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What Foods Increase Milk Supply?

Lactation cookies… oatmeal…  spinach… salmon… flaxseed… brewer’s yeast… garlic….

These foods have all been suggested to increase milk supply. But do they actually work? If only it was that easy! While trying different foods can have nutritional benefits, there is no evidence that any one food that will increase milk production.

Many women worry they don’t have enough milk. It is the number one reason women stop breastfeeding. Most of the time, they actually do have enough milk. Learn how to know your baby is getting enough in this post.

Normal newborn behaviours, such as frequent feeding, ‘cluster’ feeding and growth spurts can be misinterpreted as having a low milk supply. If extra milk is given by bottle, baby will breastfeed less often. This becomes a downward spiral as breast milk supply relies on baby feeding more frequently during these times, not less frequently.

 

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Breastfeeding your baby often and on demand is the very best way to increase milk supply. Learn other tips for increasing milk supply here.

There is some evidence that herbs, such as fenugreek, blessed thistle or alfalfa can act as a galactogogue (a substance that increases milk supply). Caution is recommended when using any herb, just as you would be careful when taking a medication. Two respected IBCLC’s (breastfeeding specialists) that have written about herbal galactagogues are Kelly Bonyata and Dr. Jack Newman. Read what they have to say here and here.

So go ahead and enjoy whatever foods you have heard may increase your supply, lactation cookies included! While there is no research indicating their effectiveness, it certainly won’t do any harm. But be sure to relax and breastfeed often as well.

 

Related post: Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding.


Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

 



 

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How Often will my Newborn Feed?

If you are a new or expectant parent, you are going to hear a lot of conflicting advice about how often to feed your newborn baby.

Never wake a sleeping baby!”

“Your baby must feed at least every 3 hours.”

So what is the right answer? Well, it depends. Babies change quickly over the first couple of weeks. Advice that makes sense for a baby at birth will not be the same as when he is a couple of weeks or older.

In this post, we will walk you through the first couple weeks with your baby, explaining how you can know how often to feed. (Note: This post refers to healthy, full term babies. If your baby was born prematurely or with medical issues, please check with your healthcare provider as your baby may have different needs.)

 

The first 24 hours

In the first hour or two after birth, babies are quiet and alert slowly taking in their new surroundings. They show interest in feeding by sucking on their hands and searching with an open mouth. Being  skin to skin against mom’s bare chest helps baby adjust to the outside world and be ready for the very first breastfeed.

After this first alert time, babies enter a drowsy period that lasts for most of the next 24 hours. They often need to be reminded to feed. If it has been three hours since your baby fed, try gently unwrapping him. Stroke him with your fingers. If these gentle reminders don’t work, usually a diaper change does the trick.

If your baby doesn’t latch, express a drop of milk onto your nipple. This may be entice your baby to lick and taste. Think of it as practicing breastfeeding. (Learn more in this post: When Baby Won’t Latch to the Breast).

 

24 – 48 hours old

Once babies turn 24 hours old, they typically become much more awake. They demand to feed, often! Parents wonder what happened to their content baby and they worry if mom has enough milk.

Baby’s non-stop desire to feed is normal, exactly what we expect for babies of this age. Follow your baby’s cues and feed as frequently as your baby wants. (This could even be every hour!) It may be tempting to use a pacifier but it is best not to. The frequent feeding will signal your body to begin making a larger volume of milk.

This stage is very tiring! You won’t be getting much rest. Limiting your visitors will help you to save your energy for the important job of breastfeeding. We talk about this in more detail in our free ebook 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding. Download a copy here.

 

2 – 4 days old

Around three days after birth, you will begin to feel your breasts becoming heavier. When you express a drop, you will see that it is changing from the golden color of colostrum (the first milk) to a whitish color. Your baby continues to feed often; 10 – 14 times or more a day is not unusual. Baby may sleep for a 3 hour stretch between feeds once or twice a day.

If your baby doesn’t wake to feed at least every 3 hours, go ahead and remind him to eat. Some newborns need reminders to eat in the early days, especially if they are jaundiced or were born prematurely. You won’t have to do this forever.

 

After 10 days

Once your baby is breastfeeding well and has regained his birth weight, you can relax. You no longer need to watch the clock. Simply follow your baby’s feeding cues.

Just when you think you have your baby’s pattern figured out, however, your baby will change again. Suddenly, he may be demanding to feed every hour again. This is referred to as a “frequency day” or “growth spurt”. Growth spurts can occur at any time but are common around 10 days to 2 weeks and again at 1 month old. They generally last only a day or two. The best way to get through these spurts is to feed as just as often as baby wants. Frequent feeding will boost your milk supply to meet baby’s fast growing needs.

There is no one right answer to how often a newborn baby should feed. It can depend on many factors such as your baby’s age, how quickly baby is growing and how well he is breastfeeding. Try not to compare your baby’s feeding pattern to that of other babies. Every baby is unique. In our prenatal breastfeeding classes, we ask parents to recall how often they ate or drank in the last 24 hours. It is fascinating to see how different adults can be (and how often we put something in our mouths). The same is true for babies. If your baby is having enough wet and dirty diapers, is content after feeds and gaining weight well, your baby is feeding on the pattern that is right for him.


Don’t wait until your baby arrives to think about breastfeeding. Download our free ebook: 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.


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You can learn more about newborn care in these posts: The Importance of Skin to Skin and 6 Keys to Surviving the First Week Home with Baby.


thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



 

 

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Baby It’s Cold Outside! How to Keep Baby Warm Outdoors

In our hometown, it’s cold outside in the winter. Temperatures can dip as low as -40 degrees. But you don’t need to stay indoors just because you have a baby. Getting outdoors is great therapy for the “winter blues”.  

5 Tips to Protect Your Baby from the Cold

1)  Plus one rule

As a general rule, your baby needs the same number of clothing layers as you, plus one more. You will be moving around which generates warmth. Your baby, on the other hand, will be stationary. Think about what you would wear if you would be sitting still and dress baby in that plus one extra layer .

2) Protect from the wind

Baby’s skin is tender and can easily become chapped or frostbitten by a cold wind. Use mitts and booties to protect baby’s hands and feet. A well fitting hat is critical; babies lose a lot of heat from their heads.

3) No thick outerwear in the car seat

It may seem counter intuitive but do not dress your baby in a snowsuit or thick jacket if you will be using your car seat. The car seat straps need to be snug against baby’s chest with no more than 1-2 fingers width between the strap and the baby. Puffy outerwear will compact in a collision, putting your baby at risk. Learn more about this issue from the car seat lady hereDress your baby in long pants and long sleeves, buckle him into the car seat then tuck blankets around him.

4)  Car seat cover

A car seat cover is a small blanket with elastic at the edges to hold it tightly over a car seat. Consider investing in one (or ask a talented friend to make one for you). Put the cover on before going outside to trap warm air inside. Your baby will not even know they are outside! Many have a flap in front of baby’s face; pull it down once the baby is in the car.

5)  Wear your baby

If you are going for a walk, consider wearing your baby. A baby will be much warmer held close than in a stroller.Wear a larger coat that can zip up over your baby in the carrier. (Learn more about baby wraps and carriers in this KellyMom article.

What other tips would you add to our list? 
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Learn more about newborn care: How to Decrease Baby’s Pain During Immunizations and Tummy Time


thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



 

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How to Breastfeed: Getting a Deep Latch

It can take a bit of practice to get a comfortable latch when you are learning how to breastfeed.

Why latch matters

Baby’s latch is important for 2 reasons:

  • A ‘deep latch’ can help to prevent sore nipples. If your baby is latched ‘shallowly’ he will be mostly sucking on the nipple, compressing it with every suck. This can lead to sore cracked nipples. Ouch! When your baby is well latched, your nipple will be far back in his mouth, preventing compression.
  • A ‘deeply latched’ baby can draw more milk from the breast. Getting more milk will not only help your baby to gain weight but it will also help to ensure you have a plentiful milk supply as your baby grows.

Signs of a good latch

1. Your nipples are comfortable during breastfeeding

A bit of discomfort when baby first latches is not unusual.  Many women describe it as a tugging sensation. Tenderness, however, should ease off quickly once your baby begins to suck. If you feel pain or pinching after the first few sucks, take your baby off the breast. (Be sure to break the suction first by inserting your finger into the corner of baby’s mouth.) Try latching again using the instructions below.

If you continue to have pain despite getting a deep latch seek help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)There could be other factors involved such as a tongue-tie or a yeast infection.
2. Your baby’s chin touches the breast

When latching, tuck your baby in close to your body with his chin touching your breast. This will help him to take in as much breast tissue as possible. Baby’s nose can be touching the breast as babies can breathe from the sides of the nose. If there is dimpling in the baby’s cheeks or a smacking noise during the feed, re-latch baby as these can be signs of a shallow latch.

3. Baby’s lips are curled outward

When baby is latched deeply and has lots of breast tissue in his mouth, his lips will curl outward “like fish lips.” If despite your best efforts, your baby’s top lip doesn’t flange outward and you are having pain, talk to an IBCLC. There can sometimes be restrictive tissue under the lip (called a lip tie).

4. Your nipple is round after feeds

Your nipple should be round after feeding. If your nipple is slanted like a tube of new lipstick or has a white line across it, the latch is not quite right.

Run your tongue along the roof of your mouth from the front to the back. The “junction of the soft palate” is where the roof of the mouth goes from hard to soft. Ideally, your nipple should reach this spot, far back in your baby’s mouth. This will prevent too much pressure on your nipple during feeding.

5. Your baby is gaining weight

To effectively remove milk from the breast, babies need to be latched deeply. If your baby is not gaining weight as quickly as he should, have the latch assessed by someone skilled in assisting with breastfeeding. Sometimes a deeper latch is all it takes!

If a decreased milk supply is part of the problem, how to boost your milk supply.

How to get a deep latch

Being skin to skin helps to encourage your newborn’s natural feeding instincts. Having baby close to the breast helps him learn to feed. The darkening of your areola (the colored area around your nipple) during pregnancy helps your baby to locate your breast.

Some babies can latch themselves to the breast, while others require some gentle guidance.

A lot of mothers like the laid back nursing position. To use this position:IMG_1246-1

  • Find a comfortable place to lean back with lots of pillows for support. You want to be back far enough so that gravity will keep the baby close. The baby can be at any angle that is comfortable, as long as the baby’s chest and tummy is against your chest. (For best success, try this skin to skin rather than with a shirt on as in the photo.)
  • Use your arms to support your baby in whatever way feels most comfortable.
  • Your baby will “bob” around for a bit, using his arms and legs to reposition himself until he latches himself to the nipple.

If your baby needs more help latching, the cross cradle or football positions can work well. They provide extra support for baby.

Click here to watch a video about breastfeeding positions (scroll to the bottom of the page and select the preview lesson).

How to latch baby deeply in the cross cradle or football hold:

  1. Support your baby with your hand between baby’s shoulders, fingers at the base of baby’s head, just behind the ears.
  2. Hold your breast with the other hand, thumb and fingers forming a ‘C’; keep your fingers well back from the nipple.
  3. Baby’s head should be facing forward and not turned over his shoulder.
  4. Position your baby with your nipple across from baby’s nose.
  5. Tickle baby’s upper lip with your nipple.
  6. Baby should respond by opening widely and lifting his chin.
  7. Aim your nipple toward the roof of baby’s mouth.
  8. Baby’s chin should touch the breast first.
  9. Baby’s bottom lip should be further from the base of the nipple than the top lip (not centered in baby’s mouth). Baby’s lips will be curled outward.
  10. Baby’s nose can be touching the breast; baby can breathe from the sides of the nose. (Rest assured, your baby will unlatch if not getting enough air.)

To see step-by-step photos of a baby latching, download the Latch PDF accompanying Lesson 2 in our free online video course Getting Ready to Breastfeed.


Bonus Tips:

  • When you are learning how to breastfeed, keep your baby close. Snuggling skin to skin (baby in just a diaper on your bare chest) will help your baby learn to breastfeed.
  • If your baby needs extra help latching, gently shape or “sandwich” the breast by squeezing your thumb and fingers together with the hand holding the breast. If your thumb is opposite baby’s nose when you squeeze, you will then have the breast in line with baby’s lips.
  • If your baby is crying or upset, cuddle to calm her before trying again.

When to ask for help

  • If you feel pain or an uncomfortable pinching sensation during feeds and it is not improving.
  • If, after feeds, your nipple is flattened (like a tube of new lipstick) or has a white line across the centre.
  • If you have blistered, cracked or bleeding nipples.
  • If your baby is not gaining weight.
  • If your baby is not latching. Learning to latch may take time and practice for both mom and baby. Most babies will latch to the breast eventually. Learn what to do if baby is not latching in this in-depth article.

Learn more about breastfeeding a newborn in our online Simply Breastfeeding course (12 videos that teach you everything you need to know about breastfeeding).
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References and More Information:

  1. Ensuring Proper Latch On.HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015. Web.
  2. Latching and Positioning Resources.” KellyMom.com. 04 April 2016. Web
  3. Newman, Jack, MD, FRCPC, and Edith Kernerman, IBCLC. “When Latching.” nbci.ca International Breastfeeding Centre, 2009. Web.

Learn more about breastfeeding: Breastfeeding Should Not Hurt and Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?


thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



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Breastfeeding Tips: 6 Ways to Get the Best Possible Start

Breastfeeding can be a bit challenging at first for both you and your baby. Here are 6 tips to make the learning curve easier.

 

1. It’s never too early to prepare.

If you are still pregnant, there are things you can do now to make breastfeeding easier. Begin learning some of the basics of breastfeeding by reading a book or taking a class. Surround yourself with people who believe in breastfeeding. If you don’t have supportive friends or family, consider joining a local mom-to-mom support group or one of the many Facebook breastfeeding groups.

 

2. Think of the early weeks as the 4th trimester.

Skin to skin snuggling helps your newborn transition from the womb to the outside world. Your baby will be completely dependent upon you. Get as much help with your other responsibilities as possible. Freeing yourself from company and other tasks allows you to focus on breastfeeding and your own recovery from birth.

 

3. Find a comfortable position for breastfeeding.

You will be spending at least 8 to 10 hours a day breastfeeding. You will want to be comfortable! There is no one “right position.” The best position is the one that is comfortable for both you and your baby. Many women love the laid back nursing position. (See photos and a description here.)

 

4. Latch deeply.

“Latch” refers to the position of baby’s mouth on the breast. If your baby latches only on the nipple, it will be painful and your baby won’t be able to get enough milk. You will want your baby to latch deeply, with as much breast tissue in his mouth as possible.

 

5. Breastfeed often and on demand.

The best way to have a great milk supply is to breastfeed often, whenever baby seems hungry. A newborn feeds often; 10, 12, 14 times a day or more is not unusual! For the first two or three days after birth you will have small quantities of thick golden milk, perfect for a newborn’s small stomach size. This milk is invaluable for baby’s health. It is full of germ fighting properties.

About three days after birth, you will begin to make larger quantities of milk. The color changes to a whitish color, resembling skim milk. Continue to feed often. The more often baby feeds, the more milk you will make.

