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Sweet Dreams with Owlet Smart Sock 2

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



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.


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!



Thanks for stopping by,

lins headshot peach top

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Photography in this post by Jessica Kettle

Sponsored by Owlet

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines via lactationlink.com

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here to talk about one of our most frequently asked question topics, breastmilk storage. Hope this answers your questions!

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

Fresh human milk is a dynamic, living substance. It is packed with live immune cells that actively target and kill bacteria, so it takes longer to spoil than pasteurized cow’s milk or formula. This is one of the many reasons why so many mothers choose to pump their breast milk when away from baby. Our Pumping and Storing Breastmilk online class has so many tips to make this easier on mom. In this post,  I will discuss the necessary care when handling your precious milk.  Learn these breastmilk storage guidelines to make sure your pumped milk maintains all of its wonderful nutritional and immune protecting properties. Here are some easy-to-remember tips:

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines via lactationlink.com

Handling your pumped milk:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before expressing your milk. (sing the alphabet song in your head to get the timing right)
  • Store milk in clean glass or plastic containers with tightly fitting lids or heavy duty plastic bags designed for breastmilk storage. Breastmilk storage bags are a space-saving option for freezing milk. Ordinary plastic storage bags are not recommended for breastmilk storage, because they can easily tear and leak. (1)
  • Clearly label the milk with the date it was expressed, as well as your child’s name if it will be given to a childcare provider. Use the oldest milk in the fridge or freezer first.
  • Wash bottles and pump parts in hot, soapy water after use. Pump parts and bottles can generally be washed on the top rack of a dishwasher too; check the manufacturer’s instructions on your specific items to be sure. Sterilizing bottles and pump parts is unnecessary for healthy, full-term babies. (2)
  • Store milk in smaller portion sizes to minimize waste. Storing in 2-ounce amounts and offering additional amounts if the baby is still hungry will prevent having to throw away unfinished milk. Having a few 1 oz portions stored can also be helpful for times that baby is hungry but mama is on her way. (3)

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines via lactationlink.com

Guidelines for storing your pumped milk:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers ranges of time that milk can safely be left at for certain temperatures, you can find them here if you want to take a look. I like to recommend a simple rule that fits within these ranges and is easy to recall, even for the most sleep-deprived parents. Just remember 5-5-5.

  • 5 hours at room temperature. If the room is very warm (more than 85 degrees F/29 degrees C), 3-4 hours seems to be a safer time range.
  • 5 days in the fridge (store milk in the back of the refrigerator where the temperature is the coldest.)
  • 5 months in a regular freezer (the separated compartment in a typical fridge/freezer unit) According to the CDC, milk frozen for longer than the recommended time ranges is safe, but may be lower in quality as some of the fats in the milk break down.

Other time ranges that don’t fit as neatly within the 5-5-5 rule, but are still helpful:

  • Human milk can be stored for 6-12 months in a chest or upright deep freezer.
  • Human milk can be safely stored with ice packs in insulated storage bags for up to 24 hours.

Breastmilk storage guidelines via lactationlink.com

Milk Thawing and Use

Thawing slow and gently is the best way to preserve the immune properties that protect your baby and prevent milk contamination. An easy option is to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can also hold the container under warm running water or place in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.

Never thaw or heat milk in the microwave. It can destroy many of the milk’s anti-infective factors. The uneven heating of microwaves can also cause hot spots that can burn your baby’s mouth or throat even if milk is swirled or shaken afterwards. (4)

Breastmilk storage guidelines via lactationlink.com

Thawed milk can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. The current guidelines for milk storage recommend that thawed milk should not be refrozen. However, in a 2006 study, researchers froze, thawed and then re-froze and re-thawed donor milk and tested batches that were then refrigerated or left at room temperature. None of the batches developed unacceptable bacterial counts or decreased vitamin content compared to a control batch that was only frozen once. (5) This indicates that current recommendations might be more conservative than necessary, and you may want to consider this as you make decisions about using your expressed breastmilk.

Have you taken Lactation Link’s Pumping and Storing Breastmilk video course? It’s packed with helpful information and will answer many questions about pumping and milk storage that you didn’t even know to ask.

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

(1) Garza C, Johnson CA, Harrist R, et al. Effects of methods of collection and storage on nutrients in human milk. Early Human Development 1982;6:295–303

(2) Pittard WB 3rd, Geddes KM, Brown S, et al. Bacterial contamination of human milk: Container type and method of expression. American Journal of Perinatology 1991;81:25–27

(3) Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. (2010) Clinical Protocol Number #8: Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Healthy Full Term Infants [PDF-125k]. Princeton Junction, New Jersey: Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

(4) Quan, R., Yang, C., Rubenstein, S., Lewiston, N.J., Sunshine, P., Stevenson, D.K., et al. (1992). Effects of microwave radiation on anti-infective factors in human milk. Pediatrics, 89(4 Pt 1), 667-669.

