There’s a HUGE misconception out there that breastfeeding and sleep training just can’t go hand-in-hand. So many exhausted moms think they have to choose one or the other!
Fear not, my friends! In this episode, I interviewed Sofya Brainin, IBCLC and Registered Nurse all about how you CAN get your little one sleeping like a champ through sleep training, all while protecting the breastfeeding relationship.
Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human? Join my FREE training HERE!
Hey there, you’re listening to the, my sleeping BB podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little one sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy Parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three founder of the sleep Bible, online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep. And if you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep, where you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out my sleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at my @sleepingbaby.
All right, Sofia, I’m so happy to have you here. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and what you do.
Hi, my name is Sofia Brainin and I’m in lactation consultant in a private practice and also working as a lactation consultant at St. Michael’s hospital, mainly working with premature babies in ICU. Also a registered nurse and Bachelor of Science in Nursing, mainly in ICU and also adult world. And in the last 10 years, I’m mainly doing breastfeeding, lactation support, and being a lactation consultant.
Amazing. I love it. And, you know, we were just chatting before. Sofia, you and I met at a business, a local business networking events. And I remember you, I was very new into the world of sleep consulting at the time. And, and unfortunately, any experience that I had had trying to connect with breastfeeding professionals was just proving that our vision was not so aligned.
And then I remember you came up to me and you started, you know, chatting away and said, I love what you do. And I remember going really, you do? Again, I was very, very new. And you said, yeah, absolutely. You know, sleep training, sleep training is wonderful and so is breastfeeding. It’s so great to get these babies sleeping. And that was when we, I instantly bonded with you. I remember I was going okay. I just kind of latched onto, you know, no pun intended, but latched onto you, you know, going, Oh my gosh, you know, I found myself a, an extremely experienced, incredible lactation professional. And, and by the way, you know, for those of you who aren’t Toronto base, St. Michael’s hospital is a very well known, uh, hospital here in Toronto. You know, from, from then on, you know, Sofia has been my go to person that I referred to anyone who needs a breastfeeding support.
So, you know, I’m, I’m so excited to have you here Sofia, so that we can delve into some of the biggest myths and misunderstandings around the breastfeeding relationship and sleep. Because I think that there is this huge misunderstanding that if you want to do sleep training then the breastfeeding relationship will have to be sacrificed. And that if you don’t want to sacrifice the breastfeeding then you can’t do sleep training. So let’s, let’s delve into that. I mean, what are your initial thoughts on that, that, that whole topic?
Okay. So my philosophy is balance in life, in everything not to be too, too fanatic about any topic of your life. To try to balance everything and to create a puzzle right, from little stuff. Um, yeah, I’ll be very honest with you. Even if I’m talking to a mom of a newborn who’s, I don’t know, 11 days old and she’s working on breastfeeding and I see completely, um, tired and functioning woman, I would say, you know what? Skip breastfeed skip one breastfeed at night, skip breastfeed at 12:00 AM, let your partner feed the baby, catch up some sleep. Otherwise it’s going to be very tough. Right. And baby, first of all needs not a breastfeeding mom. He needs normal functioning and the reasonable mom.
Yes, yes, yes. He needs a happy, stable, you know, normal feeling mom, one more time.
Yeah. And if you are breastfeeding nonstop, and you feel like it’s killing me and not getting enough sleep, baby’s not sleeping enough. I would, with my own lactation consultant plans, I would stop it. And I would say, take a break because otherwise there’s breastfeeding and it is not going to continue. You know,
When you tell these moms that you see that are just bone tired that they should really just hand the baby off to the dad, take a bit of a break, go to sleep, get a proper stretch of sleep, have the, have their partner do the middle of the midnight feed so that the mom can be a little bit more well rested. Does that end up helping with breastfeeding overall with milk supply? You know, when her stress levels are able to go down even a little bit? Absolutely.
