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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

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

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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

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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.

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

{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!

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

 

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 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,

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

Which nursing pad is right for me?

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

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

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

Which nursing pad is right for me?Disposable nursing pads

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

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

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

Reusable silicone pads

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

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

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

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

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

 

Reusable cloth pads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

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Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC

losing weight while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

Can I breastfeed if I want to lose weight?

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

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 breastfeeding and losing weight!

I am often asked by moms if breastfeeding while trying to lose weight is okay.  In general, yes!  It is safe to lose weight and breastfeed your baby.

So what if you aren’t losing weight naturally while breastfeeding? Is it safe to diet? A lactation consultant shares tips and...

After the obvious loss of weight from the baby and placenta, some women find that they continue to lose pregnancy weight without any extra effort (lucky ducks!).  Just like everything related to babies, though, that’s not always the case and postpartum weight changes vary woman to woman!

losing weight while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

{ergobaby carrier}

How breastfeeding can affect mother’s weight

One study found that women who entered pregnancy with a normal-range Body Mass Index retained less weight if they breastfed for 6+ months, versus those who breastfed less than 1 week, who retained more weight.  The same study found that women who entered pregnancy obese were below their pre-pregnancy weight at six months postpartum if they breastfed exclusively!

Whether you notice that you don’t have to work hard to lose the baby weight or that you have to consciously watch your diet in order to drop pounds, it is still important to eat healthy as a breastfeeding mom. I like to recommend a colorful diet, drinking water as often as you are thirsty, try to minimize sweets and fried foods.  While your milk is still high-quality even if your diet isn’t perfect, how you feel, how you sleep, and your mood may be affected if you’re not taking in enough nutrients.

losing weight while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

{ergobaby carrier}

Can I breastfeed if I want to lose weight?

So what if you aren’t losing weight naturally while breastfeeding?  Is it safe to diet?  Studies have shown that short-term dieting combined with exercise does not affect milk supply.  Most women should eat at least 1800 calories per day and can safely lose around 1 pound per week.  Harsh diets like liquid fasts and diet pills should be avoided. Get some tips for postpartum wellness from a nutrition coach here. Remember to be cleared for exercise by your doctor or midwife after birth before beginning to work out.

Most mothers do want to lose weight postpartum.  Breastfeeding alone may help you in that endeavor, but the bottom line about postpartum weight loss is that eating healthy is always a good idea, exercise is safe while breastfeeding, and it’s okay to work to lose about a pound per week.  If you’re having trouble losing weight or are losing too much, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.  If you are worried about your weight loss’s effect on breastfeeding, reach out to us for a consult so we can help you reach your goals!

More on this topic from Lactation Link:

What not to eat when breastfeeding

Can I breastfeed if I drink alcohol?

Caffeine + breastfeeding

Can I breastfeed if I want to exercise?

Thanks for stopping by,

lactationlink008

Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

References

Baker, JL, Gamborg, M, Heitmann, BL, Lissner, L, Sorensen, TIA, Rasmussen, KM. (2008). Breastfeeding reduces postpartum weight retention. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 88: 1543-1551.

Lauwers, J. & Swisher, A. (2011) Nutrition in pregnancy and lactation. Counseling the nursing mother: A lactation consultant’s guide. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

3 tips for breastfeeding in the nicu

3 Tips for Breastfeeding in the NICU

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

When you have a baby (or two) in the NICU, breastfeeding can have interruptions that can make meeting your goals a little more difficult. To help through this time, I am sharing 3 tips that can make it easier.

A Lactation consultant shares her top 3 tips for breastfeeding in the NICU. The first one is...

Frequent skin to skin

Skin to skin contact has been shown to be the best way to establish and even increase milk supply (1). When you are with baby, make most of your time together by spending it skin to skin. Ask for a comfortable chair and help from a nurse if needed. As baby becomes accustomed to your chest, he or she will become better and better at breastfeeding. Even having your partner do skin to skin with baby can be beneficial.

3 tips for breastfeeding in the nicu via lactationlink.com

3 tips for breastfeeding in the nicu via lactationlink.com

{Simple Wishes Supermom bra use code LLINK for 20% off!}

Pumping while away

When you are separated from baby, pumping every few hours will also help establish and increase your supply. My Pumping and Storing class is great place to learn how to get the most out of your pumping session. But a good place to start is with hands-on pumping. Massage your breasts while pumping to increase your output. Great tutorials in the class! Using a handsfree nursing and pumping bra like the Supermom Bra from Simple Wishes is a great tool for hands-on pumping. (Use code LLINK for 20% off.)

Reducing stress

Find ways to reduce stress at home and at work. I have a great list of ways to reduce stress in Breastfeeding Basics. Let go of extra responsibilities such as in your church or community. Invite grandparents or other relatives to spend extra time with your older children. Embrace simple meals and a messier house if that helps you feel less stressed and able to spend more time with baby.

3 tips for breastfeeding in the NICU via lactationlink.com

Lastly, remember to give yourself grace during this period. A little breastmilk is better than none. Your baby needs you right now, in whatever form that is at this time. With some effort and support, you can meet your breastfeeding goals. Helping moms get breastfeeding off to a good start is what I love best and I would love to help you reach your goals and create confidence in your motherhood.

3 tips for a breastfeeding in the nicu via lactationlink.com

Have you had a baby in the NICU? What was your experience like? Share in the comments. 

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

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Sources

(1) Bramson, L., Lee, J. W., Moore, E., Montgomery, S., Neish, C., Bahjri, K., Melcher, C. L. (2010). Effect of early skin-to-skin mother-infant contact during the first 3 hours following birth on exclusive breastfeeding during the maternity hospital stay. Journal of Human Lactation, 26, 2 (130-137).

How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Breastmilk

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

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

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

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

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

How to know if your baby is getting enough breastmilk:

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

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

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

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

Should I wake my baby to breastfeed?

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

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

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

Should I wake my baby to breastfeed?

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{Undercover Mama nursing dress} Use code LLINK for 20% off!

Before 2 weeks

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

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After 2 weeks

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

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

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC

Sources

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