Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | No Comments

Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here today to talk about why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. I hope it brings you more confidence as you face infant feeding and sleeping options!

The typical sleep patterns of breastfed babies might also offer some clues why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. Researchers have found that breastfed babies......

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a worry that strikes fear into the hearts of just about every parent. According to the CDC, SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation. In 2015, SIDS was given as the cause of death for about 1,600 U.S. babies (1). Although SIDS is different from smothering or suffocation, they are all often lumped together in the research and discussion, which can make it difficult to really understand what is going on.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

While researchers still have a lot to learn about this tragic condition, multiple studies have found something that I’m very interested in as a lactation consultant: Breastfeeding decreases a baby’s risk of SIDS by 50% or more (2). The protection seems to be dose dependent: even small amounts of breastmilk offer some safety from SIDS, and exclusive breastfeeding offers the best risk reduction (3). Let’s take a look at the research to find out why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS.

Why does breastfeeding make a difference?

We don’t know exactly why breastfeeding protects babies, but there are a few theories. First of all, illnesses like diarrhea and upper respiratory infections happen more often for babies who are not breastfed, and these minor illnesses have frequently been associated with SIDS (4).  Another theory is that breastmilk provides optimal nutrition for brain development and this could help at-risk babies’ brains mature so that they have the normal response of gasping for air when they should.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.comThe typical sleep patterns of breastfed babies might also offer some clues why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. Researchers have found that breastfed babies generally sleep for shorter stretches and are a lot easier to wake from active sleep than non-breastfed babies (5,6). Shorter sleep stretches and being more easily woken could be another piece of the protection puzzle.

If just hearing the news that breastfed babies have shorter sleep stretches makes you feel more exhausted, listen up: Exclusively breastfeeding mothers (and their partners) get more sleep and spend more time in deep sleep than mothers who are not breastfeeding, even though their babies tend to wake more frequently at night (7,8). It’s pretty fantastic that breastfeeding can help you get more rest AND protect your baby at the same time.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

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What causes SIDS?

Scientists still don’t know exactly why some babies die without explanation, but recent research points to the possibility of brain stem abnormalities that prevent some babies from being able to rouse from sleep and gasp for air when their blood oxygen levels are too low. (9,10,11). These babies seem to be in more danger when other risk factors for SIDS are present and babies are younger than 6 months. The four biggest risk factors are (12):

  • household smoking
  • putting a baby on his or her stomach for sleep
  • leaving a sleeping baby unattended
  • formula feeding

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.comThere is no way to know ahead of time if your baby has the condition researchers describe, so the best way to protect babies is for all parents to take measures to reduce the most common and avoidable risk factors:

  1. If you smoke, try to quit.  At the very least, don’t allow anyone to smoke inside your house or car or around your baby.
  2. Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep.
    Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

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  1. Keep your baby close at night. There are many different sleeping arrangements that can keep your baby close (and safe) at night, which can also make nighttime feedings easier and help you get more rest (13):
  • A bassinet or cradle next to your bed
  • Baby’s crib attached to your bed in a “side-car” arrangement
  • A “co-sleeper” bed that attaches to your bed
  • Baby put to sleep on a mattress on the floor away from the walls in your room, so you can lie down and sleep while breastfeeding the baby and return to your own bed after the baby goes back to sleep.
  • Baby sleeps in your bed, either for part of the night– after he or she awakens the first time– or for the whole night. Read our article on How to Co-sleep Safely for more information.
Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

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  1. Breastfeed. The #1 rule is always feed the baby, so if formula is necessary, use it. If it’s not necessary, try to avoid it. Remember that the more of your milk your baby gets, the lower the risk of SIDS. Some breastfeeding is definitely better than none. A visit with a lactation consultant (IBCLC) can help you maximize the amount of your milk that your baby will get. Lactation Link’s IBCLCs are available for home and hospital visits for families in our geographic area and secure video e-consults for families everywhere else. We are always happy to support mothers with their  breastfeeding concerns.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.comHopefully this article gives you a little bit of peace of mind. Information like this is exactly why I’m so passionate about supporting families with feeding their babies. Breastfeeding isn’t just a lifestyle choice, or another way to get food into babies, it is the biological norm for nurturing babies and supporting their overall growth and development and helps make healthy families and communities.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.comHere at Lactation Link, we want to support you! Our breastfeeding video courses can help you get a great start to your breastfeeding relationship, and our lactation consultants are available to help you with any concerns that pop up along the way. Let us help you reach your breastfeeding goals, whatever they may be.

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

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I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click the image below for more info.

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Sources

(1) Centers for Disease Control (2017, February 1). Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Data and Statistics. Retrieved from

https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm

(2) Hauck, F.R., Thompson, J.M., Tanabe, K.O., et al. Breastfeeding and reduced risk of sudden

infant death syndrome: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics 128, no.1 (2011): 103-110.

(3) McVea, K. L. S. P., Turner, P. D., & Peppler, D. K. (2000). The role of breastfeeding in

sudden infant death syndrome. Journal of Human Lactation, 16 13-20

(4) Dujits, L., Jaddoe, V. W., Hofman, A., & Moll, H. A. (2010). Prolonged and exclusive

breastfeeding reduces the risk of infectious diseases in infancy. Pediatrics, 126, e18-e25

(5) Quillin, S. I., & Glenn, L. L. (2004) Interaction between feeding method and co-sleeping on

maternal-newborn sleep. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing,

33(5), 580-588.

(6) Ball, H. L. (2003). Breastfeeding, bed-sharing, and infant sleep. Birth, 3 30(3), 181-188.

(7) Doan, T., Gardiner, A., Gay, C. L., & Lee, K. A. (2007). Breastfeeding increases sleep

duration of new parents. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. 21(3), 200-206.

(8) Blyton, D. M., Sullivan, C. E., and Edwards, N. (2002). Lactation is associated with an

increase in slow-wave sleep in women. Journal of Sleep Research, 11(4), 297-303.

(9) Kinney, H. C. (2005). Abnormalities of the brainstem serotonergic system in the sudden

infant death syndrome: A review. Pediatric and Developmental Pathology, 8, 507-524.

