The team at Tidelands Health Women’s Center helps families navigate pregnancy and childbirth every day. Now, one of the practice’s physicians – Dr. Monica Selander – has invited us to be part of the journey as she and her husband, Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han, welcome a second child to their family. Follow us on Facebook, check out our Twitter feed and stop back here often to get the latest updates.
For Dr. Monica Selander and her husband, Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han, things are going pretty much as you might expect five weeks after bringing a new baby home from the hospital.
Baby Luna is waking up several times a night for feedings. Big sister, Nora, has been getting plenty of extra attention from dad and grandma. And both parents are adjusting to life with two little ones.
Although managing the needs of two little girls is inherently a challenge, Dr. Selander says her success nursing Nora has made things easier than they otherwise might be.
With Nora, breastfeeding didn’t come easily. The baby didn’t latch well, which led her to pump almost exclusively.”It’s so much easier not to have to be pumping all day,” says Dr. Selander, who is on maternity leave from her role as an OB-GYN at Tidelands Health Women’s Center. “Add in the need to wash bottles and breast pump equipment and the process was tedious and time-consuming.
“This time, it’s going so much better. I think what I learned from doing it with Nora is really helping this time. The biggest problem with (Nora) was she didn’t latch well, and it caused pain and damage to my nipples. Luna seems to just be a better nurser.”
A better sleeper
Luna is also a better sleeper than her older sister. Dr. Selander gets up two to three times per night to feed Luna, which she says is manageable.
“It’s just basically doing a string of naps,” she says.
Even though she is nursing, Dr. Selander doesn’t sleep with Luna in her bedroom. Instead, the baby sleeps in her own room.
“While I’d prefer Luna sleep in our bedroom, it just doesn’t work for me,” she says. “Every time she makes noise, I wake up. So I don’t really sleep at all, and I want to be sure that I’m getting as much rest as possible to care for the girls.”
To monitor Luna, Dr. Selander uses a camera monitoring system that’s connected to an app on her phone.
One thing Dr. Selander cautioned against is co-sleeping.
“It’s important to always be focused on the big picture – about the health and safety of the child,” Dr. Selander says. “There are blankets and sheets the baby can become trapped in. Add in that you’re exhausted and could roll over and suffocate the baby without realizing it, and it’s just not worth the risk.”
Struggling is common
While breastfeeding has come easily for Dr. Selander this time, her experience following the birth of Nora is common among mothers, says Ashley Pritchett, a registered nurse and lactation consultant for Tidelands Health.
“There are a few ways to know if breastfeeding is going well, or not,” Pritchett says. “Ensuring the infant is voiding and stooling adequately and gaining weight is a good indicator that the baby is getting enough breast milk.”
Infants should feed 8-12 times a day, so if the baby is eating more or less frequently, it could indicate the baby is not getting enough milk while nursing, she says.
The mother’s nipples are another way to determine if nursing is going well for mom and baby.
“If her nipples are cracked, bruised or bleeding, mom needs to assessed by a certified lactation consultant,” she says.
Pritchett says mothers shouldn’t wait to seek assistance with breastfeeding.
“The earlier a mom seeks help, the better. A qualified lactation consultant should be the first person a mom goes to for help with breastfeeding,” she says.
A path forward
The lactation consultant will determine the course of action that’s best for mom and baby. If the baby needs to be seen by a doctor, the consultant will lead the mom in that direction.
Every mother who gives birth at a Tidelands Health hospital can benefit from the help of a lactation consultant, one of the reasons why Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital and Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital have earned the prestigious designation of Baby Friendly, an initiative created by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to promote breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding.