- Family and Parenting
The Breastfeeding Movement
The Breastfeeding Movement
Much like the Civil War between the North and the South, the advocates of breastfeeding are taking on the injustice that mother who can breastfeed, but choose not too, by educating America on breastfeeding. Milk is the best thing that an infant can receive throughout the first year of life and into their toddler years. There is no formula that can match its superior composition. Furthermore, no child deserves to be without the nutritional and emotional satisfaction of breastfeeding.
This lens is designed to teach mothers about the range of benefits that breastfeeding brings. Plus, breastfeeding implements will be reviewed, advice will be given, and every mother will walk away in support of breastfeeding.
Think breastfeeding is all we care about? Wrong! Scroll down the lens to learn all about taking care of your little munchkin from day 1 to day 3,749
Handling Breastfeeding Criticism
Some people are offended by the natural act of breastfeeding. This is generally due to a lack of knowledge or the societal development of disgust with a woman "exposing" herself in public. Whatever the matter is, it is ridiculous, yet, most nursing mothers experience it at one point or another during the breastfeeding phase.
Here is advice on how to handle criticism:
Like I said, most people who are offended have no idea why they are offended....they respond to breastfeeding negatively for some weird purpose. Tell them about the benefits of breastfeeding for the child. State the scientific facts about why breastfeeding is beneficial. Print off some written material and leave it around your house --the bathroom is always a good place!
Let Them Know How YOU Feel
Tell them that their snide looks and disrespectful comment are hurtful.
Avoid the issue
Another way to handle criticism is to do your best to avoid the issue. If the subject of breastfeeding comes up, politely change the subject. Try to go into a different room to nurse to avoid or minimize any direct comments to your child.
What to Eat While Breastfeeding....
Build these into your daily diet:
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, squash, and beans
Fruits such as apples, berries, plums, oranges, peaches, and melons
Whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, rye bread, and brown rice
Among the most important nutrients you need while breastfeeding is calcium -- a minimum of 1,000 mg daily is a must. While dairy foods are a great source, you don't have to drink milk to make milk. To meet your calcium needs, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests five daily servings of any calcium-rich food, including low-fat yogurt and cheese, as well as nondairy foods such as salmon, broccoli, sesame seeds, tofu, and kale.
Does Exercise Intensity Change Breast milk Composition?
As a running, breastfeeding mother, I am always wondering whether or not my exercise impacts the quality of my milk. Well, after much research, I came across this study, done by Gale B. Carey, PhD of University of New Hampshire. I found the information very reassuring and interesting. Please read the abstract. If you are interested in reading the study, follow the link at the end of this blurb.
The purpose of this study was to determine if breast milk composition changed significantly following exercise conducted at different intensities. Nine postpartum women exercised on a treadmill up to maximal oxygen uptake (100% of VO2max) on the first laboratory visit, for 30 minutes on two subsequent occasions (50% and 75% of VO2max) and also performed a nonexercise control session. Blood and breast milk were collected prior to exercise, immediately after exercise, and at 30, 60, and 90 minutes postexercise. Blood samples were analyzed for lactic acid (LA) while milk samples were analyzed for LA, pH, lipid, ammonium, and urea. Milk LA after the 100% intensity session was significantly elevated through 90 minutes postexercise, while there was no significant increase in milk LA at any collection time after the 50% or 75% intensity sessions. There were no significant uifferences in milk pH, lipid, ammonium, or urea measurements after any of the exercise sessions. These data show that unlike maximum intensity exercise, moderate intensity exercise does not increase breast milk LA content.
Infant Acceptance of Breast Milk After Maternal Exercise
Pediatrics April 1, 2002 109: 585-589
This study is by subscription only, please visit the site to read the study.
After you have established one bottle feeding, you can begin to wean other desired feedings as well. To do so, take away another feeding that she doesn't care as much about(maybe an afternoon feeding). Avoid taking too many feedings away at once.If you are fully weaning your baby from breast to bottle, then give your baby at least one week per removed feeding(introduce a new bottle feeding instead of breast feeding each week)(2,3). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests giving at least one week, but no shorter than three days for mothers who are in a hurry(like I said, plan,plan,plan).
