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October 29, 2017

How to Prepare for a New Baby on a Budget

Expecting a new baby soon? Bewildered by the vast array of products to buy? 


Here are 10 Baby Items You Don’t Need to Purchase


1. Change Table

Change tables are expensive and take up a lot of space. If you don’t have space for one, just gather a basket of changing supplies. Together with a change pad, you will be ready to do diaper changes on any flat surface!

Having supplies on each level of your home will prevent having to walk up and down the stairs. You will appreciate that in the early postpartum period!


2. Baby Bathtub

A baby bathtub is costly and will only be used for a short time. Save your money. Line your sink with a towel or put a couple of inches of water in your own bathtub and lean over the edge to do the bath.


3. Crib Bedding Set

Although they are adorable, you should pass on bumper pad and quilt sets. Bumper pads are not recommended, as they are a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The quilts, while beautiful, are rarely soft enough to use to wrap your baby.


4. Baby Laundry Soap

Most laundry soaps marketed for baby are more expensive than similar household products. Select a dye and fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry soap that you can use for your entire family.


5. Stuffed Animals

It can be tempting to buy soft teddy bears or other stuffed animals for your nursery. Babies, however, are not really interested in them for the first few months of life. In addition, safe sleep guidelines would caution against having these in your baby’s crib.


6. Fancy Baby Clothes

Babies grow quickly. It is not uncommon for babies to outgrow clothing before you have had a chance to dress them in it! Borrowing or purchasing second hand clothing is much more economical. Save your money for when your child is a teen and they really care about their clothing!


7. Baby Shoes

Baby shoes are so adorable but so unnecessary! They are probably not comfortable for baby either. There is no need to purchase baby shoes until your little one is walking.


8. Breastfeeding Products

Breastfeeding is a fantastic way to save about $3,000 in baby’s first year! There are many products marketed for breastfeeding women but most of them you will not need.


Some people like to use a breastfeeding pillow but bedroom pillows can be easily substituted if needed. Once you and your baby have had a bit of practice, you will find that no pillows will be needed at all!


Women have the right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. Nursing covers have become popular but you do not need to use one! Do whatever works to make yourself comfortable; we support you either way!


If you are considering purchasing a breast pump, this article will help you to decide what type of pump to purchase, or whether you really need one at all!


Sign up for our FREE email series “Getting Ready to Breastfeed.” We will increase your confidence by sending you what you need to know before your baby arrives.


9. Fancy Garbage Can

Fancy nursery garbage cans are marketed for odor control. Simply taking out the trash often can easily substitute for making this purchase.


10. Wipes Warmer

This is a luxury item and by no means a nursery necessity. To warm a wipe, simply hold it in the palm of your hand for a few seconds. Consider using a washcloth and warm water as a way to save even more!




Worth Spending Money On


There are 2 items we think you should purchase before baby’s arrival.

1. Car Seat

Car seats have expiry dates as plastic will break down over time. We do not recommend purchasing a car seat second hand as it is important to know the car seat’s history. Even if there is no visible damage, the plastic may have been weakened by being dropped or having been in an accident. The instruction booklet for the car seat is invaluable as you learn to adjust it to fit your baby.

2. Breastfeeding Class

Statistics show that families who learn about breastfeeding before their baby arrives feel more confident and less stressed. Knowing a little about how breastfeeding works and how newborns behave will go a long way to giving you the newborn experience you are longing for. We’ve created an online class to teach you what you need to know, Simply Breastfeeding. Sign up here.


We would love to know what baby items you felt were essential and which ones you wished you had not purchased. Please comment below!



Continue learning by reading this post: Preparing to Breastfeed During Pregnancy or check out Cindy &Jana’s Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes.



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


September 22, 2017

Preparing to Breastfeed during Pregnancy

When you are expecting, it is easy to focus on labor and delivery and forget to prepare for what comes next. You are already ahead of the game by reading this post! Women who prepare before their baby arrives feel significantly more confident and encounter less problems breastfeeding their newborn. Check out our breastfeeding classes here.

Nipple preparation?

Good news! You don’t have to do anything physically to prepare to breastfeed. Your body is already doing the work for you, developing ducts and milk making tissue.