(5) Rechtman, D. J., Lee, M. L., & Berg, H. (2006) Effect of environmental conditions on unpasteurized donor human milk. Breastfeeding Medicine, 1(1), 24-26.

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 breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

How to breastfeed in public

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas, I’m Lacey Parr, a certified lactation educator counselor and mom of 3. I’m here today to talk about something I am particularly passionate about… helping moms feel confident to breastfeed in public! Enjoy! Special thanks to Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project for the images in this post.

How to properly breastfeed in public

Breastfeeding In Public: How to Find Your Confidence

When it comes to breastfeeding in public, there seems to be a lot controversy around the topic. Our newsfeeds seem to be flooded with stories about moms being shamed about breastfeeding away from home. But is that the real story? Is it wrong to breastfeed in public? How could it be wrong to feed your baby? I’m here to remind you that the shaming and eye-rolling situations are the exceptions, not the rule. Millions of mothers feed their babies in millions of places each day without any issue. But since this can be a sensitive issue that some new moms feel uncomfortable with, let’s talk about some topics with public breastfeeding so you can breastfeed in public places with confidence!

  • Reasons to consider breastfeeding wherever you go
  • State & Federal Laws: What Are Your Rights?
  • How to address others
  • Where To Breastfeed in Public
  • Tips for Breastfeeding in Public
  • Breastfeeding in public stories

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

Reasons to consider breastfeeding wherever you go

One of the top reasons mothers wean has to do with apprehension about breastfeeding in public. I want to help dispel those concerns today. We all eat when we are hungry and so, your baby requires the same thing. Yes, they may need to feed more often and what may seem like at the most inconvenient times, but all they know is that they are hungry and that you satisfy that need. Let’s talk about some of the reasons breastfeeding on the go is easier than an alternative:

  • Your milk is always the right temperature.
  • Nothing extra to carry. You’ve got all the “equipment” with you.  
  • Not having to worry about feeling engorged when out and about.
  • It’s a great way to connect with baby during your busy day together. Baby is taking in all the sights and sounds of being in a public place. Resting to nurse and just focusing on you will help baby to feel calm and secure.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

State & Federal Laws: What Are Your Rights?

The majority of states have laws on the books that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in any location that she has the legal right to be (1). Learn your state’s specific law at breastfeedinglaw.com. So keep on nursing! It’s your right. In addition, this knowledge can create confidence, especially if someone were to confront you about feeding your baby in public. 

How to address others

In the case that someone does react negatively to your legal right to feed your child, here are a few responses that have been empowering to other moms:

  • “I have the legal right to be here and to feed my infant.”
  • “Oh? You aren’t comfortable with me keeping my baby alive in public?”
  • “Your comfort is not my concern. My concern is my baby’s comfort.”
  • “You can look away if you aren’t comfortable with my feeding my infant.”

If you are like me and try to avoid others when breastfeeding out and about or have an easily distracted baby, finding a good spot is key. Read on how to find a great spot to breastfeed in public.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project
Where To Breastfeed in Public

When your baby gets hungry while out and about for the first time, you might look about frantically for a good spot.  Here are a few places that some moms have found helpful:

  • In a carrier. Feeding while walking around can make a new mom feel like a pro – comfortable for baby and people may not even be able to tell you’re breastfeeding. Read our tips on breastfeeding in a carrier here.
  • In the shade if you’re outside on a hot day.
  • Many public places have a nursing room, research locations or the Pumpspotting app for the closest one.
  • Out of the hustle and bustle. Often a quiet corner can be a great place to get a baby quieted and ready to nurse.
  • If you are in a health clinic or office and would like a private room, just ask! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people want to accommodate you.
  • Anywhere and wherever you want.

Remember, you have a right to feed your baby whenever and wherever you need.  Read on for 5 tried and true tips for breastfeeding in public from moms who have successfully nursed their children wherever they go.

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com Photos by Leilani Rogers of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project

Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

  1. Relax. Find a nice spot where your baby will be less distracted. Drop your shoulders, push your hips forward in your chair and get comfy. You’re feeding your baby, that is all. When you are relaxed, your baby can be relaxed as well.
  2. Use a cover, or not. Decide on the amount of coverage (or not) you are comfortable with. Some moms feel more comfortable using a cover (we love Covered Goods). Some babies nurse well under them, as they can help block out noisy distractions. Other babies kick them off. Do whatever works best for you and your baby.
  3. The two-shirt method. I like to use what is often referred to as the two-shirt method. This is when Undercover Mama (use LLINK for 20% off!) tanks really come in handy. I reach under my shirt to pull down my bra/tank and then latch baby as I lift my shirt. Easy-peasy. My t-shirt covers the top of my breast, my tank covers my stomach and baby covers the rest.
  4. Use a carrier. I have found this to be the easiest way to nurse in public. Ergobaby’s babywearing educator wrote a blog post about this for us recently.
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back. You are feeding your baby beautifully wherever you are.

Breastfeeding in public stories

We have collected some stories from real moms who found confidence breastfeeding in public. I hope they inspire you as well!

“I was away from baby most of the day working. My husband came to pick me up from my event. But at the last minute, a bunch of women came to my table to try and buy product. So, I just latched baby on and kept working. It was a beautiful experience with all the women being supportive and being my hands!” -D. R. Vigil

“I was at a store with a 2 month old and my 2 other crazy boys ages  4 and 2. It was around Christmastime and we were waiting in line for an online pickup. I wasn’t going to leave the line to feed her so I fed her right there in line standing up and the two women behind me were so nice and in awe that I could multi-task so well! Haha. I am grateful they were so helpful and nice while I was feeding my baby. I don’t think I ever felt so much confidence in breastfeeding in public before that experience.” -A. Denney 

“I saw a photo from early in American history where women were openly nursing in church. I thought, ‘if it was modest and accepted in THEIR day, it definitely should be in our’s. If someone take issue with isn’t, that is their problem, Not mine.’ Now I nurse in church and just about everywhere else.” -J. P. Bellinger 

I hope that you can remember that breastfeeding wherever you go is a great choice for you and baby. Understanding that breastfeeding is your right and protected by law can be empowering! Know that there are many options for breastfeeding in public and no wrong way to do it! I hope this reduces any stress or concern you have about breastfeeding in public. Remember that all of us at Lactation Link are cheering you on.

Thanks for stopping by,

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com

Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC


  1. http://breastfeedinglaw.com/federal-law/
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


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

{Lil’ Buds breast comfort packs: use code LLINK for 10% off}

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

{plum pretty sugar robe}

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!

Want more step by step tips on how to breastfeed, worry free?

Enter the FREE email course and learn the basics of breastfeeding & how to fix common problems, so you can be your best self around your baby!

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

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.



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


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,


Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com Know the difference in lactation professionals so you can get the best support!

What is an IBCLC?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Home/Hospital Visits, Lactation Link team

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 what makes an IBCLC different from other lactation professionals. I hope this answers questions you have had about IBCLCs.

What is an IBCLC?

Now that you’re pregnant, you may be focused on making informed choices for your birth– which is so important! Once that baby arrives, though, you’ll be mostly focused on feeding that sweet little one! You may be wondering who you can trust when it comes to breastfeeding support. There is breastfeeding advice out there in so many places– everywhere from your mom and sister to your nosy neighbor to online forums and social media. It can be hard to know what information and people you can depend on! So you can feel super comfortable preparing to breastfeed and meeting your breastfeeding goals, you should definitely have an IBCLC on your team! That’s a long acronym, so to get started, let’s go over that and some other professional lactation-related acronyms:

  • IBCLC: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
  • LLL: La Leche League (a mother-to-mother volunteer breastfeeding support organization)
  • RN: Registered Nurse (sometimes the lactation specialist at the hospital is a nurse with no other lactation training or credential)
  • CLC: Certified Lactation Counselor (Helpful in assisting with normal course of breastfeeding issues)
  • CLE: Certified Lactation Educator (Someone who is trained in teaching breastfeeding topics to others)
  • CLEC: Certified Lactation Educator Counselor (Very similar to a CLC; trained in the normal course of breastfeeding)

There are three IBCLCs and one CLEC (who is on track to become an IBCLC soon!) with Lactation Link right now, so we are overflowing with breastfeeding support and knowledge!

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com

Lactation Link lactation professionals: Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC; Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC; Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC; Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC.

In most U.S. states (Rhode Island and Georgia excluded), the term “Lactation Consultant” is not regulated and does not require a license (1).  This means that someone can call themselves a lactation consultant, even if they aren’t an IBCLC. It also means that you’ll sometimes read on social media something like, “Make sure you see a real IBCLC!”  So what makes an IBCLC so special?  

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, IBCLC teaching at a Lactation Link class.

To become an IBCLC, one must pass seven college-level health science classes, six other health science classes like CPR and medical terminology, 90 hours of lactation-specific education, and complete 1000 hours of hands-on clinical experience with breastfeeding mothers and babies.  That’s alot of boobie talk!  After all that is completed, the candidate qualifies to sit for the IBLCE exam.  This is a 4-hour, 175-question exam. After completing the requirements and passing the exam, one becomes an IBCLC!  It is then required to re-certify every 5 years with continuing education credits and/or re-taking the exam (2).  There is no other lactation education or support credential that requires so much preparation and knowledge!