Absolutely. Because milk supply and breastfeeding, it’s actually simply three things. It’s similar enough stimulation, enough hydration and rest. And if mom was fulfilling two of them, but she’s sleeping only two hours here, an hour and a half there, and she’s not having four, five hours of sleep in a row, her body’s going to react appropriately. Her, body’s going to say, I’m sorry, I’m not able to produce milk for you. And you can do everything right. And pump enough and breastfeed enough and wake up in the middle of the night and still to deal with low milk supply. Right. So it’s very advisable. I would say, if you feel like you’re on the edge, yes. I’m not talking about any hour of the night and usually saying, Hey, uh, let’s skip the middle of the night feed because then prolactin is lower. But if you’ll flip through this and you will be available for the baby and for the pumping at around four, 6:00 AM, we’re still catching up with a peak of the prolactin for you, better milk production, but we actually achieved two goals.
You slides and you’re doing it. And the preferable time, yes. I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you the story I’m working in NICU and it’s usually mommies who are pumping, you know, every three hours and usually coming from different hospitals. And they’re like, Oh, I’m being a bad girl. I’m not pumping every two hours, 10 times a day and blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, Hey, Hey, let’s stop here. And let’s sit down and organize schedule in week, probably during the day, you’re going to have breaks. And you’re going to have like two hours apart pumps. However, at the nighttime, your last, uh, last pump is going to be around 11, 1130. And then next one is going to be four 35, which again, will give you much more energy and prolactin hour. Right? Let’s, let’s talk about this prolactin, um, topic, because I think this is, this is an important one.
Um, when I hear a certain group of breastfeeding professionals, again, with the best of intentions saying things along the lines of you should never try removing night feeds from a baby because night is the best time to be nursing a baby for milk supply for the breastfeeding relationship, because that’s when your body produces prolactin and that the baby, the breastfeeding relationship is going to be hindered by removing all of these night feeds. Even if it’s done gradually, how would you address that? Like what exactly is the science behind the prolactin and, um, and, and does night weaning actually in fact, impact breastfeeding the breastfeeding relationship.
So, first of all, what we need to do is to define night, what is night? 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM or PM to six, what is night? So, um, usually for the baby, when we talking about like newborn, uh, if baby’s sleeping around four hours or four and a half hours in a row, no matter what time of the day for him it’s night. So basically if baby slept five hours during the daytime, obviously he’s going to wake up, uh, at night time and to ask for more food. Right? So one of the advices that I am usually given, uh, every parents are like, if you want to address this problem, feed the baby more frequently during the day. Yes. Yes. Don’t let me take a five hour nap as, as great as it might be. You might, you’re going to end up paying for it at nighttime.
Exactly. It’s very amazing and gives you some rest, but baby couldn’t care less that you did not sleep at this time, right? For him it’s night. Yes. I’m going back to prolactin. Yes, prolactin. It’s a breastfeeding hormone. Prolactin it’s a hormone that affects the milk supply, helps our body to produce some milk. Right. And yes, uh, it peaks, uh, when it peaks, it’s the best, uh, productive time of the day, but is it 12:00 AM, is it 2:00 AM, is it 3:00 AM? W we don’t need to sleep at this time and just be like, you know, body guardian and lots pomp and let’s feed baby sleeping. No, because prolactin, pigs between three and three for a three to 4:00 AM, and until even 9:00 AM, if mom is coming to me and saying, listen, not able to pump during the day, I’m doing only partial breastfeeding. When should I breastfeed?
I would say, okay, in the range of between 4:00 AM to 9:00 AM, try to squeeze two to three things, right? It morning. That’s so doable because if you have a baby that gives you a big stretch of sleep, which again, you know, when you’ve got a baby in the four month range and up, you can absolutely be getting very, very big stretches of sleep, regardless of whether or not your baby definitely, or bottle feeding. And so if your baby is breastfeeding and you’re worried about the prolactin, if your baby is eating once at 4:00 AM, and then let’s say he goes back to sleep and wakes up for the day, it’s seven nurses at seven, and then maybe nurses, once more at nine or nine 30 before going down for his morning nap, that’s three feeds. Right? Exactly. Right. That’s exactly right. This is exactly how it works.
