There are many, many, many things that can happen during breastfeeding that can be troublesome. Today, I am going to attempt to answer what I think are the most common.
Is my baby getting enough to eat?
Is baby gaining weight? Is baby growing in length? Is baby alert and active? Is baby eating at least every 2-3 hours? If you answered yes to all of those questions, your baby is definitely getting enough. If you answered maybe or no, consider this. One surefire indication is the amount of pee and poop your baby is producing. During the first 6 weeks of life, baby should be wetting at least 6 diapers a day and having at least 3 bowel movements. You can tell how wet a diaper should be by putting 2 to 4 tablespoons of water into a diaper and feeling its weight.
Am I making enough milk or is my milk good and nutritious?
This question normally comes around week 2, week 6, 2 month, 6 months – or what I like to call growth spurt days. Most every baby has a growth spurt during these times (some more often). Baby will want to nurse around the clock! Literally, that is all they will want to do. Most moms want to supplement with formula, but that is exactly what you DO NOT want to do. Your baby needs more milk, and by nursing, he is building up your milk supply to meet his needs. If you supplement, you won’t be able to increase your supply. God is so good to give our babies hunger and the desire to nurse when they are growing. It might take a day or two to get your milk supply built up (hence the constant nursing), but it will happen and baby will be satisfied with the new amount of milk he
I’m ENGORGED!!!! What do I do???
Engorgement normally happens when your milk comes in for the first time. You get the “sense” of engorgement because there is extra blood rushing to your breasts to make sure everything is working properly and your breast tissue is also swollen. Some mothers only experience moderate fullness where as others experience extreme fullness and feel like there is enough to feed twins or triplets! Engorgement will normally subside within the first couple of days after your milk comes in. It is important to continue nursing your baby every 2 hours because emptying the breasts helps relieve some of the congestion. There are a couple of ways to handle engorgement. The first thing I would do is try a hot shower or hot compresses on your breasts, and try to hand express a little to get some relief. (If you need help learning how to hand express, please let me know or contact your lactation consultant.) Once you get some relief, let baby nurse, but have a burp cloth handy in case baby gets choked up and needs to pull off. A simple massage might help as well, but make sure you are massaging down toward your nipple.
For serious cases of engorgement, use cabbage leaves. They can be refrigerated or room temperature. Wash them, cut the vein out, and cut a hole for your nipple. They can be placed inside your bra around your breasts for two to four hours. Do not use them for more than 8 hours at a time or it will affect your milk supply. If you are so engorged that your nipple becomes flat and your baby cannot latch on, take a wash cloth, hold it over your nipple, and massage to draw it out. You might also get engorged later on when baby starts sleeping for longer stretches. Use the same techniques mentioned above. It might take a couple of days, but baby will get your flow regulated. They’re good about that.
Breast Infections – What should I do and is it safe to nurse my baby?
The simple rule to most breast infections is this: Apply Heat, Get Plenty of Rest, and Nurse Often.
A plugged milk duct (normally a tender and hard spot on the breast) can be taken care of by following the rules above. Prompt and proper treatment of a plugged duct will usually keep a breast infection (mastitis) away. If you notice symptoms of a plugged duct accompanied by a fever or flu-like symptoms, you probably have a breast infection. This normally occurs if other family members are suffering from colds or other types of flu. If you start treatment immediately (using the steps above), you may not need other treatment. However, if you still have fever after 24 hours, and other symptoms persist, or if your fever is more than 101.5 degrees, you’ll want to get in touch with your doctor. If your doctor prescribes a medication, you will want to continue getting lots of rest and nursing while you are taking your medication. It is not harmful to your baby to continue nursing while you have a breast infection. Studies have shown that the infection clears up more quickly when the breast is kept empty. Antibodies in the mother’s milk protect the baby from the bacteria that may be causing the infection. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, make sure you take all of it. Most people don’t because they feel better after a couple of days. This might cause a reoccurring breast infection because the first one wasn’t completely gone in the first place.