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com

Lactation Link IBCLCs and educators at a Lactation Link class.

To briefly compare training, a CLC and CLEC are the nearest to an IBCLC in requirements to qualify.  To earn either certification, one must take a 45-hour lactation education course and an exam on that material.  No clinical experience component or other health education is necessary (3, 4).  The clinical experience backgrounds that IBCLCs have is a staggering difference between other breastfeeding certifications and is the gold standard for assessing and managing breastfeeding issues.  Wouldn’t you rather have someone who has seen hundreds of moms and babies with many different issues be the one who helps you?

This is why you might notice that on Lactation Link’s website & instagram page, we proudly refer to ourselves as IBCLCs instead of just saying lactation consultants.  A lot of time, work, effort, studying, and passion went into earning the IBCLC credential and we are proud that we’ve obtained the highest certification available for breastfeeding support and can better serve moms like you!  

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com

Lactation Link’s IBCLCs offer e-consults, in-person consults, online video classes, and in-person classes.  Each of us qualified to become an IBCLC with different backgrounds (including RN experience; doula and birth experience; Women, Infants, and Children counseling; La Leche League community support, and many different classes and conferences full of education).  This amazing spectrum of knowledge makes us fully qualified to offer these services to moms who want the best information out there so they can succeed in meeting their goals.

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com

In fact, research proves this to be true!  One research summary found that after reviewing all available studies regarding the outcomes of using IBCLCs, mothers who had higher breastfeeding initiation rates, a longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding, a longer duration of any breastfeeding, higher breastfeeding rates for all infant age groups, AND better maternal and infant health outcomes as compared to those who didn’t seek out IBCLC support (5).


  • Do you need to be a nurse to be an IBCLC? No.  Some IBCLCs are also Registered Nurses or Registered Dieticians but there are other pathways to becoming IBCLC.  
  • Are all lactation nurses in the hospital IBCLCs? Some are, some aren’t.  Some of the ‘lactation specialists’ rounding for the hospital don’t have any extra credential or training other than their experience in the hospital.  This varies a lot by hospital and region.  One of the reasons we offer hospital visits at Lactation Link is so you have the opportunity to get all the support you need and want after birth, no matter how much education, knowledge, or time the hospital lactation nurse has.
  • How long does it take to become an IBCLC? This varies a lot, but it generally takes 2-5 years to complete all the qualifications.  Other breastfeeding credentials generally take anywhere from 1 week to 6 months to complete.

Now that you know that an IBCLC is the gold standard in breastfeeding support, how can you get in touch with one?  Our video classes are a great place to start.  They are so comprehensive and reasonably priced, the cost savings is huge.  First, you have to consider that, on average, formula can cost $3000 over the course of baby’s first year.  We can also help with in-person or online consultations.  You can actually use your Health Savings Account card to book in-person and e-consults with us!  Some moms have even had success in having the cost of the breastfeeding classes or their consults reimbursed by their insurance companies (we can provide an itemized receipt for you to submit for possible (not guaranteed) reimbursement).

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com

Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more comfortable about navigating the waters of breastfeeding support when you’re looking for help with your breastfeeding questions.  We help moms all over the world, so if you need some help don’t hesitate to schedule an e-consult or in-person consult with us! Also, remember that not all breastfeeding courses are developed and peer-reviewed by IBCLCs, so if you’re looking for breastfeeding education to prepare yourself for your new baby or heading back to work, you can feel confident that our on-demand video classes are full of research-based information!  You can start learning in your first trimester and always refer back to the info because the classes don’t expire!

Want to work with Lactation Link?

We are looking for IBCLCs to join our team from around the world! E-mail kristin@lactationlink.com for more information!

What is an IBCLC? via lactationlink.com

Lactation Link professionals: Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC; Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC; Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC; Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC.


Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

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

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,


Kristin Gourley, IBCLC


  1. Herbert, D. (2016, April 29). Georgia achieves licensure. Retrieved from https://uslca.org/georgia-achieves-licensure
  2. “Preparing for IBCLC Certification.” IBLCE. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2017. <http://iblce.org/certify/preparing-for-ibclc-certification/>.
  3. Baker, G. (n.d.) Lactation educator counselor. Retrieved from http://breastfeeding-education.com/home/clec-2/
  4. “Lactation Counselor Training Course.” Healthy Children Project. N.p., (2017). Web 23 Feb. 2017. <http://www.healthychildren.cc/clc.htm>
  5. Patel, S., & Patel, S. (2015). The effectiveness of lactation consultants and lactation counselors on breastfeeding outcomes. Journal of human lactation 32(3), pp. 530-41.
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

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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

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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,


Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC


(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.