Posted by: rachelloud | November 28, 2010

Weaning your baby

So you nursed your baby and now you are done. Great job!!! You are an awesome mom!!! Even if you only nursed for a few days, you gave your baby a precious gift! So now that you’ve nursed you feel it may be time to stop. Reasons to wean include wanting to, baby is on full solid foods and no longer has an interest to nurse,  pregnancy, or cancer. When you become pregnant and are still nursing your milk changes taste, so your baby may no longer like to nurse, generally your supply goes down, and you start all over with colostrum when your new baby is born so most babies with a pregnant mom naturally want to wean.

You can wean in 2 ways- short, fast and painful, or long, slow and comfortable. The short version is for emergencies- I do not recommend it. You basically go cold turkey, and let me tell you-  it hurts! Your breasts will become severely engorged because ht milk is not being relieved. You can take sudafed and use ice packs, cold cabbage, and ibuprofen for the pain and swelling. Sudafed has milk reducing side affects. Be careful because your ducts are more likely to clog, causing more pain and possibly infection. Sometimes mom are put in this situation, and need help and support to get through it.

The longer version can take about 2 weeks. You slowly go down one nursing session at a time. Instead of nursing your 7 month 7 times a day, you skip one nursing and offer more solid foods. The best nursing sessions to take out are the mid day times. Your baby may still want to nurse before bed as a comfort measure- take away that session last. Offer your baby juice, fruits and veggies in place of nursing. You can take sudafed as well, and definitely put cabbage leaves in your bra to help reduce swelling. It sounds crazy but the cabbage leaves really make a big difference. You may also take ibuprofen and use ice packs but you should be in little to no pain. If you take a few weeks to wean you will have no pain, it will be easy and your body will respond very well. After cutting one nursing session and waiting a few days, cut another and go a few days, then another and so on until you are no longer nursing.

It is important you find other ways to bond with your baby and comfort them before bed. Skin to Skin will help, or you can give night-time baths, night-time snuggling in the rocking chair, and involve the other members in your family as well. As you slowly wean you may miss nursing, so if you are only taking out one session at a time, your milk supply will not be gone right away so you can go back to nursing as often as you were. If you go cold turkey, you do not have that option. Sometimes mothers find that cutting a few feedings but leaving night-time sessions is easier, and helps mom and baby relax before bed. What ever you decide, make sure you have loving support from your family and friend. If things are not going well, call your doctor or find a lactation consultant near you.

And remember- you are an amazing mom!! Great job!!

Posted by: rachelloud | November 27, 2010

Nursing in Public

This is a touchy subject. There are a lot of moms who breastfeed who have very intense opinions about this. Some people feel you should be able to nurse in public without covering up your breasts, while others think you should pump your milk before you go out and only feed with a bottle in public, or not at all. Everyone comes from different cultures and backgrounds, and even spouses can have totally opposite ideas on what is acceptable.

Do you remember the first time you were exposed to breast feeding? I do. I was about 3 1/2 and my mom had a friend over. I was just playing around the kitchen when she asked my mom is she could feed her baby. My mom said yes, then all of a sudden I saw this ginormous thing come out of her shirt, and she put her baby to it. Obviously now I know that is a breast, but when you are that little you have no idea. Besides from being shocked at that large thing from her shirt, I just kept on playing and didn’t think about it. As I grew up I learned about nursing just from watching the women in my church put blankets over themselves and say they were feeding their baby. So from a very young age I thought that was normal.

My husband on the other hand has never seen anyone nurse like i did, and thinks it’s very inappropriate for people to nurse without covering up. He is going to be a doctor so he will quickly not care about someone showing their breast, but I know he definitely doesn’t want me to nurse like that in public. He thinks its rude and doesn’t want people looking at my breasts. Which I think is very nice because he is trying to protect me from the weirdos in the world.  The point I am trying to make is that everyone has their own opinions, and usually they are shaped from experience.

My husband and I are in nursery at our church, which means we watch the 18 month olds while their parents are going to class. A few weeks ago one of the toddlers was playing with a baby doll and told me she was going to feed it. Then she put her baby doll up to where an adults breasts would be. Her mother just had a baby 2 months ago, so you can tell this little girl knows what breastfeeding is- that you put your baby there to feed it. isn’t that so cute? I thought she was just adorable.

So what can you do? If you are nursing or you are the husband and your wife is nursing, be sure to talk about it. It’s good to have an understanding of what your spouse wants and expects, but it is important that you talk about it so you can support each other 100%. What if your spouse gets approached in public for nursing, even with a blanket over her? You need to understand each other’ reasons and opinions so you can help stand up to people. And trust me, no matter how modest you are, you will probably offend someone at one point or another. As long as you know what you want and are trying to be as polite as possible, then its ok. I know people who go in public and pull their breast out to nurse just to make a statement. I think that is very rude and inappropriate. Always think of how other people are feeling.

There are drapes you can make or buy that have a strap that goes around your neck so you will stay covered, even if your baby pulls on it. I think this is the best thing to use when you are in public and your baby is hungry. That way people don’t see your breast at all, and you can still nurse your baby when they are hungry.

There are often stories in the news- did you hear about the McDonald‘s sit in? What are your opinions on nursing in public? Do you have any stories- good or bad- to share? What about the laws regarding breastfeeding- what do you think?

Posted by: rachelloud | November 22, 2010

Not enough milk

Many moms feel they do not have enough milk, and so they stop breastfeeding as often and then completely all together. This is a huge concern for moms, especially when it is their first baby. This is completely understandable because you can’t see how much your baby is getting, and you can’t talk to your baby to find out if they are full. It’s definitely a scary situation, but it doesn’t have to be!

A baby needs to eat as much milk each feeding as the size of their fist. Newborns need to eat about a teaspoon at a time. and guess what? A woman’s body makes just that! often moms misunderstand their crying baby and think that it is hungry so they worry and give formula. What your baby is really telling you is something else almost all the time if you have just nursed. Read the Happiest Baby on the Block- seriously ‘ eye opening and helpful!

So when you have your new-born, nurse about every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I know it seems like a lot, but with breast milk the baby digests it faster and needs frequent feedings to grow during this stage. You can help get the milk out by massaging while you nurse. The first few days your body will produce something called colostrum. It’s a golden yellow color and is very concentrated. Colostrum primes the baby’s digestive system so that it can handle breastmilk and get rid of the meconium (stool). This helps jaundice go away faster. Colostrum is also chock full of anti bodies, vitamins and minerals and calories. It helps the baby grow and develop an immune system.

After a few days of colostrum then transition milk, your body will naturally switch over to making less concentrated breast milk. Also the amount of milk that you will be producing will have increased quite a bit. You will probably produce about an ounce from each side. You will produce more than the baby can handle at each feeding, and that’s normal. Some women hand express the excess, or you can pump it. Eventually your baby will be able to empty the breast every time. Your body will naturally increase the amount of milk it makes based on how often you nurse your baby and the breast is completely emptied.

When nursing, hormones are released that let your body know what is going on, and to make more milk. If you doubt your supply and start giving formula instead of nursing your baby won’t nurse as well. Nursing takes work and if the baby knows you are just going to give it a bottle it won’t nurse and just wait for the easy stuff. Trust me I’ve seen it first hand! Babies are smart! So don’t doubt yourself! 99% of women have enough milk, they just get worried and unknowingly sabotage their milk supply by giving formula.

Trust your body! Nurse as often as your baby is showing hunger cues- looking around a lot, sucking on hand, rooting, wiggling a lot in their sleep. These signs are for newborns. As you get to know your baby you will learn to tell when he is hungry. You can go to your doctor or a lactation consultant and see how much your baby gets at each feeding. They will weigh the baby, have you nurse, then weight the baby again. This is great for moms to be able to see the ounces the baby just transferred. Also, talk to other nursing moms for support and answers to questions. They can tell you what they went through, noticed, and saw. Good luck and keep up the great work!

