Presentation Information

Summer J. Friedmann

A Balancing Act: The Clinical Use of Scales With the Breastfed Infant

Abstract:

Weighing of babies dates back to ancient Egypt times, but scales and measurement of babies became more widely used in the 18th and 19th century. Fast forward to the 21st century and the use of the neonatal scale has taken on a life of its own in developed countries. Many families of healthy, low risk newborns own a scale at home; it might even be built into their changing table. IBCLCs, pediatricians, and family medicine doctors also have access to infant scales for clinical use. How has the use of scales changed lactation support and parents’ perceptions about lactation progress? Are there ways to refocus on the basics of lactation and infant care without over-reliance on the infant scale as a tool?
In this presentation we will examine the practical, technical and proper use of infant scales for the clinician. We will discuss the appropriate timing of scale use as well as describing times at which scale use might be detrimental to the dyad. We will look at common pitfalls with scale usage and how best to avoid or navigate them with a family. We will cover ways to educate and empower parents with tools for evaluating their child’s well-being throughout the lactation journey without the use of an infant scale.