High Milk Supply Must Haves For Every Breast Feeding Mama

High Milk Supply Must Haves for all Breast Feeding Mamas

It’s so funny how I am already seeing the differences in my mommy ways with preparing for baby #1 vs. baby #2. The first go around, I was purchasing just about every crazy baby product I could find on the internet (most of which were a total waste, blog post coming soon on that!). With baby #2, the “must have list” is completely different. One of the top items I am placing SUPER high importance on is my milk supply boosters. I had a few instances of low supply with Emmy and found a lot of success with a few of the MANY products I tired.  Here’s a list of the high milk supply must haves I would recommend to ANY and ALL breastfeeding mama.

Let There Be Milk

If you only wanted to buy one supplement for your breastfeeding journey, this would be the one I would recommend. It jam packed with just about every nutrient you need to be a milk makin’ machine. On days when I really needed a boost, I would do three full droplets. Once I got my supply up (usually about 48 hours later), I would maintain with just one droplet full. As I have mentioned in other posts, the taste of this wonderful concoction is less than appealing. Be sure to have some juice or water close by to wash it down with. You can find it here on Amazon. I have seen time and time again when I go to re-order that this product is sold out. I’m not surprised because it works so well. The only other product I have seen that has similar ingredients and has reviews of high effectiveness is Mothers Love More Milk. They have a few more options but just be sure  you buy the one containing goats rue.

High Milk Supply Must Haves for Every Breast Feeding Mama

 

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is one of the lowest cost supplements you can buy to help increase your milk supply. I ordered the Nature’s Way Fenugreek for $10 for 180 capsules but there are brands that are must more inexpensive. Fenugreek is a natural herb that increases your prolactin levels. Taking it daily can help maintain a healthy supply and most mothers report seeing a increase in their milk supply within 72 hours of taking it. P.S.- it may make you smell like maple syrup 🙂

Nursing Tea

Ah, the sweet taste of nursing tea in the morning. It quickly became part of my AM routine with Emmy and I don’t doubt for a second it will be back for baby #2.  I sweeten the crew with a little spoonful of honey and it actually is pretty tasty. I have tried two brands that I would highly recommend. Pink Stork’s Liquid Gold and Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk.  They taste just about the same and produce boosting results.

Oatmeal

I have been purposely avoiding oatmeal throughout my pregnancy because I know I will be eating my fair share of it when baby #2 arrives. It was the first thing I ate when I got home from the hospital with Emmy and I ate it every day for breakfast for her first 6 months of life. I got sick of it at one point and resulted to making a this sweet oatmeal concoction instead. It really does work wonders so even if you don’t prefer it the old fashioned way, find some way to work it into your diet every day or two.

Flax Seed and Brewers Yeast

Just about every lactation smoothie out there calls for these two ingredients, as does our recipe for a quick results lactation smoothie. You never know when you may have a sweet tooth when working on your milk supply so keep these two ingredients handy!

Be sure to read our other posts that are perfect for breastfeeding mamas:

 

 

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Becoming an “Exclusive Pumper”

This is a guest post written by Lexie from MommyHomeManager.com. Read more on Lexie at the end of this post and be sure to visit her site!

Before I left the hospital with my son, I was not producing enough milk. I used a breast pump, and fed him a combination of breastmilk and formula from a bottle. Since I wanted to breastfeed after returning to work, I decided to just keep pumping instead of trying to figure out how to nurse. Without knowing what I was doing, I became an exclusive pumper.

(That’s the short version, if you want the long version, you can read my post “How my Breastfeeding Journey was Anything but “Normal” http://www.mommyhomemanager.com/breastfeeding-test/)

I spoke with a few different lactation consultants at my hospital before one of them used the term exclusive pumper. She was the first person to actually understand how my breastfeeding experiences were different than the traditional breastfeeding mother.

Exclusive pumping is an option that not many people are aware of. It is a great way to breastfeed your baby if you are having trouble latching, you spend a lot of time away from your baby, or if you want Dad to be more involved in the breastfeeding experience. Like any parenting decision, exclusive pumping is not without its challenges.

Here are a few things that I wish someone had told me from the beginning.

  1. It is harder to keep your supply up.

Once I got to a point where I was producing more milk in a day than my son was drinking, I focused much less on pumping on a regular basis. If I was too busy or asleep, I would just skip a pumping session because we didn’t need the milk. It’s true what they say about breast milk working on a “supply and demand” basis. When I slowed down on pumping for a day or two, my milk supply dropped and I was never able to get it back to where I started. I struggled with milk supply most of the time that I was pumping.

  1. It is easier to pump on your own schedule than on baby’s.

I started out pumping every time that my son ate. This worked out well…until my husband went back to work and I couldn’t do both at once. I switched to pumping after every time that he ate. It never failed that he would want to eat right when I thought I had time to make lunch. I then had to feed him, pump, clean up, and then I could eat. Also, I could never keep track of when he ate or when I pumped. It was much easier to just schedule my pumping times and then fit in feedings and chores around that.

  1. Pick an easy pumping schedule.

Just keep it simple. You want to avoid having to think “when is the last time that I pumped?” I would base my schedule for the day off of my first pumping session after I woke up. For example, if my first pumping session was near 8:00 am, I would pump on every even hour for the day – 8, 10, 12, etc.

