It can be hard to find a spot in the community that feels like home! A place we can go to be women, to be individuals, and to replenish and regenerate all that we give day-in and day-out as mothers. Somewhere we can meet other women who are in the same stage of life and are also striving to be mindful about how they live and how they love. As Moms or Mom-to-be, it’s so hard to make time for ourselves, but it’s so necessary for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Taking time out to fill our own cup actually allows us to be more present and give more love to our families. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or take all day. Here are a few ideas: take a 20-min walk around your neighborhood, take a warm bath, take a yoga class, schedule a massage, or meet a girlfriend for lunch. Today I’d love to share more with you about what I’ve discovered in this local wellness community, especially the salon and spa because that’s every Mom’s favorite anyway! Read through to find some exclusive promotions for Lactation Link readers.
Hi mamas, I’m Stephanie Weight Hadfield, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mom of 4. I’m here to talk about breastfeeding twins. Enjoy!
You’re having twins. Congratulations! Lots of moms of multiples wonder if they will be able to breastfeed twins. You may be reassured to know that mothers of twins can have the same breastfeeding outcomes as the mothers of singletons. And although there may be a bit more of a learning curve– just like with every other aspect of parenting twins– the benefits of breastfeeding your babies are worth working for. I know it can seem overwhelming so I want to share some ways to make it more manageable for your life and family. Here are my top 5 tips for twin breastfeeding success:
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!
We have compiled our readers’ top nursing bra questions and are answering them today! We are thrilled to have Bravado Designs sponsoring this post.
May 1-7 is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week and we want to share a few tips and resources to help #connectthedots because #momsmatter. Did you know Postpartum Mood Disorders is the number one complication of childbirth? It’s not just depression. It can manifest as post traumatic stress, postpartum depression, obsessive compulsive behaviors, anxiety, psychosis. And it’s not just postpartum. It can happen during pregnancy and it can happen to partners. But what we want to highlight is the hope that is waiting on the other side of these issues. With the right amount of support, moms and families can be on the road to good mental health.
We want to help create confidence in motherhood. And when you have support and education, we know you can feel confident in your choices. You know how to love your baby. The mother-child bond begins with mental health. We want you to feel taken care of so you can confidently take care of your baby!
Our message to moms this week and always is that…
- You are not alone. Feelings of stress and anxiousness can be normal after childbirth and during pregnancy. But if anything feels off and you don’t feel like yourself, let your partner know and talk with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. The faster you get help, the faster you will feel better.
- There is hope. For immediate support, you can call 1-800-944-4773 to talk with Postpartum Support International. Whether it’s postpartum depression, anxiety or anything that makes you feel that something is “off,” there is help and hope available!
- We are here for you. As mothers ourselves, the Lactation Link team is here to listen and support you. Our IBCLCs have resources and providers to connect you with if you request it during an appointment. We work hard to listen and discern if a mother is going through mental health challenges and we will suggest extra support if prompted. If your goal is to continue breastfeeding during treatment, we want to help. If your goal is to wean during treatment, we can help with that too. We want to support you and your goals.
- Partners are vital to moms’ mental health. Who is your #1 support? Is it your husband? Your partner? Your mom, a friend? Do they know the symptoms of maternal mental health challenges? They are vitally important to #connectthedots and help moms find help. Learn more from Postpartum Support International.
You matter. Help is available. You can get better.
The 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 the pros and cons for various breastfeeding positions. Enjoy!
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
- 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.
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!
- 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.
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.
- 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!
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.
Thanks for stopping by,
Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
Thanks for stopping by,
Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC
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.
This month is National Adoption Awareness Month! Growing your family through adoption is a beautiful thing. Adding a child of any age to your family brings so much love. We are celebrating adoption today by answering some commonly asked questions about adoption and breastfeeding.
I’ve had many moms ask me about inducing lactation for an adopted baby so I thought I would answer a few questions here today. Not everyone can or will want to induce lactation, but if you’re interested, we are dispelling a few misconceptions here.
One of the common misconceptions is that you have to take a lot of hormones to induce lactation. There are some hormonal and medication-based protocols that women have found success using, but they do require some advance notice of when baby will arrive as they may take a few months to work successfully. It’s best to get a one-on-one consultation to make a personalized plan. If you don’t have advanced notice or prefer not to use hormones or medications, you can still make milk for your baby!
