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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.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

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.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

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

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,

lins headshot peach top

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Photography in this post by Jessica Kettle

Sponsored by Owlet

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Pros & Cons for Each Breastfeeding Position

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | No 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 the pros and cons for various breastfeeding positions. Enjoy!

In general, any position is just fine as long as mom is comfortable and baby is able to get....

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

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!

Learn these breastmilk storage guidelines to make sure your pumped milk maintains all of its....

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.