Exciting New Option – ONLINE Classes!

1 Feb

Lindsay and I are excited to announce that we are launching a series of childbirth education classes in 2016 that will be hosted on a live, ONLINE platform. The classes will include all the information presented in our in-person group classes and are designed to ensure that you are informed and prepared for a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth experience.

An online childbirth education course is self-paced and engaging. Because it is hosted live, you will attend the live sessions in order to interact with us, your pregnancy and birth experts, while simultaneously enjoying meaningful interaction with other expecting couples. Resources or books needed for the course will be mailed or e-mailed to you before the start of class.

In addition, we will provide a closed, private Facebook group for members of our course to encourage article-sharing, question-asking, answer-giving, community-building, and friendship-strengthening.


Our pilot class will begin on March 15th and run through April 19th.
Cost per couple (mom and support partner) is $125, due before the first class session.

TWO scholarship opportunities are available for eligible couples. Please e-mail to inquire about scholarships!

Register for the pilot course here: Register!

*The webinars will be recorded for later viewing or reviewing. You can access the webinars from any device and from any location around the world.

 

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$125/mama and support partner.
6-Week Series

The Aman Natural Childbirth Education course is a 6-week course designed to teach you, empower you, and strengthen you in preparation for a medication-free natural birth. Because we believe women’s bodies are designed for the work of childbirth, we created this to be a class series that will stretch you physically and mentally, root out fears, and arm you with the knowledge and options you need to achieve a satisfying and peaceful birth experience.

We do know that childbirth sometimes goes differently than what we plan, so this class will also discuss

  • medical pain relief options and cesarean delivery
  • pain-relief options such as meditation, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, position changes, massage techniques, and distraction
  • breastfeeding, pumping, and/or formula-feeding if needed
  • routine interventions and how to avoid them
  • creating a birth plan
  • building your birth support team

This course is rooted in evidence-based, peer-reviewed research and supports any birth location – home, birth center, or hospital.

Aman Mother Blessings

21 Aug

Posted by: Candice Hughes

We are excited to announce that we are now officially offering Christian Mother Blessings! See below for more details:

1 John 4:11-13 … “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

A Mother Blessing, also called a BlessingWay ceremony, marks the beginning of a new stage of life and empowers the pregnant mama with encouragement, support, love, prayer, and sisterly fellowship. Mother Blessings originated in Navajo traditions but found their way into Anglo-American birth culture when midwives adopted the idea in the 1970s.

Today, many moms opt for a Mother Blessing in addition to, or even in lieu of a traditional baby shower because of the deeply spiritual aspect that you just don’t get when you’re sniffing candy bars melted in disposable diapers (as fun as that is). At a Christian Mother Blessing, sisters in Christ may come around the pregnant mama to pray for her, commit to prayer during labor and delivery, encourage mama with the Word, serve her in sacrificial ways, and fellowship with her as children of God.

We are excited to announce that Aman Birth Services is now going to offer these Christ-centered Mother Blessings as a way to love on and build up the mothers we serve.

Below is a little Q&A for details:

What is the point of an Aman Mother Blessing event?
A Mother Blessing at Aman Birth Services is an event that celebrates the pregnant mother and the new life that the Lord is crafting within her womb, as well as the beginning of motherhood, whether this is her first or fifteenth! Female friends and family come around mama and wrap her in love and encouragement and prayer. It is an event in which women fellowship and give thanks to Jesus for His work in crafting the female body to give birth.

What do you do at a Mother Blessing?
Because each mother is unique and experiences pregnancy and birth differently, each Mama Blessing is unique and reflects the personality of the mother. Some events may include foot washing, pedicures, hands-on prayer, creation of a birth bracelet, belly painting, henna art, or belly casting. Others may include the presentation of a memory box or prayer candles to light when mama is in labor. They may include the writing of Scripture cards for mama to take into labor and delivery, worship music and singing together, and of course, food. Aman Birth Services will work with each mother to plan a Mother Blessing that will help unite her with her sisters in Christ as she begins this new phase of motherhood.

What about adoptive mothers?
Mother Blessings are an excellent way to support, love, and encourage a mama as she walks through the adoption process. Though the ceremony may not be a celebration of her pregnancy, it is a spiritual celebration of new life, of a baby crafted specifically for the mother’s care, and a deeply spiritual celebration of the Lord’s will and provision. Children are a gift from the Lord, and an adoptive mom is no less deserving of celebration than a pregnant mom.

Why would anyone choose this option?
For friendship, love, encouragement, prayer, building-up, support, comfort, the glory of Christ. Because becoming a mother (however many times you’ve given birth) is special and a divine appointment from the Lord. Because support for pregnant mamas is important and because prayer is powerful and works.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Galatians 6:2
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

See our “Mother Blessings” tab under “SERVICES” for more information.

New Aman Fall ’14 Schedule

13 Jul

We are very pleased to tell you that we have nailed down another round of classes and community events for the fall. Here is the flyer. You can register for any of these classes or events by visiting our Sign Up page or by e-mailing amanbirthservices@gmail.com

 

ABS FLYER Fall '14 Final-page0001-1

Babywearing Information Session

30 Jun

We are excited to offer a Babywearing Information Session led by BWI of Central Indiana leader Emily VonLanken! Here is

One of my favorite pictures of Lindsay, wearing her little guy!

One of my favorite pictures of Lindsay, wearing her little guy!

the information:

 

Babywearing Information Session
July 24, 6pm at the Soma Indy church building, Suite 310. 
Emily VonLanken, volunteer babywearing educator for Babywearing International (a leader of the Central Indiana chapter)  will lead a hands-on course on the topic of babywearing. Learn how to use your carrier safely and effectively or try out different types of carriers to find one that you like best. Pregnant women and parents of small children are welcome to join! Light snacks will be provided. There are only 10 spots available, so sign up soon.
E-mail amanbirthservices@gmail.com or call (317) 431-0224 to register.
You can learn more about Babywearing International here: http://bwiofcentralindiana.wordpress.com/

 

Come Join Us Around Indy!

10 Jun

Friends,

We have just added to our Events Calendar some really great opportunities to explore Indianapolis and meet other pregnant women and established families. Over the next few Mondays, we will meet in some beautiful and fun locations to walk, talk, and enjoy much of what Indy has to offer (for free!). Everyone is welcome, including dads and older children. Please dress comfortably and bring whatever you might need – sunscreen, water, snacks, etc.

Here is the list of meet-ups:

 

AMAN WALK ON THE RIVER
White River State Park
Monday, June 16, 11:00am.
Come hang out with us and take a walk around White River State Park! Come get some exercise, fresh air, and friendship with other pregnant women, moms, and families. Everyone is welcome! Meet near the front at the giant colorful-squares art installation (for more help finding us, call 317-431-0224).
AMAN WALK AT THE ART MUSEUM
Art Museum of Indianapolis Gardens
Monday, June 23, 11am.
Come hang out with us and take a walk around the beautiful gardens at the Art Museum! Come get some exercise, fresh air, and friendship with other pregnant women, moms, and families. Then, take a stroll inside to check out some art. Everyone is welcome! Meet us at the entrance to the museum.

AMAN WALK ON THE MONON
Monon in Broad Ripple
Monday, June 30, 11am.
Come take a stroll with us down the Monon and enjoy the exercise, fresh air, and friendship with other pregnant women, moms, and families. We will start and end at BRICS for anyone interested in getting some of the best ice cream Indy has to offer! Everyone is welcome! Meet us at BRICS near 64th and the Monon!

Milk and Cookies, Cookies and Milk

9 Jun

This post may change your life … or at least your breastfeeding journey. If nothing else, you will be introduced to one truly epic word; galactogogue.

In lay terms, a galactogogue is some substance you consume which serves to promote your milk supply. Below, I will get more technical and then share with you a couple of fantastic recipes that incorporate galactogogues in especially delicious ways. Yes, a cookie truly exists that not only tastes fabulous, is full of chocolate, but can also can make your body produce more milk.

