You have just had a baby. You’ve always known you would breastfeed, but things are not going well. Perhaps your nipples are sore. Or you’re struggling with engorgement. Maybe you’re worried about milk supply. Or your baby has hard time latching. Or maybe you just have a lot of questions. In any case, you and your healthcare provider have decided you need the help of an expert. It’s time to call a lactation consultant. Continue reading
Category Archives: Breast Pumps
Oversupply: Too Much of a Good Thing?
A new mother called me last week worried about her baby. He was struggling with latching and seemed generally unhappy with breastfeeding. She was terribly engorged and in a tremendous amount of pain from childbirth as well as her breast and nipple pain. When I arrived she was teary, confused and doubting her abilities as a mother.
In the process of hearing her story, I learned that she had been told several times by nurses and doctors that it was important to pump after each feeding to make sure the milk would come in. She was also told to feed her baby every 1.5 to 2 hours day and night. . She wanted to do everything right. She wanted to make sure her tiny newborn got plenty to eat.
So she did as she was told. When he was too sleepy (or too full) to wake up, she called her pediatrician. How could she feed her baby when he wouldn’t wake up? As per his advice, she stripped him to his diaper, tickled his feet and used cool washcloths when necessary. She continued to pump after feedings—terrified that her baby was not getting enough to eat. She even hand-expressed milk into his mouth—so worried he wasn’t eating enough. She was also concerned about her baby’s very frequent, mucousy stools.
Unfortunately, no one had bothered to ask about her health history. If they had, they would know she had a late miscarriage a few years prior. They would have known that after the miscarriage she had a full milk supply for several weeks and had a terrible time with engorgement. They would also have know that she has PCOS—which can result in copious milk supply. (Mom’s with PCOS can also have issues with low milk supply.)
When her milk came in she was in trouble. She felt she had to keep pumping because she had so much milk. Her baby was choking and gagging. He would only nurse for 3-5 minutes–and it was a struggle. Then she would pump 6 additional ounces!
I showed her how to help her baby to the breast, letting him “take the lead” and latch in a way that worked with his reflexes. He nursed beautifully through her strong let down and handled her supply with no trouble. When the milk came too quickly, he cleverly let go and she helped him regroup and burp a little. He ended up nursing on both breasts contentedly for about 15 minutes. When he decided he was full, he was relaxed and happy. His mother was amazed at the difference!
I saw this mom a week later and she was a new woman. Now she lets her baby decide when he wants to eat. She used cabbage leaves to reduce her swelling and milk production and stopped pumping after feedings. Her baby’s stools are normal and he is happy and growing well.
If you find yourself with an oversupply brought on by pumping, gradually decrease the pumping over time. Cabbage leaves (green) rinsed and placed under your bra a few times/day will help reduce engorgement and may reduce your supply somewhat. Some foods may help you reduce supply as well. Your baby may be more comfortable nursing side by side in bed. You can also try leaning back and letting your baby nurse prone.
Many mothers worry about not having enough milk. It’s natural for a you, as a new mom, to have doubts. But try to keep in mind that the vast majority of mammals—including humans– have plenty of milk for their babies. It’s relatively rare to be unable to produce adequate milk. If you feel you have too little milk, or too much, please contact a lactation consultant and get help as soon as possible. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can relax and enjoy your baby and breastfeeding.
Milk Supply–A Thank You Note
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you so much for everything you have helped us accomplish this past year. Today is my son, Robbie’s, first birthday, and I am happy to say we are still pumping, and strongly committed to at least 18 months.
After three years of heart-breaking infertility, I often found myself wondering why I couldn’t be a Mommy. I continually came back to the thought I was going to be a horrible mom. The day my son was born, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to give him everything. We left the hospital when he was five days old. Breastfeeding was not successful. I tried and tried, but Robbie couldn’t latch. I diligently pumped my milk for him, but it was difficult and I never made quite enough. When he was a couple months old, my Dr. suggest the Mirena IUD for birth control. After having it inserted, my supply dwindled even more—down to just an ounce and a half a day. I was met with discouragement and urgings to stop pumping from family and friends. They kept telling me how much more time I would have during the day if I stopped. Continue reading
Which Hygeia Breast Pump is Right for YOU?
One of the great things about Hygeia is that their fantastic professional-grade breast pump comes in 2 different versions. It’s nice to have choices. But choices can sometimes be confusing—especially when you are a sleep-deprived mother of a new baby.
The nice folks at Hygeia could have made it a lot easier on all of us by coming up with names that made sense. EPS? LBI? What the heck do those mean exactly? I finally have it all figured out and it’s really very simple once you understand that those abbreviations really mean very little. Just trust me as I describe each pump in detail. Continue reading
Breastfeeding and Work–Alice’s Story
Alice came to me concerned about how she was going to keep breastfeeding once she returned to her full-time career. In her workplace, there is no such thing as 9-5. Everyone is expected to put in long days. I talked to her about asking for what she needed and setting some limits. We also talked about creative ways to meet her baby’s needs. She took my suggestions and ran with them—developing her own, unique style. Many thanks to Alice for sharing how she has managed to maintain her breastfeeding relationship and continue her fast-paced work life.
Christian is a big, healthy boy who is now enjoying solid foods in addition to mommy’s milk. Here is her success story: Continue reading