Breastfeeding Success Story: The Moms of Saline County, KS WIC 1

Breastfeeding Success Story: Dana from Saline County, KS WIC“Mona and the breastfeeding moms of Salina have been an incredible support to me as I have nursed my daughter for the last year. Knowing that at anytime day or night I have a page I can turn to and a listing ear, sometimes just for support generally for advice and always for encouragement has made me know I’m not alone in this journey. Just to know there are like-minded women around lets me know that we can do anything we set our mind to. Thank you for the support Mona!” -Dana

 

Breastfeeding Success Story: Kristen from Saline County, KS WIC“I signed up for WIC not for the food/formula help but because I knew it would increase my connection with people who would be able to trouble shoot nursing issues. And I was right. Zoey was on a SNS at first, but with WIC’s help, I was able to transition from exclusively pumping and bottle feeding to nursing just before one month old (it was her Christmas present to me). Just being assured that I could do this was the boost in confidence I needed. I gladly have an untouched in ages expensive breast pump sitting in the top of my closet, not needed, because I was able to get the milk from the tap.” -Kristen

 

Breastfeeding Success Story: Neasa from Saline County, KS WIC“I have been on WIC since I found out I was pregnant with twins in 2014. I had them in May of 2015. My original goal was to breastfeed for 6 months. After a few bumps we made it passed that goal to 21 almost 22 months of breastfeeding twins. WIC has been there throughout our whole journey and we were even able to get back on our feet and not use DCF help for over a year now. We still are able to use WIC and helps with our grocery bill monthly, especially with 4 growing kids.” -Neasa

 

Breastfeeding Success Story: Alicia from Saline County, KS WIC“I was always disappointed that I could not breastfeed my twins so when I had my newest baby I spoke with Mona ahead of time to figure things out ahead of time. I was determined to breastfeed my baby. Shelby is now 6 months old and we are going strong. We had some issues in the beginning but from advice from Mona we got through it. I also use the breastfeeding page as a go to page. I always read the problems or success post and the comments to go back to. To learn from even though I am not going through it right at the moment I remember it when and if I do. Thank you for having the breastfeeding page it helps a lot and have added some mothers to it so they can have help and support as well.” -Alicia

 

Breastfeeding Success Story: Jamie from Saline County, KS WIC“When I came into see you Mona I was close to breaking point and done with breastfeeding. You took the time and showed me that his latch was wrong and he wasn’t opening wide enough. I went from being at 7 weeks and about to start formula feeding, to breastfeeding until 2.5 years old. Thank you!” -Jamie

 

“I’m grateful for WIC. It helps me as a breastfeeding mom eat healthier and extra nutrition that my body needs to make milk. WIC also educates me on breastfeeding so I can help new moms be educated as well to make the greatest choice to breastfeed. Breastfeeding has helped me be a better mother. I feel like me and my children Breastfeeding Success Story: Brandi from Saline County, KS WICBreastfeeding Success Story: Brandi from Saline County, KS WIChave a closer bond because of breastfeeding. I’m more than just mom, I’m there everything. I also love all the support by WIC. I never once felt pressured to formula feed. I have been supported so much with our journeys of nursing. Even when my son couldn’t eat solids until 14 months and was exclusively nursing all that time I was supported by WIC. So very grateful for being a part of the WIC program. Without WIC there have been times we wouldn’t have had food for our family. Thank you.” -Brandi

Leading Lady and Loving Moments Partner with ROSE to Support Health Equity through Breastfeeding

 

We love celebrating National Breastfeeding Month for many reasons:

  • We get to join the nationwide community to champion moms as they give their babies the best start in life.
  • We get to highlight the phenomenal benefits of breastfeeding that support the health of babies (for their entire lifetime) and mothers.
  • We get to support new moms with our annual nursing bra donation program to make breastfeeding a little easier and more comfortable.
  • And we get to partner with organizations who work 365 days a year to improve the state of breastfeeding among all demographics.

All of these aspects of National Breastfeeding Month are a tremendous celebration and opportunity – and we love it!

