3 Tips To Get You Through the Hard Days of Infertlity

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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 Jenica from A Slice of Style here today to share her infertility journey and 3 tips for how to get through the hard days of infertility.
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Infertility. It’s something that you don’t expect to deal with when you think of your future. You get married, and then next come the babies when you’re ready. As I get older (and wiser with experience!), I’m learning that life has little surprises, valleys and hills along the way, and they help you learn and grow so that you can deal with the next hurdles with more grace.
My husband Tyler and I started trying to conceive and after a year with no success, we saw an infertility specialist. Three IUIs and 3 rounds of IVF later, we are at the other side with the arrival of our boy/girl twins, Harris and Goldie last year on July 13th! We climbed the mountain, we fell and got bruised and bled quite a few times, but eventually made it to the top. What I learned through the process is invaluable and I really wouldn’t change the experience because I know that what I learned will help me to be happier and more grateful for my life. It will help me to cope with my future challenges better. There are several habits that I developed to help me cope with the challenges of infertility, and I would love to share those with you if you happen to find yourself on this journey. I’m sure you never planned on it.
It’s not something that you prepare to cope for, so I want to share what helped me get through it.
My first habit can really be applied to anyone, in any situation. It’s simple.
1. Don’t get offended.
You are the only person that can decide how you feel and how you let others affect you. Sometimes people don’t know what to say when you are talking about infertility, so they end up saying, well, really dumb things! One of the things I heard was, “my husband and I can get pregnant the second we start thinking about it!” For me, it was comparable to me telling them that I was struggling financially, and then having them retort with, “I am so rich!! I don’t even know what to do with all of the money that I have!” It’s kind of funny when you actually think about it. Here’s what I thought to myself when I heard someone say insensitive things: First, their intentions were not ill-willed. Those who have not experienced infertility cannot possibly understand the heartache associated with it. I know I didn’t! I had no idea what it felt like until I experienced it, and it was a lot harder than I thought. In fact, after we started fertility treatments, I remember standing in my closet and sobbing for my friends who had struggled with infertility because I finally understood what they were going through. Be patient with others. None of us are perfect, and I would want someone to be patient with me because I’m sure I have said insensitive remarks in my lifetime without the slightest awareness that I had. Another thought? Even if a comment is ill-willed, who cares! I’m not going to give someone else the control over my happiness.
2. My second habit is to decide to be happy!
I learned a lot going through my first 3 IUIs and first 2 rounds of IVF, so by the time we did IVF for the 3rd time, I gave myself a break a lot more. We only get one life, and I didn’t want to regret looking back on my 20’s wishing for the days ahead. I want to look back on my life without regrets and I don’t want to waste it because I can’t rewind time and get it back. There is something good in each day, and I chose to look for those good things. I chose to focus on what I could do without children that would be more difficult to do if I did have them. My husband and I bought dirt bikes! Yes, I’m serious. We had a lot of fun during that summer while we took a break in trying to conceive. We only get today. We only get right now. Those are adventures that I am so glad I had with my husband. Every single person in this world has trials, and it’s how we choose to live in those trials that defines how happy we are. I decided that I wasn’t going to be a miserable person, and that was that. This does not mean that you can’t allow yourself to have bad moments or even bad days. You can cry and you can get mad. But then I want you to bounce back because you have the control of your life and you will get through this. In the end, you’ll look back, like me, and realize how much you learned. It will make motherhood even sweeter. Trust me in that. It’s so much sweeter after having gone through infertility. That’s the interesting thing about trials. Only through going through them can life’s experiences be so much more joyful and appreciated.
3. My last habit is to look around you for all of the incredible kindnesses of your friends and family.
I was amazed by how many people reached out when they found out that we were struggling with infertility. If you aren’t comfortable telling many people, at least let a few close friends or family stand by your side to help you through the process and you will be so grateful at the love and support that you see around you. Going through something difficult allows your eyes to be opened to some unbelievable goodness and I was so grateful that I got to see that.  In return, I would suggest that you spread kindness to others as well. Like I said, it’s hard to remember sometimes, but every single person is going through something hard. If you focus on brightening someone else’s day, it helps you to look outside of yourself and it lifts you up in return. It’s strange that helping others really helps you. So… if you’re feeling selfish and you want to feel good, go do something for someone else!
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I’m honestly grateful for this challenge because I was stretched and pulled and found myself to be a happier, more understanding person on the other side. We all have challenges. Let’s help carry each other through them and live this one beautiful life that we have been given.

National Infertility Awareness Week: “I am 1-in-8”

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Today kicks off National Infertility Awareness Week. We want to join others in spreading awareness, hope, and fostering support for those who have been affected by Infertility.

To start, we have partnered with KC Film and Photo to create this amazing video with some wonderful Moms from our community to show just a little bit about the journey of infertility. Each story is different and unique.  Take a minute to watch it and then share it to touch others! The more it is shared the more awareness we can bring! Motherhood is something every woman deserves to experience!  If you’ve been affected by infertility and feel comfortable, we’d also love to see you get involved with this campaign by sharing on social media a little about your journey.  Tag us @lactationlink and use #lactationlink #LL1in8 so we can repost!

