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How to wean via lactationlink.com

How to Wean from Breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, motherhood

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.

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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

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

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 some breastfeeding tips for new moms. Enjoy!

Whether you are a brand new mom or have been a mom for years and have a brand new baby, breastfeeding can seem overwhelming at times! We help new moms and veteran moms every week who.....

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

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

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

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Top Four Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

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

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

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click the image below for more info.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Kristin Gourley, IBCLC

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Home/Hospital Visits

Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here to talk about common causes and solutions for breast pain in breastfeeding mothers. 

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

relieve breast pain

Common causes & solutions for breast pain in breastfeeding mothers

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

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

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

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

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

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

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

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

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

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

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More tips for feeling better soon:

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

Contact your healthcare provider if:

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

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

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click the image below for more info.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

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

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

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

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Can I breastfeed if?

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 breastfeeding after breast surgery. Enjoy!

This has been such a common question recently on our mother’s support forum on instagram.  Most people automatically assume that it isn’t possible to breastfeed after having had breast surgery, but many mothers who have had breast surgery are able to go on and have an enjoyable and fulfilling breastfeeding relationship with their babies. Diana West IBCLC, author of Defining Your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery, believes that breastfeeding is possible if three factors are present:

  1. At least one breast and one nipple
  2. Information 
  3. Support

The question here isn’t if you’ll be able to make milk, but how much you’ll be able to make. Most women who have had breast surgery are able to make at least some milk for their babies, if not a full supply. Let’s first discuss factors that may affect milk production. Then we’ll cover some practical things you can do to give yourself the best start possible, as well as how you can have a breastfeeding relationship with your baby even if you’re not able to make all the milk your baby needs.

surgery

 

In this post, I will be discussing the factors that influence breastfeeding after breast surgery and how to prepare to breastfeed.

  • Contributing factors
    • Where your scars are
    • When your surgery took place
  • How to prepare to breastfeed after breast surgery
    • Prenatal education
    • Consider one-on-one support with an IBCLC
    • Tips on choosing a supportive healthcare provider
    • Learn about at-the-breast supplementation

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

Contributing factors to breastfeeding success after breast surgery

First, consider where your scars are. Incisions around the areola (that darker skin around your nipple)  are more likely to interfere with milk ducts and nerves critical to lactation than incisions in the fold under the breast, in the armpit, or the navel. If a portion of milk-making glands are removed, your potential milk volume will probably be affected. Because of this, breast reduction is more likely to cause supply problems than breast augmentation. By the same token, if only one breast was affected by surgery, usually a breast biopsy or lumpectomy, full milk production is more likely.

Next, consider how long ago your surgery took place. Nerves can regenerate slowly over time. So, the more years that have passed since the surgery, the better chances you have for necessary nerve response, even if important nerves were severed. If you can feel both touch and temperature on your areola and nipple you are more likely to have the intact nerve pathways necessary for a normal milk ejection reflex.

Milk ducts, the supply lines of the breast, can regenerate too, and they do it fastest in response to pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many moms who had partial supplies with their first babies may find that they get progressively more milk with each subsequent baby, sometimes even a full supply.

There’s really no way to know exactly how breast surgery has affected your milk-making capacity until baby is born and your breasts get a chance to start doing their job. It’s important to remember that there is great value in any amount of milk you are able to provide for your baby. Babies can receive some immune protection and nutritional benefit from even small amounts of their mother’s’ milk. The benefits of the milk itself aside, breastfeeding is much more than just another way to get food into a baby. It’s also about a physical and emotional connection between mother and child. It is definitely worth working for, and any mother who chooses to should be supported in her goal.

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

So, what can you do to prepare yourself for breastfeeding after breast surgery? Here’s my advice:

  1. Learn as much as you can about normal breastfeeding, especially how to position your baby effectively to get a deep, comfortable latch, and the signs of good milk intake. Lactation Link’s Breastfeeding Basics course is a fantastic option for moms anywhere in the world. It’s more comprehensive and easy to understand than your typical local hospital breastfeeding course, and you can re-watch it as many times as you need.
  2. Consider scheduling a prenatal e-consult with one of Lactation Link’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultants to go over your health and surgery history and work together to create a plan to monitor and protect baby’s growth and maximize your milk supply. Learn more here.
  3. Choose healthcare providers for both yourself and your baby who are knowledgeable about breastfeeding, not just tolerant of it. Ask around for referrals and interview a few to find providers that will be a good fit for your family. This post, How to Choose a Healthcare Provider for Your Baby, is a great place to get some tips on this as well.
  4. Learn about at-breast supplementation. There are special supplementing devices that consist of bottles with long thin tubes that baby can latch onto along with your nipple so that he or she can be supplemented while breastfeeding if more milk is needed than you are able to produce. Think of it as an external, bonus milk duct system. These devices can be a fantastic way to preserve the benefits of the breastfeeding relationship while ensuring that your baby is receiving the nutrition he or she needs to grow well. Some mothers really love them, and others…not so much. There definitely seems to be a learning curve for using at-breast supplementers. While they can be helpful, they aren’t the only option for supplementation. Lactation Link IBCLCs can help you find the best solution for supplementation through an in-person consultation or online eConsult