You also don’t need to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding. Years ago, friction with a rough towel was recommended prenatally but it was actually found to do damage.

Women’s nipples come in many different shapes and sizes. A breastfeeding baby latches to the breast, not to the nipple. Unusually shaped nipples are rarely an issue. If you have concerns about the shape of your nipples for breastfeeding, speak to your doctor, your midwife or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Have a birth plan

Limiting medications and interventions during labor and birth (whenever possible) is a great first step in helping your newborn learn to breastfeed.

Talk to your healthcare provider about having your baby skin to skin immediately after birth. (Learn why it is important here.) Breastfeed as soon as possible, ideally within the first hour.

Parents delivering in a hospital have found it helpful to create a card for baby’s bassinet saying: “I am a breastfed baby… no formula or pacifiers please!”

Keep your newborn near you so that you can respond quickly to baby’s earliest hunger cues.

Learn about normal newborn feeding behavior

Newborns feed often! It is easy to misinterpret frequent feeding as a sign of not enough milk. Feeding 10, 12, 14, 16 times or more a day is not unusual. Learn more by reading our post How often will my Newborn feed?.

Make a plan for the first 2 weeks after baby’s birth

Breastfeeding is time consuming. Newborns feed often. Both you and your baby will be learning. Having the time and privacy to learn is essential.

New parents frequently tell us they had too much company in baby’s first few weeks. Take some time now to make a plan for handling visitors. We explore this further in video #3 of our free course Getting Ready to Breastfeed. Watch it now and download the PDF worksheet to get started.

Planning ahead will help to save your time and energy for the important task of breastfeeding.

Surround yourself with supports

Begin surrounding yourself with other moms who have had positive experiences with breastfeeding. Ask them to be your support team once baby arrives You may want to attend a La Leche League meeting (mother-to-mother support) prenatally.

If you prefer online mom-to-mom support, join our Simply Breastfeeding Moms Facebook group.

Take a class

There is an overwhelming amount of information available both online and in print. Unfortunately, not all of it is good information supported by evidence.

Sign up for our free online email series, Getting Ready to Breastfeed. We’ll discuss “Is Breastfeeding going to hurt?”, why skin to skin is important, the best ways to prevent breastfeeding problems and more.

If you’d like a more in depth class, we’ve put together a 12 video course, Simply Breastfeeding. Check it out here. (Note: you can preview the breastfeeding positions lesson for free. Simply scroll to the bottom of this page.)

Prefer to learn through books?

These are some of our favorites.

5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding a FREE ebook by Cindy Leclerc and Jana Stockham.

Dr Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman. Written in a readable, no nonsense style.

Breastfeeding Made Simple: 7 Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett.  How to avoid and overcome breastfeeding challenges.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger. La Leche League’s wonderful guide to breastfeeding.


Equipment for breastfeeding

There are many products on the market for breastfeeding women. Fortunately, all you really need is your breast and the baby!

Here’s our take on 5 common breastfeeding products:

  1. Nursing bras: You do not need a nursing bra to breastfeed however many women purchase one for the convenience. If you choose to buy a nursing bra, wait until you you are at least 36 weeks pregnant to judge the size you will need.
  2. Nursing Pads:  Not all moms leak milk. Those who do may only leak for a short time. Begin with a limited supply of nursing pads and purchase more if you need them.
  3. Breast pumps:  Not every breastfeeding mother needs a breast pump. Many moms find they prefer to hand express for occasional  bottles or to establish a “stash”. To learn more about hand expression, see this post.
  4. Breastfeeding pillows:  Some moms find that a breastfeeding pillow is convenient but it is not necessary. You could use bedroom pillows instead. If you choose to purchase a breastfeeding pillow, remember that all bodies are shaped differently so you may need to shop around for one that best fits your body.
  5. Formula samples:  You do not need to have formula samples “just in case”. Not having formula in the house has been shown to increase breastfeeding success. Be wary of signing up for “free products” as you will often receive formula. If you receive free samples, consider donating them to your local food bank to avoid the temptation of using it during a long or fussy night.

Believe in yourself

A woman’s body is an amazing! Believe in your ability to provide the right food at the right time and at the right temperature for your baby.

Best wishes as you prepare for your breastfeeding journey.

(Banner photo courtesy of Flickr: Frank de Kleine)

Learn more about breastfeeding: Bras to Breast Pumps: What do you really need for breastfeeding? and Positions for Breastfeeding.

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



May 31, 2017

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

There are many products on the market for breastfeeding women. In this post, we will help you wade through the available accessories and give you guidance on what you will need to purchase.

If your budget is tight, we have good news! 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 7 commonly purchased products:


  1. Nursing bra

Nursing bras are very convenient but they are not an essential for breastfeeding. If your budget is tight, you can wear a regular bra. Simply unfasten and lift the cup for feeds.

If you plan to buy a nursing bra, we would suggest waiting until you are at least 36 weeks pregnant to better judge what size you will need. In the first few days after birth, your breasts will become larger as they fill with milk. This increase in size is temporary. Your breasts gradually adjust to the amount of milk your baby is taking. By 2 or 3 weeks after birth, your breast size will likely be close to the size at the end of your pregnancy.

Underwire nursing bras are not recommended for breastfeeding women. Pressure from the wire can prevent some of the milk ducts from emptying, increasing your risk for a breast infection.


  1. Nursing Pads

Nursing pads are pieces of absorbent material you can wear in your bra to soak up leaking breast milk. They help to keep your shirt from getting wet. There are both reusable and disposable breast pads available for purchase.

Some breastfeeding mothers will leak milk for a few days, others will leak for many weeks. Still others will leak very little or not at all. (Note: You can still have a great milk supply even if you do not leak.) Because you don’t know how many nursing pads you will need, we would suggest you limit the number of pads you purchase prenatally. You can always pick up more once baby arrives.


  1. Breast pump

There are many different breast pumps on the market. At prenatal breastfeeding classes, we are often asked what type to purchase. It is important to know that a breast pump is not a nursing essential. Maternity leaves vary in length and every family’s situation is different.

Even if you have to return to work soon after your baby’s birth, hand expression is a great option for your to explore. It is low cost, always available and for many moms, more effective than a pump.

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

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

To learn more about breast pumps, read this post.


  1. Breastfeeding pillow

A breastfeeding pillow can be convenient when you are learning to breastfeed, but 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 post-baby body. Women who are long-waisted may need a thicker pillow than those who are short-waisted or have larger breasts.

Learn some basics about breastfeeding BEFORE baby arrives with our FREE email series, Getting Ready to Breastfeed. Get started here.


  1. Nipple cream

Nipple creams are popular but recent research has shown that they are not effective and may even delay nipple healing! A recent study tested lanolin-based nipple cream along with 3 other products. They found that rubbing a few drops of breast milk onto your nipples (or using nothing at all!) was more beneficial than using a cream.

A second piece of good news from this study was that no matter what treatment was used, most nipple pain was reduced to a mild level by the time baby was 7 to 10 days old.


  1. Nursing cover

Nursing covers are popular and may be something you are considering for purchase. Before you do, we want you to know that you have the right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere, without covering up. Have a look at the billboards and magazine ads around you. You will see more flesh exposed than you would ever see with a woman nursing her baby.

Some mothers, however, tell us that a nursing cover made them feel more confident breastfeeding in public when they were first learning. If this is the case for you, go for it. But feel free to discard it once you are able to latch your baby with ease.


  1. Formula samples

If you are planning to breastfeed, we would not recommend purchasing formula to have on hand. Research has shown that breastfeeding women who do not have formula in the house are more likely to reach their breastfeeding goals.

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


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.


**If you’d like to learn even more, sign up for our Prenatal Breastfeeding Class.**


thumbnail cindy and jana

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



October 2, 2016

10 Breastfeeding Tips Every Pregnant Woman Should Know

After more than 20 years of working with breastfeeding families, we are convinced that pregnancy is the very best time to prepare for breastfeeding. Here are 10 of the most important breastfeeding tips we think every woman should know before her baby arrives.

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.