 

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Sweet Dreams with Owlet Smart Sock 2

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

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Our friends at Owlet have launched a new product — the Smart Sock 2!  One of the most frequently asked questions I get in my breastfeeding classes is, “How can I get more sleep?!”  Any Mom with a newborn is going to be short on restful sleep – this new tiny human depends on you for everything.  I remember the first few days with my newborn I was so exhausted but couldn’t really sleep even when they were asleep because I was worried about them.  “Is he breathing?”  “Oh no, it’s been too long let me check on him, etc, etc.”    It took so much work to get my baby here, I couldn’t let my guard down now!  In comes Owlet Care.

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The Owlet Smart Sock 2 uses pulse oximetry technology to track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep.  If their levels go higher or lower than the preset zones, you are designed to be notified via the owlet base and the app on your phone.  As a nurse, I know all about pulse oximetry as I’ve used it frequently to monitor my patients.  Owlet is using clinically proven technology to give parents peace of mind that baby is doing great when they are asleep.  

Here’s what’s new about Owlet’s updated product the Smart Sock 2.  

  1. Design – the smart sock 2 is better fitting, goes on either foot, is hypoallergenic, and designed to grow with baby. The updated fabric sock makes it easier and more intuitive to place the sensor in the right spot for the best readings.
  2. Better Range – the upgraded bluetooth capability has greater range at up to 100 feet between the smart sock and the base.
  3. Mobile App – see baby’s oxygen levels in real-time and with push notifications.  The smart sock is also compatible with ‘Connected Care’ (coming this summer!) to allow you to see sleeping trends and historical data of any notifications.  

Since parents choose lots of different sleeping arrangements for them and baby, it’s tough to find a product that is useful for all of them.  The owlet is great for parents who sleep with their infant in the same room or across the hall!  You can learn more about the Owlet Smart Sock 2 here and order one today.  For a limited time, you can get a free pair of infant crib moccasins with your purchase!

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Photography in this post by Jessica Kettle

Sponsored by Owlet

Breast health tips with a CNM and an IBCLC

Breast Health

By | Breastfeeding, Home/Hospital Visits | No Comments

Today we are excited to have Jennifer Krebs, Certified Nurse Midwife from Valley OB with us! I am so happy to have her as my primary care provider.  I just had my annual exam (see photos) and she took her time answering all of my questions.  I asked her if she would be a guest contributor today, sharing her tips for breast health. Did you know that women who breastfeed (especially for a duration of a year or more) have a lower incidence of breast cancer? (1) Many women have heard of the benefits of breastfeeding to their infant, but aren’t aware there are long-term health benefits to the breastfeeding mother as well! Keep reading for more ways to stay on top of your breast health. 

Breast health tips with a CNM and an IBCLC via lactationlink.com

Know your family history. Has anyone in your family had breast cancer? Ovarian cancer? Uterine cancer? Think of Aunts, Cousins, Mothers, grandmothers and sisters. And very importantly…their ages at diagnosis. Having family members with these pre-menopausal cancers increase your chances of genetically heritable mutations that increase your risk of developing these cancers. Already having this information at an office visit helps us screen women effectively.

Pay attention and look in the mirror.  When you get out of the shower just stand and take a look. Are your breasts somewhat symmetrical? Is there dimpling? Areas of redness? Nipples approximately the same size? Drainage or leakage when not breastfeeding? Abnormal masses? The difficulty with breasts is that they are lumpy and bumpy. You will notice abnormal masses if you know what normal feels like. They say that women doing self breast exams doesn’t improve outcomes so many providers have stopped recommending them. However, most problematic masses are found by women themselves so it is still important.

 Go to your routine health maintenance exams. As women and mothers, we tend to be very busy and don’t have time to think about regular maintenance. I frequently see women only when they have problems or need refills on birth control or get pregnant. It’s important to STAY healthy and keep up on preventative health measures and hopefully avoid problems in the future. Don’t wait until you have a problem. Be seen for routine physicals. Get your blood pressure checked. Have your clinical breast exam. Get routine health maintenance labs. Discuss family history. Staying healthy helps you be more effective in your day-to-day life.

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Thanks Jen! I know I appreciated these tips about breast health. Along with breastfeeding, knowing your family history, being aware of your body and going to your healthcare provider regularly are all great ways to stay involved in your breast health.  You can book an appt with Jen in her American Fork or Lehi locations by calling 801.756.1577
Thanks for stopping by, 

 

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Source 

(1) Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual date from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 women without the disease. The Lancet, volumet 360, Issue 9328, 187-195. Retrieved from: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(02)09454-0/abstract?cc=y=

 

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Pros & Cons for Each Breastfeeding Position

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Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. I’m a mom to 5 and lactation consultant with Lactation Link. I’m here today to talk about the pros and cons for various breastfeeding positions. Enjoy!

In many breastfeeding pictures you come across on social media or in other places, you may notice that lots of moms feed in a cradle or cross-cradle position.  In fact, many hospital nurses are only familiar with cradle positions!  Our in-person and video classes, however, go over many different breastfeeding positions commonly used for breastfeeding.  It can be great to have all these different tools in your toolbox for when baby is tired, distracted, you need to rest, your nipples are sore, or baby is having trouble latching.

What are the positions?

