Friday, December 18, 2015

Breastfeeding Pain: Good Mom Syndrome

You may have heard of good baby syndrome which is when a baby is content and doesn't ask to be fed.  (This can happen with good-natured babies who are content to play while mom tends to other siblings and not get enough feeding in by the end of the day which can lead to slow weight gain.)  But have you heard of Good Mom Syndrome?  This is the new mother who wants the very best for her baby so she is gritting her teeth and accepting the pain of a poor latch.


Normal breastfeeding should not hurt.  A good latch is one that encompasses at least an inch of the areola so that baby is latched on behind the nerve ending.  A poor latch is one where the baby is on the end of the nipple either initially or has slipped down and is causing pain.  I hate to be a lactation nerd, but I here is a diagram of the breast.

It is so important that moms have this information because you can see where the nipple and areola are in relation to the milk (lactiferous) sinuses.  In other words, the farther onto the breast your baby is latches, the less pain you have and more milk is transferred.  In other words, you are a good mother.  You want the best for your baby, but letting your baby cause you pain is not best for you or the baby.

If you already have nipple trauma and correct the latch, there may still be pain for the first 30-60 seconds, but after that it should be comfortable to nurse.  If your baby slips down during the feeding because you are not supporting the breast or the arm with which you are holding your baby tires because you are not supporting your arm with a nursing pillow or armrest, detach the latch.

The proper way to detach a latch to to take your finger and slip it into the baby's mouth past the gums so that the suction is broken.  Turn your finger slightly to release the baby's grip and then take him off.  Start your latch again.  See our breastfeeding latch blog post for proper latch techniques if you need more help with this.

If you have followed proper procedure and still have pain, this is the time to see a lactation consultant, but normal breastfeeding should not hurt.  It should be a comfortable experience for mom and baby.  The sooner your latch is corrected, the better chance you have of meeting your personal breastfeeding goals.

If you need time for one nipple to heal while you are correcting the latch, using a quality breast pump to express and syringe feed the milk to your baby is a good way of transitioning to pain-free nursing.  And as always, the right nipple cream can help healing.  We recommend Breastmilk Bandit Natural Nipple Cream made from organic extra virgin coconut oil.

Happy Nursing!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What Moms Can Buy with Your HSA FSA and Flex Spending Account

2015 is drawing to a close.  Many of you have benefits left in your insurance accounts, especially FSA, HSA and FLEX spending accounts.  If you are breastfeeding, breast pumps and breastfeeding suplies qualify as medical expenses.  Here are some suggestions to help you use it before you loose it!

 If you hate lugging your pump around, having one at home and one at work is such a luxury.   Or if you are struggling with a manual pump, a good electric pump is a necessity, especially one like the Hygeia Enjoye LBI that has a rechargeable battery pack for travel.

Most pumps have filters or diaphragms that need to be replaced every few months and valves that need to be replaced every few weeks.  Having extra sets of breast flanges or getting additional sizes to see which one helps with optimal milk output is another way to use your allotment.

If you still need help with your baby's latch, this is a great time to use your funds.  Make sure the person you are using is a board certified lactation consultant.  To find one in your area, see the ILCA website.

The bottom line is whether you have a few dollars or quite a few left in your account, those are your benefits and you should use them.   Parts that need replaced most often on popular breast pumps are the Hygeia filter, Hygeia valve, Ameda valves, Ameda diaphragm, Spectra backflow protector, Spectra Valve, and ARDO valve.  Don't forget stock up before your medical benefits expire on December 31st.

Here is to a happy new year!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Breastfeeding Black Friday Cyber Monday Sale - Best Prices of the Year!

Wow!  If you are breastfeeding this winter, you are in luck.  The best sales of the year for nursing mothers are not during World Breastfeeding Week, but on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Nursing bras by Bravado, Amamante Nursingwear & La Leche League Intimates by QT foundations are 20-70% off!  Get great the best prices of the year on nursing gowns and pajamas, not to mention even manufacturer's who do not normally allow for discounts will often lower their prices for this once a year buying frenzy. Zolowear Slings and Hava Baby Slings are included in this sale!  Need stocking stuffers?  You can get a manual breast pump conversion kit by Medela and Amamante 100% Cotton 8 pack nursing pads for unbelievably low prices.  If you are buying a gift for a nursing mom or stocking up for yourself, make sure you visit Lactation Connection Black Friday, Small Business Saturday through Cyber Monday.  Early shoppers always have the best selection so watch for sales to start after lunch on Wednesday, 11/25/15.  If you are reading this article early, the links are active, but the prices will not drop until Wednesday at 11am CST.  Don't miss this Black Friday Cyber Monday Breastfeeding Sale!

