Night Away From Baby

It’s always been amazing to me how much life changes after you have a baby. I mean, obviously it changes…but even when you’re pregnant you still cannot fathom just how differently you will think and act after that little baby is born.   I see this during the prenatal period when I have mothers-to-be in breastfeeding class and they ask about leaving the baby to go away on a work trip or a night away with their partner. It comes up again after the baby is born, but with much more of a frantic tone, with mom verbalizing her absolute fear and anxiety over leaving the baby. Pre baby, the question is phrased in more of a nonchalant manner:

“We have an out of town wedding when the baby is 2 months old. How much milk should I plan to leave?”

The post baby question is a little more frazzled.

“We have to go away for a wedding. I don’t even want to go this is not a good idea. How am I supposed to leave the baby and enjoy myself? What if the baby cries all night for my in laws? Am I supposed to pump every couple hours? How does this work??”

Leaving your baby is never easy. As a mom of older kids, I can tell you that I don’t think it’s easy at any age. You will always worry. They are a part of you – how did you ever manage before they came along? It’s like a part of your life was erased and nothing mattered before your baby was born. You actually used to take trips with your partner and didn’t have to worry about who was left behind? Are you sure that ever happened? It is definitely harder for us as mothers, than it is for babies. Yes, they will miss you, but they are fine. The bigger adjustment is for YOU, the mom.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, it’s all about leaving baby for the first time. Whenever that may be and why it may be (no judgment here). Hey, life happens – we are just hoping to make that transition a little easier.





One of the biggest concerns I hear new mothers talking about is losing weight and getting back in shape. When can they start?  How long to wait until they can get back in the gym? Will diet, exercise or supplements impact milk at all?

It seems like in our society, there is a lot of focus on how quickly a new mother can get back into her pre-pregnancy jeans.   Maybe it’s the pressure we put on ourselves, or maybe we are feeling pressure around us.  Social media has a way of making some feel inadequate, and it is really easy to make comparisons.

I fell into this rabbit hole myself, after my first child was born.  I couldn’t wait to get back out and run, have that time to myself, get back into being who I was before I became a mom.   I did this way too quickly.  Looking back, I wish I had just enjoyed the time with my baby.  Looking forward, this is what I tell new mothers – try NOT to put that pressure on yourself.   Take as long as you need to recover, and don’t feel pressure to be in the shape you were in before you grew a human being.  Your body needs time to recuperate, before you start making demands all over again.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about exercise, how it impacts breastfeeding (or does it?) and how society looks at fitness after birth. Get the up to date info on some famous breastfeeding mothers who have gone through it as well.




U.S. News Story

Who knew that breastfeeding could be so newsworthy?

As a lactation consultant, it is part of my life to keep up with the most recent articles, research and controversies that happen in the breastfeeding world.  However, I don’t think it is common knowledge for the rest of the humans I know to look for breastfeeding news.  So when it hits big, it’s big.

That’s what happened last week, when the New York Times (and other news panels from around the globe) reported that the US was not in support of the WHA Infant and Young Child Feeding guidelines regarding breastfeeding.   Actually, saying that the US was not in support is putting it mildly.   According to the report, it was downright threatening.

This is really nothing new. This has been going on for decades, but for the last several years breastfeeding has really made a positive comeback.  Support for breastfeeding mothers in hospitals, workplaces and at home has grown. New and amazing research is surfacing all the time to highlight the many benefits for mother, baby and the environment. What’s not to like?  Organizations all over the world have recognized that breastfeeding saves the lives of thousands of mothers and babies a year.  This is why the WHA has breastfeeding as part of the IYCF guidelines.  To NOT recognize breastfeeding would be a sham.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about the latest turn in the breastfeeding current events, and discuss some of the background on how all of this started so many years ago.  Check it out!


Becoming a Breastfeeding Advocate


When I was young, if you had asked me what I was going to do with my life, lactation consultant would not be my response.  I can guarantee it.  Maybe teacher or social worker.  I used to always say that I wanted to help women who are struggling in areas of life that I had found myself struggling in.  Looking at it this way, I guess I kind of did what I had intended.  I just never thought it would be as a lactation consultant.

If you listen to the podcast, you know that I came across this profession by default.  Completely on accident.  I went with it, fostered it, nourished and supported it.  This is where I am meant to be in life.  I think this is the background for many who find themselves in this profession.  It can be difficult though, life as an advocate for something you are passionate about.  Not everyone feels as strongly about your passion.

I get a lot of questions about becoming a lactation consultant.  It’s not an easy path, but most things worthwhile are not easy.  For those who do not want to become an IBCLC, breastfeeding mothers absolutely need the reinforcement of other women, mothers, and families who can support them through their breastfeeding journey.  Not sure what to do or where to start?  Put together a Facebook support group, get some breastfeeding specific education, shadow an IBCLC.  Tell a breastfeeding mother how amazing she is.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about breastfeeding advocacy and becoming an IBCLC.  If you are interested in getting more involved, you won’t want to miss this!





I get questions about supplements.  All. The. Time.  Let’s face it, we are living in a society right now where there is a lot of excitement surrounding supplements of all kinds.  I think we have all fallen into this at one time or another…be it protein shakes, or energy drinks, or, yes, even milk supply supplements.

So what’s the truth? Do breastfeeding supplements work or don’t they?  Well, it’s really not a “yes” or “no” answer.  If you ever listen to the podcast, you already know that I have to ask tons of questions to get to the answer.  Bottom line, there is not a lot of research to support that random supplements, cookies, herbals, foods…that any of this stuff will help a truly lacking milk supply.   What will help??  The first thing we do is look at how the baby is feeding, how often the baby is feeding, and what is really happening behind the scenes.

I have heard things go both ways.  I have had moms tell me that they really, truly believe that the supplements helped their milk supply.  I have also had others tell me that they do not believe it helped even a little bit. Basically, we need to figure out if there is a supply issue, if it’s not a supply issue, or what is really going on here.

This week Dianne and Abby tackle this hot topic of supplements, and whether or not they are effective.  Want to hear more?  Tune in for this week’s podcast!  Find it on iTunes, Buzzsprout and now Spotify!


Bottle Feeding

I often get calls about a baby who won’t take a bottle.  This is usually accompanied by a plea from a desperate mother who is getting ready to return to work and fears that her baby won’t eat all day.  The internet is full of helpful (or not so helpful) suggestions for parents to try.  Some work, some do not.  Ideas such as “your baby will drink from the bottle when they are hungry” don’t usually work.  Young babies are not masters of manipulation and they are not refusing because they have a different plan in mind.

On the same level, I usually hear from someone that their first baby (or second, or third…) would not take a bottle.  Ever.

So what’s a mother to do? It has been my experience that if a baby will not take a bottle and you have tried all the other little tricks such as changing bottle nipples, walking with baby while feeding, paced feeding, there is one thing left.  It’s possible that your baby can’t take the bottle.  They can’t figure out how to make it work.  This could be a coordination problem, tongue tie, suck issue…there’s several to investigate.  This can be overcome, but the best thing to do is call a lactation consultant to assess the latch and see just what your baby is doing when bottles are offered.  Is she gagging?  Pushing the nipple out?  Rolling it around on her tongue? Chewing on it?  Remember, breastfeeding is instinctive.   Breastfeeding comes easier to babies than bottle feeding,  and your baby may need a little help to figure out how to do it.

If you never need to give a bottle, then you have nothing to worry about.  However, more mothers are returning to the workforce a couple of months after having a baby and giving a bottle is an important part of that.  Do you find yourself in this situation? Then you need to check out this week’s podcast.  All about bottle feeding, and what to do if it’s not working.



Body Changes

I was a distance runner when I had my first baby.  I ran throughout pregnancy, and started running about 2 weeks after he was born (I DO NOT recommend that, BTW).  It was important to me.  I was a little surprised when I got pregnant with Nathan, and I was determined to keep life as “normal” as possible.

If I only knew then what I know now.  Famous last words, right?  Now I know that body changes happen, regardless of how you treat your body during and after pregnancy.  Body changes happen even if you didn’t gain much baby weight and are able to lose it quickly.  Body changes just happen.

I was talking with some new mothers at Breastfeeding Bootcamp, my support group for breastfeeding moms.  The conversation started because of nursing bras, and what to do about sizing. Breast size increases for most women during pregnancy, and even more after the baby is born and the milk comes in. A good fitting nursing bra can be a hot topic of conversation.   From nursing bras to new clothes – and the mothers got into a conversation about finding comfortable pants that fit after baby.  One mother, whose baby is 5 months old, confided that she is at her pre pregnancy weight, but her pre pregnancy pants don’t fit.

Body changes.

Things happen during pregnancy.  Body parts expand and grow and stretch to accommodate a growing baby.   Sometimes things don’t quite go back to where they were before pregnancy.  Hormonal fluctuations can bring on changes too.  This is a very normal part of having a baby.

Remember how I said that I was running again pretty quickly after I had Nathan?  Well, within a year and a half I found myself pregnant with twins. I was told that I could not run during my pregnancy this time.  I am blessed with big babies, and the twins were no exception.  By the time they were born, I was so big and stretched out. This is the conversation I had with my doctor at the 6-week checkup:

Me:  “where is all this extra skin going to go?”  I seriously felt like I could remove the skin that had stretched on my belly and build a new person with it.

Dr. V: “hmm.  Maybe no bikini this year”.

Seriously?  No bikini THIS year?  How about ever?

For years after having my kids I had that desire to look just like I did before I had kids.  Even now, there are days when I think about that. But the desire is not as strong as the love I have for my kids.  I worked hard for those body changes.  I am proud of that.  I want every mother to be proud of that.

For more on all kinds of body changes during pregnancy and post partum (I am sure there are more you have never even heard of!) check out the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week. Dianne and Abby will break it all down for you.  Don’t miss it.