Milk Supply and Fluid Intake

A mother who is struggling to provide enough milk to her baby will go to great lengths to increase her supply. She will hang on to every word of every well-meaning friend, relative or health care provider. Unfortunately, much of what she hears may be untrue or even potentially harmful to her health!

The number one myth I hear over and over again is that one must drink milk to make milk. This is not only false it makes no sense. Think about other mammals. Do you know of any adult mammal who drinks milk? Of course not! Mammals produce milk for their infants. When they mature and wean, they no longer need their mother’s milk. Think about dairy cows. They are prolific milk producers. And not one of them drinks milk! Continue reading

Emma’s Breastfeeding Saga

DSCN2653When I was pregnant, I had lots of thoughts about my future breastfeeding life. I was planning on being one of those out-on-the-town moms–baby nursing happily while in a sling or sitting together under a tree in one of Seattle’s local parks. My biggest concern was how long to breastfeed–not if I could breast feed. But things turned out differently.

Solomon was a sleepy baby and didn’t breastfeed regularly. When he did breastfeed, it was very painful. The nurses told me pain was normal. The pain was so bad I would make my husband stand on my feet during feedings to counteract the nipple pain Still, I was determined to breastfeed.
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My Baby Has Reflux!

Baby with tight frenulum.  No tongue elevation present.“My pediatrician says my baby has reflux! She says there are medications to help. I really don’t want my baby to take medicine. He’s so little. But I also don’t want him to suffer and spit up so much. What should I do? Can you help me?”

Although the diagnosis of reflux seems ominous, keep in mind that all babies have reflux to some degree. The sphincter muscle that separates the stomach and the esophagus is loose and lets fluids go back and forth. That’s why it’s common for babies to spit up after a meal. If your baby seems uncomfortable, however, he may need some help.

I see many babies diagnosed with reflux in my practice. I have found that some simple changes in feeding posture or management can decrease symptoms substantially. Most of my clients do not need to medicate their babies. Continue reading

Claire’s Breastfeeding Story

 

Baby and mom breastfeeding with IGT

Claire contacted me when her baby was 5 weeks old. Her first week of breastfeeding resulted in cracked, bleeding nipples and a bacterial infection. Her nipples were so sore, she had to stop breastfeeding. She did, however, pump regularly to preserve her milk supply. Breastfeeding was important to Claire. She had fond memories of nursing her first daughter. She desperately wanted to nurse this new baby as well; but was afraid to try again.

Claire told me her story and asked for help to breastfeed her newborn daughter without pain. She was concerned that, after 4 weeks of bottle-feeding, her baby may not want to breastfeed. She was also concerned about her milk supply—she was not able to “keep up” with her baby—needing to supplement with some formula each day.
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Cookies for Milk Supply?

As a lactation consultant, I have the privilege of talking with hundreds of breastfeeding moms every year. Many of those mothers are concerned with milk production at some point in their nursing career. As you can imagine, (and as many of you know!) it’s very frustrating to do everything “right” and still not have enough milk for your baby. Moms know that breast milk is the best thing for babies, yet when supply problems exist, it can be difficult to give baby 100% breast milk. I have found that moms will do just about anything to help increase their milk production—prescriptions medications, strenuous pumping regimens or drinking bitter herbal concoctions.

A few years ago, I was approached by the founder of Milkmakers. She enthusiastically told me about her product—a cookie—that reportedly helps with milk production in breastfeeding moms. Some of the ingredients in Milkmakers are known to support milk production, but I was skeptical, to say the least. Continue reading