On the other hand, if you are only bottle feeding during the times that you are away at work or school, then allowing three or four days between adding those feedings is okay since you will be providing a warm breast at the other feedings(good for you!). I must warn mothers that are choosing to breast feed and bottle feed in combination- it is hard work to do so, but very rewarding. For example, when I had to go back to school, teaching my five month old daughter to take a bottle for the time that I was a way was very difficult. The first three weeks, she refused to take from a bottle or a sippy cup. Eventually, I resorted to feeding her avocado during the times that I was away. At least then I knew that she was fed and not starving; finally, I discovered the cups with straws, which saved both of us emotional trauma! It will be hard, but pushing through those first few weeks will get you to where you need to be and then breastfeeding will be so special because you know that at the end of the day you will reconnect with her.
When Baby Refuses the Bottle
As I just mentioned, combination feeders are very difficult to train. Breastfed babies want to feed at the breast, not from a bottle or a cup(hello! it is not the same). So what do you do when your baby will not take breast milk from a bottle?
The first thing to do is try a sippy cup. Companies make great sippy cups these days that are leak--proof, but babies can still suck the milk at with ease. If the sippy cup doesn't work, try to feed the baby the milk out of a flexible cup that you can form a trough out of. This method is much slower, but mothers who do this will never have to wean a baby off of a bottle.
So, you have a baby who won't take a bottle, won't drink from a sippy, and spits all of the milk out from a regular cup...now what? As long as your baby is at least five months old, pediatricians suggest starting the baby on an organic brown rice cereal that is mixed with breast milk. This way the baby is getting the nutrition that he needs and you are not at work stressing about your screaming, starving infant.
Babies are beautiful creatures who deserve the best that mom can give them. However, at some point or another, we all need some time to enrich our lives and teach our children a slight amount of independence. The transition from breast to bottle can be hard, but in the end it is very rewarding.
1. What to Expect- Five Easy Strategies for Easy Bottle Feeding
2. American Academy of Pediatrics- Weaning
3. Dr. Sears- Weaning
Diet and Exercise - Researchers Give the Green Light
Want to shed those extra pregnancy pounds? A team of California researchers recommends that breastfeeding women try a combination of dieting and aerobic exercise to lose weight, rather than dieting alone.
"Short-term weight loss (about two pounds per week) through a combination of dieting and aerobic exercise appears safe for breastfeeding mothers, and is preferable to weight loss achieved primarily by dieting, because the latter reduces maternal lean body mass," researcher Megan McCrory wrote in her study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
McCrory and her colleagues from the University of California at Davis studied 67 breastfeeding mothers who had given birth 2 to 4 months previously. The team's goal was to determine if weight loss by dieting, with or without aerobic exercise, adversely affected lactation performance.
The breastfeeding mothers were split up into three groups. One group dieted, another group dieted and exercised and the third was a control group.
The study, which was conducted over an 11-day period, found that women in the diet-only group lost an average of 4 pounds. Women in the diet and exercise group lost an average of 3 1/2 pounds, and the control group lost less than half a pound.
Change in milk volume and composition, energy output and infant weight did not differ significantly among the three groups.
Although the results of this study appear to indicate that a combination of dieting and aerobic exercise is a safe weight-loss strategy for breastfeeding mothers, McCrory and her team note that longer-term studies are needed to confirm these findings.
The Abstract for the study noted above can be found at the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
(Abstract only, the full text requires subscribing)
Breastfeeding Mommy Poll
What was the hardest part about breastfeeding (in the beginning)?
Tips on Breastfeeding
Increasing Your Milk Supply
Question: Our one-month-old doesn't seem to be gaining as much weight as he should. How can I increase my milk supply?
Breastfeeding is a three part process. It involves the baby, the breast, and the brains. Mom need to be in a positive mindset about breastfeeding. Think about breastfeeding, smile when you are breastfeeding, and most of all keep doing it.
Dr. Sears says to follow these important tips:
Increase feeding frequency. Breastfeed your baby at least every two hours during the day.
Don't wait for your breasts to "fill up" to determine when it's time for another feeding. There is always milk in your breasts for your baby, and more milk is made while you feed. Studies have shown that fat levels in milk are higher when the time between feedings is shorter.
Nurse longer. Don't limit the length of your baby's feedings to a predetermined number of minutes on each side. Allow your baby to finish the first breast before switching to the other side.
Undress baby during feedings. Skin-to-skin contact helps awaken sleepy babies and stimulates less enthusiastic feeders
Nap and night nurse. One of the most powerful ways to stimulate increased milk production is to "take your baby to bed and nurse."
No pacifiers, no bottles.
Get professional help. Contact your local La Leche League Leader and/or a professional lactation consultant for tips on increasing your milk supply.
