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Secrets to Working and Pumping

When I had my first son I hadn’t planned to go back to work. I suddenly had to return to the workforce when he was three months old. I was completely unprepared and my son went from an exclusively breastfeeding baby to a mostly formula baby within a short period of time. I learned a lot from my experience with him and was much more prepared when I had my daughter. I was able to exclusively breastfeed her and work full time. Because of what I went through, the emotions of trying to pump enough milk for the next day, I wanted to gather up all my tips and write them down for others to use. I hope that you find these tips helpful.

1. Plan ahead if possible. Get a freezer stash going before you go back to work.
2. Do not just pump at work. Pump at home on your days off and before and after work.
3. Pump while nursing. Pump on one side while nursing on the other.
4. Find a good place to pump, where you are comfortable and can relax.
5. Make sure everyone at work knows how important breastfeeding is and not to interrupt you.
6. Drink plenty of fluids through out the day. Drink a large glass of water about an hour before you are going to pump.
7. Use a good quality double breast pump.
8. If your supply is dwindling rent a hospital grade pump.
9. Find other moms to talk to that are breastfeeding and pumping.
10. Do not get discouraged if you don’t pump a large volume at once. Most moms pump around three oz per pumping.
11. Pump frequently. Pumping frequently is more important than how long you pump.
12. Try to pump at least every three hours.
13. Pumping is NOT as efficient as nursing. Do not gauge your milk supply by how much you pump. Your baby will get more milk from nursing than you will make from pumping.
14. Before you nurse, relax and do a quick breast massage. This will help you get a better let down.
15. Any time you give your baby a bottle make sure you pump in place of that.
16. Nurse frequently at night or try reverse cycling. Reverse cycling is when baby nurses more at night than during the day.
17. Co-sleep with baby if you are comfortable so he can nurse more at night. Nursing at night will help your supply.
18. Try drinking Mothers Milk tea.
19. Eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Oatmeal is really good for boosting milk supply.
20. Avoid giving bottle to baby before he is three weeks.
21. Use a slow flow nipple for your bottles.
22. Find a day care provider that is a breastfeeding supporter. An uneducated day care provider can sabotage your success.
23. Take Fenugreek or Blessed Thistle
24. If you need to supplement when you are home use a Supplemental Nursing System.
25. Do not assume because baby is fussing it is your supply. Many times baby will fuss for other reasons.
26. When preparing bottles for day care, store them in three oz portions. Your baby will likely only need three oz at a time. If he needs more up it to four.
27. Send small 2 oz bottles of breast milk for day care provider to give to baby if you will be picking him up soon. This way baby will be ready to nurse when you get him home.
28. Nurse on your lunch break if you can.
29. Take picture of baby with you to work. Look at your baby when you are pumping. It will help with your let down.
30. Have a nurse in. On the weekend spend the entire weekend in bed with your baby and nurse as frequently as you can.
31. During pumping session, take a break when your milk stops flowing. Massage your breast and use nipple stimulation to get a second let down. You will usually get another oz or so if you can get a second let down.
32. Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine will hinder your supply
33. Don’t do extreme dieting. Eat a healthy diet.
34. Contact a La Leche League Leader or lactation consultant for advice.
35. Avoid using bottles and pacifiers when you are home.
36. Try switch nursing when you are home. Nurse on one side then switch to the other when baby seems to be getting fussy. Switch sides two or three times while nursing.
37. Remind yourself of all the benefits your baby is getting and that it’s worth it!
38. Keep your pump pre-assembled so that you can keep your pumping breaks shorter.
39. If your using a pump with horns put them in a Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer between pumpings. This way you can just wash them when you get home.
40. If you can, do paperwork while pumping. This way you can have more pumping breaks and you will relax more if you are not focused on pumping.
41. Don’t watch the pump. Staring at the pump watching for milk will make your session more stressful.
42. Adjust the suction controls, experiment with the speed and suction until you find what works best for you.
43. Keep spare parts readily available for your pump so you don’t have any emergencies.
44. Massage your breasts while you pump.
45. Pump in the morning. Your supply is best in the morning.
46. Bring a baby blanket or item of clothing that smells like baby. Use your senses to visualize your baby.
47. Close your eyes and picture baby nursing.
48. Keep a back up pump at work or in your car in case you forget.
49. Pat yourself on the back for giving your baby the best!
Patty Hone is a wife and mommy to three kids. She is also the owner of Mommiesmall.com. For quality breast pumps, slings, and other attachment parenting products please visit her site at http://www.mommiesmall.com

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How Long Should You Breastfeed?

Unfortunately, how long a mother should nurse her baby does not have an easy answer. Advice given by people, whether it’s doctors, a breastfeeding counsellor or your mother,  is often confusing and contradictory. Everyone you talk to has different advice for you. Combine this with the fact that every mom & baby are different, and you have good reason to be wondering what is the best thing to do.

Breastfeeding is by far the best way to feed your baby. Even many manufacturers of baby formula are saying this! Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby’s development for the first year or more. It contains antibodies which may protect your baby against some infections. Breastfeeding also helps reduce the risk of allergies in infants who have a family history of asthma, food allergy, or eczema. It is easily digested and contains just the right amount of fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. It is inexpensive and require no special equipment or preparation.

Breastmilk changes as your baby grows and is the only food needed for the first 4 to 6 months. So does that mean you should only breastfeed for the first 4 to 6 months and then stop? Wean your baby at one year? Yes? No? Maybe?

There are so many factors involved along with so many pressures from others. Some will pressure you to breastfeed into the second year and beyond. Others will argue that your baby should be weaned to a bottle after a couple of months. Some will say you have to wean before you return to work. Others will tell you that going back to work doesn’t mean you have to wean. Who’s right? Most proponents of breastfeeding and many of the experts recommend breastfeeding at least for the first year (and many up to two years or longer). While I totally agree with this in principle, I say you should breastfeed for as long as you feel it is the best thing for you and your baby. This is something only you can decide.

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Breastfeeding in Public

In many parts of the world, the sight of a nursing mother is an ordinary aspect of daily life. In our society, however, some people are still uncomfortable seeing a mother breastfeed in public. Slowly but surely, though, people are coming to see breastfeeding as the natural, normal way of feeding a baby that it is. And thanks to public education campaigns, people are becoming more knowledgeable about the many benefits of breastfeeding.

Your legal right to breastfeed
Society has conditioned many people to view breasts only from a sexual standpoint and not as a body part with a crucial biological function – to feed a baby. Breastfeeding is the natural default for baby feeding — not bottlefeeding — yet no one harangues a woman who is feeding her baby from a bottle in a public place. If anyone even suggests that you shouldn’t be feeding your baby in public, be aware that you are well within your rights. Keep in mind that it’s the onlooker’s problem, not yours.

From a legal perspective, you have a right to breastfeed your baby in public anywhere in the United States. Some states have gone so far as to implement specific legislation to that effect to protect the rights of both babies and their mothers; these states have set out legal consequences for violations, too. As of this writing, 17 states have passed laws that say you can breastfeed your baby in any public or private location; thirteen more exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. This may lead you to believe that the act is legal only in those states with legislation. The fact is, you have a legal right to breastfeed your baby in public even without a specific law. Don’t be shy about letting an impolite person know this. For more information about the legal aspects of breastfeeding in public, check out the website of Elizabeth N. Baldwin, an attorney who specializes in this issue [www.compromisesolutions.com].

In Canada, the Human Rights Code protects women from discrimination on the basis of sex. Breastfeeding in public is not specifically labeled as a protected activity; however, many people are lobbying to explicitly include breastfeeding under this human rights code.

What about breastfeeding when in foreign countries?
It’s best to respect the customs native to the country you are visiting. Even if you think you should breastfeed wherever you please, it’s important to understand and adhere to local customs. If you don’t see other women breastfeeding their babies, then ask around. Talk to a woman with young children, ask a health professional, or do a little research. Once you know what is typically acceptable, then you can proceed confidently without risk of offending anyone, breaking a law, or embarrassing yourself.

Getting comfortable breastfeeding in public
Although you have the right to feed your baby in public, there is still the issue of your feelings about doing so. Each woman has her own comfort level. Most women want to find the right balance of pride and modesty — not overly exposing themselves, while feeling comfortable knowing that people are aware that they are breastfeeding. You’ll probably need some practice with the particulars, simply because breastfeeding is a function that involves a private part of your anatomy that is normally not exposed in public. Wanting to be discreet doesn’t mean that you are embarrassed or ashamed to feed your baby; it simply means that you don’t want to cause yourself or others social discomfort.

The biggest issue for most new mothers is learning how to get settled with your baby modestly. Even a new mother who is breastfeeding with ease at home may fumble and struggle when she perceives that she has an audience; her tension then causes her impatient baby to cry. That only deepens the feeling that all eyes are on her. The reality is that most people are paying attention to their own activities and their own private conversations, by and large ignorant of what’s happening with other people. Once you become adept breastfeeding discreetly, you’ll be able to comfortably nurse your baby anywhere. All it takes is a little practice.

PARENT TIP
“Always remember that what you are doing is necessary, beautiful, and miraculous. Breastfeed your baby with pride.”
~ Deborah, mother to Peter (five), Jeremy (three), and Claire (one)

Tips for breastfeeding in public
Give yourself permission to feel comfortable about nursing your baby in public. Feeding your baby is a natural, normal part of mothering, whether you are at home or out in public.
Dress for breastfeeding. Wear a shirt or sweater that can be lifted up or unbuttoned from the bottom. When you lift from the bottom, the top portion of your shirt helps cover you from the top, and your baby covers you from the bottom. Whatever portion of your breast is shown while feeding your baby is certainly much less than is shown in the typical television show, magazine or at your local beach or public swimming pool.

Try a nursing cover-up or a breastfeeding garment with a built-in flap. Many are so beautifully made that even under the most careful scrutiny, they don’t look like nursing clothes. Most stores that sell maternity clothing also sell nursing apparel. Even if you don’t use these at home, they may help you feel more comfortable when in public.

Bring along a small baby blanket. Some babies are fine with having a blanket thrown over your shoulder and over their heads, but many are very good at pulling such a blanket off. A good alternative is to bring the blanket up from below, and tent it around your baby, to cover you as you settle your little one to the breast. The blanket can be loosely placed to create privacy, or even removed once you’re settled.

Use your sling as a nursing cover-up. Baby slings are wonderful for nursing your baby on the go because they hold your baby perfectly in the nursing position while providing extra fabric for a screen. Some brands have a “tail” at the end that doubles as an extra blanket to keep the baby from trying to peek out while nursing.

Feed your baby at the first sign of hunger, because hungry babies aren’t quietly patient! If you wait until your baby is crying to be fed, then you may become nervous; your baby may move about and make the latch-on difficult. Instead, if you nurse him promptly, you can be more relaxed about getting him settled.

Remember that the alternative to public breastfeeding is usually public crying. Whether you’re in a restaurant, at church, or on an airplane, people typically would prefer that you feed your baby than let him cry, fuss or otherwise disrupt the peace. I remember once attending a live play with a very antsy two-year-old: my son, David. When I finally settled him on my lap to breastfeed, the gentleman sitting beside me actually said, “Thank you!”
 This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

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Adopting a Baby? You May Be Able to Breastfeed!

Induced Lactation – Adoptive Breastfeeding
I have the wonderful privilege of breastfeeding (induced lactation) my adopted daughter Haley. We began this journey when she was 18 hours old. It is a day I will always remember looking into the eyes of this precious angel as her birth mom sat there and watched us. She later told a social worker that it helped her so much to see Haley and I bond at that moment.

When we began that day I was producing 3 or 4 ounces a day. By the time she was 6 months old I had achieved a full supply of breast milk for her. Her doctor told me that even 2 ounces a day would greatly benefit her over formula alone. She would receive my antibodies. Today she is a healthy happy walking nursing 1 year old.

I have so many who wonder about the details of adoptive breastfeeding/induced lactation I thought I would give you all a mini course in it. It has been going on for many centuries. In biblical days it was called wet nursing. In 3rd world countries women will induce lactate to care for orphans. Here we do it for adopted children. WHY? Why not! It is better for the babies. They receive antibodies, better nutrients and enzymes, bonding and much more. It is a wonderful way to bond with a newly adopted child. Many have successfully nursed an older adopted child too. I know of several who have gotten 6-9 month old’s to nurse after being adopted.

Pregnancy is not necessary for breastfeeding. Prolactin (a hormone) is. Pregnancy does change the breast tissue so helps but is not necessary. Many adoptive moms who have never been pregnant have produced 30-100% of the breast milk their child needs. Pumping, sucking, herbs and drugs all help raise the prolactin level.

I started by pumping every 3-4 hours with a Hospital grade breast pump (Medela Lactina double pump). The light weight pumps available at most stores will not do the job of Induced Lactation. The Lactina is expensive to buy so I rented it for 3 months.

I also started taking herbs: 9 Fenugreek (an Indian spice that makes your sweat smell like maple syrup), 6 Blessed Thistle (NOT Milk Thistle), 6 Marshmallow Root (make the milk thicker and higher in calorie). I also drank Mothers Milk Tea and lots of water. Eating oatmeal. pineapple, and Henry Weinhart’s Rootbeer will also help.

I got milk drops 10 days after starting the pumping/herbs routine. By 4 weeks I was getting enough to freeze an ounce a day. By the time she was born I was freezing 2-3 ounces a day.
When she was born I nursed first, 10 minutes each side, switching sides 4 times (YES 45 minutes of nursing) then I would give her 1-2 OZ of formula or donated breast milk in a Lact-aid supplementer. The Lactaid allows the formula to go thru a tiny tube at my breast so she got my milk and formula at the same time. This also stimulated me to produce more milk. I chose to nurse first without the supplementer because I wanted her to nurse both with and without the supplementer. She was always willing to nurse 45 minutes without the supplementer so I would often times offer the extra 1-2 OZ in a bottle.

There are two drugs available that many choose to help with milk supply. DOMPERIDONE is one. It is not available in the USA. It is available in Mexico $102 a month, Canada $50 a month and New Zealand $25 a month. It is used for stomach/digestion problems with a side effect of my milk production. You need to take it the whole time you nurse or your supply will probably drop.
RAGLAN is the other drug. It is available very inexpensively from your local doctor. It is also used for stomach issues. You take it for only 4 weeks. I chose not to take either drug since I had nursed 3 bio children before (even if 12 years earlier).

I hope this answers your questions and you can tell a friend about the wonders of adoptive breastfeeding! Spread the word! I would also be happy to talk with others interested in adoption and adoptive breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding an adopted child is a great way to give them better nutrition and antibodies but it is an even better way to bond with them. I know I have a special connection with my nursing angel Haley. She loves her mama’s milk.
Copyright 2005 My Precious Kid – See our many other safety and travel items for your special child. We offer back packs, sports packs, safety books, baby sling, adult safety products, pet safety products, TAGGIES, First Aid Kits and much more. We also have some combination packs of these items for even better pricing.
Kay Green is a Christian homeschool mom to Melissa 22, Jordan 19, Allison 17, Haley 4. Her and her husband of 25 years live in rural Oregon with their children. Kay owns My Precious Kid, http://www.mypreciouskid.com Kay Green All rights reserved.

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Breastfeeding – Handling Criticism

Feelings about how to parent seem to shift with every generation. A new way of parenting, sometimes called attachment parenting, has emerged and it challenges many of the rigid teachings of our mother’s generation. Although breastfeeding is on the rise now, women are still dealing with the repercussions of previous generations. Not too long ago mainstream women did not breastfeed at all and the ones that did were taught to follow strict schedules. Some thought of breastfeeding as primitive. Formula was touted as being equal to or superior to breast milk. Only recently, has the fact that “breast is best” been acknowledged. Other women were in the workforce. They may have felt that breastfeeding was not an option for them. They did not have the modern breast pump available to them. The medical community may not have encouraged breastfeeding at the time. It is not hard to imagine. After all, even with all the knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding there are still many health professionals today that are uneducated and unsupportive of breastfeeding. With all the challenges in the way of breastfeeding, it is understandable why many women of yesterday did not choose to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding has come a long way but still many of the old thinking still carries on. Women are more educated on the subject; however, even with the many books and other information available, people are often most influenced by their immediate family and friends.

