowing milk versus when they’re sucking to try and get the milk. So usually when they’re sucking to get the milk it’s a very quick kind of sucking motion and then when they’re actually swallowing there’s this a bit of opening of the jaw and a slight pause and then the swallow happens and you should be able to hear the swallow.

It’ll be quiet most of the time but just even leaning your ear or just getting really silent and just trying to hear you know is there a sound of a swallow or is there just a suck and is that happening and just really one of the things I think is really really valuable if moms can do this especially in the early days. You know later on you know hop on your phone and play a game and doom scroll or whatever you want to do right but in those early days just watch your baby. Just observe with curiosity without assumptions and just genuinely watch them.

Does it look like they’re comfortable? Does it look like they’re attached well to the breast? Is there something that that you can see you know is your baby you know content? Are they actively feeding? Are they getting very sleepy? Are they getting frustrated and just kind of noticing things getting used to things. Their body language is so important and every baby’s different so no matter what book you have or you know class you’ve taken your baby’s always individual. So just trying to learn those things but ideally you know for the most part your baby should be actively feeding you know for the first let’s say 10 to 15 minutes on average.

So meaning there is an active sucking pattern. They can have their eyes closed. You’re hearing audible swallows.

That slows down towards the end but it still continues. There’s going to be some swallows here and there. Some babies may take longer you know who knows.

You couple that with other data points like are they having wet and dirty diapers every day? Are they having enough of those based on their age? Are they gaining weight? And then what’s what’s going on after feedings? Is your baby content and satisfied? Do they seem like they’re still hungry? Do they need to burp? Like there’s all of these things that you can begin to tune into but I think if if you can try to start to learn what a good latch looks like versus a poor latch. If you can really learn to tell when your baby is swallowing versus when they’re not swallowing. Those are going to be some really key things that will serve you very well knowing whether or not you’re one making enough milk or that your baby’s getting enough.

I love that. Really really lovely and I mean you illustrated that so beautifully that kind of slowing down and then swallowing and so yeah that that’s really very helpful for mums. One of the other things that I picked up in something that you said and I actually said it as well that I had quite significant pain.

Particularly on let down but actually in general with my first born just in general. Is pain okay when you’re breastfeeding? Is there ever a time that pain is normal and what could be the causes of if I’m in pain as a mom breastfeeding what could be the reasons? Yeah I love this question. There’s never a time where it’s okay.

Pain is a sign of a problem. So I know sometimes people try to compare breastfeeding to other parts of our fertility journey like menstruation or childbirth which are both painful things for most of us. But breastfeeding is not meant to be painful.

It really is not. Pain is a sign of a problem. Pain is a signal from your body to say this is going to cause damage if you don’t correct things.

So it is something that we should listen to. Unfortunately for a very long time you know probably dating back hundreds of years honestly that you know women have been told that pain is normal in the beginning of their breastfeeding journey or at the beginning of a feeding something like that and so it’s very often dismissed. And I will say that I understand that because when I was breastfeeding my first baby and it was very very painful for several weeks.

I remember going to a La Leche League meeting and hearing for the first time that breastfeeding was not supposed to be painful. But I also remember feeling very resentful in that moment because breastfeeding was painful for me but everybody I had seen told me that breastfeeding was going well. So then I convinced myself well you know what breastfeeding is just painful for some people and you’re wrong.

So I think that is also a common mentality that some moms can get into. But knowing what I know now it is always the sign of a problem that’s and it’s it’s not necessarily something that you’re doing wrong. So very often pain it you know you could have the best latch technique and the best positioning and all of those things but if your baby just has some limitations whether it’s you know their sucking skills maybe they have something like a tongue tie that’s impacting those maybe they’re just you know there’s something else you know medically going on right.

You’ve been taught some some incorrect things you know those can play a role as well. So a lot of a lot of times moms will blame themselves. You know I’m doing something wrong with the latch and it’s hurting and we’ll come to find actually you’re doing all the right things it’s your baby that is struggling to do the right things.

