Little moments, big questions... Let us help you get off to a great start.

February 27, 2016

Exposing the Myths about Foremilk and Hindmilk

If we had the power to eliminate just one misunderstood notion about breastfeeding, it would be the concept of foremilk and hindmilk!

Science has shown that the breast milk a baby receives toward the end of a feeding (hindmilk) is higher in fat than the milk at the beginning of a feeding (foremilk). That part is true!


This bit of science, however, has been taken out of context. Breastfeeding literature and well meaning friends or health professionals may advise to “make sure baby feeds long enough to get the hindmilk” (higher fat milk). This advice can lead to confusion and mismanagement of breastfeeding.


Women are left wondering:

  • How long on a breast is “long enough” to get to the hind milk?
  • Should I feed from only one breast each feed to help my baby gain weight?


Lactation Consultants explain how worrying about foremilk and hindmilk may actually be harming breastfeeding.


Knowing these facts may help to answer those questions:

  • The increased fat content of breastmilk during a feed is gradual; there is not an exact time when “foremilk” ends and “hindmilk” begins.
  • Expressed breast milk does not look like the cow’s milk you are used to purchasing at the grocery store. Instead, it has a thin and watery appearance. This is normal!
  • The length of a breastfeed varies between babies as well as from feed to feed.
  • Some women have an abundant milk supply and only need to feed from one breast at a feed. Other women need to feed from both breasts every feed to satisfy their babies. One is not ‘better’ than the other. Both are normal.

Learn more about breastfeeding myths in our free online video breastfeeding course,“Getting Ready to Breastfeed.” Download it here.

If you are concerned about whether your baby gets enough hindmilk, please take note of how your baby is feeding at the breast rather than watching the time. Is your baby swallowing milk at the breast? Is your baby content and relaxed after feeds?


The concept of foremilk and hindmilk in breastfeeding has been misunderstood. Lactation Consultants hope to clear up the misunderstandings with this post.

There are only a few situations where women may need to pay attention to foremilk and hindmilk. These are very specific situations, centered around a problem (e.g. a very low birth weight baby, a very fussy, gassy fast gaining infant.) Consult with your healthcare provider or Lactation Consultant if your baby is fussy or not gaining weight.


The concept of foremilk and hindmilk has caused breastfeeding women unnecessary worry. It is more important to watch your baby rather than the clock.


Relax, put your feet up and let your baby lead the way!


References and More Information:

  1. Aksit, Sadik, Nese Ozkayin, and Suat Caglayan. “Effect of Sucking Characteristics on Breast Milk Creamatocrit.Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 16.4 (2002): 355-60.
  2. Bonyata, Kelly. “Foremilk and Hindmilk – What Does This Mean?KellyMomcom. 29 Aug. 2011.
  3. Kent, J. C., L. R. Mitoulas, M. D. Cregan, D. T. Ramsay, D. A. Doherty, and P. E. Hartmann. “Volume and Frequency of Breastfeedings and Fat Content of Breast Milk Throughout the Day.Pediatrics 117.3 (2006): E387-395.
  4. Mohrbacher, Nancy. “Worries About Foremilk and Hindmilk.RSS. N.p., 27 June 2010.


Other posts you may enjoy: Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk? and Breastfeeding Trivia: 16 Random Facts.

thumbnail cindy and jana

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


February 26, 2016

Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding


New mothers can get plenty of advice about foods to avoid while breastfeeding. Well meaning visitors advise against cabbage, beans, broccoli, spicy foods and even (gasp!) chocolate. But is there any truth to this advice?


While in your grandmother’s day, it was thought that foods could give a breastfed baby gas, we now know this is not supported by research. Many of the foods once believed to cause gas are staple foods in other countries, consumed by breastfeeding women without problems. There are no foods breastfeeding mothers MUST avoid! Most women are able to enjoy a healthy and varied diet.


foods-to-avoidSpicy foods may flavor a woman’s breast milk. This is seen to be an advantage as baby will be introduced to a variety of flavors at a very young age. This may help to guard against becoming a picky eater in the future.


Caffeine deserves some caution. Large amounts of caffeine may result in a more wakeful fussy baby. Limiting your intake to one or two cups of coffee, tea or cola products per day is suggested.


Chocolate contains a substance similar to caffeine. You would have to consume very large quantities for it to have an effect. You can read more about chocolate and breastfeeding in this La Leche League article.


When baby is fussy, it is easy for others to ask the breastfeeding mother “What did you eat?” For the most part, the fussiness will be unrelated to her diet. There are rare cases, however,  where a baby will react to a particular food. Dairy can be one of those foods. If you suspect your baby is reacting to a certain food, read this article by KellyMom: Dairy and other Food Sensitivities in Breastfed Babies.


Go ahead and enjoy a varied healthy diet. There are no foods to avoid while breastfeeding.




References and More Information:

  1. Dairy and Other Food Sensitivities in Breastfed Babies”, KellyMom, 26 July 2011.
  2. Maternal Caffeine Consumption and Infant Nighttime Waking: Prospective Cohort Study. Santos, I., Matijasevich, A., Domingues, M., Pediatrics May 2012, 129 (5) 860-868.
  3. Prenatal and Postnatal Flavor Learning by Human Infants. Mennella, J. A., Jagnow, C. P., & Beauchamp, G. K. (2001). Pediatrics, 107(6), E88.
  4. “Things to Avoid When Breastfeeding.” American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015.
  5. Thursday Tip: Chocolate and, La Leche League Canada, 12 Feb. 2015.



Other posts you may enjoy: How to Increase Your Milk Supply and 5 Misleading Myths that can Sabotage Your Breastfeeding



IMG_9687 4About the authors:

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.


February 24, 2016

Comfortable Positions for Breastfeeding

You will spend a lot of time breastfeeding your newborn. It’s worth the effort to figure out which positions for breastfeeding are comfortable for both you and your baby. 

The following breastfeeding positions have worked for other moms. Feel free to experiment and find out what works for you. After a bit of practice, you may even invent your own! 

New to breastfeeding? Sign up for our free series: Getting Ready to Breastfeed.

Laid Back Breastfeeding Position

The ‘laid back’ position can work well when you and your baby are first learning to breastfeed. It is a relaxed position that helps to prevent muscle tension in your upper back and shoulders.


How to do it:

  • Find a comfortable place where you can lean back and relax. Lean back far enough so that gravity will help to keep baby close to your body. Use pillows to support your head and back as needed.
  • Baby’s entire body should rest against your body with his cheek resting near your bare breast.
  • Use your arms to support your baby in whatever way feels most comfortable.
  • Your baby will lift his head and use his arms and legs to reposition himself until he finds the nipple. Some babies will need more help than others; use gentle guidance to nudge your baby towards the breast if needed. Remember, it takes practice to make any position work for you and your baby.

In the first few days of life, this position works best when both mom and baby are skin-to-skin (no shirt for mom, baby dressed in a diaper only). This helps to encourage baby’s natural feeding instincts. See this post for a video of baby latching himself (“self attachment”) when his mother is in the laid back position.

Cross Cradle Breastfeeding Position 

The cross cradle hold can also be helpful when you are learning to breastfeed. Premature babies or babies with lower muscle tone can benefit from the extra support this position provides.


How to do it:

  • Sit comfortably with your feet supported on the floor or a low stool.
  • Place a pillow on your lap to support baby at the level of your breast. This will help to prevent your arm from getting tired.
  • Turn baby on his side with his entire body facing you. His tummy should be tucked against your stomach with his ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line. (To understand why this is important, try drinking a glass of water with your head turned to the side.)
  • If you are nursing from your right breast, lay your left arm along your baby’s back with your hand resting between baby’s shoulders. Support the base of baby’s head, your thumb on one side and your index finger on the other side. (Avoid holding the back of your baby’s head, as most babies will react by pushing away from the breast.)
  • Adjust baby’s position so that his nose is near your nipple and his chin is resting on the breast.
  • Support your breast with the other hand with your thumb and fingers well back from the areola (the brown part surrounding the nipple).
  • Keep baby’s bottom close to you to prevent him from slipping away from the breast.

