The Lactation Nerd Blog
Evidence Based Info
for All Lactating People.
for All Lactating People.
Have you ever heard of the infant microbiome? Do you know what it is? Or why it matters? If not, don’t worry (most people don’t know too much about it)! And if you don’t, stay tuned because this episode of The Lactation Nerd Podcast is all about the infant microbiome, and why you need to be aware of it.
To join me to share her incredible wealth of knowledge is Toni Harman, award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, and digital course creator. Her documentary MICROBIRTH has been broadcast around the world, her books have been translated into multiple languages and over 30,000 health professionals are currently enrolled in her online school, called MICROBIOME COURSES.
One of the things I admire most about Toni is her ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts very simply. And believe me when I say there is not much that is simple about the microbiome. But, I promise you at the end of this episode you’ll have an understanding of what the microbiome is, what can affect it, and the impact it may have on your baby’s life-long health.
There’s an estimated 10-15% of people who are not able to make enough milk, and even higher statistics for parents who aren’t able to nurse their babies, for one reason or another, even if they do make plenty of milk. There are many systemic and cultural factors that lead to unsuccessful lactation outcomes. For example...
No matter the circumstance, when you find yourself in the scenario where you can’t breastfeed or chestfeed your baby there can be a grieving process, and sometimes even trauma, from the experience.
Welcome to the very first episode of my rebranded podcast: The Lactation Nerd Podcast.
Quick question for you... When you were getting prenatal care, did you receive a breast or chest assessment from your provider to check for any risk factors that could complicate your lactation journey?
My guess would be that you did not, as most of us don't. It's not standard practice, at least not here in the U.S., but it really needs to be.
There are a few markers your provider, or lactation consultant, can look for that could mean you may struggle to produce milk. Knowing prenatally you have low supply indicators could save a baby’s life, a new parent’s sanity, and give them the opportunity to get comfortable with a combo feeding plan if they would still like to partially provide their milk if they don’t end up producing enough. Sadly, many, like my guest Kaia Lacy, don’t find out until it is much too late.
If you’re breastfeeding your child into toddlerhood, congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment. But maybe you’re to the point where you want to keep nursing, but you’d also like a full night sleep. And if your little one is in the habit of having their all-night buffet available, sleep can be difficult to come by.
Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of support for moms of breastfeeding toddlers. It seems like we assume that once you’ve gotten through those first few months of stress over latch and supply, you should have all the answers. But that’s simply not true.
And because we emphasize the importance of breastfeeding (which is great!), we forget to support moms and children through changes in their breastfeeding journey. We’re working to change this dynamic and find ways to help moms through the toddler breastfeeding years.
With that said, it’s possible to night wean a toddler without having to end nursing entirely. But it takes a little thoughtful preparation. That’s why I love my friend Samantha’s PREP Method Masterplan for night weaning. After night weaning 4 kids of her own, she’s learned a lot about how to get your child used to waiting for morning for the nursies.
Did you know that growth charts aren't created equal? There are specific growth charts that primarily represent formula fed babies, and babies fed human milk.
Very often I have families reach out to me worried that their babies aren't getting enough milk after they took a trip to their pediatrician. "Kelly, they said my baby's in the 10th percentile, and now I'm worried I'm not making enough. Help!"
Does this sound familiar? Hearing that your baby is "low" on the charts may seem scary. If you've ever been concerned about your baby's weight based on their charts, then this post is for you! Please welcome my guest blog contributor, Dr. Krupa Playforth, The Pediatrician Mom, as she shares with you her expert insights about navigating your baby's weight gain, and understanding the growth charts your baby's doctor uses.
Have you ever felt like an outright failure when it comes to feeding your new baby? You're not alone. There's nothing easy about learning to nurse a new baby, and those early weeks and months can take a toll on our sanity.
You might have found yourself thinking....
"Am I making enough milk?"
"Am I latching them right?"
"I feel guilty because I don't love this like everyone else."
"Am I enough for this baby?"
I've had every one of these thoughts, and more. BUT there's something I really really want you to know. You ARE enough. And more than that... your worth is not measured in how much milk you make. Nobody knows this better than my friend Sarah Farrell Johnson, who's literally written the book on this concept. And she's right. But rather than hear it from me, I invite you to hear it from her.
This post is about self love, and compassion when things aren't going how you might have wanted them to on your journey. Please enjoy this guest post from Sarah, and I hope that after you're feeling more confident in your journey, however that may look.... because after all... Supported is Best (#SupportedIsBest)! And as far as this post is concerned, that means supporting and loving yourself.
I hear the argument made frequently that breast/chestfed babies are at a disadvantage because there's so little iron in human milk compared to formula. This is often the rationale behind the recommendation to start babies on iron fortified cereal, sometimes as early as four months.
While, yes, it's true that human milk has less iron than formula, there's something important you MUST understand:
Babies can absorb 50-70% of the iron they consume in your milk. This is a great example of human milk's bioavailability powers. (Which just means your baby is really great at absorbing the nutrients in your milk!) On the flip side, babies who are given cow's milk based formula only absorb about 3-12% of the iron that is added to it. (And only 1-7% of iron is absorbed from soy based formulas!) Furthermore, iron fortified cereals only offer a rate of 4-10% of iron absorption. This is partly what I mean when I say that these cereals aren't much more than filler foods. (Which is something I say frequently.)
Today I'm talking about your menstraul cycle!! Yayy!!!! (Or not.) I asked The Successful Breastfeeding Community on FB what questions they had about lactation and their periods... and whoa did they come through!
You may have heard that if you nurse your baby, you won’t get your menstrual cycle. You might have even heard that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding. Well, today I’m breaking that down, busting these myths, and sharing the truth about what to expect.
The truth is, there is no black and white answer to almost any lactation related question. So, I thought it would probably just be easier to break it down on The Successful Breastfeeding Podcast.
So here you have it... your complete breakdown of your period when you're breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
FIRST TIME MAMAS FOCUS ON ALL THE WRONG THINGS. There. I said it. And I'm not sorry. And also I'm guilty AF of this too. And I say this, and everything else in this post from a place of love, and a strong desire to see you met your breastfeeding goals. I'm exhausted from seeing so many first time parents needlessly struggle.
With my first baby, I think I went a little nuts. With alllll the things. Once nesting kicked in, I was in hyper focused baby preparation mode.
And I wish I could go back and SHAKE MYSELF and say, "Kelly... you're focusing on all the wrong things! It's not going to matter what the nursery looks like, and all that baby gear you registered for is an expensive waste of resources... you won't use most of it, and definetly not for long!"
The truth is, that nesting mode is real, and towards the end of our pregnancies we. can. not. help. ourselves. We want everything to be perfect, the house to be in order, the nursery to be ready, the gear set up and ready to go, and we spend those last anxious months doing whatever we can to fill the time until we meet our little one.
BUT if you want to breastfeed like most first time moms say they want to do... I ask you... how much time are you spending on preparing to breastfeed??? Statistics show that most first time moms don't do much of anything to prepare..... and sadly... statistics also show us that most don't meet their breastfeeding goals. (Do you see the correlation here?)
I have a solution for you though... so if you're still with me... read on!
Picture the following scenarios...
Scenario One: You’re meeting someone you love for dinner. You’re having such a good time with them you’ve barely touched your food or sipped your drink. The server comes by after 15 minutes to take away your salad and water and puts down your steak and potatoes. Another 15 minutes goes by, laughing and catching up. The server returns, takes your barely touched food, and leaves the check. You’re still hungry! What’s going on here! You were just enjoying a leisurely meal with a loved one!
Scenario Two: You just woke up and you’re STARVING. You sit down to a breakfast buffet. There’s plenty of food and you can eat all you want. You go to town and after a few minutes, you notice you’re feeling pretty full. You nibble on a few more things, then get up to leave the table. The server comes by and informs you that you have to keep eating for another 20 minutes. You explain you’ve had all you want and you’re full! He tells you it doesn’t matter, and keeps poking you, even putting an ice cube on your bare skin to “wake you up” to eat more food. You’re mad. This isn’t a nice meal.
Scenario Three: You’re one of those people who prefers six small meals a day to three large ones. If you go for large meals, you feel bloated, or maybe your acid reflux flares up. You feel better and have more energy if you eat less food more often. But that server is back, telling you that you have to finish a large meal. You explain to him that you prefer small frequent meals. He tells you this is the way it is, as you struggle to clean your plate. Later that day your stomach feels bloated and your acid reflux is terrible, with painful burning in your stomach and throat.
Kelly Maher Carvell, CLC, CLE
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