Check out our classes for detailed information and video how-to’s, but some great breastfeeding positions are:

  • Cradle & cross cradle
  • Football
  • Laid back / Biological Nurturing
  • Side lying

As baby gets older and more acrobatic in his nursing, you may notice that you experience some very creative and non-traditional breastfeeding positions!  In general, any position is just fine as long as mom is comfortable and baby is able to get all the milk he needs.

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Which breastfeeding positions should I use?

The answer to what position you should use is just like the answer to so many breastfeeding questions- it depends!  Baby’s age and size, your breast size and shape, the type of birth you had and how you’re recovering, and many other things can influence what position you’ll find most comfortable for you and your baby.  

I’m going to go over the most common breastfeeding positions and give some pros and cons to them to help you decide what might be best for you.  Remember that sometimes you don’t know if you’ll like it until you try!

Pros & Cons to Breastfeeding Positions

Cradle & cross cradle

  • The most common positions and your nurse at the hospital is probably familiar with them and can help you adjust some
  • When latching baby with the cross-cradle, you can help steady his head and bring him gently and quickly to your breast when he opens wide.  Sometimes moms can be nervous and this position can help them feel more in control!
  • Many moms find cradling baby’s head in their forearm/elbow to feel comfortable and natural, and leaves their other arm to do something else (hold a remote or reach for that snack!)
  • Many nursing pillows are designed for the cradle positions and can help raise baby higher without too much strain from mom, and can help position baby tummy-to-tummy with mom.
  • When nursing in public, this position covers your postpartum tummy with baby’s body!
  • Many moms use this position successfully from baby’s birth day until weaning day, no matter how old baby is when that happens!
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cross Cradle hold

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cross Cradle hold

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cradle hold

Football

  • Many moms who had a cesarean birth find this position most comfortable since it doesn’t press baby’s body onto your abdomen.
  • It is usually able to be used with nursing pillows, especially if you rotate the pillow to your side.
  • You can steady baby’s head with your hand as you bring him gently and quickly to your breast when he opens wide.  
  • Some moms find baby latches better and seems more cozy in this position since they are so tight against mom and their legs don’t hang at all.  If baby is sleepy, though, it might make baby fall right to sleep due to the coziness.
  • Depending on baby’s size and mom’s breast size, football position can be tricky in public.  It’s generally easier to achieve a good latch when you have pillows behind you, which isn’t always possible at a restaurant or the mall!
  • Usually most compatible with smaller and younger babies.
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

{Football hold} + {Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

Laid back / Biological Nurturing

  • This is a great position for mom to relax or even catch a little nap with her feet up!
  • Some babies are more comfortable on their tummies, and this position allows baby to be on his tummy.
  • This is a great position to try when skin to skin.
  • Baby takes the lead with this position, which can feel strange for mom at first.  
  • It can feel very tricky at first, but remember that practice makes perfect!  Some moms find that having an IBCLC help them with this position for the first time to be helpful.  Many moms I see have their husbands help them the first few times with this one as they learn how to position baby and their breasts.  Other times Mom can sit back and watch baby latch unassisted. 
  • Being laid back can be great for mamas with oversupply or a forceful letdown because gravity helps to slow down the milk flow for baby.  Babies who get frustrated by choking on the milk in other positions often like this one.
  • Can be used with any age or size of baby.
  • Even if you are primarily using another position, reclining some can make any position more comfortable and prevent painful hunching over baby.
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Laid back nursing + {Undercover Mama dress: use code LLINK for 20% off}

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Laid back nursing

Side lying

  • This can be a good position if you’ve had a difficult birth and it’s uncomfortable for you to sit for long periods.
  • Some moms find this position comes naturally, but some moms need a little help figuring out where to put their arms, breasts, and baby.  Having another person help position baby at first can be helpful, too.
  • This is not the best position for nursing in public since we don’t often have access to a bed or comfy spot to lay down and nurse when not at home.
  • Of course, this is one of the best positions for mom to take a nap while feeding! Just grab a nursing nightgown and a pillow for your head!
  • Many moms use this position over the whole course of breastfeeding, no matter baby’s age!  
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Side lying + {Undercover Mama nursing dress: use code LLINK for 20% off}

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Feel free to come back and go over these pros and cons when baby enters a new stage and you need to try something new– babies always keep us on our toes!  For more information about how to achieve these positions, check out our Breastfeeding Basics class.  If you’re trying a position and it’s just not working, don’t hesitate to try another one and contact us for a consult to give you some personalized support.  Remember that the only rule when it comes to breastfeeding positions is that both mom and baby are comfortable and baby is getting what she needs!  

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,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

References

Wilson-Clay, B. & Hoover, K. (2017). Positioning and latch in The Breastfeeding Atlas, 6th ed. Manchaca, Texas: LactNews Press.

Lauwers, J. & Swisher, A. (2011). Getting breastfeeding started in Counseling the nursing mother:  A lactation consultant’s guide, 5th ed. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

A survival guide for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

A survival guide for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding

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 to talk about how to survive and even thrive the first two weeks of breastfeeding! Enjoy this survival guide for breastfeeding in the first 2 weeks!

