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breastfeeding tips

Common Breastfeeding Concerns and Solutions via lactationlink.com/blog || Creating Confident Moms

Common Breastfeeding Concerns

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

Hello, mamas! I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC. I’m a mom of 4 and a lactation consultant with Lactation Link. Today I’m talking about some of the most common breastfeeding concerns I see when I’m consulting with moms and babies.

Pain and Nipple Tenderness

Pain is one of the most common reasons mothers give for early weaning. While some nipple tenderness is normal at the beginning of feeds in the early postpartum period, severe pain and skin damage is NOT normal and should be seen as a sign that help is needed. How can you tell when you should be concerned? Use the “30 second” rule. If your pain disappears within 30 seconds after latching, you can safely ignore it. If your pain lasts longer than that, gently insert your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth to break the suction and unlatch baby, then try again. If you’re not able to get a latch that is comfortable for the majority of feeding session, your pain is severe, and/or you notice any damage to the nipple, you should seek help right away.

Common Breastfeeding Concerns and Solutions via lactationlink.com/blog || Creating Confident Moms

Milk Supply

Concerns over milk supply are right up there with nipple pain as a top cause of early weaning. Neither babies nor breasts come with full/empty gauges, so you might feel like it’s hard to know how much you’re making and how much baby is getting. However, there are some reliable signs that can clue you in if you know what to look for. You can be confident that your baby is getting just the right amount of your milk if he or she is growing and gaining well, and having plenty of wet and poopy diapers each day. After the first week, and for the first month or so, expect 5-6+ light colored and mild smelling wet diapers and 3-4+ poopy diapers. If your baby is gaining poorly and/or not having enough wet and dirty diapers, help from an IBCLC is a very good idea.

The best way to ensure that you’ll have an ample supply is to start breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and then whenever your baby shows feeding cues after that—generally 8-10 or more times per day. Milk volume works on a supply and demand principle—the more you demand it (by feeding or pumping), the more you’ll supply. Your breasts are always making milk. They’re never truly empty, so you don’t need to wait for them to feel full before you feed your baby. In fact, if you do, you might be telling your body to make less milk.

Medications While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers might worry that prescribed medications will pass through their milk and possibly hurt their babies. The Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is an excellent resource for information on the safety of medications in breastfeeding mothers.  If you’re worried about a medication, or have been told that you can’t breastfeed while taking a medication, you can call their hotline 806-352-2519 or visit www.infantrisk.com for the most up-to-date information. If you have an ongoing medical issue requires medication and you have concerns about it and breastfeeding, we would love to talk with you on an eConsult or an in-person consultation if you are in our area. Making a personalized plan with one of our IBCLCs is a great way to bring some confidence into what could be a challenging situation.

Common Breastfeeding Concerns and Solutions via lactationlink.com/blog || Creating Confident Moms

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Teething & Breastfeeding

Yes, you can continue to breastfeed through teething and beyond! Many teething babies will nurse better if they get to chew on something cold first. You can also talk to your doctor about pain relief options for your teething baby. If you’re worried about those new little teeth being right next to your nipples, relax. Most babies’ teeth cause no problems at all for their mamas. When a baby is actively drinking, the tongue comes forward over the lower gumline and gets in the way of biting. If your baby does bite though, he or she is usually trying to resolve the discomfort of teething, or simply experimenting with new ways to use his or her mouth. Your baby doesn’t realize that it hurts you. You can teach your baby that biting mama isn’t ok by ending the feeding session and calmly, but firmly saying “No, no, no.”

Concerns with breastfeeding older babies

Sometimes, breastfeeding problems can pop up with older babies after breastfeeding has been going really well for a while. This can be especially worrying if you don’t know other moms who have breastfed past early infancy and worked through these common bumps in the breastfeeding journey. Joining a local breastfeeding support group is a great way to help you gain confidence in nursing your older baby, and maybe even make some new friends at the same time.

Common Breastfeeding Concerns and Solutions via lactationlink.com/blog || Creating Confident Moms

Nursing Strikes

Sometimes older babies will start to refuse to feed at the breast. It is unlikely that a baby younger than a year old is actually self-weaning from the breast. If you can protect your milk supply and be patient, you can be confident that the refusal is almost certainly temporary. Most nursing strikes only last a day or two, but some can last up to a week or more. If your baby starts to refuse the breast, keep offering gently. The trick is to act like you don’t care whether or not baby latches, even though you probably care very much! Lots of skin to skin cuddle time can be very helpful in these situations. You could try nursing baby when he or she is very sleepy, or in a new position– maybe even standing up and walking around.

If the refusal goes on more than a few hours, you’ll need to express your milk. You can give this milk to baby by cup, spoon, or bottle. Older babies who have never taken a bottle may do better with a straw sippy, or even frozen breastmilk cubes in a mesh feeder. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help from an IBCLC when having issues breastfeeding an older baby. We don’t just help newborns, we love helping moms breastfeed babies of all ages.

