Successful Breastfeeding Blog
Evidence based advice, support, and education for modern families.
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.
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.
A clogged duct is one of the most annoying parts about breastfeeding. Even when things are going well, you might find baby slept through the night for the first time and you woke up engorged with a clogged duct. Or you accidentally wore the wrong kind of bra that caused some weird pressure, leaving you with a hard rock like spot (or multiple) in your breast.
Congratulations!! You're thinking about breastfeeding and looking for some tips, or maybe you've just had your baby. Either way you've stopped in the right place.
If we haven't met yet (I'm Kelly btw) then you probably don't know too much about me and what we do here at Successful Breastfeeding. I'll spare you all the details for now, and give you the short run down. We are a team of lactation experts, and wrote this post based on our almost 20 years of combined experience to help you prepare for your own Successful Breastfeeding Journey!
So, whether you're making plans and preparing for your baby's arrival or looking for some tips and suggestions for right now.... click on through and check out our tips that are proven to make breastfeeding as easy as possible!
I’ve been there, too. I remember my pumping output decreasing by HALF. It can happen to anyone pumping, especially since it’s easier to actually see a difference compared to exclusively nursing at the breast.
Here are some easy troubleshooting tips we often share with our own clients.
“Your baby isn’t gaining enough weight because you’re producing skim milk.” First of all, the idea of skim milk comes from cows who produce milk, which is then processed and turned into skim milk, allowing you to enjoy your cow’s milk with less fat. COWS DO NOT PRODUCE SKIM MILK. It is a drink only possible because humans processed that cow’s milk. Nobody is processing your milk; it’s coming out whole human milk.
There are a lot of reasons I cannot stand when someone tells a mother she is producing “skim milk,” but the biggest reason is that the person (who is clearly uneducated in lactation) can often invokes feelings of “not being enough” for a mother. This FALSE statement can lead to discontinuing breastfeeding before she is ready.
Some mothers will discontinue their journey earlier than they had hoped for and some others will fall prey to products marketed to increase fat content of their milk. It doesn’t even have to be products you find on Facebook or Pinterest. I’ve heard of medical professionals advising mothers to consume a lot of fat (good and bad!) or even to put coconut oil directly in a baby’s bottle (seriously, don’t do this).
Before you spend your hard-earned money on a product you found recommended online from someone who is NOT a lactation expert, let me explain to you how the fat content in breastmilk works and the couple of ways you can change it.
“I’m losing my milk supply and I don’t know what to do!”
I hear this anguished cry from breastfeeding parents constantly. I hear it in the clinic. I see it in Facebook support groups. I hear it from private clients when we’re doing support sessions. Perceived low milk supply is the biggest reason people give up on breastfeeding. Notice I said perceived, not true low milk supply. A VERY small percentage of mothers are biologically unable to produce enough breastmilk to feed their baby (most studies say less than 5%). Now, that doesn’t mean that low milk supply can’t develop. There are some very real things that can sabotage you and lead to true low supply. So what happens then? I usually cringe as person after person spouts the same ridiculous advice - “Drink more water!” “Try coconut water!” “Body Armour drinks”. “Starbucks Pink Drink!” “Lactation teas and cookies.” “Gatorade, but it has to be blue.” Let’s look at milk production, and then examine the effect some of these fad suggestions might have.
Working with breastfeeding moms, I get asked all the time about new products and gadgets marketed to make their lives easier. I wholeheartedly believe you are all you need for your baby, but I don't mind trying out items to review and share my opinion.
Recently, I tried out TWO new products- the Beaugen Inserts and Lacteck BabyMotion Flanges. Both companies sent me these items to review and give my honest opinion. These products have two very different methods for similar problems pumping mothers experience. *I am not receiving any compensation or endorsement from either of these companies.
6/29/2019 4 Comments
What's the story behind these jars of milk? How did one get only 4 oz in 4hrs, but the other got 16 oz?!
Both were collected using the same techniques, the same breast pump, by a mom nursing a 4-month-old baby, so what's the deal? What do you think the difference is between the mom with the 4 oz jar on the left and the mom with the whopping 16 oz jar on the right?!
What advice would you give to the poor mom who only pumped 4oz, to help her increase her milk supply? Read on to learn the story!
For those of you who are exclusively pumping, I absolutely applaud you. You deserve all the brownie points, and all the brownies. In my opinion, exclusive pumping (EP) is more challenging than nursing a baby at the breast. At least, emotionally, and sometimes physically too.
It's harder to establish and maintain a milk supply when you EP, challenging to pump and care for a baby, and often comes with a slew of emotions around not nursing baby at the breast. These are just to name a few.
That being said, there are countless women who are not afraid of that challenge and take on the EP journey with stride (and a whole lot of support!) And to those of you in it, I tip my LC hat to you (and my mama hat, and my friend hat, and my stranger hat) because I see the struggle EP mamas face in my practice, and I want you to know I see how hard you're working. No matter what anyone says to you or thinks, you're just as much a breastfeeding mom as any other breastfeeding mom.
With that said, I also wanted to provide you, brave EP mama, with more than just recognition. In today's post, I have some gold for you (liquid gold if you will). We are going to cover the topic of Exclusive Pumping, as I chat with an EP expert and share all of her best tips and a few of mine too.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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