Relactation: Return to Breastfeeding

True or false, moms: Once you stop breastfeeding you lose your milk forever? The answer is False. It is entirely possible to return to breastfeeding after a lactation gap, and no we’re not talking about having another baby. Relactation is the process of rebuilding your milk supply after having a baby and taking a break from breastfeeding. (This is different than induced lactation, which occurs when a woman builds a milk supply but has never been pregnant.)

If you’re hoping to return to breastfeeding, here’s the scoop on relactation:

Relactation: Return to BreastfeedingWhile there is little research on relactation, statistics show success rates are pretty high when mothers take the proper steps. The factors that influence success are: having a baby four months or younger, having only a short lactation gap, your baby’s willingness to feed at the breast and seeking professional support. First let’s look at how relactation is even possible.

During pregnancy and childbirth, your body is preparing for breastfeeding by mixing up a cocktail of hormones that will produce breast milk. Your breasts are also changing to best meet the needs of your baby’s most nutritious source of food. Once your baby is born, stimulation of the nipple triggers the hormone prolactin, which is necessary to produce breast milk. When you have a lactation gap (and amazingly even if you’ve never been pregnant or given birth), stimulating the nipple is how relactation can occur.

As is typical of all breastfeeding, putting your baby on the breast often and draining the breast as much as possible is critical for relactation. Feeding 10-12 times a day, that’s every 2-3 hours, is usually the best way to jumpstart your milk supply. The more stimulation, the more likely you are to restart the production of milk and build a healthy milk supply. Also make sure your baby is feeding effectively with a good latch.

It is also essential to drain your breasts thoroughly with each feeding. Find your baby’s favorite breastfeeding positions and activities to keep your baby interested and engaged in breastfeeding. Breast compressions – squeezing your breasts to encourage milk to drain – may be helpful and keep a trickle of milk coming so your baby will stay on the breast. Another way to keep your baby on the breast is using a supplemental nursing system that feeds your baby from both the breast and a tube of milk at the same time.

If your baby is not willing or able to drain your breasts, pumping is the next best option. Pumping after or in-between feedings is a good idea if your baby is not feeding as often as you would like. A double electric pump is the most efficient way to express milk besides your baby himself.

Milk supply is often the issue that leads to early weaning. If this is why you stopped breastfeeding in the first place, work hard to not run into the same issue. Besides frequent and thorough feedings, spend as much time with your baby as possible and engage in lots of skin-to-skin contact. You may want to take lactation supplements known as galactagogues, such as fenugreek and blessed thistle, or drink a lactation tea.

Relactation usually takes around one month to achieve. Most moms who are able to relactate work with a professional lactation consultant to strategize the best methods for reestablishing milk supply and ensuring their babies are getting enough nourishment during the process.

Sources: LaLecheLeague, KellyMom, MotherLove and Belly Belly

 

Breastfeeding and Breast Preference 2

Breastfeeding and Breast Preference 2Your baby’s breast preference is not cause for major concern. As long as you are breastfeeding when your baby shows signs of hunger, she’s growing properly and soiling diapers, your baby is likely getting plenty of milk, even if it is primarily from one breast. Yet still, some mothers become uncomfortable in the less frequently used breast or may not like their new lopsided silhouette.

Earlier this week we discussed reasons for breast preference including milk supply, let downs, nipple differences, taste of breast milk, preferred positions, and a pain or injury your baby may be experiencing. Today we’re sharing ways to encourage your baby to nurse from both breasts and how you can even up your breasts if she continues to show breast preference.

Ways to Encourage Nursing on Both Breasts

If your baby’s breast preference bothers you, try these ways to encourage nursing on both breasts:

  • Offer the less frequently nursed breast first. Babies generally nurse more vigorously when they begin a breastfeeding session because that is when they are hungriest. This may help increase your milk supply and speed up let downs. Offering the less preferred breast first may work best when your baby is sleepy – either just after waking or before a nap or bedtime – when she is not keenly aware of which side she’s nursing.
  • Offer the less frequently nursed breast more often. Nurse your baby on the less preferred side twice per feeding, sandwiched by the more preferred side. If you only nurse from one breast at a time, start with the less preferred breast twice as often.
  • Find a more comfortable position. If your baby doesn’t like nursing on one side because you believe she’s uncomfortable, try a different nursing position for that side. Alternatively, try to switch from the preferred breast to the less preferred breast with as little repositioning as possible.
  • Distract your baby while nursing. Rocking, walking, singing or wearing your baby while nursing from the less preferred breast may help distract your baby and encourage more productive breastfeeding.
  • Work to balance your milk supply. Building up your milk supply in the less preferred breast may be the best solution to breast preference. This requires extra breastfeeding and pumping on that breast. On the flip side, if engorgement or a forceful let down is causing the breast preference, express milk from that side before a feeding to make it easier for your baby to latch and feed.
  • Use a nipple shield. Inverted or otherwise altered nipples can cause breast preference. If necessary, use a nipple shield on the less desirable side.

How to Counteract Breast Preference

So your baby is very stubborn, eh? That’s OK! As we mentioned, it is more about your potential discomfort – due to engorgement or appearance – than a true problem. The best solution for a baby who will not nurse from one breast is to pump that breast more often. This will help in several ways: First, frequent pumping will prevent you from becoming engorged, which can lead to plugged ducts that may cause mastitis. You definitely don’t want that! Secondly, pumping may increase your milk supply and help resolve the breast preference issue altogether. And lastly, pumping will ensure you have extra milk on hand if you feel your baby is still hungry after breastfeeding on her preferred side.

Bottom line: Don’t stress about your baby’s breast preference. Follow these suggestions to encourage your baby to nurse on both sides and when all else fails, pump!

Sources: KellyMom, Breastfeeding-Problems, and BabyCenter

Breastfeeding and Breast Preference 1

Breastfeeding and Breast Preference 1Breastfeeding may have you feeling a little off balance if your baby has a distinct breast preference. Preferring one side over another is common although some babies feel more strongly about it than others. While completely normal, you may be able to subdue your baby’s breast preference during breastfeeding to help prevent plugged ducts and lopsidedness.

First we should note that there is no nutritional problem with your baby having a breast preference. In fact, it may actually benefit your baby because she will likely nurse through to the fattier hind milk that is important for your baby’s growth and development. However, if breast preference causes pain or an infection in your less frequently used breast, or if a lopsided appearance bothers you, you may want to work to even things up a bit.

Today we’re exploring reasons your baby may have a breast preference while breastfeeding and later this week we’ll offer suggestions to keep your breasts more balanced and encourage your baby to nurse on both sides.

Reasons for Breast Preference

As you are discovering, your baby is an intricate being and perhaps rather opinionated. Her likes and dislikes may emerge in small ways at first including breast preference. After all, she spends quite a bit of time breastfeeding so she’s bound to exert some control of the situation eventually.

Milk Supply or Let Downs

Breast preference can be the result of the difference in milk supply or let downs between your breasts. Just like your hands, feet, eyes and ears differ slightly, the same anatomical asymmetry exists in your breasts. The internal mechanisms that help produce breast milk vary from side to side, which can cause milk supply to be higher or lower or let downs to be faster or slower. Most babies will prefer the side with more milk unless engorgement makes it too difficult for the baby to latch. Some babies prefer a slower let down that won’t overwhelm them with too much milk at once. (Mothers who have had breast surgery may experience lower milk supply in that breast.)

Nipple Differences

The means of suckling breast milk – your nipples – may also be a factor. You’ve probably noticed that your nipples differ in shape and size. Chances are your baby notices too and this may be a reason for her breast preference. Nipple differences change the way a baby latches and is able to secure milk. The easier it is for her to latch, the more she’ll enjoy that breast.

Breast Milk Flavor

The flavor of your breast milk can be altered in breasts individually if you have mastitis (an infected plugged duct) or if a capillary bursts on one side and blood leaks into your milk supply. These situations can cause milk to taste saltier, which your baby may not enjoy.