I hope these breastfeeding concerns and solutions have created some more confidence in yourself! What was the biggest snag you hit in breastfeeding? How did you overcome it? Share in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, 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:

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

 

Best Positions for Breastfeeding Twins with TwinZ Pillows

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

We loved sharing How Can I Breastfeed Twins? with you recently. We had lots of readers ask for more information on various positions for breastfeeding twins. This post will explain those positions in depth and is in partnership with Twin Z Pillow. You can use code LACLINK for a free Twin Scheduler and Travel Bag! You can also use code LACLINK for 15% off their One Z Pillow!

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing PillowsAs with any time you breastfeed–with one or two!–baby should be tucked in close to you. Their tummy should be in full contact with your body, with no gaps. This helps baby feel secure and latch deeper. Their chin should tuck into your breast as they latch. There is no perfect way to feed twins, feeding them together (in tandem) or one at a time will be helpful in various situations from day to day! With some practice, (and you’ll get lots of it! ;), you will find the positions that work best for you and your babies.

Football Hold x2

Many moms like nursing both babies at once while both are in the football hold. Using the Twin Z Pillow brings babies up to breast on each side and even has back support for mom. Once babies are latched, you can relax into the pillow and ease your shoulders.

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

{Twin Z Pillow}

Laidback x2

Reclining to nurse in the Biological Nursing position with twins has the same benefits it does when nursing one baby. This position can allow babies to latch on and stay latched on a bit easier. Babies who have trouble getting a deep latch often find that using this position helps! Laying babies tummy to tummy with you and leaning into the cushions behind you will make this a relaxing position. Having a cushion on each side to support your elbows might be helpful as well.

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

Cradle hold + football hold

Placing one baby in the cradle hold and the other in the football hold is another effective way to nurse both babies at once. Again, pillows on each side might be helpful. You can also lean back into the cushions behind you in this position as well once baby are latched.

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

Football Hold 

Your babies may not feed on the same schedule or pattern every day and that’s normal. Feeding one at a time can be a great opportunity to spend one-on-one time with each child.

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

Cradle Hold x2 

Holding both babies in the cradle hold, as their legs cross in your lap is another efficient way to tandem feed. This can be used for newborns as well as older babies. As your babies get older, your positioning will adjust to their needs and bodies. Their nursing sessions may be shorter and they may not want to lie down to nurse anymore. Learn more about nursing as your baby gets older at our post, How Breastfeeding Can Change as Baby Gets Older. These shorter nursing sessions can look any way that you and your babies need them to!

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

Cradle Hold

Feeding one baby at a time in the cradle hold allows you to free up one hand. It also allows the other baby to explore or get into mischief ;).

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

Breastfeeding twins can seem complicated at first, but with some support and a bit of trial and error, you can find the right positions that work for you and your twins. I hope these images and explanations have helped you better visualize how you will breastfeed your babies. You moms of multiples are strong and can do amazing things. The Twin Z Pillow is a great tool for feeding your twins and we are here for you anytime you have questions or want to troubleshoot positioning or latch. Our IBCLC team covers a wide geographic area for in-person consults and are available online through a secure video chat, eConsults, for those outside of our area. For more tips and encouragement for breastfeeding twins, read our post, How can I breastfeed twins? To prepare to breastfeed ANY number of babies, we recommend our Breastfeeding Video Bundle which will take you from prenatal planning, first latch, first solids and weaning.   Remember to use ou can use code LACLINK for a free Twin Scheduler and Travel Bag! You can also use code LACLINK for 15% off their One Z Pillow! Do you have any other questions on positioning while breastfeeding twins? What positions worked the best for you? Share in the comments.

Best positions for breastfeeding twins with Lactation Link and Twin Z Nursing Pillows

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Nipple care guide via lactationlink.com

Nipple Care Guide

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 share a guide to caring for your nipples before and during breastfeeding. This nipple care guide will help prepare you for breastfeeding with confidence!

At Lactation Link, we get lots of questions from mamas wondering if they need to do anything special during pregnancy to prep their nipples for breastfeeding, or if nipples need special care or cleaning once baby is here. The quick answer is no. The nipple and areola (pronounced air-e-O-la, it’s the darker pigmented area that surrounds your nipple) can do a pretty good job taking care of themselves.Because of this, our nipples do not need any special nipple care during pregnancy. You don’t need to do anything to disinfect your nipples and you definitely don’t need to “toughen them up”. 

You may have noticed small bumps around your areola that became more prominent during your pregnancy and might be especially noticeable when you’re cold. These are called Montgomery glands and they secrete a substance that is anti-bacterial and naturally moisturizing. This substance also smells similar to your amniotic fluid, so it can help babies find the nipple and latch right after birth (1). Isn’t that amazing?! As long as you don’t have any cracking or damage to your nipples, they don’t need any special nipple care through washing or disinfecting beyond your normal bathing routine.