You can make breastfeeding easier by preparing before baby is born. Download our FREE ebook to learn how: 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.

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.



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.



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?





  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.



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


June 16, 2016

Pregnant? Learn How To Avoid 8 Mistakes New Mothers Make

For nine months, pregnant women look forward to meeting their newborn. They dream of spending their days snuggling and inhaling their new baby’s scent. Unfortunately, the reality of baby’s first weeks often doesn’t live up to these expectations. Life with a newborn can be exhausting, filled with frustration and uncertainty.

Mothers tell us they wish they had the chance to redo this special time to avoid making some crucial mistakes. Learn what new mothers wish they had done differently.

Women wish they had rested more at the end of their pregnancy.

Pregnancy is not always seen as a reason to slow down. Women feel pressured to maintain their pre-pregnancy lifestyle. The combination of home, work and social obligations can be exhausting.

The physical demands of pregnancy have been compared to climbing a mountain. It is crucial to take time to rest and care for yourself.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Scheduling time for naps in the same way you would schedule time for a haircut or doctor’s appointment.
  • Beginning your maternity leave a week or two early; use the extra time to rest.

Women wish they had learned more about breastfeeding while still pregnant.

“I wish I had prepared for breastfeeding like I prepared for the birth. We had a hard time at the beginning.”

Breastfeeding is natural but it is a skill both mom and baby will need to learn. Knowing some basics about breastfeeding and newborn behavior can help you to sidestep the most common difficulties.

Avoid this mistake by learning:

  • how to position yourself comfortably to breastfeed.
  • how to help your baby latch deeply on the breast.
  • how often newborns feed and how to know you have enough milk
  • where to go for help if needed.

Surround yourself with women who have breastfed: friends, family or mother-to-mother support groups like La Leche League.

To learn more, download our free guide: 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.

Families wish they had had fewer visitors in the hospital.

Friends, family and co-workers will be eager to celebrate the arrival of your newborn. You will be excited to introduce them to your brand new baby.

Too many visitors in hospital, however, can leave you exhausted. You may miss a nap or you may miss precious time to learn from nurses about how to care for yourself and your new baby.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Limiting company in the hospital. Let your family and friends know your wishes well before baby’s arrival.
  • Consider posting a Do Not Disturb sign on your hospital door.

“It felt a little cruel, as I knew there were many who were excited to meet our latest. But it took away so much pressure knowing that I didn’t have to look presentable or make small talk. I could doze in and out of sleep and it allowed me endless skin-to-skin time… I really cherish the memories of that.”

Families wish they had less visitors at home in the first weeks after birth.

Almost every new family has too many visitors during baby’s first few weeks at home.

Many visitors intend to “just pop by for a short visit”. Unfortunately, even a quick visit may mean you may miss an opportunity to nap. Babies who are held by visitors tend to sleep more in the daytime, a guarantee they will be feeding more often at night!

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Putting your phone on silent, ignoring non-essential texts and emails.
  • Asking a trusted family member to “be the bad guy”, spreading the word that you are not up to company just yet.
  • Blaming the nurse! Feel free to say “The nurse said I shouldn’t have visitors for the first couple of weeks”.
  • Posting a message on Facebook: “Our baby has arrived. She weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces. We’re settling in but not getting much sleep. We will let you know when we are ready for visitors.”


Families wish they had asked for help.

Caring for a newborn is a time consuming job. While you may not want visitors that you have to entertain, you may want to ask a trusted friend or family member to help with household tasks. If others can cook and clean, it will allow you more time to simply focus on baby’s needs and recovering from childbirth.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Saying “yes!” to friends or relatives who offer to help. Be specific about ways they can support you such as picking up groceries, doing laundry, walking your dog or simply holding your baby while you take a bath.

Women wish they had rested while their baby slept.

When women look back on baby’s first weeks, they realize just how tired they were. They wish they had given themselves permission to rest.

“Sleep while the baby sleeps” is easier said than done. There will always be one more thing to accomplish during baby’s nap.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Laying down to rest in the day, even if you are unable to sleep. It makes getting up for night feeds just a little easier.

Women wish they had spent more time simply snuggling their baby.