Posted by: rachelloud | November 8, 2010

Infection

I know, gross. An infection in the breast is awful. Not only is it embarrassing, but ridiculously painful! I was not aware that you even could get an infection there until my Lactation Training. There are 2 common kinds that new moms can get. Mastitis, or yeast. yeast infections of the breast are transferred to the baby, and are commonly called thrush. If the mom has a yeast infection, the baby will too. It is very important that both mom and baby get treated so they do not keep passing it to one another.

Mastitis is a bacterial infection that usually comes from a plugged duct or bacteria building up inside a duct. It is extremely painful. The mom will know she has mastitis if she starts feeling flu-like symptoms of fever, aches, nausea, and tiredness. She will also notice that her breast will have a bright red are and be very hot to the touch. There may even be bright red lines leading away from the nipple to the bright red area. She will be in a lot of pain accompanied by deep burning. Yea, I know, wicked uncomfortable and terrible to even imagine. The mother needs to see her health care provider right away, and will be treated with antibiotics. The baby should be fine, but may get sleepy from the medicine. it is crucial for the mom to keep nursing, but be warned: she is going to be in TONS of pain. Ibuprofen and Tylenol can help. Be careful because the antibiotics can lead to a yeast infection.

Yeast infections are fairly common because yeast naturally grows on our skin and in our bodies. With the warmth and wetness caused by leaking breast milk, yeast begins to thrive around and inside the nipple. It is important to change breast pads often. The symptoms of yeast are burning or stinging pain deep inside the breast tissue. This pain lasts throughout the day and night, while nursing and while not. Mom’s often don’t want to nurse while they have an infection because it is so painful, but it is very important to continuously nurse to maintain their milk supply. You can try pumping and feeding your baby the breast milk collected, but it will still hurt. The treatment for this is to call your doctor and get a 10 day anti-fungal or similar type of prescription medicine. You can also get a prescription for Newman’s ointment or other creams to help with the pain. Remember, both mom AND baby need to be treated. Talk to your health care provider to determine what is right for you and your baby.

Hopefully you or your loved one will never experience either of these, but if so don’t panic. Get to a doctor right away and keep nursing. You should begin to feel better within a few days.

Posted by: rachelloud | October 31, 2010

Pumping

Some moms want to pump instead of nurse. Reasons to pump are:

  • baby is in the NICU so you need to pump to have them feed your baby through an NG tube
  • Baby is having surgery and you need to pump to keep up milk supply
  • you are having surgery
  • you are going back to work or school
  • you are engorged
  • you have an infection
  • you have cracked nipples

There are different kinds of pumps for each of these situations. Often a hand pump is all that is needed. Hand pumps are sold at baby stores and places like Target. DO NOT buy a pump that looks like a bicycle horn, you will damage breast tissue and your nipples. The best hand pump is the Medela Harmony hand pump. It’s easy to use and clean and costs about $30.

There are pumps that you can rent or buy that are good for moms going back to work or school. these pumps are small and compact and work very well. They are not hospital grade, and cost anywhere from $150 to$300.

The hospital grade pumps are for babies who are in the NICU or who have serious diseases or physiological problems preventing successful breast-feeding. These pumps cost around $1000 dollars. You can rent these pumps for $50 dollars a week at most hospitals and breastfeeding supply stores.

This is a symphony pump- it costs $2000

If a mom decided to just pump and give breast milk through a bottle she will need to supplement with formula. A breast pump is not as effective as a baby at getting all the milk out. If all the milk isn’t being drained from the breast, the body stops producing as much. The opposite is true too. If you empty the breast more frequently, then your body will produce more milk. Some moms will pump after each nursing period to increase their milk supply. If you are solely pumping, you will need to 8-12 times a day the whole times. Moms start out nursing that frequently, then gradually the number goes down as the baby get older. This is a difficult thing for most moms to do for 7 or 8 months. If you are thinking of solely pumping, speak with your husband and health care provider about the best pump and how to keep your milk up.

For moms who are away from their baby and are pumping, they need to nurse as often as possible when they are with the baby. This will keep their milk supply up and provide great bonding time for mom and baby. In order to get the most milk out, moms need to massage their breasts and hand express while pumping. Pumping takes between 15 and 30 minutes and is not convenient. You have to wash the bottles every time you pump and package the breast milk. Many moms who decide only to pump and not nurse give up because of the low milk supply and how inconvenient pumping is.

