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motherhood

Can I exercise and breastfeed? via lactationlink.com

Can I breastfeed if I want to exercise?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Can I breastfeed if?, motherhood | No Comments

Hi, mamas! I’m Lacey Parr, a lactation educator and mom of 3. I’m here today to talk about exercise and breastfeeding. 

After healing and resting from pregnancy and childbirth, many moms feel the need to bring some more movement into their routine. Often moms are concerned about how exercise and breastfeeding can go together. Luckily, studies have shown that moderate exercise will not affect your milk supply (1). So why do so many moms worry about exercise and breastfeeding? Lots of new moms begin exercising around 6 weeks postpartum and at the same time, baby often starts nursing more frequently. Many moms think this means they are having issues with supply, related to their exercise. But actually, 6 weeks is a normal growth spurt when baby will need to nurse more often. So feel free to start moving your body in healthy ways without any worries about supply. If you do have consistent worries about supply, please contact a lactation consultant. We have 4 lactation consultants here at Lactation Link that can help online or in-person

Bringing more movement into your life can bring not only physical strength, but the mental clarity mothers need! Be sure to check with your midwife or doctor before returning to physical activity after childbirth. New moms might find it helpful to think outside the exercise box. There are other options outside of joining a gym or starting a complicated routine. The physical movement that nourishes your whole body can be added throughout your day and can include your baby. I hope the following tips will encourage you to feel confident about exercise and breastfeeding. Here are a few ways that have helped other moms bring movement into their lives with a new baby:

  1. Start small & work up. You already have an 8-pound weight that you are lifting and carrying all day: your baby. So check weight lifting off your list, you’re already doing that ;). You can increase your amount of movement in other small ways as well. Nurse in different positions and locations, like the floor. When going for checkup, take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can also increase the amount of steps you take each day by parking in the back of the parking lot, or a block away from your destination. Anytime you can walk, rather than drive, will add more movement to your day.                          Can I breastfeed if I want to exercise? via lactationlink.com
  2. Include your baby. Many gyms do have daycare as an option, but if you aren’t ready to be away from your baby, you can remove the stress of pumping, finding a sitter and leaving your baby behind a few hours by bringing your baby along for more movement! Look at local barre, yoga and even Zumba classes that encourage babywearing. Natural movements at home like stretching on the floor and going for a walk can all include baby. With some practice, you’ll be able to hike and nurse at the same time with your baby carrier! Can I breastfeed if I want to exercise? via lactationlink.com
  3. Bring community along. Movement and exercise are more fun with friends. Put a call out on social media and meet up with other friends to take a walk. Bring your baby carrier or stroller with you and you’ve received fresh air, exercise and socializing all at once! In this relaxed environment, you can take breaks to nurse as often as baby needs.
  4. Get outside. Simply getting outside of our normal sedentary surroundings, we find more opportunities for movement. Take a walk in your neighborhood or find a hike in your area. Even a playground can be a great place to get more movement. The monkey bars can be a great place to hang (literally) and work muscles that need more movement. Take your vegetable chopping to your balcony or deck. Squatting or sitting on the ground to chop will not only work different muscles than doing it at the counter, it probably has a better view!Can I breastfeed if I want to exercise? via lactationlink.com
  5. Stack your life. I learned one summer when we were without a dryer that hang-drying my laundry was totally counting as exercise. Lifting a basket of heavy, wet laundry, walking it to the line, and going through the repetitive motions of bending, lifting and reaching was moving my chest and arm muscles in ways I hadn’t in months. I was cleaning, helping my family, getting fresh air and getting more movement. Think outside the exercise box. Do you have a flower bed or garden that needs weeding? Think of all the bending and squatting necessary to weed and tend to your plants. In addition to being outside, learning more about your food and helping it grow, you are exercising! Bring your baby along in your sling or on a blanket for easy access for nursing.

Being more active and adding more movement into your life after a baby doesn’t have to involve a gym membership or a strict exercise routine. Exercise and breastfeeding are compatible and helpful for you and baby. Recognizing the new movements you are already doing, including your baby, bringing along community, getting outside and stacking your life are all great ways to bring movement into your motherhood. 

Have you signed up for our free Confident Breastfeeding Course yet?

You’re gonna love it! Click below for more info.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Related articles:

Can I breastfeed if I want to lose weight?

Fun on the swings

What not to eat when breastfeeding

How to breastfeed in public

Thanks for coming by,

lactationlink.com

Lacey Parr, BS, CLE

Sources

(1) Daley, A.J., Thomas, A., Cooper, H., Fitzpatrick, H., McDonald, C., Moore, H., Rooney, R., Deeks, J.J. (2012). Maternal exercise and growth in breastfed infants: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pediatrics, 130 (1). 108-14. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22711727

3 of the best things you can do during pregnancy to prepare for motherhood via lactationlink.com

3 of the best things you can do during pregnancy

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

Hi, mamas! I’m Lacey Parr, a lactation educator and blog manager here at Lactation Link. I’m a mom to 3 and am here today to talk about 3 of the best things you can do during pregnancy to prepare for motherhood. 

There are some things I wish I would have known as a first-time mom. From my thorough Pinterest research (snicker) I assumed that the best thing I could do for my baby was to create a beautiful nursery and buy a bunch of stuff. Spoiler alert: we didn’t use the nursery or much of the stuff. Baby slept in a pack n’ play next to our bed for most of his first year. Creating a cute nautical-themed nursery was fun, but unnecessary.

What I wish I would have done was prepare to learn how to breastfeed. I thought I would just figure it out at the hospital. The nurses were great and encouraged me but had other patients to help too. So I went home not quite knowing what to do. I devoured every book on breastfeeding at my local library and went to several lactation appointments and we eventually hit our stride. We had a wonderful breastfeeding experience for over 13 months which led to even better experiences with my second and third children. But learning how to breastfeed didn’t have to happen when I was sleep deprived and anxious about my newborn. If I would have had access to a breastfeeding class like our Breastfeeding Basics class, I know breastfeeding would have come much easier.

Here are 3 things I wish all women knew about during pregnancy to help prepare for motherhood:

  1. Obtain quality prenatal care. This seems like a given, I know. But if you’ve walked into an appointment with your healthcare provider and felt rushed, know that it’s okay to shop around for providers. Ask other mothers you admire who they go to for prenatal care. It’s nothing personal to switch providers. You deserve, even need to feel supported, heard and safe during your appointments. Feeling comfortable with your provider now will help you to feel safe and comfortable during birth. I switched providers early on during my first pregnancy and was glad I did! I started motherhood with a team of caring providers who lifted me up. Pro tip: You can switch providers as late in your pregnancy as you want!
  2. Prepare for birth. Take a quality childbirth class. Read positive birth stories. Surround yourself with women that talk highly of birth. Consider hiring a doula, someone who will guide you through the mountain summit of birth! Talk with your partner about what you expect of them during birth. There is no wrong way to birth, my only hope for you is to feel supported, safe and heard during birth.3 of the best things you can do during pregnancy to prepare for motherhood via lactationlink.com
  3. Educate yourself on breastfeeding. I actually intended to take a breastfeeding class when I was pregnant with my first. We went to the hospital for the class and the teacher had an emergency and could not come. There was not another class before my due date. Lucky you, you don’t have to worry about coordinating dates with your hospital! You can take a quality, peer-reviewed breastfeeding class on your couch! I so wish I would have had Lactation Link when I was pregnant. You’ll never regret learning more about how to prepare for caring for baby and breastfeeding. Have you taken our free Confident Breastfeeding Course yet? It comes to your email and is a great place to start.

You might notice my list does not include “create a trendy nursery.” If only I could go back to my younger self and tell her that! But, I can tell you and that’s pretty close. But listen, if creating a beautiful nursery makes you feel prepared for baby, go for it! Nesting is a real thing and we all do it. Just don’t let that be the only thing you do. We cannot prepare 100% for motherhood because there is really no way to prepare for the intensity of joy, anxiousness, spit-up, poop and head-over-heels LOVE that comes with bringing life to the world. But obtaining quality prenatal care, preparing for birth and taking a breastfeeding class can help you visualize with confidence this new journey. Okay, mamas, what helped you feel prepared for motherhood? 

More on preparing for motherhood from Lactation Link:

How to create a community of support for breastfeeding

A survival guide for the first two weeks of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding tips for new moms

Why should I breastfeed?

Thanks for stopping by,

3 of the best things you can do during pregnancy to prepare for motherhood via lactationlink.com

Lacey Parr, BS, CLE

How to wean via lactationlink.com

How to Wean from Breastfeeding

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

Many of you have been requesting a post on how to wean.  No matter how much we and our babies enjoy nursing, it will come to an end at some point! It’s up to you and your child to decide when is best. Today I wanted to share a bit more on how to wean by first discussing Child-Led Weaning and Mother-Led Weaning.  I hope this post will give you some confidence in this process! As always, know your options so you can continue to create confidence in your choices as a mom!

how to wean from breastfeeding via lactationlink.com. A lactation consultant's blog.

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There’s no “right time” to wean for everyone

No matter when your Mom, sister, neighbor, or grocery-store clerk weaned their baby, remember there’s only one right time for you and your baby.  Try not to let outside opinions or pressures factor into your decision to wean.  It’s a very individual choice for each mom/child pair! Keep in mind your original plan or goal for breastfeeding may change over the course of your experience.  A client recently told me, “My initial goal was to breastfeed for six months, now my daughter is fifteen months and there’s no end in sight!” Another client called me to her home on day three of her newborn’s life for some breastfeeding support and told me her goal was to breastfeed for one month.  The point?  All Moms and situations are different!  I’m here to support you in your goals and choices!

how to wean from breastfeeding via lactationlink.com. A lactation consultant's blog.

little sapling toys {use code LINK10 for 10% off}

Child-Led Weaning

Child-Led weaning is when the child guides the weaning process. Child-led weaning is when the child no longer has needs either nutritional or emotionally to breastfeed.  These children are typically drinking well from a cup and getting the majority of their nutrients from solid foods.  Keep in mind that child-led weaning rarely occurs before 18 months, so if you experience breast refusal before then, it’s most likely due to a nursing strike that will pass in a few days. Learn more about how to deal with a nursing strike on our Common Breastfeeding Concerns post.

how to wean from breastfeeding via lactationlink.com. A lactation consultant's blog.

little sapling toys {use code LINK10 for 10% off}

Mother-Led Weaning

Mother-Led weaning is when the mother decides it’s the right time to wean before noticing cues from her child. For mother-led weaning, be sure to consider your feelings and thoughts before beginning.  Is it your decision or are you feeling pressure from family or friends?  I read a polite but witty response to the inevitable question, “So how long do you plan to nurse?”

“OH, ABOUT ANOTHER 5 MINUTES”

Whether the decision to wean was mom’s or child’s, it’s best to take a gradual approach if possible. Remember to consider the pros and cons before starting the weaning process.  This will allow you to access the right time for both you and baby and look back on the experience with positive feelings.

How to wean via lactationlink.com

How to wean

If you have weighed the pros and cons and feel ready, obtaining some guidance on how to wean will be helpful. While there is much variation in each breastfeeding relationship, these general tips can guide you in your weaning process:

  1. Slowly & gently. This is always my quick answer to the question, “How do I wean?” Weaning overnight will be painful for you and baby. However, gentle weaning can happen and I promise your baby won’t nurse in middle school. 😉 Removing one feeding every week until they are gone is one method that has worked for many moms and babies.
  2. Find new ways to comfort. Breastfeeding is wonderful for its many purposes. It is food, drink, comfort, cuddles, hugs (and more) all in one! Since it is the answer to so many needs, when the time for weaning comes, it can be helpful to find new ways to comfort baby. Rocking, cuddles, and book reading are some things that have helped other moms.
  3. Call for reinforcement. Finding new ways to comfort your baby or toddler is a great time to include your partner. Since the hardest feeds to end are often at bedtime, it helps to have dad pitch in more during bedtime.

Much more weaning info and how to go about it gently in my video breastfeeding classes!  My goal is to create confidence in motherhood so moms can feel comfortable and certain in their choices and care for their little ones!

Have you signed up for my free Confident Breastfeeding Course yet? You’re gonna love it! Click below for more info.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

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

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

By | Lactation Link team, motherhood

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

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

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

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

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

XOXO,

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

The Lactation Link Team

3 Tips To Get You Through the Hard Days of Infertlity

By | motherhood, Uncategorized
Hello mamas! We are sharing different women’s infertility journeys each day this week for National Infertility Awareness Week.  We are so happy to have Jenica from A Slice of Style here today to share her infertility journey and 3 tips for how to get through the hard days of infertility.
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Infertility. It’s something that you don’t expect to deal with when you think of your future. You get married, and then next come the babies when you’re ready. As I get older (and wiser with experience!), I’m learning that life has little surprises, valleys and hills along the way, and they help you learn and grow so that you can deal with the next hurdles with more grace.
My husband Tyler and I started trying to conceive and after a year with no success, we saw an infertility specialist. Three IUIs and 3 rounds of IVF later, we are at the other side with the arrival of our boy/girl twins, Harris and Goldie last year on July 13th! We climbed the mountain, we fell and got bruised and bled quite a few times, but eventually made it to the top. What I learned through the process is invaluable and I really wouldn’t change the experience because I know that what I learned will help me to be happier and more grateful for my life. It will help me to cope with my future challenges better. There are several habits that I developed to help me cope with the challenges of infertility, and I would love to share those with you if you happen to find yourself on this journey. I’m sure you never planned on it.
It’s not something that you prepare to cope for, so I want to share what helped me get through it.
My first habit can really be applied to anyone, in any situation. It’s simple.
1. Don’t get offended.
You are the only person that can decide how you feel and how you let others affect you. Sometimes people don’t know what to say when you are talking about infertility, so they end up saying, well, really dumb things! One of the things I heard was, “my husband and I can get pregnant the second we start thinking about it!” For me, it was comparable to me telling them that I was struggling financially, and then having them retort with, “I am so rich!! I don’t even know what to do with all of the money that I have!” It’s kind of funny when you actually think about it. Here’s what I thought to myself when I heard someone say insensitive things: First, their intentions were not ill-willed. Those who have not experienced infertility cannot possibly understand the heartache associated with it. I know I didn’t! I had no idea what it felt like until I experienced it, and it was a lot harder than I thought. In fact, after we started fertility treatments, I remember standing in my closet and sobbing for my friends who had struggled with infertility because I finally understood what they were going through. Be patient with others. None of us are perfect, and I would want someone to be patient with me because I’m sure I have said insensitive remarks in my lifetime without the slightest awareness that I had. Another thought? Even if a comment is ill-willed, who cares! I’m not going to give someone else the control over my happiness.
2. My second habit is to decide to be happy!
I learned a lot going through my first 3 IUIs and first 2 rounds of IVF, so by the time we did IVF for the 3rd time, I gave myself a break a lot more. We only get one life, and I didn’t want to regret looking back on my 20’s wishing for the days ahead. I want to look back on my life without regrets and I don’t want to waste it because I can’t rewind time and get it back. There is something good in each day, and I chose to look for those good things. I chose to focus on what I could do without children that would be more difficult to do if I did have them. My husband and I bought dirt bikes! Yes, I’m serious. We had a lot of fun during that summer while we took a break in trying to conceive. We only get today. We only get right now. Those are adventures that I am so glad I had with my husband. Every single person in this world has trials, and it’s how we choose to live in those trials that defines how happy we are. I decided that I wasn’t going to be a miserable person, and that was that. This does not mean that you can’t allow yourself to have bad moments or even bad days. You can cry and you can get mad. But then I want you to bounce back because you have the control of your life and you will get through this. In the end, you’ll look back, like me, and realize how much you learned. It will make motherhood even sweeter. Trust me in that. It’s so much sweeter after having gone through infertility. That’s the interesting thing about trials. Only through going through them can life’s experiences be so much more joyful and appreciated.
3. My last habit is to look around you for all of the incredible kindnesses of your friends and family.
I was amazed by how many people reached out when they found out that we were struggling with infertility. If you aren’t comfortable telling many people, at least let a few close friends or family stand by your side to help you through the process and you will be so grateful at the love and support that you see around you. Going through something difficult allows your eyes to be opened to some unbelievable goodness and I was so grateful that I got to see that.  In return, I would suggest that you spread kindness to others as well. Like I said, it’s hard to remember sometimes, but every single person is going through something hard. If you focus on brightening someone else’s day, it helps you to look outside of yourself and it lifts you up in return. It’s strange that helping others really helps you. So… if you’re feeling selfish and you want to feel good, go do something for someone else!
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I’m honestly grateful for this challenge because I was stretched and pulled and found myself to be a happier, more understanding person on the other side. We all have challenges. Let’s help carry each other through them and live this one beautiful life that we have been given.
reasons to breastfeed from a mom of 5

Why should I breastfeed?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Classes, motherhood

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Hi  mamas! I’m Kristin, a Lactation Link IBCLC and mom of 5. I’m here today to share with you my top 5 reasons to breastfeed. Enjoy!

We’ve all heard that “breast is best” and you’ve probably heard a few things scattered in with that to explain why—breastfed babies are healthier, or less fussy, or more attached to their parents and more.  But why is breast really best?  Why is mom’s breast literally home for babies? Why do women even want to breastfeed?

Top 5 reasons to breastfeed from a lactation consultant and mom of 5.

The following are my top five reasons why women choose to breastfeed:

  1. Nutrition: This is the food part.  Baby must be fed, of course!  Breastmilk has balanced nutrition tailored just right for your baby.  You could call it 100% organic!  
  2. Immunities: You’ve probably heard that breastmilk has lots of probiotics in it, which is true, and so important for a developing tummy!  It also has a ton of disease-fighters that can’t be found anywhere but breastmilk!  (1)
  3. Emotional: This is the emotional component that breastfeeding fulfills for both mom and baby.  We know this is true because oxytocin, the “love hormone” (the same one that is vital in labor and present during sex), is released during breastfeeding. Research also tells us that breastfeeding can be protective against postpartum depression (2). This emotional aspect is also why women who thought they’d wean at six months or one year continue to breastfeed because it brings joy to their babies and themselves.
  4. Convenience: You never leave home without your breasts, so there’s so much less “equipment” required!  Some women are worried that leaving baby may be inconvenient as they’ll have to pump, but the milk is always there and can be expressed on your timetable, though it needs to be regularly removed.  You’ll never need to run to the store in the middle of the night because you ran out of formula!  You’ll also save hours per week (shopping for formula, disposing of the cans, mixing the bottles, washing the bottles, etc)
  5. Cost savings: Did you know that formula for a year can cost $3000 or more, and even more if a special formula is necessary?  If you need a breast pump for some mother/baby separation time, click here to see how to get a free pump through your insurance.  You may also save money on healthcare because studies show that breastfed babies are generally have less sick-visits to the pediatrician, less infections, and recover from normal childhood illnesses more quickly than their formula-fed peers. (3)

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Breastfeeding is important to different women for different reasons, all of which are completely valid.  What’s important is that you are supported in the choices you make for you and your baby.  That’s our whole mission — Creating Confident Moms!  Why did you choose to breastfeed? Share in the comments.

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Now that you know why you should breastfeed, learn a few quick things on how to get started with our top ten tips.

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You can learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, how to help get a good latch, providing breastmilk during mother/baby separations and more with our breastfeeding video classes!  Many moms have told us how our breastfeeding classes was the best thing they bought for their baby. They are available on-demand to fit into your busy life.  If you need personal help to overcome an issue, we can meet you for an in-person or e-consult to troubleshoot!

Thanks for coming by,

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Kristin Gourley, IBCLC

Sources

(1) Vorbach, Capecchi, Penninger (2006) BioEssays. “Evolution of the mammary gland from the innate immune system?” <https://ai2-s2-pdfs.s3.amazonaws.com/767f/676444e333a47fbb7a6b9e7442c942944023.pdf>

(2) Pope, C.J., Mazmanian, D. (2016) Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: An Overview and Methodological Recommendations for Future Research. Depression Research and Treatment. doi:  10.1155/2016/4765310. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4842365/ 

(3) Bartick, M.C., Schwarz, E.B., Green, B.D., Jegier, B.J., Reinhold, A.G., Colaizy, T.T., Bogen, D.L., Schaefer, A.J., and Steube, A.M. (2016). Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: Maternal and Pediatric Health Outcomes and Costs. Maternal and Child Nutrition, doi: 10.1111/mcn.12366. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mcn.12366/full

Riordan J and Wambach K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, 4th ed. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2010, p. 628.

Lactation Link & Big City Moms + GIVEAWAY

By | Breastfeeding, Features, motherhood

bcg-imageCalling all Boston mamas! I’m so excited to announce that Lactation Link will be attending the Big City Moms – Biggest Baby Shower Ever event in Boston on Thursday, December 8th! The event is at The Westin Boston Waterfront from 6:00-9:30pm. 

I will be a featured speaker on the panel! I’m excited to talk about how preparing to breastfeed can help create confident moms. You can buy your tickets to the event on their website.

Be sure to stop by our booth, you won’t want to miss it! We will have a giveaway valued over $1000 and growing! 

If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, we have a ticket to give away today! Enter here. Or by clicking on the image below.

big-city-giveaway

Be sure to follow along that week on our snapchat (username: lactationlink) and Instagram stories! Hope to see you there! Can’t wait to meet my Boston mamas!

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

How to pump breastmilk as a college student

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Features, motherhood

Hi mamas! I think you are going to love today’s interview with a student mom about her experience expressing milk and being a mom on a college campus. Gabrielle Lysenko is a student at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in nursing. She is a mother of two: a 3 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. She and her husband Adam live with their two children in Utah.

Learn how one mom received the support she needed to breastfeed as a student. Read tips on how to get the support you need to pump…

How has your university supported breastfeeding and caring for your baby while you are a student?

On-campus childcare

First, they offer on-campus childcare at a highly subsidized rate. Your monthly payment is based on your income but never exceeds $9/hour which is very competitive. The children are cared for by people with childhood education degrees and the environment is very comfortable. They care for my baby the way I would by accommodating cloth diapers, feeding breast milk by bottle or breast depending on my preference, formula feeding, or offering solids. They also baby wear. These people are pros. I’ve seen them soothing three babies at a time while each one sleeps happily on their lap, chest, or snuggled into their side.

They always welcome me into the classroom for feedings or just to play with my baby in between classes.  I’ve heard them talking about how much they miss the babies over weekends and breaks as well. They truly love our children.

Lactation Rooms + Family Area
Then there’s the multiple lactation rooms on campus. They have computers, printers, private feeding cubicles with closing doors and outlets to plug in breast pumps as well as comfortable rocking chairs and tables to place homework or pumps on. There is a freezer to store pumped milk in as well. There are toys, books, and a tv with children’s shows to entertain older kids while their parents work. There are even private group study rooms in this family area should you need a more peaceful environment.

Supportive staff
But you don’t always have to go out of your way to find an environment compatible with family life. I take my son to all my anatomy TA and supplementary instruction hours. He cries sometimes and coos as babies do. Everyone giggles a bit because he usually strikes a complaint right after the TA asks a particularly difficult question, seemingly voicing all of our complaints. The TA’s and other students have told me they don’t mind at all having him in class.