Leading Lady and Loving Moments Partner with ROSE to Support Health Equity through BreastfeedingWe’re proud to partner with Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) on their mission: “to address breastfeeding disparities to improve health equity among people of color nationwide through culturally competent training, education, advocacy, and support. With a focus on increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, ROSE seeks to normalize breastfeeding by providing resources and networking opportunities for individuals and communities.

ROSE seeks to enhance, encourage, support, promote, and protect breastfeeding throughout the USA, by working to reduce the breastfeeding disparities among African American women, and to strengthen the health of their babies and families through, mentoring, training, breastfeeding support groups, social support, outreach, education, legislation, health policies, and social marketing.”

Their member network approach empowers community transformers to advocate for breastfeeding among grassroots breastfeeding groups, faith-based breastfeeding outreach and cultural breastfeeding coalitions. To support their goals this year, Leading Lady and Loving Moments are donating $13,000 in nursing bras to ROSE.

Each year ROSE hosts a Breastfeeding Summit to discuss, inform and initiate change regarding a variety of vital breastfeeding themes. Leading Lady and Loving Moments is a proud sponsor of this year’s Summit in New Orleans, LA and we are pleased that some of our nursing bras will be shared with participants to take home to their communities and to local moms in NOLA.

In addition, ROSE is hitting the road with their blueprint project to take a deep dive into the state of breastfeeding in African American communities across the nation. As they meet with mothers nationwide to assess the barriers to success and work towards improved breastfeeding rates, ROSE will distribute nursing bras to moms who need a little extra support to meet their goals.

We are thrilled to be part of ROSE’s mission and help moms who need it most. Every mom deserves the best health for her baby and we know that begins with breastfeeding. With the right support, every mom can achieve success.

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Calling all new moms and breastfeeding supporters: ROSE is hosting a twitter party on Thursday, August 24 at 7 p.m. EST. Join in their fun and informational event to celebrate breastfeeding and interact with others in the breastfeeding community using #StayWokeandBF!

Connect with ROSE on social media:

Facebook: @BreastfeedingRose

Twitter: @support_rose

Instagram: @breastfeedingrose

#StayWokeandBF

Breastfeeding Success Story: Ashley from Osage Nation WIC

Breastfeeding Success Story: Ashley from Osage Nation WIC“My oldest son was born after I was induced, then had an emergency C-section. He was 9 lbs 11 oz. I had planned to breastfeed, but it was hard to find a good position in the hospital that didn’t make my incision hurt. I found using a breastfeeding pillow helped tremendously. He was a terrible sleeper, and while he would latch fine, after a few weeks he would only eat for a couple minutes at a time, before pulling off and screaming.

By the time he was 2 months old, I found out he had silent reflux (so his throat was raw, but he didn’t actually puke). He also had thrush. The meds didn’t help much, and I dreaded nursing him because every time he popped off it was incredibly painful. I couldn’t figure out why pumping hurt so much, so I started giving him a bottle of formula when I couldn’t stand it.

When he was 3 months, it still wasn’t better, and we kept passing thrush back and forth. I also started working, which was extra stressful since he would only sleep for 30 minutes at a time. There was no place at work to pump, and pumping still hurt terribly, so he got formula while I was at work, too.

When he turned 4 months, I decided I was done. I was sick of it hurting so much, and sick of being angry that he was hungry. I had talked to a nurse from the health department that was supposed to help with breastfeeding a few times, but she didn’t even realize he had thrush so our visits weren’t very helpful.

My second son was born almost 3 years later, after another emergency c section. I had attempted a VBAC, but there were complications. His placenta started to detach. He was 9 lbs 5 oz. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to try to breastfeed, since the first time it had hurt so much. I decided I would try, but I wasn’t going to feel bad if it didn’t work out. He had low sugars in the hospital, and needed a small amount of formula before my milk came in. He also had to have phototherapy because of his high bilirubin levels, so we couldn’t do skin to skin.