Can I breastfeed after breast surgery? via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding after breast surgery sometimes requires an adjustment of expectations. There will be many options for working through the challenges the come your way, and YOU are the one who gets to decide what works for your family. Give yourself space to celebrate your commitment to giving your baby the best start possible in life and all the work you put into that goal. And remember, your love for your baby can’t be measured in ounces or milliliters. It’s way too big for that.

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:

West, D. & Marasco, L. (2009). The breastfeeding mother’s guide to making more milk. New York: McGraw Hill.

West, D. (2001). Defining your own success: Breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery.  Schaumburg, IL: La Leche League International, 2001

 

how breastfeeding changes as baby gets older via lactationlink.com

How Breastfeeding Can Change As Baby Gets Older

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 how breastfeeding changes as baby gets older. Hope it helps create some confidence as you go about breastfeeding your growing baby!

How can breastfeeding change as baby gets oldre

Breastfeeding a newborn can be a lot different than breastfeeding a 9 month old! If your breastfeeding goals are to nurse past the first few months, things will change a bit for you and baby. Luckily, the same skills apply and we learn as we go!  Many of the moms I meet have a goal to breastfeed their babies for 6, 12, or even 18 or more months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed for at least 12 months, so so many moms shoot for that. And since breastfeeding changes during the first year and beyond, we  at Lactation Link want you to have all the tools you need. Check out our online class, Breastfeeding Basics for getting things started off right. (Pro tip: you can watch anytime from any smart device!)

How breastfeeding changes as baby grows via lactationlink.comIf your goal is to breastfeed for more than the first few months, you’ll need to know more than just the basics as breastfeeding changes as baby grows! That’s why we offer our Hurdles and How To’s class as part of the three class video bundle. Hurdles and How-to’s goes over the bumps that can arise over the entire course of breastfeeding– whether that’s 24 hours or 24 months for you.

Part of the reason that things change even though the basics of breastfeeding (like latch and supply & demand) are still important, is because baby changes! Knowing how different milestones can affect breastfeeding can help you know what to expect as baby grows..

how breastfeeding chages as baby gets older via lactationlink.com

Here are a few ways that breastfeeding can change as baby gets older:

Distraction. Some babies become very distractible around 3-6 months! They are hungry and know to look for mom to nurse, but then someone talks, the phone rings or even the dog walks across the room. Baby just can’t help turning to check it out! This can be a frustrating phase, but baby being interested in the world around him is really a great thing! You can help limit distraction by nursing in a quiet room or trying out a new position where baby can see around the room better without unlatching.

how breastfeeding changes as baby gets older via lactationlink.com

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Sleep changes. We are often asked on Instagram whether it’s normal for baby to be waking up at night again, after sleeping long stretches for a time. Some newborns learn to sleep long stretches and parents can count on a full night’s sleep after a few months. But most moms find that sleep development doesn’t progress so smoothly! Due to all sorts of physical and mental growth and development, it’s normal for babies to wake up more often every few months. Going to baby and meeting his needs during the night will ensure he continues to grow and develop well. In fact, healthy babies can go from many night nursing sessions, to none, and back to night nursing a few times during that first year.

how breastfeeding changes as baby gets older via lactationlink.com

Changes in nursing frequency & length. Moms often let us know that their baby is nursing less often and/or finishing a nursing session more quickly. Babies become more efficient at the breast as they get older. So if your baby took 20-30 minutes to breastfeed the first few months, you may be surprised when he is finished after 10 minutes when he is older. This is normal! If baby is growing well, trust baby to know how often and how long he needs to eat. Similarly, when solids are introduced or baby begins to crawl or walk, he may want to nurse less often. Again, trust baby that he’ll get enough when he does nurse. At the same time, offer the breast often for little snack breaks while he enjoys his newfound freedom.