The early weeks of your baby’s life can be a wonderful time of getting acquainted with that new little soul, and they can also be exhausting and overwhelming. Many mothers tell me later that they were completely unprepared for the reality of recovering from their birth plus the demands of caring for and feeding a new baby. I’m here to help lighten the load. In addition to what I have written here today, I would love to help you one-on-one through an in-person breastfeeding consultation or a secure online eConsult. The first 2 weeks are typically the most tiring no matter what.  However, if you know what to expect, you can reduce some common stressors. To help, I’ve written a survival guide for breastfeeding in the first 2 weeks of baby’s life.

A survival guide for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

Keep your focus on you and baby.

They are: FEED YOUR BABY, FEED YOURSELF, AND SLEEP. Outsource everything else that you can. Sit down right now with your partner and make a list of all of the typical tasks you both do to keep your home and family life humming along (childcare, carpools, meals, cleaning, laundry, etc). Plan together for how to delegate or minimize as many of them as you can. Resist the assumption that your partner will just take over all of the tasks. While they may not be recovering from the physical effects of birth and initiating breastfeeding, they will also need time to get acquainted with the new baby and support YOU. Here are a few ideas:

  • Carpools and Childcare: If you have older children, ask friends, neighbors, or family for help with shuttling school-aged kids to and from school and activities and/or entertaining toddlers and preschoolers.  If you don’t have anyone available to help with young children, gather/buy some special toys and activities (Target $1 aisle does wonders!) that they only get to play with while you’re feeding the new baby.
  • Cleaning and laundry: Consider budgeting during your pregnancy to allow for some cleaning and laundry help for a few weeks or months after baby arrives.  If getting help isn’t an option, figure out the absolute bare minimum work you can get by with. For example, laundry needs to be washed, but folding it and putting it away is a lower priority for you than resting. It is ok for everyone to get their clean clothes straight from the dryer or laundry basket for at least a couple of weeks. If family stops by, they can help fold laundry too.  Consider using disposable dishes and flatware for the first couple of weeks to cut down on the need for washing dishes.
  • Meal prep and shopping: Store up some freezer meals in advance. A couple of times a week, make a double batch of whatever you’re cooking for dinner. Eat half of it that night and freeze the other half for after the baby is born.  If friends ask what you need for baby – you can suggest gift cards to local restaurants that offer takeout– seriously the best baby shower gift. Print some menus and circle your favorite entrees, eliminating any guesswork for your partner on nights where takeout is your best option.  There are also meal delivery services like Freshly and Hello Fresh.  Many grocery stores now offer online shopping and grocery pickup. They’ll even load your groceries in your car for you.
  • Paid services: Depending on your budget, you may be able to pay for extra help during this time. If that seems out of reach, you might be surprised by what you can afford if you start planning early. Even if you’re just a few months away from your due date, if you start putting aside just $20-40 per week, you could have a good chunk of change to put towards hiring a babysitter, housecleaning service, or laundry service.

A survival guide for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

Think about limiting visitors

The birth of your new baby isn’t just exciting for you, it’s also exciting for the people who love and care about you. You will probably have visitors who want to come and meet your new baby. While this is wonderful, it is important to make your needs for rest and your baby’s needs for frequent breastfeeding the highest priority.

Will you feel like you need to entertain and be a hostess to your guests? Will you feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in front of your visitors?

  • If the answer is yes, then consider asking guests to limit visits to 30-minutes and never having visitors back-to-back.   Remember that visitors often carry germs that don’t affect them but could make a baby sick.  Ask anyone who will be around baby to wash their hands and limit visitors in the early days.  
  • If the answer is no, you can make a list of household chores that visitors can pitch in with. Those who care about you will be happy to fold a couple of loads of laundry, clean your bathroom, bring meals, etc. More ideas on how friends and family can support a new mom here and ways grandparents can support breastfeeding here.

Learn to breastfeed in positions that allow you to rest too.

Newborns need to breastfeed a minimum of 8-10 times in 24 hours, but many will feed 12 or more times in 24 hours. Small frequent feeds are optimal for their tiny tummies, and tell your body to produce just the right amount of milk for your little one. The flip side of this is that you’ll be waking up a lot at night to feed and care for your baby. You are going to be tired, so resting at every opportunity you get is crucial. Side-lying and laid-back positions are a great way to multitask and rest while your baby eats. It’s also very important to learn safe co-sleeping practices, even if you don’t plan to co-sleep with your baby. Most mothers fall asleep feeding their babies at some point, so knowing how to do it safely can give you peace of mind and more rest. Check out our blog post on safe co-sleeping.

what is skin-to-skin contact via lactationlink.comLet go of the idea that newborns feed at regular intervals.

It is very common for newborns to cluster their feedings together during some parts of the day. Some feedings may be only 30 minutes apart and others 3 hours apart (1). Rather than worrying about the intervals between feeds, count the number of feeds in a 24 hour period. Your baby should be waking to feed a minimum of 8-10 times.

Skin to skin is your best friend. Research shows many benefits of skin to skin contact with your baby. It helps keep babies warmer, reduces crying, and increases breastfeeding frequency (2). Because your baby is right on there on your chest, it makes it easy to catch your baby’s early feeding cues, which means that baby will be more patient to work on getting a great latch. Wearing a lightweight cardigan or robe over you and your baby together is a great way solution for coverage for you while allowing easy access for breastfeeding. You can even wear your baby skin-to-skin in a wrap with a cardigan or robe over the top if you need to be up and about for a bit.

