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The content on this website (http://sdbfc.com) is the property of Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, except in the case of guest blog posts, which have been posted with permission of the authors credited.

The information and opinions provided on this blog are not a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a qualified medical professional; nothing contained on this website shall be presumed or shared as medical advice at any time.

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Monday
Oct202014

It’s All About the Boobs!

 

Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

 

We hear so much about the benefits of breastfeeding for baby - the amazing immunity they get, the perfect nutrition, the bonding with mom.  We also hear a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding for moms - the output of good hormones, reduced risk of breast cancer, weight loss!  But what about the benefits of breastfeeding that specifically affect the partner?  We asked our fans for their ideas and here are some of the answers we got!  

 

 

  • Hillary:  The ability to hand over a fussy baby and say "here, he wants boob" and walk away.

  • April: They don't have to wash bottles either, or wake up in the middle of the night.

  • Colleen: The diapers are less unpleasant to change.

  • Elisabeth: Cost. That's a big one. Formula is expensive! The health problems later could potentially cost money too.

  • Julie: The satisfaction of knowing that you're doing the best thing for your child. My husband was very active in working with me on positioning and latching early on and when we lay in bed to nurse to sleep, he lays with us. Most nights she pops off several times to play with him. Dads can definitely be a participant in breastfeeding!

  • Anna Mar: Big boobs

  • Megan: The benefit of watching the mother of your child show ultimate love and patience toward their baby. Breastfeeding is such a extraordinary part of what us women do for their world. We have the capability to give the best nutrients to another life. That's such a miracle in itself that it is a learning time for the partner to see. The woman is giving of her love, time and energy. Such a sacrifice and that's very much a reason for the partner to strengthen their relationship!

 

 

Here are just a few more from us!

  • A happy wife!  Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which is often called the “mothering” hormone.  It helps to decrease blood pressure and stress, which makes a mama happier, which makes life a lot easier for her partner, as well.  

  • Birth Control.  If dad is nervous about having another baby soon, exclusive breastfeeding can act as a natural birth control.  No condoms or pills needed!  (Note - there are specific instances when breastfeeding can and cannot be used as an effective form of birth control - as mentioned here.)

  • You can soothe your baby when your wife can’t. Sounds strange, right?  But often, in the early weeks and months, a baby grows fussy the minute mom picks him/her up, as he/she smell mom’s milk and wants it.  When mom hands that fussy baby over to her partner, the baby often calms down immediately!  This could mean a lot of fuss-free snuggle time for dad and mom.

It goes without saying - breastfeeding is good for the entire family!  

 

What are your partner's favorite reasons to support breastfeeding?

Monday
Oct062014

Ease Up on Yourself

Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

 

Picture it: You’re having coffee with a good friend and she’s confiding in you about her guilt over not knowing her son had a double ear infection when he was running a fever recently.  He wasn’t pulling at his ears or crying when she laid him down.  He ran a fever for a few days, but had no other symptoms, and when she took him into his pediatrician, they diagnosed a double ear infection and prescribed antibiotics.  Your friend is feeling awful that she waited a few days to take her baby in.  She’s calling herself a bad mom.  

 

What’s your response?  

 

You tell her that she IS a bad mom, that she should have known that more was going on with her baby, even though he wasn’t showing any signs that he was in pain.  She obviously doesn’t have the instincts it takes to be a good mom.  You’d probably even tell her that her child would be better off if he was parented by someone else.

 

Right?

 

OF COURSE NOT.  

 

We would NEVER say these words to a friend.  Why?  Because they’re aggressive, mean, and meant to tear someone down.  And most of all…. because they aren’t true.  We would never say these words to a friend for fear of hurting her.  So why are we so quick to treat ourselves this way?  Don’t we deserve the same gentleness and support our friends do?

 

From the moment my first was born, a heavy layer of guilt settled over me - and breastfeeding was the first manifestation of this new guilt.  Breastfeeding hurt.  I mean, *really* hurt.  By the time I left the hospital two days after my daughter was born, my nipples were cracked and bleeding, and I was having anxiety attacks every time she began to show hunger signs.  Because of this, I made the decision to pump my milk and feed it to her in a bottle.  I had failed.  I had failed to do the one thing I was meant to do as a new mother.  I didn’t want to take her out of the house, in fear that she’d get hungry and people would see me feed her a bottle, and know that I had failed.   

 

 

Looking back, I realize the amount of dedication and perseverance it took for me to strap myself to that pump, every 3 hours, around the clock, so that I could feed my baby my breast milk, but at the time, I could only see my shortcomings, my weakness.  Looking back, I remember the sheer and overwhelming devotion I felt for my baby - she filled up my every day.  I was an amazing mother.  Her every need was met.  I look back at myself, almost 7 years ago, and wish I had half the patience and gentleness I did then.  I hadn’t failed at all.

 

 

The thing is, almost 7 years later, I still feel like I’m failing. Every time the television goes on so that I can cook dinner (which is sometimes (often) frozen fish sticks), or I find myself screeching at my girls to ‘hurrrrry up!’ as our hectic morning rages on.  Every time I cut a chapter in half at bedtime because I’m too worn out to read the entire thing, and especially every time I hear my oldest daughter’s loud, disgusted sigh - that she learned from me.  I feed my kids non organic fruit.  I spend too much time on my iPhone.  I let them eat Otter Pops.  In my mind, I’m a complete and utter failure at the one job I was built to do.

But you know who I need to hear from?  Myself, 7 years from now, looking back.  She will remind me that every day, before my kids went to sleep, I laid in bed with each of them and snuggled them.  That my girls went to bed every night with the comfort that comes with being loved completely.  That I was totally devoted to both of them, and their every need was met.  And I have something to say to this woman - myself in 7 years.  I want to thank her for her reassurance, and then I want to tell her “Ease up on yourself.”

 

 

Monday
Sep292014

Avoiding Common Breastfeeding Pitfalls Video

A few weeks ago, Ashley and I were interviewed at the Natural Family Fair about how to avoid common breastfeeding pitfalls.  Here is our 30 minute interview that just touches the surface about how to avoid some common pitfalls, such as misinformation about breastfeeding, access to breastfeeding-friendly practitioners, and lack of community and family support.  

 

 

And, stay tuned, as we will delve much deeper into each of these pifalls and provide tips for how to prevent them from happening to you!  

What do you think are the most common breastfeeding pitfalls?

Wednesday
Sep242014

How Can I Pump Enough for my Baby When I’m at Work?

 Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

 

Going back to work can be a very stressful time for many new moms.  It’s difficult to leave your baby for the first time.  You may feel nervous about returning to a job you’ve been away from for months.  Your schedule/routine may have changed due to child-care arrangements.  Plus, if you’re anything like me, none of your work pre-pregnancy work clothes fit yet!  A concern that often adds to this stress is the fear that you may not be able to pump enough for your baby’s bottles while you’re at work. Some moms find that they are constantly playing a game of catch-up, trying to keep up with their baby’s intake while with the caregiver.  Below are some things you can do to improve your ability to keep up with your baby’s needs.

 

 

Do some research before returning to work.

Most importantly, know your rights!  There is a federal law that protects your right to express milk for your baby while at work, in a private location, that is not a bathroom.  Speak to your Human Resources Department or direct supervisor (before you return to work) to find out where you will be able to pump.  Take note of where it is, how far it is from your work-space, and what equipment you’ll need to bring with you. Check to see if there are other breastfeeding moms using the space to express milk… that way you’ll know if you need to reserve the room or if you are free to use it as you please.  Take a look at your general work hours and responsibilities and create a plan for when you will be able to pump.  

 

Be sure your caregiver isn’t over-feeding baby!

