Help A Breastfeeding Mama Out

Help a Mama Out: Tips for Talking with your Boss about Pumping

'Help a Mama Out' Topic of the Week:

Tips for Talking with Your Boss about Pumping

What's your best tip for discussing your pumping rights/schedule with your boss? 

Shelly Hovies Rogers: Be assertive with your rights, but be flexible and willing to work with your boss and coworkers.  I found my workplace to be quite accommodating to me when I nicely, but matter of fact, told them what I needed.  Also, although I didn’t have to quote the state law, I familiarized myself with it, just in case I needed to use it. 

Kelly Reyes: Before I left for maternity leave, I discussed my need to pump with my boss and then HR, just to make sure we were all on the same page.  When I had issues with the way the ‘wellness room’ schedule was being managed, my boss went to bat for me and fixed the problem that day! 

Marie Bishop: My best advice is to know the law and stand up for yourself and your baby.  In states, such as California, it is required by law that your employer provides a non-restroom space that is private for you to pump.

Meggin Dueckman: We just talked about it!  We’re all pretty close at work, so it was no problem.  I was the first of our staff to want/need to pump at work.  Mind you, here in Canada we get a year of maternity leave, so it’s not as common for people to want to pump as frequently when they return to work.  I only pumped 1 times a day at work, more for my own comfort!

Jamie Howell Swope: As a teacher at a school, it wasn’t an easy process, but I went in knowing the law and advised my principal ahead of time why I wanted to meet with her.  That way she had time to think about how to make it work, too.

Kat Picson Berling: I was really lucky in that 2 of my coworkers were pumping moms, so they had paved the way.  I told my boss that I was going to take 2 pumping breaks at x and y time and I will be in this office and it will take 15 minutes.  He was fine with it.  I’m not going to lie…. Because I had a cubicle at work, it was sometimes difficult to find a place to pump.  Even our HR coordinator wasn’t sympathetic for me.  Just make sure to know the law. 

Chantel McComber: My advice would be to put your fears aside.  Sometimes it’s hard as a working mom to ask for things because not everyone has them.  Remember that you are doing this for your health and your baby’s health and those are two things that should always come first.

Jennifer Haak: When I discussed my date of return, I told my boss that I needed a lock installed on my office door and I explained why.

Andrea Blanco: First, know your right.  Be sure that your company falls under those rights.  Then file that information away and try *not* to use it as it can be perceived as a threat (and no one likes to be threatened.)  Second, have a plan in place.  I find that if you’re willing to have the conversation in advance, go into it as sweet as possible, and have it all planned out as to how it will work for you (with consideration given to work environment/demands/pumping law.)  Then, it is much harder for your employer to say no. 

For each state’s detailed workplace pumping law, please check out www.breastfeedinglaw.com

Also, don't miss The Boob Group's most recent podcast episode, Workplace Lactation and Your Pumping Rights!

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!

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: Foods that Support Your Milk Supply

Help a Mama Out: Foods that Support Your Milk Supply

We know it can be difficult to eat those 1800-2000 (or more if you are exercising) calories a day to keep up a robust milk supply while breastfeeding, so here are some fantastic tips for delicious, easy, nutritious snacks!  Remember: Think healthy fats, complete proteins, and green veggies!

Here are some of the most effective milk production-supporting foods out there:

  • Vegetables: green leafy vegetables, onion, garlic, asparagus, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, and seaweed
  • Fruits: figs, dates, apricots, green papaya
  • Nuts and Seeds: raw almonds and cashews, sesame seeds, flaxseed
  • Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, sesame seed oil, coconut oil, essential fatty acids (EFA)
  • Grains and Legumes: quinoa, amaranth, pinto beans, chickpeas, whole brown rice
  • Extras: brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast, green drinks (spirulina, barley wheat grass, alfalfa leaf, oat straw, kelp), ginger

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

Advice for a Newly Breastfeeding Mama’s Partner

Let’s face it… becoming a new parent can be extremely overwhelming!  I still remember that first drive home from the hospital.  My husband and I were cracking up as we stared at our son in the car seat behind us.  “Can you believe that they trusted us enough to take this little guy home?  Do they know that we have never changed a diaper or bathed a baby before?  What were they thinking????”

As I spent the first few weeks mastering breastfeeding, it became apparent that two sets of hands were often better than one.  It amazed me that an entire day would pass before I realized that I forgot to eat or take a shower.  It was my hubby, aka breastfeeding cheerleader/parenting partner, that made sure that I was being taken care of as I was all consumed in feeding and caring for our newborn.

I often get asked by the soon-to-be parents in my breastfeeding classes about the roles of the partner.  What role does he/she play while mom is breastfeeding? Many partners often feel like they don’t have a defined role when their partner is breastfeeding because unless his/her breasts start lactating, it is truly a one person feeding show for those first few weeks.   Plus, diaper duty doesn’t sound too glamorous!

Help a Mama Out: What to Do When Your Baby Refuses a Bottle

What tricks have worked for you when your breastfed baby refused a bottle?

Michelle La Plante: Bottle boot camp with daddy!  I left the apartment for the day, leaving baby and daddy there with plenty of expressed breastmilk and a bottle.  By the end of the day, they had figured it out.  (Kudos to hubby for this – it was tough on him to see her cry and fuss…. But, then again, his breasts didn’t leak at the sound of the baby crying!)

Amanda Garfinkel Young: Early and often worked well with my second.  With my first, the nanny had a good trick.  She held him facing out, looking out the window and fed him with the bottle in the other hand.  A little awkward, but it seemed to distract him from the fact that he wasn’t looking up at mama while eating.

