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.
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.
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.
Are you going back to work soon? It might not be what you want to think about while holding your precious and perfectly adorable baby, but it’s probably a reality for you if you’re here. You've probably put a lot of time and effort into establishing your breastfeeding relationship, some of you more than others if you're really struggled. You might have JUST FINALLY found your stride so the idea of going back to work might be the last thing you want to worry about. I have some good and bad news for you. The bad being you do need to start thinking about it before you actually go back. The good news is that everything you need to plan for your SUCCESSFUL transition back to work has already been researched and put together for you.
You need to start preparing yourself ahead of time because the truth is, 80% of women give up breastfeeding within just weeks of going back to work. Those might sound like really scary odds, but it doesn’t have to be if you prepare yourself and come up with a plan for success.
“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.
Going back to work after having a baby is filled with a ton of emotions, especially for all you breastfeeding teachers who are nervous about how and where you are going to pump at work!
I was actually a teacher for a year and a half. I taught a phlebotomy course at a local school and it was seriously the most exhausting job I’ve ever had. I no longer work there, but I learned to have the utmost respect for teachers because holy wow, y’all put in some serious work. It saddens me that you work SO HARD and you run into some of the biggest barriers to pumping at work compared to other professions. All too often, I hear of teachers not being provided with an adequate space in overcrowded schools or not being given enough time to adequately pump. Breaks are few and far between, it can be difficult to get someone to get your class, and when do you even have time to pee with all that?!
To all the pumping teachers out there, this post for you. I reached out to our Facebook community and asked REAL teachers to give me allllll the tips and tricks.
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.
What you don't know about your breast pump actually can hurt you, literally.
It can hurt your nipples AND your milk supply. Knowing how to use your pump properly and having a pump that fits is the difference between being successful with pumping and struggling to keep up supply or worse, causing damage to your nipples.
When you're struggling with pumping and maintaining your milk supply, don't be so hard on yourself. First of all, there's enough mom guilt coming from other directions and second, it's likely not be you. The first place you should be looking is the equipment you're using and how you're using it. It's almost never something wrong with a mama, but instead, improper usage or malfunction of our pumps.
So if you're not sure if it fits, pumping is uncomfortable for you, or your output is not what it should be, you can get support to figure it out.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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