Not Breastfeeding Puts Your Child at Risk for Mental Illness
The UK's "The Telegraph" had a remarkable article online today, here is an excerpt:
Breastfeeding: Protect us from the Breastapo
When John Humphrys is discussing breastfeeding at 7.23am on the Today programme, in the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s death, the furore over superinjunctions and uproar in the Coalition, you know it’s serious. You pay attention, even though you’ve had just four hours of staccato sleep in between trying to persuade a screeching purple-faced tyrant to lie down in his cot.
Flawed sisters in motherhood, it seems we don’t feel guilty enough. The mother of all research, undertaken by such heavyweights as Oxford University, Essex, York and UCL, has discovered that formula-fed babies are more likely to suffer behavioural difficulties by the age of five.
A stern quote from the authors, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood and destined to freeze the milk in your ducts, clarifies that they are not concerned with footling, everyday misdemeanours - sowing the lounge carpet with grated parmesan, cutting a sibling’s hair with garden shears, or frying ants to death under a magnifying glass.
No – unless your darling has been welded to your bosom for at least four straight months, he is more likely to suffer "inappropriate behaviours that occur repeatedly over a period of time, have a negative impact on the child’s development and interfere with the child’s or their family’s everyday life".
Funniest Baby Ever!
Under Armour Sports Bra - My Favorite High Impact SB
This is my favorite sports bra. I run in it....during pregnancy and now while breastfeeding. My breasts never hurt and there is hardly any noticeable friction.
Breastfeeding Moms Jump Up and Work Out
Ladies, I know you are busy working out, taking care of baby(or toddler, or child(ren), so I created this quick and easy, no longer than an hour a day workout for moms alike. If you are currently breastfeeding like myself, I'd suggest a super strong sports bra...or double up!!!
Every mother promises herself that she will begin exercising and returning back to her original fitness levels soon after the birth of her child. Unfortunately, the levels of exhaustion combined with the time dedicated to making a baby content overshadow making time for a workout. Don't feel too bad, it happens to most of us. Many mothers do not resume a steady workout program until they are three months post partum. Some wait until six months post partum, after they have devised a schedule with the baby. This workout is designed for any woman post partum, whether that is three months, six month, or even longer after the birth of their child. This workout will take post-baby mommy and turn her back into her pre-baby self within 12 weeks. Here is the program:
Home Gym Equipment
Milk Ejection Reflex
Human lactation, an involuntary process in lactating women, should function identically in all women, yet women experience varying levels of strength in the milk-ejection reflex. Thus, there must be internal and external factors influencing the strength of this crucial reflex. The milk ejection reflex (MER), while an indirect process of lactation, is critical to the entire lactation system, hence the recent explosion in research studies on the factors that may influence the reflex. There are three factors that affect the strength of the milk-ejection reflex: exposure to toxins, physical and emotional stress, and mother-infant bonding. These factors either promote or inhibit the positive feedback cycle of MER, thereby directly or indirectly changing the strength of the milk-ejection reflex. The strength of the milk-ejection reflex is directly or indirectly affected by the exposure to toxins, physical and mental stress, and the psychological aspects of mother-infant bonding.
To finish reading this article CLICK HERE
Medela Swing Breast Pump - Electronic, sleek, designed to fit all mothers
After having my daughter, I knew that I would need an inexpensive, yet reliable electronic breast pump in order to return to school. Weeks of research (reading reviews, scouring the different brands' websites), I landed on the single pump by Medela, known as the Swing Pump. It features interchangeable breast cups, portability, efficient extraction times, over ten speeds, and a doable price tag.
The purchase was the smartest one that I made with respect to baby gear (maybe alongside the baby wrap!). The instructions are straightforward, plus there are videos online for those who are visual learners. I read the instructions once and immediately began pumping. The pump extracts breast milk at a comfortable pressure, which I was able to hone to fit my needs. At first, I was only able to get about one ounce out in ten minutes, but after using it for about two weeks, my breasts expressed about 4-6 ounces in ten to fifteen minutes each time that I used it.
The great thing about this pump is that I have never had a back-flow problem, it cleans very quickly and is ready to use again immediately. Another positive aspect is that it can use batteries if you are on the go or you can purchase the car adapted, if you want to pump while in the car (not driving of course).
I would highly recommend this electronic breast pump for any mother to be looking for a great product with an inexpensive price tag.
As every woman knows (because who hasn't told you), breastfeeding is the best option for mother and baby. This is no old wives' tale, it is a matter of fact. Breastfeeding beats bottle feeding in every situation regarding the health of the mother and the health of the baby. Fortunately, for those of us who can and choose to breastfeed there are a multitude of advantages for mom and baby, making the decision an easy one.
Advantages for Mom
The benefits of breastfeeding for mom seem to be endless, yet two stand out above the rest as the most important reasons to breastfeed newborns: quick postpartum recovery and warding off cancer.
Speedy Post Partum Recovery
It's no doubt that breastfeeding mothers lose weight quicker than those who do not. That is because it takes an average of 500 calories per day to produce an adequate supply of breast milk (1). According to the American Dietetics Association, breastfeeding mothers had a significantly "larger reduction in hip circumference," and had lost more pregnancy weight than those who did not breastfeed at the one month mark. Moreover, by the time that the infant is six months of age, close to seventy-five percent of mothers had returned to their pre-pregnancy weight (1).
Ward Off Breast Cancer
It is no secret that breastfeeding wards off ovarian cancer and other illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, but the amount of evidence that breastfeeding wards off breast cancer is insurmountable. In a study done on peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women, aged between 30 and 80, the risk of breast cancer was significantly reduced in women who had a long lifetime of lactation experience(3). Additionally, the researchers who conducted the study agreed that the lower levels of estrogen in these women may be the critical link that influences the risk of breast cancer(breastfeeding women do not have significant exposure to estrogen in comparison to their counterparts).
Advantages for Baby
While the benefits for mom are wonderful, the advantages of breastfeeding for the baby are more than remarkable. In comparison to formula fed babies, breastfed babies are further protected from illness and infection, have enhanced development, and are strongly connected to their parents.
Protected Against Illness and Infection
Babies who are breastfed develop stronger immune systems, therefore being prepared to fight off dangerous illnesses and infections. For example, children under the age of one had lower bouts of diarrhea during the months that they were breastfed in comparison to children that were not breastfed(1). Not only does breastfeeding help children develop resistance to common illnesses such as diarrhea and the flu, breastfed children have higher quantities of antibodies in their immune system. Therefore, babies that are breastfed are able to respond to bacteria and virus quicker than formula fed children(1).
In addition to having a stronger immune system to ward off illness and infections, a study reported that breastfeeding protected young infants against SIDS due to the well-developed respiratory and gastrointestinal systems(4). The reports demonstrate that breastfeeding sets children up for a better chance of fighting off diseases, it helps improve intelligence and social skills.
Enhances Intelligence and Social Development
Intelligence and social development are critical characteristics of a well-rounded child. While there is evidence showing that nurture has a significant influence on the social development and maturation of intelligence, there is quite a bit of evidence pointing toward breast milk as a major influence on higher IQs and well-socialized children. For example, a study reported in the Lancet claims that breastfed children had a significantly higher IQ than those who did not receive breast milk during infancy(even with differences in groups taken into account)(1).
In addition to intelligence, there is a clear difference in social development between breastfed and formula fed infants. The psychomotor and social skills of children at the age of one year old were advanced compared to formula fed babies...they were stronger with language and were able to distinguish certain social cues between children(1).
The advantages of breastfeeding for mother and baby are monumental and should not be taken lightly. Any mother who can breastfeed should choose to do so to give their baby the running start to a healthy life, while giving mom the added bonuses(think no depression, losing weight quickly, and bonding with baby).
3. McTieman, A., Evidence of Protective Effect of Lactation on Risk of Breast Cancer in Young Women." American Journal of Epidemiology, 1986.
4.Hoffman, H.J., "Risk Factors for SIDS: Results of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development SIDS Cooperative Epidemiologic Study". Ann NY ACAD Sci, 1988
Great Stuff on Amazon
The Best Breastfeeding Information - Besides here...
Bottlefeeding the Breastfed Baby
All babies deserve to be breastfed(keep reading, nobody is judging you), but sometimes, we, as modern mothers must take away the breast and feed our breast milk from a bottle. Let's face it, the world demands our attention, perhaps it is going back to work, or going back to school, we know that exclusively breastfeeding will not fit into that reality. Transitioning to a bottle from breast can be emotionally hard on baby and mother as it separates baby from her comfort zone, her nutrition, and most of all, from you. It is a difficult task, particularly for breastfed babies, as they will resist the change, but following these techniques, mom and baby will come out on the other side unscathed- with bottle in hand.
Note: Transitioning from the breast to the bottle is a process, not an event. Do not start the bottle the day before you have to have your baby away from you....this is disastrous.
When to Teach Baby
Medical professionals say that giving a baby a bottle too soon can result in nipple confusion, which can ruin the breastfeeding experience, but in reality, most breastfeeding mothers love to breastfeed their babies and this is not a real problem(working mothers excluded).