(10) Kinney, H. C., Randall, L. L., Sleeper, L. A., et al. (2003). Serotonergenic brainstem

abnormalities in Northern Plains Indians with the sudden infant death syndrome. Journal

of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 62, 1178-1191.

(11) Paterson, D. S., Trachtenberg, F. L., Thompson, E. G., et al. (2006). Multiple

serotonergenic brainstem abnormalities in sudden infant death syndrome. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296, 2124-2132.

(12) Moon, R.Y., et al. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths; expansion of

recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics 128, no.5 (2011):

1030:1039.

(13) Mohrbacher, N. (2010) Breastfeeding answers made simple: A guide for helping mothers.

Amarillo, TX: Hale.

 

What not to eat while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

What not to eat when breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Can I breastfeed if?, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. I’m a mom to 5 and lactation consultant with Lactation Link. I’m here today to debunk some myths about what not to eat when breastfeeding and if you need a breastfeeding diet. Thanks for stopping by!

Does that mean that your milk tastes the same no matter what you eat? No! One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that your baby is very gently introduced to.......Picture this (depending on your own personal experience you may be able to “remember this”!): You just had your baby and are dying for a really great meal.  You love Mexican food and want a spicy burrito from your favorite restaurant.  Your partner is more than willing to go get it for you, but then your mother comes to visit and is shocked!  She scolds you, with your baby at your breast, saying that you can’t possibly eat spicy food while breastfeeding!  Let alone all the beans that are in that burrito!  Suddenly you feel really anxious– you didn’t know that you had to change your diet while breastfeeding.  What can you eat now?! Is there a breastfeeding diet??

Breastfeeding diet myths debunked

Well, I have some good news!  Today I’m going to debunk that all-too-common myth that all breastfeeding mothers need to reduce or eliminate their intake of spicy food, gassy food, strong flavors, caffeinated drinks, or anything else you can imagine!

Is there a mother's breastfeeding diet? Read: What not to eat while breastfeeding via lactationlink.comMothers from cultures all over the world have been breastfeeding for, well, forever.  Many cultures have unique foods that would be considered anything but bland.  These babies thrive even when their moms eat these flavorful foods, so we know it’s not something that needs to be universally avoided.

Does baby taste what I taste?

Does that mean that your milk tastes the same no matter what you eat?  No!  One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that your baby is very gently introduced to your family’s tastes even before that first messy experience with solid foods.  That can help baby be more accepting of new foods when she is ready (1).

Is there a mother's breastfeeding diet? Read: What not to eat while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

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In fact, there was a study where mothers were given garlic pills and an hour later their babies nursed for longer periods than they had before!  The milk also smelled like garlic, so we can assume that the babies liked the subtle flavor change of the milk when mom consumed lots of garlic (2).

You don’t need to take garlic pills to encourage your baby to breastfeed, but you can rest assured that you can generally eat what you like while breastfeeding your baby, and baby might learn to like the same foods!

What about gassy foods?

But what about what your mom said about the beans?  Do beans, broccoli, onions, cabbage, or other traditionally gassy foods cause gas in your baby?  The research says no!  Gas in mom is caused by the breakdown of food in your intestines, but your milk doesn’t come from the contents of your intestines (or stomach).  Your milk is made from your blood, and gas doesn’t transfer from your intestines into your blood.

Is there a mother's breastfeeding diet? Read: What not to eat while breastfeeding via lactationlink.comGas in babies is usually caused by swallowing air, immature gut, or not understanding how to pass gas that occurs. Some doctors believe that gas as a reason for baby’s upset is assumed too often by parents (3). That said, if your baby seems uncomfortable or unwell, you are the expert!  Don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician.

Caffeine and alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol are two substances moms are often instructed to eliminate while they’re breastfeeding.  While they both pass into breastmilk (since they pass into your blood– this is why they affect your behavior), the amount that makes it into your milk compared to the amount you drink is low. Learn more about how caffeine affects breastfeeding at Can I breastfeed and drink caffeine?.

Is there a mother's breastfeeding diet? Read: What not to eat while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding recommends that mothers limit their alcohol intake while breastfeeding, and ingest no more than 2 oz. liquor, 8 oz. wine, or 2 beers, as well as abstain from breastfeeding for about 2 hours after drinking to further minimize any alcohol in breastmilk (4).  Similarly, the AAP Committee on Drugs recommends no more than 2-3 cups of caffeine per day, as there should be little to no effect on the baby at that level (5).

What about food allergies?

We’ve gone over a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t worry too much about what you eat while breastfeeding, but we all know that food allergies are a real possibility.  They are, however, much less common than some of the things you read on the internet can lead you to believe!  A family history of allergies makes them a bigger possibility, but signs of a food allergy can include: rashes, eczema, breathing issues, continual intestinal upset, and traditional allergy symptoms like red, itchy eyes.  If these occur, then an elimination diet for mom may be indicated, but it should be done under the care of a doctor and an IBCLC! (6)

What about milk supply?

Despite what you might have heard, following a specific breastfeeding diet to increase (or decrease) your milk supply is not evidence-based. Mothers experiencing a wide variety of food plenty and food scarcity all over the world (and throughout time) are (and were) able to fully breastfeed. Breastmilk is made from the body’s energy stores and the mother’s diet (7). So, mothers may find themselves needing to increase their caloric intake while breastfeeding and an extra 300-500 calories is the recommendation. This can be added through a larger portion of your meals or simply through a peanut butter sandwich. If you are concerned about milk supply, a breastfeeding diet will probably not make a difference. While some moms have found that eating a breakfast of oatmeal increases their supply, the best way to increase supply is to increase breast stimulation. The best tips for increasing supply are found in our breastfeeding video classes. Past blog posts, How to Increase Supply and 5 Ways to Keep Your Supply are helpful as well.

I hope this post has given your confidence and helped debunk the myth that mothers need to follow a breastfeeding diet. Have you noticed your baby likes or doesn’t like certain foods you eat?  Or has certain reactions when you eat certain foods?  We’d love to hear about it in the comments!  If you think your baby is having problems with what you’re eating, you may benefit from a one-on-one consult with one of our knowledgeable IBCLCs.  And check out our video classes for more awesome breastfeeding facts!