  1. You will have to pump once every 2-3 hours.

This goes back to the basics of supply and demand. Just know that you will spend A LOT of quality time with your breast pump. The lactation consultant who talked me through exclusive pumping told me that I should aim for 10-12 pumping sessions per day. Even at night, she suggested that I should not go more than 4 hours without pumping. I personally prioritized my sleep over my milk supply. If you want to exclusively pump without supplementing formula, you will need to wake up to pump even if baby sleeps through the night.

  1. You will have to drink TONS of water

This is true whether you are nursing or pumping, but I was surprised how easily I would feel dehydrated. Keep water handy, especially when pumping. It never failed that I would feel like I was dying of thirst every time that I left my water bottle on the other side of the room. The same is true of your calorie intake – now that baby is born you actually are eating for two!

  1. There are so many dishes!

Between pumping supplies, storage supplies, and bottles, I felt as though I was washing dishes all day everyday. If you are planning to feed baby expressed milk, do yourself a favor and buy the bottles that fit with your breast pump. You can then pump, store, and feed the milk from the same bottle.

  1. The amount that you pump may vary each session

There were days that I would produce several ounces of milk in one pumping session and just millileters the next. That is totally normal! The key is to make sure that you are pumping for long enough each time to stimulate your milk production for the next pumping session. Don’t be discouraged just because you had one bad pump.

  1. Something is better than nothing

Breastmilk is good for your baby. Any amount is better than nothing. Even if you have to mix your breastmilk with formula to have enough for your baby to eat (I did!), you are giving your baby the health benefits of the breastmilk that you produce.

  1. Don’t be afraid to stop when it is your time

This is one that we don’t hear enough of. We all know that breast is best because that message is everywhere. I was very lucky to have a pediatrician who was supportive of my breastfeeding efforts, and also reminded me every visit “don’t feel bad about giving formula.” Formula is scientifically designed to give your baby every nutrient that he or she needs to grow. When your time comes to stop, do not let anyone make you feel guilty. Only you know what is right for your family.

  1. You are doing a great job!

Whether you make it 1 day or 1 year of breastfeeding, you are doing a great thing for your child. Breastmilk is great for your child’s growth and development. You are sharing your healthy fats, vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies with your baby through your milk. Breastfeeding is hard work! You did a great thing just by trying, Mama!

The Most Common Breastfeeding Questions Answered by a Lactation Counselor

A BIG THANK YOU to Aryn from With Cream and Sugar for taking the time to share her wisdom with us. We all know that breastfeeding can be a difficult journey at times and we are so thankful she is here to help us along the way. Read more about Aryn at the end of this post.

Low milk supply seems to be  a big issue with a lot of moms. What are some ways they can increase their supply?

In my experience, perceived low milk supply is a much bigger issue than true low supply. New mom’s often have unrealistic expectations (not any fault of their own)  regarding newborn behaviors, including feeding. And while the internet can be a fantastic resource, it also becomes a place for comparison, which causes further worry. Another big factor (and this will probably be a repeated theme) is lack of support. If those closest to you or your healthcare providers are constantly questioning you, it easy to start to doubt yourself. So, in general, the best thing a mom can do for her supply is to feed her baby on demand, and not watch the clock or schedule feedings.

For a mom with true low supply, there are many different thing that can be helpful. Some mother pump after nursing, for extra stimulation, some will use a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to keep their baby at the breast longer. I urge any mother who is worried about her supply to reach out to a Lactation Professional for help and support, before making any decisions about changing how she feeds her baby.

Supplementing- when is it time to do it? What signs should mothers look for to know it’s time so supplement. So many wonder if their baby is getting enough!

In a breastfeeding relationship that is going well, there really is no time that a mother should *have* to supplement. As long as baby is growing well, mom’s milk should always be perfect, for her baby. Mom can know her baby is getting plenty by their diaper output, signs of satisfaction (ending feedings on their own, happy when finished, relaxing of hands), and weight gain.

There are occasions when supplementation may be necessary because of health issues including weight gain or growth issues or special needs infants, premature infants sometimes need extra calories or supplementation or if a mom is not able (or chooses not to) pump enough when separated from baby. Any of the above situation should be handled individually, there is no “one size fits all” answer. And I think its very important to mention that supplementing does not have to mean formula, a mother can supplement with her own milk or donor milk if she chooses.

What’s the most common road block you see for mothers when it comes to breastfeeding?

  1. Lack of support- having those closest to you, on your side and helping you through the hard days is so important. Lack of support from medical professionals is often a big frustration too, so find a Dr. that listens to you and allows you to be a part of decision making for your baby
  2. Unrealistic expectations/comparison. So many moms expect their Breastfeeding journey to look like their sister’s, friends, someone on the internet etc…and sometimes those aren’t “normal” or realistic journeys. Each is unique, and being education on all the variations of normal can be so helpful

At what point do you suggest mothers reach out to a counselor or consultant? How can they find a professional to fit their needs?

I believe (and wish) that every mother should reach out! Reaching out before there is a problem, can often time prevent problems and good support, even in a smooth journey, can be so helpful. But of course if a mother is feeling uneasy, anxious, or disagree with advice they may be receiving, reach out.

