The emotions a woman experiences when she becomes a mother are indescribable. The love and extreme joy that accompany bringing a child into the world is an experience like no other, and the whole life-changing event can be difficult to put into words. There’s a lot of positive surrounding the experience, but there’s also a lot of fear, tackling the unknown and information coming from all directions. In one word, it can be considered overwhelming — one aspect of the process that shouldn’t be is breast-feeding.
Nancy Matecki, a registered nurse and lactation consultant, wants to make sure this is the case. Many joke that parenting doesn’t come with a manual, and while breast-feeding differs from mom to mom, Nancy is the ideal, knowledgeable resource to help and support new parents — not to mention the little ones they’re trying to feed. There are several scenarios that can create commotion during an already crazy time, and she’s determined to make it all safe and easy.
“Sometimes there’s a medical problem, sometimes mom isn’t quite up to speed and sometimes babies just don’t read the breast-feeding book and they have no clue what they’re doing,” Nancy laughs.
No matter the context, she’s there and eager to help.
“There” is typically the new family’s home, for a multitude of reasons that promote long-lasting results when it comes to breast-feeding a satisfied and healthy baby. To truly understand all of the circumstances surrounding them, Nancy likes seeing mother and child in their environment. She does so to not only ensure that she has every piece to the puzzle, but there’s also a significant sense of convenience and ease that is priceless for new moms.
“It’s just easy to not have to deal with bundling the baby up and bringing them into the hospital,” Nancy says. “Also, if someone is able to breast-feed in an office, it’s not the same thing as knowing they’re able to do it at home, which is where they’ll be the majority of the time.”
The environment in which a new mother breast-feeds is important. Nancy suggests starting with a comfortable place like a sofa or chair with armrests. It’s easiest to place pillows to help hold and support the baby correctly, while not becoming tired during the process. Another worthwhile component is new moms being able to slow down and relax during this time.
“You also want to create a very nice, relaxing environment,” Nancy says. “As far as sounds go, some women watch TV shows and others play soft music. Whatever is going to soothe mom is going to soothe baby.”
Due to her experience and background working with infants, Nancy admits that her presence alone tends to help new mothers feel at ease. Her lactation consulting business began in 1995 after having been recommended by doctors.
One of the doctors at the hospital where she was working mentioned that he had a mom who was having a hard time breast-feeding. “The mom was having a hard time breast-feeding and the doctor was worried about the baby,” Nancy explains. “I stopped in to help the next morning and a business was born!”
Expectant and new mothers don’t need a doctor’s referral to call Nancy, though, and she prefers it that way. She creates a bond with mothers that is anything but formal, and is conducive to the bond mothers are forming with their babies.
That bond shouldn’t be painful. While it can be stressful, Nancy wants all expectant and new moms to know that: “It should not hurt to breast-feed. If it hurts, there’s something wrong,” she explains.
“This is what I live for!” she says excitedly. “Just call me and tell me what’s going on and we’ll see what we can do about it.”
Comparing a baby breast-feeding to an adult dining experience when you begin with a beverage, continue on to a soup and salad, have an entrée and end with dessert isn’t far-fetched. Nancy explains that when a baby is breast-fed, they are truly receiving a full-course meal.
“When the baby first starts feeding, the milk is very thin,” she explains. “That’s their liquid that they need. As the breast-feeding goes on, the milk gets thicker and thicker. When they get to the very end, they receive hindmilk, the very richest part of the process that has the fat the baby needs.”
For this reason, timing is important. To ensure the baby is getting a full, nutritious meal, Nancy suggests breast-feeding for 7-10 minutes on each breast. The baby regulates how much milk the mother produces, and the baby’s growth spurts — occurring at around 10 days and 21 days old — dictates how much milk is produced. The mother’s body is typically about one day behind the baby’s demand.
It’s difficult to tell just how much milk a baby has received, but Nancy says there’s a simple way to gauge if a baby has been satisfied.
“A satisfied baby sleeps!” she says.
A lifelong passion
Not many people can say they’ve had only one career choice in their lives, let alone a choice they made in elementary school. Thanks to being truly passionate about helping mothers and infants, Nancy can. She jokingly likens her inherent desire to imprinting.
“I’m convinced that the first person I saw when I was born was an OB nurse,” she laughs. “I imprinted on her and that’s what I wanted to be my whole life. And when I was a little girl, I didn’t play mommy with my dolls, I played maternity ward.”
With such a passion accompanying her education and training, the necessary technical side of breast-feeding to make sure the baby is being fed correctly and the mom is pain free (and happy!) is partner to Nancy’s ability to provide peace of mind to make every new mother feel like an expert and veteran parent.
In the words of one of her clients, “Everyone should have a Nancy.”
The Nancy score
Similar to an Apgar score, which is used immediately after birth to evaluate a baby’s physical condition, Nancy has created what she calls the “Nancy score,” a way for her to determine if the baby is dehydrated or is experiencing any other physical issues.
After becoming acquainted with new moms, Nancy checks the following:
• Fontanelle or the soft spot on baby’s head. Nancy checks to make sure it is even and not bulging or sunken in.
• The baby’s eyes. The eyes should be “happy.”
• Inside of the mouth. Nancy makes sure the mouth is wet.
• Skin turgor. She pulls the baby’s skin up on the back of their hand or on their stomach. It should go right back into shape to ensure they are well-hydrated.
• Wet diapers. Healthy, hydrated babies should produce at least six wet diapers a day.
Are you or someone you know expecting and planning to breast-feed?
Contact Nancy for the help and support you and your baby deserve!
356 N. Redding Circle, Belgium