Very interesting. So you’ve mentioned there’s something that I would like to touch on and that’s tongue tie. What is tongue tie? Is it a myth? Is it a fact? And what can we do about it? This episode is brought to us by ParentSense.

The all-in-one baby and parenting app that help you make the most of your baby’s first year. Don’t you wish someone would just tell you everything you need to know about caring for your baby? When to feed them, how to wean them and why they won’t sleep? ParentSense app is like having a baby expert on your phone guiding you to parent with confidence. Get a flexible routine, daily tips and advice personalized for you and your little one.

Download ParentSense app now from your app store and take the guesswork out of parenting. What is tongue tie? Is it a myth? Is it a fact? And what can we do about it? Yeah, well you know tongue tie is this oddly controversial thing which I understand from an outside perspective but from my perspective and having dealt with it for years, it’s a real thing. It’s not a myth and I think that anybody who says that just probably needs to go back to their basic you know medical training because it’s anatomy.

I mean this is not something that’s made up or what have you. So a tongue tie is where the frenulum, the band of tissue, the sort of string of tissue if you will, underneath the tongue is too short. And so it can take on many different appearances meaning there can be you know different points of attachment between the tongue and the floor of the mouth or the lower gums.

But it’s not necessarily the location of the frenum itself that we’re so concerned with, it’s the length of that frenulum. So what I mean by that is that when a baby is either breastfeeding, but this is also true for bottle feeding, their motion of their tongue is what is driving that entire process. So there are sort of, you can think of the tongue, although it’s more than muscles than this, but you can think of it in three parts.

The tip of the tongue, the mid-tongue, and the back of the tongue. The back of the tongue is really what’s kind of going down into the throat. So the mid-tongue is right before that and then of course the tip of the tongue.

So the tip of the tongue does not move very much during breastfeeding. Its job is to stay over the lower gums so that moms don’t feel you know pinching and pain from bony gums on their breast tissue. And it is also there to help create a seal at the breast.

So it’s the tongue is sort of cupping the breast, it also helps to draw it in and sort of mold the breast to the shape of the baby’s mouth. The mid-tongue is moving a lot during feeding. So it is moving up and down, up and down.

When the tongue moves up, it should connect with the soft palate. So there’s the hard palate in the front, the soft palate in the back. The soft palate moves up and down kind of, you can think of it like in a pinball game, the little flipper.

So it’s kind of like that. And so that mid-tongue rises, the soft palate descends, and when that happens that closes off the entry to the esophagus. So babies can draw milk into their mouth and they can have it there and then there’s sort of that pause that I was talking about that we can look for, right? The mid-tongue you know can drop and the soft palate rises and the milk can go down the esophagus for the swallow.

So when that tongue falls to the floor of the mouth, which any baby can do whether they have a tongue tie or not, that creates what we call an intraoral vacuum. So it creates pressure. Now the amount of pressure that is generated in the baby’s mouth is really what drives the amount of milk that they’re going to be able to drink.

So if you think of a breast pump, breast pumps work on the principle of suction as well. Now we can argue all day long how those aren’t perfect tools, but the principle is the same nonetheless. It’s that pressure that’s important.

So if a baby cannot have a, does not have the ability to generate enough of a differential in the pressure because their tongue cannot rise sufficiently, then they generate less pressure, they remove less milk, they have to work harder to remove the milk. So they will do things like create a chompy motion with their jaw on the breast, creating more compression, which is really inefficient and ineffective over time. So a tongue tie is really that up and down motion.

It’s the length of the frenulum. If it’s too short, the tongue does not move properly. Very interesting.

Wow, well I have never in all my years, and I have been in this industry for a very long time, I’ve never heard it described like that. And that was really, really clear. So thank you for that, Jacqueline.

So now my baby has a tongue tie. Well, first of all, let’s say I suspect my baby’s got a tongue tie. Where do I go? What would people be looking for? And then obviously what gets done for it? Yes.