If you suddenly get sore nipples after several weeks or months of comfortable breastfeeding, you and/or your baby may have contracted thrush. Thrush is a fungus infection that thrives on milk. It may appear as white spots on the inside of your baby’s cheeks, or on his gums. Your baby may also have a persistent diaper rash in connection with thrush, and you may have a vaginal yeast infection. Thrush can be related to taking oral contraceptive pills or an antibiotic. Mothers with diabetes may have a greater susceptibility to thrush. It is more common in warm, humid climates. You may have it on your nipples even when there is no sign of it in baby’s mouth. Thrush may take several weeks to cure. Your doctor may prescribe medication or other forms of treatment. Be sure to treat both the baby’s mouth and your nipples. Others in the family may also require treatment. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, as this will help keep thrush from spreading. You must be persistent about treating thrush but it is no reason to discontinue breastfeeding. (This was taken from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding). I would also add, that I think it is important to help build up the good bacteria in your body and baby’s body – I do this by taking some form of live probiotic each day.Read More
Today we continue discussing breastfeeding. My friend Meredith Sauer explains proper latching and positioning extremely well. If you are a soon to be mom or plan on having kids someday, read on & then bookmark this page for future reference. If you are a member of Facebook, check out the Natural Childbirth and Breastfeeding group.
There are quite a few ways that you can position your baby to breastfeed. You can use the cradle position (one hand holds your opposite breast, while you other forearm and elbow support the baby’s head). You can use the transition position (the hand on the same side holds your breast; the opposite arm supports the baby’s body and the hand holds and controls the baby’s head. A good position for when baby is very young). There is also the clutch or football position (the baby’s head is supported by your hand, but instead of lying along your chest, his body rests between your side and your arm, clutched like a purse or a football. Baby’s feet protrude from under your arm, while the opposite hand holds your breast (this is a great position for beginners or for C-sections. Also for women with extremely large breasts). The cradle-lying down position is good for women who have had c-sections or are fatigued (so, all of us!) Your knees squeeze one pillow, another is behind your back for support, and you have additional pillows under your head and under your baby to bring him to breast level. Your opposite hand holds your breast, and your same arm and hand support the baby. If you want to feed your baby lying down, without having to roll over to change sides, use the alternate lying-down position. After feeding baby from the breast closest to the bed in the cradle lying-down position, place your top leg on the bed to support your back, and shift baby to the top breast. This is a great position if you can’t lie comfortably on both sides, and at night if you breastfeed while sleeping. There are also some positions if you have multiples. If you need help with those positions,
Once you have baby positioned correctly, you will need to make sure baby is latched on properly.
It is SUPER DUPER important that your baby’s latch is correct. If it isn’t, it can lead to all kinds of problems. This might be hard to explain without
a diagram, but here goes.
Make sure that baby’s mouth is WIDE open before you pull baby onto your breast. If it isn’t, you can use your nipple to tickle baby’s bottom lip for them to open wide. You want baby to have not just the nipple in his mouth, but most, if not all of the areola (depending on how big your areola is). The nipple should touch the back of baby’s throat. Most nipple soreness comes from incorrect latch because baby is actually sucking on the nipple and not the breast. Baby needs to be sucking on the actual breast. Hence the name “breast” feeding and not “nipple” feeding. Baby’s lips should be “flanged”. Always lead with the lower jaw as well. If the baby has an incorrect latch or/and is making clicking noises, take baby off and try again. I repeat, DO NOT let baby nurse if his latch is not correct. Unless, of course, you enjoy sore nipples. If you need help with your baby’s latch, please see a lactation consultant. Your success in breastfeeding depends on it.