A survival guide for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

Know the signs that breastfeeding is going well:

  • Latching is comfortable. Tenderness during the first 30 seconds or so is normal. If it continues past that point or you feel pinching pain, unlatch baby and try again. If pain lasts for an entire feed, or you have damage to your nipples, you should get some help with latching right away.
  • Your baby is having plenty of wet and poopy diapers. For the first 5 days, your baby should be having 1 wet and 1 poopy diaper per day of life (for example 3 wet/3 poopy diapers on day 3). Poops should start to become a lighter color by day 3-4, and be a mustardy yellow color by the end of the first week. After the first week, expect 5-6 wet and poopy diapers per day. If your baby is having less than this, get help from an IBCLC as soon as you can. Breastfeeding problems are easier to work through if you don’t wait.
  • Your baby is waking to feed a minimum of 8-10 times in 24 hours.

A survival guide for the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

Lactation Link’s Breastfeeding Basics video course is a great way to prepare now for breastfeeding success. You can watch it whenever and wherever is convenient for you. The best part: you can watch it as many times as you want to, which is handy if you feel like you need a refresher on what you learned after your baby is born and you actually start breastfeeding. Lots more about making a plan with your partner about how to prepare to bring a baby home in this class! Even after taking a class, many moms find that meeting one-on-one with an IBCLC  brings them a lot of confidence. We would love to help you one-on-one. We offer in-person consults and secure online eConsults.  I hope you enjoyed this survival guide for breastfeeding in the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding.

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

Sources

(1) Mohrbacher, N. (2010). Breastfeeding Rhythms. In Breastfeeding answers made simple: a guide for helping mothers. Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing.

(2) Chiu, S. H., Anderson, G. C., & Burkhammer, M. D. (2008). Skin-to-skin contact for culturally diverse women having breastfeeding difficulties during early postpartum. Breastfeeding Medicine, 3(4), 213-237

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines via lactationlink.com

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | One Comment

Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here to talk about one of our most frequently asked question topics, breastmilk storage. Hope this answers your questions!

Fresh human milk is a dynamic, living substance. It is packed with live immune cells that actively target and kill bacteria, so it takes longer to spoil than pasteurized cow’s milk or formula. This is one of the many reasons why so many mothers choose to pump their breast milk when away from baby. Our Pumping and Storing Breastmilk online class has so many tips to make this easier on mom. In this post,  I will discuss the necessary care when handling your precious milk.  Learn these breastmilk storage guidelines to make sure your pumped milk maintains all of its wonderful nutritional and immune protecting properties. Here are some easy-to-remember tips:

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines via lactationlink.com

Handling your pumped milk:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before expressing your milk. (sing the alphabet song in your head to get the timing right)
  • Store milk in clean glass or plastic containers with tightly fitting lids or heavy duty plastic bags designed for breastmilk storage. Breastmilk storage bags are a space-saving option for freezing milk. Ordinary plastic storage bags are not recommended for breastmilk storage, because they can easily tear and leak. (1)
  • Clearly label the milk with the date it was expressed, as well as your child’s name if it will be given to a childcare provider. Use the oldest milk in the fridge or freezer first.
  • Wash bottles and pump parts in hot, soapy water after use. Pump parts and bottles can generally be washed on the top rack of a dishwasher too; check the manufacturer’s instructions on your specific items to be sure. Sterilizing bottles and pump parts is unnecessary for healthy, full-term babies. (2)
  • Store milk in smaller portion sizes to minimize waste. Storing in 2-ounce amounts and offering additional amounts if the baby is still hungry will prevent having to throw away unfinished milk. Having a few 1 oz portions stored can also be helpful for times that baby is hungry but mama is on her way. (3)

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines via lactationlink.com

Guidelines for storing your pumped milk:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers ranges of time that milk can safely be left at for certain temperatures, you can find them here if you want to take a look. I like to recommend a simple rule that fits within these ranges and is easy to recall, even for the most sleep-deprived parents. Just remember 5-5-5.

  • 5 hours at room temperature. If the room is very warm (more than 85 degrees F/29 degrees C), 3-4 hours seems to be a safer time range.
  • 5 days in the fridge (store milk in the back of the refrigerator where the temperature is the coldest.)
  • 5 months in a regular freezer (the separated compartment in a typical fridge/freezer unit) According to the CDC, milk frozen for longer than the recommended time ranges is safe, but may be lower in quality as some of the fats in the milk break down.

Other time ranges that don’t fit as neatly within the 5-5-5 rule, but are still helpful:

  • Human milk can be stored for 6-12 months in a chest or upright deep freezer.
  • Human milk can be safely stored with ice packs in insulated storage bags for up to 24 hours.

Breastmilk storage guidelines via lactationlink.com

Milk Thawing and Use

Thawing slow and gently is the best way to preserve the immune properties that protect your baby and prevent milk contamination. An easy option is to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can also hold the container under warm running water or place in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.

Never thaw or heat milk in the microwave. It can destroy many of the milk’s anti-infective factors. The uneven heating of microwaves can also cause hot spots that can burn your baby’s mouth or throat even if milk is swirled or shaken afterwards. (4)

Breastmilk storage guidelines via lactationlink.com

Thawed milk can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. The current guidelines for milk storage recommend that thawed milk should not be refrozen. However, in a 2006 study, researchers froze, thawed and then re-froze and re-thawed donor milk and tested batches that were then refrigerated or left at room temperature. None of the batches developed unacceptable bacterial counts or decreased vitamin content compared to a control batch that was only frozen once. (5) This indicates that current recommendations might be more conservative than necessary, and you may want to consider this as you make decisions about using your expressed breastmilk.

Have you taken Lactation Link’s Pumping and Storing Breastmilk video course? It’s packed with helpful information and will answer many questions about pumping and milk storage that you didn’t even know to ask.

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC
Sources

(1) Garza C, Johnson CA, Harrist R, et al. Effects of methods of collection and storage on nutrients in human milk. Early Human Development 1982;6:295–303

(2) Pittard WB 3rd, Geddes KM, Brown S, et al. Bacterial contamination of human milk: Container type and method of expression. American Journal of Perinatology 1991;81:25–27

(3) Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. (2010) Clinical Protocol Number #8: Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Healthy Full Term Infants [PDF-125k]. Princeton Junction, New Jersey: Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

(4) Quan, R., Yang, C., Rubenstein, S., Lewiston, N.J., Sunshine, P., Stevenson, D.K., et al. (1992). Effects of microwave radiation on anti-infective factors in human milk. Pediatrics, 89(4 Pt 1), 667-669.

(5) Rechtman, D. J., Lee, M. L., & Berg, H. (2006) Effect of environmental conditions on unpasteurized donor human milk. Breastfeeding Medicine, 1(1), 24-26.

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | 4 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 talk about some breastfeeding tips for new moms. Enjoy!

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

Whether you are a brand new mom or have been a mom for years and have a brand new baby, breastfeeding can seem overwhelming at times!  We help new moms and veteran moms every week who have questions that they didn’t even know to ask while pregnant.  I’m always glad that they asked for help from an expert, instead of relying on what their mom, neighbor, or social media said.  I’m going to give my top four breastfeeding tips for new moms today– they’ll help you get off on the right start and know what to do if things get tricky.  

These tips mostly are directed towards the time when moms feel most vulnerable: after they are discharged from the hospital.  To learn tips for those first hours and days after birth, check out our Breastfeeding Basics video or in-person class!

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Top Four Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

  1. Don’t suffer in pain! Some nipple soreness is normal, due to postpartum hormone changes and your breast tissue stretching. This is common the first few  weeks. The pain should not last more than 6 0 seconds or be a tow-curling pain.  If you have “ouch-ouch-ouch!” pain after the first couple of weeks, notice wounds on your nipples or they come out of baby’s mouth shaped like a brand new lipstick, seek some professional help to make sure that baby is latching well.  Keep calm and call an IBCLC!
  2. Breastfeed often!  For the first few weeks or even months, new moms might feel like they’re feeding baby all the time.  I tell moms that you can’t nurse too often, but you can nurse too little.  The first couple of weeks are very important in establishing your milk supply for the whole time you breastfeed. Additionally, baby’s tummy is small and breastmilk is digested quickly.  That’s a recipe for frequent feeding!  Aim to feed your baby at least 8-12 times in 24 hours; many moms find that they feed even more often than this.  Remember that practice makes perfect, so breastfeed often!
  3. The pump is a tool, not a necessity.  If you want to pump to have some extra milk in the freezer or if you plan to return to work, you will likely want to get a pump.  But that doesn’t mean you need to start using it that first week or two home from the hospital!  If baby is latching and breastfeeding is going reasonably well, you may just want to keep it simple rather than introducing the pump right off.  Many women think that they should pump due to engorgement but it is generally more effective to hand express when new moms feel engorged. Take it one thing at a time; not every mom needs to introduce the pump right off the bat!
  4. Practice nursing in public, at home.  Many moms are very nervous to breastfeed in public!  It can seem a little strange to lift your shirt in public for the first time, but remember that baby has to eat and the law is on your side!  One way to ease your mind before that first public outing is to practice nursing in front of a mirror.  Latch baby on in whatever clothes you are planning to wear and see what shows.  You may be surprised how discreet public breastfeeding can be!  If you’re uncomfortable showing your postpartum tummy or just want a little coverage, you could use a tank like Undercover Mama (use code LLINK for 20% off!) that you pull down after you pull up your normal shirt. If you’re getting stir crazy at home with your new little one, don’t let the thought of breastfeeding in public be the reason you stay home!

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com
Hopefully these tips bring you some peace of mind while in the turbulent waters of the newly postpartum period with your tiny baby!  If you’re pregnant or you still have questions, definitely check out our Confident Breastfeeding Course, which goes over in detail a myriad of questions, concerns, and ideas for troubleshooting.  If you need personalized help, don’t hesitate to reach out for an in-person or e-consult!

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,

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Kristin Gourley, IBCLC

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

How to properly breastfeed in public

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | 4 Comments

Hi mamas, I’m Lacey Parr, a certified lactation educator counselor and mom of 3. I’m here today to talk about something I am particularly passionate about… helping moms feel confident to breastfeed in public! Enjoy! Special thanks to Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project for the images in this post.

