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3 pumping tips to get more milk out in less time

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, motherhood, Recommended Products | One Comment

Okay pumping mamas, this post is all about you!  Whether you are pumping to store just a little extra for a night out or you’re a full-time working and pumping mom, having the know-how to get the most out of your pumping sessions is so valuable.  Our lives as mothers are so busy that truly the minutes count!  So if I were to share a few tips that may shave a few minutes off your pumping routine, you’d be all ears, right? I get questions and comments all the time from pumping moms like this:

“Can I pump just a few times a day but for longer periods and still keep up my milk supply?” or

“I have a really good milk supply and don’t have the time to pump, I’ll be okay going 5-6 hours between pumping sessions, right?!”

{Clip and Pump hands-free pumping accessory}

My response is always the same.  Frequent breast stimulation (every 2-3 hours you’re away from baby), is what maintains your milk production.  It’s based off supply and demand.  So you can’t get away with pumping less often but you can make your pumping sessions as efficient as possible.  Who doesn’t want to get more milk out in less time?!  Keep in mind, as baby gets older and is feeding less often, you’ll want to pump at least as often as your baby is breastfeeding.

I know that you don’t want to spend your life hooked up to a machine that goes ee-ah-ee-ah for any longer than you need to!  I remember pumping when I went back to work as a labor and delivery nurse and I was a little overwhelmed when I started but pretty soon I had a system down and I flew through my pumping routine!  Today I’m partnering with Bravado Designs to “hook you up” with 3 tips to help you get the most milk out in the least amount of time during your pumping sessions. Let’s be honest, we’ve got other things to do, right?!   

#1 – Get familiar with your pump and it’s parts

If possible, get to know your pump before you ever need to use it.  It can be frustrating trying to figure out how to work something for the first time when you need to use it right then!  Becoming familiar with it a little while in advance can help ease any of those worries and create confidence with the pump.  Get the pump out of its box, read the instructions, take apart the parts and put them back together a few times, plug it in, power it on and off, and learn any of the functions.  

Just for you: Did you know you can get a free breast pump through your insurance?  Click here to get it ordered.

Cheat sheet: The flange is the circular part of the pump that touches your breast and you want to be sure you have the right size!  When you start pumping, check to be sure there’s just a little bit of space all the way around your nipple as it goes in and out.  You can also book an online consult with us to make sure you have the right size!    

#2 – Go hands-free

Did you know that pumping alone just provides suction, but when a baby is breastfeeding they are applying suction plus compression?  So pumping by itself can leave out compression altogether. There’s a way around this! Research shows that using your hands (doing breast massage + compression) while your pumping gets the most milk out.  This is where going hands-free with your nursing bra comes in handy! The clip and pump hands-free pumping accessory from Bravado Designs is a great option because it easily attaches to any nursing bra so you don’t have to completely switch bras every time you need to pump.  

Here’s how it works:

Just for you: You can get 15% off your total purchase with the code ‘LLINK15’ on bravadodesigns.com. They also have great maternity and nursing bras and tanks.  Here’s a few other posts that show some of my favorite nursing bras: Best Nursing bras and tanks || Nursing bra myths debunked

Cheat sheet: I have step-by-step video tutorials on hands-on pumping inside my Pumping and Storing Breastmilk online course.  Want a sneak peek inside my courses?  Try my free mini-course here.  

#3 – Establish a routine

Set reminders for your pumping breaks!  It’s easy to get into work or travel mode and forget about the clock!  Setting a reminder on your phone for specific times can help you remember to pump every 2-3 hours.  Frequency in pumping is the most important thing when it comes to maintaining your milk supply when you’re away from your baby.  

Pumping: Use the hands-on pumping technique for 10-15 minutes (depending on how much time you have).  Use the clip and pump accessory to save you time.

Washing the parts: A quick wash with hot, soapy water for the parts that come in contact with your breastmilk is recommended by the CDC.  If you’re using a shared pump, wipe it down with a disinfectant.  You can let your pump parts air dry on a paper towel.

Storing the milk:  If you’re at home, remember that breastmilk is good for 5 hours at room temperature, so don’t feel like you have to rush it to the fridge if it’s the middle of the night.  When you go to store it, you always want to label it with the date (you’ll always use the oldest milk first), and if you’re using a shared fridge (like at the hospital or work), you’ll want to add your initials, too.  As soon as you can, get it stored either in the fridge or freezer, not on the doors and as far back as possible.

Cheat sheet: In a pinch and don’t have time for a full 10-15 min pumping break?  A 2-5 min hand expression session over a sink or with a towel on your lap will help until you can get your pumping session in.

I hope these 3 tips on pumping were helpful!  Thanks to Bravado Designs for partnering on this post.  You can get 15% off your total purchase on BravadoDesigns.com with the code ‘LLINK15’.  Share your pumping tips with me in the comments — would love to hear!

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

5 Nursing Bra Myths De-bunked

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

 

Finding a comfortable bra that provides shape in any stage of life is like finding gold in the sand, am I right?  A great bra can make a huge difference in our comfort and our confidence! Or how about one less thing to worry about when you’re pregnant?  Or something pretty and functional to put a little magic into the ups and downs that come with the postpartum time, or as we like to call it around here, the fourth trimester?  

Maybe you’ve overheard things from other moms like “{*Sigh*}…It is what it is” or “You just have to get through it” when it comes to maternity bras during pregnancy or nursing bras postpartum.  There are a lot of myths out there and today I’ve partnered with Bravado Designs to help shed some light on all this boobie talk and de-bunk anything you’ve heard that you don’t need to worry about!  Read through to get a peek into their newest styles and colors, as well as some of their tried-and-true staples, and a Lactation Link exclusive promo code I begged them to give you!

Ok so here they are, 5 Nursing Bra Myths De-bunked!

MYTH #1 There’s no way around it, nursing bras are U-G-L-Y!

De-bunked: Need I say more than this image?

This line is sooooo beautiful!  The colors are so complimentary for all skin tones and don’t resemble a traditional, boring old nursing bra AT ALL!  Let’s say you’re like the majority of women and are caught still wearing their nursing bra even a year after baby has weaned, there’s no shame when you have one of these beautiful styles on.

{The Invisible nursing bra}

Lindsey’s recommendations:

My favorite for everyday wear: The invisible

Wear with your favorite tee: Buttercup

Sleep bras: Ballet and the Bodysilk Seamless

MYTH #2 It’s impossible to achieve shape while your breastfeeding

De-bunked: Have you heard of or experienced the uni-boob? (Asking for a friend.)

The official definition describes the breasts being lumped together (typically by a spandex-y nursing sports bra type-thing) and results in your chest looking more like one large breast rather than two.  Hang on (get it), it’s not a lost cause! With the right fit and structure that provides support but separation (your breasts prefer their own room!), you can still have a shape in your bustline when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.  

Lindsey’s recommendations:

Going out or back to work: The Belle Underwire

Everyday shape: The invisible and The Buttercup

MYTH #3 Wearing an underwire while breastfeeding is a big no-no

De-bunked: It’s been said, “An underwire will cause mastitis.”  Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue like plugged ducts or a breast infection.  I’m here to tell you: the underwire isn’t necessarily the culprit! The real issue is a bra with a poor fit – this could mean with or without an underwire!  If the fabric or underwire of your bra feels like it’s pushing deep into your ribs, or your breast tissue is spilling out the top of the bra, it doesn’t fit right.  That poor fit can restrict blood flow and block milk ducts leading to other issues. The bottom line is: don’t be afraid to wear an underwire while breastfeeding if it fits right!  

Try this on: The Belle Underwire 

Check this outBravado designs FIT video

MYTH #4 Pumping is an ordeal even when you’re wearing a nursing bra

De-bunked: Pumping takes time and let’s face it, time is a commodity for moms with an infant!  In my online breastfeeding classes, I teach how to get the most milk out in the least amount of time…it involves being hands-free while you pump.  Bravado has a great solution – their “Clip and Pump” hands-free accessory which connects to any nursing bra so you can quickly get your pump going – without changing all your clothes several times a day!  

Throw this in your pumping bag: Clip and Pump accessory

MYTH #5 Nursing Moms just have to “get by” with discomfort during breastfeeding

De-bunked:  If you’re like me, when you get home, your first item of business might be to take your bra off so you can relax!  The great thing I’ve found about the Bravado Designs bras are they are designed to fit like an extension of you, so you may not even think about your bra anymore!  Keep in mind that your size may change a bit from your pregnancy into the first several days postpartum to when your milk supply regulates (around two weeks postpartum).  There are several styles I feel can grow with you and others you may want to wait until your supply regulates or plan on buying two sizes in.