There is no real time frame to teach a baby to take a bottle, but doing it too soon or waiting too long can result in could hand baby to another individual(say, dad or grandma) and have them feed the baby while she runs a few errands or gets a full eight hours of sleep(oh, how we dream). At this point, baby is about five or six months, and a professional in the breastfeeding department, but now she wouldn't even think to take a bottle, ever! This is the biggest predicament that breastfeeding mothers face- we wait to long to introduce the bottle and baby refuses to drink from that or a sippy cup or your finger or anything other than a warm, prepared breast.
While the best time to transition from breast to bottle is an individual decision, it may be best to introduce the bottle around three months of age(2). At three months of age, most babies are excellent breast-feeders and are able to learn about their environments. They may be more susceptible to taking a bottle. For moms that feel that they are not ready to wean at this point, do not worry, nobody said that the breast should disappear! During the introductory phase, introduce one bottle of breast milk each day until you are ready to begin transitioning from breast to bottle(2,3). If you are planning to switch the baby from breast to exclusive bottle feeding, that is okay, but most mothers and babies find it better to mix breast feeding and bottle feeding in combination(i.e. baby only has a bottle when you are away and is breastfed when you are nearby).
How to Make the Switch from Breast to Bottle
Making the switch from breast to bottle is so much easier in writing, than in action. Oftentimes breastfed babies will refuse the bottle, which may lead mom to feeling depressed or even worse...eliminate the breast completely. However, with dedication it is possible to get your baby to take breast milk from a different source.
The first bottle is the hardest one. It is important that mom be out of the house for this event, as it is very likely that baby will not take the bottle from mommy. Have dad or the caretaker that will be feeding the bottles to her regularly do this. Don't worry if the baby doesn't drink very much, since this is a new thing in her life, it is more important that she learns how to suck from the bottle, rather than empty the bottle(2).
Moreover, when providing a bottle to the baby, she should be held in the same position that she is held when breastfed- close to the chest and cradled(or however it is that you normally hold her). Doing so will make her feel comfortable and not in a completely new environment. Ask the caretaker to stroke the baby's cheek with his/her finger to let the baby know that milk is on its way(1). After that, gently place the nipple between her lips and let her drink from the bottle. The baby may take to the bottle right away or she may fight it for weeks. This is why it is very important to start this process at least two to three weeks prior to you needing her to take the bottle(1). As your baby grows she will require a new nipple that will allow the milk to flow faster. The common signs of this are your baby sucking feverishly or getting upset during a feeding.
The breastfeeding experience is a wonderful time in every mother's and baby's life, but eventually it comes to a close with the child eating only solid foods. Some children naturally wean themselves over time, while others are weaned when mom feels it is a good time for both parties. There is no right or wrong time to wean a child, but it is important to view it as a process, not an event, and to chose a method of weaning and stick to it (to avoid meltdowns in stores and emotional trauma). As the La Leche League states, do it "gradually and with love" in order to make it a positive transition from exclusively breastfeeding to eat solid foods.
What is Weaning?
Weaning is the process when a child is transitioned from breast milk (or formula) into a diet of solid foods. The process starts from the first bite of solid foods to the point when milk is no longer included in the child's diet, thus it is a process that can take years to complete(2).
When to Wean?
When to wean is often the question that arises in breastfeeding mother all mothers' minds, but it is truly an individual decision. Abrupt weaning should never be attempted because it can cause a number of issues such as engorgement, breast infection, and worse, a very emotionally distressed infant (or toddler). The abrupt weaning can cause emotional trauma to the baby because nursing is not solely a source of nutrition, but it serves as security and emotional comfort(2).
While many sources in the United States and other modern countries stop breastfeeding around one year, extended breastfeeding is the global norm throughout the rest of the world. Most mothers breastfeed their children between the ages two and four, plus they approach weaning as the child's decision(2).Unfortunately, only 20% of infants in the United States are still breastfed at six months of age. Again, weaning is the decision of the mother and most mothers know when to do wean their child. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is recommended to exclusively breastfeed infants until six months of age and then continue to breastfeed until one year of age (at least)(2).
If you feel that weaning is in the near future, here are some techniques and/or methods to use and follow in the process of weaning your child:
Don't Offer, Don't Refuse
This is the most common and gentle technique to wean your toddler or infant. It involves not offering to nurse, but not refusing to nurse when the infant or toddler expresses a desire to do so. Most moms move into this technique naturally because it works best for mom and baby. It does take longer than the other methods but it is the easiest transition for the child(1).