Nipple care guide via lactationlink.com

Basic Nipple Care

  • Make sure your baby is latching well. A deep, comfortable latch is your first defense against nipple pain and damage, and will also help your baby get more of your milk. Lactation Link’s online breastfeeding courses include in-depth information on how to position baby for the most comfortable and effective latch. You nipple care routine will be rather short if baby is latching well!
  • Pain is not normal. Nipple pain is your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change with the latch. Some tenderness is normal during the first couple of weeks. However, pain that lasts longer than the first 30 seconds of a latch or is severe, is a sign that you need to unlatch baby and try again. If you’re not able to get your baby to latch comfortably, get help. Continuing to nurse through pain can cause nipple damage like cracking, bleeding, blistering and infection. With qualified lactation help, breastfeeding will get better!
  • Change your breast pads often to keep your nipples from sitting in an over-wet environment. Think of what happens to your fingers and toes when you take a long bath– they get wrinkly as they absorb extra water. The same thing can happen to your nipples if they are exposed to soggy breast pads for long periods of time: it leads to chapping and skin breakdown.

Nipple care guide via lactationlink.com

Caring for Tender or Damaged Skin

If you already have painful skin damage like cracking, blistering and bleeding, get qualified, in-person help, preferably from an IBCLC. We would love to help, with either an eConsult or an in-person consultation if you are in our area. Tips to healing and nipple care will not do any good if the latch is still causing damage every time baby feeds. In the meantime, here are some quick tips to help you find some relief:

  • Offer the uninjured or less injured side first until the milk releases. Once you see your baby swallowing actively, then gently move your baby to feed on the more painful side. This can help because babies tend to have a stronger suck at the beginning of a feeding session when they’re trying to stimulate the flow of milk. If both sides are painful and sore, you can stimulate a letdown by expressing a small amount of milk before putting your baby to the breast (2).

Nipple care guide via lactationlink.com

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) is a good choice because it relieves inflammation in addition to pain and is generally considered compatible with breastfeeding.
  • Wash your hands carefully before every feeding (singing the alphabet song in your head can help get the timing right). If you have any cracks or breaks in your skin, gently wash your nipples and areolae twice each day with a mild, non-perfumed, non-antibacterial soap until the broken skin is healed. Breaks in your skin are an entry point for germs to enter the breast and cause infection. Careful hygiene is one of the best ways to reduce the increased risk of mastitis that comes from having damaged nipples (3).

Nipple care guide via lactationlink.com

  • Provide a moist healing environment. This is different than the soggy surface wetness I mentioned above. Wound care experts have found that wounds heal faster and with less pain when the natural internal moisture of the skin is protected (4). Moist wound healing techniques have also been found to reduce pain because they protect exposed nerve endings (5). There are many products on the market designed to provide moist healing for breastfeeding mothers, like hypoallergenic purified lanolin ointments or hydrogel pads. Apply these products after every feeding session to maintain consistent protection until your skin is healed.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you have any signs of infection: inflammation/redness, swelling, oozing or pus. A variety of rashes can also cause nipple pain, so see your healthcare provider if you have flaky, red, itchy, shiny and/or irritated skin that extends to your areola.

Provide a moist healing environment. This is different than the soggy surface wetness I mentioned above. Wound care experts have found that wounds heal faster and with less pain when the natural internal moisture of the skin is protected (4). Moist wound healing techniques have also been found to reduce pain because they protect exposed nerve endings (5). There are many products on the market designed to provide moist healing for breastfeeding mothers, like hypoallergenic purified lanolin ointments or hydrogel pads. Apply these products after every feeding session to maintain consistent protection until your skin is healed.Remember, nipple pain and/or damage is not normal: it’s a big red flag that you need competent and compassionate clinical breastfeeding support. If you live in Utah between Payson and Ogden, one of Lactation Link’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) can come to your home to assess your baby’s latch and the cause of your pain. If you live outside of our area, you can find an IBCLC in your area, by clicking here.

More articles on nipple & breast care from Lactation Link:

Reasons & Solutions for Nipple Pain

Which Nursing Pad is Right for Me?

How to Relieve Breast Pain While 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:

  1. Doucet, S., Soussignan, R., Sagot, P., & Schaal, B. (2009). The secretion of areolar (Montgomery’s) glands from lactating women elicits selective, unconditional responses in neonates. PLoS One, 4(10), e7579.
  2. Mohrbacher, N. (2010). Breastfeeding answers made simple: a guide for helping mothers. Amarillo, TX: Hale Pub.
  3. Genna, C. W. (2009). Selecting and using breastfeeding tools: improving care and outcomes. Amarillo, TX: Hale Pub.
  4. Hinman, C. D., & Maibach, H. (1963). Effect of Air Exposure and Occlusion on Experimental Human Skin Wounds. Nature, 200, 377-378.
  5. Mertz, P.M. (1990). Intervention: Dressing effects on wound healing. In: W.H. Eaglstein (Ed.), Wound care manual: New directions in wound healing (pp. 83-96).