Continue reading

A Healthy Baby is Not ALL That Matters

24 May

Written By: Milli Hill (See bottom of article for more about Milli)
Reposted By: Candice Hughes

When we say this, we risk silencing new mothers, says Milli Hill

 

My twin birth.. Attempting a VBAC!

My twins’ birth.. Attempting a VBAC

You’ve just given birth. You had a tough time and you’re not sure how you feel – but your body hurts and there are some memories floating around that you’d rather forget. As you hold your newborn and greet the stream of well-wishers, there’s one phrase you’re almost certain to hear: “All that matters is a healthy baby.”

This phrase is repeated so often it has almost become a cliché. New mothers hear it over and over, usually the moment they begin to open up and say that having their baby was difficult or even traumatic. Sometimes they even find they are saying it themselves: “Giving birth was awful, but at least I got my healthy baby, that’s all that matters.”

And this is wrong. Because a healthy baby is not ALL that matters.

This article might push your buttons so before we go on I want to ask you to stay calm, grab a cuppa and keep your wig on. I need to be very very clear, because I know from experience that talking about this issue can cause an outcry. So please listen carefully. The following sentence is crucial:

When a woman gives birth, a healthy baby is absolutely completely and utterly the most important thing.

Got that? OK – do not adjust your wig, there’s more…

It is not ALL that matters.

Two things – just to repeat: a healthy baby is the most important thing, AND it is not all that matters.

Women matter too. When we tell women that a healthy baby is all that matters we often silence them. We say, or at least we very strongly imply, that their feelings do not matter, and that even though the birth may have left them feeling hurt, shocked or even violated, they should not complain because their baby is healthy and this is the only important thing.

Not only do we turn a blind eye to the woman’s feelings, but by gaily proclaiming everyone ‘healthy’ we also ignore the complex relationship between mother and baby, and the impact of the birth experience on the future mental and physical health of both of them.

Too often women who say they care about the details of their baby’s birth day are accused of wanting an ‘experience’, as if it is selfish to care about how their baby is born, how they feel or how they are treated. But, as the saying goes, ‘when a baby is born, so is a mother’. If a mother feels broken, dispirited, depressed or traumatised, how will this affect her baby? Is this healthy?

A good birth doesn’t have to be a hippy dippy ‘natural’ birth, all candles, knitting midwives and placenta smoothies. Many women who have hospital births that don’t go the way they planned and end in interventions such as caesareans, report feeling positive about what happened. This is because how a woman is spoken to and treated as she has her baby is much much more important than the actual mode of delivery.

Women need to feel that they have been consulted, respected and given the information they need to make free choices in the best interest of themselves and their child. This allows them to begin motherhood feeling strong, capable and mentally healthy – surely the best way to be when you are about to be given another human being’s fragile developing psychology to hold tenderly in the palm of your hand?

Birth matters. To be respected, to be treated with dignity, to be in control of what happens to our bodies. To really feel the power of bringing a new life into the world – no matter whether in theatre or at home in a birth pool – why is it so wrong for women to want this?

Some women ask for a ‘woman-centred’ caesarean. This means a caesarean in which things are done differently, only slightly, but different nevertheless. Doctors keep their voices low. Music of choice can be played. The screen is lowered for the woman to watch the birth, if she so wishes. Wires usually attached to her chest are instead put on her back, so that baby can be placed immediately on her for skin-to-skin contact. The atmosphere is kept reverent, respectful. Why?!

Because birth, no matter how it happens, is important. It is a huge event in a woman’s life that she will remember in great detail for as long as she lives. We don’t have much ‘spirituality’ these days, but even for the most cynical of us, the moment when a new human being takes their first breath is a special and significant one. And yes, being there and being a part of it, is an ‘experience’.

Some reading this might feel this is nonsense. They don’t want a spiritual experience, or a rite of passage, or essential oils or a statue of a goddess. They don’t want the curtain lowered so they can see either, they just want the baby out safe and sound, and that’s fine too. Women are many and varied; birth can be many and varied too and should, ideally, be just as each woman wants it.

What we do know is that many women DO care about what happens to them when they have their baby, but that they find it hard to talk about these feelings in a culture which persistently tells them that they really shouldn’t, and that what goes on in the delivery room is always acceptable as long as everyone survives.

Taken to the extreme, this idea that the woman does not matter as long as the baby is healthy can create an environment in which her autonomy over her own body is completely lost. If there is even a very small risk to the baby, what is justifiable? Recently, we have seen more and more reports of enforced caesareans, putting me in mind of the story – hilarious and awful both at once – of Dr Donal O’Sullivan, who famously declared on Irish radio in 1996 that if a woman wanted a home birth, her husband ought to put a bridle on her and ‘drive’ her to hospital like cattle.

Extreme, perhaps, but if we continue to repeat that a healthy baby is all that matters, we open the doors for all manner of undignified or even abusive treatment to happen to women in the quest for absolute safety. We reduce a woman to being a mere ‘vessel’ for her child, and we quickly silence anyone who wishes to protest against any aspect of their care that they didn’t feel comfortable with.

A healthy baby is the most important thing, and it is not all that matters.

Respect, consent, choice, dignity – all that matters too.

Meri being born

Meri being born

 

© Milli Hill
Writer Milli Hill
BestDaily columnist Milli Hill is the founder of The Positive Birth Movement. You can read more from Milli here:

I was not allowed: the words that steal our birth power

What’s behind our birth fear – and how to lose it

The Positive Birth Movement is launching a new project, All That Matters. They want to hear women’s stories of what mattered to them when they were giving birth, apart from a healthy baby. To find out more visit http://www.positivebirthmovement.org/all-that-matters-project.html or find the project on Twitter @atmprojectpbm

 

**Click here for the original article. And, comment below: What do you think? Is a healthy baby ALL that matters??

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Aman Childbirth Education Class Series

17 May

Aman Childbirth Education Class Series

Scholarships for the 8-week class available. E-mail amanbirthservices@gmail.com for more information.

9 Reasons to Take a Childbirth Education Class

12 May

Posted By:
Candice Hughes


According to recent studies, only one in three expectant women attends a childbirth education class. For those who choose not to take a formal class during the prenatal period, the reasons vary widely. Some believe a class would be a waste of time and money because good information is readily available online and through other public sources. Others feel their time is too valuable to sit through 8 weeks of boring technical lecture about the stages of labor and when to “hee hee” and “hoo hoo”. And some believe that someone from the hospital will tell them everything they need to know about their labor once they arrive.

In the paragraphs below, I hope to persuade you that a formal childbirth education class can be an invaluable resource to any expectant family, regardless of current knowledge base or experience.

Only The Best Information
Taking part in a childbirth education class will provide you with medically accurate, relevant information about birth. In class, you will learn a tremendous amount about labor, delivery, birth, the postpartum period, and breastfeeding from educated instructors who are up to date with current research. Discerning on your own what information is relevant, helpful, and medically accurate can be overwhelming.

Informed Instructors
If you’re like me, there is nothing more frustrating than Aunt Mertle chiming in with 45-year-old (inaccurate or even dangerous) “wisdom” related to birth. Instructors who lead childbirth education classes are trained educators who often have extensive experience with childbirth. You can expect your instructor to read medical journals and attend research conferences. And, there are lots of opportunities exclusive to trained childbirth educators to stay current on the latest information..

Emotional Preparation
Your instructor will also walk you through various typical and atypical emotional responses to birth that you may not be prepared for – from navigating a simple case of ‘baby blues’ to dealing with full blown post-partum depression and other serious emotional disorders. In class, you can work out any fears or anxieties you may have alongside trained professionals and peers.

Retention of Information
It is a common misconception that taking a childbirth education class can be like drinking from a fire hose. Why bother taking the class when you likely won’t be able to recall the information when in the throes of labor. However, childbirth education classes incorporate a wide range of teaching strategies, you can be sure that most of what you learn will be retained. Classes are often interactive and hands-on, combining games, practice sessions, discussion, reading, audio, video, lecture, visual images, and demonstrations.

Informed Consent
One of the most important reasons to take a childbirth education class is to be fully informed about your choices before they are offered. In class, you will learn about the risks and benefits of various procedures that you may encounter during labor, birth, or immediately postpartum. Consider whether you are fully informed about medical interventions – why they are used, how and when they can be helpful, and their side effects, various medical complications with birth, treatments for common complications, tests and procedures following the birth, fetal monitoring, induction, artificial rupture of membranes, etc. Many routine procedures will be carried out without signed consent from the mother unless she specifies which procedures she does and does not want for her baby.

Partner Support
In a study published in the journal Family Medicine, researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis found that the positive support surrounding a woman in a childbirth education class can significantly impact her mental and physical well-being during childbirth. Similarly, a partner’s attitude is the most important factor that predicts how long a woman will breastfeed her child. Instructors know how important partners are and as such, your childbirth education class will provide your partner with the tools and know-how to give the support you need during labor and after.

Empowerment
Having the information necessary to make the best choices for her family is empowering for a mother. It gives her agency. It gives her autonomy. It helps her to be the best mother she can be.

Community
A class provides something a book or website cannot – community. Going through a childbirth education class brings people together, learning side by side and discussing their common situations face to face. It connects moms and their support partners who are walking through pregnancy and will walk through childbirth at similar times. It creates friendships that last. It builds a reverence for and common understanding of childbirth that you just don’t get from a block of text.

Get to Know Your Body
The processes of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery are awe-inspiring. Learning about the body’s response to these processes can help you get to know yourself better. In class, you will learn about and practice various movements, visualizations, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, positions, and exercises that will allow you to know what works best for you.

To be sure, the decision to take a formal childbirth education class is a commitment. But, it is a commitment to beginning your time as a mother informed, empowered, and in community.

 

If you think a childbirth education class might be the best next step for you, look into Aman Birth Service’s  course offerings for the summer!

Nipple Shields: Everything You Never Wanted to Know

25 Apr

Reposted by Candice Hughes
Original Post by Erin Michaud, IBCLC. http://www.bfhomehelp.com/blog.html

 

nippleshieldLactation consultants have a reputation for hating nipple shields. Although some of us will go to great lengths to avoid recommending them, under some circumstances I think they can be helpful. Extremely helpful actually. There. I said it.

I have suggested nipple shields for certain moms for reasons like these:

  • No latch or a poor latch and the go-to solutions (spending time skin-to-skin, using your hands to compress the breast tissue so it’s easier for baby to grab a big mouthful, trying baby-led latching, switching position, etc.) aren’t working fast enough and the baby needs to be fed right away.
  • Prematurity. Babies who were born early often have lower muscle tone, no fat pads yet in their cheeks to help them stabilize on the breast, and generally immature feeding skills. In that case a nipple shield is sort of like breastfeeding “training wheels” and can help the baby stay attached more easily without slipping off, suck longer and more efficiently, and ultimately eat more from the breast at an earlier gestation age.
  • Tongue-tie. If a tongue-tie is suspected and there are feeding difficulties and/or nipple injuries a nipple shield can sometimes help the baby compensate for lack of normal tongue movement and provide some measure of protection for the nipple. (This is generally a temporary measure and I suggest getting treatment from a doctor or pediatric dentist who can release the tie.)
  • Other really bad injuries where feeding with the bare nipple is temporarily too painful even when the latch has been improved. (Doesn’t always work, but sometimes saves mom the stress and trouble of pumping and feeding milk away from the breast.)

Nipple shields can be a useful tool, and if you’re currently nursing with one and feeling cruddy and insecure about it– stop! Sometimes mothers will call me and practically apologize for having accepted a shield in the hospital. If it’s working for you, and you’re satisfied with how things are going, and your baby is getting enough to eat, there’s no problem and there’s absolutely nothing to feel bad about. However, if you’re using a shield, I do have some pointers:

  • Make sure you’re using the right size. Sizing shieldscan be tricky, and you’ll ideally want to have a lactation consultant take a look. For commercially available shields I recommend only two brands as of this writing.Medela is the most widely available and good for most circumstances. That brand comes in extra small (16mm), small (20mm) and medium (24mm.) There is no large. The other brand, which is not available in retail stores and generally hasto be purchased from Amazon or through a lactation consultant, isMamivac. It comes in sizes extra small through large (which againMedela doesn’t make) and two different shapes– conical and cherry. If theMedela brand isn’t working or you’re having trouble figuring out the right size talk to a lactation consultant about which size and shapeMamivac to try.Generally if a size small Medela fits over your nipple with plenty of extra space on the sides and tip that’s probably an okay fit. Otherwise try a size medium (24 mm.) If the shield is too small you may experience pain or start to see redness on the end of your nipple. The milk flow may be pinched off and make it difficult for your baby to get enough milk. In extreme cases the nipple tissue can begin to get pulled right through the holes on the top. Obviously that is bad. On the other hand, if the shield is too large, you may not be able to get all of it into your baby’s mouth or you may start to feel like your baby is clamping down while nursing. That’s because he is; if the shield is rubbing against his gums it will trigger the phasic bite reflex. Which is just like it sounds– biting. If you have very small nipples and are nursing a preemie in the early weeks an extra small might work. Otherwise don’t use that size.
  • Put it on right. Slapping it on there loosely will just cause it to go flying off (probably onto the dirty floor, right?) while you’re trying to latch or it can easily be pulled off-center. I suggest running the nipple shield under warm water to help it stick, then turning up the sides away from you like the brim of a hat so you’re starting to flip it inside out. Center it on your nipple and flip the edges back around so it’s on there tight and your nipple gets pulled in a little bit. This will make it harder for baby to swat off.
    Image
  • It is still necessary to get a good latch. With a shield that means you want your baby to take the ENTIRE part of the shield that sticks out and covers your nipple and a little bit extra too. Start with the end of the shield resting on baby’s upper lip, wait for the wide gape, then pull the baby close with his chin leading in. After he’s latched you don’t want to see any part of the shield except the far edges. This is definitely the most common mistake that I see people make– not pulling in the baby’s face! The chin and both cheeks should be against the breast, and as always you want to be maintaining a snug hold with no gaps between you and the baby. If your baby can’t take the whole shield in his mouth, try a smaller size, and get some help from a lactation consultant right away.
  • Wash in hot water and dish soap before each use. This will help the shield stick. Keep an extra on hand until you don’t need it anymore.

Shields do have some potential drawbacks. Occasionally a baby won’t transfer milk well through the shield. So, the advice used to be that all mothers should pump after feedings while using a shield. I don’t think that is usually necessary. If your baby is eating vigorously 8 to 12 times a day with gulping, is pooping and peeing enough, you aren’t feeling like the milk is building up in your breasts (engorgement) and your baby acts reasonably content after most feedings then the weight gain is probably going to be within normal range. But it’s always good to go in for those weight checks with the pediatrician to be sure, and if you have doubts or worries about intake get some help.

Weaning Off The D@$% Thing
If you had a really hard time latching in the beginning, and were at the end of your rope and well past the point of tears by the time you got your hands on a nipple shield, it may have seemed like a godsend. I used one with my first baby so I got to experience first-hand what that is like. She’s finally breastfeeding!!! Rainbows and flowers and puppies and kittens and nice tame unicorns!!!! No more troubles ever again!!!! (Well….)