And this is not because I’m in this role or I think anybody should see me, I’m not tooting my own horn, but your next place that you go is to see an IBCLC, so a board certified lactation consultant, who has a skill set in oral ties. So not every one of them do. And I think that’s really important to stress.

It’s not to say that, you know, they’re not good at what they do. It’s just not their area of specialty, or they may not have sufficient training in order to help you with this. So you want to get a proper assessment.

And it’s important to see the lactation consultant first, because while you may suspect a tongue tie, maybe there isn’t really a tongue tie. And the only way to be able to rule that out is to have somebody who can properly assess breastfeeding to make suggestions, apply interventions, give you a treatment plan, you know, if it’s latched positioning, feeding frequency, you know, whatever kind of breastfeeding management is needed. If all that is going well, but there are still problems, then we can say, okay, and what is causing those problems? Is it a tongue tie? Great.

The problem with skipping the lactation consultant piece of things, and going straight to, you know, a doctor, a dentist, a midwife, someone who’s going to go ahead and release that frenulum and that tongue tie, is that if you haven’t gotten breastfeeding management down, and you go and get a surgical procedure on your baby to go and release this frenulum, so that now the tongue can move properly, there’s, it’s completely unreasonable to expect your baby to know what to do. They don’t have the muscle memory for moving this tongue in a different way. They’ve been swallowing since they were in the womb in the first trimester, so they’re not all of a sudden going to learn, you swallow, yes, things will move differently, but if you don’t have a great latch technique, if you don’t have positioning down, if you don’t know the signs of whether or not your baby’s getting enough milk, all those things, expecting a surgical procedure to fix all of that, it’s not fair.

It’s very unfair to families. So a lot of families don’t know, oh, there is someone else I should be seeing first, right? And a lot of providers who surgically treat these things don’t often refer back, you know, to a lactation consultant or some other specialist in that manner. So that’s what I would say is go to your lactation consultant, because even if your baby has a tongue tie, maybe getting the right breastfeeding management down will give you enough improvement that you don’t need to go and do a procedure on your baby.

Okay, very interesting. And when you talk about a procedure, that’s a little snip. Is it done under general anesthetic, local anesthetic? How painful is it? Oh, good question.

It should not be done under general anesthetic because that’s completely unnecessary and very risky for an infant. So this procedure is really not very complicated. That doesn’t mean that there’s not intricacies to it in that it is important it’s done properly.

So it can be a, you know, so-called snip of the actual tissue. The frenulum is made up of collagen. So, you know, surgical scissors can be used, you know, sometimes, you know, depending on what tools that provider has access to, you know, maybe like an electrosurge, electrocautery tool or something like that.

It’s very painful for the baby, though. But what we’ve really seen works well and has been a lot more advancement and is using lasers for this because lasers immediately cauterize the tissue. So that minimizes bleeding, which there’s generally not much bleeding with that collagen tissue either, but it also helps to create a bit of a numbing effect at the same time.

It’s a very quick procedure. I mean, honestly, 30 seconds or less, very, very quick. So, you know, some providers will numb the baby.

Some will not numb the baby. It just depends on, you know, maybe their preference, their training, how they feel about that. I think there’s some concern about If you numb the tongue and then we want to have the baby be able to breastfeed or, you know, something afterwards and their tongue is numb, it can be a little bit difficult for them to coordinate that. So I would say it’s usually a red flag if you are seeing a doctor that wants to put the baby under general anesthesia for that. They probably don’t have a very good skill set with doing this procedure.

And again, I think that just creates unnecessary risk. Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, you’ve already mentioned breast pumps, as we spoke just now and expressing, and I was really drawn to chatting to you because one of the things that is on your website is there’s a statement that says there’s no one right way.

And I really believe that that is true for all aspects of parenting, that there is no one right way because every mum is different, every baby is different. But when it comes to feeding, and there’s not only one right way, we could then be having a whole gambit right through from breastfeeding through to pumping, expressing and feeding breast milk through a bottle, and then of course, all the way through to formula. So can you give us a little bit of kind of your sense of what the spectrum looks like? And how does mums make, how do mums make this informed decision as to, am I going to breastfeed? Is it time to express? Or actually, am I going to rather go ahead and formula feed? Yeah, I mean, I would say what I see generally is that most mums will have a need to pump at some point after having their baby, even more will want to pump.