In general, any lactation professional should be able to meet a mom’s need. If more advanced or different help was needed, the lactation professional should refer appropriately. Many nurses and Midwives are also lactation professionals, and mothers meet them in hospital situations. Moms can also look in their community for private practice professionals or to community organizations like WIC or at pregnancy centers 

I’ve had a lot of moms question coffee and breast feeding… what is your professional opinion on this?

Caffeine, in moderation, is completely safe while nursing! The only issue would be if a baby was bothered by the intake, and that will be a case by case basis.

Everyone seems to always say “breastfeeding is hard, but stick to it”. Why do you think so many women find it to be such a challenge? And what would your advice be to a mother who is thinking it may be time to call it quits?

Breastfeeding definitely is a learning experience, more so for some than others. Something I try to talk to all moms preparing about is, that breastfeeding is so very natural, but just like walking and talking, it is something that we and our baby have to learn. I think we often expect it to just “happen”, so when it is hard or not like we have heard from others, we feel discouraged.

If a mom is feeling like she is ready to end her breastfeeding journey, my first response is a big hug. That is a tough decision to make. I always urge moms to not quit on a bad day, often times mom’s regret quitting but I rarely hear of a mom regretting sticking it out. Its also important to note that breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and that for some mothers continuing to breastfeed or provide breastmilk means introducing supplemental formula or donor milk. And again, each journey is unique and each mother has to decide what is best for her and her baby. If a mom truly feels that breastfeeding is not working for them, and she has explored all options for help and support, then its okay to stop. Fed, healthy baby’s and happy, empowered mamas are always the end goal.

What advice to you have for mothers who are returning to work and will need to maintain their supply through pumping?

  • Be prepared to pump as often, or as close to as possible, your baby’s nursing schedule.
  • Learn your pump, and what settings work best for you, as well as making sure the breastshields fit you appropriately
  • Know the laws that protect you in your area, your employer cannot stop you from pumping for your infant
  • Take care of yourself! Don’t forget to eat and drink, and stop to take breaks.
  • Understand, and share with your child care provider, appropriate breastmilk feeding guidelines. One of the biggest struggles I see for working moms is that they feel they can’t keep up with what baby is taking while they are away. But often times, that is because the baby is being fed more than they remove from the breast, which is what establishes our supply. A good guideline to remember is that baby needs 1-1.5 oz per hour, while separated from mom. And that breastmilk changes to meet baby’s needs, so often the amount does not have to increase as baby grows.
  • Take pictures and vidoes of your baby, to look at and watch while pumping. This will help to relax you and help you respond to the pump more easily. Covering the bottles with a blanket or something that smells like your baby can help tremendously too, I always express more when I am distracted and not watching my output.


Breastfeeding Tips, tricks and Strategies from 20 Mom Bloggers

Let’s cut straight to the point… breastfeeding ain’t always a walk in the park. It can be tough. Really tough! But you are not alone in this journey! There is a wonderful community of moms who are here to help! 20+ mom bloggers have come together to offer their most valuable tips when it comes to breastfeeding.

“They key is to educate yourself and find the support you need.  Watch all the breastfeeding documentaries on Netflix and Amazon Prime, join support groups on Facebook, and read everything you can get your hands on including articles, blogs and books.  Learn your rights. And if you are comfortable enough to, I highly recommend letting go of your inhibitions and nursing in public & “breast-sleeping”. It just makes life sooooo much easier!”

Alea from www.frugalnesting.com


“I breastfed my twins for 6 ½ months.  My biggest tip is to keep reassuring yourself that providing breast milk in any amount each day is good and is enough.  For each feeding, I would either nurse or provide them with one bottle of breast milk followed by the necessary amount of formula for them to feel satisfied.  This did not noticeably affect my supply, my kids weren’t going hungry, I wasn’t completely stressed, and I was providing them the breast milk that they needed.”

Marianne from The Marv Mis


“I have had three exclusive breastfed babies and each journey was very different. My first had a tongue tie that resulted in cracked nipples and a lot of pain for me. The best thing I did was find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who came to my house a few times to help with proper latch. She diagnosed the tongue tie and helped me to find a doctor to correct the problem. Without her help I am sure I would have given up nursing. It is much more difficult than you would expect and getting help when you have a problem can make a world of difference.”

Emma from Kids, Cash and Chaos


“Try to go topless as much as possible. This makes the early days of nursing so much easier. It also helps not to have anything rubbing your already sore nipples. As well as help your nipples to air out lower the chance for infection. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Breastfeeding can be hard and there is no shame in seeking help.”

Tiffany from Short Sweet Mom


“One thing I’ve learned from breastfeeding 4 babies is that it can be very challenging. Have patience; breastfeeding takes time to master. Rest, hydration, and nutrition are extremely important while breastfeeding, but even more important is finding support. Surround yourself with people who will offer positive guidance and encouragement. If you find that breastfeeding isn’t right for you and your child and you decide to take another approach have confidence in the fact that you made the right choice for both of you!

“I’m not sure why I struggled to breast feed so much but I did. While I much preferred pumping (well except for the time issue!) if I had to breast feed the Nipple Shield was the only way I could go. It let me daughter latch, get a much better suction and didn’t irritate my nipples overly. I always carried one in my diaper bag just in case!”