Thanks for stopping by,

lactationlink008

Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click the image below for more info.

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Sources

  1. Riordan, J. & Wambach, K. (2010). Anatomy and physiology of lactation. In Breastfeeding and human lactation (4th ed., p. 92). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
  2. Mennella, JA & Beauchamp, GK. (1991). Maternal diet alters the sensory qualities of human milk and the nursling’s behavior. Pediatrics 88(4): 737-44.
  3. Sferra TJ, Heitlinger LA. (1996). Gastrointestinal gas formation and infantile colic. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 43(2):489-510.
  4. AAP Section on Breastfeeding. (2012). Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.Pediatrics, 129(3) e827-e841; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3552
  5. AAP Committee on Drugs. (2001). The transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk. Pediatrics, 108(3): 776-1029; DOI:  10.1542/peds.108.3.776.
  6. Allergic Proctocolitis in the Exclusively Breastfed Infant. (2011). Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol #24, from Breastfeeding Medicine 6(6): 435-440.
  7. Lauwers, J. & Swisher, A. (2016). Nutrition during lactation. In Counseling the Nursing Mother (6th ed., p. 166). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. 
Lactation Link In-person Breastfeeding Basics Class via lactationlink.com

Lactation Link May 2017 Breastfeeding Basics Class + Promo Codes

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Classes | No Comments

We had a fabulous Breastfeeding Basics class May 6 at the Loft at Brick Canvas, located in the heart of Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah! I loved teaching and getting to know all of our Lactation Link mamas! Helping create confidence and preparing moms for breastfeeding through my comprehensive Breastfeeding Basics class is what Lactation Link is all about. We also had a lot of fun with grab bags from sponsors like Petunia Pickle Bottom and our yummy lunch from Village Baker!  Here is one what mom had to say about the class:

Lactation Link In-person Breastfeeding Basics Class via lactationlink.com“Going into the class, I was very nervous and unsure of the idea of breastfeeding, but I left the class feeling more confident that breastfeeding is something I can do!! I loved the class and would recommend it to any of my friends looking to learn more about, and become more confident in, breastfeeding!” -Annie M.

Lactation Link In-person Breastfeeding Basics Class via lactationlink.comA note about our amazing event venue sponsor, Brick Canvas.

In addition to fantastic breastfeeding education, our Lactation Link moms were also able to get a feel for all the ways Brick Canvas can be a retreat to keep moms happy and healthy throughout the pregnancy. During pregnancy, Sage Leaf Salon & Spa at Brick Canvas is the perfect retreat! Prenatal massage can help relax mom, relieve muscle aches and joint pains and some moms have even found that it can improve labor outcomes. The facials and hair services at Sage Leaf are another great way to pamper yourself a bit for all the hard work of pregnancy! In our grab bags, Sage Leaf gave our mamas coupons for their awesome Pampered Pregnancy Packages which include facials, massages, and manicures! You can grab up this offer too! Details below:

 

Lactation Link In-person Breastfeeding Basics Class via lactationlink.comSage Leaf Spa at Brick Canvas: Pampered Pregnancy Packages || Choose one 6 month package for complete relaxation, pain relief and stress reduction throughout your pregnancy and as a new mom!

The Experience: 60 minute massage or facial + manicure for $95/month or $110 for one visit ($115 value).

The Escape: 90 minute massage or facial + pedicure for $125/month or $140 for one visit ($125 value).

The Premium: 90 minute massage or facial + mani & pedi for $160/month or $180 for one visit ($190 value).

 

Book a Pampered Pregnancy Package by calling Sage Leaf Spa, 801-407-8620.

Lactation Link In-person Breastfeeding Basics Class via lactationlink.comBrick Canvas is also the perfect place to recharge and recover after welcoming baby! Brick Canvas has Bikram Yoga & Hot Pilates, which are safe and healing forms of exercise (always check with your health care provider before returning to exercise after childbirth). Their instructors are happy to help with your specific goals and concerns.  This is something I have personally been incorporating a few times a week the last few months and have really seen the physical and mental benefits.  You can see their full schedule here .

 

 

 

The Fraiche Cafe has healthy, relaxed dining with fresh juices and smoothies, salads and sandwiches. You can even call ahead for pick-up orders, perfect for busy moms!

We love the Loft at Brick Canvas, it has been a phenomenal location for our past two classes. Head over to Brick Canvas and see everything they have to offer!

Click through for more photos, a sneak peak into the Breastfeeding Basics class and promo codes from our event sponsors! Read More

Breastfeeding with a teething baby via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding with a teething baby

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | 2 Comments

Breastfeeding with a Teething Baby

 

Breastfeeding with a teething baby can be hard at times but is manageable with some preparation! In this post, we’ll discuss some of the symptoms of teething, how it might affect breastfeeding and how to.....If you plan to breastfeed past the first couple of months, you may come across well-meaning relatives or friends who feel that breastfeeding a teething baby or baby with teeth is just like putting your nipple in a vampire’s mouth.  Thankfully, that is NOT the case and you can rest easy that you’ll be able to breastfeed your teething baby for years (yes, even years!) without the fear of losing a nipple! Breastfeeding with a teething baby can be hard at times but is manageable with some preparation! In this post, we’ll discuss some of the symptoms of teething, how it might affect breastfeeding and how to meet your breastfeeding goals throughout teething phases. We’ll even talk about how to deal with biting.

Breastfeeding with a teething baby via lactationlink.com

Teething symptoms in baby

If you experienced sore nipples soon after birth that have since resolved, you may be nervous that when your baby begins teething you will have pain again.  It’s true that it can seem like one thing after another with parenting (just as you finally get the hang of the stage your child is in, they change!), but the good news is that teething itself doesn’t mean you’re doomed to nipple pain for the next few months. When you know what to expect, breastfeeding with a teething baby is much easier!

