I think I get as many questions about oversupply as I do about low supply.  Of course, having too much milk probably sounds like a good problem to have, huh?  Think again. Ask any mother who has struggled with oversupply and she will tell you that it is not a good problem to have.

Sometimes I think that mothers are obsessed with having too much milk.  I once had a mother contact me because she was concerned about supply being too low – she was “only” pumping 4-6 ounces at a time when at work. Needless to say she was very happy when I told her that she has a fantastic supply and it is not low by any definition.  Most babies do not eat 6 ounces when they feed at the breast, so why should you need to pump that much?  You should have what the baby needs, too much can and will cause problems.

Some women just make a lot of milk.  Other women, for whatever reason, may start pumping too soon and encourage more milk than the baby needs.  Regardless of how your supply becomes so abundant, you may need to slow it down or risk plugged ducts, mastitis and a baby who may struggle with too much milk at feeds.

There are ways to slow down supply, but the easiest thing is to not encourage too much from the start. Easy to say, right?  Sometimes you have to pump in the beginning – maybe baby doesn’t latch well or is separated from you.  In this situation pumping is a must.  Unfortunately this can alter what your body would normally produce for the baby and before you know it, you are full and uncomfortable and your baby is choking and pulling off the breast whenever the milk lets down.

Sound familiar?  Check out this week’s podcast and learn more about oversupply and some tips on how to manage it.  You will also learn about some consequences of oversupply that may have been mistaken for something else.  Don’t miss it!





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.


Partner Support

When I had my first baby, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I was so unprepared for the whole experience and I didn’t know how to ask for the help I needed – if I could even articulate what that was. I figured people would just know what to do.

They don’t.

If you don’t know what you need and don’t know how to ask for what you need, you will be doing way more than you should be doing. If you are one of those strong-willed mamas (I happen to be one of those) that denies needing help or figures that it will be easier to do it yourself, well…you might learn the hard way.

We weren’t meant to do this alone. We were not meant to have a baby and do everything by ourselves without support, guidance or both. Maybe you’re thinking “it’s ok, I have a wonderfully supportive partner”. Well, that might be enough. However, the chances are that your supportive partner doesn’t know what to do either.   Somehow, as the generations moved on, we lost the art of community support. Families used to rally around new mothers, helping with meals and other children and recovery. Mothers and babies were left to bond, breastfeed and recover from the childbirth experience, knowing that their aunts, mother, sisters, neighbors were there to pick up the slack. It’s not like that anymore. Well, I’m sure it’s like that somewhere, but it is no longer the expectation. We are almost offended by the offer of help, as if it is the universe’s way of telling you that you aren’t good enough. I think it’s time that it circled back around again, and we appreciated this for what it is – a celebration of bringing a baby into the world and supporting the new family as they learn the parenting ropes.

This week Dianne and Abby talk all about partner support and how this looks. Check it out here:




Returning to Work and Breastfeeding

Returning to work after having a baby is difficult. Overwhelming in many ways. Mentally you are responsible for doing your job, whatever that may be, when your mind seems to stay with the little bundle of joy that was left behind for the day. Physically you are still in a state of recovery (unless you are going back a year after the baby was born, but many in our society do not have that benefit) you are feeling sleep deprived and your breasts will fill with milk every few hours. Getting milk stains out of your work clothes might be a new skill you never realized you’d need. Not to take away from spouses who most definitely hold down the fort while mom is on maternity leave, being a working mother is a whole different routine. Babies miss having that bonding time, and some mothers find that babies will spend the duration of the evening wanting to nurse. Babies that were sleeping longer stretches at night might wake more frequently again, trying to make up for lost time during the quiet hours of the night.

Yet as mothers, we do this. We stay dedicated to both employer and family. We are able to multi-task in new, imaginative ways (raise your hand if you have ever pumped milk while driving). I am beyond proud of the women I meet who are returning to work. The challenges of figuring out how and when to pump milk, worrying about milk supply. Afraid to upset the delicate balance of work life and family life, concerned that colleagues won’t understand the distraction.   Add in figuring out child care for your baby, how much milk to leave and how to get out of that meeting that was scheduled during your afternoon pump…it’s just too much.

We are here to help you. Often mothers are worrying about all of this before the baby is born.   I get questions about pumping before the baby is born. What kind of bottle to give…and what is paced feeding anyway?? This week’s Badass Breastfeeding Podcast  will cover all of that, and more. If you are planning to return to work at any point, you don’t want to miss it.