Stanford has 2 fabulous movies about using a pump to maximize milk production and how to hand express. With pumping you have to use your hands to get the milk out. It can be very embarrassing or uncomfortable if you are not familiar or comfortable with your body. I think nursing is much less uncomfortable than hand expressing milk, but it’s for every mom to decide. In the culture where I am from, we are very modest and do not talk about the private areas of our bodies. I was very uncomfortable with the concept or breast massage and hand expression for a very long time. Each woman is different, but be aware if you watch the 2 videos that you may be uncomfortable, and that is ok. Do what is best for you and your baby.

If you are a WIC client you can borrow a pump for free. Also if you choose to only breastfeed and are going back to work or school they can give you a personal user pump for free. This is the pump that is small and compact. To see if you qualify, call your local WIC. Each WIC clinic has different policies, so find out if yours has personal user pumps. Another benefit of getting your pump from WIC is that they show you how to use it.

Posted by: rachelloud | October 26, 2010

Bottle Feeding

There was an excellent question posted in the comments for the post cup feeding. I decided to talk about bottle feeding, and what kind of bottles are best. Some moms decide to pump and feed their baby breast milk through a bottle. Whether formula or breast milk, it is important to understand some cons with bottle feeding.

Bottle feeding works wonderfully for some people, but with others their baby may seem extremely fussy after a feeding. Not all bottles allow air to escape or are shaped in a way to allow air to escape. Often with bottles babies will suck suck suck suck suck then swallow and take multiple swallows before they release the bottle and gasp for breath. This is one problem. Also bottles drip food extremely fast and so babies do not control how much they are eating. The placement of the nipple pushes on a baby’s mouth so that it must swallow continuously so as not to aspirate. ( Basically drown) This is why you can over feed a baby without knowing it because they will drain a whole bottle, then may still be fussy afterward. Simple explanation- there was too much food so their tummy hurts and they cry to be comforted. Mom doesn’t know what to do so she gives baby more food in the bottle, and the baby eventually learns to sooth himself by sucking and deals with a too full tummy. Does this sound like it may be you? A baby’s tummy is the size of their fist. After feeding the proper amount- about the number of ounces as they are months- 1 mo 1 oz etc.- a baby needs to be burped and held upright. Often after a feeding a baby wants to be cuddled. If you think your baby is hungry try other ideas first before offering the bottle. Snuggle them, talk to them, change their diaper, walk around with them, rock them, and if nothing seems to work try offering 1/2 oz at a time. It’s always very important to discuss what feeding option you choose with your health care provider.

The nipple placement in a baby’s mouth affects their jaw and dental development. Babies who are bottle fed tend to have smaller pallets and can develop speech difficulties later on. Not all speech problems are related to bottles though, so don’t blame yourself if your child has one, there are MANY contributing factors.

Bottles with silicone nipples tend to work the best. They do not break don as easily as rubber ones, and they are easy to clean. there are several bottle options on the market today but I prefer glass bottles. They are dishwasher safe and do not release BPA. Choose a nipple that is a good size for your baby. You want the end of the nipple hitting the arch in their mouth- the hard pallet- so they don’t choke. Again, talk to your health care provider about what is best for your baby. easy baby is different, and should have their specific needs met. There is a silicon bottle called Adiri Natural Nurser, and some people feel this is the best bottle for a breast fed baby. I personally have been very impressed by

AVENT and NUK.

Whatever one you decide to go with, make sure there are no harmful chemicals being released, and that it is easy to clean.

Posted by: rachelloud | October 18, 2010

I want to help feed

Often dad’s will let the pregnant mom know that they want to help feed the baby. Or sometimes the mom just wants the dad to feed the baby to feel a stronger connection. There are different ways to accomplish this with breastfeeding. Often if the dad does something called “skin to skin”, he feels very close to the baby, and the baby does much better breastfeeding as well.