When we got home, it hurt a little to latch him, but he was getting plenty of milk. His pediatrician showed me how to encourage him to latch deeper, and to re-latch him if he slipped off a bit, so he would learn to stay on right. By two weeks, he was doing it perfectly.

Breastfeeding Success Story: Ashley from Osage Nation WICA few months in, he was puking 6-8 times a day, but acting perfectly happy about it. I eventually cut eggs and caffeine from my diet and it stopped. I was able to eat eggs again when he was around 11 months old. He refused bottles anytime I tried to give him one, so it was easier to cut my diet than pump every time I drank a soda. I bought a better pump, and figured out that it didn’t hurt if I used a bigger size flange and lanolin before pumping. I ended up donating any milk I’d pumped, though, since he wouldn’t drink it.

I got pregnant with my third son unexpectedly, when my second was only 18 months. He was still nursing. It was uncomfortable to continue nursing, but it was less work than fighting him to go to sleep, so we kept at it. I went into labor a month early, and he was born 8 lbs 1 oz, after another cesarean.

He had a lot of trouble breathing, so was sent to the NICU. I asked the hospital for a pump. I didn’t get any milk out for 3 days, despite waking up every 2 hours to pump. I had attempted to nurse him on the second day, but he was too tired. If he wouldn’t eat, he would have to stay in the hospital, so he was fed formula both through a bottle, and whatever wasn’t eaten was given through a feeding tube. He was in there 6 days.

When he was released, he only got bottles for another week, because he had a tongue tie and couldn’t nurse well. After pumping, I’d let my 2 year old nurse afterwards to help the milk supply establish. Once his tongue tie was fixed, he would nurse okay. Then he got strep, because my toddler had it and I didn’t think to wash in between them. He got over it fast, but seemed to have troubles breathing while nursing, and would puke. I knew it wasn’t a food sensitivity, because he could drink the same milk from a bottle and be fine.

I was soon diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety, because I couldn’t sleep. I had to repeatedly check to see if the baby was breathing, to the point that I was barely sleeping at all. I talked to the WIC peer counselor, a lactation consultant at the hospital, the pediatrician, and finally was referred to an ENT who put a scope through his nose and down his throat. She said he had laryngomalacia, a birth defect that causes noisy breathing because of a floppy voice box. Since he was gaining weight, they would not do surgery to correct it. So he was taking in a lot of air while nursing, which upset his tummy. It was also painful a lot of the time.

I decided to pump for a while. It was summer break though, and I also had a 2 year old and 5 year old. I couldn’t keep up with the unpacking (we just moved when he was 6 weeks) cleaning, cooking, and older kids, pump, and still sleep. My PPD was getting worse. He was 2 months old. I had frozen milk, but the baby wouldn’t drink it alone because I also have high lipase enzyme in my milk. I knew it needed heated prior to freezing, but I guess I hadn’t heated it enough. So, I mixed it half and half with formula. He drank it. I decided to pump when I had time only, which wasn’t even every day, and nurse him once a day. I also offered to nurse my 2 year old more often so that hopefully I wouldn’t lose my milk.

The ENT said that the baby would outgrow the laryngomalacia eventually. It stopped hurting as much when he was about 3.5-4 months, so I’ve been working on increasing my supply back up.

He’s 5 months now, and only gets a bottle 2-3 times a week. He is teaching me about defining our own success, because I don’t know if I will nurse him as long as my middle son has, who is now 2.5. If it wasn’t for nursing his older brother for as long though, I wouldn’t still be able to nurse the baby. It’s nice not having to wash bottles, or carry around formula in the diaper bag. You can’t forget it if it’s attached to you. With 2 in diapers, I also like not having to worry about buying formula. It’s convenient, free, and works for us.”

Ashley from Osage Nation WIC

Breast Milk Storage

Pumping and storing your breast milk can offer new moms like you a bit of freedom, relief and reassurance by knowing your baby will have a nutritious meal even when you are separated. Knowing the ins and outs of breast milk storage will help keep the milk sanitary and maintain the integrity of its nutrients.

Here’s what you need to know about breast milk storage:

Always wash your hands before pumping or storing breast milk.