Just like so many other aspects of parenting, be ready for breastfeeding changes as baby gets older! I tell moms of newborns all the time to trust baby and allow him to nurse often– this is one thing that doesn’t change! Keep trusting your baby. If you’re unsure about whether your baby’s behavior at the breast is normal, don’t hesitate to reach out for an e-consult so we can help you reach your breastfeeding goals! What breastfeeding changes did you notice as your baby grew? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Have you signed for our free email breastfeeding course yet?

I think you’ll find it really helpful! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

lactationlink008

Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

what is skin-to-skin contact via lactationlink.com

What is skin-to-skin?

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 skin-to-skin contact and how to make it a part of your life with a new baby.

Some moms feel like skin to skin might be time consuming or restrictive to normal life, so why do we recommend it? Well, it can be beneficial for...

If you’ve taken our breastfeeding classes in-person or online, you may have noticed that we make a big deal about skin-to-skin time!  In fact, I almost always tell moms to do lots of skin-to-skin time as part of their care plan when I see them for a personalized consult.  Some moms feel like it might be time consuming or restrictive to normal life, so why do we recommend it? Well, it can be beneficial for breastfeeding!  But what IS skin-to-skin time anyway?

what is skin-to-skin contact via lactationlink.comWhat is skin-to-skin?

Skin-to-skin is just what it sounds like– keeping baby on you, with baby’s skin touching yours, usually with baby lying on your chest.  This is important after birth because it can help to regulate baby’s temperature and heart rate, but also allow baby ample opportunity to latch on and learn to find comfort at the breast!  (1,2)

It continues to be important even after those first few days because it still provides baby access to nurse as often as she’d like and provides a reason for mom to slow down and allow herself to heal from birth and frequent night wakings.

So, we know it’s important when baby is tiny, but it also has an effect for the entire time you are breastfeeding.  One study found that women who practice frequent skin-to-skin contact are more likely to be exclusively breastfeeding when baby is 3 months old! (3)

what is skin-to-skin contact via lactationlink.com

{gray cardigan}

Tips for skin-to-skin time at home

We’re confident it’s important, but nothing can be beneficial if we can’t fit it into our normal lives.  If you’re wondering how to keep your naked-in-a-diaper baby on your bare chest without feeling like you need to make a dash for your closet if the doorbell rings, one of the answers is: use a robe or cardigan!

There are so many robes now that are made for new moms and aren’t big, fuzzy, or seem like they’d fit right in at a nursing home.  You can use a pretty, silky robe or an on-trend tunic paired with comfy leggings!  Simply open your robe or cardigan when you’re relaxing at home, dress down your  baby to a diaper, and make yourself comfortable on the couch with baby resting on your bare chest while you watch Netflix, read a book, or take a nap.

what is skin-to-skin contact via lactationlink.com

{gray cardigan}

But what if you have another child?  You can’t just leave him to his own devices, eating cereal by the handful straight from the box every day while you rest on the couch!  You can fit skin-to-skin time in with your new baby while still caring for your older baby by doing skin to skin in a wrap!  Putting baby (just in a diaper) in a stretchy wrap or other baby carrier while you aren’t wearing a shirt. You can wear a cardigan or robe over this if you want. The wrap or carrier covers all your important bits so if you had an unexpected visitor, you’d just look like you were wearing a tank top under the wrap and baby.  But you and baby will be getting the awesome benefits of skin-to-skin time, while staying covered and having your hands free!

It doesn’t have to be cumbersome or restrictive to have skin-to-skin time with your baby!  After baby arrives, make sure you plan to have no plans so you have plenty of time for this important bonding.  For more information about the benefits of skin-to-skin or how to fit it into your life, check out our classes!

Thanks for stopping by,

lactationlink008

Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

Sources

(1) Kimura, C. & Matstoka, M. (2007). Changes in breast skin temperature during the course of breastfeeding. Journal of Human Lactation 23(1), pp. 60-69.

(2) Ludington-Hoe, S., Anderson, G.C., Simpson, S., Hollingsead, A., Argote, A., Medellin, G., Rey, H. (2016). Skin-to-skin contact beginning in the delivery room for colombian mothers and their preterm infants. Journal of Human Lactation 9(4), pp. 241-2.

(3) Vila-Candel, R., Duke, K., Soriano-Vidal, J., Castro-Sanchez, E. (2017). Effect of early skin-to-skin mother-infant contact in the maintenance of exclusive breastfeeding. Journal of Human Lactation. Retrieved from journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0890334416676469.

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms via lactationlink.com

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support

We see so much in the news, on blogs, and on social media about the benefits of breastfeeding for baby– for good reason, breastfeeding is GREAT for babies!  But did you know that research shows that breastfeeding also provides long-term health benefits for moms too?  Here are my three top reasons that breastfeeding benefits mom’s health:

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms via lactationlink.com

3 Amazing Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms

  1. Breastfeeding improves the overall health of women.  When a mother breastfeeds, she is reducing her risk of reproductive cancers as well as other common health problems. A great way to decrease your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is to breastfeed (1). Breastfeeding also reduces your risk of ovarian cancer.  The longer you breastfeed, in fact, the greater reduction in your risk.  Other health issue risks reduced by breastfeeding are hypertension and heart attack. (2)
  2. Breastfeeding moms get more sleep. It may seem counterintuitive if you’re a tired mama waking often to nurse your little one back to sleep, but it’s true!  Multiple studies have found that exclusive breastfeeding moms sleep more hours, are healthier physically, and have more energy than formula feeding mothers. What an amazing breastfeeding benefit that we all need! (3, 3a)
  3. Longer duration before fertility returns, but more thorough return to pre-pregnant state: Did you know that a mom’s uterus returns to its pre-pregnant size much faster if the mom is breastfeeding?  Weight loss can vary among breastfeeding moms, but mom’s uterus size going back to normal is definitely influenced by breastfeeding (4). Also, breastfeeding is much more likely to keep your period away after birth.  Exclusive breastfeeding–following baby’s lead day and night–can prevent your menstrual cycle from returning for a time and even be used as a reliable form of birth control for up to six months as long as you don’t have any vaginal bleeding in that time period (5).  If this sounds like an option for you, you can discuss natural family planning methods with your healthcare provider.  

3 amazing breastfeeding benefits for moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding can seem overwhelming sometimes and it’s hard as a mama to be on-call 24/7 for your little one, but reviewing the benefits for not just baby but also for you can be a great motivator when the going gets tough.  What breastfeeding benefit has been most impactful for you as a mom?  I’d love to hear in the comments.

 For more info on breastfeeding benefits for both mom and baby, check out our Confident Breastfeeding Course!

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

 

References

(1) Newcomb, P.A., Storer, B.E., Longnecker, M.P., et al. (1994). Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 330:81-87.

(2) Schwarz, E. B., Ray, R. M., Stuebe, A. M., Allison, M. A., Ness, R. B., Freiberg, M. S., & Cauley, J. A. (2009). Duration of Lactation and Risk Factors for Maternal Cardiovascular Disease. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 113(5), 974–982. http://doi.org/10.1097/01.AOG.0000346884.67796.ca

(3) Kendall-Tackett, K., Cong, Z., Hale, T.W. (2011). The effect of feeding method on sleep duration, maternal well-being, and postpartum depression. Clinical Lactation 2(2): 22-26.

(3a) 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.

(4) Negishi, H., Kishida, T., Yamada, H., Hirayama, E., Mikuni, M., Fujimoto, S. (1999). Changes in uterine size after vaginal delivery and cesarean section determined by vaginal sonography in the puerperium. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics 263(1-2), pp. 13-16.

(5) Riordan, J. & Wambach, K. (2010). Fertility, sexuality, and contraception during lactation. In Breastfeeding and human lactation (4th ed., p. 705-736). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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.

 

 

is it okay for my baby to use a pacifier? via lactation link

Is it okay to give my baby a pacifier?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Lactation Link team

Hi! I’m Kristin Gourley, an IBCLC here at Lactation Link and a mom of 5. I’m here today to answer some questions about pacifier use. Enjoy!

Pacifiers are so common in our culture and many moms, grandmas, and others find them to be helpful for soothing babies.  So why “Is it bad if I give my baby a pacifier?” a common question asked in our community of moms and at consults?

Is it really bad to give your baby a pacifier? A lactation consultant's answer is...

I certainly don’t think they should be avoided at all costs, but there are some things that moms should consider before using one. 

should i give my breastfed baby a pacifier? get the answer from an IBCLC at lactationlink.comWait to start pacifier-use

In general, it’s best to wait until breastfeeding is well-established before introducing a pacifier.  This means baby is nursing well, waking to feed on his own, and gaining weight consistently, while mom is not in pain or experiencing nipple damage.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends considering giving a pacifier at nap time and bedtime after breastfeeeding is firmly established (1) as one way to help prevent SIDS. The evidence is unclear why a pacifier is protective, but it is something to consider.

is it okay for my baby to use a pacifier? via lactation link

Use pacifier in-between feedings, not to replace them

Another important factor to consider is ensuring that the pacifier doesn’t soothe baby too well.  Most babies need to wake at least once at night for many months as well as nurse every couple of hours during the day. Babies release sleepy hormones just from sucking, whether or not their bellies get full, so pushing off a feeding by using a pacifier can cause baby to not eat often enough or get enough milk.

is it okay for my baby to use a pacifier? via lactation link

Breastfeeding came first

On the flip side, many moms find that their baby is not interested in a pacifier!  Breastfeeding is a womb-like environment close to mom and offers warm milk and the promise of a full belly, so some babies will not take any substitute.  It can be hard for mom to feel like she is being used like a pacifier, but try to remember that the breast came first. A pacifier is a replacement for the breast when baby wants to suck continuously.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s pacifier use or any concern about breastfeeding, our video classes are a great resource, especially all troubleshooting included in Breastfeeding Basics 102. You can also reach out to us for an in-person  or e-consult for personalized help!

We’d also love for you to be a part of our Confident Breastfeeding Course. Click the image below for more information.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

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Sources

(1) The American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016). SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. (Pediatrics. Vol. 138 no. 5) Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/10/20/peds.2016-2938

How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Breastmilk

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Home/Hospital Visits

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Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, an IBCLC and mom to 5. I’m here today to answer our most commonly asked question!

A Lactation Consultant's tips on how to know if your baby is getting enough...

One of the most common questions lactation consultants get is, “How do I know if my baby is getting enough?”  Our culture is so used to measuring and knowing numbers and figures!  It can be hard for us to switch our brains over and trust our bodies and our babies.

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dsc_2482Since our breasts don’t come with measuring lines on them, we need other ways to be sure your baby is thriving from breastfeeding.

How to know if your baby is getting enough breastmilk:

  • Baby’s growth. Baby is growing well—weight gain is important; but weight gain is not the only growth measurement that pediatricians track!  Is baby growing in length and head circumference in addition to weight?
  • Diaper output. About 6+ wet diapers and 3+ dirty diapers per day for the first couple of months.  Sometimes babies go longer without pooping; this can be normal in babies over a month old.  Remember: it can’t come out if it’s not going in!
  • Baby’s behavior. Baby is content—all babies get fussy, but a well-fed baby will usually have periods of sound sleep and have content periods during the day.
  • Baby’s development. Baby is developing appropriately and your pediatrician is happy with his or her development.
  • Breast softness. You usually feel some relief after nursing and notice your breasts are a bit softer even if they fill again quickly.

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If you can tick through that list successfully, then it is likely your breastfeeding relationship is thriving!  If you’re not sure that you or your baby is doing well, we’d love to have an in-person  or e-consult with you! If you’d like to learn more ways to promote your own breastfeeding success, check out our video class bundle. The classes go over everything you need to know to meet your breastfeeding goals!

Another way I’d love to share some breastfeeding wisdom with you is with our Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips. Click the image below to access them.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

Should I wake my baby to breastfeed?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Lactation Link team

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Hi mamas! I’m Lacey Parr, a certified lactation educator counselor and mom of 3. One our most commonly asked questions at Lactation Link is whether or not you should wake your baby to feed if they begin to sleep in longer intervals. Mamas and babies need good rest! My hope is that learning when to wake a sleeping baby or when to let them sleep will help bring you some more confidence.

While most babies will need to feed frequently throughout the night for several months, some will begin to sleep longer intervals. It is important to...

Should I wake my baby to breastfeed?

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Before 2 weeks

Before baby turns two weeks old and regains their birth weight, it is important to keep waking baby to feed. Babies at this age need to be fed around the clock every 2-3 hours or 8-12+ times in 24 hours. A newborn’s stomach can only hold a few teaspoons and must eat frequently to satisfy their hunger. This time is also crucial in establishing your milk supply, so frequent breastfeeding is key. Keep feeding on baby’s cues, whenever they are, and throughout the night.

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After 2 weeks

While most babies will need to feed frequently throughout the night for several months, some will begin to sleep longer intervals. After baby regains his/her birth weight (around 10-14 days of life), it is normally safe to allow baby to sleep longer intervals (1). Some moms like to wake at this time to pump or hand express to relieve any pressure they might feel in their breasts. This can be a good time to start saving milk to return to work or school. But other moms take this time to get more sleep. Do whatever works for you and your family! If your breasts do feel full and you need to express, but you worry about having to wake every night to relieve that pressure, know that this will not last forever! Try expressing just long enough to relieve the pressure and your breasts will adjust. Any experiences with this? Share in the comments.

Get more breastfeeding wisdom and answers to commonly asked questions with our Confident Breastfeeding Course. Click the image below.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC

Sources

(1) Lauwers, J. & Swisher, A.. (2011). Breastfeeding in the early weeks. Counseling the Nursing Mother (5th ed., pp. 378). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.