Preferred Positions

On the other hand, breast preference may have nothing to do with your body at all. Rather, it may have something to do with your baby. Babies come to enjoy being held a certain way, whether due to the mother’s holding style or simply a natural preference. Nursing in a more comfortable position for your baby may lead to breast preference.

Pain or Injury

Also, if your baby has a medical reason to prefer being positioned a certain way, she may rather lie that way for breastfeeding too. For example, an ear infection in one ear may make it painful for your baby to lie on that side. The same can be true if your baby has a neck injury or pain at an immunization site. Or an undetected birth injury or defect can also result in breast preference due to positioning.

Understanding the cause of your baby’s breast preference may help as you strategize a solution. Later this week we’ll review ways to encourage nursing on both breasts and what you can do if your baby refuses to nurse on one side.

Sources: KellyMom, Breastfeeding-Problems, and BabyCenter

Nipple Preference or Nipple Confusion

Babies were born to breastfeed. It is one of the few things full term babies know how to do the instant they are born. If you ever doubt this, watch videos of newborns who instinctively find their mother’s breasts and start suckling. It is nothing short of amazing. Nipple preference, sometimes called nipple confusion, may come into play if a baby shows more interest in a bottle or pacifier than nursing from the breast. Today we’re taking a look at nipple preference and how to avoid it.

Nipple preference usually occurs when a baby is unsuccessful at getting breast milk during nursing and instead is given a bottle where nourishment is readily available. Interestingly, it’s not that babies actually prefer a bottle nipple, but rather they are getting better results from it. Feeding directly from the breast is actually a baby’s first preference.

Nipple Preference or Nipple ConfusionThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not offering bottles – even of breast milk – for at least the first four weeks of a baby’s life. This helps solidify a breastfeeding routine by allowing mothers to establish a healthy milk supply and babies to feel confident in latching and in the comfort they get from breastfeeding. Introducing a bottle too early, whether it is because milk supply is low or out of convenience, can lead to nipple preference.

Milk supply takes time to develop. For the first few days after birth a mother produces colostrum, which is a thick paste-like substance that can sustain babies until their mother’s milk comes in. Although milk usually arrives within a few days of birth, it is not considered mature milk until three weeks after birth. Some moms experience low milk supply from the beginning, which may lead to bottle feedings earlier than four weeks. Other complications such as sore nipples and difficulty latching, or the emotional toll of having a new baby (including need for sleep and feeling frustrated that breastfeeding isn’t going smoothly), may also lead to early bottle feeding.

Bottle feedings can cause nipple preference when babies are having a hard time getting milk during breastfeeding and are better able to retrieve milk from bottles. However, bottle feedings can exacerbate breastfeeding problems because they interfere with the supply and demand process of milk supply and gets the baby out of the habit of feeding from the breast. Then breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding becomes a vicious cycle and can lead to early weaning.

Some people argue pacifiers can also cause nipple preference and should not be introduced until four weeks once breastfeeding is well-established. Like bottle nipples, pacifiers require a different mouth and tongue position than breastfeeding and may interfere with latch.

If you feel your baby is experiencing nipple preference work to increase your milk supply so your baby can get back to his instinctual desire to breastfeed. You can boost your milk supply by breastfeeding often (on-demand), emptying your breasts completely during feedings, not skipping a feeding by offering a bottle, eating a healthy lactation diet and pumping as necessary. Also ensure your baby has a proper latch so he can nurse effectively. If you run into breastfeeding problems, visit a lactation consultant right away to resolve them so you can stay on track.

Once your breastfeeding routine is well established occasional bottles and pacifier use is fine. If you are returning to work or need to be away from your baby regularly, gradually build up to more frequent breast milk bottle feedings. Be sure to pump whenever your baby has a bottle to keep your milk supply strong t avoid future nipple preference.

