Breast and Bottle Feeding

It seems to me that when I ask an expecting mother what her feeding plan is, she always makes sure to specify that she is planning to breastfeed, but wants to give bottles. Some things I hear are: “I want dad to bond too”, “I have to return to work”, and “I might want a break”.   Sometimes I wonder if new mothers think that they will be judged if they give a bottle. Well, judgment does come in all forms, but it certainly will not come from me.

Let’s talk about bottles for a minute. I support families through their breastfeeding journey. The mothers who call on me for help are often in a position where they need to give a bottle, and are concerned about how it might disrupt breastfeeding or how they can make both breast and bottle feeding work together. Some situations I see are mothers who are returning to work and need to introduce bottles for day care, or maybe it’s a premature baby who is getting bottles in the hospital. Whatever the reason, the fact is we don’t want bottles to interfere. To be quite honest, I find bottle feeding a pain. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to breastfeed. How do you know how much milk to give in a bottle? How do you know what kind of bottle to use? Do you heat the milk or not? Too many questions here – I found it much easier to put the baby to breast and be done with it. My first baby did not have many bottles, only during situations where I was not able to be at home at all. I did not work when he was a baby, so we were able to do that. I know that is not the norm. When my twins came along, I had to do more bottle feeding, just because I needed the help. It was always breastmilk, which mean I had to get pump time in as well.   It’s a lot of work.

Mothers are often concerned that babies who are primarily breastfeeding need to have a special bottle. It is not necessarily about the bottle, but about HOW the baby is getting the milk from the bottle. Paced bottle feeding, where the baby is getting milk from the bottle in a slow, paced fashion, is the way to go.

Check out this link about paced bottle feeding if you want to learn more about that.

https://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/feeding-tools/bottle-feeding/

On this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, we talk all about giving bottles and some common situations that might come up. Check it out!

http://badassbreastfeedingpodcast.buzzsprout.com

 

 

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Where is your Self Care?

Self care. Repeat that again…SELF CARE. Taking care of yourself. It’s like I’m speaking a foreign language. Most mothers I meet are not even thinking about self care, let alone practicing it. It is important, and I’ll tell you why.

Burn out is a real thing. When you’re a mom, you aren’t really thinking about how much parenting takes out of you. Sometimes we get into this routine of doing everything for everyone around us. Think about it – maybe you are taking care of a baby. Maybe you have older children and a baby. You have a partner and laundry and 3 meals a day to get into your kids. Oh and maybe you have a dog to look after and groceries to buy and doctor appointments and and and…So where is the time for you?

Self care is not negotiable. It is an integral part of parenting. Unfortunately, it is up to you to make sure that your self care time is part of your routine. This isn’t something that anyone else can do for you. Plan it out if you have to. Put it on the calendar. Even if it is just 30 minutes out of your day that you can call your own, make it happen. Look forward to it. It sounds very cliché, but you really can’t take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself.

So your job right now is to make a list of things that you can do for yourself.   The next step is to put it into practice.

Want to hear more about self care? Check out the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week and we will school you on all the ways you can make self care a real part of your life. Once you do, we want to hear about it. Share your ideas!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/566801-episode-7-where-is-your-self-care

 

 

Breastfeeding – the extended version

 

What is extended breastfeeding, anyway? How do you determine when you have crossed over from “regular” breastfeeding and into “extended” breastfeeding? I have heard many opinions about this, so let’s get right down to it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies breastfeed for 2 years. The World Health Organization (or WHO) recommends up to age 3.   My point of view is really anything beyond the 2 years that is recommended by the AAP. I breastfed all my kids for over a year and I don’t really consider that extended. Some consider anything over the first year to be extended breastfeeding. However you look at it, it’s beneficial for mom and baby.

Society is pretty vocal with their judgment about this particular topic.   Kind of that no filter, offensive type of judgment. Since I work with breastfeeding mothers, I will celebrate any breastfeeding milestone. I am also a safe place for mothers who are breastfeeding into toddlerhood. Often mothers won’t even tell their family members or their doctor that they are still breastfeeding for fear of the backlash that may come with it.

As with any other aspect of parenting (or really anything else you do in your life), extended breastfeeding is a choice that is made between mother and baby and the family, and doesn’t need the vote of approval from anyone else. If it’s working for you, keep it up.

Week 4 of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast is all about extended breastfeeding. Interested in hearing more? Check it out here.

http://badassbreastfeedingpodcast.buzzsprout.com

 

 

Breastfeeding 2?

 

Have you ever seen someone tandem nurse? It’s somewhat of a unicorn in our society these days. Just knowing someone who has managed this is enough, let alone witness it with your own eyes.

Tandem nursing is when mom is breastfeeding her new baby and still breastfeeding the first baby. This is a pretty amazing thing to be doing, especially when you consider that she is now breastfeeding 2 kids and 2 different stages of development. So let’s put this a different way. I breastfed twins. 2 babies (my claim to fame, by the way). I am really proud that I breastfed twins. I also have a master’s degree. And published a book. But that breastfeeding twins thing – definitely my best work.   However, breastfeeding twins is not tandem nursing. Tandem nursing is a completely different type of talent.

Let’s break it down. Now we have a woman who is breastfeeding a toddler and becomes pregnant. Do you remember what it’s like to be pregnant (if you aren’t pregnant right now, that is)? Do you remember the breast tenderness, the fatigue, the overall feeling of ICK that can take over at times…now imagine breastfeeding a toddler through all of that. And the toddler along with a newborn. It is probably one of the most remarkable things a new mother can do. I celebrate women who do this, because it is certainly not for everyone.   One of the biggest obstacles to tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant is getting past societal norms. The information, or lack thereof, is astounding. Everything from slighting your baby from nutrients to preterm labor – everyone has an opinion about this and most of it is not valid.

This is where I plug the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. This week we talk about tandem nursing and breastfeeding while pregnant, and all the fun that goes along with it. Want to learn more? Have your own experiences? Tune in, and then feel free to reach out with your stories as well.   Check it out!

 http://BadAssBreastfeedingPodcast.buzzsprout.com

 

Breastfeeding Supplies – What Is Necessary?

I am often asked what supplies are necessary for breastfeeding.  Usually this comes from my pregnant mothers who are trying to plan what they may need for the baby BEFORE the baby comes.  That may seem like an easy enough question, right?  Isn’t there some kind of list that I can just hand out?  Not so simple.  To be honest, not much is needed to breastfeed.   Having a baby is a huge money business and society is prepared to have you spend a ton of money on things you don’t necessarily need.  Have you been in any store recently that sells baby items?  So. Many. Choices.  Truth be told, you don’t need much of anything at all.

All mothers are different and have different needs and personalities.  I have met some mothers who are content with waiting for the baby to arrive before they decide on a pump or any other supplies.  I have also seen mothers show up at the hospital ready to have the baby, and they are toting a pump, creams, nipple shields and a breastfeeding pillow.  Neither way is the wrong way; just do what is right for you.  My point is I don’t want any new or expecting mother to think that they have to have these things.

In a world where you can order something online on a Monday and it will be at your door by Tuesday or Wednesday, I am a proponent of waiting until you need something before you invest time and money.   However, if you really want to have a stash of stuff, I found this great list to get you started.  One of the things I really like about this list is that it specifies when things are NOT NECESSARY.  Nipple cream or a breastfeeding pillow – nice to have but not necessary.  Good support system and the phone number of a local lactation consultant – absolutely necessary.   So check it out and see what you think.  Can you think of anything you would add to this list?  Is there one thing that you felt like you couldn’t live without during your breastfeeding journey?  Share it with us.

http://www.lamaze.org/blog/breastfeeding-supplies—-what-do-i-really-need

Babies and Your Relationship – What (if anything) Will Change?

Having a baby can be a truly magical experience.  From pregnancy all the way through to when you hold that little baby for the first time, families feel excitement and euphoria.   Not just the parents…extended family and friends all join in on the enthusiasm.   After the baby is born, things may feel different.  This can be unexpected.  Hormonal changes can make a new mother feel depressed or helpless, causing anxiety and questioning her ability to take care of her new baby.  Partners may feel confused, unsure of what is happening, only aware that things have changed.

It is important to remember that relationships change when you add a baby to the mix.  When I say this, I do not mean that relationships have to change for the worse.  It’s just different.  A new mother might view the relationship with her own mother as changed – she may now see her mother as more of an equal.  They now have a common bond that was not there before.  Relationships with providers may feel different, more trusting and intimate.  Her relationship with her partner might feel different as well; this is no longer just a lover or best friend, they are now co parents.

It is hard to imagine what it feels like to be a parent before you actually become one.  It is even harder to know how your partner will react to this new role until it happens.  Because of this, it can be hard to prepare.  Some new families find that connecting with each other, understanding each other and nurturing one another is not as easy as it was before the baby was born.  How do you keep it going?  Some couples worry about what their sex life will be like after baby.  My concern has always been more about the relationship itself.  It is so important to find the time to connect in other ways, and these little things can get lost when you are figuring out life with a newborn.

We talk about this a lot in our Parenting Village circle group called Out of the Blue.  Admitting that your needs are different, talking openly about concerns and having empathy for your partner can go a long way.  Check out the link below for some great ideas on how to cultivate your relationship and make the adjustment a little easier on both of you.

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/keeping-your-relationship-on-track-during-postpartum-depression

When Breastfeeding Makes You Feel Sad…Could It Be D-MER?

When breastfeeding works well, it’s an amazing thing.   Of course, like anything else, it doesn’t always go well.  This is one of the reasons why I am still working, and not unemployed.  I have seen various things happen with breastfeeding…latch issues, pain, weight gain problems…the list goes on.  Sometimes, I have a mother and baby who are doing ok, or so it seems.  The latch is fine.  The baby is gaining great.  No pain.  The new mother doesn’t feel ok.  Breastfeeding is fine, but she doesn’t feel fine breastfeeding.  How can this be?  Everyone talks about what a beautiful experience it is, how special the bonding is, how sweet and nurturing breastfeeding is for both mom and baby.  She feels none of this.  Instead, mom feels awful; upset or sad, anxious, maybe nervous.  Sometimes she might feel as if there is a hole in the pit of her stomach – just empty…hollow.  After the baby has been feeding for a few minutes, things are ok, but those first few minutes are enough to make her give a bottle.

This is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER.

It’s awful.  One of the worst things about D-MER is that not many people are aware that it happens.  They mistake this for depression or just another postpartum issue and don’t look for help.  Some don’t even realize that it’s related to breastfeeding.  So what is D-MER?  It is a hormonal issue, not a psychological issue.  It is not post partum depression or baby blues. Researchers believe that it is due to an exaggerated decrease in dopamine as the milk lets down.  Once the milk lets down and baby is feeding, the feelings of sadness pass.

There are ways to cope with D-MER, weaning your baby is not the only answer.  If you feel like this is something you are experiencing, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant.  Educate yourself about it, just in case you need to pass that education on to others.

Here is some great information about D-MER, what it is, how to manage it, and how to talk to others about it: http://d-mer.org/Home_Page.html.