The Anatomy of Your Breast
Your breasts make milk based on how your baby is nursing. If baby’s latch is incorrect, your breast will not function properly to make milk. When baby is latched on correctly, your body will release prolactin, which sends a signal to all of the milk producing cells in your breasts to start making milk. Then, oxytocin is released, telling the milk-producing cells to send the milk stored through the milk ducts. As the baby properly sucks, the milk travels along the milk ducts to milk sinuses under the areola tissue. When the baby compresses your breast tissue and the sinuses that lie underneath (impossible if baby is only sucking on the nipple), the milk is ejected into your baby’s mouth through the openings in your nipple. This is a harmonious process when baby is doing his job correctly. If baby is not latched on properly and isn’t compressing the milk sinuses properly, the entire cycle shuts down and you don’t make milk. This can lead to clogged ducts, breast infections, drying up, sore nipples, and of course, a very unhappy and hungry baby.
There are two stages of milk that you make. Stage one occurs during day one and two. You’re making colostrum. Early milk, or colostrum, has a lower concentration of fat than nature milk but a higher concentration of protein and minerals. Colostrum is like your baby’s first immunization. You are passing on all of your immunities to your baby in liquid form. Colostrum also get’s your baby’s bowels moving so that he can pass the first poop called meconium. The more your baby nurses, the faster the meconium will pass through his system and the less likely he is to end up with problems like jaundice.
Stage two occurs by day 2 or 3 (or as many as 8 days after birth). You’re making milk. Your breasts will be full and warm. Now your milk has higher concentrations of fat, but lower concentrations of protein and minerals. It is recommended to breastfeed at least 8 times, but closer to 12 times, in a 24 hour period. That averages to about every 2 hours with one 4 hour break (hopefully at night)
When nursing Abigail, I fed her on a three hour schedule. I’ll give more of my own methods and testimony later.Read More
For the next few posts I’d like to share with you some information written by my friend Meredith Sauer. She is the administrator of a Facebook group titled: Natural Childbirth and Breastfeeding. This is a great group for women seeking to become more informed about childbirth and nursing the natural way. It’s also a great resource for encouragement from other moms! Check it out and join!
The health of your pregnancy has a significant impact on your success in breastfeeding. The main reason being that the healthier you are, the longer you can grow your baby inside of you, which means the more developed they are, which leads to a more mature sucking reflex and digestive system.
Your diet has so much to do with how you feel in pregnancy, making it not as hard on your body, especially in the last couple of months when you are just ready to meet your baby and not be pregnant anymore.
What you eat and how much water you drink has a direct effect on blood pressure, swelling/fluid retention, and many more things. Also, what you eat, if it is poor, has a direct effect on your body. A recent study found that women that drink diet soda during pregnancy are more likely to deliver preterm. Here is a quote from the article.
”Researchers discovered that mothers who consumed even small amounts of diet drinks each day had an increased risk of preterm birth. Mothers who consumed one diet drink per day had a 38% higher chance of preterm birth than those who did not drink any. Those who consumed four diet drinks per day were roughly 80% more likely to have a preterm baby than the mothers who did not drink any diet beverages. The results were no different for women who were at their normal weight or over their ideal weight during pregnancy.”
The idea is to be pregnant as long as possible, and at least 41 weeks and 1 day (which is the normal gestational period for humans – not just 40 weeks).
Here is an example of what you should be eating everyday.
Protein – 60-80 grams of protein each day. If you have gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or pregnancy induced hypertension, you need more.
Foods high in protein are –
Dairy: milk, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs (dairy products are optional as some women do not choose to add dairy to their diet. It is recommended that you get 1-2 servings of some form of dairy each day. If you choose to eat yogurt choose one low in sugar but do not choose one with aspartame.
Meats: beef, poultry, pork
Seeds and Nuts: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, soy nuts
Legumes: pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, lentils
Tofu is a great protein replacement for meat. Fish should only be eaten 1-2 times a week
Complex Carbs – You need 240 grams of complex carbs a day. That means only 100% whole grains like Old Fashioned Oats, stone ground wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole sprouted grains, etc. No white flour, white rice, corn, cornmeal. Your carb intake should not exceed 240 grams a day. Not meal or snack should contain more than 25% of your total carb intake for the day.