Having the support of friends and family can boost the chances of having a successful breastfeeding experience. On the other hand, having to deal with criticism and misinformation from the people you are close to can sabotage a new mom trying to breastfeed.

There are many ways to deal with the negativity of others. One of the best things you can do is to try to understand why the person feels the way they do. Is it because they were taught differently about breastfeeding? Were they indoctrinated with the ideas that breastfeeding is primitive or inferior? Or is it that they feel breasts are a sexual object? Maybe they have never seen someone breastfeed and it makes them uncomfortable. This is the case with a lot of people. Once breastfeeding in public becomes more commonplace, perhaps, this will become less of a problem. Whatever the case, finding out the root of the person’s issues with breastfeeding may help to resolve the tension.

Here are some things you can do to deal with criticism.
Be positive: It is hard for someone to argue with a happy, positive person. If you are excited and enthusiastic about breastfeeding it can be contagious.

Try to educate them: Find information on the benefits of breastfeeding to mom and baby and share this with them. You don’t have to “push this down their throat”. Just be enthusiastic about your decision to breastfeed and share with them why you decided to.

Be sympathetic: A lot of times women are defensive because breastfeeding did not work out for them. If you sit and talk with any woman that really wanted to breastfeed, you can hear the sadness in her story. Try to be sympathetic and non-judgmental. Don’t say things like “you could have or should have”. Share your experience, be positive, and let them know you care.

Try not to get angry: Breastfeeding conversations can get very heated. Getting angry with someone is not likely to change her feelings. It will just make you and her upset. If you don’t feel like you can talk about breastfeeding with this person change the subject or avoid talking about it.

Use your doctor as your advocate: Sometimes the best thing you can do is tell someone that this is what your doctor recommends. What you think means very little to some people but a doctor’s word carries weight. Use that as your defence.

Don’t be sarcastic or insulting: Belittling someone is likely to make someone defensive. It is not a good approach to winning someone over. You may turn an opportunity to educate someone into a personal attack.

Stand your ground: Do not let someone else decide how you are going to parent. If they are uncomfortable then they will have to come to terms with it. You do not have to change the way you parent to suit someone else.

If nothing is working then you may just let the person know that you do not want to discuss the issue with them any more. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to this.

Patty Hone is a wife and mommy to three kids. She is also co-owner of Justmommies.com. Justmommies is a community for mommies to make friends and find support. Please visit Justmommies at http://www.justmommies.com.

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Breastfeeding Isn’t Easy

Breastfeeding is Hard
Before becoming a mother, I had very little interaction with breastfeeding women. Like many of my generation, I was not breastfed as a child. I was once one of many who thought breastfeeding in public was gross. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I spent two years in Cameroon, West Africa where breastfeeding was the norm. Breastfeeding women were everywhere I went and soon it seemed completely normal and natural for me to see a woman feeding her child anywhere, anytime. When I returned from Africa, I also had the pleasure of seeing my twin sister nurse her two children.

Much later, when I was ready to have children of my own, I was saw two of my best friends nurse their children as well. Despite all of this, I still felt nervous and wondered if I would be able to do it. While pregnant, the thought of anyone touching my breasts or sucking on my nipples for an extended period of time was extremely unappealing. Luckily, I had a lot of support from my husband, my friends, my midwives, and my online community of other pregnant women and mothers. Eventually, I felt confident enough to give away every formula sample that came in the mail and to stock up on breastfeeding books and nursing bras.

Despite being 100% convinced that breastfeeding was the normal and natural thing to do, I still found getting started to be a bit difficult. For me, it wasn’t easy from the start, and I did have a few minor struggles. I had to remind myself that it was important for me to know that this too was normal and that a little difficulty in the beginning should not prevent me from continuing.

Breastfeeding is an art. It takes study, practice, and a bit of skill. All of these things do come with time. Breastfeeding, like raising a child, is a major commitment that requires a lot of time and energy on the mother’s part. And yes, sometimes breastfeeding is hard, especially at first. I don’t say this to discourage new mothers from doing it, but rather to prepare them. I think the more realistic picture a person has of breastfeeding the better prepared she will be to succeed at it. And for the record, bottle-feeding also requires a lot of time, energy, and money.

Many women seem to already know the benefits of breastfeeding and are committed to doing it, but still may be a bit surprised by the reality of it, especially in the first few days/weeks. Whether you have seen others breastfeed or read every book there is, like giving birth, breastfeeding may not be what you expected. I want women to know that there are several things you can do to ease into breastfeeding an infant, and that it does get easier (and enjoyable) with time. You’ll be a pro before you know it and will whip out your breasts easily and readily anywhere and anytime you need to. Breastfeeding is absolutely the most wonderful gift you can give yourself and your baby, and it is worth sticking it out through the rough times. For me, breastfeeding became a special time between me and my son. It improved my confidence as a mother and as a woman. On the rare occasion that my son was sick and uninterested in food or water, he would always breastfeed. This helped ease my mind and speed his recovery.