Dropping One Feeding at a Time
For mothers with a shorter time schedule, this may be the best technique for mom and baby(or toddler). This technique involves dropping one feeding for 3-7 days prior to dropping the next feeding and slowly, but quickly reducing the number of feedings that you want the baby to have(or complete elimination). According to the La Leche League International, the longer that you take to do this, the easier it will be on mom's breasts and the child's attitude. For example, consider making the first step at this when the child turns 6-8 months old, substituting the mid-morning feeding for a pureed solid (avocado, squash,etc.)
It is important to choose the least important feeding to start this method and approach it with a sippy cup, solid food, or make it a shorter feeding until you can fully drop the feeding. Eventually the baby will become accustomed to eating something else during this time of day(3).
While mothers should not offer to nurse during feedings that have been dropped, do not refuse a feeding if the baby insists on nursing. Slow down the pace of weaning if the baby is becoming clingy or fussy(3). Furthermore, the nap time, morning, and bedtime feedings will be the hardest feedings to drop and mothers often allow the early morning and bedtime feeding to stick around until the child has turned two years old(1,2).
Weaning is a log process that mother and baby will go into together, whether it is led by baby or mother and it can be a wonderful one as well. Weaning can teach mothers about the strong bond between the baby and mother, while giving a new perspective to modern mothers on extended breastfeeding(breastfeeding into the toddler years).
1. Breastfeeding.com- Weaning
2. Kids Health- Weaning
3. LLLI- weaning
When is Baby's Favorite Feeding
Breastfeeding is an amazing experience for new and seasoned mothers. It brings mother and baby closer together through an instant bond, while providing health benefits for both. Breastfeeding one baby can be hard, with seemingly all hours of the day spent nursing and sleeping, so it seems as though breastfeeding twins would be impossible...but it isn't.
Twins have distinctive personalities, one will be bigger, one will feed more, and there is a very good chance that they will never be on the same routine(1). That is okay because you have been blessed with two miracles, not clones of one another. You will learn that you cannot force them to eat at the same time, but you will be able to enjoy time with each one and learn who they are.
Although breastfeeding is not the same with twins (because there are two of them!), it is important to recognize that the same information applies to breastfeeding singletons and twins. Newborns will feed eight to twelve times per day(1). Moreover, it is important to switch breastfeeding positions during the first few months to avoid soreness, which will make you want to give up on the whole experience.
Breastfeeding twins or multiples will take more time, but any mother of twins or multiples can successfully nurse their children beyond infancy. Here are the most common questions raise by mothers who are expecting twins along with the solutions:
Can I Hold Two Babies At the Same Time?
Mothers worry that they will not be able to breastfeed their twins simultaneously, but with the help of nursing pillows, it is possible. According to Dr. Sears, there are two wonderful holding positions that mothers of twins an use that will help them breastfeed simultaneously: the double clutch hold (when they are positioned like a football) and the double cradle hold (when they are in cradle position and their bodies overlap each other)(1).
If you are lucky enough to have twins that do follow the same schedule, it is important to alternate breast for each twin, especially if one is a stronger feeder than the other. By doing this, you avoid nipple soreness and each twin adjusts to the different position because no mother wants a child to prefer one breast to the other(2).
Can I Make Enough Milk to Feed Twins?
One baby feeds all day long, leaving expectant mothers of twins wondering if they will produce enough milk to feed twins. Thankfully, the production of milk works in the law of supply and demand. The body will produce enough milk to feed the suckling infants, but it is crucial that the mother consume enough energy to maintain a full supply of milk for her twins(2). To avoid a low supply of milk, nurse often (not that you won't be).
Are My Babies Getting Enough to Eat?
Twins are exhausting and it may seem like they are not getting enough to eat. A mother can feel relieved to know that most twins are getting enough to eat. Signs that your babies are getting enough to eat are gaining weight, happy and healthy, producing at least seven wet diapers per day, and you can hear swallowing while nursing(1,2).
Can I Still Have a Life?
This is one of the biggest concerns for mothers of twins. Mothers of one have no life for a long time, but there does become a point when you feel comfortable leaving baby with a sitter or family member while you go out and find out who you are all over again. Mothers of twins can do this too, but it needs to be more scheduled.
Preparation is key to this one. Invest in a double electric breast pump early and pump whenever you can to store milk for the babies in the future. When you have enough milk to leave the twins with another person(maybe dad or a friend) and you feel okay leaving them, then go ahead and do it. Having children doesn't take your life away, it gives you a new one.
