Search Results for: peer counselor

The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program- why you should care

It’s déjà vu for me today, Leakies.

Last year, right around this time, I wrote an article for this very site about how a representative was proposing that we removing funding from the WIC breastfeeding peer counselor program, The High Life of a WIC BReastfeeding Counselor.  That was struck down, and quickly, but sadly enough, threats to the program loom again.

In case you don’t know what the breastfeeding peer counselor program is, it’s an awesome program at WIC where breastfeeding or former breastfeeding moms are hired and thoroughly trained to provide breastfeeding advice and support.  In fact, our training is so awesome and the program is so respected that the organization that tests people to become registered lactation consultants, IBLCE, allows it as one of the few ways to gather the hands on hours required to take the examination.  The program helps both new moms and moms-to-be with a variety of breastfeeding issues.  We teach classes, we do one-on-one counseling, and we assess moms and babies who are having issues.  We can catch issues early and fix them or refer to someone who can.  We run support groups and work with businesses and hospitals to make the community a more supportive place for women who do choose to breastfeed.  We run warmlines.  Some of us do home or hospital visitations.  Many of us are IBCLCs.  What we do, in a private practice setting, would cost you a LOT of money.  Yet, for the women who qualify for WIC, these services are totally free.

And although we are all breastfeeding advocates, we’re not going to force you to breastfeed or look down on you if you don’t.  We will encourage you and help you, but we will not force our goals or ideals on you, and we will not look down on you if you don’t breastfeed for as long as we would or in the way that we would or even at all.  There’s something pretty amazing, though, about seeing a new mom who really, really wants to breastfeed, so incredibly tired and sore and unhappy and on the verge of giving up light up when she is given the tools needed to make things work for her.  And these tools are sadly unavailable in many other places.  Many doctors aren’t all the breastfeeding savvy.  Hospitals that have lactation consultants often only have them there part time, or they are too overbooked to give moms the time that they need.  La Leche League meetings can be at times that a new mom can’t manage – especially if she’s also working.

Money for breastfeeding support within WIC was already cut once this year.  This is pretty sad, given that the Surgeon General’s call to action to support breastfeeding was issued just a year ago.  We know the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, and we know that while so many moms want to breastfeed, a significant amount simply aren’t meeting their goals.  Mother to mother support is proven to be a huge help.  And when that support is trained and qualified to bust myths and give realistic advice while not being judgmental, that’s even better.

A House subcommittee yesterday passed a bill for funding for WIC that has no money earmarked for peer counselors. That, combined with the lowered budget overall, means that a lot of ladies will be losing their jobs and a lot of moms will be losing what might be the only education and support they have for breastfeeding.  While my office is amazing and everyone is supportive of breastfeeding and decently educated, and while I believe that WIC has taken steps to ensure that is the norm, there are many agencies that only maintain a counselor because that money is earmarked.  The peer counselor in those offices may be the only person there well versed in breastfeeding and holding the solutions to common issues.  If we take her away, there will be a lot of moms that switch to formula – not because they want to, but because they feel like they have no choice in the matter.

So why should you care?

Well, if you believe that women should be supported in their breastfeeding endeavors, you want breastfeeding peer counselors to keep their funding.  If you are someone who doesn’t care about breastfeeding but wants government spending to decrease, then you want breastfeeding peer counselors to keep their jobs.  You see, we help women to be healthier and have healthier babies, which translates into less money spent on state insurance and less spent on purchasing formula.  If you’re a business owner or manager, you want us to keep our funding, because by helping moms to keep breastfeeding and continuing to confer that specifically tailored immune protection, your employees’ babies are at their optimal health, and your employees will be at work more often, increasing productivity.

I urge you to sign this petition and consider letting your elected officials know that cutting funding to this program is ridiculous and short-sighted.  It may save some money short term, but it will have significant consequences long term.

 

 

 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, is a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest and has just started her private practice as an IBCLC (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support).  She also sits on the  breastfeeding task force in her town, is helping her  community’s Early Head Start redefine  their breastfeeding support, and is the  driving force behind a local breastfeeding campaign.  In  the remainder of her free  time, she chases around her nursling and preschooler.