 

Breastfeeding baby hunger cues via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding baby hunger cues

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips | 3 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 newborn hunger cues. Enjoy!

Sometimes it can take some time to learn your baby’s cues to eat, but it’s important to remember that nursing is ....

Soon after you’re holding your fresh bundle of joy the reality can set in: you are responsible for keeping this little one alive and thriving!  So how do you know when your baby is hungry if he can’t tell you?  Well, baby not be able to use words and tell you, but he sure can let you know when he’s ready to eat! Read on to learn about newborn hunger cues!

Breastfeeding baby hunger cues via lactationlink.com

{Savi Mom Nursing Gown}

Babies have great survival instincts and consistent behaviors to show when they are hungry (and then when they’re full!).  Sometimes it can take some time to learn your baby’s cues to eat, but it’s important to remember that nursing is about more than just the food. You can offer the breast to your baby even if it hasn’t been the standard 2-3 hours that the hospital said would be in between feeds.  You can’t nurse too much!  

Common hunger cues in infants

  • Quiet alert state (check out our Breastfeeding Basics class for a great video showing this behavior!).  If baby is turning his head from side to side or turning his head and opening his mouth while looking content, put him to breast!  He may be content now, but he’s trying to tell you he’s hungry before he gets hangry!
  • Sucking on hands, lips, clothes, toys, etc.  Babies do put everything in their mouths, but hand sucking in the first few weeks is a big sign of hunger, and frantic sucking on anything else is a dependable sign of hunger in babies once they’re a couple months old.

Breastfeeding baby hunger cues via lactationlink.com

  • Trying to lay down in typical nursing position.  If you normally breastfeed in the cradle position, baby might try and throw his head back to get into that position.  It’s a not-so-subtle way to say, “Hey, mom!  Help me do this!”

Breastfeeding baby hunger cues via lactationlink.com

  • Squirming around is another sign of potential hunger, especially in newborns and very young infants.  Little babies with full tummies are generally very relaxed and content.

Breastfeeding baby hunger cues via lactationlink.com

  • Mild fussiness.  This is pretty self-explanatory, but babies can be intermittently fussy before they get to the too-hungry stage.  Sometimes moms will think that baby is just fussy or having a “witching hour,” when really he is trying to let you know that he’s getting hungry (and on his way to getting overly worked up!).

If you’ve spent any time with a baby you are probably wondering why crying is not on this list!  It’s true that babies will cry when they get hungry, but it’s generally once they are so hungry that they’ve gotten angry they haven’t been fed yet! (1)  Once it gets to this point, you often need to calm baby down so he can focus enough to latch on and breastfeed.  

Breastfeeding baby hunger cues via lactationlink.com

It can seem like a crash course in learning baby language when you become a parent, but rest assured that you will learn your baby’s unique signs and become fluent before you know it!  To feel as prepared and confident as possible once baby arrives, be sure to take our Confident Breastfeeding Course video classes.  Our classes are also great once baby arrives!  Don’t feel like you’re flailing in parenthood; knowledge brings confidence!  Are you still unsure about what baby is trying to tell you?  Schedule an e-consult and we would love to help you figure it out.

Thanks for stopping by,

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). Perinatal and intrapartum care in Breastfeeding and human lactation, 4th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, p. 221.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

What is SIDS and how can breastfeeding reduce my baby’s risk?

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 today to talk about SIDS and how breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk. I hope it brings you more confidence as you face infant feeding and sleeping options!

 

Even small amounts of breastmilk offer some safety from SIDS, and exclusive breastfeeding offers the best risk reduction. Let's take a look at the....

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: Breastfed babies have a decreased risk of SIDS by 50% or more (2). The protection seems to increase the more mother’s milk your baby gets (i.e. how much of baby’s food source comes from breastmilk).  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 more.

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.com

The typical sleep patterns of breastfed babies might also offer some clues as to 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).  This is because breastfed babies and their moms fall back asleep faster.  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

{Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

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.com

There 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

    {Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

  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 (no gaps or wedges present)
  • 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

{Dock a Tot}

  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 questions and goals.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

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.com

Here 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

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) 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 | 3 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,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

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Sources

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

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Thanks for stopping by,

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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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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

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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

Sweet Dreams with Owlet Smart Sock 2

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Recommended Products

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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

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Pros & Cons for Each Breastfeeding Position

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

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

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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

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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.