Life with twins is much different from life with one newborn. Everything is double and then some. The twins are individuals, with individual needs. They are not a unit. When breastfeeding your twins remember that you are here to raise them into beautiful people who will love you for the attention that you gave to them during their childhood.
1. Dr. Sears- Breastfeeding twins
2. Baby center- Breastfeeding multiples
Flexible or Not?
This is a big debate between mothers...should I schedule my baby's feedings or let her decide when she is hungry...or is there a happy medium...
What is your thought on Baby-Led Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is supposed to be a wonderful experience between mother and child, but oftentimes it can be a grueling, even depressing experience when complications arise. Mothers may experience mastitis, low milk supply, or a a problem with the infant such as nipple confusion.
Mastitis can haunt any breastfeeding woman at any time during the breastfeeding experience, but it tends to appear during the first several months of breastfeeding. It is an infection in the breasts that presents itself as the flu; the most common symptoms are fever, chills, fatigue and redness and sore areas on the breasts(5).
Mastitis occurs when germs get into the breasts from the baby, cracks on the nipples, or if the mother becomes engorged. Engorgement is a very common link to the very painful mastitis, as milk builds up, the ducts may get clogged, therefore leading to an uninvited infection.
If you find yourself experiencing mastitis, lie down with a warm washcloth on your breasts. If you do not feel better withing 24 hours, a doctor should be called. Most likely antibiotics will be prescribed and you will feel better within 48 hours. There is no need to stop breastfeeding while dealing with this infection, as a matter of fact, breastfeeding will help build resistance to the infection(5).
Low Milk Supply
Low milk supply is a common complication for mothers trying to breastfeed their children. There are many reasons for low milk supply in mothers and a handful of remedies to resolve this complication. Low milk supply can be caused by supplementation, parent-led feedings, and nipple shields(among other notions).
Since nursing is a supply and demand entity, supplementation and parent-led feedings can lead to lowered milk supply. Women who supplement their infants with formula or bottle feedings without pumping will demonstrate lowering of their milk supply. In order to avoid a low milk supply, women who can exclusively breastfeed or have infants that are having trouble feeding(latch-on) should invest in a high quality electric breast pump and pump every time that the baby would normally breast feed(2,3,4).
With the respect to parent led feeding schedules, they should be thrown out of the window. While some structure is understandable, especially if you are working or attending school, there should be flexibility to the schedule(3). Keep in mind that babies are constantly growing and may feed every one to three hours, yet this could change at the drop of a dime. There is evidence showing that mothers who schedule feedings and do not let the baby start and finish the feeding are at high risk of having a low milk supply(3).
For mothers that are experiencing low milk supply and are following the above tactics, there are some resources that can be utilized to increase and maintain milk supply. All breastfeeding mothers, especially mothers with a low milk supply should make sure that their caloric intake is being met(2800-3200 calories per day) and the diet is rich in whole foods(4). Moreover, mothers should aim to consume at least one hundred ounces of water(fluids) each day. In addition to meeting caloric needs, breastfeeding mothers with low milk supply should pump in between feedings even if no milk is produced(the thought is that the breasts will tell the body to produce more milk since there is a demand).
Nipple confusion can be an aggravating breastfeeding complication for both mother and infant. babies who are given a pacifier or a bottle in the early weeks of life are susceptible in developing nipple confusion. According to Parents Magazine , babies may become confused when offered the mother's breast after becoming accustomed to a pacifier or bottle. Unfortunately, the baby may not be able to latch on correctly or, perhaps, reject the breast completely. This can be confusing for mom, as well. If baby shows signs of confusion, the mother must attempt to treat it by seeing a lactation consultant and work consistently with the infant until he or she accepts the breast.
In order to avoid nipple confusion, do not introduce a pacifier or bottle to the baby before three to four weeks after breastfeeding has been established. If you must provide your baby with a bottle because you are going back to work, attempt to breastfeed exclusively when you are with the baby until she understands the difference between breast and bottle(1). Meanwhile, if baby is experiencing nipple confusion, continue to utilize the bottle to maintain the baby's weight and hope that the nipple confusion will be remedied by hard work.
Breastfeeding is critical to the healthy development of your baby and should be done unless physically impossible. Remember that with every great experience comes hurdles to cross; hopefully when you experience the love of breastfeeding you will battle through any complications that may arise.