After pumping your breast milk, store it in a glass or plastic bottle or a storage bag meant for human milk. Many pumps are compatible with adequate storage containers so you can pump directly into the container without having to transfer milk.

Breast Milk StorageLabel your breast milk storage container with the date it was pumped and the volume.

Breast milk can remain at room temperature for up to 6 hours, can stay in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, and can be frozen for 3-6 months (or up to 12 months in a deep freezer). If you have trouble keeping these storage lengths straight, just remember the number 5: 5 hours at room temp, 5 days in the fridge, 5 months in the freezer.

Refrigerated breast milk maintains more nutrients and antibodies than frozen breast milk so if you have the choice, use refrigerated milk first. It will go bad first anyways.

When using frozen breast milk, always use your oldest milk first. Develop a system to help keep your milk organized in your freezer. Some moms freeze their breast milk bags in “shingles” so they are easily stackable. You can also put the bags in larger storage bags dated by week or month.

Store breast milk in small amounts – usually 3 to 4 ounces per container. This will make it easier to use in one feeding without wasting any.

Never combine frozen breast milk with fresh breast milk, even to complete a bottle. Instead, serve them separately or pour the fresh milk in the bottle once the frozen milk is drunk.

To thaw frozen milk, run warm water over it until it is your desired temperature or let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Never microwave breast milk because it may produce “hot spots” that could scald your baby and microwaving zaps some of the nutrients from your milk. Also, do not thaw your breast milk by leaving it unrefrigerated.

Once milk has been thawed it should be used within 24 hours. Never refreeze breast milk.

Discard any remaining breast milk in a bottle that your baby drank from. The enzymes in her saliva can break down the nutrients in the breast milk and potentially introduce germs into the bottle.

Stored breast milk may look different from fresh breast milk. It is common for the fats to separate, leaving an “oil and vinegar” effect with the fat floating on the surface. Gently swish the bottle to re-blend the milk but do not shake it vigorously.

Frozen breast milk sometimes smells soapy from the fats. This is normal and doesn’t mean it has spoiled.

Frozen breast milk may also have a different color depending on the stage you were in when it was pumped, your diet and any medications you may have taken at the time.

If your baby will be drinking the milk at a day care facility or school, be sure to label each container with your baby’s name. Give caregivers thorough instructions on how to properly handle breast milk.

Sources: BabyCenter, What to Expect and CDC

 

Loving Moments believes moms should have the knowledge, resources and power to make the healthiest choices for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, we are sharing Breastfeeding Basics, our educational blog series that we hope will empower you with information, encouragement and inspiration to meet your breastfeeding goals.

 

Breast Milk Production

Breast milk production is a fascinating natural phenomenon that involves a range of hormones controlled by the endocrine system, stimulation of the nerve endings attached to your nipples and a supply and demand system. You’ve probably heard the advice to feed your baby often to boost milk supply. That’s because your baby is able to trigger all of the elements required for breast milk production. Here’s how it works:

Preparing for Breastfeeding during Pregnancy

Your breasts are gearing up for breastfeeding even during pregnancy. Many women experience breast tenderness as an early sign of pregnancy. You may also notice your areola darkening (perhaps to become more visible to your newborn’s immature vision) and additional Montgomery glands (small bumps on the areola) forming.

Inside your breast your glandular tissues are growing due to increased estrogen and progesterone, which accounts for breast enlargement during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Milk ducts found between fat cells and the glandular tissue also grow in number and size creating a complex web of pathways throughout your breast leading to your nipples. Each milk duct is connected to one of the 15 to 20 lobes in your breasts. The lobes are made of clusters of lobules which are made of clusters of alveoli. The alveoli connect to smaller branches of milk ducts called ductules.

By the middle of your second trimester progesterone levels increase and allow you to begin breast milk production. The alveoli take in proteins, sugars and fats from the blood stream to get the process going. Chances are you won’t need the milk for many months but if your baby is premature, your supply will be ready and waiting.

