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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.

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

Child-Led Weaning

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

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

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

Mother-Led Weaning

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

“OH, ABOUT ANOTHER 5 MINUTES”

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

How to wean via lactationlink.com

How to wean

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

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

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

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

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

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

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here today to talk about SIDS and how breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk. I hope it brings you more confidence as you face infant feeding and sleeping options!

 

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

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a worry that strikes fear into the hearts of just about every parent. According to the CDC, SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation. In 2015, SIDS was given as the cause of death for about 1,600 U.S. babies (1). Although SIDS is different from smothering or suffocation, they are all often lumped together in the research and discussion, which can make it difficult to really understand what is going on.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

While researchers still have a lot to learn about this tragic condition, multiple studies have found something that I’m very interested in as a lactation consultant: Breastfed babies have a decreased risk of SIDS by 50% or more (2). The protection seems to increase the more mother’s milk your baby gets (i.e. how much of baby’s food source comes from breastmilk).  Even small amounts of breastmilk offer some safety from SIDS, and exclusive breastfeeding offers the best risk reduction (3). Let’s take a look at the research to find out more.

Why does breastfeeding make a difference?

We don’t know exactly why breastfeeding protects babies, but there are a few theories. First of all, illnesses like diarrhea and upper respiratory infections happen more often for babies who are not breastfed, and these minor illnesses have frequently been associated with SIDS (4).  Another theory is that breastmilk provides optimal nutrition for brain development and this could help at-risk babies’ brains mature so that they have the normal response of gasping for air when they should.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

The typical sleep patterns of breastfed babies might also offer some clues as to why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. Researchers have found that breastfed babies generally sleep for shorter stretches and are a lot easier to wake from active sleep than non-breastfed babies (5,6). Shorter sleep stretches and being more easily woken could be another piece of the protection puzzle.

If just hearing the news that breastfed babies have shorter sleep stretches makes you feel more exhausted, listen up! Exclusively breastfeeding mothers (and their partners) get more sleep and spend more time in deep sleep than mothers who are not breastfeeding, even though their babies tend to wake more frequently at night (7,8).  This is because breastfed babies and their moms fall back asleep faster.  It’s pretty fantastic that breastfeeding can help you get more rest AND protect your baby at the same time.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

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What causes SIDS?

Scientists still don’t know exactly why some babies die without explanation, but recent research points to the possibility of brain stem abnormalities that prevent some babies from being able to rouse from sleep and gasp for air when their blood oxygen levels are too low. (9,10,11). These babies seem to be in more danger when other risk factors for SIDS are present and babies are younger than 6 months. The four biggest risk factors are (12):

  • Household smoking
  • Putting a baby on his or her stomach for sleep
  • Leaving a sleeping baby unattended
  • Formula feeding

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

There is no way to know ahead of time if your baby has the condition researchers describe, so the best way to protect babies is for all parents to take measures to reduce the most common and avoidable risk factors:

  1. If you smoke, try to quit.  At the very least, don’t allow anyone to smoke inside your house or car or around your baby.
  2. Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep.
    Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

    {Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

  1. Keep your baby close at night. There are many different sleeping arrangements that can keep your baby close (and safe) at night, which can also make nighttime feedings easier and help you get more rest (13):
  • A bassinet or cradle next to your bed
  • Baby’s crib attached to your bed in a “side-car” arrangement (no gaps or wedges present)
  • A “co-sleeper” bed that attaches to your bed
  • Baby put to sleep on a mattress on the floor away from the walls in your room, so you can lie down and sleep while breastfeeding the baby and return to your own bed after the baby goes back to sleep.
  • Baby sleeps in your bed, either for part of the night– after he or she awakens the first time– or for the whole night. Read our article on How to Co-sleep Safely for more information.
Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

{Dock a Tot}

  1. Breastfeed. The #1 rule is always feed the baby, so if formula is necessary, use it. If it’s not necessary, try to avoid it. Remember that the more of your milk your baby gets, the lower the risk of SIDS. Some breastfeeding is definitely better than none. A visit with a lactation consultant (IBCLC) can help you maximize the amount of your milk that your baby will get. Lactation Link’s IBCLCs are available for home and hospital visits for families in our geographic area and secure video e-consults for families everywhere else. We are always happy to support mothers with their breastfeeding questions and goals.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

Information like this is exactly why I’m so passionate about supporting families with feeding their babies. Breastfeeding isn’t just a lifestyle choice or another way to get food into babies, it is the biological norm for nurturing babies and supporting their overall growth and development and helps make healthy families and communities.

Why breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS via lactationlink.com

Here at Lactation Link, we want to support you! Our breastfeeding video courses can help you get a great start to your breastfeeding relationship, and our lactation consultants are available to help you with any concerns that pop up along the way. Let us help you reach your breastfeeding goals, whatever they may be.

Thanks for stopping by,

Get in-person or online help with breastfeeding.

Stephanie Weight Hadfield, BS, IBCLC

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

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

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Sources

(1) Centers for Disease Control (2017, February 1). Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Data and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm

(2) Hauck, F.R., Thompson, J.M., Tanabe, K.O., et al. Breastfeeding and reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics 128, no.1 (2011): 103-110.

(3) McVea, K. L. S. P., Turner, P. D., & Peppler, D. K. (2000). The role of breastfeeding in sudden infant death syndrome. Journal of Human Lactation, 16 13-20

(4) Dujits, L., Jaddoe, V. W., Hofman, A., & Moll, H. A. (2010). Prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of infectious diseases in infancy. Pediatrics, 126, e18-e25

(5) Quillin, S. I., & Glenn, L. L. (2004) Interaction between feeding method and co-sleeping on maternal-newborn sleep. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 33(5), 580-588.

(6) Ball, H. L. (2003). Breastfeeding, bed-sharing, and infant sleep. Birth, 3 30(3), 181-188.

(7) Doan, T., Gardiner, A., Gay, C. L., & Lee, K. A. (2007). Breastfeeding increases sleep duration of new parents. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. 21(3), 200-206.

(8) Blyton, D. M., Sullivan, C. E., and Edwards, N. (2002). Lactation is associated with an increase in slow-wave sleep in women. Journal of Sleep Research, 11(4), 297-303.

(9) Kinney, H. C. (2005). Abnormalities of the brainstem serotonergic system in the sudden infant death syndrome: A review. Pediatric and Developmental Pathology, 8, 507-524.

(10) Kinney, H. C., Randall, L. L., Sleeper, L. A., et al. (2003). Serotonergenic brainstem abnormalities in Northern Plains Indians with the sudden infant death syndrome. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 62, 1178-1191.

(11) Paterson, D. S., Trachtenberg, F. L., Thompson, E. G., et al. (2006). Multiple serotonergenic brainstem abnormalities in sudden infant death syndrome. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296, 2124-2132.

(12) Moon, R.Y., et al. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths; expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics 128, no.5 (2011): 1030:1039.

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

 

Nursing Bra Q&A with Bravado Designs

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Recommended Products

Hi mamas, I’m Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC, mom of 2 and the creator/founder of Lactation Link, and I’m here today to talk about the best nursing bras! Enjoy!

The best nursing bras are the one that feel the most comfortable for you. Bravado Designs has several kinds of nursing bras that....

We have compiled our readers’ top nursing bra questions and are answering them today! We are thrilled to have Bravado Designs sponsoring this post.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

{Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra}

“Why do I need a nursing bra?”

  • A nursing bra can make nursing more convenient as it unclips from below the shoulder for breast access. Some moms use conventional bras for nursing but often find that their bras become stretched out. Some moms also like using a conventional bra that clips in the front while nursing. While this often does the trick, it leaves the non-nursing side unsupported. The best nursing bras like the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra give moms an easy and convenient way to nurse.

“How many nursing bras do I need?”

  • Many moms like to have 2-3 bras to switch out with throughout the week. I also recommend getting a nursing cami as well. Nursing camis have helped moms nurse in public discreetly by pulling up your shirt without showing any tummy. The Body Silk Seamless Nursing Cami is perfect for this.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

“What are the best nursing bras?”

“How do I get the right size nursing bra?”

  • With chest size changing so much during pregnancy and directly after birth, many moms find it difficult to know which bra size would work best. I usually recommend to moms that they purchase a sleep nursing bra or nursing cami (often more soft and forgiving in size) for the first couple of weeks. Then, when they feel their size has regulated, purchasing a nursing bra like the Bravado Original. If the sleep bra encourages you to stay in more to cuddle your wee newborn, then my job is complete! 😉
LactationLink_278

{Bravado Designs Seamless Silk Nursing Cami}

“Do I need a pumping bra too?”

  • If you plan on pumping multiple times throughout the day, having a pumping routine that is convenient and mess-free will make your pumping sessions much easier! Check out Bravado’s nursing bra accessory Clip & Pump, it attaches to any nursing bra or nursing cami.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.comThe Clip & Pump Nursing Bra Accessory pulls over your nursing bra to make pumping easier! After unclipping your nursing bra, you clip in the nursing bra accessory and start your pump! You can also see the video for a great illustration.

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

{Bravado Designs Clip & Pump Nursing Bra Accessory

This is a great opportunity to pump hands-free so you can work (or eat!) while you pump . This also allows you to incorporate hands-on pumping, which can increase your pumping output.

“How do I stay comfortable wearing a bra 24/7?”

  • I could have written this question! I’m not a big fan of underwire and have thrown out many uncomfortable bras! I have found that nursing bras/tanks are necessary to keep nursing pads in place. Thankfully, nursing bras are often more comfortable and forgiving in fabric than conventional bras. Nursing camis are also another great option for the bra-averse. And who says a comfortable sleep nursing bra can only be worn for sleeping?

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

“Do nursing bras help or hurt engorgement/clogged ducts?”

  • Any bra with underwire is not recommended while dealing with clogged ducts or engorgement. Listen to your body, if your bra feels restrictive, try a different size or go without for a time. Most of the time, a well-fitting bra will not affect clogged ducts or engorgement. Engorgement often happens in the first few days and I recommend a comfy sleep nursing bra or nursing cami for this time. They are the least restrictive and will give your growing breasts support without discomfort. Luckily, the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is one of the best nursing bras and gives excellent support without wires!

Your nursing bra questions answered! via lactationlink.com

“How do I clean my nursing bra w/o wearing out the fabric?”

  • Most bras are best washed by hand or on the delicate cycle. Hang drying your bra will lengthen the life of the bra.  Probably the best thing you can do for it is not washing it every day (unless soiled).  You can get around that by wearing nursing pads. Switch out your nursing pads often and you save your bra from extra washings!

I hope this post has helped answer your nursing bra questions! Comment below if you have anymore. Share this post if you found it helpful!

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Pros & Cons for Each Breastfeeding Position

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. I’m a mom to 5 and lactation consultant with Lactation Link. I’m here today to talk about the pros and cons for various breastfeeding positions. Enjoy!

In general, any position is just fine as long as mom is comfortable and baby is able to get....

In many breastfeeding pictures you come across on social media or in other places, you may notice that lots of moms feed in a cradle or cross-cradle position.  In fact, many hospital nurses are only familiar with cradle positions!  Our in-person and video classes, however, go over many different breastfeeding positions commonly used for breastfeeding.  It can be great to have all these different tools in your toolbox for when baby is tired, distracted, you need to rest, your nipples are sore, or baby is having trouble latching.

What are the positions?

Check out our classes for detailed information and video how-to’s, but some great breastfeeding positions are:

  • Cradle & cross cradle
  • Football
  • Laid back / Biological Nurturing
  • Side lying

As baby gets older and more acrobatic in his nursing, you may notice that you experience some very creative and non-traditional breastfeeding positions!  In general, any position is just fine as long as mom is comfortable and baby is able to get all the milk he needs.

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Which breastfeeding positions should I use?

The answer to what position you should use is just like the answer to so many breastfeeding questions- it depends!  Baby’s age and size, your breast size and shape, the type of birth you had and how you’re recovering, and many other things can influence what position you’ll find most comfortable for you and your baby.  

I’m going to go over the most common breastfeeding positions and give some pros and cons to them to help you decide what might be best for you.  Remember that sometimes you don’t know if you’ll like it until you try!

Pros & Cons to Breastfeeding Positions

Cradle & cross cradle

  • The most common positions and your nurse at the hospital is probably familiar with them and can help you adjust some
  • When latching baby with the cross-cradle, you can help steady his head and bring him gently and quickly to your breast when he opens wide.  Sometimes moms can be nervous and this position can help them feel more in control!
  • Many moms find cradling baby’s head in their forearm/elbow to feel comfortable and natural, and leaves their other arm to do something else (hold a remote or reach for that snack!)
  • Many nursing pillows are designed for the cradle positions and can help raise baby higher without too much strain from mom, and can help position baby tummy-to-tummy with mom.
  • When nursing in public, this position covers your postpartum tummy with baby’s body!
  • Many moms use this position successfully from baby’s birth day until weaning day, no matter how old baby is when that happens!
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cross Cradle hold

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cross Cradle hold

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Cradle hold

Football

  • Many moms who had a cesarean birth find this position most comfortable since it doesn’t press baby’s body onto your abdomen.
  • It is usually able to be used with nursing pillows, especially if you rotate the pillow to your side.
  • You can steady baby’s head with your hand as you bring him gently and quickly to your breast when he opens wide.  
  • Some moms find baby latches better and seems more cozy in this position since they are so tight against mom and their legs don’t hang at all.  If baby is sleepy, though, it might make baby fall right to sleep due to the coziness.
  • Depending on baby’s size and mom’s breast size, football position can be tricky in public.  It’s generally easier to achieve a good latch when you have pillows behind you, which isn’t always possible at a restaurant or the mall!
  • Usually most compatible with smaller and younger babies.
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

{Football hold} + {Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

Laid back / Biological Nurturing

  • This is a great position for mom to relax or even catch a little nap with her feet up!
  • Some babies are more comfortable on their tummies, and this position allows baby to be on his tummy.
  • This is a great position to try when skin to skin.
  • Baby takes the lead with this position, which can feel strange for mom at first.  
  • It can feel very tricky at first, but remember that practice makes perfect!  Some moms find that having an IBCLC help them with this position for the first time to be helpful.  Many moms I see have their husbands help them the first few times with this one as they learn how to position baby and their breasts.  Other times Mom can sit back and watch baby latch unassisted. 
  • Being laid back can be great for mamas with oversupply or a forceful letdown because gravity helps to slow down the milk flow for baby.  Babies who get frustrated by choking on the milk in other positions often like this one.
  • Can be used with any age or size of baby.
  • Even if you are primarily using another position, reclining some can make any position more comfortable and prevent painful hunching over baby.
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Laid back nursing + {Undercover Mama dress: use code LLINK for 20% off}

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Laid back nursing

Side lying

  • This can be a good position if you’ve had a difficult birth and it’s uncomfortable for you to sit for long periods.
  • Some moms find this position comes naturally, but some moms need a little help figuring out where to put their arms, breasts, and baby.  Having another person help position baby at first can be helpful, too.
  • This is not the best position for nursing in public since we don’t often have access to a bed or comfy spot to lay down and nurse when not at home.
  • Of course, this is one of the best positions for mom to take a nap while feeding! Just grab a nursing nightgown and a pillow for your head!
  • Many moms use this position over the whole course of breastfeeding, no matter baby’s age!  
Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Side lying + {Undercover Mama nursing dress: use code LLINK for 20% off}

Breastfeeding Positions: Pros and Cons via lactationlink.com

Feel free to come back and go over these pros and cons when baby enters a new stage and you need to try something new– babies always keep us on our toes!  For more information about how to achieve these positions, check out our Breastfeeding Basics class.  If you’re trying a position and it’s just not working, don’t hesitate to try another one and contact us for a consult to give you some personalized support.  Remember that the only rule when it comes to breastfeeding positions is that both mom and baby are comfortable and baby is getting what she needs!  

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

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

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

lactationlink008

Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

References

Wilson-Clay, B. & Hoover, K. (2017). Positioning and latch in The Breastfeeding Atlas, 6th ed. Manchaca, Texas: LactNews Press.

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

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 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).

IBCLC FAQ’s

  • 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 around the country! E-mail melissa@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,

lactationlink008

Kristin Gourley, IBCLC

Sources

  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

{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.