If your baby needs extra help with latching, try this trick:

  • Gently shape or “sandwich” the breast, using your thumb and fingers. (Imagine eating a large sandwich; it is easier to fit into your mouth if it is flattened first.) Please note: you sandwich the breast to help it fit into baby’s mouth. The flattened part of the “sandwich” should be parallel to baby’s lips.
  • Encourage baby to open wide by tickling his upper lip with your nipple. In response, your baby will lift his chin and gape widely. Aim the nipple towards the roof of baby’s mouth. Baby’s chin should touch the breast first.
  • If your baby is crying or upset, calm him and then try again.
  • Try to get baby’s bottom lip as far as possible from the base of the nipple. The lips should be flanged outwards when latched.

Once baby consistently latches well, you will no longer need to use the cross cradle hold. You can simply cradle your baby in the crook of your arm for feeds.

Football or “Clutch” Breastfeeding Position

The football position works well for large breasted women. It can also be comfortable for those who have had a Cesarean section as it keeps baby’s weight away from the surgical site.


How to do it:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet supported on the floor or a low stool.
  • Use pillows stacked at your side to support baby at breast level. If you find baby’s feet push against the back of the chair, put a pillow behind your back. This will move your body forward and give a bit more space for baby’s legs.
  • Tuck baby’s body against your own, legs tucked under your arm.
  • Support baby with your hand between the shoulder blades.
  • Hold baby’s head with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the opposite side, just behind baby’s ears.
  • Use your other hand to support your breast.
  • Position your baby so that his nose is near your nipple and his chin is resting on your breast. Your baby will need to tilt his head slightly and gape widely to latch.
  • When baby’s mouth is wide open, you can gently guide baby onto the breast with the palm of your hand.

Side Lying Breastfeeding Position

Breastfeeding while lying down can be very helpful when you are tired or if your bottom is still sore from childbirth.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 5.09.51 PM

How to do it:

  • Get comfortable lying on your side with a pillow under your head and another behind your back. Some moms also like a pillow between their knees for comfort.
  • Allow your breast to be supported by the bed. You may need to lean back slightly so your nipple will be at a comfortable height for latching.
  • Lay your baby on his side, facing you and tucked close to your body. Baby’s lower body will be touching your tummy. A rolled up blanket behind baby’s back will help to keep him close.
  • Position him so that his nose is opposite your nipple. Baby’s chin should touch your breast. Baby will gape and latch to the breast.
  • When baby is ready for the second breast, reposition yourself onto the other side.

Relax and enjoy different breastfeeding positions. The best position is the one that works for both you and your baby.

To see moms latching their babies in all of these positions, watch our free preview lesson from the Simply Breastfeeding course. (Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the preview button.)

P.S Because we’ve had so many people love this post, we turned it into a downloadable PDF Guide! See below 🙂 

Comfortable Positions for Breastfeeding

References and More information:

  1. “Breastfeeding American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015.
  2. Colson, Suzanne. “Laid Back VideoBiological Nurturing. N.p., n.d. Web.
  3. Nagle, Meg. “Video Of The Laid Back Breastfeeding Position-Encourage Your Baby To Self-Attach!The Milk Meg. N.p., 9 Mar. 2014. Web.


Keep learning: Latching Your Baby and Breastfeeding Should Not Hurt!


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

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 1.37.51 PM

A special thank you to our friend Amy and her beautiful week old son, Matthias, for modelling these positions. -Cindy & Jana


February 5, 2016

How Long to Breastfeed at Each Feed


Women commonly wonder how long to breastfeed at each feed.


Jennifer’s baby feeds for less than 10 minutes at a time. Can her baby can get enough milk in that short a time?

Rachelle’s baby takes over an hour to feed. She wonders why it takes her baby so long.


How long to breastfeed

No two babies are the same. Just like adults, babies have their own feeding preferences. Some babies like to linger over their meal, while others are eager to feed and finish quickly.

Even for the same baby, feeds will vary in length. Sometimes they will want a ‘full meal’, while other times they just need a little drink. Following your baby’s cues and letting him decide the length of a feed leads to a happier baby.