And so that could just be because they, you know, even if they’re not returning to or beginning a job outside of the home, they’re, you know, they’re going to stay at home with their child, they want to be able to leave their baby and not have to worry if they’re going to get fed. I think that’s a normal thing. And it’s not, I find sometimes that people become very overzealous about breastfeeding and what it, you know, quote unquote, should look like.

And they’ll compare it back to sort of, you know, caveman days. And I find that really weird, because for one, you know, they’re people basically wet nursed each other’s babies. So, you know, if there were 10 other women in your village that could nurse your baby while you were out in the field picking something, and it just didn’t work like that, right? Or you could absolutely hand express milk and put it into a container and save it for later.

And so those things have always, always occurred. So why are we feeling like we need to limit modern women? And and really, you know, things have shifted, women are not, you know, primarily stay at home moms anymore. And being these, you know, homemakers and caretakers of all the children all the time, they are working, and they have other demands and responsibilities and things they want to achieve in their lives.

So pumping provides that freedom and flexibility. There are a lot of moms who really don’t feel comfortable nursing their baby at the breast, you know, they may have past trauma, they may just, you know, be, you know, they may have anxiety, and it just gives them, you know, a sense of control to know, I’m making this much milk, and this is how much I’m feeding my baby, and that is better for them. There are multiple reasons why it happens.

And I think it doesn’t really matter what the reason is, what, you know, I feel like our job is as a lactation consultant is to support a mom in her goals. You know, she can change her goals later she wants, but trying to try to pigeonhole people into something, you know, if a mom says, you know, I mostly want to breastfeed, but two days a week, I just want to be I know, I really don’t want to pump, it’s not for me, I just want to be able to give formula, like, how can I do that? Well, a lot of lactation consultants will say, well, that’s not possible, and your milk is going to dry up and just be very negative and not offer solutions where we could be saying, okay, that’s what you want to do. Let’s find a way to make that work for you.

So there’s a lot of there’s a lot of guilt, breastfeeding is a very emotionally charged thing. There’s a lot of societal expectations around it. There’s a lot of backlash, you know, nursing and public and you know, people being told to cover up like that’s, there’s just so much really emotionally tied into this, that I think we don’t really have the right to tell someone how to do anything.

You know, feeding their baby with their body. That’s a big deal. And so if there’s, you know, something about that, that they don’t want to do that they can’t do.

That’s okay. But we don’t want to tell them you can’t breastfeed at all. I don’t think that’s fair either.

And it’s not true. Oh, absolutely. Gosh, I mean, everything you’re saying just resonates so strongly with me.

And, you know, and I think over many years, I’ve been in the industry for 25 years, and I’ve really seen people bash moms around the choosing not to breastfeed or just choosing to formula feed and breastfeed together, you know, and I am very much on your page that that that’s not acceptable that you know, that we do need to make allowances for any choices. So let’s just say that the mom has chosen to breastfeed and she does want to prioritize that and she is returning to work. And, you know, in South Africa, we do have a little bit of a longer maternity leave, but actually not every mom gets that anyway, because financially they might choose because it’s not compulsory paid maternity leave.

So they might choose that they have to go back because they want their full pay or they need their full pay right from the get go. So if a mom is returning to work, and she has decided she wants to continue to try and breastfeed, is it possible? I mean, can she pump enough? How does she do it? Are there things she can put in place to make sure she can maintain her breast milk supply? Yes, absolutely. You know, this is this is what most women do, you know, for, you know, at least, you know, you know, a few months postpartum, right, no matter kind of their circumstances, if not longer.

I know many, you know, whether I’ve worked with them directly or just, you know, kind of heard out and about in the world, right, they’ll do it for the first year of their baby’s life. I’m not saying it’s easy. It is a commitment, for sure, right.