Your family and friends may think it is strange that you want to breastfeed. My sister breastfed her two children way before I ever became pregnant, so my family was pretty nonplussed by it. (My homebirth, however, was a different story.) I found that my mother was fascinated by my breastfeeding and would often stare longingly at me and Satchel. Until you have done it yourself or known someone who has, breastfeeding is hard to understand. Many people are threatened by unfamiliar things. People will stare. People may say stupid and insensitive things to you. People might even try to scare you by saying your baby won’t get enough food or you’ll destroy your beautiful breasts forever. My grandmother loves to tell me that at 19 months, Satchel is too old to breastfeed. (I like to tell her how many things have changed in the last 96 years.) There is an incredible amount of information on the benefits of breastfeeding on the Internet and at the library. Keep some brochures handy, email links to people, or just smile and ignore everyone.

It is important to build a breastfeeding support network for yourself. Talk to experienced breastfeeding women in your circle of friends or at work. Go to a local La Leche League meeting. (At the very least, have the leader’s phone number handy.) Join an online mothering community where you can get support/advice at the touch of a button. Having someone to talk to when times are hard is extremely important and will help through the first days of breastfeeding. My best friend and midwives checked in on me regularly after delivery and were instrumental in my success. Many hospitals now have lactation consultants to offer breastfeeding support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

After delivery, your baby may or may not latch on right away. If s/he does, then congratulations! You are off to a great start. If not, then don’t panic. You will soon either become amazed at your patience level, extremely frustrated, or maybe even familiar with breast shields or other breastfeeding gadgets. Chances are you won’t need anything except patience and support. Some babies need a little more time to learn how to latch on. Call your midwife, friend, LLL leader, or lactation consultant. Make sure you have a breastfeeding book on hand to help you with the finer details. (I recommend LLL’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or So That’s What They’re For: Breastfeeding Basics by Janet Tamaro.) Once the latch is achieved, you will probably experience something between mild discomfort and actual hellish pain. A lot of books say if it hurts then you are doing it wrong, but sometimes it does hurt! But only at first. Your nipples will toughen up over time. (One day your baby will do a full 360 on your nipple and you’ll barely notice.) PurLan was a lifesaver for me, but you can also use your own breastmilk to soothe sore nipples.

There are several different breastfeeding “holds”. Some work better than others for different women. It is a very individual thing. Again a good breastfeeding book should outline the varied holds. It is also helpful to have a nursing pillow, like the Boppy, to assist you in positioning your baby. (Many other companies, and work at home mothers make nursing pillows if the Boppy is not for you.) I kept one Boppy by the TV and one by the computer. I love my Boppies. The fact that they were machine washable was extra nice, considering the number of milk stains they sustained. I cannot pass a Boppy in a store or at a yard sale without having a strong urge to purchase it!

Engorgement is another early stumbling block. I remember visiting a friend who was four days post partum. She was engorged beyond belief and in a lot of pain, but hiding it well. Her massage therapist friend came over with a head of cabbage and began stuffing her bra and massaging her breasts. My friend was being a trooper, but I left in tears, terrified of ever having a baby. However, one year later, I myself was engorged and in pain and not hiding it well, with my midwife massaging one breast and my best friend pumping the other. Since then, I do my best to try and prepare my friends for the day their milk comes in. I personally think a breastpump is indispensable for those first few days. By pumping or hand expressing extra milk you will not only give your breasts much needed relief, but you will also help fend off clogged ducts and possible mastitis. It is important to pump just enough to relieve the engorgement or you will continue to make too much milk because your body produces milk under the laws of supply and demand. If you are at risk for thrush (i.e. if you had antibiotics in labor, or if you or the baby have taken them since the birth), try to eat some yogurt everyday to help ward it off. Since becoming pregnant with Satchel, I have made a yogurt, tofu, flax oil, and fruit smoothie a part of my morning ritual.

Once engorgement ceases, leakage ensues. (Not all women leak, if you don’t, consider yourself lucky, not a failure.) You may find yourself sleeping in your nursing bra or a soaked t-shirt. Breastpads will soon pile up next to your maxi pads/gladrags. You may not be able to leave the house without them. As soon as you get used to leaking all the time and feeling full, your body will regulate itself and you will be convinced that your supply has run out. But do not fear, as long as your baby is thriving and creating a wet diaper every few hours, things are fine. Trust your body. Do not worry about the number of ounces you are producing or fall prey to the free formula samples that come in your mailbox. Your baby and your milk supply are working together toward a common goal. If your supply really is decreasing, there are plenty of herbal remedies and natural teas such as Mothers Milk to help you. If you do end up supplementing a bit, it isn’t the end of the world. Just do your best to work with the laws of supply and demand. Too much supplementing can decrease your milk supply permanently. Your body can produce enough milk for your baby. You don’t need to give him/her extra water or rice cereal despite what well-meaning family members/old school pediatricians may tell you.

You will also become familiar with a strange sensation in your breasts called the “let-down” which signals the release of milk. Some women never actually feel the let-down, while others compare it to having contractions during labor. Hopefully you will fall somewhere in the middle. I experienced the let-down as a build up of pressure followed by a feeling of relief, similar to the feeling one gets after emptying a very full bladder. I have also heard it described as a tingling sensation.

Some women have a “dominant” breast. My right breast was a fountain of milk and seemed to produce twice as much as my left breast. This was especially noticeable when pumping. I don’t know if the dominant breast is a result of unconsciously favoring one breast over the other, but it does seem to be fairly common and no cause for worry. If you have a dominant breast, be mindful of how it affects your baby. Sometimes the milk may be too much to ingest at once or it may be just right.

While breastfeeding you may have to change your diet to suit your baby’s brand new digestive system. (However, breastfeeding on a diet of McDonalds is still more nutritionally beneficial to the baby than formula.) You probably already made changes while pregnant, so it isn’t too hard. But what you eat will now directly affect your baby, so it is important to be mindful of the food choices you make. Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco are still major no-no’s. (Finding new ways to deal with stress are very important.) An occasional beer or glass of wine, one coke or coffee a day, maybe a secret cigarette now and then won’t make you the “worst.mother.ever.,” but breastfeeding may require you to give up some bad habits. Try to remind yourself of all the breastfeeding benefits to your baby—increased immunity to illness, optimal nourishment, mother-child bonding, etc.—when you feel overwhelmed. After a few weeks/months what you eat will affect your baby less and less and you can resume eating your favorite spicy, dairy, and gassy foods. (Also when you feel up to it, you can treat yourself to a night out and “pump and dump” any “contaminated” milk.)

You will find yourself spending a lot of time in your favorite chair or in your bed with a small child attached to your breast. (You may even find yourself on the toilet with a small child on your breast!) Make yourself a breastfeeding basket to carry around with you. Include a snack, a book, some mama zines, a tube of PurLan, a bottle of water, the remote control, and the phone. Enjoy this time with your baby and relax. (You will long for it when you are busy chasing a toddler.) After awhile you can upgrade to a sling or other baby carrier. You may soon find yourself nursing your babe while doing dishes or weeding your garden. There are several different styles of slings out there, so find the one that works best for you. I started off with a Baby Bjorn and moved to a Hip Hammock later, however I always envied the mamas with their Maya Wraps.

Consider sleeping with your baby to maximize your sleep at night. Once I mastered the side lying position I was a happy woman. After a few months you will be able to nurse in your sleep without you or your baby completely waking up. You will also have the added benefit of knowing your baby is safe and sound right next to you. I know sleeping next to Satchel and hearing him breathe steadily throughout the night really helped me to get a good night’s sleep.

Whether or not you return to work while breastfeeding, you may want to invest in a pump. (However, there are certainly lots of mamas who survive just fine without pumps!) Not only do pumps help ease engorgement for the first few days, but when your baby is a few months old, you can pump breastmilk into a bottle and let daddy or grandma feed the baby while you sleep, go see a movie, or go for a swim. If you do return to work, consider getting an electric pump so you don’t end up with carpal tunnel. In most states, your employer is legally required to provide a place and time for you to express milk. I pumped in the morning and afternoon and went to the daycare at lunch to nurse my son in person for 8 months. I quit pumping at a year, but continue to nurse him in the mornings, evenings, and on demand on the weekends. Working a full time job does not mean you have to give up breastfeeding. With a little planning, and determination you can succeed. Be sure and alert your coworkers to what you are doing so an air of mystery isn’t created. I once had a man call security when I didn’t answer my door or phone.

By six months or so you will be a breastfeeding pro, able to whip out your breasts at a moment’s notice without leaking on your blouse (or lactivist t-shirt). Your supply will have regulated to the point that your breasts feel almost normal and you will probably be breastpad free. In addition, you will probably feel comfortable enough to feed your baby anywhere you like—at the park, in the mall, at the bookstore, or in a restaurant. Don’t let anyone discourage you. In most states, breastfeeding is legally allowed anywhere a mother is legally allowed to be. Breastfeeding is normal and natural and NOT the equivalent of using the bathroom in public. Breastfeeding has the word FEEDING in it for a reason. I’ve yet to have a bad experience while breastfeeding in public, even with a squirming toddler doing the feeding.

After an extended period of breastfeeding, especially if you are still breastfeeding throughout the night, you may start to feel a little burnt out. Some days you may bask in the glory that is your baby and smile upon every suckle, but some days you may feel like tearing off your breasts and throwing them across the room. If it is the latter, be honest with yourself and make any changes you feel necessary. You may want to cut out a feeding or two and replace it with cow’s milk (if it is after one year) or more solids (if it is after six months), you may want to nightwean, etc. It is ok to set limits for your own sanity. Everyone has her own breaking point. Many women choose to stop nursing when they become pregnant, at the two year mark, when their child begins walking, weans him/herself, etc. It is up to you.

Breastfeeding can be hard at times, but it is worth the time and effort. Prepare yourself to succeed.

By Stacy Greenburg
Mothersville http://www.mothersville.com

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Are You a Lactivist?

Take our Lactivist Quiz!

1. Why do women breastfeed?
a. Because they enjoy getting horrified stares in public.
b. Because bottles are too hard to keep track of.
c. Because it’s provides excellent nutrition for the baby and aids in building a healthy attachment to the mother.

2. How do you know your newborn baby is getting enough breast milk?
a. Breast milk alone is not sufficient, you must supplement with formula.
b. Weigh him/her on a scale before and after feedings.
c. Pay attention to your baby’s cues and the contents of his/her diapers.

3. When is the best time to wean your child?
a. At birth.
b. At one year.
c. Whenever you and/or your child feel it is mutually beneficial.

4. Where is the best place to nurse?
a. At home, in your bedroom, with the curtains drawn.
b. In a discreet location, like a bathroom.
c. Where ever you damned well please!