Watch your baby not the clock

Rather than focusing on the TIME baby takes to feed, watch what your baby is doing at the breast. Is your baby actively nursing? Are you hearing swallows? Some newborn need a little reminder to stay actively nursing; try undressing your baby or tickling the feet.

It is unusual for every feeding to take longer than an hour. If this is the case, try breast compressions to help baby take in more milk. ‘Switch nursing’ (switching back and forth between breasts two or three times during a feed) may also be helpful. If long feeds persist, you may want to consult a breastfeeding specialist, such as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Ask to have your milk supply and baby’s latch assessed.


How to know when baby has had enough milk

Try burping after a feed. If your baby awakens and begins to make sucking motions or searches with his mouth, return him to the breast. We know babies have had enough milk when they are relaxed or “milk drunk” after a feed.

There are other ways to know baby is getting enough milk. You can read about them in this post.

The best feeding pattern is the one that is right for YOUR baby. Watching your newborn is the very best way to learn how long to breastfeed.


See more answers to your breastfeeding questions here.

About the authors:IMG_9687 4

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.


January 28, 2016

Bras to Breast Pumps: What do you really need for breastfeeding?

Good news for your budget!  Although there are many breastfeeding products for sale, there is nothing essential that you MUST purchase. All you truly need for breastfeeding is a mom and a baby.

Here is our take on the 7 most commonly purchased breastfeeding products:


  1. Nursing bra

Although more convenient, a nursing bra is not essential for breastfeeding. It is perfectly acceptable to wear a regular bra and simply unfasten it for feeds.

If you prefer the convenience of a nursing bra, wait to purchase it until you are at least 36 weeks pregnant. This will help you to determine the correct size. When baby arrives, your breasts will temporarily become larger as they fill with milk. Over the subsequent month, they will gradually adjust, often ending up about the same size as at the end of your pregnancy.

Try to avoid underwire nursing bras. Pressure from the wire can prevent milk ducts from emptying, increasing your risk for mastitis (an infection in the breast).


  1. Nursing Pads

Nursing pads can be handy to keep your bra from becoming wet. Not all mothers, however, will leak milk. Those who do leak may do so for only a short time. Limit the number of pads you purchase prenatally. You can always pick up more once baby arrives.

Note: Both disposable and reusable nursing pads are available for purchase.


  1. Breast pump

A breast pump is NOT a nursing essential. Many moms prefer to do hand expression when they need to store breast milk. (You can learn how to do hand expression by watching this video.)

If you decide to buy a pump, beware of purchasing a used electric pump. Research has shown that certain viruses and bacteria can be transmitted through breast milk. Pumps designed for single use have an “open system”; there is potential for milk to accidentally enter the pump mechanism. There is no way to disinfect these pumps between users, even if a new kit and tubing is used.

Note: Hospital-grade pumps available for rent are designed with a “closed system”. With a new kit and tubing, they can safely be used by more than one woman.

We go into more detail about pumping and types of pumps in this post.


  1. Breastfeeding pillow

While a breastfeeding pillow can be convenient when you are learning to breastfeed, it is certainly not a necessity. Many women choose to use bedroom pillows instead.

If you plan to purchase a breastfeeding pillow, remember that all bodies are shaped differently. You may need to shop around for one that best fits your body. Women who are long-waisted may need a thicker pillow than those who are short-waisted or have larger breasts.

P.S To help moms prepare for breastfeeding, we’ve created this free 3 lesson video course. Download it here for free.


  1. Nipple cream

Nipple creams are not necessary and may even delay nipple healing! A recent study tested lanolin-based nipple cream along with 3 other products for sore nipples. The results showed that applying expressed breast milk, or using nothing at all, was more beneficial than using a nipple cream.

The study also found that regardless of the treatment used, most women’s nipple pain was reduced to a mild level by the time their baby was 7 to 10 days old. (**If nipple pain lingers, please see an IBCLC for help.)


  1. Nursing cover

We believe women have the right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere, without covering up. There is usually more flesh exposed on advertising billboards than one would see when a woman nurses her baby.

Some mothers tell us they used a nursing cover for their own comfort when they were learning to breastfeed, and discarded it once they became more comfortable.