Shelby from Fit As A Mama Bear


“As I near 40 months total of breastfeeding between my three kiddos, my advice is to give yourself a break and get help early.  Everyone says that breastfeeding is natural.  So it’s easy to get discouraged when it feels like you have no idea what you’re doing.  It can take a month or more to start to feel comfortable with it, so give yourself time.  Also, if you have any difficulty or concerns, don’t hesitate to seek the support of a lactation consultant.  They can correct any issues, or simply validate how well you are doing.”

Jenny from The Crafty Organized Mom


“Breastfeeding was super tough the first couple months. My son had some issues latching early on, I fought a bad case of mastitis, and I was sleep deprived from keeping up with pumping sessions after breastfeeding in the middle of the night. My biggest piece of advice is that it does get easier, even if you have some challenges early on. My son is now 19 months and we are still breastfeeding and it’s practically second nature with virtually no pain!”

Berklee from Faith Filled Motherhood


 “After having my daughter in 2016, she had difficulty latching and we ended up having to use a nipple shield to breastfeed. If you need to use a nipple shield, don’t give up or feel discouraged! Talk to a lactation consultant. After four months using the shield, one day my daughter took it off by herself and latched on like a pro! We have been breastfeeding without it successfully ever since.”

Audrey from Perfected In Weakness


“I have breastfed my two boys for a total of 25 months and am still going with my one year old. What has helped me most, keeping my babies satisfied and well-fed, has been learning to relax and focus on my baby only, when I’m nursing. When I try to do other things at the same time as nursing, my baby doesn’t get as much breast milk and is hungry much sooner.”

Crystalyn from The Prudent Housewife


I am currently breastfeeding my fourth baby, and it has been a learning curve! I breastfed my twins until they were 3 and self-weaned. My recommendation for breastfeeding multiples beyond 6 months is to think marathon rather than sprint. Getting breastfeeding established might take a bit of pumping and some ups and downs, but it will all settle down, especially when your babies start eating solid food as well. It was fabulous to breastfeed my twins as toddlers – it provided some calm for everyone in the daily chaos.

Elizabeth from What Mama Knows


“In my second homebirth, the midwife suggested that we allow our baby to rest on my abdomen immediately after birth to allow him to crawl up to the breast on his own. He did it! Took him forever but the little man found his way and latched on like a champ. My take away from this cool experience was the inspiration in the drive within us to thrive and find nourishment. So trust your body’s innate wisdom and then be gentle on yourself if it turns out you’re challenged in the breastfeeding front. Know that your body and your heart were designed to provide all that your baby needs, whether in the end that looks like breast or bottle feeding.”

Kathy  from Bliss Beyond Naptime


“If you are new to the process of breastfeeding my best tip for you is have a nursing station set up beforehand. When my baby nursed I was never fully prepared for how long the process took. Try to make sure you have plenty of water and a snack nearby because breastfeeding is hunger and thirst inducing work. Another thing I suggest having there is a phone charger nearby or a book so you have a source of entertainment while your baby nurses.”

Sheyla  from The Momma Chronicles


“Get help if you need it.  I breastfed my first six babies until they were 1+ years old.  I was a pro!  Until my seventh child was born.  I had extended, excruciating pain every time he nursed.  I knew what I was doing, latching on correctly, positioning correctly, and still, the pain persisted.  Finally, I sought the help of a lactation consultant who diagnosed a tongue tie and gave me the resources I needed to successfully nurse my son until he weaned at 20 months.”

Corinna from The Mommy Clause


“After breastfeeding 2 children, still currently breastfeeding one, the best advice I could give is to be patient and don’t compare yourself to other moms. If you pump and bottle feed. Great. If you exclusively breastfeed that’s great too. Every mom and babies needs are different and you should do what is best for your family.”

Tiffany from Small Life Living


“I’ve only been breastfeeding for a couple of weeks but I’ve found having my phone nearby to be very helpful. It allows me to text with people and also works as a communication device if I need help and no one is nearby.”

Pam of Hodge Podge Moments


“My son was born at just over 26 weeks via induction in September 2015. 36 weekers are notoriously poor feeders. My son developed hyper-jaundice that lasted almost 5 weeks. I exclusively pumped from the beginning, which was an emotional and disappointing experience. My advice would be to follow your intuition, advocate for yourself, and don’t be ashamed to ask for help, whether if it’s from a lactation consultant or a bottle of formula.”

Michelle at Writing Between Pauses


“I gave birth to twins via C-section in January 2013. My twins weighed 6lbs 5 oz for Andrew and 14lbs. 4 oz. for Lucy. One recovery tip is to get your husband involved. Since I had twins I had to rely on him for feedings and changings 🙂 Breastfeeding was a slow process. I had to use donated milk as I wasn’t making enough milk for my twins. My tip is to don’t give up and use donated milk if you can!”

Elna Cain from Twins Mommy


“I breastfed my son for two years, but had a hard time in the beginning.
I wasn’t producing enough milk and had to supplement with formula. That
wasn’t what I envisioned doing, but I didn’t want to give up on
breastfeeding! What kept me going was that I wanted to provide the best
nutrients for my son. If that meant that I would continue to breastfeed
with the need to supplement with formula that would be perfectly fine.”

Jessica from intentional in life


“The best thing I did, unfortunately not until our second baby, was to
learn how to breastfeed comfortably while lying down. I also learned how
to co-sleep safely and therefor I could keep our baby in bed with me and
breastfeed whenever he needed it almost without waking up. It was
wonderful!”

