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Showing posts from March, 2013

Nursing In Public: To Cover or Not to Cover

There is an ongoing debate in the breastfeeding community about covering up while breastfeeding.  Many lactivists insist on nursing without a cover.  Others may even be rude to a nursing mother who is nursing in public.  A cover is a personal choice.  Nursing in public may be more comfortable to you while you are learning to latch on discreetly with a nursing cover.  Once you and your baby learn to latch well, a nursing top or other discreet top may work for you.  If you are in a group of women, it is actually helpful to nurse without a cover so that other women can learn from you.  One of the reasons our culture has a difficult time with the early days of breastfeeding is that we have never seen it done.  Although Spanish is my second language, in my 20 years of counseling nursing mothers I have had less Hispanic clients who needed help with latch due to the culture of women helping women. 
      If you choose to cover a nursing scarf makes an excellent nursing cover. It is fas…

Introducing a Bottle to the Breastfed Baby

Waiting to offer a bottle is essential for initation of lactation.  Experts tell us that we should wait at least 3-4 weeks.  I believe it should be at least four weeks because even a bottle of breastmilk can interfere with stimulation during the three week growth spurt period. It can undermine moms confidence when baby gulps a bottle down during the hunger games of growth spurts.  When you offer a bottle of expressed milk, it is essential to pump to replace that feeding or it can interfere with milk supply or cause plugged milk ducts. 
     Most moms begin a bottle because they want the freedom of allowing someone else to feed or out of necessity because they are going back to work.  If you choose to nap and let Dad feed make sure to fully empty the breasts by nursing first.  If a bottle has been given while you were asleep or running errands, pump when you return even if you have nursed immediately when you came through the door.  Anytime a bottle was given, baby will not be as…

Breasfeeding: When and How to Supplement a Breastfed Baby

Although breastfeeding is natural and a full milk supply is available in almost all women, there are times that milk supply is down for reasons that we can usually trace to supply and demand issues.  These issues include mother baby separation, scheduling, good baby syndrome, and birth control prescriptions. 
     Many times, however supplementation occurs because of perceived low milk supply.  Just because a baby gulps down a bottle of formula when offered doesn't mean moms milk supply is low.  If you feel your milk supply is low, stop and calculate.  First, check your baby's wet and dirty diapers.  Your baby should have at least 8 diapers.  The number of dirty diapers is age dependent.  If your baby is 6 days to six weeks, he should be having 3-4 silver dollar sized stools per day or more.  If your baby is over six weeks as little as one stool every 3-5 days can be normal.  Your baby's stool schedule changes at about six weeks so if additional changes occur, check …

Breastmilk: The Perfect Food

Breastmilk varies in composition from colostum to transitional milk to mature milk and each stage is perfect for your baby's stage of development. 

Colostrum can begin leaking during the last trimester of pregnancy and is produced during the first few days (1-7 days) after birth.  It contains a higher amount of protein and less fat than transitional or mature milk. It is thick and sticky and coats and protects the infant's stomach.  It is high in antibodies and acts as the first immunization for your baby. Colostrum has a laxative effect on the newborn, helping your baby pass the meconium stool.  It also comes in teaspoons and not ounces, making it the perfect amount for a newborn whose stomach is the size of a walnut.

Transitional milk is the breast milk that transitions from colostrum to mature milk.  Transitional milk is produced from approximately day 8 through the second or third week in most women.  However, when moms deliver a baby prematurely, transitional milk can las…

Sleep Training and Breastfeeding

Sleep training is understandably a popular subject among sleep deprived new mothers.  Unfortunately popular methods like BabyWise and the Ferber method can decrease milk supply dramatically.  I recently had a mother contact me who was using the Ferber method.  Her 5 month old baby who was previously gaining weight well had only gained 3 ounces in six weeks after starting the Ferber method*.  This can occur because a baby is not feeding frequently enough during the day and then is not being fed when he wakes in the night.  Please know that sleep should take a back seat to weight gain.  And waking at night is not only healthy for milk supply, but there may be other benefits as well.  Breastfed babies have a lower incident of SIDS.  We do not know whether that is due to the superior nutrition in breast milk or whether it is because they wake more frequently at night.  Breast milk is more easily digested than formula so it is normal for the breastfed baby to feed more frequently than…