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Nursing Must Haves: Breastfeeding Essentials Basket

Having a basket of necessities near your favorite nursing spot is not only nice, but essential. After all, moms only have two hands.  To get you started, here are 6 recommendations for building a breastfeeding basket of must-haves for yourself or as a gift.

1.  Breastfeeding Book
Let's face it. Moms have questions and a Lactation Consultant is not always available to answer those questions especially at 3 am.  We recommend books endorsed by La Leche League and Lactation Consultants such as The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Weisinger, West and Pitman. 

2. Water Bottle
Although the amount of water you drink does not translate directly into the amount of milk you make, your body functions better when it is hydrated.  

3.  Nursing Pads
Your breast milk lets down bilaterally, which means especially in the early weeks of breastfeeding, when you are nursing on one side, you are leaking on the other.  When you finish nursing is the optimal time to change into a 100% cotton breathable nursing pad for your breast health.  Pads with water proof linings tend to harbor yeast so instead of waterproof, you need a good absorbent nursing pad.  A good quality pad like the Amamante 100% Cotton Nursing Pads not only keep your clothes dry, they help prevent yeast infections.

4.  Nipple Cream
Purified lanolin has been used effectively for moist wound healing for decades.  Acclaimed author of The Nursing Mother's Companion, Kathleen Huggins states "Purified lanolin creates an air-permeable temporary skin barrier, and has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, skin-protecting, and barrier repair properties.  The down-side to lanolin is that it is sometimes hard to apply and there is currently no organic option. Many mothers prefer using coconut oil for tender or injured nipples.  Coconut oil is believed to be a natural antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory substance."  Always use clean hands when applying nipple cream.

5.  Burp Pads
Although breastfed babies get less air when they nurse, you should try to burp between breasts and after feeding.  Burp pads can also be used under the breast to give your breast the extra support it needs when reaching for your water.  Newborn babies cannot hold up the weight of their own heads, so support the breast with your hand or a rolled up burp cloth, so they don't also have to try to hold up the weight of your breast while feeding.

6.  Snacks for Milk Supply
Moms have little time for a shower, let alone to eat healthy all the time.  Snacks packed with milk boosting foods and herbs are a great go-to in your breastfeeding basket.  Choose snacks like Milkmakers Cookies which contain oats, brewers yeast and flax seed.  Most moms see results from these snacks after 5 days of eating one or two per day.  

Best wishes for building a breastfeeding basket for your little bundle!

Happy Nurturing!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Getting a Free Breastpump from an Insurance Company: It's Harder Than You Thought

I get this statement all the time as a lactation store owner, " Getting a free breast pump from my insurance company is harder than I thought."  I hear it from moms every day.  Many insurance companies  representatives tell moms to find out who takes my insurance instead of giving them an accurate list.  Or if they do offer a list, the insurance company does not have the pump they wanted in stock or offer that model at all.  Another issue is that when the mom does get her pump, it doesn't come with any extras.  No cooler carrier to take back and forth to work or breast pump replacement parts are provided.   In other words, the insurance companies pare down the pumps to keep costs down leaving moms unprepared when their valves go down the disposal.

Lactation Connection offers the largest selection of breast pump replacement parts around including brands like Ameda, Hygeia, Spectra, Bailey, ARDO to name a few of the more popular brands.  You may want to bookmark these links so you have access once you finally get your insurance pump. You are going to need it!  As for the pump itself, below is a list of the most popular health insurance companies:

  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Kaiser Foundation Group 
  • Anthem Inc. (Formerly Wellpoint Inc. Group)
  • Aetna Group 
  • Humana Group 
  • HCSC Group 
  • Cigna Health Group 
  • Highmark Group 
  • Blue Shield of California Group 
  • Independence Blue Cross Group 
  • Centene Corp Group 
  • HIP Insurance Group 
  • BCBS of New Jersey Group 
  • BCBS of Michigan Group 
  • Guidewell Mutual Holdings Group 
  • California Physicians’ Service  
  • Wellcare Group 
  • Carefirst Inc. Group
  • Health Net of California, Inc. 
  • Molina Healthcare Inc. Group 
  • UHC of California 
  • Lifetime Healthcare Group 
  • BCBS of Massachusetts Group 
  • Metropolitan Group 
  • Cambia Health Solutions Inc. 

  • In order to secure a pump through these insurance companies some require a pregnancy notification form to be filled out such as Anthem.  The company you contact below will know whether or not this is necessary.  To reduce your time and headache in getting your pump, go to these companies first and then call your insurance company so you know what forms you need or what questions to ask. The following companies bill all or most of the insurance companies listed above, but remember to bookmark Lactation Connection so you can order an extra double pump kit, valves, diaphragms, filters or tubing as needed.  If your pump uses a duckbill shaped valve, plan on replacing it every 6 weeks.  If your pump uses a filter, plan on replacing it every 8-12 weeks.  Other breast pump parts are replaced as needed for convenience or if they get lost or destroyed; but it is best to have at least one or two of every pump kit part in reserve if you rely on your pump for working or are exclusively pumping.  The companies below offer quality brands like Ameda, Hygeia, Spectra, and ARDO, but may also offer Medela whose insurance pump quality has been called into question as of late and the do not settle for brands like Tomy and Nuk. 

    Acelleron Medical Products
    Phone Number: 877-932-6327

    Aeroflow Healthcare Breast Pumps

    Phone Number: 844-867-9890

    Phone Number: 877-773-1972

    Edgepark® Medical Supplies 
    Phone Number: 800-321-0591

    Phone Number:  888-344-3434

    National Rehab 
    Phone Number: 800-451-6510 option 9

    Shield Healthcare
    Phone Number: 800-765-8775

    Sterling Medical
    Phone Number: 800-216-5500

    If your insurance company allows you to purchase a breast pump and then file for reimbursement, and you can wait 30-60 days for your money; it is always best to pay for your pump instead of getting a "free". Breast pumps like the Hygeia EnJoye LBI are going to include a lithium ion rechargeable battery, a premium cooler bag, universal bottle adapters and other extra parts that the insurance company Hygeia Q will not include. And sometimes you can even get an allotment towards purchasing a higher quality DME pump such as the Hygeia EnDeare,  Ameda Elite or even an Ameda Platinum which is the best pump on the market today, including the Medela Symphony which is inferior in cycles per minute and suction to the Ameda Platinum.  It pays to do what you are doing right now, getting information and getting your ducks in a row.  Lactation Connection is a private pay DME and therefore provides appropriate insurance codes on your receipt for ease in filing for reimbursement, but always check with your insurance company to see if this type of reimbursement is available before purchasing.

    And if the brand or model you want is harder to find, call or email the manufacturer for information on DME's they recommend.

    Happy Nurturing!

    Friday, September 11, 2015

    Sleep Bras for Breastfeding: All Night-time Nursing Bras Not All Created Equal

    Hello, Mamas!

    When you get ready for breastfeeding one of the top things on your list should be a night-time nursing bra.  These are useful in your last trimester and through the first three months of breastfeeding for most women and those who leak beyond the first 6-8 weeks or those who are larger busted will want to continue to use them throughout their breastfeeding journey.   The most common reasons moms choose to wear a bra at night is bi-lateral letdown. When you begin breastfeeding and are nursing on one side, you will let down and leak on the other side until the period of leakage subsides which is after 6-8 weeks of nursing.  Colostrum can begin leaking anytime in the last trimester so having a sleep bra then is also helpful.

    Here is what you need to look for in a night nursing bra:

    1.  Easy nursing access.  You won't want hooks to fidget with at 3 am so you will want a sleep nursing bra that just pulls down to nurse.

    2.  Straps that stay in place.  You will want something that has a u-shaped back so that the straps will not slide off your shoulders when you pull down the cups.

    3.  Double layered cups.  Here is where most sleep bras for breastfeeding fail the test.  they are cheaply made with only one layer of fabric.  Even with nursing pads, you will want the second layer for absorption and modesty in case you need to answer the door in your pj's.  The bra featured in this blog is the Amamante Night & Day Nursing Bra which is a premium made in the USA brand without a premium pricetag!

    4.  No abrasive seams or itchy elastic.  You will want a covered elastic band and seams should not cross the nipple area.

    5.  Darted contoured cups.  This allows for a better fit and helps keep the nursing pads in place while you are nursing.

    6.  Breathable fabric such as cotton, microfiber or rayon blends help keep you from getting a yeast infection while breastfeeding. Yeast grows in a warm moist environment so wearing a bra with polyester cups or wearing washable nursing pads that are not 100% cotton or bamboo is not advisable.

    When should you buy your sleep bras for breastfeeding?  Anytime you begin to leak colostrum in the last trimester, I would go ahead and purchase.  If you are wanting to ensure that your sleep bra fits after you deliver, measure and purchase your nursing bra in the last 3-4 weeks or pregnancy.  Sleep bras are inexpensive so you may want to purchase one a size larger as well so that you have something that will fit during the three days your milk first comes in.  This engorgement only lasts 48-72 hours, but having a nursing bra you can wear is vital.

    Happy Nurturing!

    Monday, March 16, 2015

    Pregnant Moms Guide to Buying a Nursing Bra

    Every expectant mom planning to breastfeed asks the question, "When do I buy a nursing bra?"  I have seen pregnant moms come in for a fitting as early as 3 months along and I have seen Dads come in while mom is at home desperate for something, anything!  Needless to say, the latter is not the best option.  We thought our readers could use some tips on when and how to buy a nursing bra while you are still pregnant. 

    "When do I buy a nursing bra?"
    The answer is as early as necessary.  If you have a bra that is leaving marks on you because it is too tight or if the under-wire is poking you, that is the time to buy your first nursing bra.  Moms moms find it helpful to buy their first nursing bra between 3-7 months of gestation.  

    "What type of nursing bra do I buy during pregnancy?"  
    A soft cup non under-wire nursing bra is best to keep you from getting clogged milk ducts which can occur even before delivery.  We also recommend a bra that has a variable cup size to accommodate your changing shape like the Amamante Caress & Contour Nursing Bra.  These offer you the widest range of fit and value.

    "When do I buy a nursing bra that will fit after I deliver?"  
    Measuring for a nursing bra during the last 3-4 weeks of pregnancy is the best time to buy something to fit after you have your baby.  This is the time that your breast have finished enlarging other than engorgement.  The enlargement that often occurs 3-5 days postpartum called engorgement or the "milk coming in" only lasts 48-72 hours so the best bra for that time frame is a sleep bra like the Night & Day Nursing Bra 1-2 sizes larger than you normally wear.

    "What do I do with the nursing bras I bought earlier in pregnancy?"
    The nursing bras purchased 3-4 weeks before delivery should fit for 6-8 weeks postpartum at which time your breasts regulate and many moms either stop leaking or at the very least stop feeling fuller before feeding and emptier afterwards.  If your bras begin to feel big, this is the time to try on the nursing bras you purchased earlier.  If they still do not fit, try them again at approximately six months postpartum as this coincides with your nursling eating less often due to the introduction of solid foods.  Often your breast size will decrease again at that time.

    "When do I buy a bra that will fit for most of my nursing relationship?"  
    While we recommend buying only 1-2 bras at a time during pregnancy, after 6-8 weeks postpartum is a great time to stock up on your favorite nursing bra that fits your particular cup size like the Amamante Smooth & Shape Nursing Bra.

    "What if I need a plus size nursing bra?
    A great bra for curvier moms in transition is the Bravado Original Double Plus Nursing Bra.  If you are looking for a nursing bra for every day use once you have narrowed down your fit, the Bravado Embrace Nursing Bra has exceptional support in a soft cup nursing bra in a larger range of plus size nursing bras. 

    The main thing you need to remember about buying a nursing bra is to buy while you are still pregnant so your hubby doesn't have to run an unfortunate errand that will most likely turn out to be fruitless, or at the very least not helpful for your cantaloupes.  Feel free to take your measurements at home using this nursing bra measuring guide and then give us a call for expert advice at 800-779-5722.  Have your three measurements and the size and brand of your current bra as well as information on how it fits.  We will ask you questions such as, "What hook are you wearing your bra on in the back?  Furthest out?  Middle?  Tightest?  We will also ask questions about if you are spilling out in the cleavage area, under the arms or even if your bra rides up on the bust when you lift your arms.  So check out your ill-fitting bra and how it fits in the mirror before you call so we can better serve you.

    After all, moms aren't happy if her boobs aren't happy!

    Tanya Roberts, Bra Fit Specialist, Designer & Owner
    Amamante Nursingwear
    800-779-5722 M-F 10-4 CST

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Nursingwear: Designs with Mothers in Mind

         Nursingwear can be an essential purchase for the nursing mother.  The right nursing sleepwear can help her to more easily feed her baby on demand, thereby protecting her milk supply.  The right nursing bra can support without causing plugged milk ducts which can decrease milk supply.  Plugged ducts can happen easily when a mom pulls up a sports bra or underwire bra that compresses her breast tissue.

         Purchasing quality affordable nursingwear can help mom give a mom a sense of freedom while breastfeeding and can help her self esteem as she looses her pregnancy weight.  Wearing over-sized clothes, pulling up your hubby's t-shirts are not only cumbersome, but it can reek havoc on your self esteem as you catch a glance in the mirror.

         Amamante Nursingwear offers affordable nursing sleepwear designs, many of which offer an integrated sleep bra that just pulls down to nurse.  This easy access is your best friend at 3am!  The v-neck design keeps baby's skin to skin with mom as they cuddle optimizing the bonding process. The design of the Signature Nursing Gown is not your mother's nursing gown.  No worries about feeling frumpy in these nursing gowns.  So versatile moms wear these gowns as a sundress in many instances.
         What about nursing pajamas?  Moms love the comfort and convenience of the Amamante Serenity Nursing Pajamas with integrated sleep bra and crop pant with cargo pocket.  And moms are perfectly zen in the Amamante Solace Yoga Nursing Pajamas.
      Visit Amamante Nursingwear for more information on these nursing pajamas for yourself or to become a retailer of our maternity nursingwear.  After all, Amamante is designed with mothers in mind and babies at heart!