Ramping Up Breast Milk Production

Breast Milk ProductionWhen your baby arrives your estrogen and progesterone levels drop quickly and the hormone prolactin kicks into full gear. This is the signal for your body to start producing breast milk. At first you will produce colostrum, a sticky yellowish pre-milk substance that is rich in proteins, vitamins and antibodies to help your baby survive her first few days of life. Within a few days your breast milk production will kick into super-drive and you’ll start producing fattier white milk known as transitional milk. Within three weeks of childbirth your breast milk production has transformed into mature milk that can sustain your baby exclusively for six months and beyond.

The Process of Breast Milk Production

Frequent stimulation and emptying of the breasts is the name of the game when it comes to breastfeeding. When your baby stimulates your breast by suckling (or even when you think of your baby, hear your baby’s cry, smell your baby’s scent or look at a picture of your baby), your body releases oxytocin and prolactin that triggers a “let down” so milk flows from the alveoli to the milk ducts. Between your baby’s compressing latch, tugging suckle and your let down reflex, milk transfers from your nipples into your baby’s mouth.

In addition to this constant stimulation, breasts need to be emptied often to continue breast milk production. This is the supply and demand portion of the process. Your body’s response to a full breast of milk is to cut off production. Receptor sites in the walls of the milk-producing cells of the alveoli stretch and prevent prolactin from entering to stimulate more breast milk production. Even a small amount of residual milk in the breast could decrease milk supply. That’s why it’s important to allow your baby to drain your breasts completely during feedings. When the breast is empty, the cells of the alveoli return to their normal shape and breast milk production resumes.

When your milk supply first comes in but has not yet regulated, you may need to pump to empty your breasts. Over a few weeks your milk supply will level off to meet the needs of your baby. And meet the needs it does! Your milk supply will continue to ebb and flow to support your baby’s growth and nutritional needs through growth spurts, periods of brain development, sickness and for emotional support.

How to Boost Milk Supply

The best ways to boost milk supply is by breastfeeding frequently and until your breasts are empty. This ensures the mechanics of breast milk production are always in motion. The more you breastfeed, the more breast milk you’ll produce. If your baby cannot drain your breasts completely or you are away from your baby during a normal feeding time, pump after feedings or at missed feeding times to ensure you continue to stimulate milk production. Supplementing can interfere with breast milk production because your body learns to produce less milk when you feed less often. Also, as a nursing mother, it’s crucial for you to take care of yourself so you have the energy required to produce breast milk. That means eating a wholesome diet, drinking plenty of water, skipping alcohol, limiting caffeine, being cautious of medications you take and getting sleep when you can.

How to Tell if your Baby is Getting Enough Milk

You’ll know that your baby is getting enough milk if she is gaining weight, soiling and wetting diapers and seems satisfied after feedings. Remember, your baby does not need very much colostrum during her first few days of life because her stomach is extremely small and still filled with water from the womb. After a few days when your milk supply comes in her intake will increase significantly. You’ll know your baby is getting milk if you can see and hear her swallow frequently during a feeding.

Sources: BabyCenter, KellyMom, Parents Magazine, LaLecheLeague, Kids Health and Healthy Children

 

Loving Moments believes moms should have the knowledge, resources and power to make the healthiest choices for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, we are sharing Breastfeeding Basics, our educational blog series that we hope will empower you with information, encouragement and inspiration to meet your breastfeeding goals.

 

How Often Should I Breastfeed?

One of the most common questions among new moms is how often should I breastfeed? The answer depends on your baby’s eating habits and preferences, her age, and her growth timeline. Here are some guidelines that will help you determine how often you should breastfeed your baby at every stage:

Breastfeeding On-Demand

How Often Should I Breastfeed?Most experts believe that breastfeeding on-demand is the best approach to ensuring you meet your baby’s nutritional needs, especially during the newborn stage. Initiating breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth will help you and your little one establish a rhythm. From there, you may be feeding as often as every 2 to 3 hours or 8 to 10 times per day for the first few months.