 

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The High Life of a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor

Yesterday, The Huffington Post ran the story “Virginia Foxx Proposes To Cut Breastfeeding Support Funds.” In light of the news regarding a proposal to cut funding to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) for the breastfeeding peer counselor program in the USA, my friend (and helping admin. on TLB Facebook) Star shares her perspective as a peer counselor.  Star, like almost all peer counselor in the WIC program, works part time supporting women in breastfeeding meaning she receives no benefits.  Her response to the proposition of Rep. Foxx indirectly addresses the very serious implications of such a proposal: we do not value breastfeeding as a culture.  We claim we do but then, as Star says, we do not walk the walk. Additionally an action such as this demonstrates that we don’t understand the very nature of breastfeeding education and support which is a major contributing factor in why so many women that start out breastfeeding are no longer breastfeeding within a few weeks or months.  We should be examining how to make support for breastfeeding more available to women, not less so.  I’m proud to present this guest post from Star.

Hi. I’m Star, and I’m a breastfeeding peer counselor for WIC.

However, if Representative Virginia Foxx from North Carolina has her way, I won’t be able to say that for much longer. “All this money is being spent on salaries, benefits and cell phones for a program the federal government has no business doing,” Foxx was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

You caught me, Virginia Foxx. I am living the high life on government money while performing a totally unneeded job. I’m so glad you exposed my career as the farce that it is. Thank you.

All sarcasm aside, let’s talk about what I do.

First of all, let’s have a (really brief and as non-boring as possible) history of the peer counselor program. WIC used to be seen as “that formula distribution center for poor people.” WIC decided, in the early 2000s, that they needed to get serious about promoting the normal way of feeding a child – breastfeeding. So they initiated a pilot program of peer counseling. After all, their research showed that mother to mother support made a huge difference in breastfeeding. They would hire women – women who were or had been on WIC that the other moms could relate to, who had successfully nursed babies. They would provide training and education and these peers would give support and advice. They would also, they hoped, get more mothers to breastfeed.

It worked. It worked so well that WIC decided to roll it out around the nation.

So what do I do, exactly?

Well, it’s not as glamorous as Virginia Foxx makes it out to be. First of all, my salary is a pittance. Most peer counselors make between $8 to $10 per hour. I get no sick days, no health insurance, no paid vacation time, no 401k. I run a Facebook group that is only peer counselors, and I have never heard one of them discuss the awesome benefits or salary of the job, so I’m pretty sure that this is country wide. I get to bring my child to work with me until she’s two, but that’s my office and not reflective of every WIC everywhere. Sometimes my boss buys cookies. I once got a t-shirt.

I know, I know. Try not to die of jealousy, everyone.

Now let’s look at a typical day in the life of me. I get to work, check voicemail, counsel prenatal moms about the benefits of breastfeeding, what to expect, and what to do when they go back to work. I rent our breastpumps. I do feeding assessments if moms are concerned about baby not getting enough. I call clients. I evaluate latches. I teach classes. I leave notes in the files so that other staff knows what is going on with the client. I do everything an IBCLC through a private practice or hospital might do, I just do it much cheaper. (Please note: not all WIC counselors are IBCLCs. I am not, although I am taking the exam this summer. I am not trying to say that I currently should or could make the same amount of money as one. I will say that IBLCE had very stringent requirements for the counseling hours that you need before you sit the exam, though, and currently WIC and LLLI are the only two ways to get that experience that don’t require a career in medicine or a mentorship, though, so we must have pretty awesome training.)

At four, I go home and leave all my work behind me.

*bursts into hysterical laughter*

At four, I do clock out. Then I turn on my cell phone – MY cell phone, Representative Foxx, the one that is not paid for by the company, thank you very much – and I run my own warmline for my clients. Sometimes, I don’t get a lot of calls. Sometimes I do. I have taken calls that have lasted hours. I have taken middle of the night calls. I have taken texts. I have taken calls on major holidays, most notably Christmas Eve. I took a call when my daughter was in the hospital and I was frazzled and upset and kind of really wanted to let it just go to voicemail.

I have been paid for zero of those calls.

I also make calls, from home, from the road (when someone else is driving.) I stuff envelopes with breastfeeding information. I ask local businesses to donate prizes to the mom’s group. I advocate at businesses. I talk to the media.

I rarely get paid for any of that, either. I probably could, but I have never asked. I have never asked because I’d rather have the extra money in the budget go to helping my moms breastfeed. I would rather we buy a pump for an exclusively breastfeeding mom who is returning to work at 4 weeks postpartum doing 12 hour days than line my pocket.

I didn’t take this job for the money. I took it because I have a passion for breastfeeding and helping families. I took it because helping low income mothers who can’t get help elsewhere fulfills me in a way that working in a large clinic or hospital (and, yes, I’ve had offers for once I get my board certified status) would.

I took this job for the clients I have. Man, they are amazing. I have students, and full time workers. I have moms who have babies in the NICU who are totally committed to breastfeeding, despite the challenges. I have moms whose babies never latched who have pumped and struggled for months on end because this is that important to them. I have moms with breast injuries that keep them from producing enough milk who still do as much as they can.. I have mothers who have lost their babies and are still pumping, donating milk, for other babies. My clients are diverse and wonderful. They are black and white and Asian and Hispanic. They are lesbian and straight. They are teen moms and forty somethings. They are incredible parents and they humble me every single day.

I took this job because I care.

But why should you? Maybe you’re not a breastfeeding advocate, or maybe you do think that WIC should have their funds cut. After all, we’re in a bleak economy, right?

Let’s look at what happens if the peer counselors no longer have funding. Well, clearly, we all lose our jobs. So there’s that burden on the economy. Some of us will go on assistance programs ourselves. Some of us will just spend less, negatively impacting our local economies.

In many WIC offices, the peer counselor is the knowledgeable one about breastfeeding. So when she’s not there to answer a phone or see a mom, the breastfeeding rates drop. The money WIC spends on formula increases. Let’s not forget, either, that many a baby has issues with formula.. WIC pays for more costly formulas if you have a doctor’s note. Some of those formulas are $40-$50 a can. Cans last roughly two days to a week. Nice little burden for us taxpayers there.

But wait. There’s more.

Research shows that statistically breastfed babies are healthier than formula fed babies. They have less chance of a number of serious illnesses. They also have immune protection specifically tailored to their environment, so when the other kid at daycare has the flu, they may not get it. So more people on WIC formula feeding = more children that are on WIC getting sicker. Know how many kids on WIC are also on Medicaid? A lot. Medicaid is getting ready to expand in 2014 under health care reform, too. Sick kids = higher taxpayer burden.

And let’s not forget the cost that illness has on the workforce. A sick kid has to go somewhere, and it can’t be daycare. Who stays home with that kid? Mom or Dad, right? So that leaves a business short staffed. Many WIC participants are working jobs with pretty stringent attendance requirements, too. So Mom or Dad loses the job. Suddenly, they need more assistance and contribute to the economy less.

It’s a snowball effect that winds up spending more taxpayer dollars… All because I lost my job.  All because the peer counselor program was cancelled and moms didn’t receive the support they needed to breastfeed.

This idea was struck down yesterday. However, these are tough economic times, and the idea of cutting funds for this may emerge again. You can see how your representative voted here (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll431.xml) and then you can send them a letter, e-mail, or even call them to congratulate them or condone them for their vote. You can also send Representative Foxx a note telling her how you feel about cutting breastfeeding support. And if you’re not sure who your representative is, look here (http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html)

Finally, you can share this with your friends. You can post it to Facebook, or just talk to them about it. Advocating doesn’t have to be hard, but it will absolutely make a difference.

On behalf of those of us working for moms, I thank you.

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How Lubrication Can Improve Breastmilk Pumping

by Kristine Phillips Keller

This post made possible by the support of Ameda

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I learned the answer to this question the hard way with my oldest son. I was not much of a reader but breastfed because both of my sisters did the breastfeeding thing. If they could do it, so could I. However, in hindsight, I pretty much did everything wrong that I could have done. I wanted a nursery (I needed sleep, right?), I wanted pacifiers (he can’t just suck on me or I won’t get any sleep) and I wanted bottles (dads need to help too, right?). I thought, surely I can make all of this work. Boy was I wrong!

Not only did I go into it uneducated, I also have flat nipples. I honestly thought they were broken as they never became fully erect prior to years of nursing/pumping. I also have really naturally dry skin. Early on, I had damage but didn’t realize how bad it was until it was visible, right at Stage III damage (which means skin is literally gone). I was in such pain that I would cry when my boys would cry because I knew what was coming. I would fear nursing them because of the toe curling pain that it took to get them latched on. For the most part, after a minute or two it became bearable. Other times, the entire feeding was excruciatingly painful for me.

