Breastfeeding Tips for Winter

Baby, it’s cold outside! When the weather is cold all you may want to do is snuggle up with your baby to keep both of you warm. If that sounds like you, then breastfeeding is the perfect wintertime warm-up! Today we’re sharing breastfeeding tips for winter:

Breastfeeding Tip #1: Warm Your Baby with Breastfeeding

Breast milk is the most amazing substance on the planet. It has the unique ability to change temperature based on your baby’s specific needs during a feeding time. So when it’s cold outside and your baby needs heat, breastfeeding offers the perfect warm beverage.

Breastfeeding Tips for WinterBreastfeeding Tip #2: Skin-to-Skin

When you’re breastfeeding during wintertime, try for as much skin-to-skin as possible. In addition to the warmth of your breast milk, your body temperature will also help warm your baby. Plus your baby will be calmer and sync to your body’s rhythm through more skin-to-skin time and you can help regulate your baby’s heartbeat to improve heat-producing circulation.

Breastfeeding Tip #3: Heal Your Baby with Breast Milk

If your baby does catch a cold during the winter months, the very best therapy may be your breast milk. Packed with hundreds of nutrients and vital antibodies, breast milk helps keep babies healthier, both in the short and long term. Also, breast milk can help heal topically when applied to dry skin or dabbed in the nasal or ear cavities to clear congestion.

Breastfeeding Tip #4: Layer with Nursing Tanks

Even when you’re bundled in sweaters and coats, layer your outfits with a nursing tank underneath for easy breastfeeding access. This way you can simply flip up your warm layers, unclasp your nursing tank and you’re ready to feed whenever your baby says it’s time. This will save you much hassle when you’re dressed for winter weather.

Breastfeeding Tip #5: Use a Breathable Nursing Cover

Protect your baby from the cold air with a breathable nursing cover. Research shows that trapping your baby with a blanket in a small confined space (like car seat carrier, stroller or while breastfeeding) can be a suffocation hazard and causes babies to re-breathe harmful carbon dioxide. Instead use a lightweight nursing cover that allows air to flow freely while still reducing exposure to harsh temperatures. Our Loving Moments nursing cover doubles as a scarf so it’s perfect for wintertime nursing on-the-go.

Breastfeeding Tip #6: Breastfeed More Often

As if you need another excuse to cuddle with your little one, breastfeeding is just the best bonding activity when it’s cold outside. You can breastfeed in your warm bed, wrapped in a blanket by the fireplace, or cozied-up into your rocking chair. It feels so good to breastfeed when it’s cold outside so do it as often as your baby desires.

We hope you have a magnificent winter filled with lots and lots of breastfeeding!

How to Prepare for Breastfeeding

How to Prepare for BreastfeedingIf you’re researching how to prepare for breastfeeding during your pregnancy, you’ve taken the vital first steps for a successful breastfeeding journey.  Making the decision and dedicating yourself to breastfeeding should begin before your baby is even born.  Breastfeeding is an amazing experience for babies and mamas.  But as natural as it may be, there is a learning curve and often some challenging times.  Today we’re taking a look at how to prepare for breastfeeding so you can enter the journey with your best foot – or breast – forward.

Take a Class:  Taking a breastfeeding class while you are pregnant is a terrific idea when you are considering how to prepare for breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding classes are usually taught by certified lactation consultants and/or registered nurses who are experts in breastfeeding.  They will provide excellent information about the benefits of and mechanics of breastfeeding; discuss proper latch and positioning; explain pumping and breast milk storage; and review signs of hunger that will help you know when and how to feed your baby.  You’ll probably get a few handouts to take home with you as reminders of what you learned in class.  Bring daddy along so he can help navigate breastfeeding with you and be an encouraging teammate along the way.

Develop a Network:  Before your baby arrives, identify partners that can help you if you have questions or are experiencing difficulty with breastfeeding.  Veteran mom friends who were successful breastfeeders can be helpful.  Your OBGYN or pediatrician may have resources or recommendations of lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups that can be part of your team.  Also, call your insurance company as they may provide a stipend for lactation support or have in-house lactation experts that can talk you through challenges.

how to prepare for breastfeeding_2Gather Supplies:  You don’t need much to breastfeed, but you’ll probably want a few supplies on hand.  The most important breastfeeding tools are nursing bras.  Purchase at least three nursing bras towards the end of your pregnancy.  Make sure they are made with soft, breathable fabrics and have adjustable bands and straps that will expand with your breasts as you size fluctuates in the early days of breastfeeding.  Nursing tank tops are a great option for daytime and nighttime feedings.  And be sure to have washable nursing pads in case you have leaky breasts.  You may also want to purchase pure lanolin cream in case you develop sore nipples.  Additional supplies like a rocker and nursing pillow may be helpful too.  If you plan to pump, check with your insurance company before you purchase a breast pump.  Under the Affordable Care Act, many insurers offer free or discounted breast pumps for new mothers.

Make a Plan:  In your birth plan, express your desire to breastfeed.  Let your doctor know and tell your nurses as soon as you arrive at the hospital.  Some mothers find breastfeeding easier if they have not had drug intervention during childbirth.  Make a sign for your baby’s hospital bassinet that says “Breastfed Only” so no one accidentally gives your baby formula.  If you wish to avoid pacifiers, make that known as well.

Get your Mind in the Game:  Practicing breastfeeding before your baby arrives is pretty much impossible.  Unless you’ve done it before, breastfeeding is not something you can fully understand until your baby arrives.  But you can prepare for breastfeeding by visualizing the experience and making plans for successful breastfeeding.  That means you’ll either need to be with your baby every 2-3 hours or you’ll need to pump so someone can feed your baby breast milk.  Understanding the demands of breastfeeding before your little one arrives will help you manage this drastic shift in your daily (and nightly) schedule.  Also, while it is an extraordinary and bonding time for you and baby, breastfeeding can have some rocky moments.  Knowing that raising a baby is not all coos and giggles is important too.

Be Ready to Rock Right Away:  Statistics show that moms who breastfeed their babies right away find the most long term success.  Ask for your baby to be handed to you as soon as it is safe for you and your baby after childbirth and put your baby on your breast.  Through instinct and scent, most babies know how to find their mother’s breast and start suckling immediately.  Even if your baby is not getting any colostrum right away, the act of being on your breast is great practice for baby and will stimulate your milk production.  Also, have your baby sleep in your hospital room with you so you can easily breastfeed whenever your baby is hungry.  Feeding on demand is recommended during the early stages of breasting and having your baby in your room will help you sync with your baby.

Learning how to prepare for breastfeeding is the first step in your journey.  We wish you much joy, love and breastfeeding with your baby!

How to Effectively Pump Breast Milk While on Vacation

How to Effectively Pump Breast Milk While on Vacation I’m going on a week-long vacation without my 10-month old.  I have plenty of stored breast milk for him and I plan to pump while I’m away.  But do I need to pump as often as I would normally feed him?  I fear that will not be possible during vacation.

Congratulations, first of all, that you have so much stored breast milk at home.  I understand your fear of keeping a tight pumping schedule on vacation—so often vacation time is unstructured! Depending on where you are going and how flexible your plans are, you may be surprised how easily it is to express your breast milk.  If you are going out of the country, make sure you find out if the electric outlets in your hotel will fit your breast pump or if you need to purchase an adapter.  Also, if you have a double set-up breast pump, use it for a quick, efficient way to express your milk. Cutting down pumping time makes it easier to take a break from your vacation plans without missing anything.

If you cannot plan your pumping times around the times your baby typically nurses, try to express the same amount of times in a 24-hour time period you would at home.  For example, if you normally nurse your baby 5 times a day, try to pump the same number of times in a 24 hour period. You might have an easier time expressing your breast milk if you try to stick to the same time schedule you would at home, but it’s not necessary to match the times exactly. You may find that you can sneak in a pumping at 2 am instead of the 2 pm time slot.  Remember that as long as you are regularly expressing breast milk, you should not experience any trouble breastfeeding again once you’re home.

You may also want to give some thought to storing your breast milk.  Many hotels provide their guests with refrigerators in the room and breast milk may be stored for up to eight days in a refrigerator.  If you don’t have the luxury of refrigeration, you may want to invest in a portable ice chest.  Just remember to check the breast milk and make sure it’s been properly cooled. You may also want to consider putting the milk on dry ice and shipping it home at the end of your trip.  Enjoy your vacation!

 

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Colostrum and Important Breastfeeding Health Benefits for Your Baby

Colostrum and Important Breastfeeding Health Benefits for Your BabyDid you know that your breasts start producing liquid gold in the final weeks of your pregnancy? No, not the real kind of gold you’d find in Fort Knox, but a substance more precious to your newborn’s health. Colostrum, nicknamed “liquid gold” by nursing moms and lactation consultants, is the nutrient-rich breast milk a woman produces just before birth.

Why the nickname? Colostrum is not only precious for your infant, but typically carries a yellowish hue when discharged. This special breast milk comes in before your normal breast milk supply and is very important for your newborn’s immune system. While is rich in proteins, vitamin a, and antibodies, colostrum is also low in fat. Its natural composition makes it the best first food for your newborn. Also, colostrum has been shown to stimulate a baby’s digestive system without fuss. Packed with white blood cells, colostrum keeps infections at bay while your baby happily nurses and gets stronger.

After the first few days nursing, the colostrum will be replaced with regular breast milk. This natural transition is nothing to worry about—your baby will still get essential nutrients and vitamins without colostrum. With a proper feeding schedule and enough breast milk, your baby will continue to gain weight at a healthy pace. Colostrum jump starts the entire process and creates lasting immunity that’s crucial to protecting your baby against disease. Experts agree that babies fed colostrum have better immune systems long-term and are less likely to struggle with diabetes or obesity. Breastfeeding sets the tone for your baby’s health and lifestyle, so take steps to try nursing your little one, especially in the days just after delivery.

Worried about breastfeeding? Make an appointment with a lactation consultant to get all of the information you need. You can also turn to a female family member or friend who has nursed before for practical advice and support. You’re not alone in this, so reach out to others for emotional support while you get the hang of nursing!

 

Breastfeeding Tips for Difficulty Nursing: Looking at Tongue Tie in Newborns

Breastfeeding Tips for Difficulty Nursing: Looking at Tongue Tie in NewbornsDifficulty breastfeeding? Take a look into your baby’s mouth and see if your infant is affected by “tongue-tie,” a birth condition where the tongue frenulum is shorter than average. The frenulum is the band underneath the tongue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the mouth’s floor. While many people associate tongue-tie (the technical term is ankyloglossia) with stammering and speech impediments (which a short frenulum can cause), about 3% of babies have difficulty breastfeeding with tongue-tie.

Having a shorter frenulum makes breastfeeding difficult for a baby because it impedes the sucking motion necessary for a newborn to nurse effectively. Overall tongue motion and reach is impaired by the inherited condition—chances are that if your baby has a short frenulum, someone else in the family does as well.

What steps can you take to help your baby nurse with tongue-tie? Talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting your baby’s frenulum clipped—a medical procedure that widens your baby’s tongue range and is safe, efficient, and done only in a doctor’s office. One lactation consultant compares the procedure to getting your ears pierced.

If you are having difficulty breastfeeding despite trying a range of positions, are experiencing constant nipple soreness, or hear your baby making empty sucking noises while nursing, you want to make an appointment with a lactation consultant. A trained lactation consultant will be able to help you pinpoint what issues might be complicating breastfeeding. Many mothers experience a challenging adjustment period when first breastfeeding, so talking a lactation consultant will help soothe nursing frustrations.

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom Guide

The beginning is always the hardest; that’s true of any skill when you’re learning the ropes. Breastfeeding is no different. New moms are often overwhelmed by how consuming breastfeeding becomes from the first feeding: latching techniques, constant feeding schedules, different hold positions—the list goes on! We have some breastfeeding tips that address the first three days of nursing and serve as a blueprint of what to expect. From hospital to home, let these breastfeeding tips (adapted from Pregnancy and Newborn online magazine) guide you through the first days of nursing and into a seamless routine.

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Three Days: A New Mom GuideOnce you’ve delivered your baby, ask to hold your newborn so you can experience skin-to-skin contact. Establishing an external connection with your baby as quickly as possible will aid breastfeeding. If you can, you should try to nurse the first time you hold your baby as well. Be patient as your infant tries to latch for the first times and look for signs that she is properly sucking and consuming milk.

Watch to see if your baby’s mouth is open wide (most of your areola and nipple will be covered) and listen for firm, sucking sounds. If you think the latch is too light, gently break her suction with your fingertips and try the latch again. If you have concerns, ask for a visit with a lactation consultant and have her guide you through a successful latch. Once you know what to expect and roughly how nursing will feel, you will find that some of your initial breastfeeding anxiety is quieted.

If your baby is soiling diapers, you’re providing milk, even if it doesn’t seem like a large quantity.

Breastfeeding at home

Once you’ve begun to nurse, you have to establishing a breastfeeding schedule. Try to nurse every two hours in the beginning. While at home, continue this routine as best you can. If your baby exhibits signs of hunger, though, try to feed even if it throws you off your schedule. Keeping a basic log of your breastfeeding schedule will help you stay on track and informed of your nursing progress. Note things like diaper changes, length of breastfeeding sessions, frequency of sessions, and how successful your baby is at latching on. This information will be helpful in your first pediatrician visits.

Enlist your partner to help you keep your sleep schedule. For the first days, you may want to use a bassinet in your room to make nighttime feedings more convenient. Your partner will be able to help you get up or assist you with feeding if you, baby, and partner are in the same place. You’re all sharing the same goal of successful breastfeeding for your infant’s health, and creating a comfortable, nurturing space together will make round-the-clock feedings easier.

Around the end of your first week of breastfeeding, be conscious of your breasts becoming engorged. Engorgement varies is pain between women, but using ice packs or cabbage leaves are common ways you can ease some of the pain you might feel. If your breast pain becomes severe, call your doctor and see what he or she can prescribe that’s safe for you and baby.

Just remember—at the end of your first week, you’ll have learned so much first-hand information about breastfeeding! Stick with it, because nursing your baby is the healthiest, most natural way you can feed your baby. You’re giving her so much when you offer her a breast to latch onto.

Have any tips for moms-to-be you learned from your first few days breastfeeding? Share with us in the comments.

Breastfeeding Tips: Activities While Nursing

Breastfeeding Tips: Activities While NursingAre you a new mom who’s getting into the swing of breastfeeding? We wanted to share the top five breastfeeding tips from womenshealth.gov that are great suggestions of activities a new mom can perform while simultaneously nursing. Most adults multitask throughout their day, and we love the compilation Womenshealth.gov put together for nursing moms. These breastfeeding tips are designed to help new moms acclimate to nursing as well as share breastfeeding with friends and family members in sweet, friendly ways. There’s no loving moment quite like breastfeeding, and we support the following advice from Womenshealth.gov! Go ahead, try to incorporate one of the following breastfeeding tips into your routine.

 

The following content originally appeared here on Womenshealth.gov.

 

1. Talk or sing to your baby

Your baby has been listening to your voice for the past few months inside the womb. So, to a baby, mommy’s voice is the most beautiful sound in the world, no matter what wrong notes you hit. Go ahead and sing any song or rap a few bars to your baby (you can even make it up as you go along). Or talk about your day, read out loud from a book, or share your hopes and dreams for the future. (Your partner can do this, too.) Even when your baby is just a newborn, you’re teaching him or her important language skills every time you speak or sing.

2. Eat

If your baby’s eating, why shouldn’t Mom grab a bite too? While some new moms get extra hungry, other moms actually forget to eat. Fortunately, there aren’t any strict food rules when you are breastfeeding — only to eat when you’re hungry. Making healthy choices will give you more energy to care for your baby, especially if you eat protein. Nuts, squeezable yogurt, peanut butter or turkey sandwiches, and hard-boiled eggs are easy snacks that you can eat with one hand, and they are all good sources of protein. Meals don’t have to be fancy. Just be sure to eat from the five food groups every day.

3. Drink water

Keep a glass or bottle of water right next to your snack plate. The breastfeeding process creates a hormonal reaction that can make you feel thirsty when your milk lets down. While breastfed babies don’t need water to stay hydrated, some babies tend to nurse more if it is hot outside. And, interestingly, your breast milk becomes more watery in hot weather to accommodate a baby’s need for hydration.

4. Bond with the family

Every mom deserves her alone time. But what better way to keep your family involved and supportive of your breastfeeding efforts than to bring them in? Those you are most comfortable with can be a great help to you. Beyond the social interaction, you can gain more confidence breastfeeding around other people, and your family members will better appreciate the mom-baby bond. Bonus: Your baby gets to hear everyone’s voices, which helps your baby bond with the family even more. Just be mindful that your visitors don’t interfere with your breastfeeding routine.

5. Catch up with your girlfriends

New moms can sometimes feel isolated. Don’t get upset if your phone isn’t ringing off the hook. Your friends might be trying to give you some space, that’s all. But trust us: Your girlfriends want to hear from you. Send an email, text message, or instant message, or make a good, old-fashioned phone call. Go down your contact list until you connect with someone to spark a conversation, get caught up, and have a few good laughs. You can even make a date for your friends to come see the baby. Sometimes it helps to give your friends a task: You could ask them to bring you food, pick up some magazines, or braid your hair (which you could also get done while breastfeeding!).

 

Do you have any breastfeeding tips that you think are missing from this list? Still looking for the perfect everyday nursing top that keeps you looking cute and comfortable even with your busy schedule? Check out our Active Crossover Nursing Top for the office-ready and errand-proof staple of your nursing wardrobe.

 

Easing Nipple Soreness

Loving Moments Seamless Nursing BraletteBreastfeeding is a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your baby.  While it may take some time to get used to, it should not be painful.  If you do feel pain, such as nipple soreness, schedule an appointment with your doctor or lactation consultant.  There may be several causes for nipple soreness and you should not let it persist.

While you are waiting to see a specialist, try these solutions to ease your nipple soreness:

  • Babies suck hardest when they are most hungry, which is at the beginning of a feeding.  Let your baby latch on the nipple that is least sore first.
  • Alternate breasts every couple of minutes during a feeding.  Reducing the amount of time the nipple is being pulled may help.
  • Select nursing bras in soft fabrics that will not cause further nipple soreness.
  • Wear soft nursing pads and insert hydrogel pads to cool nipples between feedings.
  • Ensure proper latch by opening your baby’s mouth very widely.
  • If all else fails, use a breast pump and provide milk to your baby through a syringe until you can get professional assistance.

Amy Berry
Amy is a lactation consultant and proud momma of 7 (yep seven!) wonderful children all breastfed and a Loving Moments fan!