Fruits – Pregnant women need to eat 2 servings of fruit to obtain vital minerals and vitamins contained within colorful fruits. It is strongly suggested that you choose fruits that give you the best nutritive value while remaining lower on the glycemic index. Examples are: cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, apricots, grapefruit, kiwi, peach and tangerine. A serving of fruit is one cup or 1 piece of the fruit. These are lower in sugar but higher in nutrients. Fruit juices are higher in sugar and should be limited to 4 ozs a day and should be considered a fruit serving.
Green leafy vegetables – 2 good sized salads per day with dark green leafy lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, turnip greens, collard greens and sea vegetables is recommended. Iceberg lettuce doesn’t count because it has no nutritional value. Look for the darkest greens you can find.
Vegetables – Vegetables are free foods. Eat LOTS of fresh or frozen vegetables every day. Include all the color you can. Make sure you get a good amount of red, yellow/orange, and green vegetables (tomatoes, red bell peppers, yellow/orange bell peppers, squash, pumpkin, broccoli, green beans, celery, asparagus, okra, avocado). Vegetables that should be eaten in great moderation are carrots, potatoes, peas, and corn. They are all high in natural sugars.
Fats – Fats should make up approximately 30% of your total caloric intake each day. This would be 83 grams of fat for a 2500 calorie diet. Fats are especially important for the proper development of the nervous system. Choose healthy fats such as: olive oil (14g per T), grape seed oil, canola oil (14g per T), and omega 3 fatty acids (flax seed oil (14g per T) fish oils). Of course dairy products, avocado (31g), meats and nuts (approx 15g per oz) are sources of fats. It is not recommended to eat a diet heavy in saturated fats.
Sodium – Pregnant women should salt food to taste. This means use table salt to satisfy your palate. Salts that are recommended are Vega Sal and sea salt. Foods that are abundant in natural sodium are celery, cucumber, kelp and dulce (seaweed) and fish. Processed foods are high in sodium but are also high in other additives like MSG and nitrites that will cause other problems. Please avoid these foods.
This sounds like a lot! But, the best thing to do is try to eat something small every 2 hours. This will help with reflux (from over eating) and also help maintain your blood sugar and reduce the feelings of nausea, fatigue, and indigestion.
WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER….!!!! – Hydration is vitally important during pregnancy. Dehydration is a major factor in the health of the mother and the baby. Many women are surprised at the amount of water required to support their needs during pregnancy. It is recommended that you drink half of your body weight in ounces PLUS an additional quart for your baby. The amount will slowly increase as your baby grows. Other drinks are not to be included in this amount. Dehydration can cause an irritable uterus, headaches, increased blood pressure (if this happens, drink a quart of water and rest), and preterm labor and birth.
Sugars and refined foods – white sugar, refined white flour, white rice, white pasta – these act as sugar when digested. Processed foods: box mixes, cold cereal, etc.
Fats digested as proteins – processed meats are associated with common pregnancy complaints and are full of saturated fats. So don’t be fooled into thinking you are getting enough protein when eating foods such as sausage or bacon.
Prenatal Vitamins – Make sure you are taking a good prenatal vitamin – one that is a natural botanical based prenatal. There are a number of brands you can choose from including: Melaleuca, Nature’s Way Completia, Rainbow Light (not the 1 a day), Now, NF Formula (Prenatal Forte).
Calcium – Take an additional calcium supplement each day, preferably at bedtime for maximum absorption. Calcium Citrate, any brand, up to 2000mg per day.
Iron – Liquid Chlorophyll is the most effective way to raise the hemoglobin so you may need to add this to your daily routine.
I also have a protein guide that will give you a list of proteins and their protein content per serving. I have a glycemic index guide, a “Sneaky Way to Increase Protein” guide, a “Good Food Sources” guide if you need help picking foods with certain nutrients, and a food diary chart. These can be copied, printed and mailed if anyone wants them.
I hope today’s topic was beneficial. Please let me know if you have any questions.Read More