Common teething symptoms in baby are:

  • Drooling: Drooling can start happening months before baby’s first tooth makes its appearance.  Bibs can help babies who become little faucets, drenching their clothes!  A few moms with very sensitive skin may find all the extra drool and saliva causes extra sore nipples.
  • Mouthing and chewing on everything: Baby putting things in his mouth is a developmental stage and doesn’t necessarily mean baby is teething.  As teeth become closer to arrival, though, you may notice baby biting (and not letting go!) on toys, your fingers, and potentially even your nipples.
  • Fussiness, trouble sleeping, refusal to feed: Every baby reacts to teething a little differently, but some babies become very upset!  Teething can be painful, so if your baby is crying more than usual, not sleeping soundly like he used to, or even rejecting the breast or solid foods at certain times, impending teeth could be to blame.
  • Swollen gums or white just below the gums: When teeth are right around the corner, some babies will get swollen gums (some even can look bruised!) and sometimes you can even see that troublesome tooth right under baby’s gum before it breaks through.

Sometimes fevers, diarrhea, runny noses, grabbing at ears, or rashes are blamed on teething.  While they can be signs of teething in some babies, if your baby has symptoms that could also be related to illness, you should contact your baby’s doctor to rule out anything else.

What to do when baby is teething

Now that you know what things baby does to show teeth are coming, let’s talk about what you should do regarding those symptoms.  Here are some common things to keep in mind when breastfeeding with a teething baby:

  • Nurse often! Many babies want to nurse very often when teething as their gums rubbing while sucking can be comforting, or they just find being close to mom and warm milk to make everything better!
  • Try new positions: If you are experiencing some nipple soreness or baby is reluctant to nurse, trying a new position can be very helpful.  While some babies prefer to nurse more, some babies find nursing to exacerbate teething pain.
  • Pain relief: If baby is in pain, you can talk to your doctor about pain relief medicine.  Also, many moms find freezing a washcloth or a special teething toy to help baby as they chew on it.
  • Babywearing: If baby needs some extra comfort, babywearing is always a good choice!  It can be hard to deal with a fussy baby when life is so busy, so keep baby close and comforted as you check off that to-do list.

 

Breastfeeding with a teething baby via lactationlink.com

What to do about biting

The period after baby’s first pearly whites make their appearance can be a terrifying time if you don’t know an important fact: baby can’t bite when latched well!  Most biting happens at the end of feedings.  If you notice baby’s rhythm of sucking and swallowing has slowed down and they are prone to biting, you can unlatch them to prevent any nipple trauma.  You can still offer the other side, as bringing in a faster milk flow with a new letdown can prevent biting.  

If baby does bite, it’s okay to say no (try not to freak out and scare baby!) and to sit baby up and even stop nursing for a few minutes.  If baby doesn’t let go when he clamps down, bring him close towards you.  While that seems counterintuitive, it will cause baby to open his mouth to breathe and thus let go of your nipple.

Breastfeeding with a teething baby via lactationlink.com

Keep calm!

If baby is causing you pain and you’re not finding relief, don’t hesitate to reach out for help!  Many moms of older babies seek out help from an IBCLC because nursing an older baby comes with new and different hurdles than newborns.  Definitely check out our Hurdles & How To’s video class which goes over common breastfeeding issues throughout the whole course of breastfeeding.  You got this mama; teeth aren’t the end!

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click the image below for more info.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

lactationlink008

Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

How can I breastfeed twins?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | 2 Comments

Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here to talk about breastfeeding twins. Enjoy!

abies can learn to breastfeed even if they aren’t able to right away, and protecting your milk supply by pumping effectively will give them time to get the hang of things. Lactation Link’s Pumping and Milk Storage course will answer....

You’re having twins. Congratulations!  Lots of moms of multiples wonder if they will be able to breastfeed twins. You may be reassured to know that mothers of twins can have the same breastfeeding outcomes as the mothers of singletons. And although there may be a bit more of a learning curve– just like with every other aspect of parenting twins– the benefits of breastfeeding your babies are worth working for. I know it can seem overwhelming so I want to share some ways to make it more manageable for your life and family. Here are my top 5 tips for twin breastfeeding success:How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

  • Learn as much as you can about normal breastfeeding before your babies are born. Lactation Link’s Breastfeeding Basics course contains an hour’s worth of valuable breastfeeding information, including what to do to encourage full milk production, how to get a deep and comfortable latch, how to know that your babies are getting enough milk, and much more. You can watch it anytime, anywhere, and rewatch as many times as you need– which is super helpful if you need a refresher after the babies are here.

How do I breastfeed twins? via lactationlink.comHow to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

  • Support, support, support. Surround yourself with people who will support you in your goal of breastfeeding your babies. Think NOW about friends or family members you can turn to for help and encouragement after the babies are here, and consider joining a breastfeeding support group even before they’re born. You can get some ideas on how friends and family can be supportive in our post, 4 Ways Friends and Family Can Support a New MomTalk to your partner about your desire to breastfeed, and be open about what kind of support you’ll need from them. Ask around now for referrals for outpatient IBCLCs and breastfeeding-knowledgeable pediatricians, so that you’ll have solid resources for clinical breastfeeding support ready to go when you need them.
  • Give your milk supply the best start possible. Research has shown that more frequent and effective milk removal in the early days is related to higher milk production at 3-4 months postpartum, and this is as true for twin moms as it is for moms of singletons. If your babies are born healthy, request skin to skin contact for the first hour or so after birth and as much as possible after that, and nurse your babies on demand.
How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

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How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

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Twins are at a higher risk for premature birth and other complications, but you don’t have to give up on your dream of breastfeeding your twins if they need special medical care. If your babies are unable to have skin to skin contact right away, plan to begin expressing your milk within the first hour after birth, or as soon after that as you can manage, and every 2-3 hours after that. Many moms find that hand expression is more effective than pumping during the first couple of days after birth. After that, a rental or hospital grade pump is the best option for mothers who are pumping for babies who aren’t yet nursing well or at all. Babies can learn to breastfeed even if they aren’t able to right away, and protecting your milk supply by pumping effectively will give them time to get the hang of things. Lactation Link’s Pumping and Milk Storage course will answer all of your pumping questions and more that you didn’t even know to ask. It’s a great investment for any mother who plans on pumping or thinks she may need to.

