Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Are Nighttime Nursing Bras Needed?

While formula is $150 per month and breast milk is free, there are still budgetary concerns new moms have when purchasing their breastfeeding supplies.  One question I get quite often is do I need a sleep bra?  The answer is quite simply, yes!  The reason night-time nursing bras are a must is that newborns nurse every 2-3 hours and while you are nursing on one side, the other breast is letting down simultaneously so you are nursing on one side and leaking on the other.  Wearing a comfortable sleep bra will offer you protection from leakage as your nursing bra keeps your other pad in place while you are nursing on the first breast.  Support can also prevent unwanted leakage as you turn and move in the night.   You can start wearing your sleep bra during pregnancy if you are already leaking colostrum and continue to wear it at least for the first six to eight weeks when leaking is most prevalent.  If you are a mom with a heavy milk flow, you will want to wear it throughout nursing. 

What kind of sleep bra and how many do I need?  A good number is 3.  One to wear, one to wash, and one to get lost in the laundry.  The third one is a sad reality, but we aren't all supermom so we do get behind on our laundry.  As far as the sleep bra goes, my favorite is my own design, the Amamante Night and Day Nursing Bra.  It is double layered in the cups and has seams under the breasts for extra support that flimsy sleep bras don't offer.  Crossover style sleep nursing bras are the easiest to access when you are half asleep because you just pull them down to nurse and they are so comfortable you won't want to put on your daytime bra.  Every good sleep bra pulls on over your head or hooks in the front so you don't have hooks to dig into you while lying on your back.  Styles for larger busted moms such as the Bravado Original Double Plus Nursing Bra are made for wear 24/7.
Any other options for sleeping?  Most Amamante brand nursing gowns and nursing pajamas have the sleep bra built right in!  Amamante Nursingwear's best-selling Signature Nursing Gown and Serenity Nursing Pajamas have a night-time nursing built in bra.  Our customers love these fashionable nursingwear styles;  and because of the easy nursing access, it is moms best friend at 3 am!  It comes in standard B-D sizes, but if you choose the next size up for DD cup or two sizes up for DDD, bustier moms like it too.

Best wishes for a few minutes of sleep,

Shop for Sleep Nursing Bras

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Breastfeeding Protects Mothers and Babies Against Cancer

      Women who breastfeed receive added protection from breast cancer.  One reason is delayed menstruation which reduces a woman’s lifetime exposure to hormones like estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer risk.  Studies show that the greatest benefit comes when a woman breastfeeds for a total of two years.  Another reason are the physical changes in breast tissue cells that accompany milk production provide some protection as well. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, breast tissue reaches the final stages
of physical maturity where the milk-making cells grow and proliferate. In addition, shedding
of breast tissue during lactation.  These shed cells are aimed at maximizing the immunity benefits infants receive through the transfer of antibodies in breast milk.
     In addition to reducing a mothers risk, breastfed infants benefit greatly as well.  Breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight children possibly because of an appetite-regulating hormone leptin, that is transferred to the infant through the breast milk..  Childhood obesity tends to continue into adulthood and excess body fat increases risk of at least six different types of cancer.  Also, researchers note that because breastfed babies are not encouraged to “finish the bottle,” they may learn to self-regulate their calorie intake
more effectively.
    Breastfeeding benefits mothers and babies in many ways including bonding and immediate health benefits.  Moms may not realize the long-term benefits breastfeeding has on the health and quality of life that breastfeeding has to offer.  If you know someone who is considering breastfeeding or wonders about the benefits of breastfeeding past a few months, pass this along!

*Information taken from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Monday, August 20, 2012

Timing Weaning

In the almost 20 years I have been helping nursing mothers, I have noticed a trend that moms tend to shy away from asking the needed questions about weaning.  Perhaps they are afraid of judgment, but the truth is a good Lactation Consultant is there to help you meet your goals, not hers.  There are many considerations for mothers when deciding to wean your baby such as mom's work schedule and baby's health issues such as allergies.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least one year.  If you choose to wean before one year, first make sure your baby tolerates other foods well.  Next absolutely, positively, do not wean cold turkey. 
     It is up to each mom when she chooses to wean, but we want moms to make informed decisions about weaning.  Most moms don't realize that partial weaning may be possible.  When moms return to work weaning may be a consideration.  Alternatives such as pumping at work or partial weaning are possible in most instances.   Partial weaning works well when a baby is older than 4 months.  Moms can choose to use formula during the day while at work and still nurse in the morning and at night.  Partial weaning only works after milk supply is well established which is why you should wait until your baby is at least four months of age before employing this method.  If you try to employ this method prior to a well-developed milk supply which occurs sometime between the third and fourth month, your milk production will dwindle overall instead of drying up at the times you do not wish to nurse or pump.  To keep milk supply at an optimum, start partial weaning at the fourth month or later.
     If you choose partial weaning, always follow the same schedule seven days per week.  You cannot put the baby to the breast in the middle of the day on the weekend, if you have weaned that feeding during the week.  Whether you choose to partially wean of fully wean, drop one feeding every three to five days.  For example, if you are nursing 8 times per day, drop one feeding in the middle of the day, substitute formula, and continue that schedule for at least three days.  At the end of the three days, if your breasts have no discomfort or plugged ducts (which feel like a pebble or pea under the skin), you can drop a second feeding.  If you feel pain or discomfort at day three, wait until the 5th day to drop another feeding if the issue has been resolved by that time. 
     If you choose complete weaning, continue dropping feedings every 3-5 days until all feeding are dropped.  After the last feeding is stopped, you may need to nurse or pump one or both breast a final time within the next week to make yourself comfortable.  Contrary to popular belief, one pumping or nursing in a 24 hour period will not increase your milk supply and helps to alleviate any discomfort and prevents plugged ducts which can lead to a breast infection called mastitis.  This weaning method is slow, but pain free.  Sudden weaning can lead to clogged milk ducts, breast infections and even breast abscess.   If at any time you get chills, fever or flue like symptoms during weaning, call your doctor for an antibiotic.  Both you and baby will be happier and healthier with gradual weaning when you listen to your body.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Are you Mom Enough: Time to Speak Out!

Unfortunately, the Time Magazine article picture did not help to promote breastfeeding.  This photo was shot to sell magazines, not to help make breastfeeding the norm.  While I personally nursed my children for up to 18 months, there is no doubt that breastmilk is beneficial for much longer.  The controversy comes in with the child standing and the captioning challening moms to nurse their older child.  As a retired lactation consultant, I always tried to help moms meet their personal goals and encourage them to nurse at each stage of breastfeeding.  Whether it was the first month, three months or hopefully at least a year.  I gave advice on partial weaning when a mom did not want to pump when returning to work and advice on gradual and baby led weaning when asked about weaning.  The caption depicts all who promote breastfeeding as breastfeeding Nazis and not the supporters of mothers and babies who we are.  It makes nursing mothers look radical instead of impassioned.  While I support the mother on the cover and her personal decision to nurse her toddler, I reject the notion that we are all out there screaming that if you don't nurse for over a year, or at all, that you aren't mom enough!  Breastfeeding can take tenacity.  Tenacity which you need when you are parenting teenagers later on, but moms should be encouraged, not called out in a confrontational manner for not breastfeeding.  Having said that, I personally have been atacked for statements such as "breast milk has never been recalled".  Proponets of breastfeeding should be allowed to speak the truth without it being perceived that we are attacking the other side.  Truth is truth whether you believe it or not and whether you choose it or not.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Breastfeeding Diet: How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

      As a retired lactation consultant, mother of 3 and grandmother of one, I get asked this question quite often:  "How do I loose the baby weight?"  More recently I was asked about diet pills, which are unsafe for the nursing mother.  That caused me to take action so I am giving you a guideline below based on two decades of experience and the additional 500 calories per day needed by nursing mothers or 1000 extra calories if you are nursing twins.  As with any diet, consult your doctor before beginning this and do no begin until the baby is at least 3 months old. 
     Losing weight is not necessarily how much you eat, but what combination of foods you eat in order to jump start your metabolism.  Start by measuring yourself and not just weighing yourself because you begin to lose inches faster than pounds so it is encouraging to see the smaller waistline, etc.  An inexpensive food scale and measuring cups is helpful for this process.  Do not “cheat” by exchanging servings and eat everything recommended in the course of the day.  Serving size for veggies is 1 cup and fruit 1 apple, orange, etc. 

7 oz meat (nothing fried; cheese is included in this category)

3 fruit

2-3 non-starchy vegetable (not peas or corn)

4 bread (1 cup pasta, regular sliced bread  = 1, but a muffin or biscuit = 2)

3 cup dairy (1% milk or yogurt, not Yoplait or any brand with corn syrup, no ice cream)

1 fat = (1 TBS salad dressing or peanut butter or low-fat mayonnaise)

Weight loss varies depending on how much weight you gained during the last pregnancy ad this weight comes of faster than extra pounds that have been there for years.  Typical weight loss after you reach pre-pregnancy weight should be 1-2 lbs per week, do don't skimp on food to make it go faster. You are better off keeping weight off than loosing too quickly!  Please don't make your goal getting back into your favorite jeans from high school, that is unrealistic.  You goal is a healthy weight, womanly curves are not your enemy.  After all, you need hips to carry your toddler around!

For additional breastfeeding tips, visit our website!

Happy, healthy eating!
Tanya Roberts
Lactation Connection

Monday, January 16, 2012

Federal Guidelines Help the Working Nursing Mother

According to the US Government Wage and Devision Fact Sheet, "[Employers are required to provide] reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth ... [as well as] a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public."  So working mothers who are still pumping in the toilet, or who aren't given at least 20 minutes to pump, should stand up for your rights.  Your babies health is at stake and it is a benefit, that's right a benefit to the employer to give moms these breaks.  Moms who continue to breastfeed while working have healthier babies and therefore miss less work due to their child's illness.  Hooray for breastfeeding! 
Some companies even provide hospital grade pumps in a pumping room where moms can use the company pump on a break and all she has to do is carry her hygienic kit back and forth.  Hospital grade pumps run from $800 for a Medela Lactina to $2000 for an Ameda Platinum, but are well worth the investment for corporate America.  Companies like Lactation Connection even partner with corporations to provide breastfeeding support to these moms with the purchase of these hospital grade pumps and hygiene kits.
Don't hesitate to ask for what you need to keep your baby healthy.  Happy nurturing!