Danielle Smith: Try lots of different bottles.

Stephanie Lorenzen: After trying a number of different bottles, we used a spoon and a shot glass.  We then moved on to a straw cup after 4 months of age.

Julie Chapin: As a nanny, I went through this.  Had to have mama away at first.  Plus, baby had to be laying or sitting out of arms… could not resemble nursing at all.  First successes were warm bottle given in a drowsy state as baby was waking in her bassinet.  Windows and toys distracting baby at other times or in a bouncy chair.  Had to use droppers and spoon feeding with a few babies leading up to the bottle.

Natalie Quebodeaux Cavender: Sippy cup!  Turns out he hated the warmed milk and not the bottle.  He likes mama’s milk cold when not from the tap!!!  LOL!

Jennie Bever: My first one took a straw cup fine.  Second one reverse cycled.  Now that he’s older, he’ll also take breastmilk warm in a straw cup.  He would also drink out of a regular cup, although it’s a bit messier!

Liz Anderson Weaver: At daycare, we have had to resort to using medicine droppers with two babies.  Then we tried ERERy NIPPLE EVER until we found their perfect bottle combo.  Both suck ‘em down like champs now!

Stacey Singh: I read that if you have the person who is feeding your baby wear the robe or another article of clothing you wear frequently, it can really help.  I had my husband try it and my baby actually did take a little from a bottle.  We’re still working on it though.

Sylvia Padilla Sullivan: We tried different bottles.  Because he is older (4.5mos), one with a pretty fast, easy flow worked better than the ones we had been trying (like when he was tiny and still learning to suck.)

 

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!

Creating a Sense of Community When Using Donor Milk

In an effort to demystify milk sharing, for the next few weeks we will be sharing stories from breastfeeding moms who either donated their excess breastmilk or supplemented their baby with someone else’s milk.  For more information about milk sharing, both informal and through milk banks, please visit our article: Supplement Options: Donor Milk, Milk Banks, and Formula, as well as our Boob Group podcast episode, Low Milk Supply: Donor Milk, Milk Banks, and Formula.

Today on the San Diego Breastfeeding Center blog, I am honored to share Cara's story, which demonstrates how a sense of community can blossom through supplementing with and donating breast milk.  If  you would like to submit your story to be shared with our readers, please email me at robinkaplan@sdbfc.com.  Thank you so much, Cara, for sharing your inspiring story with us!  Your daughter is so lucky to have you as her mother!

Mustering Courage to Accept Breastmilk From a Friend

In an effort to demystify milk sharing, for the next few weeks we will be sharing stories from breastfeeding moms who either donated their excess breastmilk or supplemented their baby with someone else’s milk.  For more information about milk sharing, both informal and through milk banks, please visit our article: Supplement Options: Donor Milk, Milk Banks, and Formula, as well as our Boob Group podcast episode, Low Milk Supply: Donor Milk, Milk Banks, and Formula.

 

Today on the San Diego Breastfeeding Center blog, I am honored to share Christine McCarty's story about how she mustered up the courage to ask a friend for extra breastmilk for her baby.  If  you would like to submit your story to be shared with our readers, please email me at robinkaplan@sdbfc.com.  Thank you so much, Christine, for sharing your inspiring story with us!

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My story starts several months ago, when my daughter was about 5 months. I have a friend who has Raynaud's disease and pumps constantly to continue to give her son the best nutrition she can. We were having a conversation about breastfeeding (as most of our conversations are about, lol) and she mentioned she produced 80-120oz PER DAY! A few weeks later I was off to see my favorite IBCLC frantic and in tears because for 2 days I had only pumped 1.5oz (from both breasts total, not individually) per pumping session at work. I remember hugging my lactation consultant, crying in her shoulder, telling her "I'm losing it, I'm losing my daughter's lifeline, I'm such a poor mom, I just can't keep up." After much reassurance, we got back on the right track, but I still had the issue that my production hadn't gotten back up to speed for the next day I had to go to work.

Breastfeeding in Public is Legal in California, Right?

Recently San Diego, California (aka America’s Finest City) has been hit with some pretty obnoxious breastfeeding-in-public harassment situations.  While I assumed that most Californians knew that breastfeeding in public was legal in our wonderful state, apparently, most people don’t.  Even my husband, who is an attorney and married to a lactation consultant, was unaware that there was actually a California law that protected a woman’s right to nurse in public. 

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE????

First and foremost, it is shocking to me that we actually need a law to protect a woman’s right to feed her baby in public, but yet, I must remind myself that most people think breasts are for fun rather than functionality.

Secondly, why don’t most people know that this law exists? 

Third, how is it possible that EVEN WITH a law stating a woman can breastfeeding in public, mothers are STILL being harassed for doing so?

What does the California law actually say?

Breastfeeding with Hypoplasia

Today, on the San Diego Breastfeeding Center blog, I'm honored to share Fakiha Khan's memoir about her battle with Insufficient Glandular Tissue.  If you would like to submit your story as well, please email me at robinkaplan@sdbfc.com.  Thank you so much, Fakiha, for sharing your story with us!  It's stories like yours that make me want to be the best mom I can be! 

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When my son was born 2 and 1/2 years ago, I wanted nothing more than to be able to breastfeed him.  He was in the NICU for a week after he was born, and I really did not get to nurse him until he was a week old.  By that point, he had trouble latching on, and my milk just was not coming in.  For the next five weeks, I did what I could.  I tried to nurse him every hour and a half, I pumped, I took herbs, and I finally went to see a lactation consultant.