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How to wean via lactationlink.com

How to Wean from Breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, motherhood

Many of you have been requesting a post on how to wean.  No matter how much we and our babies enjoy nursing, it will come to an end at some point! It’s up to you and your child to decide when is best. Today I wanted to share a bit more on how to wean by first discussing Child-Led Weaning and Mother-Led Weaning.  I hope this post will give you some confidence in this process! As always, know your options so you can continue to create confidence in your choices as a mom!

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

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There’s no “right time” to wean for everyone

No matter when your Mom, sister, neighbor, or grocery-store clerk weaned their baby, remember there’s only one right time for you and your baby.  Try not to let outside opinions or pressures factor into your decision to wean.  It’s a very individual choice for each mom/child pair! Keep in mind your original plan or goal for breastfeeding may change over the course of your experience.  A client recently told me, “My initial goal was to breastfeed for six months, now my daughter is fifteen months and there’s no end in sight!” Another client called me to her home on day three of her newborn’s life for some breastfeeding support and told me her goal was to breastfeed for one month.  The point?  All Moms and situations are different!  I’m here to support you in your goals and choices!

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

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Child-Led Weaning

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

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

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

Mother-Led Weaning

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

“OH, ABOUT ANOTHER 5 MINUTES”

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

How to wean via lactationlink.com

How to wean

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

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

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

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

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

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

{Plum Pretty Sugar Robe}

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.

 

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. I’m a mom to 5 and lactation consultant with Lactation Link. I’m here today to talk about some breastfeeding tips for new moms. Enjoy!

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

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

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

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

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Top Four Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

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

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

Have you signed up for our free email breastfeeding course?

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

Join our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

Breastfeeding tips for new moms via lactationlink.com

Kristin Gourley, IBCLC

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

How to breastfeed in public

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

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

How to properly breastfeed in public

Breastfeeding In Public: How to Find Your Confidence

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

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

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

Reasons to consider breastfeeding wherever you go

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

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

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

State & Federal Laws: What Are Your Rights?

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

How to address others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for Breastfeeding in Public

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

Breastfeeding in public stories

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by,

How to breastfeed in public via lactationlink.com

Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC

Sources

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

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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,

lactationlink007

Lacey Parr, BS, CLEC

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

What is skin-to-skin?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. I’m a mom to 5 and lactation consultant with Lactation Link. I’m here today to talk about skin-to-skin contact and how to make it a part of your life with a new baby.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tips for skin-to-skin time at home

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by,

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.

Is My Baby’s Poop Normal?

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

Is my breastfed baby's poop normal? via lactationlink.com

Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, an IBCLC and mom of 5. I’m here today to talk about your breastfed baby’s poop!

Before you become a parent, you have no idea how much you’ll think about and analyze poop – trust me!  You and your partner will know just how far you’ve come when you can spend ten minutes discussing diaper frequency and appearance. 

I always ask about baby’s stooling habits because it can be a great way to know...

In fact, in every consultation I ask about baby’s stooling habits because it can be a great way to know how baby is thriving. In Breastfeeding Basics, there is lots of detail about what to expect in baby’s first poops, but today we are going to be talking about poops for infants, rather than newborns. 

Is my baby's poop normal? via lactationlink.com

The Rainbow of Poop Colors

Yellow or orangey-yellow is usually what breastfed babies’ poop is colored once mature milk comes in around 10-14 days, but sometimes it is watery, sometimes it is seedy or full of curds, sometimes it seems super thin, and sometimes it’s more like toothpaste.  The texture varies from baby to baby but can also vary from diaper to diaper in the same baby.  Some moms ask us how they would know if their baby had diarrhea since their regular poop is so liquidy.  Diarrhea is not common in the exclusively breastfed baby but if they get it, it’s generally VERY watery, comes VERY often, is usually green or almost neon can be mucousy, and almost always has a VERY foul odor (much worse than the mild smell of a breastfed baby’s poop– which is one awesome benefit of breastfeeding!).

What if baby’s poop is green?  Or kind of brown?  Well, you can breathe easy knowing that generally this is just a variation of normal.  What if you see blood?  Usually it’s nothing dangerous or scary, but it can point to an anal fissure that will probably heal on its own (these are very common!) or allergies.  Be sure to call your baby’s healthcare provider if you are concerned about anything you see.  Babies often push hard to poop, but this isn’t typically a concern.  They’re trying to figure out what is actually necessary to get their business done! 

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Baby Pooping Frequency

Moms will sometimes be getting into their groove with nursing and then at 6 or 8 weeks suddenly baby is only pooping every third day.  That sounds terribly uncomfortable to our adult bowels, but the exclusively breastfed baby is very rarely truly constipated.  True constipation is hard, pellet-like stool and warrants a call to the pediatrician in a breastfed baby.  If baby is passing soft, yellow stool after a long hiatus from pooping, you can rest easy– but get out your big box of wipes because this often means there will be a LOT of poop when it does come! It’s worth noting that pooping infrequently (less than once a day) at under a month old could mean inadequate milk intake, so you should check in with us to make sure baby is nursing well, but it is not a reason to panic.

Is my baby's poop normal? via lactationlink.com

If you feel like you’re up to your ears in dirty diapers, try to remind yourself that it’s an awesome problem because it means baby is drinking lots of milk to grow and thrive.  If you’re worried about your baby’s pooping habits, reach out to us for help.  If you’re pregnant or you’re still not sure what’s normal, check out our online breastfeeding video classes which also go over important things to know about poop, as well a LOT more about breastfeeding! 

Have you signed up for our Confident Breastfeeding Course yet? It’s a good intro to the online breastfeeding classes. Click the image below to download.

Koin our free confident breastfeeding course

Thanks for stopping by,

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Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC

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

top 10 breastfeeding blog posts of 2016 via lactation link

Top 10 Breastfeeding Blog Posts of 2016

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips

Hello mamas! I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season! In case you missed it, we have collected our top 10 blog posts from 2016 here. I hope these articles help you feel more confident in your breastfeeding journey. Enjoy!

top 5 breastfeeding products from a lactation consultant

Lactation Link’s Favorite Breastfeeding Products

We are often asked about which breastfeeding products to add to a baby registry. You might be surprised what made the list!

top 5 tips for dealing with engorgement

Top 5 Tips for Engorgement

Engorgement is often the first hurdle moms experience with breastfeeding. This post helps give some ways to relieve and prevent engorgement.

top 3 tips for breastfeeding after a c section

Top 3 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding After a C-Section

While C-section mamas might have some early hurdles to breastfeeding, there is no reason they should not be able to exclusively breastfeed. Click through to read my top tips on breastfeeding while healing from a C-section.

can i breastfeed if i plan to drink alcohol? via lactation link

Breastfeeding and Alcohol

This is one of our most commonly asked questions, “how long after a drink do I need to wait to breastfeed?” Click through for the answer!

what is on demand breastfeeding?

What is On-Demand Breastfeeding?

Some new moms might be confused by certain breastfeeding vernacular. This article explains what it means to feed baby on -demand.

how to get a free breast pump through your insurance

How to get a free breastpump from your insurance

We take you step-by-step on how to obtain a breastpump from your insurance and how to snag this awesome pump bag.

reasons to breastfeed from a mom of 5

Why should I breastfeed?

There are many reasons to breastfeed, and every mom has her own reasons. Click through to read some of our favorite reasons.

safe sleep tips from a lactation consultant

Safe Sleep Tips with Owlet

We are often asked how to help baby sleep safely. Click through to learn our top tips and learn more about the Owlet baby monitor.

why you need this nursing bra, from a lactation consultant

What is the best nursing bra?

Get an inside look at our favorite nursing bra and why we love it so much.

how to get baby to stop biting while feeding

How to stop biting

Biting can be a significant hurdle if you aren’t prepared with a few things to remember. Click through to learn how to deal when your baby bites.

top 10 breastfeeding blog posts of 2016 via lactation link

2016 was a year of change and growth for Lactation Link. We added several staff to our team, had more classes and traveled to several cities to teach. Thank you all for reading, asking and answering questions and creating such a supportive community of moms. I have had a wonderful year consulting, teaching and talking with all of you. Can’t wait to see what the next year will hold. See you all in 2017!

Our must reads breastfeeding blog posts of the year. These articles will help you feel more confident in your breastfeeding journey.

If you haven’t already, you can still sign up for my free email course by clicking the image below!

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC