Registered Nurse, Prenatal Educator, Lactation Counsellor
CPR Instructor and Infant/Child Sleep Coach
Ms. Sarah Carvajal is a wife, mama and a Registered Nurse. Sarah runs a private practice in partnership with The Mama Coach company - a team of Registered Nurses across Canada who use evidence informed research to help parents and babes find solutions that fit their lifestyle. Through her private practice The Mama Coach Sarah offers services that aim to support mamas at every stage of their motherhood journey. These include prenatal education classes, lactation counselling, postpartum support and sleep coaching. Sarah is also a Heart and Stroke certified instructor and provides CPR Services including CPR, Choking and Car Seat Installation instruction.
HOW SARAH GOT INVOLVED IN THE MAMA COACH
Sarah worked for many years as a Pediatric Registered Nurse at the prestigious Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto Ontario Canada, before having her own son. Thinking her past work experience would give her the upper hand in terms of what to expect as a new mom, there were many challenges that she didn't take into account. Despite utilizing the resources available, Sarah still felt there was a huge gap. Listen to her story below and how The Mama Coach played a role in her new family's journey.
WHAT ITS LIKE TO USE THE MAMA COACH
The Mama Coach offers in home support for parents and caregivers. They look at key elements within your home and help set you up with the right information, tips and techniques to give you a solid foundation and start your journey off on the right foot.
Note: For the time being, due to COVID-19, all services have been shifted to a virtual platform.
THE MAMA COACH AND PERINATAL SUPPORT
No one has had to prepare for having a baby during a pandemic, and this is the time where mama's really need that extra support. The three most common struggles Sarah sees today with the lack of perinatal support are:
Prenatal classes have been cancelled
Breastfeeding clinics are closed and therefore, the extra support is not available
Physician Visits - Mama's are unable to get in to see their doctor's
The Mama Coach offers Virtual Prenatal Classes in either a group or private setting. They are 3-4 hours in length and catered to Mama's pregnancy.
For Example: if mama has insulin dependent diabetes, The Mama Coach will ensure to cover information on that within the session so mama knows what it is going to look like before, during and after birth.
Virtual Infant Feeding Workshops are also offered through The Mama Coach. These workshops are an in-depth educational piece needed for breastfeeding prior to giving birth to give you a solid foundation.
Virtual Well Baby Mama Visits are an encompassing check-in to see how baby is doing and how mama's recovery is going (mental and physical health).
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MAMA'S FACING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Connection is key! It may look different today than it did last year, but connection is a huge part of postpartum recovery.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. If family and/or friends are willing, allow them to do your grocery shopping or drop off hot meals. This is one less thing you have to worry about so you can focus on yourself and baby.
Self-care! If you have a partner or support at home then take breaks, have some time to yourself and rest.
Nutrition is huge with postpartum recovery - are you eating and drinking? What are you eating and drinking? If you ever feel you are not okay mental health wise, seek help.
Partner's play a big role. It is important to discuss your partner's role before baby comes. Look and discuss ways your partner can support you before, during and after baby arrives.
IS THE MAMA COACH ONLY AVAILABLE FOR FIRST TIME MOMS?
The Mama coach is for everyone! Your second or third pregnancy is gong to look different than your first.
When you are a second time mom, you have a foundation. Some things will be easier because you already know them, however, every baby is different. Many mama's feel more pressure because they feel like they should already know how to do it all. The Mama Coach helps you recognize and tweak what needs tweaking to help your second or third baby breastfeed or sleep through the night.
"Your baby knows how to suck and you have breasts, but neither of you know how to breastfeed."
Especially if you are a first time mom! The reality is, breastfeeding is very natural but breastfeeding does not come naturally.
A huge piece of successful breastfeeding comes from a good latch. Your baby knows how to suck, but they may not know how to latch.
The Mama Coach teaches Mama's:
What a good latch is
Why it is important to have a good latch
What a good latch feels like
How to hold your breast
How to hand express
What baby should look like
Latch is going to make or break your breastfeeding journey. There are very few mama's who physically cannot produce enough milk.