Your baby’s stomach is very small at birth and cannot hold more than a few teaspoons of colostrum, your earliest milk. As your mature milk comes in, your baby will be able to take in more breast milk. If you’re worried that your baby is breastfeeding too often or drinking too much milk, don’t be. Breastfed babies regulate themselves by drinking only until they are satisfied. One of the wonderful things about breast milk is that it is easily digestible for your baby. But that also means it is digested quickly – usually within 90 minutes.

As a new mom you may be unsure when your baby is hungry. Look for subtle hunger cues such as rooting, smacking lips or sucking on the air, hands or lips. Usually crying is a sign that your baby is over-hungry so try to feed your baby before that point.

Falling Asleep During Breastfeeding

Infants, and particularly newborns, can be rather sleepy during feedings. If you’ve woken your baby for a feeding, chances are she’s going to be pretty drowsy and may doze off as she peacefully suckles your warm breast milk. The act of sucking and being nuzzled in close to you can be so relaxing, even the most alert babies may fall asleep while breastfeeding. If this is the case for your baby and you can’t keep her on task, you may have more frequent short feedings.

If you think your baby could drink more if she stays awake during feedings, try un-swaddling her and perhaps even undressing her down to the diaper for feedings. You can tickle her skin, sing or talk to your baby or use a damp washcloth to help keep her bright-eyed during feedings. You may also want to shift your position several times during a feeding to keep your baby stimulated with movement.

Cluster Feeding

Many babies will cluster feed close to the end of the day. This is the time that babies are naturally fussier and need soothing. Nursing often in the late afternoon and evening can help pacify your baby and fill her with nutrients that may help her sleep longer at night. For that reason, many moms encourage cluster feeding – so you can get some extra rest as well!

Growth Spurts, Sickness and Security

Your baby may take up more frequent feedings during growth spurts because her body may need more growth-promoting nutrients at that time. Growth spurts usually occur a few days after birth, 7-10 days old, 2-3 weeks old, 4-6 weeks old, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months. Of course your baby is an individual but this is a typical timeframe for most babies, give or take a few days and weeks.

When your baby is sick or going through an emotional issue such as entering day care or having a fear of strangers, she may crave your affection and need to nurse more often. Being in your arms and being nourished by your breast milk not only makes your baby stronger and healthier, it also gives her a sense of security in an uncertain world.

Signs Your Baby is Thriving

Although you may not be able to measure every ounce of breast milk your baby is drinking to ensure she’s getting enough, there are signs that your baby is thriving. First, after her first few days of life, your baby should steadily gain weight throughout year one. Your pediatrician will help you determine if your baby is on a healthy growth curve. If you’re concerned about your baby’s weight gain in between doctor’s visits you can buy an infant scale to weigh her periodically.

Also, your baby should be wetting and soiling diapers frequently as a sign she is consuming, digesting and eliminating breast milk properly. And, while your baby may be fussy sometimes for other reasons, she should seem generally satisfied after feedings.

As your baby grows out of the newborn stage and develops regular patterns and routines, you may notice that your feeding schedule follows suit. You can continue to allow your baby to decide when to eat, but it may be at the same times every day, such as immediately upon waking, before and after naps, and before bedtime. These patterns can help you regain some predictability in your life as you start to go on with daily activities and reenter the “regular world” after having a baby.

Next time you ask yourself, how often should I breastfeed, consider these factors and most importantly, take cues from your baby.

Sources: KellyMom, La Leche League and BabyCenter

 

Loving Moments believes moms should have the knowledge, resources and power to make the healthiest choices for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, we are sharing Breastfeeding Basics, our educational blog series that we hope will empower you with information, encouragement and inspiration to meet your breastfeeding goals.

 

Breastfeeding Success Story: Valerie from Lyon County, KS WIC

Breastfeeding Success Story: Valerie from Lyon County, KS WIC“With my first I didn’t have much of a support system when it came to breastfeeding. I was 17, no one in my family had breast fed, I was too shy to seek help and gave up.

This time was completely different. I had all the support I needed, and a perfect latch from the start which made it tons easier. The first month was tough but we made it through.