Paula from Easy Baby Life


“My twins were born 8 weeks early.  I pumped every 3 hours to give them breastmilk during their NICU stay. After they came home I tried to breastfeed, but they didn’t have the strength.  I pumped and gave them both breastmilk and formula.  We never ended up being able to breastfeed, and the term “breast is best” still makes me feel really sad and guilty.  Fed is best, so don’t feel guilty if breastfeeding doesn’t work!”

Caitlin from Rogers Party of 5


“I breastfed both of my daughters, and had so much pain the first few weeks.  Especially with my second who was tongue tied, her latch was terrible! Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads are the most amazing thing for sore, cracked nipples.  Express some of your breast milk to naturally soothe the area, and then apply the soothies from the fridge.  The pain is instantly relieved!”

Kait from Kaits Place


Solutions To The Most Common Breastfeeding Problems

 

This is a guest post by Susan Croox from GloriousMomBlog.com. We are so thankful that she has taken the time to share her solutions to the most common breastfeeding problems. Read more about Susan at the end of this post. 

Breastfeeding is such an amazing bonding time between a mother and her baby. However, there are often many challenges that arise on the course of a mom’s breastfeeding journey. I myself breastfed three, although one baby was weak from heart surgery, and stopped nursing at six weeks. I’m familiar with many of the struggles we face while breastfeeding, and I thought I would share some of my solutions.

Difficulty latching

All babies have to learn to latch. They obviously weren’t nursing in your belly, so it’s an acquired skill. As your baby grows, positioning won’t be as important, but in the beginning it is crucial. Make sure you are cradling your baby’s head with the crook of your arm. Position the head just below the nipple and let the baby reach up slightly towards it with his/her mouth. It help sometimes to hold your breast in your hand to guide it towards your baby’s mouth. You can also rub your nipple across the top lip. Get as much help as you can from the lactation consultant in the hospital. Even with my third, I still felt like it was a learning experience beginning again with a newborn. If you still are having difficulty,  you can try a nipple guard. Not all babies will accept it, but it’s worth a try. My first learned to latch with it. A problem babies have with latching is that they don’t open their mouths wide enough. When they latch on and their mouths aren’t covering the entire nipple, it is extremely painful! The sucking reflex is strong, and it is meant to cover as much of the lower part of the areola as possible. With the nipple guard on, the oversized plastic nipple forces the infant to open its mouth very wide to accept it, and helps with the latch. Also, if you happen to have an inverted nipple, the nipple guard will make nursing much easier for you.

Nipple pain

One of the hardest parts of nursing is the pain. You would think after just giving birth to a baby that you could handle anything, but nope. Nope, nope. The first thing you want to do is make sure that baby has a good latch, as that could be causing your pain. The good news is that most of the time, this gets significantly more bearable with time. Your nipples get used to it, and baby gets better at feeding. But for the time being, I recommend again trying the nipple guard, as this will virtually erase your pain, and applying Lansinoh Lanolin Cream on your nipple, which is entirely safe for the baby. You can also try applying a warm compress to the breast.

Getting baby to burp

I never had an easy time getting my babies to burp. And they all were gassy, breastfed or not, so I knew it was absolutely necessary. The best thing to do is try different positions.The most common one is to hold the infant against your chest with them peering over your shoulder as you support their head and tap their back. Another method is lay them on their tummy over your leg and burp them. These two were the ones I used mostly with my firstborn. My second baby had heart surgery, so he had sternal precautions for six weeks, which meant no tummy time, so no burping on my leg. At the hospital they recommended the third position, which is to gently sit them up (all floppy and stuff) on your leg, while one hand holds them upright by pressing against the chest, and simultaneously using the fingers to cradle the chin in your hand to support it from the front while the other hand does the burping.

Engorgement

Engorgement occurs when you have an unusually large amount of milk in your breasts. Within a week of baby being born, your milk comes in. Whereas previous your flow was a trickle, suddenly your breasts are hard and painful. Your breasts can also become engorged for other reasons. If baby prefers to feed on one side over the other, the neglected breast may become engorged. Or sometimes you just have a lot of milk! To manage the pain, you can use a warm compress on your breasts. If your milk just came in, the baby should help regulate the flow, and your breasts should normalize within a few days. If baby prefers one side and won’t take the other, you can pump on the unwanted side. This also should help prevent mastitis. In general, pumping can provide relief for engorged breasts, although it will also help to maintain your high level of milk – read: you’d better get comfortable with that breast pump!

Falling asleep at the breast

My third child insisted on nursing to sleep. The problem with this is that the baby develops the habit of needing to nurse right before they sleep. They then struggle with self-soothing, and night wakings can be a nightmare. Occasional nursing to sleep isn’t bad, but when it’s every single time, it can mess with the baby’s sleep cycle, and there possibly may be a concern if baby’s getting enough milk. If you think baby is starting to drift, to switch to the other breast. You can also change the baby’s diaper between sides as babies don’t sleep during diaper changes. You can also try compressing your breast with your hand to encourage the flow of milk, thus gently stirring baby to wake with the extra food.

Biting

My last child began gnawing ferociously at my breast around ten months. I was very close to giving up on nursing at this point as not only was the pain excruciating, but it also was every single time, including the eight times he woke up every single night. Ouch! I was told that if you pushed baby away and firmly and loudly said, “No!” they would stop, and that was the end of the story. That works in most situations, but it didn’t work for me, and believe me, I had motivation to try. Finally, I did some research and discovered that it was possible that his latch was incorrect (can you believe that, at ten months??!!). The theory was that if the mouth was placed correctly, it would be impossible for the baby to bite. I had tried the nipple guard (another thing I recommend for this), but he wouldn’t take it. So I re-taught him how to latch. I held my breast in my hand and forced him to open his mouth wide. It took a few days, but then he got it! No more biting!

Breastfeeding is a lot of work, and each child has their own unique breastfeeding journey. I encourage you, when things are hard, don’t give up! Research solutions to your problems and ask other moms for advice. You can do it!


Read more on Breastfeeding:

How to Increase Your Milk Supply in 48 Hours
Breastfeeding and Alcohol- How much is OK?
Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?

Are We Putting Too Much Pressure On New Moms to Breastfeed?

This post was written by Emily Sy from HappyMomBlog.com. Read more about Emily at the end of the article.

Just recently, I learned some very devastating news about a local mom who took her own life after suffering from postpartum depression. My husband sent me an article on this story and the husband of this local mom urges moms who can’t breastfeed to seek help.

As a nurse, I understand all the benefits of breastfeeding. When I was a child, I knew nothing about breastfeeding and thought babies drank from bottles and formula was the best nutrition for them. Years later, practices have changed and it is well taught to the new moms out there that “breast is best”.

GIVING MY SISTER ADVICE ABOUT BREASTFEEDING

When my older sister had her first child, I had just started out in nursing school and was thrilled that she just had a baby. When she told me that she was having difficulty breastfeeding, I quickly explained to her that she needs to keep trying and went over all the benefits and why and how she should do it. Man, was I insensitive. At the time, I was young and naive and had no experience having a baby so I really didn’t understand what it was like.

When you just have a baby, so many things are changing. You are learning so much about yourself and your baby and how to care for her and you’re completely exhausted. Not only are you exhausted, but you’re in pain, recovering from the delivery. The last thing you need is your little sister nagging you and telling you what to do.

After sometime, she told me the truth about how my comments made her feel. She was trying her very best but it was just too painful and so she decided to give formula. My comments made her feel guilty that she wasn’t breastfeeding. I felt horrible about what I said. I mean, I meant well but, we need to be more supportive of moms who decide to give their babies formula. Yes, breast is best, but when it’s just not possible, then fed is best.

According to the article, the husband said that his wife may have felt like a bad mother for not exclusively breastfeeding. He says she may have felt pressure to exclusively breastfeed from all the posters and brochures that they saw in the hospital and in the classes. Although he agrees that breast is best, he believes there’s a need for everyone to know that formula is still a viable option.

MY BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY

For myself when I had my first child, I was lucky that I didn’t have too many problems breastfeeding. I mean, it was still really hard learning it. I did it by the book, just like I was taught in nursing school. It was such an endeavor, you had to get into a certain position and you had to make sure the baby was alert and awake enough to feed and then you have to get them to latch.

Once they latch, you have to make sure it was a proper latch, etc etc…It was not easy let me tell you. Then you want to make sure that the baby was getting enough, by keeping track of her pees and poops. Thinking back on it, it was pretty scary because it was my first time and you want to make sure you’re doing it all right.

I can just image if it did have problems, it would be even more exhausting, painful and stressful.

Then you have the pressure from the family, telling you to do it their “old school” way, which was contradictory to the way you were taught. Because of your inexperience, they insist that they know better than you. Man, does this bring back the memories of having my first child. It was pretty rough.

With my second child I supplemented with a little bit of formula just so I could be away a bit longer so my baby wouldn’t go hungry while I was out.

With my third child, I was way busier so she ended up having the most formula out of all three of my kids. I just had way more things to do and I wasn’t always able to breastfeed. I was giving her as much breast milk as I could but gave her formula when I was away or couldn’t comfortably breastfeed in public.

The more kids I had, the more ok I was with giving formula. Everyone has their own values and beliefs and we all need to respect each other’s choices. We do what we think is right for ourselves and for our kids.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

I’m very fortunate to have never experienced postpartum depression but according to the stats, a lot of moms do. The Canadian Mental Health Association says that 50 to 80 percent of new mothers suffer from a mild depression or “baby blues” within days or weeks of giving birth and up to 20 percent of births lead to debilitating depression. Here’s a scary statistic, the suicide rate for women with postpartum depression psychosis ranges as high as 1 in 20.

MY ADVICE FOR NEW MOMS

I remember how tiring, stressful and scary it was to be a new mom. My advice for new moms is, go easy on yourselves and have faith that you are doing the very best you can for your baby. Trust your instincts and do what you feel is right for yourself and your baby. What you decide to do is not necessarily what someone else would do. We will all have our own journeys and experiences.

If you are feeling the baby blues or feel that you have signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, seek help. Call your public health nurse or see your family doctor. Talk to someone about it as soon as possible.

This article is written in memory of Florence Leung, a beautiful BC mom. May you rest in peace.

To read more on this story, click here.

 


Can You Overfeed a Breastfed Baby?