So it requires a few things. One is that you pump enough milk before your first day back, that you have enough milk for that first day back. Now, most people don’t feel very secure in that they’d like to have more than one taste supply available, right, anything can happen, you know, the milk gets spilled, the freezer goes out, who knows.

So you know, but you don’t need a massive stockpile is what I’m saying. Because ideally, that first day you’re back at work, you are taking breaks to pump that milk, and you save that milk to feed to the baby the next day. So you don’t need to have 300, you know, ounces, or I don’t know how many milliliters that is off the top of my head.

But you don’t need to have this, you know, freezer stash full of milk. So I think that that’s become very, you know, sort of glamorized. And that’s a big thing on social media or what have you.

But that’s not what you need if you’re returning to work. So you can be a little bit more relaxed about it. And then, you know, it’s working with your employer ahead of time, being proactive during your pregnancy, ideally, certainly, you know, if you’re having any kind of conversations, you know, postpartum about that time you’re taking off.

And before you come back into that work setting about how often you need those pumping breaks, ask for more than you need up front, or that you think you need up front or ask for the most that you’re thinking you’re going to need up front, because you can always decrease that later, but trying to add more on later, typically, you know, that doesn’t go so well. So if you need, you know, you say, I need a pump every two and a half hours, how can I make that work, you know, just creating those arrangements. And then I don’t quite know the laws in South Africa.

But in many countries, there are laws that protect your right to, you know, express breast milk at work. Sometimes they’re explicitly breastfeeding laws, other times, they have to do with, you know, a medical condition or something like that. So various ways, employment laws, things that you want to know your rights that you can come to your employer with, what are you entitled to, and, you know, not trying to be their enemy, work with them.

I think a lot of times people get very, you know, assuming, especially if they work for a large corporation, you know, I’m gonna have to fight for, you know, the ability to do this. That’s not always the case, you know, having a good relationship with any of your superiors, or if there’s any peers in your workplace that have been pumping milk at work, talking to them about what’s worked, things of that nature. So I would say really, a lot of it is some planning on your part.

But then you’ll find your rhythm, you’ll, you’ll, you take those pumping breaks, you’ll come up with your routine, your system for storing the milk, transporting it back home, all of that. And you can nurse your baby all of those other times. So I think it’s, if you really want to maintain the relationship of nursing directly at the breast, you know, do that before you leave for work, before you are right when you come home, you know, if you’re off on the weekends, right, those sorts of things, you know, making sure you’re nursing your baby during those times, and you can have the best of both worlds.

I love that really. And I think it’s a message of hope for a lot of mums. Your information has been absolutely like priceless today.

Thank you so much. I am so glad that I got in touch with you, Jacqueline, and you really are a wonderful source of very accessible knowledge. I’m sure after this, there are going to be lots of mums who do want to get in touch with you, because of your accessibility and, and, and kind of your sensible, your sensible wisdom.

So how can mums do that? Can you give us your website? Is there an Instagram page? What’s the best way to do this? Yeah, absolutely. No, I’m, I’m honestly just so thrilled I get to share this stuff on your show. So yeah, the easiest way is if somebody, you know, really wants to sort of, you know, get in touch more formally, you can go to my website, it is holisticlactation.com. So there’s a contact page there, you can just submit a form, it’s very easy.

And then Instagram is where I’m most active. So a lot of the times I’ll answer the messages as well, and the comments and things. So, you know, just at holistic lactation, all one word over on Instagram.

That’s excellent. And we will definitely put that into the show notes. So we’ll make sure that mums can access all of that information as well.

So thank you so much, Jacqueline. It was really, really incredible to connect with you. I love your wisdom.

I love your balanced approach. And yeah, I think that’s a lot of words of wisdom for mums today. Thank you.

Oh, well, thank you, Meg. It’s an honor to be here. And I’m just really glad that you’re sharing the message that you are with your audience.

So thank you. Thank you very much. Thanks to everyone who joined us.

We will see you the same time next week. Until then, download ParentSense app and take the guesswork out of parenting.

Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.