Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Breast Milk Production

Knowing your breastfed baby is getting enough is key to the new moms breastfeeding success.  What goes in must come out so counting wet and poopy diapers initially is essential to keeping breastfeeding on the right track.  When the baby comes home from the hospital poop is like tar and very sporadic so start by counting wet diapers.  A newborn from day 1-5 should have the number of wet diapers as days they are old.  For example a one day old will have at least one wet diaper, two day old will have two, etc.  After day 6, your baby should have six to eight wet diapers per day and at least three two four poopy diaper per day.  If you can't tell if a diaper is wet, hold a new one in one hand and the old one in the other.  You will be able to feel a weight difference if the diaper is wet.  Poop diapers should only be counted if the poop is silver dollar size or larger, not just a stain.  So as I said before, what goes in must come out.  If you baby is nursing well and getting enough milk, the proof will be in the pudding or in this case in the diaper.  And yes, there is an App for that!  A notebook works just as well if you aren't glued to your phone.

The baby's digestive system matures between the ages of 6-8 weeks and while wet diapers remain constant, poopy diapers diminish in quantity. The baby who was pooping 3-4 times per day will reduce to once every 3-5 days and the baby who was pooping 6-8 times a day with each wet diaper will reduce to 3-4 times daily.

If you do need help increasing your milk supply, breastfeeding supplements are readily available.

Happy Nurturing!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Exclusive Pumping: Keeping Up Breast Milk Production While Pumping

I often get moms who want to exclusively pump instead of breast feed directly.  If you choose to pump exclusively, it is very important that stimulation starts in the hospital within 1 hour of the baby's birth.  Moms should double pump with a hospital or professional quality pump like the Ameda, Medela or Hygeia hospital grade rental pumps or a brand new (not used) professional quality pump like the Ameda Purely YoursHygeia EnJoye Breast Pump or Spectra S2 Breast Pump

To initiate milk supply, pump every 2-3 hours with a 5 hour stretch at night for a total of at least 8 times per day of 10-15 minute double pumping sessions.  Many pumping moms get discouraged during the first 3-5 days as it is hard to see much going into the bottles as colostrum comes in teaspoons, not ounces.  Do not let this dissuade you, but draw this liquid gold up in a syringe and give it to the baby as it is chalked full of antibodies.  This schedule goes on for the first six months for the most part, but there are times when normal babies go through growth spurts that you will have to simulate with a pump.  When the baby is 2-3 weeks old and again when the baby is 3 months old, set aside a 5 day period that you will step up the pumping schedule to every 2 hours for a total of at least 11-12 times per day.  This must be 5 days in a row.  If your schedule gets interrupted, start over.   As you can see, this is a lot of pumping and cleaning of pump parts.  You will want at least 2-3 sets of breast flanges to use.  Some moms start this because it only takes 10-15 minutes to pump and a newborn baby takes 45 minutes to nurse, but as the baby gets older breastfeeding directly is much easier.  No bottles or pump parts to clean and most 2-6 month old babies will nurse in 20 minutes so you may want to reconsider your decision.  Pumping is great for the working mother, but if you choose to exclusively pump, experience shows me that these moms do not nurse as long as their direct breastfeeding counterparts.  If you breastfeed directly, it gets much easier by 6 weeks and by 3 months you feel sorry for moms who mix formula.   After all, have milk will travel!

If you do choose to exclusively pump, in addition to a quality breast pump a few key accessories will make your life easier.  These include a hands-free pumping bra so that you can multi-task while you are pumping, a breast pump cooler bag for transporting your pump and breast milk, an air dry bag to store and dry your breast pump parts on-the-go, and re-usable sterilizer bags to keep your parts sanitary anywhere you pump that you have access to a microwave.

Happy Traveling,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Post Holiday Breastfeeding Blues

The holidays are over and many babies have been sleeping too long on trips to Grandma's or otherwise thrown off their normal schedule.   These interrupted feedings can lead to plugged or clogged milk ducts.
Plugged milk ducts feel like a pebble or a pea under the skin or areola. They are best treated with hot compresses, breast massage during feeding , and pumping after the feeding. Place the baby's chin toward the plug if possible, massage from behind the plug towards the nipple, and pump for ten minutes after each nursing until resolved. Make sure you are not wearing a nursing bra that is too tight or that has an under wire pushing into your milk ducts.  Babies who are under 6 months should still be feeding at least 8 times per day and for 6-12 month old babies at least 5 times per day.  Make sure the feeding of solids hasn't impeded effective nursing and contributed to the plugged ducts.  If a baby nurses before solids, they will empty the breast more effectively than when they are mostly full on the solids.  Plus who wants to nurse after solids and get green beans on your breast?
Happy Nurturing!