Getting a Good Latch Checklist

If you are experiencing pain while nursing, or if your baby does not seem to be gaining weight well, the first thing that most breastfeeding professionals will examine is your latch. Getting a good latch is essential for your comfort and your baby’s milk intake. Below is a simple checklist that any mom can perform to check for a good latch. If pain or other concerns persist, please contact a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

  1. Is nursing comfortable for you? Pain is a big sign that you’re baby is not latching correctly. In order for you to be comfortable, baby must be “latched on” to the breast (not the nipple). Although there may be some breast and nipple tenderness during the early days, breastfeeding should not be painful.
  2. Is your baby’s head tilted back? Your baby should latch on to your breast chin first (with his head slightly tilted back) so that he takes an adequate amount of breast into his mouth. Try bringing your baby’s body closer to you so that his head naturally tilts up.
  3. Is your baby opening his mouth wide? Your baby needs to open his mouth wide to prevent from only latching on to the nipple. Try tickling your baby’s lips with your nipple to encourage him to open wide.
  4. Can you see your baby’s lips? The upper and lower lip should be flanged outward so that you can see both of them. It is common for the lower lip to become tucked in, often a soft press on the chin is enough for the lower lip to turn outward.
  5. Can you hear your baby swallowing? In the beginning of a breastfeeding session you will usually see your baby sucking quickly until the letdown occurs. After letdown, you should notice baby swallowing after every one or two sucks.
  6. Is your baby’s body facing yours? No matter which breastfeeding position you choose, your baby’s tummy, chest, and legs should be facing and tucked in close your body.

Babies who are given opportunity to self-latch, by using a breastfeeding position such as the biological nurturing position, will often surprise us with a perfect latch!

Mastitis

When my son was about three weeks old I woke up with an extremely sore breast and began feeling like I had come down with a nasty flu. As I tried to get ready for the day I felt extremely cold and proceeded to put on my heaviest sweatshirt and climb back into my bed as I asked my husband to bring me some tea and an extra blanket. Luckily, because of my experience with breastfeeding mothers, I recognized my ailment right away. My sympathy goes out to anyone who has experienced mastitis, it is truly miserable. Thankfully mastitis is not always as severe as it was in my case. The term “mastitis” refers to any inflammation of the breast and there are various causes including:

 

  • infection
  • ineffective draining of the breast caused by a poor latch
  • damage to the nipple
  • scheduled feedings
  • limiting the length of feedings
  • supplementation
  • nursing strikes
  • pressure on the breast (such as a tight bra, or sleeping on stomach)

I am pretty sure that stomach sleeping was the cause of my mastitis, it’s so hard to resist when you had been forced to sleep on your back or side during pregnancy! Most cases of mastitis begin with a plugged duct that escalates into an infection; so it is important to recognize plugged ducts and begin to combat them right away (I will be posting information on plugged ducts soon!)

So now you might be thinking “Okay this is all great, but I think I have mastitis so what do I do about it?” There are several things that can be done to help you get on your way toward recovery:

  • Nurse, Nurse, Nurse! You need to get that breast drained; so climb into bed and nurse your baby as often as you can. If you can power through the pain, always begin with the infected breast as your baby’s suck will be strongest during the beginning of the feeding. Aim to breastfeed at least every 2 hours.
  • Get Comfy – You are not feeling well and need to rest. So put on some loose clothes(or go topless) and get as much rest as you can. Get some help if at all possible; if ever there was a time to call in a favor – now is it.
  • Check the latch – Your baby needs a good latch to be removing milk effectively. If you feel like your baby’s  latch might need some help then call a La Leche League Leader or an IBCLC. They will also be able to give you some more tips for dealing with mastitis that are relevant to your specific situation.
  • Massage – Massage your breast down toward the nipple while your baby is nursing, this may help to loosen any plug.
  • Soak – Soak your breast a few times a day to loosen any milk that may be dried to the nipple. You can do this by placing your breast in a warm basin of water for a few minutes, or take a nice relaxing bath and lie on your side. Try massaging your breast in the bath tub (I have gotten more plugs loose this way than any other).

An antibiotic may be needed if a fever is present for longer than 24 hours or if you are showing signs of a bacterial infection such as a cracked nipple, blood in your milk, or red streaks at the infection site.  Remember to call an IBCLC if you are feeling concerned about the severity of your symptoms. I hope you feel better soon!

Birth Control While Breastfeeding

The baby has been here for a few months, breastfeeding is finally going smoothly, and you are starting to get in your groove…..but what about birth control? If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, nature has given you a built in birth control option for the first 6 months or so. Lactational Amenorrhea refers to the delay of fertility during breastfeeding. In order for the Lactational Amenorrhea method to be effective (and it can be as high as 98% effective), the following must be true:

  • Your period has not returned
  • You are exclusively breastfeeding(baby is not receiving any other form of nourishment)
  • You are going no longer than four hours during the day and six hours at night between feedings
  • Your baby is younger than 6 months old.

The wonderful thing about breastfeeding as birth control is that it gives a new mom a nice long window before she needs to worry about other options. Once baby is a little older and you are considering other forms of birth control, you do have a few methods to choose from:

Natural Family Planning – If you tend to have pretty regular cycles then Natural Family Planning might be perfect for you. With NFP, you learn to chart your cycles so that you know when you are fertile, and abstain from intercourse during that time. If you decide to go this route, I strongly recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

Barrier Methods– Barrier methods such as condoms, cervical caps, and diaphragms are definitely compatible with breastfeeding. Barrier methods can be used alone or combined with other methods for extra protection. Diaphragms are effective approximately 88% of the time with typical use. If used correctly, condoms are about 98% effective. A cervical cap is only about 71% effective for women who have given birth vaginally.

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) – IUDs are devices that are inserted through the cervix and into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are available in both hormonal and non-hormonal forms. Both forms are considered compatible with breastfeeding. IUDs are extremely effective, with a failure rate of less than 1%. I have heard stories of unpleasant side effects with IUDs, so make sure to do your research if this is something you are considering.

The Mini-Pill- A Progestin-only birth control pill is considered compatible with breastfeeding. In order to be effective, the mini-pill needs to be taken at the same time every day.

Forms of birth control containing estrogen can affect a mothers milk supply and are not the best choice during breastfeeding. The above information is meant to give an overview of the choices available but does not include all of the advantages, side effects, and risks of each option.

Breastfeeding Myths

From the moment a mom develops a visual “baby bump”, she will usually find herself on the receiving end of endless advice from friends, family, and well-meaning strangers. When it comes to breastfeeding, everyone seems to have some input. With all of the contradictory information coming in from various sources, it can be hard for a new mom to know what to believe. Although most advice givers only want to help, there are many breastfeeding myths floating around that can be detrimental to a new breastfeeding relationship. Below are 10 common breastfeeding myths that I’m sure most moms have heard at least a few of:

 

  1. Your breasts are too small to breastfeed – women with all size breasts are able to breastfeed just fine!
  2. If your baby is nursing more than every two hours, you don’t have enough milk – It is perfectly normal for your baby to breastfeed often during the first few months and beyond. Remember that breastfeeding is also comforting so your baby may nurse often during times of stress or after a tumble.
  3. You have to give baby a bottle when you are sick – The best thing that a mom can do when she is sick is to keep baby close and nurse as much as possible. By nursing your baby when you are sick you are making sure she is getting the antibodies that she needs to protect herself from getting sick as well.
  4. You have to give baby a bottle when you have had any alcohol – It is okay to have one or two drinks and still breastfeed.
  5. If your baby is still waking up at night he needs to eat solid foods- It is perfectly normal for babies to wake during the night to breastfeed; and babies do not need anything other than breast milk until at least 6 months of age. Try to enjoy these night nursing sessions and special nighttime cuddles with your baby. It goes so fast! Sleeping with your baby often makes nighttime parenting easier.
  6. Breastfeeding is purely instinct- Although breastfeeding is natural, it is also learned. If you run into problems please contact a Board Certified Lactation Consultant or call your local La Leche League Leader.
  7. You need to toughen up your nipples to prepare for breastfeeding – Babies who are latched correctly will nurse from the breast, not the nipple. Although some mothers experience mild tenderness during the early days, nursing should not be painful.
  8. You need to wean when your baby gets teeth – Simply not true. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months of age with continued breastfeeding (along with appropriate solid foods) for up to two years of age or beyond.
  9. Your baby needs to be on a schedule – Breastfeeding is a process of supply and demand and in order for your body to produce the right amount of milk for your little one, she needs to be able to eat when she is hungry.
  10. Your baby gets all of the benefits of breast milk in the first 3 months, there is no point in breastfeeding past that time – Your baby will continue to receive benefits from breastfeeding for as long as it is continued.

You might be interested in this article about mastitis.

Biological Nurturing – Laid-Back Breastfeeding

With the overwhelming flow of emotions that comes with welcoming your new baby to the world, figuring out the perfect cross-cradle breastfeeding hold might be low on your list of things to master. You probably just want to snuggle your baby close on your chest and take in his wonderful scent. Fortunately, breastfeeding babies do not typically need special positions. A technique often referred to as Biological Nurturing, or laid-back breastfeeding, can help baby and mom find their natural rhythm.

To hold your baby in a Biological Nurturing position: lay back in a semi-reclined position, with pillows supporting your lower back and body, so that you are comfortable.

Place your baby tummy down so that all of their weight is resting on your chest.

Your hands are now free to caress and touch your baby!

Your baby may begin rooting around trying to find your breast; guide your baby to your breast and help them latch on (if they do not amaze you and do it by themselves!).

Some wonderful benefits to Biological Nurturing include:

  • Gravity helps ensure a wide and close fitting latch.
  • Your baby has their entire body is supported, as opposed to other holds which often leave their feet dangling.
  • Promotes your childs natural ability to self-latch.
  • You are able to fully relax and caress your baby while nursing.

How to Meet Your Needs as a New Mom

It can be difficult to adjust to life as a mom; suddenly you are responsible for the well being of another human life for twenty-four hours a day. Taking time to meet your personal needscan help make the transition to motherhood a smoother one. Think about the needs that you had before you became a parent. Some of the following tips might help you find a way to fit those needs into your new baby-centered lifestyle.

Need for Creativity

  • Keep a book next to the spot where you breastfeed most often. Read a chapter or two while baby is happily nursing.
  • If you are an artist, try doodling in a sketchbook while baby nurses. More detailed projects can be done during nap-time. Choose projects that can be worked on in small increments.
  • Crochet or knit during nap time. Baby might enjoy playing with the yarn(with supervision), while you crochet or knit, during tummy time.

Need for Rest

  • Give yourself permission to go to bed early with baby.
  • Sleeping with your baby at nighttime may help you get more sleep.
  • Nap when the baby naps. If you do not want to sleep, do quiet activities instead of trying to get all of your chores done.
  • Rest on the floor with baby while they have tummy time.

Need for Exercise

  • Go for long, or short, walks with baby in a carrier or sling.
  • Exercise with yoga videos while baby is playing on the floor. You can also wear your baby in a wrap-style carrier while you do yoga.
  • Put on some music and dance with your baby.

Need for Affection and Intimacy

  • Go for a walk together; hold hands and talk with your partner while your baby is in a carrier.
  • Have short 20 minute dates while your baby naps – enjoy a candlelit desert or snuggle on the couch and watch a movie in segments.
  • Ask your partner to rub your shoulders or feet while your baby nurses.
  • Put some music on and slow dance with your partner and your baby.
  • Express your desire for more affection. Your partner may not know just how much you need a hug after a long day.