Fantastic timeframe in which you can sleep. He can sleep. And both of you can sleep. Definitely. If we’re talking not about newborn, if we’re talking about baby, who, as you said, four months of age, five months of age, six months of age, that mom will tell me that, that baby’s waking up every two and a half hours at the night time to breastfeed as allocation consultant. I will tell you, let’s take a look on this breastfeeding relationship and let’s see what is going wrong, because the baby is usually starting to be sleeping much more during the nighttime. Right. And if baby’s speeding as often during the night time, I would assume he probably is not feeding as much during the day something there. Right.
We’ve got it in the sleep world. I don’t know if you guys use this term called reverse cycling. I don’t know if that’s a term that you guys use, you guys use reverse cycling.
Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, for those of you guys listening and reverse cycling in a nutshell is basically when you have a baby on a reverse eating cycle to some degree. So you have a baby who is eating more at night than necessary. And then as a result, not eating as much during the day as he could be. And then as a result, eats more at night to compensate. And then the vicious cycle just continues. And we, I mean, I see various cases of reverse cycling that, you know, range in degrees. So, you know, I’ve seen some babies that maybe eat a little bit more at night than necessary. I’ve seen babies eating 50% of their caloric intake at nighttime. I’ve seen babies eating 80 to 90% of their calories at nighttime and then barely eating at all during the day. And the mom has no idea why this baby won’t eat. And it’s because when we’re taking a look at these babies feeding logs, and I see that the baby is nursing for 10 minutes at a time, five times a night, he’s not hungry.
Of course not, no steals all his needs during this night time. And then he’s busy during the day with other stuff, right. As a result, as a result, you’re saying, we’re also coming to the question, is it really healthy at five or six months of age to breastfeed all night long? I don’t think so. No.
And so you’re saying that if a mom doesn’t like the situation, if there is some degree of reverse cycling here where you know, her four month old baby and up is eating more than, you know, once, maybe twice a night, what you’re saying is, cause I think this is also a very big, big myth that I would love to bust in the breastfeeding world. And that’s that. So what you’re saying is that there’s really no problem with attempting to transfer those calories from the nighttime to the daytime. That there’s nothing, inherently superior about breastfeeding happening 11 or 12 o’clock at night that we can potentially shift to the daytime.
Absolutely. Because, um, milk supply also going through some changes during the time, right? And it’s more mature milk supply, less relate, less hormonal related. If we’re talking about producing more related to stimulation that baby’s doing composition of the milk changes, uh, it’s a little bit more fatty meal that can be given during the day, uh, after all, yeah, it is a baby, but we are preparing this baby to be a toddler who is going to eat during the day and sleep during the night. Right. And for famine happens earlier for some, it happens later for some at hop, like not happening at all. And then we’ll, we’ll need to see what’s going on with the milk supply what’s going on with the way of feeding what’s happening with that. But one more thing. Um, a lot of the times I see moms coming to me with the question, but what can I do four to six months of age babies, very destructed, like cannot feed him during the day.
Not feeding everything else playing, but not feeding. What kind of advice you can give in this situation. So usually I’m saying baby still napping during the, um, during the time, right? Yes. He’s not being, try to organize the breastfeeds around those snaps closer when he’s fallen asleep maybe, or when he just walk up, because then all his focus is going to be breast and left. Let me feed. Right. Very, very helpful in this situation is to decrease the amount of stimulation. So to go to darker places, to go to, um, quieter places, not to create very much of motion around the baby. And one of the reasons why babies like feeding better during the nighttime, because nobody’s moving and yeah, correct. But can we fix it? Definitely. We can fix it. Can we move those feeds mostly for the daytime? Yes we can. Right.
And I think a lot of moms are afraid that if they try removing these night feeds where their baby is eating so well and they try and transfer those calorie to the daytime. When the baby isn’t eating as well, they’re afraid that breastfeeding is going to go out the window and you’re saying not to happen.
Speaker 2: (18:26)
It does not have to happen. We always need to remember that every story is very personal and different, right? If we’re talking about mom, whose milk supply to begin with was very low. My approach to her breastfeeding and sleep training, going to be a bit different rather than mom who had successful breastfeeding, no issues with the milk supply, and other stuff. Uh, but definitely for talking to both mom with excellent supply baby who’s P and pooping and gaining weight up until this moment. And if he feeds six times at night, when he’s like five months old, if he will move to twice at night, I will be very honest. Nobody would die. Yeah, baby.
What about once a night? I would say to no one, this guys aren’t going to fall. If that five month old, my, my son, my son, JJ, I mean, he’s now 22 months and I’m not nursing him anymore, but I had him down to one, one night feed in a 12 hour period. By the time he was about three months and he was exclusively breastfed, and he gained as far as I remember, very well beautifully. He was a very baby
In the weight gain department. And I just want to emphasize, you know, all three of my kids I’ve had, I’ve breastfed to a certain degree. Um, I’ll share my story about my first in a second, but you know, with my, with my, my, the baby number two and baby number three, there was no trouble breastfeeding, but I just want to emphasize, I do not have an oversupply. My body produces the exact amount that my baby needs and not more than that. And so I don’t want it to seem like this baby of mine was sleeping through the night by three months because I’ve got enough milk to feed triplets. I probably don’t or I guess maybe my body would produce it, but I mean, I’m not, I’m not one of these people that was probably, you know, a wet nurse in my previous lifetime. I produced like exactly the amount that he needs and not a drop just enough and yet with, with enough proper sleep in place
And, and focused on particularly nursing him every two to two and a half hours during the day, it meant that he was able to give me that massive stretch of sleep very early on. And as you said, the sky didn’t fall. I nursed him until, you know, we were built done. So, um, and, and you’re saying that’s not out of the ordinary.
No, no. And I see in a very many cases, I also, if we’re talking about toddlers, right. Um, a lot of moms coming to me and asking for the advice for God sakes, how I’m taking this baby off the boat at nighttime, because it’s impossible. I am back to work. I need my sleep. Yes. Um, so if we’re talking about hobbits, I think at around six months, our babies very well and very clear understand our messages. So it’s, yeah. We’re talking about creating a healthy habits.
We’re sleeping at night and we’re breastfeeding and doing everything else during the day. Yes. Um, and I think they are ready if you’ll come to me and say, Hey, Sophia, is it possible to do for my one month old? I would say, obviously not, absolutely not. No, it’s a different cycle, but at the same time, Oh, sorry, go ahead. Go ahead. But when we’re talking about like four to six months of age, uh, when the solid, starting to come into into the picture, when we still breastfeeding during the day, I will tell you even more than this, when mom is coming to me at six months with lower milk supply and saying, you know what, I’m doing ABCD, however, baby’s sleeping at night, like for 10 hours, you know what I’m saying? What I’m usually my answer is don’t touch the night. If you already achieved this goal of sleeping, let’s play around it.
But I would definitely, probably not going to tell this mom with the baby and breastfeed every two to three hours during the night time. Definitely not NICUs. Yup. Because this baby needs the sleep too, in order to grow correct. Already having it, then we will try to achieve the milk supply goal in other ways.
Yes. And I think just, just to touch upon, um, just to touch upon, you know, the, the, the fear around potentially having low milk supply, I know I experienced this and it’s a very common problem. You know, my, my second BB was my first baby that I was able to really successfully breastfeed. And I remember, you know, those first few months you’re leaking, you’re, you’re just constantly feeling very, very full. And, um, but it felt, it felt good. It made me feel like, okay, you know, I’ve got milk and this is just that, you know, normal part of breastfeeding.
Speaker 2: (24:00)
And then I think it was around the four month Mark where I wasn’t constantly feeling as full and I wasn’t, you know, leaking as much. And it made me think, Oh my gosh is my, is my milk. I’m losing, laying up, is my milk going away? And I know that this is a really common feeder and, and I’ve, and I found out, cause this was, you know, my first time experience for me that no, it does not mean that your milk is going down the drain. So let’s, let’s jam on that for a second because I, I get that, you know, dealing with enough moms who, you know, might be breastfeeding for the very first time with babies in this age range, that they start to have that fear as well. So let’s, let’s, let’s talk about that.
So the truth is that first three months of a baby’s life milk production is, um, again on demand as per stimulation, as per hydration and rest, but also their hormonal or hormones for milk production are high around six weeks. They’re starting like the half of them out and closer to three months, it’s really going down. If we’ll do the blood test, the production is going to be almost at the normal level. Why is that? Because this is a mature, uh, milk production, not a hormone without any hormones, influence, influence only, uh, as much as has been taken and stimulated as much and a little bit more body’s going to produce. So if the question I’m not feeling very full means I am losing my supply. Not necessarily. Yeah. It’s most probably that mature lactation is happening and yes, you are not feeling like you have a phone teams and they are, and like your exploding, right? Because milk composition changes less watery and a little bit more fatty to, uh, answer baby’s needs because baby’s growing and needs different competence.
So in other words, your body is just basically adjusting to correct no longer being in that newborn stage, no longer being newly postpartum, it’s, it’s adjusting to, you know, the, the new needs of your baby in terms of their appetite and what they need to take down. And as a result of not feeling full all the time, it does not mean that your milk has gone. Unlike what many of us, including myself literally feared. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Amazing. Absolutely. Right. Because usually what you are looking at, you’re looking at baby’s weight gain, which is again, not going to be one kilo a month at four months, baby, starting to move, turn from side to side a little bit more energetic. Yes.
You’ve adequately gaining weight, peeing and pooping enough. And if the boob feeling deflated, we’re still doing good and we’re still look dating.
Yes, that’s fantastic. Okay. No, I’m like really, really glad that we just, you know, conquered that because you know, a lot of the families that I work with, you know, the breastfeeding moms in particular might feel fearful to remove some of those night feeds from their five month olds waking up every two hours all night long thinking that their milk supply is already going down when really it’s a very normal part of the breastfeeding relationship by that stage is what you’re saying.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s not going to affect as much as, as a task being told. Yes. Yes. Okay.
Can we take the front house pacifiers because pacifiers and breasts? Definitely. You know, I personally, I happen to love pacifiers as a sleep tool.
Um, you know, all three of my kids took them. My, my 22 month old still sleeps with one at night. I think they’re amazing. Um, the million dollar question and their answer, and they’re particularly fantastic for newborns. They are because, you know, newborns, they have a very strong sucking reflex. And you know, if mom doesn’t feel like being a human pacifier all the time, you can offer the baby an actual physical pacifier to help him calm and relax. That being said, there’s a lot of discussion around when the best time is to introduce a pacifier to a newborn when the mother intends to breastfeed. So what are your thoughts on that particular topic?
So my answer usually is if we want a great milk supply, before four to six weeks, not to introduce any bottles or any pacifiers, however, if you want bottle and pacifier in your life, four to six weeks, it’s a great time to introduce it and don’t postpone it for later because otherwise you are going to get exclusive breastfeeding, or as I call them blue blogger yeah.
Is going to be just connected to the breast. And I see this problem a lot among the moms who are saying tomorrow, I’m flying to Hawaii to my friend’s wedding. And baby is exclusively breastfeeding. How my partner is going to feed this baby. Yeah. I’m asking where have you been before? Right. Um, I am always very pro baby needs to no other way to feed, which is a bottle. And at six weeks of age or four weeks of age, I don’t think the lodge is going to be, um, it’s not going to go down from one bottle a day at night. Right. But, but it’s also going to create a very good, um, teaching and learning with the baby who knows. I’m not only breastfeeding from abroad. I can feed from a bottle. Same with, uh, with the pacifier four to six weeks. Definitely a time to introduce it because later on you baby will say, no, I need the breasts to calm down.
Speaker 2: (30:27)
Right. Right. Right. And so you don’t find that the pacifier is any different than the bottle, even though the bottle has milk and the pacifier doesn’t like you think that they both can potentially cause a bit of nipple confusion when the baby is, I am, I am not in, in my practice. I am not a huge fan of this nipple confusion thing, to be honest with you, because I saw very many babies who even leaving the NICU and eating mostly from the bottle bottle, transitioning to exclusive breastfeeding. After I have to say that I also saw babies who want to two bottles and then we’ll, we needed to work on his lodge for very long time, very individual basis. But I am more, um, pro slow confusion. Okay. So introducing the bottle too soon, cause the bottle has milk is one thing introducing the pacifier after a few days or so it’s not the same, it’s a bit different thing.
Yeah. Of course. The pacifier doesn’t need to be there to replace the feeding, right? Yes.
That’s, that’s, that’s the key right. Is to be offering the pacifier to the baby after the baby has fed as a means of helping the baby sooth rather than using it to push off a feed or replace a feed because that of course can affect breastfeeding.
And also I’m always saying if you drive in a car and baby is on a backseat and like you can’t offer the breast at the moment, but whoever see there, I mean they circle baby down. I see more pros than cons in this situation when a pacifier has been offered, right. Going back to the bottles when I’m talking about flow confusion versus nipple confusion, uh, when we’re given a bottle full of milk and it’s just dripping into baby’s mouth, what baby learns from this process that at the moment I will do the SOC, I’ll get a word for this.
I’ll get my food for this. Yeah. And when he comes back to the breast, he’s back, uh, expects the same effects, which is not hot. We know that mechanism of bottle feeding and mechanism of breastfeeding, it’s a bit different mechanism. Right. So if you’re asking me about like the shape of the need for, uh, and like, like the shape can confuse the baby, I see that less, um, I see more than baby, usually confused because of that high flow coming from the bottle. That’s why we usually advise not to use any bottles at the beginning. If baby needs to be topped up, we used in finger feeding and, um, and cubit the breast, as a, like, as a tool to how baby just supplement. And so I have to say, if I see mom who is sleep deprived and no able to manage with all of this, I will say, feed the baby. This is the first, uh, my, uh, philosophical pyramids is a bit different because my pyramid says, first of all, maternal mental health, second of all feed the baby. Doesn’t matter from which, sorry, source third, uh, produce the milk. And only fourth find the way in which you are feeding your baby is the bottle is, it’s a breast. Right. Okay. I’m talking about diff and like it’s a bit different than maybe an hour lactation consultant in a world where presenting to parents.
The way that it should be. I think that’s, that’s, that’s the way it needs to be. And you know, I’ll tell you, um, because I, as when I was a first time, mom, I had some very direct experience with breastfeeding support that did not take the same stance as you and I have to tell you, unfortunately, you know, as a first time, mom, my introduction to the world of lactation support was a very negative one. Um, so, you know, I’ll tell you all what happened. So my oldest daughter, who’s now nine. Um, when she was born, she was born. She was a full term, you know, healthy pregnancy, low, low risk, no complications until she was born. She was born after a very long labor and, um, came out of the womb, surprisingly, barely breathing, actually not breathing at all. Her, her one minute app score was a one out of 10.
Wow. So, um, for those of you who don’t know what an Apgar score is, I don’t blame you. I’ll tell you the only reason why I know what an Apgar score is, is because my first born child was born with an app bar of one, which is basically the first well being test that newborns get upon being born. They’re looking at, they look at heartbeat, they look at breathing, they’re looking at skin tone, reflexes, you know, muscle tone, um, overall, how is the baby doing? And so the only reason why she got Oh, and it’s out of 10. And so most, most babies when a baby is born and healthy, they shouldn’t be born at the one minute Mark at what, a seven and eight and nine, something like that, Sophia.
Yeah. Eight and nine.
So she was born at a one because she had a faint heartbeat and nothing else. So naturally she was whisked right off to the NICU and she was placed on, um, what’s I guess, known as a brain cooling machine. There’s this fairly new technology. I don’t, I can’t remember what the exact medical term is, but it’s otherwise known as brain
Recalls. It calls cooling process. It reduces that metabolism of the body and this way a bit early, you know, to restore all the power of baby’s brain.
It’s basically my understanding from when she was undergoing, it was if, if she was because obviously she was born completely asphyxiated, you know, not breathing whatsoever. We did not know how long she was in distress for which has the potential to cause brain damage. And so the idea behind this treatment is that it’s meant to prevent further brain damage. Um, and so she was on this cooling pad for a 72 hour period where obviously I’m not able to breastfeed. So the whole, the whole, my whole birth plan went out the window skin to skin, putting her on the breast initially that all went out the window. And so she was, you know, being fed through an IV. Um, I was pumping over those few days, you know, trying to get my, my supply up. And then after that 72 hour period where they took her off the brain cooling machine, I remember they then whisked her right off for a, an MRI on her brain to see what was going on until they had to sedate her for that.
And so by the time I was able to hold her, she was, you know, three and a half days old. And then from there for another few days, they still weren’t allowing me to try putting her to the breast because they wanted to make sure that her digestive organs were working. Okay. And so they wanted to feed her my milk through a syringe to be able to track how much she was taking in how much was coming out, et cetera. And so by the time I was able to actually try nursing her, she was a week old. Now it’s obviously not impossible to get a baby to latch in this, but it’s significantly more challenging, right. Goes without saying on top of that, I’m a first time mom and I just experienced a really traumatic birth that by the way, the trauma, at that point, hadn’t gone away because the MRI results came back.
They saw something on her brain. They didn’t really like the main thing that they were looking out for guys. And I actually didn’t really know this until about a week into the whole process. They were worried about cerebral palsy. That’s the main thing that these neonatologists and specialists were looking out for. Now, I will just tell you all spoiler alerts. My nine year old is 100% healthy. Thank God, no cerebral palsy, no complications, but at the same time, we didn’t know what was going to be, you know, this is, you know, over nine years ago now. And so here I am, I’m this first time mom, I’m, pumping I’m finger feeding. I’m using, you know, all these various different, um, lactation aids that the, that the consultants gave me. I’m trying to get her to latch. She’s refusing. And I literally, I called it like breastfeeding boot camp, you know, just constantly, constantly trying.
And I remember a couple of weeks in, um, the, the NICU lactation consultant gave me a call, you know, just to check in, which was very nice of her, but it was very businesslike. It was very much like, so is the baby latching yet? No. Are you, are you pumping every three hours? Yes. Are you, have you used this device? Have you tried this? Have you tried that and not once did any of these professionals during that two week period in the NICU, not once, did any of them ask me, how are you doing? I kid you not, and this is a level three NICU, this is a level three NICU guys, or some very sick babies. There are some really very high risk babies in this NICU where these parents have undergone a huge trauma depending on for whatever reason and not once did anyone ask me, how am I doing?
And as crazy as it was to think it didn’t even occur to me that my well being matters. It really didn’t. And I’ll tell you when I did realize, so again, I’m, this is about two to three weeks in to me pumping and finger feeding and trying to get her to latch. And I sort of got her to latch and I’m working with people and, you know, just it’s a constant around the clock endeavor. And I, I gave, I wasn’t comfortable with those professionals at that particular hospital. And so I gave an acquaintance of mine, a call who was also a lactation consultant. And, and I just, I had a question for her about one of the devices I was using.