How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

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  • Give yourself time and support to work out the logistics of your breastfeeding routine. Each baby will need to breastfeed at least 8 or more times in 24 hours, and that means that during the first month or two, or longer if you give birth prematurely, your main responsibilities will be feeding your babies, feeding yourself, and sleeping. Get or hire as much help as you can with older siblings, meals, cleaning, shopping and laundry. There is no one right routine for breastfeeding twins, so you get to work out a system that works for you. Here are some factors to consider:

-Who feeds when. Some mothers prefer to feed both babies at the same time from the very beginning. This can be a big time saver, but can be a little difficult when one or both babies need extra help at the breast. It’s ok to start out feeding one at a time until you all feel a little more experienced if that seems to work better for you. Sometimes one baby will show hunger cues when the other baby isn’t interested in nursing– but that uninterested or sleeping baby may be coaxed to change his or her mind if you keep them close by while you feed their sibling. Even after breastfeeding is well established, many mothers of twins like to let each baby have a least one solo feeding at the breast per day so that they can enjoy one-on-one bonding time with each twin.

How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.comHow to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

-Who gets which breast when. Spending time on both breasts is important for your babies’ visual development, as well as equalizing breast stimulation if one baby has a stronger suck than the other. Some mothers switch babies and breasts at every feeding and other mothers find it simpler to assign each baby a particular breast for a whole day, and alternate breasts each day. Other mothers just offer whichever breast feels fullest to whichever baby seems hungriest at the moment.

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{Savi Mom Nursing Gown}

How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

  • Positioning. There are a variety of options for positioning both babies at the breast at the same time. Whichever one you choose, remember that the babies should have their tummies snugged right up against your body with no gaps in between.  Pillows or specialized breastfeeding cushions will help reduce the strain of supporting two little bodies at the breast.
    • You can feed both babies in a laid-back position, with each one laying tummy-down on your torso, their feet pointing towards your legs. Use pillows to support your lower back and arms.
    • You can hold both babies in a cradle hold so that they’re crisscrossed across your lap, their heads supported in the bends of your elbows, and their bottoms resting in your hands or lap. Pillows to support your elbows are very helpful in this position.
    • You can hold one baby in a cradle hold and the other wrapped around your side in a football hold, with a pillow or cushion in your lap to support the babies.
    • You can hold both babies in a football hold, with pillow supporting their bodies
How to breastfeed twins via lactationlink.com

{Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

I hope these tips help you feel more confident in your ability to breastfeed your twins. You can do this and we are here to help! We offer in-person breastfeeding consultations and online breastfeeding consultations (via secure video chat). We love helping moms find their confidence, especially twin mamas. What helped you have confidence breastfeeding your multiples? Share in the comments.

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

Nursing Bra Q&A with Bravado Designs

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Recommended Products | No Comments

Hi mamas, I’m Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC, mom of 2 and the creator/founder of Lactation Link, and I’m here today to talk about the best nursing bras! Enjoy!

The best nursing bras are the one that feel the most comfortable for you. Bravado Designs has several kinds of nursing bras that....

We have compiled our readers’ top nursing bra questions and are answering them today! We are thrilled to have Bravado Designs sponsoring this post.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

{Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra}

“Why do I need a nursing bra?”

  • A nursing bra can make nursing more convenient as it unclips from below the shoulder for breast access. Some moms use conventional bras for nursing but often find that their bras become stretched out. Some moms also like using a conventional bra that clips in the front while nursing. While this often does the trick, it leaves the non-nursing side unsupported. The best nursing bras like the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra give moms an easy and convenient way to nurse.

“How many nursing bras do I need?”

  • Many moms like to have 2-3 bras to switch out with throughout the week. I also recommend getting a nursing cami as well. Nursing camis have helped moms nurse in public discreetly by pulling up your shirt without showing any tummy. The Body Silk Seamless Nursing Cami is perfect for this.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

“What are the best nursing bras?”

“How do I get the right size nursing bra?”

  • With chest size changing so much during pregnancy and directly after birth, many moms find it difficult to know which bra size would work best. I usually recommend to moms that they purchase a sleep nursing bra or nursing cami (often more soft and forgiving in size) for the first couple of weeks. Then, when they feel their size has regulated, purchasing a nursing bra like the Bravado Original. If the sleep bra encourages you to stay in more to cuddle your wee newborn, then my job is complete! 😉
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{Bravado Designs Seamless Silk Nursing Cami}

“Do I need a pumping bra too?”

  • If you plan on pumping multiple times throughout the day, having a pumping routine that is convenient and mess-free will make your pumping sessions much easier! Check out Bravado’s nursing bra accessory Clip & Pump, it attaches to any nursing bra or nursing cami.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.comThe Clip & Pump Nursing Bra Accessory pulls over your nursing bra to make pumping easier! After unclipping your nursing bra, you clip in the nursing bra accessory and start your pump! You can also see the video for a great illustration.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

{Bravado Designs Clip & Pump Nursing Bra Accessory

This is a great opportunity to pump hands-free so you can work (or eat!) while you pump . This also allows you to incorporate hands-on pumping, which can increase your pumping output.

“How do I stay comfortable wearing a bra 24/7?”

  • I could have written this question! I’m not a big fan of underwire and have thrown out many uncomfortable bras! I have found that nursing bras/tanks are necessary to keep nursing pads in place. Thankfully, nursing bras are often more comfortable and forgiving in fabric than conventional bras. Nursing camis are also another great option for the bra-averse. And who says a comfortable sleep nursing bra can only be worn for sleeping?

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

“Do nursing bras help or hurt engorgement/clogged ducts?”

  • Any bra with underwire is not recommended while dealing with clogged ducts or engorgement. Listen to your body, if your bra feels restrictive, try a different size or go without for a time. Most of the time, a well-fitting bra will not affect clogged ducts or engorgement. Engorgement often happens in the first few days and I recommend a comfy sleep nursing bra or nursing cami for this time. They are the least restrictive and will give your growing breasts support without discomfort. Luckily, the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is one of the best nursing bras and gives excellent support without wires!

