Interview with Effath Yasmin: India’s leading International Board Certified lactation Consultant.
1. Tell us about yourself and what influenced your decision to become a Lactation Consultant?
Motherhood stirred my life in a direction that only bought more warmth and deep sharing of empathy all along with thousands of mothers. My journey on this path began 8 years ago during pregnancy. Becoming an IBCLC has been a natural progression for me similar to a tree growing deeper roots. Challenging breastfeeding experience drew me closer to La Leche League International. I worked hard to become a Le Leche League Leader and then to be Board certified. Connecting with mothers and my experience of being supportive in their journey got me into a rabbit hole and I think I have become Alice in wonderland going deeper and deeper into this rabbit hole. More and more clinically challenging situations with significant feeding issues bought more questions & more knowledge and now I don’t see myself ever looking back again. The road to this realisation hasn’t been easy for me but it strengthens my commitment to help the mothers who are seeking help.
2. As a lactation consultant what will be your advice to a new mother and to a pregnant mother as soon as she gives birth?
Well I would want to look at this much earlier than birth since the key to good start is planning and supporting a safe and gentle birth. Decisions that include use of medications, epidural, labour induction, use of forceps or vacuum or caesarean birth can have a significant impact on how breastfeeding is established during the early phase.
Ensuring working towards making their birth gentle and supported can get them to a good start. Skin to Skin direct contact for extended period of time in the hospital or home can also support a good start of breastfeeding.
3. In your experience what is the most common problem that new mothers face?
The most common problem new mother’s face is of “not enough milk” which is often distorted due to the birth experience with use of medication and instrumentation – excessive medicalization of birth. This also leads to separation of mother and baby in the hospital. Use of formula in the hospital is rampant and this is one of the significant factors that leads to this “Not enough” milk syndrome. The other reason for poor milk supply is baby is unable to transfer milk from the mother’s breast. This hampers the demand-supply mechanism of baby suckling and mother’s milk production. A thorough evaluation by a knowledgeable board certified Lactation Consultant can help resolve such issues.
4. Did you encounter any situation where mother complaint with no breast milk had a successful breastfeeding later?
I have encountered many such experiences in my profession over past several years where baby has rarely or many a times never latched on mother’s breast since birth. Baby is also on exclusive formula feeding with a bottle and the mother has a desire to exclusive breastfeeding yet has little or no milk.
An extensive history taking, physical assessment of mom and baby and, feed assessment helps me draw a detailed plan of care for the mother and family. This plan of care, coupled with intensive clinical, nutritional, emotional and wellness support with good compliance by the mom and family results in a re-establishing successful breastfeeding.
I am blessed to experience this rather difficult feat over and over again and this for me is a true reward — to watch a mother and baby back in the haven of breastfeeding in the habitat where they must below.
5. What is your advice to those mothers whose baby sent to NICU or neonatal service? How can they establish a successful breastfeeding?
I will start again with the importance of direct skin to skin contact or kangaroo care. Kangaroo care has the potential to protect the habitat of the baby’s reflexes and baby’s sense of attachment for normal growth. Separation of the new-born baby from her mother is a cause for release of stress hormones in baby which hinder normal nervous system, and muscular behaviours. This despair response involves withdrawal, a slowed heart rate, and lower body temperature. When kangaroo mother care is established baby feels restored to its own habitat.
A close contact can help initiate direct breastfeeding very early even when is premature. Also early and frequent expression of milk with in few hours of birth can also stimulate a good milk supply for baby until baby is able to nurse directly.
6. What will be your advice for Caesarean mothers struggling with breastfeeding issues?
The biggest concern for Caesarean mothers struggling with breastfeeding issues is because of separation of mother and baby in the early days after birth. It is crucial to re-establish this contact back again with KMC (Kangaroo Mother Care) even though the baby may not be a premature baby. Help from a knowledgeable IBCLC will go a long way in establishing a good position, latching for baby and protection of mother’s milk supply
7. What is one of your unusual experiences as a lactation consultant?
I would see this as rather uncommon and not as an unusual experience. A woman who has never experienced pregnancy or may have had few miscarriages and has been finding it challenging to carry forward a full term pregnancy showing a keen desire to breastfeed her new born adoptive or surrogate baby. It is indeed a joy to help an adoptive mother stimulate a milk supply and get her baby to breastfeeding. This is an invaluable experience for the mother, father, family and me as a lactation consultant. The reward is priceless.
Thanks a lot Yasmin for taking time out of your busy schedule for Dr.MomZine