Having a baby is a momentously happy experience full of love. It is an experience loaded with fluctuating hormones, too. Immediately after having a baby, estrogen levels plummet to the floor by roughly 85%, so it is no wonder that women don't feel like themselves afterward(1). While fatigue, not feeling well, and small doses of baby blues are normal for any postpartum woman (Hello! You just had a baby and now you are suffering from exhaustion), there are certain feelings that are much more than your typical baby blues.
So how do you know if you are experiencing postpartum depression? While there are a number of signs to look out for they often go unnoticed because they are uniquely the same symptoms that most postpartum women feel after giving birth, the only difference is that they continue or worsen after a specific amount of time. For example, a common symptom is exhaustion to the point of tears...this often peaks around two weeks and curves off as the new mother adjusts to the new sleep pattern and taking care of a baby. On the other hand, a woman experiencing post partum depression will not be relieved of this severe exhaustion. She will feel tired, she will feel as though she is going to fall apart if somebody doesn't take care of the baby right away(1).
In addition to severe exhaustion, these symptoms may warrant a doctors help if they persist: feelings of worthlessness, change in appetite, lack of pleasure in taking care of your baby, fear of being alone with the baby, loss in energy, and negative feelings toward the baby. These signs are most common with women experiencing postpartum depression; women may experience the common symptoms of depression,also(1).
Certain women are more prone to developing postpartum depression. For example, women under the age of twenty, those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, those who do not have a great support system, and women who have mental illness in the family are more likely to develop depression beyond the baby blues period(1). Don't freak out if any one of thee applies to you; it doesn't mean that you are bound to get PPD! Many women of all tastes and smells can develop postpartum depression(even the woman who you would never expect). Postpartum depression sneaks up on women, especially when they do not have the family support to take care of that little baby in the first month of life. It is so important to have the support of the baby's father and/or the support of close friends and family. After the baby is born, feel free to let them do your house chores or put your baby down for a nap while you get an hour of breathing time. Keeping yourself from getting into a dark place will help your body adjust from the hormonal changes, thus allowing your mind to reorganize itself with unneeded chaos.
If you think that you are experiencing postpartum depression,it is important to make an appointment with the doctor to rule out conditions such as hypothyroidism, which can cause fatigue and irritability. Moreover, your doctor can determine if you are suffering from postpartum depression.
You may not want anybody to know that you are feeling the way that you are feeling, but remember that approximately 10% of women deal with PPD each year. The doctor will not judge you, rather he/she will want to help you, so you can move on with your life and begin to love your baby with all of those feel-good feelings you want to provide to her.
There are no specific tests to determine if you have PPD, but the doctor may ask you to take a questionnaire that looks for the signs of postpartum depression. Remember, be honest. Solving PPD makes you happy, makes baby happy, and keeps everybody out of harms way.
If you are diagnosed with postpartum depression there are several treatments that will help alleviate the condition. For example, you may choose to use therapy, medication, or both until you are no longer experiencing any symptoms of depression(1). The path you choose may depend on personal choices or the severity of your condition.
Postpartum depression can affect any woman who has delivered a healthy, happy baby. The new responsibilities of motherhood can take a toll on the life that you were used to living. To reduce the feelings of the baby blues and the development of postpartum depression, have a great baby support team and remind yourself that mothering isn't a perfect venture....it is full of ups and downs!
Baby Food Top Picks
Did you go to the bottle? To the sippy cup? Or something else entirely! Let us know- we're curious!
How Did You Wean Your Little One?
Famous Nursing Mothers
Breastfeeding is a beautiful experience that is still consider taboo in the United States. Perhaps, this is due to our obsessions with celebrities and mixed media. But hey, actresses are people too, and they breastfeed just like we do. So who are the most famous known breastfeeders in Hollywood? Read on, my dears, read on:
Breastfeeding a Toddler
Q and A
What if my toddler doesn't want to stop breastfeeding?
The Proposed Answer:
If you really want or need to wean your toddler, start by putting limits on where and when you breastfeed. Tell your child, "We only breastfeed in this chair at nap time and bedtime," or "We only breastfeed when it's dark outside."
When you're at the point when you want to quit entirely, you simply tell your toddler, "You're a big boy (or girl) now, and we aren't going to nurse anymore. We can snuggle together, and I'm always here for hugs, but we won't be breastfeeding anymore." And then stick to your guns. There's nothing more confusing to a child this age than inconsistency.
Be prepared for some tears. Be loving but firm. If you tell your toddler it's time to quit breastfeeding, and then give in to tears, it will just be that much harder the next time you decide to stop.