Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be wonderful and frustrating at the same time. But with some practice and help you and baby can develop a relationship with so many benefits:1

  • Special bonding time with baby
  • Healthier, happier baby:

    • Baby is less fussy
    • Lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
    • Less risk of asthma and respiratory issues
    • Fewer ear infections
    • Fewer digestive problems
    • Fewer allergies, eczema, and skin problems
  • Healthier, happier you:
    • Stress release
    • Breaks during the day
    • Lowers risk of certain cancers
    • Easier weight loss (burns 400 – 500 calories a day)
    • Saves money (estimates between $1000 – $1,500 year)

Are You Nursing Correctly?2

Signs of Correct Nursing

  • Your baby’s mouth is open wide with lips turned out.
  • His/her chin and nose are resting against your breast.
  • S/he has taken as much of the areola (area around nipple) as possible into his/her mouth.
  • S/he is suckling rhythmically and deeply, in short bursts separated by pauses.
  • You can hear him/her swallowing regularly.
  • Your nipple is comfortable after the first few suckles.

 

Signs of Incorrect Nursing

  • Your baby’s head is not in line with his/her body.
  • S/he is sucking on the nipple only, instead of sucking on the areola with the nipple far back in his/her mouth.
  • S/he is sucking in a light, quick, fluttery manner rather than taking deep, regular sucks.
  • His/her cheeks are puckered inward or you hear clicking noises.
  • You don’t hear him/her swallow regularly after your milk production has increased.
  • You experience pain throughout the feed or have signs of nipple damage (such as cracking or bleeding).

 

How Long Should I Breastfeed?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends:

  • 0 – 6 months: Exclusive breastfeeding
  • 6 -12 months: Breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods from
  • 1 year+: Continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.

 

Common Issues and Solutions

Breastfeeding can definitely have its challenges, especially at first.

Here are some common issues moms have when breastfeeding:

Issue

What Is It?

Solutions

Engorgement

Overfilling of breasts with milk. Can happen when your “milk comes in” a few days after birth, any time you miss a feeding, or when you wean baby.
  • Keep nursing baby
  • Express milk (with pump or manual)
  • For swelling: cold compress, ibuprofen
  • To soften breasts: warm washcloth, massage, express milk

Mastitis
(Breast
Infection)

Signs include: breasts are tender, swollen, painful, or warm to touch, fever of 101+, flu like symptoms
  • If you suspect mastitis, you should see your doctor.

Sore/Cracked Nipples

Should only last a week or so. If you are experiencing soreness or pain, your baby may not be latching
properly.
  • For sore nipples – try a nipple cream
  • Contact a lactation consultant if
    soreness doesn’t go away.

 

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke has harmful chemicals that can effect your baby’s willingness to breastfeed.
  • Do not allow smoking in your home or car.
  • Wash your hands before and change clothes before you breastfeed your
    baby.

 

Alcohol Use

Alcohol can pass through breast milk and affect your baby.
  • There is no safe limit.
  • If you do drink, do not exceed 2 drinks (2 glasses wine, 2 beers, etc.) in a 24 hour period.

 

Caffeine

Caffeine is a substance found in
coffee drinks, energy drinks, soda, and some foods and medications. It can affect your baby.
  • Most experts agree that 1 -3 cups is safe, but cut back as much as you can.
  • Drink decaf coffee or tea.

Medications

Many over the counter medications are safe, but check with your doctor to be sure
  • Contact your doctor or a lactation
    consultant.

If you are having a hard time or have questions, you can always contact a lactation consultant. Learn more here.

 

When You Can’t or Shouldn’t Breastfeed

There are some cases where it’s better if you don’t breastfeed: If you are HIV+, have active TB, are taking certain medication, using illicit drugs, or are undergoing certain treatments for cancer. Talk to your doctor is you have any questions about whether or not you should breastfeed.

If you can’t breastfeed, or if you try and it doesn’t work out – don’t feel bad about it. There is no need to feel guilty or stressed because you are unable to breastfeed.

 

Nutrition For Breastfeeding Moms

If you are breastfeeding, you have important dietary needs. Most breastfeeding moms need and extra 400 – 500 calories a day. Make these extra calories count!

 

Going Back To Work

If you are going back to work – it doesn’t have to be the end of breastfeeding. If it’s right for you and your baby, you can try pumping. With a little planning your baby can still get all the benefits of breastmilk and you can save tons of money.

In ideal world you will have:

1)      A private, comfortable room

2)      A schedule that will allow you 15 – 30 minute breaks 2-3 times a day

3)      Breast pump supplies

In the real world, you can get by with:

1)      Any space where you can be alone (your car, the bathroom, a closet if need be). In these cases, you just need to be extra careful with hygiene

2)      Any break. If you can only pump on your 15 minute lunch break, that’s better than nothing

3)      You will still need breast pump supplies – but you can be creative.

 

Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 (P.L. 111-148). This law amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

For more information go here.

 

Helpful Pumping Tips:

  • The first few times you pump you won’t get much milk, so don’t be discouraged
  • Start building up a “stock” of breast milk before you go back to work. But go slow! Most of your milk should still be going to baby.
  • Make sure the place you are going to pump is comfortable and a place you can relax. If you have to pump in an unusual spot, you might want to bring a blanket to cover up with.
  • Be upfront talking to your employer about your decision to pump. If you need help, check out this website for checklists and talking points.4
  • Don’t worry too much if you miss a pump break here or there because of a crazy schedule. Just get back on your schedule the next day to keep your milk supply up.

 

More Resources and Videos:

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1) Breastfeeding Policy Statement. 2012. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.aap.org
2) Breastfeeding Checklist. 2012. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.aap.org
3) Baby Development Chart. 2012. Baby Center. http://www.babycenter.com
4) Talking To Your Employer. 2012. Breastmilk Counts. http://www.breastmilkcounts.com/talking-to-your-employers.html

Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net