Guys. My little one is chunky.  She is 6 months old now and wears 12-18 month clothes! She has little rolls on her wrists, on her thighs, even on her ankles! I just love them… and those cheeks… I could kiss them forever! Just look at my little nugget!

Every where we go, people stop and comment on our little chunky monkey, followed with praise for how adorable she is. Emmy always gives them her wide gummy smile and I can’t help but smile too.  She brings so much joy to me and those around her. The comments about her weight have never bothered me. But a comment was made recently by someone who had a little more credibility when it came to baby weight: her pediatrician. I’ll never forget the feeling I got when he said “this baby is overfed and overweight”. He gave me some tips on how Emmy could get more exercise. He suggested that if she showed hunger cues before the 4 hour mark since the last feeding to just give her a bottle with water instead of letting her latch on. He told me introducing solid foods was out of the question because Emmy obviously did not need anymore calories.  He was very stern in the fact that I needed to stop overfeeding her and it had to stop. Well, now I was bothered. I was in a state of shock during the conversation, but I also had an overwhelming feeling to just cry. I left the doctor’s office that day feeling the worst kind of mom guilt I could have ever imagined. I thought I was doing the right thing by breastfeeding my baby when I saw hunger cues? Was I doing more harm than good? I went straight home and started doing all sorts of Googling. Was my baby obese? Am I overfeeding my baby? My searches gave me answers. And those answers led me to making one of the best decisions I have made as Emmy’s mom:

We were going to find a new pediatrician.

Because I was not overfeeding my baby.

I recently read this article by The Milk Meg and if I could have jumped through my computer screen and hugged her after reading, I would have. THAT is how much better it made she made me feel. You can read the full article here, but here’s the cliff’s notes:

  • There are so many reasons that your baby will want to latch on and nurse. It’s not just hunger! Comfort is a big reason. If you baby is teething, they may latch on for pain relief. They nurse in order to fight sickness or for relief from illness. There are so many reasons why a baby nurses! So a cue before the 4 hour mark should not be ignored, there are other reasons besides hunger that they need to latch on.
  • With that being said, nursing takes work. The Milk Meg informs us it takes over 40 muscles to nurse. Your baby isn’t going to do all that work for no reason. If they do not want the milk, they won’t take it. The time spent nursing is for good reason.
  • Did you know there is actually a separate growth chart specifically for breastfed babies? The charts used in most doctors offices use data for both breast and bottle fed babies, which can make it pretty skewed. But this chart by the World Health Organization is JUST for boobie babies! Take a look below. Emmy is 6 months and 19 pounds (8.6 kg). Where does that put her on the weight chart? In the 86%! Yes, that’s still above average, but I was being told before that she was “off the charts”. Here is the link to the WHO chart shown below.
  • And lastly, my baby, your baby, all babies, are smart. They know when they have had enough to eat. When they hit their limit, they unlatch. However, if there isn’t milk actively flowing, they may stay latched and sucking for comfort sake.  During this time, your baby may not be actively swallowing meaning they may not even be eating.

Now before you start thinking “how could she ignore medical advice?” or “how is she comfortable taking advice from a website and not a medical professional?”. This isn’t about if the doctor was right or wrong. This was about my views as a mother and being a voice for my child. I did not feel comfortable following this advice. Just like a doctor may tell you that using a pacifier is 100% out of the question and not an option, however you disagree. I feel that I was not causing harm to my baby. If my baby is nuzzling at my buttoned up shirt, practically begging to eat, I am not going to deny her from feeding. If she is simply trying to nurse for comfort, I will provide that. What if she was going through a growth spurt and needed additional calories and I gave her water instead? What if she was sick and needed the nutrients only a mother’s breast milk can provide and I didn’t provide her with what she needed in fear that it would be too many calories? My mom guilt was gone and my mama protective instincts were in full force.

Emmy’s new doctor is just wonderful. We are so happy we made the move. Upon meeting Jay and me, he asked about our size as babies, asked about out parents and their build. He pointed out that being a big baby seemed to be in her genes. He agreed that Emmy was a little plump, but she was growing at a stable rate and was healthy as could be. He encouraged us to introduce solids and continue with the breastfeeding. He encouraged us to keep up all the tummy time we had been doing and believed she would be on the move in no time. He encouraged. I left there that day feeling supported and guilt-free. I was so happy we had found a doctor that made us feel like we were doing it right.

So no… you cannot overfeed your breastfed baby. The best thing you can ever do for your little one is let them nurse. Their cues mean that are in need of something, whether it be food or comfort or pain relief, the best thing you can do as their mother is provide.


Read more on breastfeeding:

Milk Makin’ Munchies- Lactation Boosting Treats

Milk Makin' Munchies- Bites to help boost lactationMilk Makin' Munchies- Bites to help boost lactationMilk Makin' Munchies- Bites to help boost lactation

If you’ve read my recent post on a quick results lactation smoothie, you know that I am searching for different ways to boost and support my milk supply other than eating my routine bowl of oatmeal. I’ve discovered a new sweet way to help boost supply that I cannot wait to share with y’all! It was super quick and clean up was even easier. Here’s the details.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon Brewer’s Yeast
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

You will need a large bowl and a mixer to make these. If you do not have a mixer, a large spoon will do but will just take a little more arm power!