The immediate postpartum period is a busy time. You will be feeding at least 10 times a day and changing about the same number of diapers. You may long for your home to be as clean and organized as it was before the birth.

You will feel cheated, however, if you don’t take time to simply sit and hold your baby. The old saying is true: “Housework can wait but babies can’t”.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Giving yourself permission to ignore the housework; put your feet up, your phone down and simply enjoy your baby.

Women wish they had trusted their instincts.

The amount of baby information available is mind-boggling. ‘Googling’ leads to pages and pages of answers. Friends, family and even strangers will be quick to offer advice. Much of what you read and hear will be contradictory.

There will never be a perfect way to raise a child. It’s okay to listen to outside information but pay special attention to your maternal instincts. Babies have different personalities and preferences; no one will know and love your baby as much as you.

Avoid this mistake by:

  • Taking in advice but doing what works best for you and your baby.

So there you have it, 8 new mom mistakes you can avoid. Take some time to learn about breastfeeding. Prioritize your rest both now and once baby arrives. Make a plan for how you will handle visitors. Most importantly, get ready to spend lots of time simply snuggling and enjoying your new baby.


Keep learning with these posts: Breast Milk and Formula: Is there Really a Difference? and 7 Important Ways Dads can Help with Breastfeeding


About the authors:

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



February 28, 2016

6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Period


Settling in with a new baby is a time of HUGE adjustments. Moms are often sore as they recover from birth. Sleep deprivation and unsolicited advice are at an all time high. Older children and pets may be vying for attention.


Feeding a newborn requires at least 8 to 10 hours a day; diapering requires another 1 ½ – 2 hours. That doesn’t leave much time for self-care!


Here are 6 tips to make the newborn period more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.

Note: To help make feeding your baby less stressful, we’ve written a FREE ebook, 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding. Download it here.

6 tips for surviving


1. Limit visitors


Everyone loves a new baby! Visitors get caught up in the excitement and may forget that you have been up most of the night. Even short visits can interfere with an opportunity to nap.

When a friend or relative asks, “When can I drop by?” respond, “I’d love you to visit, but we need a few days (or a few weeks!) to get some rest”. Ask a trusted family member to be your ‘gate-keeper’, answering phone calls and the door, telling well-wishers you are not up to company just yet.


Tips from other parents:

  • Let others know your wishes well before the birth. “We know we will need time to settle in, so we won’t be having company for at least 2 weeks.”
  • Take your newborn to see others rather than having visitors at your house. That way, you can keep the visit short.
  • Consider changing your voicemail. “Our baby has arrived. 6 pounds, 3 ounces. We are doing well but we are very tired. We appreciate your message but we may not get back to you for a couple of weeks.”


2. Let go of the perfect home



With 12 or more hours a day spent on baby care, it is impossible for your home to look the way it used to. Caring for a newborn takes a lot of energy.

Try to let go of your expectations. Concentrate on resting and getting to know your new baby.


Tips from other parents:

  • If a family member offers to help, say yes! Ask them to dust, do laundry or vacuum the floors.
  • Focus on keeping one room tidy; retreat to this sanctuary when you feel overwhelmed.
  • If there are tasks that cannot wait, use a wrap or a baby carrier and wear your baby while you accomplish the essentials.


3. Plan simple meals


This is not the time for gourmet food. Keep meals simple and nutritious. Yogurt, fresh fruit and pre-cut veggies are excellent snacks. Nuts are a quick and easy source of protein. Keep snacks and a glass of water within reach.

When people offer to help, suggest they make a meal. If eggs and toast or peanut butter sandwiches are appealing, go ahead and make it for supper 3 nights in a row.


Tips from other parents:

  • Ordering takeout can be a lifesaver.
  • Keep protein bars on hand.
  • Make meals that can be eaten with one hand (e.g. wraps).


4. Ignore unsolicited advice



false-98375_640New parents get a lot of advice and it can be very overwhelming. Many times, the advice will be contradictory. Your aunt may advise, “Never wake a sleeping baby” but the nurse tells you “Feed your baby at least every 3 hours.” (Note: we wrote a post on this topic here.)