Skin to skin is where you strip your baby down to the diaper, and then tuck him in your skirt. His skin is touching your skin. This is very helpful in the hospital because the baby can bob down to the breast when he is hungry and mom doesn’t need to do anything except observe! So dads can really help moms get extra rest by holding their baby skin to skin. Babies love to feel the warmth of their parents bodies, and the regular breathing of dad helps baby stay calm and relaxed.

If dad doesn’t have time for skin to skin but is feeling really left out, the mom can pump and have the dad cup feed their new baby. Cup feeding is when you use a medicine cup, put it to the baby’s mouth and they lap it up with their tongue. This really helps keep breastfeeding the main feeding choice because  the baby uses their tongue the same way they do when breastfeeding. Also they still have to exert some effort to eat, but it is not as much as when they are at the breast, but more than if they were to drink from a bottle. If your baby is very small and tiring at the breast, cup feeding is a great way to give them some initial calories before bringing them to the breast.

Constant communication between mom and dad is vital to enjoying the new baby and strengthening the relationship. Find creative ways to enjoy your baby together like nice walks outside, skins to skin, having a small family outing etc.

Posted by: rachelloud | September 27, 2010

Breastfeeding: The Basics

Breastfeeding is a very important gift that all mothers are encouraged to give to their new babies. Some mothers choose to not breastfeed because they are scared, don’t know what to do, or maybe lack the support from loved ones. There are some basic things to understand about breastfeeding before a decision is made as to whether it is a good thing or not.

International Breastfeeding Logo

The above logo is being marketed world wide to show that breastfeeding is welcome everywhere. Breastfeeding is unique in many ways from formula because you feed your baby on demand. This means that moms who breastfeed pay close attention to their babies signs of hunger. Nursing moms also have to breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours, which is more often than formula feeding. Sometimes mothers are worried that since their baby seems to always be hungry, she must not be making enough milk. Formula fed babies are often fed too much, and so they stay full longer and digest much more slowly. Breastfed babies receive the right amount of nutrients at each feeding and are less fussy and uncomfortable because their bellies are not getting over stretched. A babies tummy is the size of their fist.

So with breastfeeding you will be feeding your baby often, and sometimes that is a difficult adjustment, but as the mother and baby figure out what works best for them, breastfeeding becomes easier and even less of a hassle than bottle feeding. Just by breastfeeding you save yourself 6 days every year that you would have given up to cleaning the bottles. Imagine what you can do with 6 extra days worth of time?

No bottles, no canned formula and recalls to worry about, so what do you need when breastfeeding? The answer is simple: just your baby! Some mothers like to buy nursing bras, covers to feed their baby in public under, boppies or other tools to help your baby be comfortable, but none of those things are necessities. Breastfeeding is economical.

The how-to of breastfeeding may seem simple, but there can be problems, tricky situations and questions. All these things are normal. It is important that the breastfeeding mom has support and encouragement. For more information on support click here. To make breastfeeding a success from the beginning, there are 3 things to do.

While at the hospital, nurse your baby within the first hour. This is vital in establishing a good milk supply. Lay your baby on your chest- tummy to tummy. Your baby is brilliant and was born with instincts on how to eat. He may bob his head a bit and will catch the smell secreted by your Montgomery Glands- the pimply bumps on your areola. These bumps secrete a smell similar to the amniotic fluid, and they baby is drawn to them. You will be amazed as your baby scoots to one breast and attaches on and starts sucking. This is excellent and helps both mother and baby get started with regular nursing.

The next thing at the hospital is to have your baby room in with you. This means your baby is not taken to the nursery. This is very important so that you can see when your baby is showing signs of hunger- rooting, sucking on hands, looking around, or even waking up. Your baby will eat every 2-3 hours- even in the night.

The last thing to do is be sure to not give your baby any artificial nipples- this includes pacifiers and bottles- for the first 2 weeks. This allows breastfeeding to take precedence, and for the mother and baby to get to know their routine. artificial nipples promote inappropriate sucking and teach the baby bad habits- this leads to sore nipples.

It may seem like a lot, but throughout the course of this blog I will cover more of these topics in depth and provide helpful information and support on making breastfeeding the best experience for you.

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