Sources: Ask Dr. Sears, BabyCenter and KellyMom

 

How to Improve the Quality of your Breast Milk

How to Improve the Quality of your Breast MilkAlthough breast milk has the same general nutritional make-up from mother to mother, there are some difference based on the mother’s diet, behaviors and habits surrounding breastfeeding. Surprisingly, it may be breastfeeding practices that are more effective at increasing the fat content of breast milk, but diet may change the types of fats that make up breast milk. Today we’re reviewing how to improve the quality of your breast milk.

Keep in mind that the biggest indicator of your baby’s growth when it comes to breast milk is the volume she is receiving, not the exact fat and calorie content. So even though you can improve the quality of your breast milk, for pure growth purposes, ensuring your baby is getting plenty of it is most important.

Your Diet and Your Breast Milk

Every mother’s breast milk make-up is different, which is somewhat related to your diet, and somewhat dependant upon how your body makes milk. However, moms need a wholesome diet to have enough energy to make breast milk, not to mention take care of an infant. Therefore getting plenty of protein, eating plant foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and staying hydrated are essential.

Also, eating healthy fats helps determine the quality of fat in your breast milk. Saturated fats are unhealthy and can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a variety of cardiovascular problems for you and your baby. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and essential fatty acids found in many whole foods like nuts, natural oils, avocados and fish are much better choices to improve the quality of your breast milk.

Prenatal Vitamins and Your Breast Milk

Your doctor probably advised you to continue taking prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding. That’s because it is not only a broad spectrum multi-vitamin, it also contains critical nutrients that your baby needed in the womb and still needs now like folate, iron, calcium, Vitamin D and DHA. While you are likely getting some of these in your regular diet, supplementing is a great way to improve the quality of your breast milk.

Breast Emptiness and Your Breast Milk

Empty breasts produce fattier milk. That’s why it is important for you to drain your breasts fully during feedings and to encourage your baby to feed frequently and for long enough to get to the hind milk. When your breasts are full, there is more foremilk, which contains less fat. Hind milk comes later in feedings and is packed of nutritious fats for your baby.

Breast Compressions and Your Breast Milk

Interestingly, massaging and performing breast compressions can increase the fat content of your breast milk. It helps dislodge the sticky fats in hind milk that get stuck to milk ducts so it is more readily available to your baby.

Breast milk is best for your baby no matter how you serve it. But improving the quality of your breast milk is like the cherry on top of a really healthy ice cream sundae!

Sources: Parenting Science, Kelly Mom, BabyCenter, American Pregnancy, Joyful Abode and BreastMilk

 

Breast Milk Nutrition Part 2

Breast Milk Nutrition Part 2It’s National Nutrition Month so we’re exploring the nutrition in your baby’s breast milk. As your baby’s best first food, breast milk contains a wealth of nutrients that not only help her grow and develop now, but also support her health for a lifetime. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 4-6 months of your baby’s life, and continuing to one year or beyond. Today we’re rounding out our discussion of breast milk nutrition by breaking down the most potent categories and explaining their nutritive value.

Water: H2O is essential hydration for your baby since water is a large part of her body composition and she is not getting water from any other source.

Protein: The two types of protein found in breast milk are whey and caseins. Breast milk protein typically contains 60-80% whey, which is much easier for babies to digest than caseins. In comparison, cow’s milk and formula have a higher concentration of caseins that may cause more gastrointestinal problems for babies. Protein helps build muscles and bones and is vital to a strong immune system.

Fat: Fat is crucial to your baby’s growth and development. The fat content in your breast milk changes during each feeding. The foremilk that comes first is rich in carbohydrates (mainly lactose) and water while the hind milk that follows has more fat and therefore calories. That is why feeding on one side until your baby reaches the hind milk is important. Fatty acids and cholesterol help your baby’s brain develop (as well as nervous system and eyes) and are linked to improved cognition among breastfed babies. Fats also aid the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Carbohydrates: Lactose or milk sugar is the main carbohydrate found in breast milk. Carbohydrates are used to energize the body for all metabolic functions including growth. Lactose promotes healthy flora in your baby’s gut and can fight off harmful bacteria there as well.  It also helps your baby absorb essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Oligosaccharides are another carbohydrate that supports a healthy immune system in the gut as well.