How to properly breastfeed in public

Breastfeeding In Public: How to Find Your Confidence

When it comes to breastfeeding in public, there seems to be a lot controversy around the topic. Our newsfeeds seem to be flooded with stories about moms being shamed about breastfeeding away from home. But is that the real story? Is it wrong to breastfeed in public? How could it be wrong to feed your baby? I’m here to remind you that the shaming and eye-rolling situations are the exceptions, not the rule. Millions of mothers feed their babies in millions of places each day without any issue. But since this can be a sensitive issue that some new moms feel uncomfortable with, let’s talk about some topics with public breastfeeding so you can breastfeed in public places with confidence!

  • Reasons to consider breastfeeding wherever you go
  • State & Federal Laws: What Are Your Rights?
  • How to address others
  • Where To Breastfeed in Public
  • Tips for Breastfeeding in Public
  • Breastfeeding in public stories

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

Reasons to consider breastfeeding wherever you go

One of the top reasons mothers wean has to do with apprehension about breastfeeding in public. I want to help dispel those concerns today. We all eat when we are hungry and so, your baby requires the same thing. Yes, they may need to feed more often and what may seem like at the most inconvenient times, but all they know is that they are hungry and that you satisfy that need. Let’s talk about some of the reasons breastfeeding on the go is easier than an alternative:

  • Your milk is always the right temperature.
  • Nothing extra to carry. You’ve got all the “equipment” with you.  
  • Not having to worry about feeling engorged when out and about.
  • It’s a great way to connect with baby during your busy day together. Baby is taking in all the sights and sounds of being in a public place. Resting to nurse and just focusing on you will help baby to feel calm and secure.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

State & Federal Laws: What Are Your Rights?

The majority of states have laws on the books that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in any location that she has the legal right to be (1). Learn your state’s specific law at breastfeedinglaw.com. So keep on nursing! It’s your right. In addition, this knowledge can create confidence, especially if someone were to confront you about feeding your baby in public. 

How to address others

In the case that someone does react negatively to your legal right to feed your child, here are a few responses that have been empowering to other moms:

  • “I have the legal right to be here and to feed my infant.”
  • “Oh? You aren’t comfortable with me keeping my baby alive in public?”
  • “Your comfort is not my concern. My concern is my baby’s comfort.”
  • “You can look away if you aren’t comfortable with my feeding my infant.”

If you are like me and try to avoid others when breastfeeding out and about or have an easily distracted baby, finding a good spot is key. Read on how to find a great spot to breastfeed in public.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project
Where To Breastfeed in Public

When your baby gets hungry while out and about for the first time, you might look about frantically for a good spot.  Here are a few places that some moms have found helpful:

  • In a carrier. Feeding while walking around can make a new mom feel like a pro – comfortable for baby and people may not even be able to tell you’re breastfeeding. Read our tips on breastfeeding in a carrier here.
  • In the shade if you’re outside on a hot day.
  • Many public places have a nursing room, research locations or the Pumpspotting app for the closest one.
  • Out of the hustle and bustle. Often a quiet corner can be a great place to get a baby quieted and ready to nurse.
  • If you are in a health clinic or office and would like a private room, just ask! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people want to accommodate you.
  • Anywhere and wherever you want.

Remember, you have a right to feed your baby whenever and wherever you need.  Read on for 5 tried and true tips for breastfeeding in public from moms who have successfully nursed their children wherever they go.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

  1. Relax. Find a nice spot where your baby will be less distracted. Drop your shoulders, push your hips forward in your chair and get comfy. You’re feeding your baby, that is all. When you are relaxed, your baby can be relaxed as well.
  2. Use a cover, or not. Decide on the amount of coverage (or not) you are comfortable with. Some moms feel more comfortable using a cover (we love Covered Goods). Some babies nurse well under them, as they can help block out noisy distractions. Other babies kick them off. Do whatever works best for you and your baby.
  3. The two-shirt method. I like to use what is often referred to as the two-shirt method. This is when Undercover Mama (use LLINK for 20% off!) tanks really come in handy. I reach under my shirt to pull down my bra/tank and then latch baby as I lift my shirt. Easy-peasy. My t-shirt covers the top of my breast, my tank covers my stomach and baby covers the rest.
  4. Use a carrier. I have found this to be the easiest way to nurse in public. Ergobaby’s babywearing educator wrote a blog post about this for us recently.
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back. You are feeding your baby beautifully wherever you are.

Breastfeeding in public stories

We have collected some stories from real moms who found confidence breastfeeding in public. I hope they inspire you as well!

“I was away from baby most of the day working. My husband came to pick me up from my event. But at the last minute, a bunch of women came to my table to try and buy product. So, I just latched baby on and kept working. It was a beautiful experience with all the women being supportive and being my hands!” -D. R. Vigil

“I was at a store with a 2 month old and my 2 other crazy boys ages  4 and 2. It was around Christmastime and we were waiting in line for an online pickup. I wasn’t going to leave the line to feed her so I fed her right there in line standing up and the two women behind me were so nice and in awe that I could multi-task so well! Haha. I am grateful they were so helpful and nice while I was feeding my baby. I don’t think I ever felt so much confidence in breastfeeding in public before that experience.” -A. Denney 

“I saw a photo from early in American history where women were openly nursing in church. I thought, ‘if it was modest and accepted in THEIR day, it definitely should be in our’s. If someone take issue with isn’t, that is their problem, Not mine.’ Now I nurse in church and just about everywhere else.” -J. P. Bellinger 

I hope that you can remember that breastfeeding wherever you go is a great choice for you and baby. Understanding that breastfeeding is your right and protected by law can be empowering! Know that there are many options for breastfeeding in public and no wrong way to do it! I hope this reduces any stress or concern you have about breastfeeding in public. Remember that all of us at Lactation Link are cheering you on.

