They slept, fed, laughed, cried and crawled around the floor, almost uninterested in what was going on around them.
That wasn’t the case for the adults in the room.
Nearly 90 moms, moms-to-be, dads, grandmothers and professionals who work with moms and babies gathered in the ballroom at the Greenwood Inn and Suites on Monday to hear from Dr. Jack Newman.
Newman is a pediatrician and breastfeeding expert who works at the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute in Toronto. His website, www.breastfeedinginc.ca, and publications have helped many mothers find the answers to their breastfeeding questions and alleviate some of their concerns.
Newman’s visit to the city was organized by the Baby-Friendly Council of Newfoundland and Labrador with assistance locally by the Bay of Islands Organization for Breastfeeding Support. In addition to the public session, Newman also conducted a session for health-care professionals.
As her eight-and-a-half-month-old son Zachary slept in a baby carrier, Sian French kept a constant bouncing motion so as not to wake him. She was familiar with Newman and his thoughts on breastfeeding before the session and credits what she’s learned through his website and the support she’s gotten locally with making her breastfeeding experience a positive one.
“When I was first pregnant a friend of mine recommended Dr. Jack Newman’s website,” she said.
“I’d read lots about pregnancy but very little about breastfeeding and I found his website really helpful to know how you could tell if your baby was getting lots of good milk.”
She said to bring such a resource as Newman to Corner Brook to support breastfeeding moms is commendable.
Renee Andrews’ eight-day-old son, Charlie House, was perhaps the youngest audience member.
“I just wanted to make sure that we were informed,” she said of her reason for attending the session.
“I heard that Jack was amazing and that I was going to hear the right information.”
Andrews asked Newman about switching back and forth between bottle and breast. He told her, regardless of it was going to be breast milk in the bottle to try to bring her son to the breast at all times.
Like many moms, she also wondered how to tell if her son was getting enough. Newman said babies will stop feeding when they’ve had enough.
Andrews said her breastfeeding experience has been good so far, with the only real struggle coming in the first day.
“He’s been latching so good for us that he’s been making it really easy on mom,” she said.
Jacenta Hudson’s first experience with breastfeeding didn’t go as she would have liked. At four-and-half months pregnant, she’s hoping things will be different this time around.
Her sixteen-month-old daughter Evelyn was lip and tongue tied as an infant and this prevented her from breastfeeding. Hudson first pumped and bottle fed Evelyn for almost three months before switching her to formula.
With no resources in the province, Hudson said, after much research her family chose to travel to New York to have Evelyn’s issues corrected. She said the information on Newman’s website actually helped in making that decision.
She used the site to compare the response she was getting from local physicians to Newman’s, saying she found them “very different.”
Without the site, Hudson said she would never have known there were other options.
“I would have taken the local opinion and I wouldn’t have gone any further,” said the Pasadena resident, who is concerned her second child may also be lip tied and tongue tied.
“We wanted to know from the get-go if we could avoid going to formula. If I could recognize the signs sooner and with the lack of local resources, I’m prepared this time that if I have to seek help outside of the western region then I will.”
Newman talked to the group for just over an hour before taking time to answer their questions
“Many mothers are getting a lot of information which is confusing about breastfeeding and therefore they want real, correct information which I believe I’m giving them,” he said following the presentation.
His message for moms was “that breastfeeding should work, the vast majority of times, and that if you’re having trouble, get help and get help early.”
Five breastfeeding myths debunked
1. Many women do not produce enough milk. Truth: The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common.
2. It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt. Truth: Though some tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation that lasts only a few days.
3. A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather. Truth: Breastmilk contains all the water a baby needs.
4. Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has. Truth: The baby who breastfeeds well can get much more milk than his mother can pump.
5. Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk. Truth: Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium, lead and iron than breastmilk.
Source: Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute