6 Things I learned at MiLK – an Infant Feeding Conference
Today I was able to take part in attending MiLK – an infant feeding conference put on by the lovely ladies of MommyCon. It was a first for me, as I’ve never really attended a learning conference about a topic so near and dear to my heart. I mean, when you have your first born, you take the delivery classes, and maybe even a CPR class…and you just might also take a class on breastfeeding. But what you don’t learn are the ways to deal with topics about postpartum depression, or effective latch, or what to look for when bottle feeding, or even why the heck that ‘golden hour’ is being welcomed and encouraged by hospitals after birth (unless you have an amazing Doula).
Where’s the sharing about real world experiences? Where’s the conversation of what works for some may not work for others? You pretty much just go with the flow because it’s what is recommended…and well, you don’t know any better – until now.
What’s great is that this conference brings together the essentials of what you learn in your classes you take (or not take), and help to give real life/world examples that you won’t learn from reading the box of a bottle, breast pump, formula package, on a carrier package, or even on Google. For example, this conference taught me about the wonderful oxytocin released while breastfeeding (on the boob), effective ways to help keep up your milk supply when breastfeeding (off the boob using a bottle), effectively supplementing when you can’t produce enough milk – and the reasons why all of the above may or may not be, and many more wonderful bits of knowledge LIKE:
- The Proper Latch – for something so maternal, sometimes nursing is not so automatic. Learning about the ‘anatomy of breastfeeding’ helps moms to look for signs of effective latch to ensure baby is getting the nutrients they need and also to help encourage/maintain a proper milk supply.
- How to Nurse in a Carrier – for moms that like to be on the go, or have other older children, sitting down to nurse can be difficult sometimes. Especially when you’re at the park and your other child(ren) are not big enough to venture on their own. Laura Brown from Ergobaby showed various positions with various soft carriers that make nursing in a carrier possible, and easy.
- Supporting Each Other – bring back the village. Regardless of a mother’s choice to nurse, not to nurse (for whatever reason), to vaccinate, not to vaccinate, etc etc. we all need to come together as a community and support one another. Be there to listen to someone. Even just to pat them on the back and tell them they’re doing a great job.
- Promoting Child Development – The social environment in a mom’s life (or lack there off) can positively (and negatively) effect the outcome for nursing, recovery, birth and beyond.
- There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Bottle – so many bottles these days are being marketed that they are ‘slow flow’ or ‘as close to a mom’s breast’ ; both of which are to help prevent/reduce nipple confusion. The thing is, that there is no one bottle that will work for every child. Your best bet is to look for a nipple that has a shelf-type at the base (for baby’s lips to rest on), and to find the ideal flow (because slow flow means different things to different bottles).
- Oxytocin is Where It’s At – this is THE hormone you want more of. It’s connection to life-affirming activities (such as lactation, maternal behavior, sex, social behavior, and much more). This is something that is brought on by pregnancy, delivery (it’s at it’s max if you don’t do an epidural – so all the power to you moms that can do it), nursing, and even creating a support community for the mom (bring back the village!).
Everyone in attendance was there for the same reasons – for community, education, networking, and to learn about the signs to look out for to ensure you’re able to feed baby properly.
One thing that comes to mind about this conference is that is really helps to bring back a community together – a community that has been neglected, and long forgotten. The good news is that it’s all coming back because we all really need our villages to raise our babies. And how great would it be to take all of your doctors’ recommendations, the information you learned in classes, knowledge you’ve acquired on Google, and wrap it up together with life experiences and have a grand, non-judgmental conversation about it. Sounds great to me!
This conference also presented brands and products that help to facilitate a harmonious and comfortable life-style, whether it be breastfeeding, formula feeding, a mix of the two, baby-wearing, birthing, and all the plethora of things that come into play before, during and after pregnancy. There were brands like Ergobaby walking through carriers and nursing in carriers, and Munchkin promoting their new feeding line, Happy Family Foods to promote their new munchies for your little one, Arms Reach for safe co-sleeping, Evenflo promoting their pumping items, and many many others.
Next time this conference comes around, I highly recommend attending. Did I also mention that you could get Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP) credits, as well as Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) hours as well? I think I hear the sound of educational sponsorship!