Breastfeeding and Wine…(or beer…or, well, alcohol)

I know I have mentioned this before, but I knew absolutely nothing about breastfeeding when I had my kids. It was probably better that way, to some degree. One thing I do wish I had known about was food consumption, caffeine and alcohol.

It wasn’t like I wanted to go out and get trashed. That wasn’t it at all. However, I remember being at a winery and was offered a taste and declined because I was breastfeeding. I remember not drinking anything with caffeine for the same reason.   And food…well that’s a whole other story for a different day. But really, the alcohol. This is one of those questions that I get so often, that I am almost surprised people don’t already know the answer. Quite the contrary, most new mothers (and their support person) are under the impression that you CANNOT have a drink for the duration of your breastfeeding relationship with your child. That’s simply not true. Alcohol is safe, just like most other things, when done in moderation. What is not safe is what happens when you are under the influence of alcohol. It is a bigger problem to drink and make poor decisions involving you and/or your baby – such as bringing the baby to bed with you or driving your babysitter home. Having a glass of wine pales in comparison to something like that.

Breastfeeding is not a deal breaker for living your life. You should be able to get back to things that are enjoyable.   I get this question most often during the summer months when families are going to graduation parties, weddings and picnics and just want to know that they are safe to drink if they want to. The other time I get this question is during the holidays, when it is not uncommon to have a drink while at holiday gatherings.

If you decide to have a drink, be sensible. There are no set-in-stone guidelines for how long to wait (if at all) before breastfeeding. Basically, if you feel ok and you do not feel drunk, you are fine to breastfeed. Since everyone metabolizes alcohol at different rates, recognizing how you feel is the best way to determine if you should breastfeed.   I can tell you t his – it would take quite a lot of alcohol to really make a difference.

Want the numbers? Abby and Dianne break it all down for you this week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. You don’t want to miss it!



Breastfeeding and Birth Interventions

Birth Interventions and breastfeeding can be somewhat controversial. Meaning that there are still some people out there who believe that HOW a baby was born does not have any affect on HOW that baby breastfeeds in the early days. Contrary to that, birth, birth interventions and medications received can play a large role into how feeding is initiated, how things progress and how mom and baby adapt to their new life.

In a perfect situation, this is information that women should receive well before the birth of their baby. It goes along with informed consent, and laboring women should be aware that what happens during labor could potentially make breastfeeding a challenge in the beginning. This does not mean that women should not be encouraged to have the labor they want to have. It just means that being educated on choices is an important part of the whole process.

Regardless of how things progress with breastfeeding and why, a solid support system makes a big difference if a new mother is struggling at all. Good breastfeeding support, information that pertains to their specific situation and follow up are the foundation to ensuring that mom and baby are off to a positive start.

If you are interested in receiving more information about this, feel free to send me an email at diannecassidy@rochester.rr.com.

Birth Interventions and Breastfeeding is the topic of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast this week. Check it out for even more information!




The Constantly Nursing Baby

Feeding a baby is all consuming in the beginning. Not just physically, but mentally as well. I think that comes as a real surprise to so many new families. Not only do babies eat often to grow, latching and nursing also fulfills a need to soothe, offer security and nurture. In the early days, it can be easy to forget (after all, you are running on little sleep) that feeding for your little one is not all about the food.

We are talking about the constantly nursing baby.   Have you met that baby? I have met thousands of them.   The confusing thing isn’t necessarily that they are feeding frequently; the confusing thing is all the conflicting information new mothers receive about WHY the baby is constantly feeding. There’s even a name for it – cluster feeding (if there’s a name for it, then it’s a thing, right?). Here’s the breakdown:

Cluster feeding is when the baby will nurse frequently over a period of time. Some families will notice that their baby is fussy in the evening and cluster feeding calms him down. He may nurse for a few minutes, doze off, wake 20 minutes later and want to nurse again. Or maybe it is happening in the morning, after several hours of sleep. During these frequent feedings it is really hard to remember that it is normal and expected for babies to do this, and not a supply problem or a feeding problem. You do not need to give additional bottles during this time. Sometimes it is more of the act of nursing – the comfort and security – that your baby is looking for.

Try to keep in mind that this is a temporary thing. Once your baby is a little older you won’t experience this as often as you will when they are newborn. This too shall pass.

Here is a little more info on cluster feeding.


Check out this week’s BadAss Breastfeeding Podcast for more on the constantly nursing baby!