Sleep bra: Ballet, The Original

Everyday: Invisible, Belle, Bodysilk Seamless

Thanks for stopping by today!  All my Lactation Link mamas can get 15% off of their entire purchase at Bravado Designs with the code ‘LLINK15’.

Questions about maternity or nursing bras?  Leave them in the comments below!  How about getting started with my free breastfeeding course?  Sign up here.

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsey Shipley, RN, BSN, IBCLC

 

*This post has been in partnership with Bravado Designs.  All opinions are my own.

Probiotic for your vaginal health

By | Recommended Products

Today we’re getting into some real talk about Vaginal Health.  It’s something I’ve gotten quite a few questions about and it’s time to break the silence and dispel the common myths around vaginal health.  I was so excited to learn about a probiotic designed specifically for feminine balance.  I’ve been able to partner with AZO Complete Feminine Balance® to bring you this informative post (All opinions are my own). Be sure to consult your health care provider when starting any new supplement or medications.

Keep reading to play one of our favorite games around here, #FactorFictionwithLL and also to get an exclusive discount on AZO Complete Feminine Balance® probiotic.

FACT OR FICTION

Ready for some vaginal health fact or fiction?  Don’t be scared, mamas! Let’s get past the “TMI” and nervous laughter and get serious about owning our days and staying balanced for optimal wellness.  Today, let’s recognize we all have bodies and it’s best if we’re comfortable with how they work.

#1 FACT OR FICTION, “It’s normal to have different types of vaginal excretions throughout your cycle.”

Fact! There are different types of vaginal secretions, or discharge, that are normal and can help identify whether you are menstruating, about to ovulate, or have recently ovulated. You may have been told that any discharge is abnormal, but it’s actually VERY normal and healthy to see some.

While breastfeeding, if you haven’t had your period return, you may still notice these changes. Discharge that indicates there may be a problem (and signs that you should talk to your healthcare provider) includes if it has a foul odor, is a different color than you’re used to seeing (like green), is a texture you’ve never seen before or seems strange (for example, looking like cottage cheese), or is accompanied by other symptoms like vaginal pain or itching.

 

#2 FACT OR FICTION, “You should use a special soap regularly to ensure that your vagina is clean and healthy.”

Fiction! Your vagina is a living thing, just like the rest of you. While you use your hands to touch things at lots of places all day long so it’s good to use soap and really scrub them down sometimes to get rid of excess or harmful germs, the same is not true for your vagina!

In general, vaginas are pretty good at keeping themselves clean (that normal discharge? It can also help get rid of dead skin cells in there too!) and you don’t need to use a douche internally or even soap on the external folds of skin around your vagina (called labia).

In fact, using a lot of soap or douching can wash away GOOD bacteria that help keep things like yeast under control. The best thing for cleaning down there? Plain water!

#3 FACT OR FICTION, “Things may be different down there (your vagina) after you have a baby.”

Fact! This one you may know or have experienced.  Having a baby, even if you have a c-section, can really change up things in your nether region, right? Well, it’s more than just the appearance or how things feel.

In fact, your normal discharge may change, your periods may be different, and sex may feel different. Keep note of these changes and if you’re ever worried, definitely talk to your care provider. But hormonal changes, as well as bacterial changes (especially if you ate a different diet due to pregnancy sickness, were in the hospital a long time or after labor), can give you a new normal.

#4 FACT OR FICTION, “I take a probiotic for gut health and it should cover my feminine balance too”

Fiction! Probiotics are something that maintain and restore good bacteria.*  Usually, we think of bacteria as “germs” but many of them are considered “good bacteria” and keep us healthy.

Probiotics that are designed for gut health are good at stimulating good “flora” or bacteria that are most likely to call the gut “home”.  It won’t cover your vaginal health, though, because the vagina has different strains or types of good bacteria that flourish there.  So even if you’re already taking a probiotic for gut health, AZO Complete Feminine Balance® could be a great option for you to discuss with your HCP.

Thanks for stopping by and playing along today!  I’ve got a special promo for you today to give AZO Complete Feminine Balance® a try – remember it has been shown to work in as little as 7 days§ .  You can save $5 when you use this link (no code needed)!

xo, Lindsey

AZO Complete Feminine Balance® and Intelliflora™ are trademarks of DSM.

§ Results demonstrated in clinical studies.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Does my baby need a probiotic?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Features, motherhood, Recommended Products

So many questions from all of you mamas about baby’s tummy, including,  “Should I give my baby any supplements or a probiotic?”  Today I’ve partnered with Evivo to answer that question, as well as let you know a little bit more about how baby’s gut health works!  First and foremost, remember that human milk is perfectly tailored to the needs of human babies, and it changes as babies grow and their needs change. In addition to this, it’s packed with live disease-fighting cells and other important immune factors. It really is the perfect first food for babies. New research into the infant gut microbiome is giving us even more of a glimpse into why breastmilk is so important. What is an infant microbiome? The term microbiome here refers to the microorganisms, mainly bacteria, that live in and on your baby’s body. Some of the bacteria in our microbiomes are bad and cause disease and inflammation, and some of those bacteria are good, and an essential part of a healthy immune and digestive system. As it turns out, human milk feeds both the baby AND the good bacteria in baby’s gut microbiome. (1)Would you believe that about 15% of mother’s milk is made up of an ingredient that babies can’t use? This ingredient is an amazing group of over 180 different specialized sugars, called Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs). The only organism that can utilize HMOs is an important kind of good bacteria that lives in the gut of babies, called B. infantis. HMOs help B. infantis to flourish and crowd out the bad bacteria that have been linked to a higher risk for conditions like colic, eczema, asthma, allergies, obesity, and diabetes. (2)

In the past, babies received B. infantis from their mothers during birth. However, there have been some shifts in the developed world during the past few generations that have led to a significant change in babies’ microbiomes. Cesarean sections, formula feeding, and antibiotic use have been important medical developments for many families, but they have contributed to a disruption in the transfer of important good bacteria, including B. infantis. That’s why I’m so excited about Evivo.  It’s the first and only clinically proven probiotic to help restore gut balance to the infant microbiome, and it’s designed specifically for breastfeeding babies.  In a clinical trial led by the University of California, Davis Medical Center, babies that were given Evivo showed an 80% reduction in potentially harmful bacteria such as E.coli, Clostridia, Staph, and Strep and a 79% increase in good gut bacteria. (3)  A reduction in the bad bacteria can help lower your baby’s risk of allergies, eczema, childhood obesity, and even decrease fussiness.  In combination with your breastmilk, Evivo can help lay the foundation for good health that lasts a lifetime. Using Evivo is as simple as 1-2-3. Once a day, simply take one sachet out of the fridge or freezer and pour into the included mixing bowl. Add a teaspoon of expressed breastmilk and mix with a spoon. Feed the mixture to your baby using the included syringe. (Don’t add to a bottle).  

It’s simple: Pour. Mix. Feed.Click here to get your baby started with Evivo. Use these promo codes for an exclusive offer for Lactation Link readers.

HCP310 – $10 off starter kit (4 weeks or more)

HCP320 – $20 off starter kit (8 weeks or more)

Both codes are limited to the first 500 redemptions!

You can order and check out more FAQ about Evivo here.

Thanks for coming by today!

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

This post was written in partnership with Evivo. All opinions are my own.  

[1] Smilowitz JT, Lebrilla CB, Mills DA et al. Breast milk oligosaccharides: structure-function relationships in the neonate. Annu Rev Nutr. 2014;34:143-169.

[2] Fujimura KE, Sitarik AR, Havstad S et al. Neonatal gut microbiota associates with childhood multisensitized atopy and T cell differentiation. Nat Med. 2016;22(10):1187-1191.

[3] Smilowitz JT, Moya J, Breck MA et al. Safety and tolerability of Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis EVC001 supplementation in healthy term breastfed infants: a phase I clinical trial.BMC pediatrics 2017 17:133.

Best Nursing Bras and Nursing Tanks: 3 Nursing Must-Haves

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

Every day on Instagram, I get questions like:
“What’s the best nursing bra?”
“Where can I find nursing tanks?”
“I’m looking for a cute nursing bra!”
Today I want to answer your questions and help you get started with 3 basic nursing pieces (Lactation Link tested and approved!) from Bravado Designs that every nursing mama could use – and use lots!! Read through to get an exclusive promo code from Bravado Designs.

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Here are some unconventional but super helpful baby gifts from a mom who knows.

Unconventional & Super Helpful Baby Gifts

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

If I’m being honest, there isn’t much that a baby needs. What a baby needs is to breastfeed and to be held. And you as a mother are great at doing both! But motherhood is not to be done alone. Every mother needs support and love. Baby showers are a great way to show our love and support to new moms. When giving a thoughtful gift, this love and support are felt even more! Here I have collected 7 baby gifts that will not be returned to Target but that the mother will use and reuse with gratitude!

Read More

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,

lins headshot peach top

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Photography in this post by Jessica Kettle

Sponsored by Owlet

Which nursing pad is best for me? via lactationlink.com

Which nursing pad is right for me?

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

Hi mamas! I’m Lacey Parr, a lactation educator and mom of 3. I’m here on the blog today to talk about how to find the perfect nursing pad for you!

One of the most useful tools for breastfeeding is a good nursing pad! Especially in the first few weeks or months, many moms will leak breastmilk. So it’s nice to have something there that will catch the leaks before they come through your clothes and some nursing pads even help prevents leaks! In this post, we have partnered our favorites to help you save when you need to stock up and we will go over the pros and cons of each so you can find one that works best for you. We love sharing products with you that we have used and loved ourselves!

Which nursing pad is right for me?Disposable nursing pads

which nursing pad is right for me? via lactationlink.com

{Bamboobies disposable nursing pads: use code LLINK20 for 20% off}

In the first few days and weeks, most moms will leak quite a bit and will need to change pads out often to prevent things like thrush. This is when a disposable nursing pad comes in handy. You will be amazed at how much liquid these babies can hold! Remember to change your pads out each feeding or anytime you notice any wetness on your skin. Bamboobies have great disposable nursing pads because you can forget the guilt over more trash because these are made from eco-friendly and sustainable bamboo. The inner layers are also antibacterial and antimicrobial. Use code LLINK20 on their site for 20% off your entire order at Bamboobies. If you want to deal with less packaging and waste after the first few weeks, a reusable nursing pad might be right for you.

Reusable silicone pads

Which nursing pad is right for me? via lactationlink.com

{Lilypadz nursing pads: use code LLINK for 15% off}

If you’ve ever been a nursing mom in a public place without a pad, you understand that direct pressure can sometimes prevent a let down. Lily padz are reusable silicone nursing pads that apply gentle pressure on your breast to prevent leaks from starting. They also cling to your skin, without being sticky, so there is no losing them in the folds of your clothes. Some moms find that their leaks accumulate in the pad and they have to carefully remove them to prevent a big spill. And after some time and regular use, the surface that adheres to the skin will wear and will become less tacky. Just be sure to properly use and care for them so they will last as long as possible. But they are super nice because they cling to your skin and you can wear them without a bra. (Yay for braless days!) One study even showed that mothers using Lilypadz had fewer cases of mastitis and thrush. Score! Use code LLINK to save 15% on your Lilypadz order.

Which nursing pad is right for me? via lactationlink.com

{Lilypadz nursing pads: use code LLINK for 15% off}

 

Reusable cloth pads

Which nursing pad is right for me? via lactationlink.com

{Bamboobies cloth pads: use code LLINK20 for 20% off}

The most common type of nursing pads that moms use are reusable cloth. Bamboobies cloth nursing pads are also made out of bamboo and are super light and soft while still being absorbent. Their overnight pads are helpful for overnight and the times of big leaks like the first few weeks. But their regular pads are perfect for day-to-day use. Just remember to change them out as soon as they feel wet on your skin. I keep an extra set in my nursing basket and diaper bag. You can use code LLINK20 for 20% off your Bamboobies order.

Which nursing pad is right for me? via lactationlink.com

{Bamboobies cloth pads: use code LLINK20 for 20% off}

For more tips on breast and nipple care products, check out our favorite products post and our post on how to care for engorgement.

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course? Lots of great tips and info on breastfeeding. Click below for more info!

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

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Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC