Popular Instagram photo of mom and her newborn highlights little known syringe feeding technique
For new moms who hope to exclusively breastfeed their babies, it’s hard when your baby has trouble latching. But a photo of a brand new mom using a little known feeding technique offers a potential solution to this common problem.
The popular Instagram Carriage House Birth recently posted a photo of doula and new mom, Rebecca McKeever feeding her newborn daughter, Andromeda, with a syringe. The response to the photo proves people are obviously interested in this feeding method they probably haven’t heard of before.
McKeever told the Huffington Post the photo was taken 17 hours after Andromeda was born. She was still quite sleepy and was having trouble latching. “I was familiar with syringe-feeding because I am a birth and postpartum doula, but in the moment I really needed someone to suggest it to me!” .
“A lactation consultant came to our hospital room to ask if we needed help,” McKeever said. “She saw that I was expressing colostrum but that Andromeda wasn’t latching, so she brought in little cups and syringes so we could get some food in her. I expressed some colostrum into a cup, then put it into the syringe and fed her little drops at a time.”
The technique worked. “She smiled and melted with each drop,” McKeever said. “Then, a few minutes after getting that nourishment, she woke up a bit more and actually tried the breast!”
McKeever continued to use syringe feeding in combination with breastfeeding for the first week. At three weeks old her daughter is now exclusively breastfed. The new mom says she doesn’t feel bad about their initial latching difficulties. “In that moment, I felt so empowered and happy to be able to feed my baby,” McKeever told HuffPost. “Even if it wasn’t in the ‘traditional’ way, it didn’t matter to me! I knew it might take some time.”
A bottle is the typical alternative to breastfeeding, but for moms who don’t want to go that route, it turns out there’s a whole host of options for for helping your baby feed while they work on establishing their latch for breastfeeding. Syringe feeding is one of them, but cup feeding, where the baby laps milk from a flexible cup, spoon feeding and even finger feeding are all alternatives you can try.
McKeever says she hopes her photo will serve as a source of encouragement to other parents. She wants other moms to “recognize that things might not always go as planned in a perfect picture, to be encouraged to go with the flow and let go of expectations, to meet their baby where they are at with no judgement but just with compassion and love.”