Instructions

Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Next add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and make into desired size balls. This mixture will not roll well in your hands like  cookie dough might. You more have to mold the balls together. Refrigerate for one more hour to help set. Store left over (if you manage to have any!) in the fridge as well. ENJOY! Be sure to check out my much loved lactation smoothie recipe too!

Quick Results Lactation Smoothie

Read More from Swaddles n’ Bottles

 

 

 

Quick Results Lactation Smoothie

Quick Results Lactation Smoothie

 

UPDATE: I don’t normally do this, but I just couldn’t hold myself back. People are really laying on the harsh comments over this smoothie on social media! So just to clarify, this isn’t a sit-by-the-pool-and-sip-a-delicious-smoothie kind of drink. It isn’t made with the intention to taste like a slice of cake. It is intended to help increase your breast milk, mamas! With that being said, it has ingredients that you have most likely never had in drink form before and can be off putting.  Add berries, add yogurt, add whatever you would like to mask the taste of the brewer’s yeast. Also, once you’ve had the smoothie and see the positive results, let us know in the comments! End rant. Love y’all. 

I knew this day was coming. I cannot bring myself to eat another bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I have had it almost every morning for the past four and a half months in order to help maintain my milk supply, but I just can’t stomach it any more. So I have been trying out a few different smoothie recipes and modifying them by adding some of my favorite ingredients and I have finally found the perfect combination to help boost milk supply FAST!  You can sweeten the taste by adding additional fruits or berries, but I wouldn’t remove any of the key ingredients as it won’t have the same effects!

Ingredients

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until desired consistency. You can also add the oats to the blender first and grind for a smoother texture. I also am continuing to use the 2 other lactation support supplements: Let There be Milk and Fenugreek.

More Great Breast Feeding Reads:

 

 

How To Safely Fight The Common Cold While Breast Feeding

How To Safely Fight The Common Cold While Breast Feeding

Did you know that the average time it takes for a common cold to run its course is 7-14 days? When the runny nose, itchy throat and throbbing head ache hit me, I knew that taking any old cold medicine might have a negative effect on my breast milk and might not be safe for baby. So I figured I would just power through it. I changed my mind by day 2 and was desperately scouring the internet for methods of relief that were safe for baby and my milk. Good news- there is a way to find quick relief!

Natural Remedies

  • Steam Showers- There is no better way to thin out the mucus build up than a good relaxing steam shower. This gives mom a good excuse for some much needed alone time too!
  • Hot Liquids- This is great for the itchy throat and cough. I had my fair share of decaf vanilla chai’s before bed each night.
  • Saline Spray-This one was harder to find than I expected. Most sprays had an active ingredient in them, but if you can find a solution that is just salt and water, it’s a great way to help drain any fluids.
  • Hot Compress- If you have pressure in your ears that is causing discomfort along your tubes, you can always try a hot compress to relieve some of the pain. This one works great for kiddos too!
  • Hydrate- If you are congested, this will help thin out the mucus, thus helping you clear it.
  • Vitamin C- Either from food, juice or a supplement.
  • Salt Water Gargle- Great for sore throat. 1 tablespoon salt mixed into 8 ounces of warm water. Don’t drink- just gargle and spit out several times. Provides almost instant relief!

Over the Counter

This is where it gets tricky. As a breast feeding mama, you run into risks of passing active ingredients on to baby that might not be safe and you could also be effecting your milk supply. Anything that contains an antihistamine is a big no-no. I also consider anything that has a drowsy side effect to be off limits too as it will be passed onto baby.There is a short list of over the counter medicines that can be taken with minimal effects on your milk and baby, but as always- talk to your doctor before taking any medications. I am not a medical professional and cannot give medical advice.

Nasal Sprays

Flonase saved me. My congestion was out of this world and the pressure in my nasal passages was almost unbearable. Jay headed to the store to search for saline spray, but was unable to find it. Flonase was the closes thing we could find and after a quick google search and call to my doc, I was given the green light. KellyMom.com explains:

“of the preparations available for treatment of allergic symptoms, corticosteroid nasal sprays (e.g., Flonase, Nasacort, etc.) and cromolyn sodium nasal spray (a mast cell stabilizer, e.g., Nasalcrom) are considered to be, by far, some of the most effective and safest to use in breastfeeding moms”.

Is that good news or what? I did one squirt per day and by day 2 I was a whole new mama.  A few years ago when battling allergies, a nurse gave me some great advice about nasal sprays. She told me when you go to spray it, pull your cheek back towards your ear and then spray. I use the large part of my palm closest to my wrist to pull it back. You can really feel it open your nasal passage. Once you spray, instead of trying to sniff the medicine and far up as possible, simply bend over and let your head hand towards your feet. It may seem strange, but doing this really helped get the spray up to where it needed to be to get me feeling better.

Pain Relievers

Advil, Motrin and Tylenol are considered compatible with breast feeding. Follow the recommended dosage. Aspirin is not considered safe.

Cough Drops

Cough drops and lozenges are considered safe and provide great relief for sore throats and coughs. Avoid drops that are menthol flavored as menthol has been shown to decrease milk supply.

Being sick is always tough, but it is even harder when you have a little baby to look after too! Reach out for help so you can get the rest you need. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor… baby is depending on you and needs you well!

Read More from Swaddles n’ Bottles