But, even if the shield is your new best friend at first, then the days pass, and you get sick of washing the shield, keeping track of the shield, feeling like you don’t want to nurse in public with the shield, and are just generally over it…yet the baby seems so unwilling to latch without it no matter how hard you try…then at that point it can start to seem like it’s turning into a curse. So, if you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to ditch it, here’s what to do.

  • Start feedings early and get skin-to-skin if your baby is a newborn. Older babies can be lightly dressed but you want newborns naked (down to the diaper) and snuggling with you for a while beforehand. Some moms think that if they wait until the baby is very hungry they’ll be more desperate and take whatever they’re offered. No! They’ll just get pissed off faster. So when you’re weaning off the shield, jump on those super early hunger cues (eyes moving under lids while beginning to wake from sleep) and start getting ready for feeding. The best thing to do is to try to start even earlier– get skin-to-skin or up close and ready about 15-30 minutes before the baby is probably going to wake.
  • For latching, try shaping your breast with your hand nearest the breast you’re using. Your baby will be looking for the feeling of something on the roof of his mouth as one of his cues to latch. If the breast tissue isn’t reaching far enough, he might get frustrated and just pull off and cry. But if you can use your hands to make your nipple and areola easier to grasp then sometimes that’s all it takes to begin latching without the shield.

To do the shaping, aka the “breast sandwich,” you still want to let your breast fall naturally, but then place your thumb about 1/2″ away from your nipple, trying to flip it up in the direction that the roof of the baby’s mouth will be in, and walk your index and other fingers about 2″ away from the bottom of the breast. You should be making a “breast sandwich” that has the nipple sort of flipped up if possible. Practice a little beforehand to see what’s going to work best for your body. Here I am shaping a crocheted breast:
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You’d like to try to get the baby’s lips as close to your fingers as possible. I could have my thumb even a little closer to the nipple here; try it on yourself and notice that the closer you move your thumb the more it flips up. That can be useful. Oh! And remember that you’re feeding the baby a “sandwich” so pay attention to the angle of what you’re offering– could you eat a sandwich sideways? Not easily. That defeats the purpose of making it easier to grasp. Orient the sandwich to the way the baby’s mouth is, which will vary depending on what position you’re using.

  • If you can’t get your baby to latch on, you’ve tried for a few minutes, and either one of you starts to get too frustrated, fall back on the shield. Put it on correctly and let your baby nurse for a few minutes.
  • After a few minutes pass, try slipping off the shield and bringing your baby quickly back to the breast. Often after nursing for a few minutes the nipple gets drawn out a bit and this can accomplish something sort of similar to the “breast sandwich” — an area that’s sticking out and easier to grasp and easier for the baby to feel up on the roof of his mouth.
  • If you’re trying for days and days with no luck at all, aside from contacting a lactation consultant, you can also try a few fun things like taking a bath with your baby and letting him hang out belly-down on top of you, or offering the bare breast while you’re standing up swaying or walking. These are the kinds of things that can sometimes help with a nursing strike and they can occasionally distract a baby who is older.
  • Obviously I’m going to mention that if you’re not able to resolve this stuff on your own relatively quickly try reaching out to a lactation consultant.

You want the breast to be a happy and stress-free place for your baby so if you start to feel like you’re battling…stop and fall back on the shield.

The good news is that if you’re persistent you should find success. But the bad news is that you might need to try dozens of times before your baby is convinced that this no-shield business is a good idea. Lower your expectations. Weaning from the shield takes patience and a sense of humor; results don’t usually happen instantly. Then, all of a sudden when you’re beginning to find it absurd that you’re even trying yet again, your baby will latch once for maybe about 15 seconds. Then a few unsuccessful attempts will pass…then all of a sudden he’ll do it again. Over the course of the next few days he might start doing it more and more reliably and then one day you’ll get to throw that shield in the trashcan. Or, I don’t know, maybe you’re the type who will tape it into a scrapbook next to the shriveled-up remnants of his umbilical stump. We moms are crazy like that.

Are you using a shield right now? Do you have experience with weaning from a nipple shield? Drop a comment if you like! It might help another mother out.

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