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But perhaps the most surprising thing has been breastfeeding uncovered during TA hours. My son usually gets cranky and has to eat around that time, but no one has ever batted an eye. The TA’s and other students still talk to me and work out problems while my son is latched. If it ever made them uncomfortable, I never knew.  I’ve felt more comfortable having my baby with me on campus than I have in other public areas. The University of Utah as well as their students and employees are very understanding, welcoming, and accommodating.

What inspired you to go back to school?

I read an article that showed, scientifically speaking, children are more inclined to go on to get a college level degree if their mothers have one. It had always been important to me, but I was really happy being a mom. Then, as I re-embarked on my educational journey, I realized how much more there was for me. I saw what it was to be a person outside of my family. For the first time in my life, I had something that was just mine that I could be proud of. It was at that point I decided I wanted a degree I could actually use after I graduated. I wanted it all: to be a career woman and a mother. I wanted my children to see how hard I was working to accomplish something so they knew they could do it too. I also realized that having something to fulfill myself would make me a better mother. So far, that’s been absolutely true and I am beyond glad I made this decision.

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What tips do you have for other mothers of young children that are considering more education?

Make absolutely certain you have a good support system. Your whole family has to be on the same page. After that, let all other fears fall away and enjoy the journey. Learning is invigorating. Don’t deny yourself that pleasure by worrying about how much TV your kids are watching or how badly you’re eating (guilty). Your college career is a small blip in the span of your life and your children’s’ lives. They’ll be better for it and so will you.

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For more information on how to get support for expressing milk as a student, visit The Pregnant Scholar. And to find out what resources your university has for parents, visit Pregnant On Campus.

It seems that Gabrielle has found such an incredible support system that has helped her be confident in her choices. I wish you all the same! If you have been a student as a mother, what helped you the most? Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for coming by,

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Lacey Parr, CLEC

How to pump breastmilk as a teacher

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, motherhood

Hi mamas! I’m Lacey Parr, a certified lactation educator and mom of three. I am super excited to interview a mom today who worked full-time as a high school teacher and pumped while at work for all four of her children. We’ve heard from our support forum and clients that being a teacher can be one of the more challenging professions when it comes to pumping at work – the kids are always depending on you!   Mandi Boyd has done it successfully through 4 babies – sharing her tips and experiences below.

Learn from a mom of 4 how she fit breastfeeding and pumping into her life as a teacher. Get tips on breastfeeding success as a teacher.
What influenced your decision to express your milk?

I chose to pump because I wanted to continue breastfeeding. I fell in love with the bonds formed and convenience of breastfeeding while on maternity leave. I knew it would be difficult if not impossible, to continue if I didn’t pump. Another major reason was due to the fact that we would be able to save a substantial amount of money if I expressed my milk. Pumping just made more sense for our family financially. Another motivating factor was guilt. I, like many mothers, harbor guilt for all sorts of things (i.e. not having a perfectly clean home, lack of made-from-scratch meals, kids watching too much t.v., etc. ). I felt guilty that I wasn’t staying home with my children all day! However, one thing I could provide was breastmilk. So pumping was an easy choice.

How did you prepare to express milk at your job before the baby arrived?

Before each of my babies were born, I informed my supervisor that I would be pumping when I returned from maternity leave. I share an office with another teacher and I also told her about it. I already had a small refrigerator in my office and a sink that had hot water, so I was lucky to have those so close.  I also made sure I had my breastpump ready to go before returning to work.  

How did your workplace support your decision to express milk at work?

My supervisors when my oldest and youngest were born were very supportive. When I informed them I would be doing it they both told me if I needed anything to let them know.  The single most important and supportive person at work was my office mate, Amy. Pumping would have been much more difficult had she not been so supportive. Anytime my pumping ran late, she would let my students in the classroom and see that they started their assignments. She graciously gave up her office whenever I was pumping for my privacy.  

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{Petunia Pickle Bottom Parkway Tote}

What tips and advice do you have for other teacher moms who plan to express milk at work? 

If you don’t have your own refrigerator, buy one. I bought a small one for about $60. It’s worth it not to have to share with anyone and risk getting your liquid gold thrown out! Plus you’ll have something close by to keep your lunch/drinks cold too.