Thanks for stopping by,

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com

Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC

Sources

  1. http://breastfeedinglaw.com/federal-law/
How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Home/Hospital Visits | No 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 common causes and solutions for breast pain in breastfeeding mothers. 

We are often asked about various kinds of breast pain so today I am sharing some information and resources for how to deal with common types of breast pain. Note: this article is discussing breast pain. If you’re concerned about nipple pain, you can read more about that here.

relieve breast pain

Common causes & solutions for breast pain in breastfeeding mothers

Engorgement. Your breasts may feel very full and firm in the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding, while your body is enthusiastically gearing up to churn out plenty of milk for your baby. Breast pain related to engorgement is felt in both breasts, during and/or between feedings. This pain will go away as your breasts settle into their milk-making role and engorgement resolves, usually by the time your baby is about 2 weeks old.

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

{Lil’ Buds breast comfort packs: use code LLINK for 10% off}

For relief from engorgement, first make sure that your baby is latching deeply and nursing frequently, at least 8-12 (for a newborn) or more times a day. You can hand express a small amount of milk before feeding to help soften the areola and make it easier for baby to latch well. You can also hand express just enough milk between feeds to relieve uncomfortable pressure. Cold compresses on your breasts between feedings can help reduce swelling and pain. Read more about relief from engorgement here.

Strong Milk Letdown. If your breast pain happens in both breasts and starts at the beginning of a feed when your baby starts gulping, it could be due to a strong milk letdown. Ultrasound studies have shown that this is due to the stretching of the milk ducts as the milk is released. The wider the milk ducts opened, the more discomfort mothers reported. This pain doesn’t typically last through the whole feed and usually decreases and disappears on its own over the first month or so of breastfeeding. Relaxation or distraction techniques can help you get through it. Many mothers find slow deep breaths or counting to be helpful, and babies seem to handle the strong flow of milk better in a side-lying or laid-back position.

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

Referred pain. Breast pain can a problem when neck, back and shoulder muscles are strained by leaning forward in an uncomfortable position to nurse. This referred pain can happen because the breasts and the muscle strain share the same nerve pathways. Gentle stretching of the shoulders and back to relax tight muscles can provide immediate relief in these cases. Many moms find it helpful to place their hands on either side of an open doorway and leaning forward. Nursing in a laid-back position can reduce the strain on your body, and help you be more comfortable.

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

Plugged Ducts or Mastitis. Both plugged ducts and infectious mastitis can cause a firm, painful area in one breast, and your plugged duct has probably transitioned to mastitis if you have fever and flu-like symptoms such as body aches and chills. The basic treatment is the same for both situations: keep your milk moving.

Research has shown that it is safe for your full-term, healthy baby to breastfeed while you have plugged ducts or mastitis. Continue to breastfeed often, and change up your feeding positions. Positioning baby’s nose or chin towards the firm, tender area of the breast for will allow for better drainage. Massage the breast from the blocked area towards the nipple while the baby nurses to help move the milk and clear the blockage. Pump and/or hand express the affected breast after feedings to drain the breast as thoroughly as possible and speed healing.

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

{plum pretty sugar robe}

More tips for feeling better soon:

  • Talk with your doctor or midwife about using an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with pain. Pain can inhibit milk letdown, so keeping it under control could help encourage better milk removal. Ibuprofen is a good option because it is also an anti-inflammatory and is considered compatible with breastfeeding.
  • Use heat (a shower or hot pack) and gentle massage before feeding to improve milk flow. Use cold packs on the breasts between feeds to help reduce pain and swelling. Lil’ Buds are a great option for this and you can use code LLINK for 10% off.
  • Rest, hydrate, and eat nutritious foods. Put on your robe and jammies and put your feet up! Call in extra help from friends or family members for childcare, carpools, meals, etc.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • After 24 hours of home treatment your symptoms are the same or worse
  • You have been running a fever for some time or it suddenly spikes higher
  • You have visible pus in your nipple or milk

Breast pain can be caused by lots of things and also be worrisome and confusing. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an IBCLC if you need help figuring out your situation. We can even help on an eConsult. (Pro-tip: Use you Healthcare Spending Account card to book!) I hope this post gives you the knowledge you need to feel more confident with breastfeeding!

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,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

Sources:
Amir, L. H. (2014). ABM Clinical Protocol #4: Mastitis, Revised March 2014. Breastfeeding Medicine,9(5), 239-243. doi:10.1089/bfm.2014.9984

Lauwers, J., & Swisher, A. (2011). Counseling the nursing mother: a lactation consultant’s guide (5th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Mohrbacher, N. (2010). Breastfeeding answers made simple: a guide for helping mothers. Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing.