Common Concerns

How Can I Pump Enough for my Baby When I’m at Work?

Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

Going back to work can be a very stressful time for many new moms.  It’s difficult to leave your baby for the first time.  You may feel nervous about returning to a job you’ve been away from for months.  Your schedule/routine may have changed due to child-care arrangements.  Plus, if you’re anything like me, none of your work pre-pregnancy work clothes fit yet!  A concern that often adds to this stress is the fear that you may not be able to pump enough for your baby’s bottles while you’re at work. Some moms find that they are constantly playing a game of catch-up, trying to keep up with their baby’s intake while with the caregiver.  Below are some things you can do to improve your ability to keep up with your baby’s needs.

I’ve Had My Baby - Now What? Breastfeeding During months 2 through 6.

Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

Welcome back to our series, I’ve Had My Baby - Now What?   This is a guide with basic information to help you navigate the first days, weeks, and months of breastfeeding your new baby.  

Today we’d like to talk about months 2 through 6 of your baby’s life, and what breastfeeding looks like.  What can you expect for normal behavior from your new baby, and when do you know there’s a problem that you should seek professional help for?

Baby Jaws - Breastfeeding a Teething (or Toothy!) Baby

Duh Nuh Duh Nuh………….Duh Nuh Duh Nuh. (come on, you know you just read that out loud).  

You know they’re coming.  You’ve heard all the severe warnings from well-intentioned friends and family.  You’re scared of what’s to come, but know you’ve gone too far to turn back.  Shark-infested waters, you ask?  Noooooo - a breastfeeding baby who has grown TEETH!  

Somewhere around 6-8 months (sometimes earlier, sometimes later), your baby’s first tooth will erupt.  This is most likely an event you will celebrate, both because of the milestone that it is, but also because it may be a temporary break from the cranky, drooly, mouthy baby who replaced your own sweet one a couple of months back.  There are lots of symptoms that point to teething, but the most common ones are: red and swollen gums, increased irritability and drooling, sleep disturbances, and low grade fevers.  Your baby has most likely learned that chewing or gumming on items helps ease the pain and will try to cram everything within reach into his/her mouth.  As that tooth begins to emerge, there may be some small worries creeping in on your excitement about this next stage.  What will it be like to breastfeed a baby with teeth?  Will my baby bite me? Some moms will find that they do start to feel the baby’s teeth while nursing - baby may scrape teeth across nipple when latching or delatching.  And yes, sometimes the baby will bite.

Treating Cold and Flu Symptoms While Breastfeeding

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Having a cold or the flu while breastfeeding can be a complete drag, to say the least!  Not only are you responsible for taking care of a little one (which means that there is only a very slim chance that you can just crawl into bed and rest all day), but your milk supply might temporarily decrease a tad with your lowered immune system or if dehydration sets in.  Plus, many of the over-the-counter medications that relieve some of these uncomfortable cold/flu symptoms might reduce your milk supply even further.

What are some cold/flu symptom remedies that are safe to take while breastfeeding?

First, let’s consider ways to boost your immune system to prevent and fight colds/flu

Common Concerns While Breastfeeding - What is That White (and painful!) Spot on My Nipple?

Welcome back to our blog series…. Common Concerns While Breastfeeding.  These aren’t the complicated, ‘come-to-my-house-immediately’ phone calls we receive.  Rather, these are the questions that come from clients and friends in the middle of the night, by text or by email, that don’t necessarily warrant a lactation consultation.  They can often be easily resolved with a few simple tricks.  So, we would like to share those tricks with you!

 

Many moms know the pain associated with a shallow latch during the early days, but have you ever had nipple pain suddenly begin after weeks or months of pain-free breastfeeding?  After checking nipples for signs of a poor latch, you notice a white spot on the nipple in question - you pick at it for a few seconds, but it still remains.  What is it?  What caused it?  What can you do to resolve it and get back to pain-free breastfeeding?  This is what’s called a “milk blister” or “milk bleb” and is not cause for great concern, but it can be an uncomfortable and unwelcome guest!

Top 10 Ways to Stop Caregivers from Overfeeding Your Breastfed Baby

I hear it all the time. 

Mom and partner get home from a much-needed date night to find out that grandma gave their 4-month old two 6oz bottles in 4 hours.

Mom picks up her baby from daycare to find out that her 6-month old took three 5oz bottles, plus the backup 5oz bottle in the freezer, in 8 hours.  She pumped 12oz at work and thought that would be plenty for the next day. (which it is!)

Mom comes home from getting a haircut to find that her partner gave their 3-month old a 5oz bottle.  The baby only ate 3oz, so her partner threw the extra 2oz away.

Who ever said there’s no crying over spilled (or wasted) milk never pumped breastmilk for her baby!

It’s hard work to pump… who has extra time when taking care of a newborn to pop on some plastic milk-extracting contraption and just sit for 15 minutes?  Um… no one!  So when a caregiver over feeds a baby, or throws away breast milk that could have been used at another time, it can be very frustrating and defeating for a mom.  And as that extra freezer stash starts to dwindle because of misuse and over feeding, moms might feel their stress levels spike to an uncomfortable high.

So how can a mom ensure that her baby’s caregiver isn’t overfeeding, or unnecessarily throwing away, that precious liquid gold she spent time to pump out?

Help a Mama Out: Nurturing Your Breastfeeding Relationship when Back at Work

Help a Mama Out Topic of the Week: What are your favorite ways to nurture your breastfeeding relationship when you work outside the home?  

Sarah – When I was working out of the home, I pumped at the times my daughter would take a bottle.  Then, when I came home I would exclusively nurse her.  She was fine with 2 or 3 small breastmilk bottles a day, then nursed the rest of the time.  She always preferred the breast and when it came time to wean, I was nervous….but at 13 months she just did and that was that!

Alicia – Comfort nursing on the weekends and morning nursing cuddle time.  I always nurse as soon as we get home from work/daycare.

Alyssa – My favorite part of my working day (as a teacher) was when I sat down in the glider at daycare and nursed my son before taking him home for the night.  We were always so happy to see each other and it helped wipe away any headaches from the day.  Plus, I developed a friendship with his teacher and got to hear all about what he did that day, which was way better than just reading a quick note on a daily info sheet!

Jeanne – Co-sleeping helped us and a feed before I leave and ASAP when I get home.  I also pump 3-4 times at work and always demand feed when I’m home. 

Katie – We nurse in the evenings, when she wakes up in the middle of the night, and at least once more before I leave for work.  It’s funny, as soon as I pick her up after work, I think her mind lights up with ‘milk!’ because she immediately wants to nurse regardless of when her last feeding was.  I can tell that she misses that when we’re a part, as do I.

Janell – As soon as I get home, he’s on the boob.  The rest of the night, he is on the boob.  We spend all weekend with him on and off the boob.  Time consuming, but I love the connection time and it forces me to sit down and breathe with my son.

Rachel – I sit with my daughter every evening after work.  Even if she goes to sleep, we spend the entire evening and night together because we co-sleep.  I make a point to forget about all of the housework I have to do and just relax with her because I know that she won’t be little forever!

Rachelle – One of my favorite things is when I get home from work, I shower (I’m a paramedic).  After I shower, I fill the bath and my husband brings me the baby and we usually relax and nurse for 20-30 minutes.  It is my wind-down time and it is quiet with few distractions.  I love it! 

Sarah – If possible, try to arrange a mid-day nursing session.  I used a local daycare that I was able to visit at lunch and nurse, rather than pump.  It greatly helped my supply and we were able to EBF for 13 months without any supplementation.

Amanda – I asked out childcare provider not to feed our little one within 90 minutes of when I planned to pick up.  That way I could nurse as soon as I got there.

 

Thanks to everyone who responded to our questions on our San Diego Breastfeeding Center and The Boob Group Facebook pages.  Check back every week for a new Help a Mama Out tip!

Here are a few more articles and podcasts specifically dealing with returning to work:

Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work: Roundup

The Boob Group: Going Back to Work: Pumping Strategies

The Boob Group: GOing Back to Work: Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk?

 

 

Common Concerns While Breastfeeding: Why are my nipples white?

Are you feeling a burning sensation in your nipples that creeps up into your breasts?  Does this happen most often IN BETWEEN feedings, rather than during your breastfeeding session?  Have you noticed that your nipples turn white as soon as your baby pulls off?

 

What you might be dealing with are vasospasms!

Raynaud’s syndrome, or a vasospasm, is a common phenomenon that affects up to 20% of women of childbearing age.  It was originally described as affecting the body’s extremities (hands and feet), but now has been described as affecting many other vessels, including the nipples.  The symptoms are often confused with thrush, as both cause a burning sensation in the nipples, yet they are completely different from one another. 

Thrush is a yeast infection that can be treated with antifungal treatments (see your article Common Concerns While Breastfeeding: Yikes!  Why are my nipples burning?).  Vasospasms are constrictions of the blood vessels that usually occur as a result of exposure to cold and are not an indication of an infection.  Vasospasms will not be resolved with antifungal treatments.

Common Concerns While Breastfeeding - Yikes! Why Are My Nipples Burning?

Welcome to our blog series…. Common Concerns While Breastfeeding.  These aren’t the complicated, ‘come-to-my-house-immediately’ phone calls I receive.  Rather, these are the questions that come from clients and friends in the middle of the night, by text or by email, that don’t necessarily warrant a lactation consultation.  They can often be easily resolved with a few simple tricks.  So, I would like to share those tricks with you!

Why Are My Nipples Burning????

Help a Mama Out: Surviving the First Few Weeks of Breastfeeding

What tips do you have for surviving the first few weeks of breastfeeding?

Maren: Lots of skin to skin to get those endorphins going so you can take advantage of all that delicious oxytocin (which will make you want to keep breastfeeding, even with things might be tough!)  Take advantage of all of the support you can – it will help normalize the experience so that you feel totally confident in your decision to breastfeed.  And know ahead of time that there is definitely a learning curve, but it only gets better and better, so hang in there!

Amanda: Make sure to talk to your partner about how you need him/her to support breastfeeding and encourage you, even when you get discouraged and feel like giving up!

Jamie: Get the latch correct right away!  Take advantage of the lactation consultants at the hospital and ask for a referral even if you don’t think you will need one.

Andrea: Trust your body!  Skin to skin, lots of water, and lots of rest.

Heather: Surround yourself with at least one supportive person.  I would never have made it through those weeks without the support of my husband.

Alicia: Hire a postpartum doula.

Juli: Surround yourself with women (and men!) who support breastfeeding.  It gets easier – it is definitely worth pushing through the tough parts in the beginning!

Billie: Make really good friends with the lactation consultant and local breastfeeding support group before delivery.  They will be able to offer so much support in those first few weeks.  Trust your supply.  Make sure you are comfortable!

Monica: I went to classes and read books, which helped, but nothing prepares you for the real thing.  Get help early, if you need it.  Hiring a lactation consultant was the best thing I did.  Keep telling yourself you will try it for one more day and one day it will become second nature.  Coconut oil worked wonders on sore nipples.

Christine: OMG… best advice I got was to rub breastmilk around your nipples after every nursing session!  My cracked tatas healed within 2 days of doing that!

Chelle: If it hurts and you are dreading the next nursing session, don’t just tough it out!  Get help ASAP before it gets worse or turns into an issue that makes you quit! Take a prenatal class.  Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean you will naturally know what to do.

Sarah: Don’t expect anything else from yourself.  Set up what you can ahead of time and find someone else to do everything else that needs to be done.  Establishing your breastfeeding relationship is your job.

Jen: Get a Netflix subscription and ignore the dirty dishes!

Danielle: Don’t do anything but rest, breastfeed, nap, and eat.  Nothing else matters right now.

Abbey: Celebrate every success, no matter how small it seems!

Desiree: Find support!  And be patient…it’s not always easy, but it’s most certainly worth it! 

Sofia: Learn the basics!  Before birth is possible!  Proper latch, how milk supply works, most common myths about breastfeeding, how to know if your baby is getting enough, why it is REALLY important to feed on cue rather than a schedule, why baby doesn’t need ANYTHING else but your breastmilk, etc.

Amanda: Don’t give up! Get help and support!  Spend as much time as you can with your baby (in bed if you can.)

Priscilla: Relax.  Don’t listen to anyone that’s not helpful. Determine your own needs for comfort.

Joanna: Expect to care for your baby and get others to help with meals and housework.

 

Thanks to everyone who responded to our questions on our San Diego Breastfeeding Center and The Boob Group Facebook pages.  Check back every Tuesday for a new Help a Mama Out tip!

 

To find an international board certified lactation consultant, visit www.ilca.org

 

Here are a few more articles on our website, specifically dealing with breastfeeding a newborn:

Advice for a Newly Breastfeeding Mama’s Partner

Breastfeeding Expectations for the First Month

Newborn Hands: Why are they always in the way while breastfeeding?

Advice for the New Breastfeeding Mom