Please trust your instincts. No two babies are the same. What works for one family will not necessarily work for others.


Tips from other parents:

  • Say “Thank you for that idea. I will discuss it with my partner. “
  • Simply smile and say ‘Thanks! I’ll keep that in mind.”
  • Pretend to be preoccupied with your baby. Ignore the advice and change the subject.


5. Mom’s bath is more important than baby’s


To keep stitches clean and to speed healing, moms that delivered vaginally should have a tub soak at least twice a day. C-section moms should shower daily to keep their incision clean. In the busy days with a newborn, this can be challenging.

We encourage mothers to prioritize their own bath rather than their baby’s. A baby doesn’t need a complete bath every day. Instead, concentrate on washing baby’s face and neck daily and baby’s bottom with every diaper change. (You can learn more about infant bathing here.)


6. Make resting a priority


Newborns feed at least 8 to 12 times a day. It’s no wonder that new parents feel sleep deprived! It may be difficult to ignore the laundry and the undone dishes but try to make resting your first priority.

Some women find it difficult to sleep in the daytime. Try to lie down and rest even if you are unable to sleep. You could read a book or listen to music. Rest is important as you heal from the birth.


Tips from other parents:

  • Keeping your bedroom blind closed will help you fall asleep when you have the chance.
  • Live in clothes that are comfortable for napping.
  • Put your phone on silent.
  • Ask your husband, a friend or a relative to take the baby for an hour or two so you can rest.


The newborn period is a short window in a lifetime. Shifting your priorities to facilitate rest will make this time less stressful and more enjoyable.

Other posts you may find helpful: Days and Nights Mixed Up and Newborn Period, A – Z.

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



October 15, 2015

Breast Changes During Pregnancy

Breast changes can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible. These two hormones increase rapidly after conception, preparing your body for breastfeeding.

While your body is busily preparing, there are other ways you can get ready for breastfeeding. Learn more in our free ebook: “5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding.” Download it for free here.


Common breast changes during pregnancy:

  • Tender swollen breasts

You may have tender swollen breasts before you have even had a positive pregnancy test. A stretchy sports bra may be more comfortable than your regular bra.


  • Prominent veins

You may notice the appearance of bluish veins on your breasts. This is normal. A pregnant woman’s blood supply is 1 ½ times her normal volume.


  • Nipples and areola (the colored area around your nipple) darken

Both the nipple and areola will become a darker brown during pregnancy. The shaded area is thought to help baby know where to latch.


  • Increase in size

Most women’s breasts will increase at least one cup size during pregnancy. Tissue is developing in preparation for breastfeeding. You may also need a larger band size as your chest expands to makes room for baby.


  • Nipples grow in size and become more erect

These changes will make it easier for your newborn to latch.


  • Bumps on areola

You will develop bumps on your areola, around the nipple. These bumps, called Montgomery’s Tubercles, are thought to excrete a substance that lubricates the areola and nipple.


  • Itchy breasts

As the skin of your growing breasts stretches, it can be itchy. Applying a moisturizer may be helpful.


  • Stretch marks

As your breasts increase in size, stretch marks may appear. There is no proven way to prevent them but they will fade in time.


  • Leaking thick, yellow fluid

Your breasts begin to produce colostrum during pregnancy. Colostrum is the antibody rich first milk your baby will receive. Some women will notice a yellowish crusting on their nipples; others will leak colostrum and may need to use breast pads. Still others will not leak at all. All three variations are normal.


Breast changes in pregnancy may catch you by surprise. These changes, however, are helping to prepare your body to nourish your new baby.


Continue learning with these posts:  How to Prepare to Breastfeed When you Have Inverted Nipples and Preparing for a New Baby on a Budget.


thumbnail cindy and jana

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


August 28, 2015

Skin to Skin with Baby: Why is it important?


During pregnancy, your body meets all of your baby’s needs. Your baby is kept warm, continuously fed and securely enclosed. By snuggling your new baby skin to skin, you can help him transition from the womb to the outside world.


The benefits of skin to skin contact at birth are clear. “It is not something nice to do. It’s something we have to do.” (Researcher Louise Dumas, RN, MSN, PhD) It is ideal for your baby to be placed on your chest immediately after birth and to stay snuggled there for at least an hour, uninterrupted.



Why is it important to have skin to skin contact with baby


Why skin to skin contact important for your baby?


  • The warmth of your body helps his temperature to adjust and stabilize.
  • His heart and breathing rate become more regular.
  • It reduces baby’s stress, leading to a more stable blood sugar.
  • Being close to your breast helps your newborn learn to feed.
  • It provides comfort if painful procedures, such as blood tests, are needed.
  • Your baby will be more content and will cry less


Why skin to skin contact important for you?


  • It helps your body to expel your placenta more quickly.
  • You will be more aware of your baby’s hunger signals.
  • Moms who snuggle skin to skin find it easier to latch their baby.
  • Your body will produce higher amounts of prolactin, a hormone that helps your body to make milk.
  • Skin to skin contact soothes a fussy baby; this in turn decreases your stress level.
  • When baby is held close, you are able to inhale his newborn scent. This is known to enhance bonding.


 How to safely snuggle skin to skin immediately after birth


Researcher Louise Dumas recommends the following steps to keep skin to skin contact safe in the minutes immediately following birth. (Note: the order is important.)


  1. Place baby directly on your bare chest, without a diaper, without drying him off.
  2. Stretch baby out so that your bodies are in contact as much as possible, baby’s chest against your chest.
  3. Be sure baby is free to move and lift his head and that he can breathe easily from his mouth and nose.
  4. Dry him while continuing to snuggle skin to skin. Pay special attention to drying baby’s back and head.
  5. Cover both of you with one dry blanket.


*If you have a cesarean delivery, your partner can help by firmly supporting baby’s bottom to keep him from falling.


Sometimes babies are born prematurely or with a health issue; it may not be possible to do skin to skin snuggling immediately. Don’t despair. The benefits continue through baby’s early weeks. Start skin to skin snuggling as soon as you are able. You and your baby will love it!


If you would like to learn more about the benefits of skin to skin, Nils Bergman explains it beautifully in this video.


Want to learn more about feeding your newborn? Take our online video course, Simply Breastfeeding.


Other related posts: Vaginal Birth Recovery: Top 10 Answers You Need To Know and Answers to the Top 10 Questions after a Cesarean Birth.

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



June 11, 2015

Breastmilk or Formula… Is there Really a Difference?


There are lots of important decisions you will need to make as a new parent. The decision about how you will feed your baby is one of them. Most families will make this choice before their baby even arrives. Here are some important factors to consider as you make your feeding decision.


Yes, there are differences between breast milk and formula. This post explains key differences.



Breast milk has health benefits for your baby.


  • A mother’s first milk, colostrum, is the perfect first food for babies. It is full of antibodies and is very easy to digest.
  • Breast milk contains living cells that can help to prevent your baby from becoming ill. When you are exposed to a germ, your body makes antibodies to that germ. The antibodies will appear in your milk, passing the protection on to your baby.
  • Breast milk is specifically made for human babies; it has all the necessary nutrients, in just the right amounts.
  • The Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. They recommend continuing to breastfeed, as you introduce other foods for up to 2 years or more!
  • When babies are fed infant formula, the chance of having asthma, allergies, ear, chest and stomach infections increases. This does not mean that breastfed babies will not get sick or that formula fed babies will be sick all the time. It means that if a baby is fed breast milk, the sickness may not be as often and may be less serious.
  • Formula companies have tried hard to make a product similar to breast milk. However, the fact that breast milk is “custom-made” for your baby makes it impossible to be copied.


Breastfeeding has health benefits for the mother as well!


  • Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day, making is easier to lose the extra pregnancy weight.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months will delay the start of your periods. You can learn more about the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) of family planning here.


Breastfeeding has health benefits for the mother as well!

Women who do not breastfeed have:

  • Increased chance of bleeding heavily after birth (hemorrhage).
  • Increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Increased chance of developing osteoporosis (weak bones).


Other facts to consider:

  • Formula feeding requires extra time (and money!) Baby bottles need to be sterilized for the first 4 months. Water used to dilute powdered or concentrated formula must be boiled and cooled prior to use.
  • There is potential for making mistakes when mixing formula. It needs to be measured carefully as adding the wrong amount of water can have a very serious effect on your baby’s health.
  • Formula needs to be stored and handled safely. If safe practices are not followed, there is potential for bacteria to grow and make your baby sick.
  • If you are thinking of switching from breastfeeding to formula, it is important you know that it can be difficult to return to breastfeeding once you have stopped.


The breastfeeding community is working to set up ‘milk banks’. A milk bank will ensure that families have access to breast milk for their babies when mother’s own milk is not available.

Breast milk banks

The breastfeeding community is working to set up ‘milk banks’. A milk bank will ensure that families have access to breast milk for their babies when mother’s own milk is not available. For more information on milk banks, see: Human Milk Banking Association of North America.


Breastfeeding and returning to work

It is possible for women to continue to breastfeed when they return to work. There are government policies that support working women both during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

You can learn more about your rights by visiting these websites:

Canada: Pregnancy Parenting and the Workplace

United States: Support for Breastfeeding in the Workplace and Breastfeeding Laws


Baby Friendly Initiative

The Baby Friendly Initiative strives to ensure you have enough information to make an informed feeding decision. To find out more about Baby Friendly, see this post.


To help new moms learn be more prepared, we’ve created a free ebook called “5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding”  Download it for free here.


References and More Information:

  1. AAP Policy on Breastfeeding and Use of Human American Academy of Pediatrics. N.d. Web.
  2. Benefits of Breastfeeding for American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015. Web.
  3. Facts for Fathers about American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015. Web.
  4. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months.” Health Canada, 18 Aug. 2015. Web.
  5. Why Breastfeed? American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015. Web.
  6. 10 Great Reasons to Breastfeed your Baby.” Public Health Agency of Canada, 05 Apr. 2015. Web.
  7. 14 Risks of Formula Infact Canada. (n.d.) Web.
  8. What Do Health Authorities Say about Breastfeeding past the First Year? N.p., 07 Aug. 2014. Web


Other posts by Cindy & Jana: Breastfeeding Trivia: 16 Random Facts and Preparing to Breastfeed during Pregnancy.



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About the authors:

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


March 26, 2015

How to Prepare to Breastfeed When you Have Inverted Nipples

This post is part of our “You Asked” series, featuring questions posed by our readers. If you have a question you would like answered in a future post, please, ask away.

– Twitter   – Facebook


“I am 19 weeks pregnant. I came across the page about flat/inverted nipples in the “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”. I did the test on myself where you gently press and squeeze the areola. My nipples definitely move inward when I do this. 

I’m curious- is there anything I can do during my pregnancy to help my inverted nipples release and move outward?”



We Answer:

Congratulations on your pregnancy. How exciting!

There is nothing you need to do to prepare your nipples while you are still pregnant. Babies latch on the breast to breastfeed, not the nipple; nipple shape is rarely, therefore, a cause for concern.

The very best thing you can do during pregnancy is to educate yourself about breastfeeding. Sounds like exactly what you are doing! You can learn more in our post: Preparing to Breastfeed during Pregnancy. To learn more about latching your baby, see this post.


Once baby arrives, if you find you are struggling to latch, here are some things to try:

  • Is there anything I can do during my pregnancy to help my inverted nipples release and move outwardWear breast shells in your bra for about an hour before feeds. A breast shell puts a gentle pressure around the nipple, helping it to evert.
  • Try gently flattening your breast to make a ‘ledge’ or ‘sandwich’ of breast tissue. (Hold your thumb opposite the baby’s nose and your fingers under the breast.) This gives your baby something firm to latch unto.
  • Sometimes, a nipple shield can be used if none of the above tricks work.

Your baby may just latch right on! You may want to find out if there is a Lactation Consultant in your area, just in case.

Hope that answered your question! Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy!


**You can learn more about the pinch test for flat/inverted nipples in this excellent article by Anne Smith, IBCLC.


Other posts you may enjoy: Preparing to Breastfeed during Pregnancy and The Gift of Reassurance.

phpTJhnGTPMAbout the authors:

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