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

“How do I clean my nursing bra w/o wearing out the fabric?”

  • Most bras are best washed by hand or on the delicate cycle. Hang drying your bra will lengthen the life of the bra.  Probably the best thing you can do for it is not washing it every day (unless soiled).  You can get around that by wearing nursing pads. Switch out your nursing pads often and you save your bra from extra washings!

I hope this post has helped answer your nursing bra questions! Comment below if you have anymore. Share this post if you found it helpful!

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Maternal mental health matters because the mother-child bond begins with mental health. It's more than postpartum depression. Links and resources via lactationlink.com

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

By | Lactation Link team, motherhood | No Comments

May 1-7 is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week and we want to share a few tips and resources to help #connectthedots because #momsmatter. Did you know Postpartum Mood Disorders is the number one complication of childbirth? It’s not just depression. It can manifest as post traumatic stress, postpartum depression, obsessive compulsive behaviors, anxiety, psychosis. And it’s not just postpartum. It can happen during pregnancy and it can happen to partners. But what we want to highlight is the hope that is waiting on the other side of these issues. With the right amount of support, moms and families can be on the road to good mental health.

We want to help create confidence in motherhood. And when you have support and education, we know you can feel confident in your choices. You know how to love your baby. The mother-child bond begins with mental health. We want you to feel taken care of so you can confidently take care of your baby!

Maternal mental health matters because the mother-child bond begins with mental health. It's more than postpartum depression. Links and resources via lactationlink.comOur message to moms this week and always is that…

  • You are not alone. Feelings of stress and anxiousness can be normal after childbirth and during pregnancy. But if anything feels off and you don’t feel like yourself, let your partner know and talk with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. The faster you get help, the faster you will feel better.
  • There is hope. For immediate support, you can call 1-800-944-4773 to talk with Postpartum Support International. Whether it’s postpartum depression, anxiety or anything that makes you feel that something is “off,” there is help and hope available!
  • We are here for you. As mothers ourselves, the Lactation Link team is here to listen and support you. Our IBCLCs have resources and providers to connect you with if you request it during an appointment. We work hard to listen and discern if a mother is going through mental health challenges and we will suggest extra support if prompted. If your goal is to continue breastfeeding during treatment, we want to help. If your goal is to wean during treatment, we can help with that too. We want to support you and your goals.
  • Partners are vital to moms’ mental health. Who is your #1 support? Is it your husband? Your partner? Your mom, a friend? Do they know the symptoms of maternal mental health challenges? They are vitally important to #connectthedots and help moms find help. Learn more from Postpartum Support International.

You matter. Help is available. You can get better. 

XOXO,

in-person breastfeeding class with lactation link + promo codes for breastfeeding supplies. Get access to a free breastfeeding course to get you started on your breastfeeding journey.

The Lactation Link Team

Common Infertility Questions Answered

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Today we are so happy to have Dr. Conway from Utah Fertility Clinic answering common questions about infertility. Dr. Conway is board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility; Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

Dr. conway

What is Infertility?

Infertility is the inability to conceive after a year with regular intercourse with no contraception.  

Source: www.instagram.com/kmdieds

Source: www.instagram.com/kmdieds

 

How long after trying to conceive unsuccessfully should I see a doctor?

Eighty-five percent of couples will conceive within a year. Thus, any couple that’s been trying to conceive for a year should be evaluated to find out if there are any identifiable problems.  For women 35 and older, it’s prudent to only wait 6 months before seeking an evaluation, because egg reserve goes down over time and a shorter timeline into treatment can be helpful.

Common Infertility Questions

Souce : www.asliceofstyle.com

 

What kind of Doctor should I go to first?

Seeing your Ob/GYN may be a reasonable first step.  You need three things: 1) health eggs, 2) healthy sperm, and 3) a normal reproductive tract, for pregnancy to happen.  Your workup should include checking for ovulation, a semen analysis, and evaluation of the reproductive tract with an ultrasound and usually a procedure called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or ‘dye test’ to check for tubal patency.  If you feel you are not getting a thorough workup, it is never too early to go straight to a fertility specialist for an efficient workup.

Common Infertility Questions

Source : www.huntersofhappiness.com

 

What is the process of treating infertility? 

Because a specific diagnosis can be made in about 85% of couples, we treat the underlying problem.  If a woman is not ovulating, medications can be given to restore normal monthly ovulation.  If the sperm quality or concentration is low, treatments called intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) are performed to wash the sperm and place it through the cervix so it get’s a ‘jump start’ to the top of the uterus, right at the time of ovulation.  Seventy five percent of our patients can be treated with these less aggressive options.  In vitro fertilization is reserved for couples with more severe male factor, issues involving scarring of the fallopian tubes, or if the less aggressive treatments are not successful.  This option is more expensive but for most couples is highly successful.   

Common Infertility Questions

Source: http://conveythemoment.com

 

What things can I do on my own to increase my fertility?

Working on physical and mental health can empower couples to optimize their chance of conceiving with or without treatment.  For instance, women that are above or below their ideal weight will have more ovulatory problems and a harder time conceiving.  Optimizing body weight with diet and exercise will help you to get pregnant faster.  In fact, a moderate amount of weekly exercise has recently been shown to be excellent for fertility, regardless of weight loss.  Think of a ‘Mediterranean diet’ when working on nutrition, incorporating more vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates.  Make it a lifestyle change instead of a ‘crash diet’.  Last but not least, add stress-reducing activities into your weekly routine. If that includes exercising with your spouse, even better!

What can I do to offer support if my friend is going through infertility?  

If you know someone is struggling with infertility, offer a listening ear and words of support in private.  Feel free to ask how they would like to be supported, since every person’s coping with infertility may be different.  Make sure to ask them about the many other important aspects of their life, as a reminder that the infertility they are experiencing does not define them as a person.  If they cry, seem distant, or even offended, cut them a little slack.  The grief experienced over infertility is complex, but a little love and compassion will go a long way.   