 

6. Get help if you are struggling.

If you encounter breastfeeding problems, don’t wait to ask for help. Most breastfeeding problems can be resolved. Look for someone skilled in helping with breastfeeding such as International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Many areas also have La Leche groups (mom-to-mom support) available for breastfeeding support.

 

Best wishes on your breastfeeding journey.

 

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Keep learning by reading these posts: Breast Milk and Formula: Is there Really a Difference? and When Does Breast Milk Come In?


phpTJhnGTPMCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



 

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10 Breastfeeding Tips Every Pregnant Woman Should Know

We’ve been helping women get started with breastfeeding for over 20 years. Here are 10 of the most important breastfeeding tips we think every pregnant woman should know.

1.Breastfeeding won’t always be easy.

There is nothing more natural than a woman breastfeeding her baby. But just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it will always be easy. Breastfeeding takes time for moms and babies to learn.

This is confirmed by research. In a recent study, 92% of women with a 3 day old baby reported having at least one breastfeeding problem. But there is also good news. Most early breastfeeding problems have an easy fix. Some of them, in fact, are preventable. Learning about the basics of breastfeeding and newborn behaviour, before baby arrives, can help to avoid many common problems.

If you find yourself struggling with breastfeeding, returning to the basics of skin-to-skin care, a laid back position and a deep latch can help you find your way.

 

2. Breastfeeding gets easier.

In the first few weeks, breastfeeding is a lot of work. You may even envy your bottle-feeding friends, wishing someone else could occasionally feed your baby for you.

Good news! Breastfeeding quickly becomes much LESS work than bottle-feeding. The work of bottle-feeding (sterilizing, measuring, reheating, cleaning) remains constant. Breastfeeding on the other hand gets much easier. By 6 weeks, you and your baby will be latching like pros. Your breast milk will always be with you, ready to serve, at just the right temperature.

 

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3. Sore nipples improve in 7 to 10 days.

Some women develop sore nipples in the first days of breastfeeding. It can feel like it will never end but research has shown that most nipple discomfort is mild by 7 to 10 days after birth.

This same study showed that a few drops of your own milk on sore nipples is equally (or even more effective) than using nipple creams.

 

4. Skin to skin is magic.

Research has shown that snuggling your baby skin to skin immediately after birth helps your baby learn to breastfeed. A study divided new moms into 2 groups. One group had skin to skin contact with their babies immediately after birth. Babies in the other group were examined by the doctors, then bundled and brought back to the mother in blankets. The babies in the first group learned to breastfeed more quickly.

Research has also shown that skin to skin care with a newborn increases mom’s milk supply.

 

5. You are the expert for your own baby.

At first you may feel like a rookie and have lots of questions about how to care for your newborn. You will soon learn that you are the real expert on what is best for your baby.

You spend more time with your newborn than anyone else.  You will be the one to know how your baby likes to be held, bounced or rocked. You will be able to sense when your baby is hungry before anyone else has noticed. Trust your instincts.

 

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6. Getting help for breastfeeding difficulties can help to avoid postpartum depression.

Studies show that women who want to breastfeed but do not meet their goals are more at risk for postpartum depression. If you are having difficulties with breastfeeding, reach out for help. Look for someone skilled in helping with breastfeeding such as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

 

7. Sometimes the best latch requires no help at all.

If you haven’t learned about laid back breastfeeding, you will want to! This is a very relaxed, comfortable position; your baby will use his natural instincts to latch himself to the breast. Some women tell us their baby latches most comfortably in this position. Watch this video to see how it’s done. (It’s the free preview lesson from our video series Simply Breastfeeding).

 

8. To make more milk, breastfeed more often.

It may seem logical to wait a bit longer between feeds to give your breasts time to fill. But this is not the way milk supply works. Milk supply works on a supply and demand principle. Emptying your breast signals your body to produce more milk. The more often your baby removes milk, the more milk you will make.

 

9. Your partner CAN help with breastfeeding.

While partners cannot breastfeed for you, they can make your job easier. In fact, research shows that your partner’s support is critical for breastfeeding success.

Simple things such as taking charge of diapering and burping can save you 2 or 3 precious hours every day. Read more about ways partners can help in this post.

 

10. Trust your baby and your body.

The happiest babies are fed on demand, not according to a schedule or a feed-play-sleep routine. Trust your baby to tell you when he is hungry and trust your body to make the right amount of milk. (Note: Brand new babies may need reminders to feed for a few days but once baby is breastfeeding well and has regained his birth weight, let your baby take the lead.)

Many women worry they have lost their milk about 10 – 14 days after birth because their breasts feel emptier. Softer breasts at this time are natural as they will have adjusted to baby’s needs. If you are concerned, watch your baby. Is your baby satisfied? Is your baby having the right number of pees and poops?