Your breast milk production is a supply and demand system. Your body will make more milk if it is demanded more milk. If baby has a shallow latch (nipple feeding), they aren't getting that much milk and will be hungry again within 10 minutes or so. A shallow latch will also tell your body that baby doesn't need as much milk and therefore, your body will start to produce less and less milk.
Deep Latch is key! It is called breastfeeding, not nipple feeding. We want a lot of the breast in baby's mouth. Create a "breast sandwich" so more of the breast can get into baby's mouth.
It is also important to watch your baby feed. If baby is falling asleep at the breast, give a good breast compression which will give them a surge of milk to wake them up.
When you have a good deep latch coupled with watching them for a good effective feed, you are going to get better results.
SUGGESTIONS FOR BABIES WHO WERE BREASTFEEDING GREAT, BUT ARE NOW HAVING ISSUES
There is a number of things to look at:
Anatomical - could there be a tongue tie or lip tie?
How is the latch? The latch can look good, but then you look at mama's nipples and realize that something is not right
Mama's milk supply?
Are they doing a combination of breastfeeding and bottle feeding? Is mama pumping/pumping when baby is getting the bottle to keep the supply up?
WHAT IF BABY'S LATCH ISN'T GREAT?
A good deep latch shouldn't be painful. If baby is deep enough on the breast, your nipple will be far enough into their mouth on their soft palate, there should be no friction or rubbing. If you feel pain, your nipple is likely hitting their hard palate and that friction is causing you discomfort.
Secondly, look at your nipple when you pull baby off. If your nipple is shaped like lipstick or looks pinched, this means there is compression on the nipple and is indication that baby's latch isn't deep enough.
It is important to remember that in the beginning, there is always going to be some level of discomfort but it shouldn't be painful.
Babies are smart and know the difference between the nipple of the breast and the nipple of the bottle.
There are very few baby's who get onto the breast right away and get milk. Whereas with a bottle, they are instantly gratified and do not have to work as hard for the milk. Therefore, it is a preference that baby is displaying.
Pace Bottle Feeding
A helpful strategy to mimic the milk from from the breast is called Pace Bottle Feeding. Baby will feed from the bottle in an upright position. It will allow for less milk to go into the nipple, resulting in baby having to work harder to get milk and ultimately, mimics the milk flow from the breast.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH?
The Big Three!
How often is baby feeding? Your baby should be feeding a minimum of 8 times in a 24 hour period
Diapers - How many wet diapers has your baby given you? You should anticipate 6-8 diapers within a day. Typically, babies have one wet diaper per feed
What does their weight gain look like? In the newborn stage, it is normal for babies to lose 5-10% of their birth weight. Once they hit two weeks, you want them either beyond or at their birth weight. If baby is gaining weight steadily along their curve, they are getting enough.
It is key to look at the bigger picture. Look beyond the numbers and see how baby is feeding. It will give mama the confidence that it is going well.
HOW SHOULD WE WEIGH BABY AT HOME? HOW OFTEN?
Weigh your baby as often as you would be taking them to see your doctor. To weigh baby, hop on the scale and note your weight. Then, hop on the scale with baby and note your weight. Subtract the difference, and you will have baby's weight.
You can also look at your baby - are they poking their toes out of their onsie? This is a huge indication that they are growing well.
A MAMA COACH SUCCESS STORY
Sarah had a mama in a prenatal class who was 32 weeks. They were in the process of moving, it was a stressful time. She ended up going into labour early at 36 weeks and baby was in the NICU.
She was so grateful that she took the prenatal class a little bit earlier and knew what to expect, how to use her pump, hand expression, etc. It made such a difference once baby was able to come home and they were able to start their breastfeeding journey off on the right foot.
Take care of yourself Mama's
Ask for support when you need it
Every baby is different
Breastfeeding is very natural but it doesn't come naturally
Deep latch is key
Want to connect with Sarah?
Check Out the Full Workshop Video