Another misconception is that moms who have never breastfed before cannot induce lactation. It is true that mothers who have been pregnant or breastfed before might have more or quicker success in bringing in a full milk supply, but many mothers who have never given birth have fully or partially breastfed their babies.
Many things that are beneficial for any breastfeeding mother are also beneficial for adoptive mothers wishing to breastfeed. Keeping baby skin to skin will increase hormones that assist in lactation, for example. Also, all breastfeeding mothers need frequent breast stimulation and removal of milk to encourage and sustain milk production, and adoptive mothers are no different! Even when milk is not yet being produced in quantities larger than drops, continuing to stimulate will help milk to increase.
Re-lactating is related in that it involves helping your body make milk after a time of not breastfeeding. I often get asked on Instagram about re-lactating after not breastfeeding for a few weeks. These moms didn’t have enough help and support and would like to start breastfeeding again. I love helping with this! This usually requires an individual plan but involves lots of skin to skin and increased breast stimulation, similar to the needs of a mother attempting to induce lactation.
Have you ever re-lactated after not breastfeeding for some time? Share in the comments. Lots more tutorials and explanations of how to keep a healthy milk supply for any mom in my breastfeeding video classes.
Find more about getting breastfeeding start off right with my top 10 tips!
Thanks for stopping by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
Today in honor of Veteran’s Day, we wanted to show our respect and gratitude for all active and retired military, especially the many mothers who are in the military. We are so grateful for your sacrifice and send our love to you!
Today we are highlighting Leslie Felder SSG, USAR. She is an Army Staff Sergeant and is sharing her experience breastfeeding and pumping as a soldier. Enjoy!
With my first child in 2012, the Army did not have a specific regulation addressing female soldiers’ needs for pumping. I found that what it did have written most likely hurt more than it helped. Pumping logistics were left up to the soldier, their supervisor, and command team. They were to come up with a specific plan that could meet the needs of the army, unit, mission, and soldier. Most often, in that order. After my second baby, the Army created a new breastfeeding policy.
Some of the negativity I received came from lack of understanding of how breastfeeding worked and the needs of a lactating mother. A few things that worked in my favor to get me and other females in the unit support were: I am a Staff Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant and could advocate for my subordinates, I became a certified lactation educator counselor (CLEC), and the Army later published the Army Directive 2015-43, the Revised Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Policy. These things coupled with being in a Combat Support Hospital made breastfeeding in uniform more doable. That’s not to say we did not have challenges.
Click through to learn how Leslie and another soldier pumped while away for several days at a training.
After last week’s post on Infant Loss Awarenss month, we got a lot of questions, so we want to follow up with some more about this senstive topic. Joining us today is Dr. Cassidy Freitas, Ph.D. Dr. Cassidy is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She holds a regular mothers support group at her private practice in San Diego and can be found on Instagram @drcassidy.
Pregnancy and infant loss is undoubtedly one of the hardest journeys a parent will ever experience. There is a very strong chance that you know someone who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss. About 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. While stillbirth occurs in less than 1 percent of pregnancies, this is still approximately 24,000 babies who are stillborn in the United States each year. Infant deaths within the first 24 hours of birth and SIDS are experienced annually by thousands of families. As with many parts of motherhood, we don’t all walk the same journey or face the same challenges. Even in loss, we can each experience it differently. It is all too common for these mothers to grieve in isolation.
To the mama who never got to meet her baby, bring her baby home, or watch her child grow, here is what I want you to know:
- You are not alone. While every experience is unique, there are others who know this type of loss and pain. Find a community or support system to literally or metaphorically hold your hand and walk this journey with you.
- Loss and grief is not something you “get over.” You move through grief as it evolves. It is common for triggers to elicit new grief reactions. Seeing other mothers, becoming pregnant again, important dates, all of these things can bring a new layer of the grieving experience. This is normal. If you find yourself having a difficult time functioning for a prolonged amount of time, it is possible that grief has shifted to depression and/or anxiety. These are different experiences, and in addition to natural support require professional care as well.
- Talk openly with your partner about both your experience and theirs, acknowledging that partners often experience this type of loss differently.
For the person who is trying to support someone through this loss, you don’t need to fix it. Often times, especially in this case, words can’t actually change anything. What can be healing is being there, continuously. Honor the child who was lost; speak their name if they were given one. Honor important dates like birthdays and due dates and loss dates. We often want to make the pain going away, but looking for the silver lining is rarely helpful. If you do think you maybe said the wrong thing, don’t let it shame you into withdrawing. It’s ok. Just keep showing up.
The following are some possible resources if you’ve experienced pregnancy or infant loss:
Thanks for joining us today Dr. Cassidy. I especially appreciated her tips on how to help friends who are struggling through loss. If you have experienced loss, what did friends say or do that helped you the most? Share in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
I’m so excited to have several women sharing on the blog today about their experiences as Moms. These mamas are always giving great comments and input over on our instagram, I wanted to chat with them about something so important to me – confidence in motherhood. At Lactation Link our motto is “Creating Confident Moms”, because I believe having knowledge and options helps you tap into your mothers intuition much more confidently! I also believe strongly that ‘Mama Knows Best’, read on and you’ll know what I mean!
I’ve always wanted to be a mom, and truthfully, I always thought I would be a pretty good one. When pregnant with my first daughter and for the first couple months of her life, I poured so much of myself into research. Research about everything. I needed to know I was doing the absolute best for her. I needed to know I was starting solids at the exact right time, I needed to know she got 30 minutes of tummy time a day, or met her milestones when she was supposed to ect. That period in my life was the most stressful, confusing, pressuring time to date. I stressed every little thing I did, I was confused by all the contradicting information out there on how to mother, and I felt insane amount of pressure to measure up and to do what all this research told me I must. As time went on I slowly started to listen to myself. There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to babies or to us as moms! We all have different things we are comfortable with, different priorities, different values, different emotions, and so on. Same goes for our baby! I learned this especially after having my second, I had to relearn all new tricks and I had to find what worked for her because what worked for my oldest, didn’t work for her. Mother’s intuition is one of the strongest things I’ve experienced in life. There is such a special bond between a mother and a baby, and once I just slowed down, really listened, and trusted myself, that’s when my confidence came. Motherhood is so much more enjoyable when you trust yourself!
♥Whitney Fox is a mom of two gorgeous little girls and shares daily snippets on her instagram @_whitneyfox.
The best thing I’ve done to create confidence in motherhood is to trust my intuition and let it guide me to where I could learn and grow with an open heart and mind. It’s meant accepting that although I’m not the perfect mother, I’m truly meant to be my children’s mother. They are meant to be mine and together we are perfect. The more I’ve practiced listening to my intuition as a woman, wife, and mother, the more confident I’ve become in my ability to recognize what that inner voice is saying. Sometimes it’s saying “no, this doesn’t feel right for my family” or “yes! these values or decisions fit into our family dynamic.” Listening to and practicing confidence in my motherly intuition has led me to discover the tribes of women I connect with who have helped me learn, grow and realize my potential as a mother. When I implement using my motherly intuition on a consistent basis, my children benefit, my family reaps the reward of a confident (not perfect!) mom, and I feel I can manage the challenging and wonderful work of motherhood! @kthelinphotos
♥Annie Staten is a mama of four, including a set of twins! She is a fitness, birth, and breastfeeding enthusiast as well as an IdealFit Athlete. She shares a peak into her days on her IG @aejamba.
As a first time mother, everything is new, and it can be hard finding confidence in anything your doing. Personally, I found confidence in learning as much as I could and then following through while trusting my instincts. I did this as I prepared for an unmedicated child birth, as well as breastfeeding. Each was a challenge that I came to with the tools I acquired, and then let my intuition fill in the gap. Preparation and instincts created a foundation of confidence, which turned into trust between the two of us. That trust is part of the sacred bond of mother and child. As I learned to take care of Ella the way Ella needed to be taken care of, it created a confidence that I knew her better than anyone else. I was her mother.
I hope you guys LOVED all the submissions as much as me! If you’d ever like to see a certain topic covered or apply to be a guest contributor, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget about our first FACEBOOK LIVE Q&A Monday, August 7th at 7PM. I’ll be there answering your questions, discussing upcoming classes/events, and answering FAQs about our breastfeeding video classes. You must like us over on Facebook to have access to the Q&A. Make sure to RSVP to be entered for our event giveaway (huge swag bag from Ergobaby!). You can also leave a question in the event page comments – I’ll answer those questions first during the broadcast.
Thanks for coming by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.