 

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Get more tips on preparing for breastfeeding by downloading our free e-book: 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Borra, Cristina, Maria Iacovou, and Almudena Sevilla. “New Evidence on Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: The Importance of Understanding Women’s Intentions.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 19.4 (2015): 897-907.
  2. Dennis, C., K. Jackson, and J. Watson. “Interventions for Treating Painful Nipples among Breastfeeding Women.” The Cochrane Library, 15 Dec. 2014.
  3. Hurst, N. M., C. J. Valentine, L. Renfro, P. Burns, and L. Ferlic. “Skin-to-skin Holding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Influences Maternal Milk Volume.” Journal of Perinatology 17.3 (1997): 213-17. NCBI. Web.
  4. Moore, E. R., and G. C. Anderson. “Randomized Controlled Trial of Very Early Mother-infant Skin-to-skin Contact and Breastfeeding Status.” Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health 52.2 (2007): 116-25. NCBI. Web.
  5. Wagner, Erin A., MS, Caroline J. Chantry, MD, Kathryn G. Dewey, PhD, and Laurie A. Nommsen-Rivers, IBCLC. “Breastfeeding Concerns at 3 and 7 Days Postpartum and Feeding Status at 2 Months.” Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 132.4 (2013): E865-75. Web.

 


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Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



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Should Partners give a Bottle to Bond with Baby?

We know that breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with a newborn. On first thought, it may make sense that partners also should feed their baby to enjoy this special bond. But, giving a bottle in the first few weeks can interfere with breastfeeding.

Here are 3 reasons why we would caution against it.

Babies can get ‘hooked’.

Despite the clever marketing slogans on the packages, there is no bottle that resembles breastfeeding. (We have never seen a mother’s nipple that looks anything like a bottle nipple!) Milk begins to flow from a bottle immediately and continues to flow much faster than milk from a breast. Babies can get ‘hooked’; when put to the breast, they may search for something much firmer and longer than mom’s nipple with an immediate fast flow of milk. For some babies, this will happen after just one bottle, for others, after a few bottles. This has also been referred to as ‘nipple confusion’ (read more about it here).

It can affect mom’s milk supply.

In the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding, mom’s milk supply is becoming regulated. Removing milk from the breasts signals her body to produce more milk. The more often milk is removed the more milk is made.

When a bottle-feed replaces breastfeeding, mom’s body misses the signal to continue making milk. This can affect long-term milk supply. If at all possible, we recommend waiting at least 6 weeks before introducing a bottle.

It can alter baby’s protection from illness.

Breast milk contains healthy bacteria and infection-fighters that coat baby’s gut and jump-start baby’s immune system. This provides protection against common infections like Streptococcus,  Staphylococcus, E.coli, Rotavirus, and more.

Sometimes formula will be necessary for medical reasons. If, however, it is being given as a personal choice, families need to know it will affect the baby’s protective gut flora. Altering the gut flora affects baby’s protection from illness.

 

Feeding a baby is only one way to bond. There are many other ways to bond that will not impact breastfeeding.

  • Babies love being held skin to skin.
  • Burping a milk drunk baby against a bare chest is a wonderful way to bond.
  • Baby bath. Babies were in a liquid environment for 9 months and many love to be in a tub of warm water. An alternative is to shower with the baby snuggled to the chest.
  • Simply being there for baby, holding, talking or reading a book.

These are just a few of the ways partners can bond with their newborn while continuing to support breastfeeding. Do you have others you would add to the list?


Make sure you are ready for breastfeeding! Download our FREE ebook: 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.


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References and More Information:

  1. Bonyata, Kelly, BS, IBCLC. “How Does Milk Production Work?” KellyMom.com. 03 Apr. 2016. Web.
  2. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months.” hc-sc.gc.ca. Health Canada, 18 Aug. 2015. Web.
  3. Why Breastfeed?” HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015. Web.

 

Keep learning with these posts: 7 Important Ways Dads can Help with Breastfeeding and Can You Spoil a Newborn?


thumbnail-cindy-and-jana

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



 

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Top 10 Things That Can Freak You Out When You Have a Newborn Baby

Caring for a newborn baby can be a bit overwhelming at first. Some things can be downright alarming! Many times, however, they are actually normal. Here are the top 10 alarming (but normal) things you may notice in your newborn baby.

 

1. “Blood” in diaper

 

It can be alarming to discover a reddish tinge in your newborn baby’s diaper. You may assume it is blood. But is it?

In baby’s first few days, the urine can be so concentrated that uric acid crystals show up as a color. We call this ‘brick dust’. It is pinky orange (almost salmon-like) in color and can be easily be mistaken for for blood.

poop-1-e1472585693600-150x150Although alarming, brick dust is temporary and will go away once baby is drinking larger volumes of milk. If the brick dust is still present after baby is 5 days old, contact your healthcare provider to make sure baby is drinking enough.

If your baby is a girl, a  second possibility is ‘pseudomenstruation’. Babies are continuously exposed to mom’s hormones in the womb. The sudden withdrawal of the hormones at birth can cause baby girls to have a mini period (also known as pseudo menses). This is not a cause for concern; it will go away within a week or so.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

– If baby has brick dust after 5 days old

– If brick dust or pseudomenses doesn’t seem to fit with what you are seeing, particularly if your baby seems unwell.

2. Bumps on baby’s skin

Your beautiful newborn baby can develop bumps on the skin that can look rather alarming. Here are 2 conditions that are completely normal.

– A common newborn rash that can resemble teenage acne or bug bites. Newborn-rashYou will see small white dots surrounded by a reddened area. It can come and go on all parts of baby’s body.

– Small white bumps on a newborn’s nose, chin or forehead. These skin bumps, called milia, are caused by small flakes of skin getting trapped just below the surface of the skin.

The best treatment for both of these skin conditions is to do nothing! They will disappear on their own within a few weeks.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

– If baby seems unwell in addition to having a rash

3. Frequent Sneezing

Newborn babies sneeze often. This can be alarming and you may wonder if your baby has developed a cold or allergies.

Sneezing is simply baby’s way of clearing his nose. Nasal passages are tiny and can easily be clogged with mucous. If your baby was born by caesarian section, he may have a bit more mucous as it was not “squeezed out” as he came through the birth canal.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

– If sneezing is accompanied by wheezing or other signs of illness such as a fever.

4. Bleeding Umbilical cord

After birth, your newborn baby’s umbilical cord will be clamped and cut, leaving a small stump at the base. As this piece of the cord dries, it begins to shrivel and darken.

As the cord starts to separate from the skin, you may notice a tiny stain of blood on baby’s sleeper or diaper. (The amount of blood should be similar to what is present when a scab falls off.) A little bleeding from the base of the cord is an indication that the cord is beginning to fall off. Learn more about caring for your baby’s cord in this post.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

– If the bleeding reappears as soon as you wipe it.

– If there is thick greenish foul smelling ‘pus’.

– If the skin near the umbilicus is reddened and warm-to-touch.

– If baby seems ill.

5. Whites of baby’s eyes appear yellow

Jaundice is a common newborn condition that causes baby’s skin and the white parts of the eyes to appear yellow. Most babies will have at least some jaundice in the first week after birth.

The first place jaundice is noticeable is on the baby’s nose; as jaundice increases, the yellow color becomes noticeable further down the body. Jaundice typically peaks on the third or fourth day of baby’s life and then begins to fade. The whites of the eyes are often the last to return to normal color. Read more about jaundice here.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

– If your newborn baby appears yellow in the first 24 hours of life.

– If baby is too sleepy to feed, despite using wake up techniques.

– Is baby is not having an adequate number of wet and dirty diapers. (Warning! There are photos of baby poop. Scroll down to see a chart of the number of diapers we would expect.)

10-Freaky-But-Normal-Things-About-A-Newborn-Baby

6. Voracious appetite

Newborn babies eat often! 10, 12, 14, 16 or more times a day is normal. You may think “Surely my baby can’t be hungry, he just ate!” Well guess what? He is probably hungry.

Breast milk is so easy to digest that half of it can be gone after only 45 minutes. Breastfeeding mamas will spend 10 ½ – 12 hours a day feeding. Ask for help with other household tasks to free you to do this important job.

Note: You can make breastfeeding easier by preparing before your baby arrives. Download our FREE ebook: 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

 

7. Diarrhea

Breast milk poop is watery and can even be explosive! You may worry your newborn baby has diarrhea. Loose poop, however, is normal for breastfed babies. It can range in color from yellow to brown to orange and will have some milk curds or ‘seeds’. Some babies will have a bowel movement with every feed.

We get a lot of questions about what is normal for baby’s poops. To answer, we wrote an entire post of the subject. Check it out here.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

  • If you notice blood in baby’s poop
  • Baby has green liquid poop that completely soaks into the diaper

8. Swollen Breasts

Newborn babies, both girls and boys, can have swollen breast tissue at birth. If you touch the area, you may feel a lump.

The swelling occurs because baby was exposed to mother’s hormones in the womb. The same hormones that prepare mom’s breasts for breastfeeding can cause baby’s breasts to swell as well. This is not a cause for alarm; the swelling will disappear on its own over the next few weeks.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

  • If the swollen breast tissue is reddened or baby has a fever.

9. Swollen Genitals

You may notice that your baby boy’s scrotum or your baby girl’s labia are quite a bit larger than you would expect for the first few days after birth. This is largely due to exposure to mom’s hormones while in the womb. The swelling goes away on its own within the first few days.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

– If your baby’s scrotum continues to be swollen beyond the first couple of weeks or if baby seems in pain.

10. Crossed eyes

It is normal for newborn babies to have brief periods when their eyes appear to “cross”. The muscles around their eyes are not yet strong. This should resolve by the time baby is about 3 months old.

When to consult your healthcare provider:

– If your baby’s eyes seem to be crossed all the time.

– If it persists beyond 6 months old.

Looking for more answers to your newborn questions? We would love to help you during this special time of your life.

– Answers for New Parents is an easy place to find answers to all sorts of questions about caring for your newborn, breastfeeding and your own recovery from birth.

– Our Simply Breastfeeding course will increase your confidence by answering questions such as “Is it normal for breastfeeding to hurt?” and “How can I know baby is getting enough?”

We want to help you relax and enjoy your baby instead of worrying!

 

References:

  1. O’Connor, Nina R., MD, Maura R. McLaughlin, MD, and Peter Ham, MD. “Newborn Skin: Part I. Common Rashes.” – American Family Physician. AAFP, 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 30 Aug. 2016.
  2. “Strabismus.” KidsHealth – the Web’s Most Visited Site about Children’s Health. The Nemours Foundation, Oct. 2013. Web.

 


thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



 

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How to Better Understand Baby Sleep

When I was pregnant with my first child, someone told me that having to pee often at night was God’s way of preparing me for the frequent night feedings to come! My fear of sleep deprivation and quest for a good night’s sleep began before my baby had even arrived.

My newborn did feed often. Especially at night. I am convinced he fed every 2 hours at night until he was well over a year old. While I enjoyed nursing my baby to sleep (and it seemed to be the best way to get him to sleep), I had the nagging feeling I was doing something wrong and that he would never learn to sleep on his own.

I know I am not alone. Sleep is a huge issue for new families. Parents of babies only two or three days old ask me if they have started a bad habit because the only way their baby will sleep is tucked into bed beside them.

Desperate for sleep, parents look for a baby sleep solution. I know I did. None, however, felt right to my parenting heart.

I love what IBCLC Meg Nagle (aka The Milk Meg) had to say about one of the common sleep training methods. She graciously allowed us to reprint her article below. We would love to hear your comments and learn what worked for you.

-Cindy   

How-to-Understand-Baby-Sleep

 

Why “Feed, Play, Sleep” routines make no sense for a breastfed baby…

 

*Just to clarify, I don’t think it makes sense for ANY baby, bottle or breastfed to be on this routine…however it makes even LESS sense for breastfed babies. Also, if you are doing this routine and it’s working for you then great! This article isn’t for you (although I’d love for you to keep reading anyway)! This is for the millions of women who are told they “should” be doing this routine but know it’s just not working for them and they are wondering why. Because the reality is that for most women who breastfeed on demand, it doesn’t work! Here’s why…

If you live in a western culture you will have definitely heard of the “Feed, play, sleep” routine. This is a well known and frequently suggested method of getting your baby into a little pattern of eating, playing and then yes, you guessed it…sleeping. Every day. Now as a exhausted pregnant woman (or new mother) how awesome does this sound?! Sounds great until the baby actually arrives and they are on and off the boob constantly.

We find ourselves reading these books and websites about this wonderful routine wondering, “What is WRONG with my baby?! He won’t sleep longer than 40 minutes and half that time my boob has to be in his mouth! He wants to breastfeed before waking, after waking, during his play time and then to fall asleep again! Why is my baby not fitting into this schedule?! What is wrong with me? Why is this happening?!”

I’ll tell you why this is happening…because your baby is normal. Your baby is born incredibly prematurely compared to other mammals. Your baby is an actual person. A person who cannot do anything for themselves. Your baby needs cuddles, breastfeeds, cuddles and breastfeeds. Breastfeeding is not meant to be scheduled. It’s makes no sense from a biological, cultural or evolutionary perspective.

 

Here is why this little routine does not make sense for breastfed babies…

  • Breastfed babies have virtually all of their needs met by breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is not just about “feeding” but is about comfort, hunger, thirst, pain relief, boredom buster, tantrum stopper and basically answer to everything elixir. You may not know what is wrong with your baby but chances are…boob will fix it. So throw out that book that’s telling you to stretch out the next breastfeed until it’s “time”. Just whip it out. “When in doubt…whip it out”!

  • Your baby is actually a person…not a cookiecutter clone.

This is something that gets my panties in a bunch…your little baby is a person. This little person is going through many changes. They’ve just gone from a nice warm womb to a cold, crazy world. Your little person is not going to follow a schedule…if they do then pat yourself on the back and do a happy dance that you have a little weirdo (and I mean in a good way) baby! But it’s definitely not the norm.

  • Your breastmilk is MADE to put your little one to sleep.

As I’ve mentioned in my book and in my blog countless times, your milk has components in it to help put your child to sleep! It’s amazing! Just pop them on and watch them fall asleep. Most babies do this. This is not a habit that needs to be broken. It is what they are meant to do. It is important. It is the biological norm.

  • A breastfed baby on a routine means less frequent draining of the breasts which means less milk production.

Breastmilk production is simple…supply and demand. The more well drained your breasts are…the more they will make. Trying to distract a baby to not breastfeed since it’s not “feeding time” can affect your supply and put you at risk for needing to supplement or pump. Even though these routines stress how you can be “flexible” with some of these times, books and websites state that at a certain age you can stick to these routines by the minute…try telling that to most breastfed babies or toddlers and they will respond with a cry asking to be breastfed!

  • Breastfed babies need a breastfeed to help them work through feelings and to help calm themselves.

Breastfeeding is not just about “the milk”. Breastfeeding will happen at various times throughout the day and night that have NOTHING to do with hunger or the need for food.

  • Bottle fed babies find comfort through a pacifier…breasts ARE a breastfed baby’s pacifier.

This is one of the biggest differences in doing these routines with a breastfed baby compared to a bottle fed baby. A baby bottle feeds because they are hungry. When they are no longer hungry you can give them a pacifier and either rock them to sleep or put them down to sleep where they nod off by themselves. Cue the breastfed baby…this baby breastfeeds TO ACTUAL SLEEP because this is how they pacify themselves! They’ll breastfeed to wake up, breastfeed during their play time and then breastfeed back to sleep. They are calmed at the breast.

Here is the typical recommended schedule for people on how to do the “feed, play, sleep” routine…

When your baby wakes up:

  • Offer a feed.
  • Change your baby’s nappy.
  • Take time for talk and play.
  • Put your baby back down for a sleep.

And here is how it usually goes for a breastfed baby who is fed on demand and is with their mother 24/7…

When your baby wakes up:

  • Feed.
  • Change nappy.
  • Talk, Play, Feed
  • Carry around.
  • Feed.
  • Feed/sleep/feed.
  • Play/feed/play.
  • Feed.
  • Sleep.

Or to be more exact for the breastfeeding woman (because breastfeeding is not just about “FEEDING”…)

Now don’t think for one second that I don’t think routines are good ideas…Babies and children LOVE routines. They thrive on knowing what is going to happen when. However, I strongly believe that breastfeeding can happen before, during and after these rituals you do every day. Before sleep times you can read a book, sing them a song, give them a bath…all of this can happen while breastfeeding here there or everywhere in between these rituals you do. Remember your baby is a little human. A little person…and this little person needs frequent breastfeeds and frequent cuddles day and night. You are mothering through breastfeeding…not creating a soldier for the next graduating class of military cadets. Relax and just enjoy your baby.

xx

Meg

 

Learn more about newborns and sleep: 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation and Baby’s “Days and Nights Mixed-Up”

 

Meg Nagle. The Milk Meg. Photo


About Meg:

In between breastfeeding her youngest boy, chasing after her oldest two boys, blogging and occasionally sleeping  …Meg Nagle works with women to help them reach their breastfeeding goals! Meg has also written a book, “Boobin’ All Day…Boobin’ All Night. A Gentle Approach To Sleep For Breastfeeding Mothers” which can be found HERE.

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Simply Breastfeeding Online Course

While the first weeks with a newborn can be amazing and filled with wonder, they can also be frustrating and filled with worry. Through years of working with new families, we have seen a pattern of common concerns.

 

Parents worry if their baby is getting enough milk.

They wonder if they are doing something wrong because their baby feeds often at night.  

Mom’s nipples are painful and they don’t know if it is normal.

 

When a new baby arrives, sleep deprivation and the steady stream of visitors make it difficult for new parents to learn what they need to know to feel confident.

 

We knew there must be a better way. What if parents could learn the answers to the most common breastfeeding questions BEFORE their baby was born? Once their newborn arrived, they could spend more snuggling instead of Googling.

 

As a first step to solving this problem, we began to teach a prenatal breastfeeding class in our hometown (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan). The feedback from families was very encouraging. Moms told us they felt more confident and prepared for baby’s arrival.

 

We began to get requests for an online version. These requests were from:

  • Families who lived too far away to drive to our in person class.
  • Mothers who prefered to learn at their own pace, in the comfort of their own home.
  • Women whose partners worked out of town and were unavailable to attend the in person class.

 

We got busy filming and created a 12 lesson online video prenatal breastfeeding course, Simply Breastfeeding. In addition to the videos, each lesson is accompanied by summary notes and bonus downloadable content.

 

Here are a few of the things we want every expectant parent to know!

 

Your breasts will be soft in the first few days after birth but you do have milk! It’s a thick golden milk, full of germ fighting properties that are important for your baby. (We explain more about colostrum in the ‘Baby’s Very First Feed’ lesson.)

You will experience baby’s “Ravenous Second Night”. Your baby will want to feed very very often and you won’t get much sleep. It will be tiring but it is normal; your baby is doing exactly what we expect. This frequent feeding will signal your body to begin to make a larger volume of milk. The following nights will be easier. (We explain more in the lesson ‘Time to Feed? Watch Your Baby, Not the Clock’.)

You will spend 10 to 12 hours a day breastfeeding. You will want to be comfortable! Watch our free preview lesson about breastfeeding positions here. (‘Breastfeeding Positions: Getting Mom and Baby Comfy’)

You don’t have to endure sore nipples. It is common for nipples to feel ‘tender’ in the first week or two but you should not have pain that makes you curl your toes and bring your shoulders up to your ears. Latching baby deeply to the breast can help you to avoid sore nipples. (We explore how to get a comfortable latch in the ‘The Deep Secret of Latching’ lesson.)

You may worry whether you have enough milk. Concern about milk supply is the most common reason women stop breastfeeding or begin to give formula. Although it may seem logical, pumping is NOT a good way to tell if you have enough milk. (We cover how to know baby is getting enough milk in the lesson: ‘Is Baby Getting Enough? How to Know for Sure’.)

You are going to get lots of advice about breastfeeding; not all of it will be good advice. In fact, some women are told to avoid chocolate and caffeine. Thankfully, this is not accurate advice! A cup or two of coffee or tea and moderate amounts of chocolate are not off limits for breastfeeding mothers! (We tackle this and other common questions in the ‘FAQ’ lesson.)

 

The Simply Breastfeeding course is for:

 

  • Expectant mothers who are trying to decide out whether or not they want to breastfeed
  • Expectant mothers who want to learn more about how to breastfeed their baby before giving birth
  • Mothers who recently gave birth but quickly realized they needed to learn more about breastfeeding

Let the Simply Breastfeeding course help you to make the first weeks with your newborn as relaxing and stress free as possible.

Breastfeeding-(3)


thumbnail-cindy-and-jana

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

 

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