Common Infertility Questions

Source: instagram.com/lindseyreganthorne

 

What are your favorite thing about the families you work with?

It is a privilege to support couples through such an emotional and personal journey.  I cannot imagine a more rewarding job than helping couples build their families, and in a way, impact their lives forever. I walked into our procedure room to do an egg-retrieval a few weeks ago and this is what I saw written on the bottom of my patient’s socks:

Infertility questions

“THANK YOU DR CONWAY. WORK YOUR MAGIC. LUCKY SOCKS AND BABY DUST”.

I love getting to know my patients during their treatment (but not too well, since I want them to conceive quickly!), and my goal is that no matter what the outcome, each patient has the best experience possible.   
Top 3 tips to navigating the infertility treatment process

  1. Remember IVF is not the only option: though it gets the most media attention, most of our patients are able to conceive with less aggressive and less expensive options.
  2. Be your own advocate: get the answers you need to know what you are up against, so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you.
  3. Take care of yourself and your relationship: find stress reduction through a new hobby or diversion.  Support each other emotionally, and remember to do activities together other than trips to you fertility doctor, which can sometimes feel like a full-time job!
Infertility Tips

Source: www.huntersofhappiness.com

5 Biggest Misconceptions about Infertility

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Hello mamas! We are sharing different women’s infertility journeys each day this week for National Infertility Awareness Week.  We are so happy to have Elise from Hunters of Happiness here today to share her infertility journey and the 5 biggest misconceptions about infertility. 
5 Biggest Misconceptions About Infertility
When my husband and I started trying to start our family I was so excited! All I have ever wanted was to be a mom! I had no idea what a long road was ahead until we would hold a baby in our arms (you can watch our whole story here). After years of doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, multiple blood draws each week, hundreds of shots, hundreds of negative pregnancy tests, two surgeries, a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage and a miracle embryo we finally held our baby in our arms.

Over those years I learned a lot about infertility and a lot about myself. While it was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, and I worry about going through it all again, I wouldn’t change it. I have learned so much about dealing with heartache, difficulty and how to help others going through trials.

5 biggest misconceptions about infertility

Today I will be sharing my top 5 misconceptions about infertility

  1.  JUST RELAX…IT WILL HAPPEN.

This is the most common and hurtful comment women struggling with infertility receive. Infertility is a disease. Can you imagine saying “just relax and you’ll be cured” to a person diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or any other illness? No. That is because most people don’t recognize infertility as a real disease. Infertility is created by a variety of real illnesses including but not limited to Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Uterine scarring, and Varicoceles.

This misconception that relaxing will cure infertility is also hurtful because it insinuates that infertility is mental. If someone has ever told you to relax, what has it done? I can probably guess that it didn’t make you relax, but probably just made you worked up. Infertility is a disease that rears it’s ugly head everyday. It is not something that can easily be forgotten. Women have monthly physical reminders that they are not pregnant and are often receiving treatments, have weekly doctors visits, blood draws, pills and shots to remind them.

Next time someone you know tells you they’re struggling with infertility, the absolute best thing you can say is “I’m so sorry. That is so incredibly hard”. Validating that what they are experiencing is real is very comforting and supportive.

 

  1.  WHY DON’T YOU JUST ADOPT?

I had this question so many times! And I think it is definitely one of the most misunderstood aspects about infertility.

People would ask me often, “why don’t you JUST adopt?”. Oh how I would LOVE to! I LOVE adoption! But it’s not JUST adopt. Adoption is not a simple process like most people assume. Adoption is often more emotionally trying than infertility treatments. Many adoptions fall through at the last minute or birth mothers change their minds. It can be incredibly emotionally hard.  Also, filing out paperwork, getting home studies, creating a blog, website or scrapbook of photos, and then waiting to be chosen by a birth mother is often a long process. Adoption is also, more often than not, considerably more expensive than fertility treatments.

So while so many of us with infertility would just LOVE to adopt, it is not as easy as it might seem. We are educated on our options and will choose to go down the path of adoption if we feel that is what is best for us.

 

  1.  MAYBE INFERTILE PEOPLE JUST AREN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE CHILDREN

Or something similar, like, “Maybe God has another plan for you.”

Sometimes it is confusing to me why this is ever said. If you were to translate this question to other medical diseases it would sound a little bit like this “Maybe you were meant to die of cancer, so why do chemo treatments? Maybe God had a plan for you to spend your life in a wheelchair, so don’t bother with that prosthetic.”  

Medical advances exist so that people can live better, longer and happier lives!  Why is the disease of infertility one that shouldn’t be treated?

 

  1.  YOU ALREADY HAVE KIDS, YOU’RE NOT INFERTILE

Another misconception about infertility is that you can not suffer from it if you already have had children. This is not true and is referred to as Secondary Infertility.

This infertility diagnosis is often the result of complications after a previous birth or can have no cause. Secondary infertility is extremely difficult for the couples experiencing it, and should not be minimized simply because they already have a child or children.  

I have experienced secondary infertility first hand but in a different way than most. My parents had me without issue, but then experienced secondary infertility. The ache I felt for a sibling was real and I watched the pain of my parents as they wanted nothing more than to give me that sibling and to have another child.

 

  1.  INFERTILITY MEANS IVF

Actually, fewer than 3% of couples struggling with infertility will need to do In-vitro fertilization. There are many less invasive treatment options!

Fertility Specialists (Reproductive Edocrinologists) recommend you see them if you are under 35 and healthy (regular periods) and have not conceived after trying for 12 months. And for those over 35, to visit a specialist after trying for 6 months.

A big misconception is that you need a referral from your OBGYN to see a fertility specialist. For most Reproductive Endocrinologists you can just call their office and schedule an initial appointment. Initial consults often just involve some diagnostic work and questions.

5 Biggest misconceptions about infertility

Well, those are what I believe to be the top misconceptions about Infertility. I hope that you were able to learn something new about a disease that affects so many!

Infertilty Journey : Jess Oakes of Positively Oakes

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jess

Hello mamas! We are sharing different women’s infertility journeys this week for National Infertility Awareness Week.  We are so happy to have Jess from Positively Oakes Blog here today to share her infertility journey and how to help a friend struggling with infertility. 

 

 

When I was a teenager, I sat in the doctor’s office gown and all waiting for her return. I was close to 17 and still hadn’t started my period, so tests were being ran, things were being looked at and honestly I remember not caring much. The only thoughts in my mind were, can we get this show on the road? I have places to be, a boyfriend to hang out with and whatever else. I was a teenager, what did I care if I didn’t have a period? The doctor walked back in, with a serious look on her face. She said, “It looks like you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.” Oh, okay, great. My Mom has that, no big thing. Then she proceeded, “It’s a little bit worse than the average case and I just want to prepare you and let you know that, you’re most likely going to have trouble getting pregnant, if you even can at all.” I remember the thought coming into my head, well, that sucks. Honestly though, again, it didn’t really hit me that hard. I was young, children weren’t a priority at that point and well, my Mom had gotten pregnant, so eh? Whatever.

Fast forward many years and there I was, having the discussion with my future husband, only this time with tears streaming down my face and an awful pit in my stomach. “I just wanted to let you know, I might not be able to have babies. I totally understand if this changes things, I’m so sorry.” He wrapped his arms around me and just held me. It didn’t change anything, he loved me just as much and that feeling of peace in that moment, I clung to that.  

jess5

Shortly after getting married, we decided to go ahead and just not necessarily “try” for a baby, but not stop it either. We knew the odds weren’t in my favor, so we figured why not just leave the possibility open and put it in God’s hands. Before I knew it I was becoming obsessed with it. A year into it and I found myself taking pregnancy tests every, single, month. Now I longed for a baby. I wanted a baby so badly, we both did. He was about to be done with school in the next month, our lives were starting and it seemed like everyone around us was pregnant or starting their family. Every single time I saw that negative test, again, my heart ached. It hurt so incredibly bad, I felt broken. Like something was wrong with me, why was my body broken? Why did he marry me? I couldn’t give us a family, my body couldn’t do the one thing that it was meant to do.

He graduated college and we decided it was time to start putting a little bit more effort into it. We met with a fertility specialist, did a whole lot of testing and then the journey really began. I thought I was in pain for that year before…I was in for a rude awakening. The next few years proved to be some of the hardest of my life, still to this day. The doctor started us on a low dosage of fertility medication, we did that for a few months, blood work twice a month, ovulation kits and everything in between. A few months later, it still wasn’t working, so he upped the dosage. Two months of that, still no luck, so he upped it one more time, this time to the highest he could go. Still, nothing; not one single positive ovulation, not one single good blood result, a whole lot of negative pregnancy tests, all negative. I hurt, I was in so much pain. How much more of this could I take? All the blood work, all the medication making me a crazy person, all the hormones, negative test after negative test, I couldn’t do it. This was too hard of a trial, this wasn’t fair, why did I get this? Why did every single person around me get to have a baby? Why did people younger than me get to have TWO babies already and I couldn’t even have one?!

During all of this we moved back home to Idaho, my heart still broken and my mind feeling more lost than ever. We met with a new doctor, transferred all of my medical history and took a month break. My body just couldn’t handle it anymore, I was 25 and having hot flashes, mental breakdowns, I was literally on an emotional rollercoaster. The bills were piling up, the more we had to do costs just kept getting higher and higher and I found myself pleading with God every single night, begging him for a baby. We continued on with more fertility treatments, all failing, then a new medication, again, no luck. Then finally, we met with a doctor to start IUI. I went in for the initial testing, blood work drawn, you know, for the 300th time (no joke). I went home from that appointment at my wits end. I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. I remember balling, literally just crying my eyes out to the point where I couldn’t breath, where I had to pull over because I couldn’t see anything.

The phone rang, it was a number I didn’t know so I didn’t answer it. I was in the middle of a crying session, I didn’t have time to deal with a phone call. Up popped a voicemail, I pushed the play button with my shaking, tired hands and set it down on the console on speaker phone. It was the doctor’s nurse, she said, “Jessica, will you please call me as soon as possible?” Great — now what? What the hell else can go wrong? Am I totally broken? Is this not even a possibility? I reluctantly called back, asked for the nurse then sat there on hold for what felt like forever.

“Hello, Jessica?”

“Yes, this is me.”

“So I got some of your bloodwork back and I’ve got some news for you..”

“Okay, what is it?”

“You’re pregnant.”

I couldn’t breathe, I literally dropped the phone my hands were shaking so much. All I could say what “What? I’m what?” to which she confirmed excitedly, “YOU’RE PREGNANT!” That was the happiest day of my life. I hung up the phone and sat there, still crying, only this time the happiest of tears. It was a miracle, our miracle baby.

jess2

She was born July 3, 2015 and I’ve never felt a love like I do for such a small little human being. I can’t even describe how happy she makes me, how in love I am. She’s perfect, she’s all ours and she’s honestly a miracle.

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Now, she’s almost two and here we are facing the same infertility battles for a second time, only this time worse than before. I had complications shortly after having her, which required a small procedure, but made it even harder than before to get pregnant. We’ve met with specialist after specialist and this time have been told I’ll only be able to get pregnant with IVF. So here we are, the same feelings, the same disappointments, only a little more challenging than before. As much as it sucks and as hard as it is though, I just have to remind myself of the miracle baby we already have. We’ve been sharing this journey though through YouTube and my blog and honestly, it’s been therapeutic for me. Infertility isn’t something that people talk about enough, it’s one of the loneliest things, no matter how many people you have around you. So we’re sharing our journey, talking about everything and keeping things totally raw and real.

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One question that we get asked a lot, is how do you help someone going through infertility? So I thought I would quickly answer that as a final thought. Every, single, person going through infertility is going to react differently, they’re going to want something different as far as support and their situation will be unique. Don’t generalize their circumstances, don’t downplay it and just listen to them. Be there for them to talk, to cry to or to just take their mind off of everything. Be sensitive of the things you say and don’t make things awkward. We know what we’re going through, it’s generally not a big secret, but we don’t know how to handle it any better than you do. Just love them, support them and pray for them.

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