Need for Community

  • Get involved with a local moms group.
  • Attend your local La Leche League Meeting.
  • Invite friends over for play dates.
  • Check out my article, Building a Support Network, for tips on finding other mothers in your area.

Need for Nourishment

  • Stick to foods that you can eat with one hand for the first several weeks.
  • Keep easy to grab foods, such as granola bars, near your nursing station.
  • Keep a water bottle near your nursing spot, thirst can come on very quickly when you begin to breastfeed.
  • Make a double batch of food for dinner so that you have healthy leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • Ask your partner to make you a sandwich in the morning(for lunch later) while they are packing their lunch for the day.
  • Chop fruits and vegetables into bite size pieces when you get home from the store and store them in containers in the refrigerator for easy to grab snacks.

Need for Personal Cleanliness

  • Take a bath with your baby, this is a great opportunity for skin-to-skin contact.
  • Shower in the evening when your partner is home, showers can be a nice little break and provide some you-time.
  • Get an easy to manage hair cut.
  • Shower with the door/curtain open while baby is nearby in a bouncy chair.
  • Set a timer on your phone to remind you to brush your teeth, sometimes it is hard to remember when you are not headed out the door at the same time every day.

Need for Household Cleanliness

  • Decide which chores need to be done and lower your standards for the rest.
  • Do chores while your baby is in a carrier.
  • Communicate with your partner, they may need to be in charge of dinner and dishes for a few months.
  • Recognize that your house will not be the same as it was before you had your baby, this is okay!

The newest addition to your family does not mean that you suddenly became someone without interests, hobbies, and personal standards for comfort. Finding a way to honor and respect the needs that you have as an individual will help you adapt to motherhood a little more easily.

Hope that helped!

Breastfeeding Report Card

The Breastfeeding Report Card for 2010 has been released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Breastfeeding statistics have improved over the last year, specifically when it comes to the number of mothers who initiate Breastfeeding. There is still a long way to go, as the number of mothers who continue to breastfeed their babies for at least 3 to 6 months is still low. Only a handful of states have at least 50% of mothers breastfeeding their babies for 6 months or longer. Eight states have an alarming rate of lower than 30% of babies receiving breast milk at 6 months.

The most common reason for switching to formula is a lack of support. Check out the statistics for your state and see what you can do to help. A simple understanding ear may be all it takes for a new mom to continue to breastfeed.

Here is a sample of the statistics from the Breastfeeding Report Card (to view the entire document, visit http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/BreastfeedingReportCard2010.pdf)

State Ever  Breastfed Breastfeeding at 6 Mo. Breastfeeding at 12mo.
U.S. National 75% 43% 22.4%
Lowest Ranking States:
Louisiana 56.6% 20.2% 9.8%
Mississippi 52.5% 22.5% 8.0%
West Virginia 53% 25.9% 12.5%
Highest Ranking States:
Oregon 86.5% 62.2% 39.6%
Hawaii 87.5% 60.4% 33.1%
Washington 87.9% 59.9% 33.4%

Seasonal Allergies While Breast Feeding

The sun is finally out in Oregon and my allergies are attacking with full force this year. As a breastfeeding mama I often have to do a little digging to find suitable remedies for my different ailments. Although many medications are fine while breastfeeding(it’s still a good idea to try to find a natural remedy if possible), antihistamines have been shown to lower a mothers milk supply. So I thought I would present a few alternatives for those of us that just need a little help getting through the beginning of the season:

  • Nettle Tea– Many people swear by Nettle Tea for seasonal allergy relief. Drink 3-4 cups a day. Tea can be made using loose leafs or, if you are like me and have never gotten in the swing of making loose leaf tea, you can try an already bagged brand such as Alvita or Traditional Medicinals(but be aware that it will not be as strong, and therefor may not do the trick as well as loose leaf tea).
  • Local Honey – If your allergy is to pollen, ingesting honey that is made from local bees can be quite effective at combating allergies. Try to find honey that was made as close to your home as possible. Honey is often available this time of year at a local farmers market.
  • Netti-Pot – Oh the sinus pressure! Netti-pots are small containers shaped like a tea kettle with a longer stem.To use the netti-pot you fill it up with warm water with a bit of salt, stand over a sink, pour the water in one nostril and let it drain out of the other. Although it is not the most pleasant experience, it really works to help clear out sinuses.
  • Spicy food – I’m sure many of you have noticed that when you eat food that is spicy, your nose starts to run. Eating spicy food every so often will help to keep your sinuses from getting too backed up; just make sure to have some tissues handy!

It is not the most comprehensive list but I only wanted to speak to the remedies that I have tried. I would love to hear what has worked for you; perhaps together we can offer several natural and safe allergy remedies for breastfeeding mamas to try!

Medela coupons

Are there actually Medela coupons available.  We’ve all heard of the brand and we know how great they are but can you get Medela breast pumps at a reduced price?  The truth is that Medela doesn’t really discount because they don’t have to.  They have such a great reputation that there really isn’t any need.  Occasionally an online store will have a Medela promo where they discount Medela products but it doesn’t happen very often.  That’s why I put this page together, because I’ll keep an eye out for promos and list them below.

Reviews of Hairfinity

Hairfinity is one of those really innovative products that will give you long, thick hair simply by promoting growth and really nourishing your hair from the inside. It claims to be able to do this by using their patented Capilsana Complex, which is giving a really nice blend of 18 different amino acids and essential vitamins.

It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, everyone wants supermodel Herbal Essence type hair or just hair that looks its best all the time. In today’s world, that is what everyone is striving for, and our hair is the first thing that people notice these days. So, keeping that in mind Hairfinity will help your hair look healthier, while it maximizes the length and growth.

Hairfinity states that their supplement only uses certain vitamins and amino acids as well as a special form of sulfur to help encourage your hair to grow. It has also been clinically proven to improve the hair, your scalp health, and increase the elasticity and strength of your hair as well as promote growth.

A healthy body is the best environment for your hair to really thrive in, and this supplement will give your body all the right nutrients that it needs to look its best. As a result, you will get over an inch of growth a month. Not to mention that amazing skin and strong, healthy nails to go with it.

My Review

Out of all the Hairfinity reviews I’ve read – this is the best. The only main thing that can go wrong is acne and oily skin and sometimes a head ache. It is recommended that you drink a whole lot of water while taking Hairfinity, to help with these issues. The headache after 2 weeks was gone, so I believe it was just my bodies way of saying, hey something new, get it out of me. Once I got past the largeness of the pills and having to take 2 of them a day, everything went like I expected it too.

It arrived on time, and shipped well. I order from Amazon for hassle free options. The price is a bit steep though, I am not complaining because I ended up with great results and some unexpected results too. My nails have always been really brittle and I could never really grow them out. I now have long, strong nails that are really healthy. Now it does contain Biotin, which can cause some adverse reactions, such as a rash, but other than that I didn’t see anything wrong.

I liked the fact that it has a 30-day money back guarantee.

I really should have listened to other hairfinity reviewsThis site also does a good job reviewing Hairfinity.

I cut my hair between those two months so my hair would really be longer than it is today.  Try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_hair_growth.

I didn’t encounter any reactions other than the skin inflammation. The cases were anything but difficult to swallow and goes down well while eating sustenance.  Speed up your hair growth.

Is Hairfinity Worth a Try?

Hairfinity asserts the contrast amongst theirs and different brands is that the selective Capilsana complex gives an exceptional sulfer and 18 amino acids that support solid hair development.

Overall, I had some really positive results and my hair has never looked this great. I have less shedding, more growth, and some really cool surprise growth for my nails. Now, this may not work for everyone, but it worked for me and I would certainly recommend Hairfinity to anyone who is looking for that OMG hair that everyone, including celebrities brag about. Even though it can be a bit expensive, it is worth it in the long run.