Embrace the Journey
Welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood! Your precious, squishy bundle of joy has arrived, and while it’s a time of pure joy, it can also bring its fair share of questions and uncertainty. One aspect that often leaves new parents second-guessing themselves is feeding their baby. But fear not; we’re here to take the guesswork out of this essential journey and provide the newborn feeding help you need!
A Natural Challenge
Feeding your baby is a natural but not always easy endeavor. Whether you’re considering breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or a combination of both, it’s not just about providing nourishment. It’s also a beautiful opportunity for bonding and communication between you and your little one. Feeding involves intricate oral motor skills, precise breathing coordination, and effective communication between caregiver and baby. That’s where a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) can step in to provide invaluable support to parents navigating these complex aspects of feeding.
The Expertise You Need
When it comes to SLPs, it’s essential to highlight their exceptional education and expertise. ASHA (the American Speech Hearing Association) certification is a nationally recognized professional credential that represents excellence in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. ASHA-certified professionals have voluntarily met rigorous academic and professional standards, often going beyond the minimum requirements for state licensure.
To achieve ASHA certification, SLPs must have:
- A graduate degree from an accredited program
- Over 1600 hours of supervised clinical experience
- A passing grade on a national examination
- A commitment to ongoing education with at least 30 hours every three years
Furthermore, SLPs who specialize in neonatal care, like feeding and communication support for newborns, can earn certification as Certified Neonatal Therapists (CNT). These professionals, including SLPs, OTs, and PTs, deliver holistic care to premature or medically complex infants in the NICU. They work collaboratively to provide safe, effective, and evidence-based services to at-risk infants and their families.
In additional to being a Speech-Language Pathologist, I also hold the title of a Certified Neonatal Therapist (CNT), specializing in providing holistic care and consultative services to premature and medically complex infants in the NICU. Together with occupational and physical therapists, I work collaboratively to offer safe, effective, and evidence-based services to at-risk infants and their families in the NICU environment. This requires a deep understanding of the diagnoses and medical interventions specific to the NICU, allowing me to provide comprehensive assessment, planning, and treatment.
How I Can Assist You
Now that you know my background, let’s focus on how I can be of assistance to you and your little one on your feeding journey.
Assessment: My initial step is to assess both you and your baby, examining how you interact and fit together. This assessment encompasses a thorough evaluation of oral motor skills, suck/swallow/breathe patterns, and the overall dynamics of feeding. For more information about my feeding assessments, see “Understanding Newborn Feeding Assessments: A Step-by-Step Guide.”
Customization/Individualization: I believe that every family is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. I customize strategies to support you and your baby within your specific environment, taking into account what works best for your family.
Breastfeeding Support: If you choose to breastfeed, I offer hands-on support and guidance to ensure you and your baby have the best experience possible. My goal is to empower you with education and practical support, without judgment or pressure.
Bottle Feeding Support: For those considering bottle feeding, I provide advice on when to introduce the bottle, how to transition, and how to involve other caregivers in the feeding process. It may sound straightforward, but it often involves complexities that I can help you navigate.
Nutritional Support: Collaboration with other healthcare professionals is essential to ensure your baby receives adequate nutrition. I offer guidance on appropriate textures and transitioning to solid foods, supporting your baby’s growth and development.
The journey of feeding your baby is a beautiful and intricate process that requires patience, understanding, and sometimes a touch of expertise. I bring a unique set of skills to the table, offering you, as parents and caregivers, the support and compassion needed to overcome feeding challenges and create a positive, nurturing feeding experience right from the start. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. I’m here to walk alongside you and your family every step of the way.
I’m passionate about ensuring that you never feel isolated or incompetent, as these are feelings no parent should experience. Together, let’s embark on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in discussing your needs or scheduling an appointment for a feeding assessment, please feel free to reach out to me at Micha@MichaClark.com. For a glimpse into my personality and parenting philosophy, check out my Instagram @micha_clark.
With my support, you can confidently embrace this feeding journey, knowing you have an experienced ally by your side.