Successful Breastfeeding Blog
Evidence based advice, support, and education for modern families.
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.)
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.
Allison got emotional today. There's so many fears about this virus in our community, in the lactation world, and especially with our private clients (Yes, we've had COVID-19 positive clients.)
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!
Congratulations, you're expecting another baby. I'm sure you're excited, and looking forward to watching this baby grow up with your other little one. Aaannnd I'm sure you're also nervous about how to survive these early days with two little ones in tow. Toddlers are pretty needy themselves, and there's nothing like a new baby to revert them back to a baby like stage themselves.
Little babies require a lot of breast time, so how the heck are you going to do it with two (or more!)? How do you keep your toddler busy so you can still enjoy nursing your new little one too? As much as you're excited, the nerves from these unanswered questions are there too.
Believe me, I know these complicated emotions you're feeling right now. I've been there... a few times. My husband and I have 4 littles, and I know these feelings well. I remember going from excitement, joy, and visions of my kids being best friends as they grow up together, to feelings of insecurity in my ability to handle two little kids at the same time.
But guess what? I did survive, and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be. It did take some savvy and a few tricks. In this post, I'm going to share those tricks with you.
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.
I'm Kelly Maher Carvell, Successful Breastfeeding LLC's founder, and lactation expert. I've made it my personal mission to reach as many parents as possible (like you!) to prepare you for your Successful Breastfeeding Journey. Thank you for allowing me and my team to support you. Before you leave the blog grab one of my FREEBIES like my Prenatal Success Kit or the Pump More Milk for Your Stash Guide. You've got this and I'm here to help!
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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