  1. Formula samples

It is not necessary to have formula samples on hand “just in case”. In fact, research has shown that NOT having formula in the house leads to more success with breastfeeding.

If you receive formula samples in the mail, consider donating them to your local food bank before baby arrives. This will help you avoid the temptation to give formula unnecessarily during a long or fussy night.



Expecting? Cindy and Jana now offer Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes.

Learn more about preparing to breastfeed in these posts: Preparing to Breastfeed during Pregnancy and How to Prepare to Breastfeed When you Have Inverted Nipples.


thumbnail cindy and jana

About the authors:

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.


January 22, 2016

Do Breasts Need Time to Fill Between Feeds?


Do Breasts Need Time to Fill Between Feeds?

The answer is a solid “no”; you do not need to give your breasts time to fill between feeds. A mother’s breasts are really never truly empty. Your breasts may feel soft and like there is nothing left, but milk is actually produced while your baby feeds.  Waiting for breasts to “fill up” can in fact decrease milk supply.


Breasts do have some storage capacity. If it has been a few hours since your baby last fed, your breasts may become heavy or even uncomfortable. The pressure of milk in the ducts signals your body to cut back on breast milk production.


The best way to have a great milk supply is to frequently remove milk by feeding often. Allow your baby to feed whenever he is interested.


Babies can go through growth spurts (you read about them here), leaving their mothers feeling like they are doing nothing but feeding. The best way to increase milk supply is to nurse as often as baby wishes. The frequent feeding alerts your body to make more milk, thus accommodating baby’s growth.


Want to learn more about breastfeeding? Visit this page.


About the authors:

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.


January 16, 2016

Donating Breast Milk: The Greatest Gift




Donating breast milk can save a life!

Breast milk is full of antibodies and is considered the ideal food for babies. Although the milk of a baby’s own mother is the ideal, it may not always be available. Donor human milk is the next best choice. Donating your breast milk will help to ensure that premature or ill babies receive this life giving fluid.





Can I Donate Breast Milk?

If you are currently breastfeeding a baby under one year of age and have milk to spare, you could be eligible to be a donor.


Women who have given their baby up for adoption, have acted as a surrogate or have lost their baby can also be potential donors.


Where Do I Donate?

There are currently 4 breast milk banks in Canada. If you are lucky enough to live in one of these cities, contact the milk bank directly to arrange for donation:


Canada also has 7 milk drops. A milk drop collects milk from approved donors for shipping to the nearest milk bank. There are milk drops in the following Canadian cities:

  • Edmonton, Alberta (Grey Nuns Milk Drop)
  • Medicine Hat, Alberta
  • Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Yorkton, Saskatchewan
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba


If you are interested in donating breast milk, you must first contact the closest milk bank to arrange for their screening process.


If you live outside of Canada, click here to find the milk bank closest to you.


What kind of screening is required for donating breast milk?

Milk bank staff will ask you a series of questions about your medical and lifestyle history. You will then need to see your healthcare provider to complete paperwork and arrange for a blood test.


Collection and Storage of Donor Breast Milk

Donor moms are asked to donate a minimum of at least 4,500 ml (150 ounces). Collect and freeze your extra breast milk in a sterilized hard plastic (food-grade) container or in milk storage bags. Storage containers are available free of charge from the nearest milk bank or milk drop.

Click here for more information on pumping your breast milk.


Is Donor Human Milk Safe?

Breast milk can contain bacteria or viruses. To ensure donated milk’s safety, it is pasteurized according to very strict guidelines set out by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). This treatment has very little effect on the nutritional and health benefits of the milk.

After the heating process, tests are done to ensure the milk is germ-free. It is then frozen to -20 C (-4 F).

Since the guidelines of HMBANA have been followed, there has never been a report of pasteurized breast milk from a milk bank causing disease or harm to a baby.
If you are able, please consider donating breast milk. It is the greatest gift you can give!




About the authors:

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.




December 17, 2015

Breastfeeding Tips for the Holiday Season

While the holiday season is busy for everyone, it can be downright overwhelming when you are nursing a baby. These breastfeeding tips will help you breeze through the holidays with both a happy mom and a happy baby.



Breastfeeding Tip #1: Alcohol isn’t off-limits!


An occasional beer or glass of wine is compatible with breastfeeding. Toronto pediatrician Dr. Jack Newman sums it up well in this statement.

Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for breastfeeding mothers.


The level of alcohol in your milk peaks about an hour after drinking. To limit your baby’s exposure, nurse just before having a drink. You don’t have to pump and dump. As the alcohol is cleared from your bloodstream, the level in your milk will also go down. This article explains how it happens.


Want to read more about alcohol and breastfeeding? Read this article.


Breastfeeding Tip #2: There are no food restrictions.


Your older relatives may advise “Don’t eat that; it will make your baby gassy”. Years ago, breastfeeding women were handed a list of foods to avoid. Broccoli, beans, cabbage and spicy foods all made the list.We now know  this is just an old wives’ tale. Many of those foods are staples in other countries, consumed by breastfeeding women without problems.


The foods you eat may flavor your milk. This, however, is thought to be an advantage. Your baby will be exposed to different tastes very early in life, potentially avoiding a picky eater later.


The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without chocolate. Good news! You don’t need to deprive yourself of this either. Moderate amounts of chocolate are not a problem. The relationship between chocolate and breastfeeding is well explained in this La Leche League article.


Breastfeeding Tip #3: Feed often during the day.


Babies who are held and played with by visitors, may become overstimulated and spend a good part of the the day sleeping. If your baby sleeps through day time feeds, he will make up for it by feeding frequently at night.


Trust your instincts. If you feel your baby has had enough of visitor’s arms, it is okay to reclaim your baby. Continue to feed in your normal pattern, at least every two or three hours if your baby is a newborn.


Breastfeeding Tip #4: Consider babywearing.


Mothers whose babies are held close will be more aware of early feeding cues. This leads to happier babies as there is no need to cry.


Some moms dread large get togethers during the cold and flu season. If you are feeling uncomfortable having baby handled by visitors, wear your baby in a wrap. People can say hello and admire your baby without touching.


Breastfeeding Tip #5: Keep your self-expectations in check.


Breastfeeding a young baby takes at least eight to twelve hours a day. This leaves little time for shopping, baking and entertaining. Be realistic in what you have time to do. Give gift cards, purchase baking, and consider ordering in.


Schedule a guilt-free rest day during the holidays. Simply stay in your pyjamas, watch movies and breastfeed on demand. Nap whenever baby does. This may become your favorite holiday tradition!


Best wishes as you celebrate the holidays with your new baby.

You may also enjoy reading: Baby’s First Christmas: Celebrate without Losing Your Sanity and 6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Period.


thumbnail cindy and janaAbout the authors:

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.



December 2, 2015

When Does Breast Milk Come In?

You may have heard it said that breast milk “comes in” 3 days after a baby’s birth. While there is some truth to this saying, it can be misleading.

The first milk


It is true that breast milk tends to increase in volume around the 3rd day of baby’s life, but women have milk right from the time baby is born. The first milk looks nothing like what we expect milk to look like; it is a thick sticky golden fluid called colostrum. This milk is very important for baby’s health. It has infection fighting properties that “paint” baby’s digestive tract, providing protection against infection.


This first milk (colostrum) is produced in small volumes, perfect for a newborn’s stomach size. Babies feed very frequently, especially when they are 24 – 48 hours old. Please don’t mistake baby’s frequent feeds and mom’s soft breasts as indicators of not having enough milk. Baby is taking in what he needs. The frequent feeds signal mother’s body to begin making a greater volume. It is important not to interfere with this natural process.


If formula is unnecessarily given during this window of time, it can delay the next feeding. Less stimulation of the breasts makes a woman’s body think she doesn’t need as much milk. See the pattern that can occur?


Increased volume of milk


Around 72 hours after birth, women’s breasts begin to feel heavier. The milk changes to a whitish color and she will begin to hear baby swallowing.

If mother has had a c-section or has been separated from her baby, it is not unusual for this fullness to be delayed for an additional 24 hours. In some cases, it can be delayed even longer. Please consult and IBCLC for help if this is your situation.


Making enough milk?


When babies are allowed unrestricted access to their mother’s breasts, it is rare for the mother not to make enough milk.


It is common, however, to for a mother to FEEL she doesn’t have enough milk. A recent study found that 41% of women were worried about their milk supply on the 3rd day after birth. Concern about milk supply is the top reason women stop breastfeeding.


How many women cannot physically make enough milk for their baby? Sources vary, but it is somewhere between 1% and less than 5%. That means that over 95% of women are able to make enough for their baby!


Many cases of low milk supply occur because of interference with the natural process of breastfeeding. Early introduction of formula, using a pacifier or delaying feeds can have a negative impact.


To learn more about how to tell your baby is getting enough milk, see this post.


If you are a new mother, please trust your body’s ability to provide milk for your new baby. After all, your body did a great job of making this baby, didn’t it?



Other posts you may enjoy: Positions for Breastfeeding and How toLatch Your Baby.



thumbnail cindy and jana

About the authors:

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.


November 13, 2015

When Baby Won’t Latch to the Breast

It is instinctual for a new baby to search for his mother’s breast. Most babies will latch and begin to feed within a first few hours of birth. Other babies will struggle to latch. There is nothing more frustrating and discouraging for a new mother!


Babies who do not breastfeed initially can learn to breastfeed. It may take a lot of patience and persistence but it definitely is possible!




Why won’t baby latch to the breast?


A baby who does not latch to the breast isn’t “choosing” not to breastfeed. He is not latching because there is a problem. Ask for help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to help you determine the cause and to establish a plan to get baby to the breast.


  • Baby may be recovering from a difficult birth.

If forceps or vacuum were used at birth, your newborn may be sore and in need of some recovery time. Handle baby gently with lots of skin-to-skin snuggling. Pay attention to his cues and offer the breast in positions that seem most comfortable. (You can see some possible positions here: Positions for Breastfeeding.)



  • Mom’s nipples may be difficult to grasp.


Women’s nipples come in many shapes and sizes. If nipples are quite flat, it can be difficult for the baby to latch. Try to gently “sandwich” the breast, aligning it with the shape of baby’s mouth. This creates a firm spot for baby to latch. (Imagine eating a large sandwich; it is easier to get your mouth around it if you flattened it first.)

Once the breasts have filled with milk, trying a nipple shield is an option.

Although it is rare, some nipples are too large for baby to grasp. Diligent pumping and feeding the baby in another way may be temporarily needed until baby grows a little bigger.



  • Baby may have a tongue tie.


A tongue tie restricts the tongue’s range of motion. It can be difficult for baby to grasp and draw the nipple into his mouth. A tongue tie release allows the tongue to move more freely. (Check out this KellyMom page for links to tongue tie information.)



  • Baby’s first feeds may have been by bottle; baby is unsure how to suck at the breast.


Sometimes, for medical reasons, a baby will be given a bottle soon after birth. As a result, he may search for something long and firm like the bottle nipple and act like he cannot find your nipple. It can be frustrating for a baby to relearn how to breastfeed. Try skin to skin snuggling between feeds. Dripping milk from the nipple via a feeding tube can entice baby to begin to suck. A nipple shield may also be useful.



  • Baby may have an anatomical challenge (e.g. a cleft lip or palate) or the shape of the mouth or jaw may make latching challenging.


Your Lactation Consultant can help you to determine the cause and help you develop a plan to work towards establishing breastfeeding.



  • Baby is a preemie and is not yet strong enough to maintain a latch.


If your baby was born prematurely and is not yet able to feed at the breast, diligent pumping will help you to develop a full milk supply. This is the best way to ensure baby will eventually transition to the breast. Do skin to skin snuggling as much as medically possible. A nipple shield, special positioning or supporting baby’s cheeks during the feed may be suggested.



  • Overly full breasts.


If your baby had been breastfeeding but is suddenly unable to latch, it may be due to overly full breasts. Feel the areola, the brown area around the nipple. If it is quite firm, it may be difficult for baby the grasp. This post (Too full? Baby can’t Latch) describes a technique that may be helpful.


**Identifying the problem can help to direct the solution.**


No matter what the underlying issue may be, these principles may help.


If baby will not latch in the first 24 hours after birth:


  • Keep your baby skin to skin as much as possible.
  • “Practice” breastfeeding; express a drop of milk on your nipple and let baby lick and nuzzle. The goal is for mom and baby to enjoy these sessions. If it is frustrating for either mom or baby, it is time to take a break.
  • A baby who is well supported is more likely to breastfeed. In the laidback position, mom leans back and baby’s entire body is supported against her own (read more and see a photo here). If you are more comfortable feeding in a cradle or football hold, use pillows to support baby’s body. (There are photos of these holds in the link above.)
  • Self attachment in the laidback position can be quite effective (There is a video of self attachment in this post.)
  • Do some hand expression to stimulate your breasts to begin producing milk. (Learn how to hand express by watching this video.)
  • Feed drops of your hand expressed colostrum to baby with a spoon. Babies are incredible; they will “sip” milk from the spoon.


If baby continues not to latch after the first 24 hours:


  • Try massage and hand expression before attempting at the breast. A drop of milk on your nipple can entice baby to latch.
  • Even if baby won’t latch, continue with “practice sessions”. Remember if either you or the baby becomes frustrated, take a break. Calm your baby by snuggling and talking in low, gentle tones. When baby is ready, try again. If you need more of a break, pass your baby to a support person while you care for yourself.
  • Begin pumping with a hospital grade electric pump, approximately every 2 to 3 hours during the day and at least once at night (a minimum of 8-12 times in 24 hours). Pumping for 15 – 20 minutes on each side will help your milk to come in. You may not express a single drop at first. That’s okay. Please do not give up. Pumping tells your body that baby is here and will need milk. Developing a good supply of milk will be key in coaxing baby to the breast. After a full supply is established, you can adjust the time spent pumping as needed to obtain the required milk.
  • You will, of course, need to feed your baby. The first choice is to feed your own expressed breast milk. Sometimes, for medical reasons, your healthcare provider may recommend feeding more milk than you are able to produce. If banked human milk is available in your area, that is ideal. If donor milk is not available, infant formula may be used. Feeding your baby will help ensure he has the energy to continue to learn to breastfeed. Your healthcare provider may suggest you feed baby by spoon, cup or finger feeding.
  • Some women find using a 20-20-20 principle helpful. “Practice” at the breast for up to 20 minutes; feed the baby in an alternate way if needed (approximately 20 minutes) and pump/hand express for 20 minutes. (Please note: the times are suggestions only. Please modify according to your baby’s cues. Sometimes babies are quickly frustrated and 20 minutes of trying will be too long.)


  • Sometimes, giving baby a little milk prior to a breastfeeding attempt may be helpful, especially if the baby is quite hungry. Taking the edge off the baby’s hunger may help baby to be more relaxed with the latching attempts.
  • Once baby is taking larger volumes, your healthcare provider may suggest beginning to use a bottle to feed your baby. This does NOT mean we have given up on breastfeeding! Again, it is important to feed your baby so that he will have energy to learn to feed. When baby is taking larger volumes, some babies will tire before they have been able to complete the feed. If you choose to bottle, use a rounded nipple rather than one with a flattened cross-section. reference?Choose a slow flow nipple. Entice the baby to gape widely when talking the bottle to simulate latching at the breast.
  • A nipple shield may be useful in some instances once milk supply is established. Using a nipple shield before the milk supply is established is not recommended.
  • Search out a mother-to-mother support group such as La Leche League.

In our experience, with time and patience, most babies will eventually learn to breastfeed. Consult an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for assistance. In the meantime, stimulating your milk supply and snuggling skin to skin with your baby are the most important things you can do.

References and More Information:

  1. Bonyata, Kelly. “Establishing and maintaining milk supply when baby is not breastfeeding.” 23 Feb. 2016. Web.
  2. Newman, Jack, MD, FRCPC, and Edith Kernerman, IBCLC. “When Baby Does Not Yet Latch.” International Breastfeeding Centre, 2009. Web.

thumbnail cindy and janaAbout the authors:

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.