If you don’t have a sink in the area you are pumping, buy extra milk containers and a simple  plastic dishpan to throw them in the fridge until you wash. That way you can have enough to pump all day with out having to wash everything until the end of the day.

Set up procedures in your class to allow for when your pumping may run over into classtime. I always had a bellringer (a short assignment) on the the board when the students arrived to class. They knew to begin the assignment as soon as they arrived.

If you receive kindness, reciprocate it. People will always do more when they feel appreciated. For Amy, my office mate, I offered and  covered her classes often. I thanked her everyday, wrote her notes, gave her simple gifts, brought her lunch, and became her friend. She has since told me that those kindnesses meant a great deal to her.

Use your pumping experience as a teaching opportunity. Whenever I returned from maternity leave or began the new school year, I would explain to each of my classes about my choice to breastfeed and that I would be pumping in my office throughout the day.  Whenever they asked questions, I was honest. I shared the joys and convenience of breastfeeding with them. I saw my secondary students as future parents. It was my hope that my commitment and sacrifice would make an impression on them. I have encountered several former students the past few years who’ve reported that they are breastfeeding!

And most of all, it’s worth it. To be able to instantly reconnect with my babies everyday, provide them with the best nutrition, nurse on-demand when I was with them, and save a ton of money by FAR outweighed any inconvenience I encountered while pumping. 

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I hoped you loved this interview as much as me! I know personally that her example has inspired others to create goals for breastfeeding and see them as attainable! I also appreciated her emphasis on the savings that breastfeeding can bring. By expressing her milk for her 4 kids, she saved her family close to $10,000! We have a whole class on Pumping and Storing Breastmilk that can help you with all the information you need to safely express, store, thaw, and deliver breastmilk to your infant successfully. If you need a breast pump, you can get a free one through your insurance here.

Any experiences expressing milk in the workplace?  Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lacey Parr, CLEC

5 ways grandparents can support breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Classes, community breastfeeding support, motherhood

Hi mamas! I’m Lacey, a certified lactation educator and mom of three. I’m here today to talk about how grandparents and family members can support a new or seasoned mom while she is breastfeeding her new baby.

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I am grateful I had family that supported my decision to breastfeed. Mothers and grandmothers can be very influential to a new mother. By driving me to breastfeeding consultations and sometimes latching the baby herself, my mother gave me the strength and courage to keep going.  When I was struggling, she recalled what helped her through breastfeeding struggles. She encouraged and supported me and when she didn’t have the answers, she helped me find them. 

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How grandparents can help support breastfeeding

  1. Buy a breastfeeding class off mom’s registry. Our breastfeeding video classes are available to be added to a Babylist registry! Our classes cover everything from positioning, latch and common problems with breastfeeding.
  2. Encourage and uplift. Support her decision to breastfeed by encouraging and complimenting her on the gift she is giving her baby.
  3. Help around the house. Help with meals and housework. If mom has other children, take them for a fun outing.
  4. Be the door bouncer. Well-meaning family and friends might want to stop by the hospital or home to see new mom and baby. If the new mom isn’t comfortable with visitors yet, be the “bouncer” so mom doesn’t have to turn away them away herself.
  5. Cuddle and swaddle baby. Sometimes grandparents want to help by feeding baby for mom. In the early days, it’s usually best that baby be at the breast to help encourage a healthy milk supply. Support the new mom by bonding with baby after a feed when mom needs a break.

Learn 5 ways grandmas can support a new breastfeeding mother. Learn how grandmas can be the bouncer. Send this to your mom, thank us later!

How did your mother or grandmother help you breastfeed? Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Photos by Cate Johnson.

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Lacey Parr, CLEC

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Sources

Mueffelmann, Rebecca E. , Racine, Elizabeth F., Warren-Findlow, Jan, & Coffmann, Maren J.,  (2015). Perceived infant feeding preferences of significant family members and mothers’ intentions to exclusively breastfeed. Journal of Human Lactation, vol. 31 (no. 3), 479-489. 

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