Antibodies: Many of the other categories of breast milk nutrition have protective properties for your baby. Additionally, antibodies help prevent your baby, who has little-to-no immune system at birth, from getting sick. Secretory Immunoglobulin A is the main antibody found in breast milk. It forms a protective barrier in your baby’s intestines and lungs to keep pathogens away from these critical organs and out of the bloodstream.

Enzymes: Enzymes help your baby break down breast milk during digestion so it can be metabolized and put to good use throughout her body. There are around 40 different types of enzymes that have been identified in breast milk including lactoferrin, lipase, amylase and protease.

Vitamins and Minerals: Breast milk is rich in vitamins and minerals that help your baby with nearly every function of her tiny little body. The alphabet of vitamins including A, B, C, D, E and K are swimming around in your breast milk. Minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, zinc and chloride, among others.

Hormones: Scientists are not positive about the purpose of hormones in breast milk but there are many of them including prolactin, relaxin, endorphins and thyroid hormones, among others. Some of these are required for milk production, while others are a natural part of a woman’s body or may have helped during the reproductive and childbirth stages.

Sources: Parenting Science, Very Well, Baby Center, American Pregnancy and Rehydrate

Breast Milk Nutrition Part 1

You already know breast milk is the most nutritious food on the planet for your baby. That’s why you pour so much of your heart and soul into breastfeeding. But do you know exactly what is in your breast milk? We’re breaking down breast milk nutrition in honor of National Nutrition Month.

Breast milk contains over 200 powerful elements that help your baby thrive. And it’s not just the individual ingredients but rather then combination of them that makes breast milk such an extraordinary superfood. Plus, your breast milk is constantly changing to meet the needs of your baby so you’re always providing what your baby needs when she needs it.

Breast Milk Nutrition Part 1Because your breast milk evolves, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact quantity of certain nutrients. Not only will your milk evolve as your baby grows and ages, your breast milk also changes based on the time of day, frequency of feedings, duration of feedings and your diet. However, there are some constants when it comes to breast milk.

All mature breast milk (milk produced 21 days after initiating lactation) contains water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, hormones antibodies and white cells. Breast milk is made of just over 88% water. Proteins make up 1% of breast milk, fats are just under 4%, carbohydrates are around 7% and everything else is less than 1%. If that less than 1% seems insignificant, think again. That’s a category with a ton of really important nutrients for your baby. In general, 100 mL (approximately 3.5 oz) of breast milk contains 70 calories.

Colostrum, the early seedy substance that feeds your baby in the first few days of life, differs in composition to meet the immediate needs of your newborn baby. Colostrum is more potent in protein but contains less fat and calories. This is why your newborn is hungry often, in addition to her small stomach. Colostrum also has more beta-carotene, Vitamin E and zinc than mature breast milk.

From a biological and evolutionary perspective, breast milk nutrition and composition makes a lot of sense. Human babies develop slowly, which is why breast milk protein is low. We also keep our babies with us rather than leaving them for long periods of time to say, hunt for food, so they need less fat in their diets because they are fed frequently.

Stick around: later this week we’re breaking down breast milk nutrition further and taking a deep dive into each nutritious category.

Sources: Parenting Science, Very Well, Baby Center, American Pregnancy and Rehydrate

The Extraordinary Benefit of Breast Milk for Preemies

Breast milk is the best first food for all babies due to its phenomenal nutrients and protective antibodies. For preemies, the need for breast milk is even greater to help rapidly progress their development and set the stage for good health throughout their childhood. Today we’re looking at the extraordinary benefit of breast milk for preemies.

Preemies – babies born before 37 weeks of gestation – need an extra boost to help them continue their development outside of the womb. And there is no better substance on earth to assist in their growth than breast milk. As it does for all babies, breast milk offers preemies the best nutrition possible as well as antibodies that prevent potential illness and infection. For babies who are often struggling for survival, breast milk may be critical.

breastfeeding The Extraordinary Benefit of Breast Milk for PreemiesAmazingly, a mom’s breast milk changes throughout breastfeeding to meet the needs of her baby. This is no exception for preemies. The breast milk from a mom of a preemie contains more protein and minerals, as well as the right combination of fats that will improve the baby’s growth and development. This subtle yet important difference in breast milk produced for preemies also makes it easier for preemies to digest. Formula made with cow’s milk, even formula designed for preemies, can lead to intestinal infections in premature babies.

A recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that preemies who received more breast milk in their first 28 days of life had greater brain development at their intended due date and were more cognitively advanced at age seven than babies who did not receive as much or any breast milk. The study was completed on babies born prior to 30 weeks of gestation and who were in the NICU during at least their first 28 days of life. While many studies support the mental health benefits of breast milk, this study showed not only the short term but also the long term extraordinary benefit of breast milk for preemies.

A major hurdle in providing breast milk to preemies is that mothers are often separated from their babies and premature babies have a much harder time breastfeeding at birth. Babies usually don’t develop the skills required for latching until the 35th week of pregnancy or later. A preemie may not have the strength to form a proper latch for breastfeeding. Additionally, when babies are incubated in the NICU, mothers don’t have the opportunity to try breastfeeding right away.

When babies are unable to breastfeed, new moms can pump milk that can be fed to their premature baby through a tube or bottle. Producing milk can be more challenging when moms and babies are separated but looking at a picture of the baby, hearing a baby’s cry, and massaging the breasts can encourage milk flow. Early production may be limited to a few drops of colostrum but newborns don’t need much to sustain themselves due to their very small stomachs. The key to successful pumping for preemies is doing it often.

Parents of premature babies should discuss the extraordinary benefit of breast milk for preemies with their doctor, pediatrician and hospital nurses to ensure everyone is aware of the intent to provide breast milk as the best first food choice for the baby. The medical team can help facilitate a hospital-grade breast pump and transferring and feeding the milk to babies in the NICU. If a mom is not able to provide enough breast milk to sustain her preemie, parents often purchase donor breast milk until the mom can pump enough or the baby is better able to breastfeed.

The extraordinary benefit of breast milk for preemies is nothing short of miraculous. It’s nature’s health solution to helping the tiniest humans survive and thrive in life!

Sources: CBS News, Healthy Children, and Breast Milk Counts

 

Breastfeeding = Love

The theme of February is love, but for us every month is about love because breastfeeding = love! You’re showing your baby love in all the ways you take care of her every need. Breastfeeding is one of the most powerful ways you can love your baby because it encompasses so much of what we want our children to understand about love. From health, nutrition and happiness, to comfort, affection and safety, breastfeeding provides all of these to your baby and more.

Breastfeeding is health: Your baby’s health is your top priority as she is growing and developing every day. Breast milk has seemingly countless health benefits ranging from lowered risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes, to a stronger immune system now and throughout your baby’s lifetime. Breastfeeding sets your baby up for the healthiest start in life and it continues for many years into the future.

Breastfeeding is nutrition: Breast milk is the very best nutrition on the planet for your baby. It contains hundreds of essential nutrients that will help your baby thrive. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 4-6 months and continuing to breastfeed until at least a year once solids are introduced. Breastfeeding kick-starts a healthy diet that you and your child can maintain throughout her life.

Breastfeeding = LoveBreastfeeding is happiness: Breastfeeding offers many emotional benefits for your baby. It promotes the perfect bond between mother and baby as you spend your days cuddling and nursing. You and your baby learn each other intimately and sync to each other’s rhythms through breastfeeding. You solidify the love of family, closeness, smiles and unconditional love when you breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is comfort: Breastfeeding feels so good to your baby, and hopefully to you as well. When babies are fussy, nursing is one of the best ways to pacify them. It’s not just about the milk, but about being close to mom and feeling the love flow between the two of you. Breastfed babies often sleep better too, because the comfort they receive during nursing soothes them to sleep.

Breastfeeding is affection: There are many ways to show love and affection but we can’t think of one that beats breastfeeding. It is the gift that keeps on giving for your baby’s entire lifetime. And it’s a pure act of love from a mother to a baby.

Breastfeeding is safety: When your baby is unsure of the world around her, she feels reassured by your loving touch. You are her first form of safety because she trusts that you will always be there for her. Breastfeeding is her way of feeling secure in this great big world.

We hope you have a magnificent Valentine’s Day as you remember all the ways breastfeeding = love!

Relatable Moments for Breastfeeding Moms

Relatable Moments for Breastfeeding MomsThere is so much that happens to your body during pregnancy and postpartum. In fact, there are gobs of books, websites, articles and social media posts dedicated to the miraculous and sometimes ridiculous things that happen to women who are expecting, birthing and lactating. Today we’re sharing the lighter side of breastfeeding with relatable moments for breastfeeding moms.

The Milk Squirt: It has surely happened to moms for centuries. You are mid let-down and your baby pulls off the breast. The milk, however, didn’t get the memo so it squirts in every direction including your eye, your baby’s face and your hubby who’s halfway across the room. After the initial shock wears off, everyone laughs and tells the story for years to come.

Atten Hut: You feel like your nipples have joined the military and stand at attention day and night, ready to defend, ready to feed.

What is Modesty?: Once upon a time your breasts were very private. Now, when your baby says it’s time to eat, your breasts are an open buffet. Friends and family members will be no strangers to your breasts. And you become very comfortable with just about anyone touching your breasts if it means they are helping you and your baby get better at breastfeeding.

Spit Happens: You’ve just taken a shower – the first one you’ve had in days. You smell good, you look good and it’s time to breastfeed. You are proud that your baby is eating nicely, more than usual in fact. Then, as you’re burping as you always do, your baby spews more spit-up than you’ve ever seen in your life. You can’t imagine that your baby even drank the amount of milk you see puddled on the floor, in your shoes and dripping down your clothes. How is that even possible?

Doorbell Feeding: You asked the repair guy to come before 1 p.m. when you know your baby will want to eat. But he’s not there by 1:05 p.m. so you start your feeding. At 1:07 p.m. the guy shows up and your baby is happily nursing. You know if you stop the feeding your baby will go ballistic. So you scoop up your baby still wearing your nursing pillow and answer the door. That’ll teach the repair guy to be on time!

Check Out My Stash: When friends come over to see your baby, you also show your stash of frozen milk. It’s your newest prized possession, besides your baby of course.

Who Turned on the Faucet?:  You desperately need to go to the grocery store because your pantry is down to cracker crumbs and your emergency can of soup. Daddy stays home with baby so you can run to the store. Of course your luxurious hour away to do the grocery shopping is met with everyone else’s baby crying in the store. And then suddenly you look down and you shirt is soaked with breast milk. So you push your card with your belly while keeping your hands folded across your chest.

What Not to Wear: Your wardrobe is all about functionality. Your first and foremost consideration is, “how long will it take me to get my breast out of this shirt.” If it has clasps (thank you nursing tanks!), buttons, zippers or wraps around your chest, it is acceptable. All other wardrobe options are dead to you.

Cry Over Spilt Milk: It always happens in slow motion and you literally cry about it for half an hour. Then you call everyone you know to tell them of your tragedy.

Babe or Baby’s Mom: Breastfeeding may be the first time in your life that you’ve had ample bosom. Your friends comment on your new curves and you can’t help but notice a few extra glances from men too. Take the compliment while you’ve got ‘em!

The Mommy Dream Feed: Your baby is up for the fourth feeding of the night and all you want to do is sleep. You close your eyes, just for a second, just to get one wink of satisfying sleep. Fifteen minutes later you are awakened because your baby is ready for the other breast. Wow, that was a great power nap at 3 a.m.!

Can I Borrow your Baby?: Your breast pump is broken or you left it at home and you’re in desperate need of relief. You wonder if someone will let you borrow their baby to feed.

Can you relate?