5. If someone says something inappropriate or judgmental to you while you’re nursing in public….
a. Listen to them.
b. Squirt milk in their eye.
c. Inform them that it is your legal right to nurse in public and that you are feeding and caring for your child.

6. What does breast milk taste like?
a. Ew!
b. Like cow’s milk?
c. Mild, sweet, and delicious.

7. Who benefits from breastfeeding?
a. Formula Companies.
b. Babies.
c. Mothers, Fathers, Babies, and Society as a whole.

8. What’s the best way to deal with a nursling who bites?
a. When a baby has teeth, it’s time to quit nursing!
b. Bite the baby back.
c. Remove him/her from the breast while sternly saying no.

9. You’re nursing your easily distracted toddler in the mall. Something catches her eye, and she pops off the breast to see, leaving you bare-breasted and squirting. You:
a. Are still nursing a toddler?
b. Immediately crawl under your bench and hope death comes swiftly and soon.
c. Make sure your excited baby doesn’t hurl herself on the floor and then guide her back to nursing.

10. What should you do about nursing your baby after you return to work?
a. Wean now so your baby will be used to formula.
b. Breastfeeding and working do not mix.
c. Bring your baby to work with you if possible, visit during the day, or get yourself a high quality breast pump. (Your work place is legally required to provide a place for you to express milk.)

11. What do formula companies do to undermine the breastfeeding process?
a. Mail free formula samples & coupons to pregnant women.
b. Mail free formula samples & coupons to doctors and hospitals.
c. Publish free magazines with formula ads and coupons on every page.
d. Mail these magazines to pregnant women, new mothers, doctors, and hospitals.
e. Perpetuate the image of babies using bottles as natural.
f. Put profits before nutrition.
g. All of the above.

12. What is a Lactivist (Lactation Activist)?
a. Someone who breastfeeds.
b. Someone who breastfeeds in public.
c. Someone who smiles at a breastfeeding woman.
d. Someone who provides a comfortable place for women to breastfeed.
e. Someone who educates others on the benefits of breastfeeding.
f. Someone who lobbies for pro-breastfeeding legislation.
g. All of the above.

Scoring:
For questions 1-10 give yourself 0 points for every a answer, 5 points for every b answer, and 10 points for every c answer. For questions 11 and 12, give yourself 5 points if you answered a-f and 10 points if you answered g.

100+ Congratulations! You are a Lactivist! You are well informed on the benefits & politics of breastfeeding and believe that breast is best! Time to order your Lactivist t-shirt and tell the world!

50-100 You’re getting there. Maybe you like the idea of breastfeeding, but don’t fully understand what it entails and its impact on society. Do some research, talk to women who breastfeed, and learn more.

0-50 Wake up and smell the breast milk. I hope that this quiz sparked your curiosity and you will take it upon yourself to find out what all the hooplah is about.

By Stacy Greenburg
Mothersville http://www.mothersville.com

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Nursing in Style

Many women are uncomfortable nursing in public. But today’s nursing fashions can help you nurse with confidence, comfort, and style — anytime, anywhere!

The basics
A good breastfeeding nightgown or pajamas will help you with those first days in the hospital or at home. Learning to breastfeed can be a challenge in itself; you don’t want to be struggling with your clothing too! You will also be glad for the convenience for those night feedings and those days when you just don’t get dressed (and yes, there will be some of those!)

Chances are you probably needed several different bra sizes throughout your pregnancy. And often even your best guess at your post-partum bra size was not quite right. No matter which type of bra you choose, a good fit is important. Your bra needs to provide adequate support while providing easy access to your breasts for feeding. Have fun with your nursing bras — there are so many options available!

Out and About
Every nursing mother should own at least two tops (or 1 top and 1 dress) to give her the ease of nursing access and overall comfort. A nursing tank top, even in cold months, is also a good basic as it can be worn under a sweater or other non-nursing garment. If you plan on nursing for a long period of time, treat yourself to a few more tops as time goes by (after all, you are saving a fortune by not buying baby formula!). Pair your top with your favorite jeans, dress slacks or skirt and you are all set! Most people won’t even know that you are wearing nursing clothing!

Some of the more popular access options include:
Crop Over Top – Dual Slits: The crop overtop lifts to gain breastfeeding access to two vertical slits on lower panel.
Dual Side Panels – Central Slits: Side panels open to gain breastfeeding access to one or two slits on the lower panel.
Vest Front – Dual Split Or Extended Arm Holes: Vest front lifts or opens to access breastfeeding opening (dual slits or extended armholes)
Central Pleat Dual Slits: Central pleat parts to gain breastfeeding access to slits on lower layer.
Wrap: The top wraps around the front.

One option is not necessarily better than the other; it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Enjoy your baby and the breastfeeding experience.

breastfeeding1

Breastfeeding Myths

1. Many women do not produce enough milk.

Not true! The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common. Most babies that gain too slowly, or lose weight, do so not because the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby does not get the milk that the mother has. The usual reason that the baby does not get the milk that is available is that he is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it is so important that the mother be shown, on the first day, how to latch a baby on properly, by someone who knows what they are doing.

2. It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.

Not true! Though some tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation which lasts only a few days and should never be so bad that the mother dreads nursing. Any pain that is more than mild is abnormal and is almost always due to the baby latching on poorly. Any nipple pain that is not getting better by day 3 or 4 or lasts beyond 5 or 6 days should not be ignored. A new onset of pain when things have been going well for a while may be due to a yeast infection of the nipples. Limiting feeding time does not prevent soreness.

3. There is no (not enough) milk during the first 3 or 4 days after birth.

Not true! It often seems like that because the baby is not latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk. Once the mother’s milk is abundant, a baby can latch on poorly and still may get plenty of milk. However, during the first few days, the baby who is latched on poorly cannot get milk. This accounts for “but he’s been on the breast for 2 hours and is still hungry when I take him off”. By not latching on well, the baby is unable to get the mother’s first milk, called colostrum. Anyone who suggests you pump your milk to know how much colostrum there is, does not understand breastfeeding, and should be politely ignored.

4. A baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each side.

Not true! However, a distinction needs to be made between “being on the breast” and “breastfeeding”. If a baby is actually drinking for most of 15-20 minutes on the first side, he may not want to take the second side at all. If he drinks only a minute on the first side, and then nibbles or sleeps, and does the same on the other, no amount of time will be enough. The baby will breastfeed better and longer if he is latched on properly. He can also be helped to breastfeed longer if the mother compresses the breast to keep the flow of milk going, once he no longer swallows on his own. Thus it is obvious that the rule of thumb that “the baby gets 90% of the milk in the breast in the first 10 minutes” is equally hopelessly wrong.

5. A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather.

Not true! Breastmilk contains all the water a baby needs.

6. Breastfeeding babies need extra vitamin D.

Not true! Except in extraordinary circumstances (for example, if the mother herself was vitamin D deficient during the pregnancy). The baby stores vitamin D during the pregnancy, and a little outside exposure, on a regular basis, gives the baby all the vitamin D he needs.

7. A mother should wash her nipples each time before feeding the baby.

Not true! Formula feeding requires careful attention to cleanliness because formula not only does not protect the baby against infection, but also is actually a good breeding ground for bacteria and can also be easily contaminated. On the other hand, breastmilk protects the baby against infection. Washing nipples before each feeding makes breastfeeding unnecessarily complicated and washes away protective oils from the nipple.

8. Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has.

Not true! How much milk can be pumped depends on many factors, including the mother’s stress level. The baby who nurses well can get much more milk than his mother can pump. Pumping only tells you have much you can pump.

9. Breastmilk does not contain enough iron for the baby’s needs.

Not true! Breastmilk contains just enough iron for the baby’s needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least the first 6 months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantity may be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent iron deficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and most of it, the baby poops out. Generally, there is no need to add other foods to breastmilk before about 6 months of age.

10. It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed.

Not true! Or, this should not be true. However, breastfeeding is made difficult because women often do not receive the help they should to get started properly. A poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a poor start can also be overcome. Breastfeeding is often more difficult at first, due to a poor start, but usually becomes easier later.

11. Breastfeeding ties the mother down.

Not true! But it depends how you look at it. A baby can be nursed anywhere, anytime, and thus breastfeeding is liberating for the mother. No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterility. No need to worry about how your baby is, because he is with you.

12. There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting.

Not true! There is no easy way to measure how much the baby is getting, but this does not mean that you cannot know if the baby is getting enough. The best way to know is that the baby actually drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding (open–pause–close type of suck). Other ways also help show that the baby is getting plenty.

13. Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk.

Not true! The same claim was made in 1900 and before. Modern formulas are only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advance. Fundamentally formulas are inexact copies based on outdated and incomplete knowledge of what breastmilk is. Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium and iron than breastmilk. They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The proteins and fats are fundamentally different from those in breastmilk. Formulas do not vary from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, or from day 1 to day 7 to day 30, or from woman to woman, or from baby to baby. Your breastmilk is made as required to suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby, and thus no baby. Formulas succeed only at making babies grow well, usually, but there is more to breastfeeding than getting the baby to grow quickly.

14. If the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! With very, very few exceptions, the mother’s continuing to breastfeed will protect the baby. By the time the mother has fever (or cough, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, etc) she has already given the baby the infection, since she has been infectious for several days before she even knew she was sick. The baby’s best protection against getting the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding. If the baby does get sick, he will be less sick if the mother continues breastfeeding. Besides, maybe it was the baby who gave the infection to the mother, but the baby did not show signs of illness because he was breastfeeding. Also, breast infections, including breast abscess, though painful, are not reasons to stop breastfeeding. Indeed, the infection is likely to settle more quickly if the mother continues breastfeeding on the affected side.

15. If the baby has diarrhea or vomiting, the mother should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! The best medicine for a baby’s gut infection is breastfeeding. Stop other foods for a short time, but continue breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the only fluid your baby requires when he has diarrhea and/or vomiting, except under exceptional circumstances. The push to use “oral rehydrating solutions” is mainly a push by the formula manufacturers (who also make oral rehydrating solutions) to make even more money. The baby is comforted by the breastfeeding, and the mother is comforted by the baby’s breastfeeding.

16. If the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed.

Not true! There are very very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely while breastfeeding. A very small amount of most medicines appears in the milk, but usually in such small quantities that there is no concern. If a medicine is truly of concern, there are usually equally effective, alternative medicines that are safe. The loss of benefit of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby must be taken into account when weighing if breastfeeding should be continued.

 

newman@globalserve.net Handout #11. Some Breastfeeding Myths.
Revised January 2000 Written by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
May be copied and distributed without further permission