Often, the issue isn’t the amount that mom is pumping (or not pumping), but the amount that baby is taking while in the care of someone else.  Many caregivers unintentionally offer too much breastmilk to babies, therefore “sabotaging” mom’s supply.  There are a number of reasons this may happen - your caregiver may allow the baby to finish the bottle too quickly and babies will take in more than they need when they eat too fast.  It’s similar for us when we sit down to a big meal.  If we eat very quickly, we often end up eating past capacity as our brain doesn’t have the chance to catch up with our stomach and tell us to stop eating.  A baby may finish a bottle and still show hunger signs, and the caregiver, wanting to soothe baby, will offer more milk when if given just a bit of time, the baby would have calmed on his/her own.  

Sometimes a caregiver may not understand the proper handling and storage of breastmilk and will treat it like formula, throwing any left in the bottle, when the milk could be placed back into the refrigerator for the next feeding.  Be sure to talk to your caregiver before returning to work to help them understand how to best bottle feed your breastfed baby.  Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, wrote a wonderful article addressed to the caregivers of breast-fed babies that you can forward to your nanny/sitter/daycare worker to help them.  

Lastly, make sure your caregiver knows what time you will pick your child up and ask him/her to not feed the baby for the hour or so prior, so that baby will want to breastfeed when you are reunited.

 

Create a calm and relaxing space/routine for yourself while you express milk at work.

Trying to pump in a stressful environment can negatively impact the amount that you are able to express.  Take a good look at where you pump milk for your baby - is it a convenient, quiet, private space?  Are you able to lock the door so that you’re not worried about a co-worker unintentionally walking in on you?  

 

 

Here are some of our top tips for expressing milk at work: 

  • Bring articles of clothing that your baby has worn, or a blanket he/she has used.  
  • Have a picture nearby of your baby, or even better, a video of him/her - perhaps of your baby showing hunger cues. These items can help to get your hormones moving which will help your milk to let down and flow more quickly and fully.  
  • Use a hands-free pumping bra so that you can do other things while you express - check your email, eat a snack, play scrabble on your smartphone!  
  • Bring a blanket or towel and cover the flanges while you pump, so that you can’t see the amount that is coming out.  Hyper-focusing on how much milk you’re expressing can inhibit your body’s response to the pump.  
  • Listen to calming music, or a podcast you enjoy.
  • Watch funny videos on YouTube - we have a few that are oxytocin inducing on our San Diego Breastfeeding Center YouTube Channel.
  • Bring water and snacks to stay hydrated and satiated.  Moms often see a dip in their milk supply when they are dehydrated or are not eating enough calories.  (Breastfeeding women need about 2000 calories a day to sustain a robust milk supply.)

Engaging in activities that bring you joy or peace can help you relax and may increase the amount that you are able to pump.  You may find that you start to look forward to your pumping sessions!

 

Techniques that can help increase your output

 


There are a number of tips/tricks that can help you maximize your output when pumping.  

  • Be sure that all of your pump parts are in working order - that there are no damaged pieces.  
  • Hands-on-pumping has been shown to help increase the amount of milk a woman expresses.  
  • Learn a combination of breast massage, hand expression, and electric pumping and practice it whenever possible.  
  • Apply a bit of organic olive oil to the inside of your flanges to help reduce any friction or discomfort.  
  • Play around with the amount of time that you pump, but remember that stronger and longer doesn’t always mean more milk!  
  • If you find that you are absolutely not able to express the amount of milk that your baby needs in a day, you can add an extra pumping session in at night before going to bed and on your days off.  

 

Here are a few more tips from our Facebook friends: Help a Mama Out: Getting the Most Milk Out while Pumping


And MOST IMPORTANTLY, feel proud of the hard work you’re doing to provide your baby breastmilk while you’re at work!  Remember that breastfeeding is never an all or nothing endeavor.  Some women are not able to pump enough, some because of work situation or how they respond to the pump, but are still able to provide their baby as much breastmilk as possible, as well as breastfeed their baby while home with them.  Know that every drop of your breastmilk that your baby gets, whether it’s 1% or 100% of their total needs, is an amazing gift that only you can provide!

 

What are your favorite tips for pumping enough milk while at work? 

Wednesday
Sep032014

Help a Mama Out: Dealing with the Biting Breastfeeder

 

Oh, that sweet infant gummy smile!  So serene.... so innocent.... so adorable.  But all toothless mouths must come to an end and teething starts another fun developmental stage for your little one.  Teething can also stir up some anxiety in the breastfeeding mama, which we are hoping to aleviate today.

Will my baby bite me?  

Do I have to stop breastfeeding?  

Most moms have felt a clamp down on their nipples from their teething babes once or twice, but it doesn’t mean that your breastfeeding relationship has to come to an end.  No need for those new teeth to be a deal-breaker!

We turned to the wise breastfeeding mamas on Facebook to offer some tips for dealing with a biting breastfeeder.  As always, your advice was amazing.  Here is what you had to say.

 

Top Tips for a Dealing with a Biting Breastfeeder

Stacy: Remember that your baby isn't malicious and isn't trying to hurt you. If baby bites at the beginning of a nursing session, try giving him/her something cold/hard to chew on beforehand. If it's at the end, pay close attention and break their latch as soon as they finish eating but before they are tempted to play with the new sensation of using their teeth.

Amber: Remember, it’s just a phase!

Michelle: I found that using a nursing necklace was really helpful.  Instead of pulling back on my nipple when he distracted, he would play with the nursing necklace while breastfeeding and focus on feeding.  I found that he mostly bit down when he was distracted.

Liz: Ugh. Cry? I do the "don't bite. That hurts." And set P on the ground for a few minutes. Then nurse again.

Katie Jo: What ultimately worked for me was to pay close attention and learn to recognize when he was finished eating. Then I would have to quickly unlatch him with my finger before he started to play/explore what he could do with his teeth. If I didn't catch that moment quickly enough, he would bite down the instant he sensed I was about to unlatch him, and my nipple turned into a rubber band chew toy for him. Sometimes he would bite my finger instead. I tried pressing him into my breast and telling him ouch in an upset voice, but he just laughed every time.

Julie: I bought my daughter an amber necklace to help relieve some of the teething pain she was feeling.  Less teething pain = less biting while breastfeeding.  I also wore one around my neck as well.

 

 

Jen: I tell P, "ouch, that hurts mommy." She stops biting/nursing and looks at me with concern. I let her know it hurts and to be gentle. Sometimes it takes a few reminders, other times she will stop.

Stephanie: If your child will take a cold teether, try offering that before or after a nursing session.

Tamara: Be patient, they may be in pain from teething and doing their best to find relief.

Jennifer: Keep your finger close by their mouth so if they go to bite, you can stick your finger in the side quickly to get them to unlatch!

Erin: I loved the Camilia teething liquid to help with teething pain.  I would use this a couple of times during the day when my baby was really teething badly and I thought it really cut down on the biting while breastfeeding.

 

 

Kat: My kids didn't start that nonsense until they were 10 and 8 months old respectively. So every time they bit, I would quickly unlatch them and set them down. I would say "no biting Mama" and ignore them for a minute or 2. My daughter figured it out after a couple of days, and my son took a week. I tried a couple of times to do that thing where you push their nose into your boob to make them open their mouth but it's so counterintuitive! The first instinct is "get it off me!"

Kim: My 9.5 month daughter got her first teeth at 4 months 1 week. She usually bit me when she was done eating or not hungry. I would tell her no biting and take her off my boob. I would make sure when she was done eating to immediately unlatch her or that's when the biting would begin. I could tell when she was about to bite. Now she is biting my shoulder.

Don't miss our article about why babies bite while breastfeeding and a few more tips and tricks to stop it from happening: Breastfeeding a Teething (or Toothy) Baby

Also, check out our Boob Group podcast episodes where we discuss biting babies and toddlers:

Breastfeeding A to Z: Sore Nipples and Biting

Breastfeeding Toddlers: Frequency, Biting, and Staying Motivated

 

What tips do YOU have for dealing with a biting breastfeeder?