Just to do it doesn’t even matter what the, I didn’t even remember. I don’t even remember what the question is, but I remember, I remember her response. She said to me, she goes, Eva, let’s, let’s not talk about finger feeding for a second. She goes, how are you doing? Are you okay? She said, you know, you’ve been through a lot and you sound a little bit stressed. And I remember I kind of froze. And then I remember breaking down in tears because this was the first person who had ever asked me, how am I doing? And you know what the answer was? I was terrible. I was an absolute wreck because I had gone through an insanely traumatic experience that by the way, did not have a happy ending yet. You know, we still weren’t sure. She was only a few weeks old.
We were tracking her. She was in the NICU developmental followup program, you know, to make sure that she’s meeting her milestones and whatnot. So, you know, the last chapter still had not been written. I’m not sleeping. I’m barely eating. All I’m doing is trying to nurse her 24 seven. And she then said to me, I guess I broke down in tears. I said, I’m not doing well. And, but it didn’t even occur to me that that should matter. And that was when she said to me, she goes, Eva, you know, your baby needs a happy mommy. And, um, I want you here. I want to support you with whatever your breastfeeding goals are, but it has to also be in the context of you being okay. It was like Mike drops. I don’t know why as a new mom, that was something. So, um, it, it was like a new concept to me. It, it, it wasn’t something that I had heard. And I just, I think there’s something that I could scream from the rooftops. It’s that even though breastfeeding is wonderful, what’s more important than that is your mental health. Like that is that is, is making sure that you are at the top of you and your mental health is at the top of that totem pole.
Because if we’ll look at this and we’ll see that yes, breastfeeding achieved check. But if together with this, mom is losing her mind. I was losing not able to not able to continue further. We have a lot in front of us, baby will start crawling and walking and running and solids and this and that and the other, we need energy for this too. Right? If we’re putting all of our energy into one goal, which is very, very important goal, I’m very pro breastfeeding. And I think it’s like, it’s very important to breastfeed. Not in every price, no. Like the price for that should be very logical and balanced with who you are and how you feel in the moment and like how much you are able to pay for this. You know what I mean?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I don’t know. I think that it was so sad that inquiring into my wellbeing with something that it didn’t even occur to me, that it mattered. And now, you know, looking back, you know, being far from a first time, mom, um, I think that that is a message that every, that every mom undergoing breastfeeding challenges really needs to really needs to digest because it’s, it’s huge.
Absolutely. And usually what we absorb, uh, from the information given to us, it’s like, Oh, you have a new baby. Baby is like, not doing anything for you for himself. You need to do everything for himself from now on, you are responsible and we’re taking this responsibility deep down to our guts, but if we’re not stopping at some point and not saying, Hey, am I okay? Am I okay to continue? We can be in big trouble. Yeah. Amazing. Sophia, if there is one thing that you could tell, you know, a new mom that is struggling with breastfeeding, you know, in some way, shape or form, like if there’s one thing that you could just scream off the rooftops, your, your fight song, what would it be probably would be?
I like, I know you are very, um, concerned, and I know it takes like 90% of your mind right now, but stop for a second, breathe for a second and ask for a second. What can I do for myself? Because you matter, you matter, you matter, you definitely matter. And without you, this whole breastfeeding would not continue.
Yes. Yes. I love it. I love it. Sophia, thank you so much for coming on. So you guys, you ever had always whether or not sleep training and breastfeeding can go and mental health can all go hand in hand, just ask my wonderful friend, Sophia. Clearly she will say that they all can and should go hand in hand. So Sofia people want more of you in their lives. Where can they find you?
So I have an account on Instagram. It’s a like regular Sofia Brainin and account a Facebook with all my credentials and all the information, my Gmail, my phone number on a topic picture of my Facebook. I’m there.
Speaker 1: (47:48)
Fantastic. Okay. So I will grab those links from you to put them in the show notes. Okay. Well that is about it. Thank you so much for your time, Sofia.
Speaker 2: (47:57)
Yeah. Have a wonderful time for leisure. Take care.
Speaker 1: (48:05)
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listener. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at email@example.com until next time, have a wonderful restful nights.
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