Now it’s been 10 months and still going strong, I was even able to donate to 2 babies whose mommas needed a little help. It’s been an incredible journey.”

Valerie from Lyon County, KS WIC’s “Treasure Chest”

Breastfeeding Success Story: Chelsea from Lyon County, KS WIC “Treasure Chest”

Breastfeeding Success Story: Chelsea from Lyon County, KS WIC “Treasure Chest”“I was 19 when I had my first child, Skyler. I was a young mother at 19, and didn’t have much support. I breastfed him for 6 months.

I had my second child, Colt 8 years later. I was determined to be successful at breastfeeding. I ended up breastfeeding him for 15 months, donating 700+ ounces of breastmilk, and encountered a horrible instance of mastitis too.

My daughter was born 15 months ago, and we are still going strong on our breastfeeding journey! Although, I can say nursing a toddler is always interesting; Kendall enjoys bouncing, flipping, and many other things while nursing!”

Chelsea from Lyon County, KS WIC “Treasure Chest”

Breastfeeding Success Story: Britni from Cowley County WIC

Breastfeeding Success Story: Britni from Cowley County WIC“My son Silas was 9 months old when I found out we were expecting again. I was nervous because he was still very attached to nursing and I wasn’t sure how it would work out feeding two babies. A lot of my friends said their babies weaned themselves because their milk changed due to pregnancy and/or it dried up. Well mine didn’t and he was very attached still at 18 months old when his little brother Christopher Jr was born.

I was very nervous to nurse both boys and was afraid of judgment as well since Silas was almost 2. Robin helped me so much! She told me that it’s completely normal to breastfeed after a year old and a lot of people even recommend breastfeeding until 2 years or later. She also gave me advice on tandem nursing. The boys are now 2 years and almost 8 months and are happy healthy breastfed boys!!”

Britni from Cowley County WIC

Everything You Need to Know about Pumping Breast Milk

For many moms, pumping breast milk is a critical and helpful part of their breastfeeding experience. Pumping has some terrific benefits, more than just some time away from your baby. Today we’re exploring everything you need to know about pumping breast milk, from the logistics of pumping, to the reasons it may be a useful part of your breastfeeding journey.

What is a Breast Pump?

A breast pump is a device that allows you to express and collect your breast milk. It mimics the suckling of your baby at the breast to stimulate the flow of milk. The milk is collected in a bottle or bag and can be stored for use at a later time.

Types of Breast Pumps

Everything You Need to Know about Pumping Breast MilkBreast pumps come in manual and electric versions. Both use phalanges – funnel-like shields that suction onto your breasts. In a manual breast pump you will use your hand to squeeze or plunge a mechanism that simulates the tug of your baby at the breast. Electric pumps have a motor that does the work for you and you have the option of different strengths and settings. Hospital grade electric breast pumps are extremely strong and efficient.

If you only plan to pump occasionally or as an emergency back-up, a manual breast pump will probably suffice. If you will be pumping daily, you probably want to get an electric breast pump. Many insurance plans include a free electric breast pump so check with your provider before purchasing one. If you find you need to pump during your hospital stay and you don’t have a breast pump yet, you can easily rent a hospital grade pump on site.

Reasons for Pumping Breast Milk

Pumping breast milk is not just for moms who will be returning to work although that is definitely a reason to pump. Pumping can also be helpful if you need to spend some time away from your baby, perhaps for a little R&R, running errands or a date night with the hubs. Even if you’re not planning to be away from your baby, you may find it more convenient to pump and serve a bottle when you are away from home or simply have a stash of breast milk available in the freezer for a future outing.

Some mothers choose to exclusively pump rather than feed their babies at the breast. This may be because they want to know exactly how much breast milk their baby is getting or they may find it easier, especially if they are working and away from their babies often. Mothers who exclusively pump can create their own pumping schedule but may find it easier to pump around the same times that their baby takes a bottle.

If you experience low milk supply or an oversupply of milk, pumping can help with both of these extremes. The best way to boost your milk supply is by expressing milk more often and draining your breasts thoroughly, whether that is through breastfeeding or pumping. Also, engorgement is common in the early weeks and months of breastfeeding as your body tries to figure out exactly how much to produce for your growing baby. Pumping breast milk to relieve painful full breasts and prevent a plugged duct and potential infection is smart. Full breasts may also make it difficult for your baby to latch.

The Best Times to Pump Milk

If you’re going back to work, pumping around the same time that your baby eats will help you maintain your milk supply and ensure your milk is ready at the times your baby normally nurses (for weekends or days when you will be together). To build up a supply of extra milk, start pumping a few times a day several weeks before returning to work. This will also help you get the hang of pumping too.

The most efficient times to pump are after your morning feeding and before you go to bed. Usually this is when you’ll be able to express the most milk. Pre-bedtime pumping is great once your baby starts sleeping for longer stretches at night. You’ll be able to drain your breasts but have plenty of time to replenish before your she nurses again.

Also pump anytime your feel your breasts are too full and you need relief. This may mean you pump for only a short time before or after a feeding. If you need to boost your milk supply, pump after or in-between feedings to stimulate your milk production. You can even try cluster pumping where you pump every half an hour for several hours.

Tips for Pumping Breast Milk

Treat pumping like breastfeeding. It’s a sacred time of loving nourishment for your baby, even if she isn’t actually there. In a comfy spot, sit back, relax and think of your baby while pumping for the best results.

Pumping should not be painful. When using an electric pump, start on a low setting and increase the speed or force after your letdown occurs. You may need to massage your breasts or lean forward to help stimulate your breasts at the beginning of a pumping session.

Wearing a nursing bra or cami while pumping makes the process much easier, especially if you are pumping at work. Just like breastfeeding, you can simply unhook the nursing clasps or slide over the cups for easy access to your breasts.

Factors That Affect Pumping Output

Pumping is a great tool to ensure your baby has breast milk when you are separated however pumping will never truly replicate breastfeeding. Your baby will always be more efficient at your breast due to her natural suckling ability and your emotional connection. For that reason, you cannot judge how much breast milk your baby is getting by your pumping output. However, if you need to increase your pumping output, consider these factors:

  • Is your pump working properly? The motor on your electric pump may start to fade or some of the connecting pieces may wear out.
  • The emotional connection you have with your baby is almost as essential for breastfeeding as the physical stimulation. While pumping, look at photos or videos of your baby or simply think about her. This can increase your pumping output significantly.
  • Mothers who breastfeed full-time and then pump will yield less breast milk than mothers who pump in replacement of feedings.
  • Your baby may drink more during growth spurts or less when she starts solids, which will decrease or increase your pumping output.
  • Any changes to your hormones may alter your pumping output including your menstrual cycle and being on birth control.
  • Your mental, emotional and physical health, well-being and habits play a role as well. Eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and managing stress appropriately are all essential to successful breastfeeding and pumping.
  • Any time your milk supply suffers, your pumping output will suffer as well. Be sure you’re doing everything necessary to maintain a healthy milk supply, most importantly breastfeeding or pumping frequently and draining your breasts completely.

How to Clean your Breast Pump

It’s probably impossible to sterilize your breast pump after each use but you should sanitize it. While you should consult your breast pump’s manual for specific instructions, most breast pumps can be sanitized with hot water and baby-safe dish soap. Disassemble the pump before washing so you can thoroughly soak every crevice. Wash it for at least 15 seconds and then lay it on a paper towel to dry. Never use a cloth that may harbor germs and bacteria. Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling your breast pump and try not to touch any parts that come in contact with your breast milk once the pump has been sanitized. Some pumps are dishwasher safe or compatible with microwaveable sanitizing bags.

Sources: BabyCenter, KellyMom, FDA and What to Expect

 

Loving Moments believes moms should have the knowledge, resources and power to make the healthiest choices for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, we are sharing Breastfeeding Basics, our educational blog series that we hope will empower you with information, encouragement and inspiration to meet your breastfeeding goals.