At six weeks with my first, I gave into pumping full time. I asked for help from family repeatedly to try and figure out what I was doing wrong and what I could do to correct the latch. No one seemed to be able to offer me the advice that I needed to make direct breastfeeding work and I just didn’t have it in me to bear that kind of pain any more. However, I still wanted to give them my milk…so I continued on with pumping & still continued to have cracked, bloody nipples until a good 10-11 months of pumping.

Around that same time, I was talking with my sister about all of the bloody milk that I was dumping because, even though I was no longer nursing, I still had pretty bad damage on both of my nipples. I just thought that’s how it was going to be for me. She then asked me if I was lubricating before I pumped. My response to her was, “Isn’t that what you do when you have sex?” She laughed & then said yes but that the pump shields were dry. Babies have moisture in their mouth for lubrication but there is no moisture on the pump shield prior to pumping.

I mean, would you ever expect to drive a car with NO lubrication and have things go well? ABSOLUTELY NOT! There must be lubrication to prevent friction… and to prevent damage. After all, isn’t that what our healthcare is supposed to be about these days, preventative care? Well, let me tell you…the difference was night and day. I went from having constantly damaged, bloody nipples to pain free/damage free nipples overnight. It was such a relief to know that there was something I could do to prevent this pain and discomfort.

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I started working for WIC 2.5 years ago as a peer counselor and have since applied theory to moms that come to me with damaged or sore nipples. If you lubricate before you latch, you lessen the probability of damage happening from the initial suck (regardless of whether it’s baby or the pump). That lubrication gives both something to slide against instead of that reverse pressure working against dry skin.

I’ve asked numerous breastfeeding professionals and no one seemed to know of any literature that puts emphasis on “lubricating BEFORE nursing or BEFORE pumping”. The only reference that I’ve seen is to use breast milk on sore nipples AFTER nursing. If it works after, why not try it before?

Lubricant suggestions: (you may need to try a few different ones to decide which is most comfortable for you.)

  • Your breastmilk
  • Nipple cream/ointment (suggest vegan and edible, rather than animal based)
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Almond oil
  • Infant massage oil
  • Avoid synthetics such as traditional baby oil

Some moms have found that regularly lubricating their breasts and pump horns before pumping greatly reduces the amount of discomfort they experience which in turn helps them let down easier and respond better to the pump.  There’s no need for pumping to be a painful or uncomfortable experience, experiment with different lubricant options to find what works best for you.  I hope this simple tip helps you in your breastfeeding and pumping journey as it has helped me.  How about we pass along this little known tip and prevent the damage in the first place?

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What pumping tips do you have to share to help other moms?

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Kristine Thanks to her sister, Kristine breastfed/exclusively pumped for her two boys now 3.5 and 8 years old, she pretty much did everything wrong when it came to breastfeeding but managed to get the pumping thing right (after a while).  After experiencing discrimination she contacted WIC about becoming a breastfeeding peer counselor and begin training to become an IBCLC. She sits for the IBCLC exam this summer and looks forward to continuing to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.
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Nourishing Our Children and Ourselves – #TLBnourish 2017

#TLBnourish 2017 is made possible thanks to Title Sponsor: My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

 

#TLBnourish is a time to celebrate nourishing our families, ourselves, and even our community. From sharing recipes to sharing stories to sharing our photos, #TLBnourish is about feeding our whole selves well.

Nourishment is so much more than just nutrition for our bodies; our spirits find nourishment in connection, our relationships find nourishment in each other, our children find nourishment in our arms (our little Lucky reminds my family of this daily), our minds are nourished through learning and conversation, and our hearts are nourished by being with the people we love.

#TLBNourish brings us all together as we hold space for each other in what this may look like in our lives, embracing the bravery required to open up about what and how we nourish ourselves and our families. With so much pressure to be a certain way with an expectation of perfection it can feel risky to say what we really do, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do together, supporting how our journeys are diverse and meaningful. Feeding our very souls.

Also, sometimes we’re just plain ol’ surviving! And we can laugh, cry, and joke about that reality. Nourishment isn’t always the stuff of cooking shows and feel-good-TV. It’s more of a buffet of hasty snacks, complex dishes, and some total flops- like the time my brother used garlic oil on accident to make brownies and it was the laughter that nourished us.

We are excited to share #TLBnourish 2017 with you, The Leaky Boob community, and also our Beyond Moi community, that focuses first on strengthening the connection we have with our families and ourselves to key aspects that deeply impact relationships of all sorts. Join us on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, hereBeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; and the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here.

#TLBnourish 2017 launched a few days ago with our campaign ambassadors sharing their daily nourishing experiences on Instagram, and introducing our campaign giveaway. It will run for the next couple of weeks though a meaningful focus on how we nourish ourselves and our families is never really limited to a set of dates. It’s what TLB does every day! We will be focusing on what nourishes us with good food, meaningful experiences, opening up, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and brands we trust including Title Sponsoring Brand My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, maker of the cuddliest keepsake to celebrate and/or honor our new family members.

Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBnourish (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.

Let’s explore the many ways we nourish ourselves and our relationships together, with #TLBnourish 2017.

Check out and follow our team of brave campaign ambassadors below on social, and show some love to the wonderful campaign sponsors below who understand the importance of nourishment within our families and intimate relationships.

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Meet Our Campaign Ambassadors 

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the nourishment present in their relationships. Here are the six mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBnourish experiences with us:

Hi everyone! My name is Aley, and I am a 26 year old mother of three – ages 12, 3), and 5 weeks. I nursed my 3 yr old until he was 3.5 and he self weaned when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with his brother. So far, my baby and I are also going stong with nursing. I did disposables with for my other babies but am looking forward to starting cloth soon with my newest little one. I am a stay at home mom so keeping up on housework and keeping the kids alive are my usual daily battles.

You can find Aley on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

Hi, I’m Angela  Mom of three kids (ages 6, 3, and 8 months), I’m a Navy spouse, and registered nurse (pediatrics). We have been moving every two years and we just recently moved to Nevada in July, so still trying to get settled and starting to think about going back to work!

You can find Angela on Instagram.

 

 

Hey Everyone! I’m Ashley, mom of two (ages 2 & 2 months). Currently, I’m a breastfeeding peer counselor. I also volunteer and lead a breastfeeding support group at a local women’s center! I cloth diaper and I’m trying get the hang of babywearing haha!

You can find Ashley on Instagram.

 

 

 

Hello! My name is Diamond and I’m the mom of 4 girls (ages 11, 9, 4, and 8 months)! I’m the founder of Carry On-Newark, (we give free education and natural parenting supplies to low income families in Newark) ,I blog for Smitten Wovens, I’m a chapter leader for World On My Shoulders and occasionally assist my husband on his page (The Babywearing Dad). I am a Babywearing educator, cloth diaper expert and a breastfeeding advocate in Newark NJ. I’m so excited to be here!!

You can find Diamond on Instagram.

 

Hello, my name is Iola. I’m a social media consultant, birth/breastfeeding advocate, hiker, climber, kayaker, doula and mom. I have five wonderful kids ages 6, 5, 2, 1, and 7 weeks. I am a single, co-parenting mom, by choice. We live in Minnesota, twin cities area, my second home is Duluth, MN. We are avid campers. Pretty much an open book.

You can find Iola on Instagram.

 

 

Hey guys! My name is Jess and I’m 31. I have a 2.5 year old boy and am 33 weeks pregnant with a little girl.

I’m a pediatric cardiology nurse at Seattle Children’s in their central Washington clinic but in late February, my family is moving to the east coast. I’m really looking forward to getting the heck out of Washington and starting fresh!

You can find Jess on Instagram.

 

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#TLBnourish 2017 Sponsors

 

Title Sponsor: My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

Looking for a unique pregnancy keepsake? There is nothing more precious to an expectant mother than the sound of her baby’s heartbeat. My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear provides everything you need to capture the sound of your baby’s heartbeat and create a keepsake that will be cherished forever. Our kit includes an adorable stuffed animal, and a 20 second red heart recorder that will easily preserve the sound of your baby’s heartbeat. My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Kits also make fantastic baby shower gifts! Find out more here

 

Pure Spoon

Pure Spoon’s organic HPP baby food use 100% fresh, certified organic fruits and veggies that are cold-pressed, cold-packed and delivered right to your door. Find out more here

 

BeliBea

An innovative maternity bra line for both breastfeeding and hands-free pumping convenience. Find our more here

 

Motif Pumps, presented by Aeroflow Breastpumps

Supporting new and expecting moms by providing breast pumps through insurance. Find out more about Aeroflow here and more about Motif here
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To participate in the #TLBnourish 2017 Sponsors’ giveaway, click here
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A Move Toward Health, for Family, for You – #TLBMoves 2017

You might think that with expecting a baby for the 7th time there would be very little left to surprise me about the pregnant life – that there wouldn’t be anything new for me to figure out. That’s what I thought.
 
But I find myself fairly well stumped about what to do about a condition that I have never experienced in previous pregnancies: feeling well. Well enough to do more than my typical pattern of laying down, bathroom run to puke, laying down, bathroom run to puke, ad nauseam (pun intended).
 
So here I am, not throwing up all day long, eating better than I have since, well, possibly ever, and feeling like I could go for daily runs with Jeremy, who isn’t running daily but did start running several times a week a couple months ago. Of course, I can’t actually run, what with my belly and boobs bouncing and flopping, but more importantly because, well, I’m actively saving all my running energy for when I’ll need it most: when we’re past some cataclysmic event and living in a glorious post-apocalyptic era – and also, I hate running. Not to mention I stopped running last fall and it’s not a good idea to start a new high impact physical activity over halfway through pregnancy (if you are a runner before you are pregnant and can continue into your pregnancy, that’s great!)
 
But I am wanting to get more active because I know that being active is good for me, looking through Pinterest to find inspiration, browsing YouTube for activities that I would enjoy, while I know that at this point a 20 minute walk completely wears me out – the upside being that I nap really well right now!
 
How on earth are we supposed to focus on our health while growing a baby? Especially when the information out there is so polarized? It’s either do/eat whatever you want or start Zumba and hot yoga and stick to green protein smoothies.
 
And how on earth are we supposed to think about being physically active with a newborn? Or an infant? Or a toddler? Or all of the above? And be a stay at home parent? Or a working parent?
 
I don’t know.
 
But once a year I encourage The Leaky Boob community to think about it and find small ways to inch ourselves toward being more healthy. For the 4th year in a row, we are taking a few weeks of summer to take a good, non-shaming, look at ourselves, and determine what steps we can each take to be just a little healthier than we are.
 
I’m not dogmatic about how babies are fed, and I’m sure as hell not going to be dogmatic about getting fit. You won’t find me pushing my Leakies to join a gym or a 6 AM boot camp. Just like for infant feeding, I look forward to sharing thought-provoking information, personal stories and anecdotes from our community, and encouraging the support of one another in TLB’s various platforms.
 
#TLBmoves is a campaign where everyone is welcome, couch potatoes to triathletes, fitness experts to exercise loathers, women and men and children, because no matter who you are, taking care of you is one of the ways that you take care of the ones you love.
 
I bring no agenda, no program, no exercise routines, no weight loss plans, or anything like that. Just a desire for Leakies to support each other as we each figure out what’s right for us. It could be adding a 10 minute walk to your day, cutting back on sugar, trying the squat challenge, really anything that seems achievable to you right now. Try it out, assess, and change your goal when you need to.
 

My husband, Jeremy, started running again a couple of months ago. He walked to our neighborhood park and set for himself the goal of making it around the park 8 times, running as much as he could handle and walking the rest. The park is ⅓ mile around. I don’t know why he picked 8 times. The first time he tried, he mostly walked. Now, 2 months later, after going to the park 2-3 times a week, he is up to 13 times around, 10 of which are running. He slowly increased how much he ran and also the number of times he went around, based on how he felt each day he went out. He has no goal other than getting healthier and losing a little weight in the process. After the first couple of weeks, he made a startling discovery: he had more energy overall. Yes, exercising still wipes him out right after he goes for his run, and he still hates it, but he feels more awake and “with it” than he did before he started moving more.
 
#TLBmoves is about getting started together. You can make it into becoming an Olympic athlete if you want. Or you can focus on being better able to keep up with your toddler. It’s up to you. Will you join me? 
 
It’s time for #TLBmoves!
 

 
Find support and inspiration in our closed group #TLBmoves here.  And join me on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, here; BeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; and the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here.
 
#TLBmoves 2017 runs through the end of July, though a meaningful focus on how we get moving with our families is never really limited to a set of dates. We will be focusing on what inspires us in health and fitness, sharing meaningful experiences, opening up, posting ideas, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and a few select brands we trust: Contours, Joovy, The Vintage Honey Shop, and Chunkabuns.
 
Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBmoves (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.
 
Let’s explore health and moving together, with #TLBmoves. Oh, and enter our giveaway here

 

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Meet Our Ambassadors

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the love present in their relationships. Here are the four mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBmoves experiences with us this for the next month:

 
 

Dominique Gallo

I am a Hampton Roads native currently residing in Roanoke County. I am a wife to a  L.E.O (Law Enforcement Officer) and mom to two beautiful girls, an energetic little boy,  and two fur babies. I was called to birth work because of the birth of my oldest. I had no support and was not able to make informed decisions– or any decisions for that matter!. I felt bullied and scared. From then on with a little helpful nudging from friends and family I decided to become a lactation consultant and a doula to make sure that mothers did not have to experience what I experienced. I have an undergrad degree in Community Health Education from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!) and currently finishing up a master’s degree in Health and Wellness: Lactation Consulting to further my knowledge in lactation. I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) , a professional doula trained by toLabor, and a child birth educator trained by Lamaze International.  I am the Director of Marketing for the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA), and I also host a podcast, called Mocha Milkies Cafe, to help bring knowledge and awareness about breastfeeding and positive birth practices to African America women in my spare time. 


Ambar Gingerelli

Ambar Gingerelli is a wife + mama, life coach for new moms, and the creator of Mama Bird Well Nest, a blog dedicated to supporting mothers in creating happy and healthy lives. She helps mamas who are struggling to find balance learn to put themselves first so that they can have a positive experience of motherhood and feel deeply connected to themselves and their children. Ambar believes that true health comes from nurturing ourselves fully in mind, body, and spirit, and that it is vital for us to take great care of ourselves so that we are better able to care for our loved ones. You can connect with her on her blog, www.mamabirdwellnest.com and on her Instagram page, www.instagram.com/mamabirdwellnest. Check out her free yoga video series – an easy way to get moving!

 


Ashley Martin

Ashley Martin is a breastfeeding educator from the Chicagoland area. She the mama to one busy bee toddler and currently waiting on the arrival of her second seed.  Ashley is also the creator of Mommy & Moon, a blog dedicated to encouraging moms to cultivate a positive space for self love. She believes the key to motherhood is being resilient.

There is so much beauty in the resilience of a woman, both physically in mentally! We are strong! 

You can connect with Ashley on Instagram and through her blog, www.mommyandmoon.com

 

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/martinwebberfamily1Jessica Martin-Weber

Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, and co-creator of BeyondMoi.com. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 20 years and they are all looking forward to the addition of a new family member sometime this Fall.

 

 

 

 

Sara Smith

Sara Smith is a wife, mother, breastfeeding and education advocate, and community volunteer. After struggling to nurse her first child due to a lack of knowledge and community resources, she decided to continue her post-graduate education as a breastfeeding peer counselor and aims to provide breastfeeding support to families in her county once certified. Sara believes that evidence-based information is greatly empowering, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of new mothers and the babies that depend on them.  When Sara is not wrangling her two toddlers, she volunteers as the Co-Vice President and Co-Chair (and blogger) for the Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project/Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project – Mohave County, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing breastfeeding support bags to new and expecting mothers in Arizona. Follow her personal adventures with #TLBmoves on Instagram

 

Brianda Traylor.

Hey! I’m Brianda Traylor I am a proud mommy of a two year old girl named Olivia and twin 5 month old boys named Owen and Benjamin. My house is always chaotic but I love every minute of it. I work full time and I am always on the move with my little dragons (khaleesi reference). I am so happy to be apart of the #TLBMoves campaign and I hope I bring some love and light by sharing my chaos.  

 

 

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Meet Our Partners

We are so grateful to partner with brands who value the mission of The Leaky Boob and we trust to share with our community. Leakies themselves, the brands below have made caring for families with quality products that we can trust a priority, and they believe in the importance for us all to get moving in and beyond #TLBmoves. Check out the giveaway they’re sponsoring over here!


Contours Contours is a family-owned and family-operated company that has been developing baby products for more than 70 years, and we know that nothing is more important than family. Life is hectic, kids grow up fast, and every moment counts. Contours products are designed to make parents’ lives easier. Our strollers, carriers, and everything in between bring balance to their active lives with convenience and adaptability. Check out the Contours Love 3-in-1 baby carrier!

 

Joovy – Joovy is a U.S. born, lifestyle brand that brings innovative design concepts to the growing and dynamic baby accessory market.

Since 2005, Joovy has been dedicated to making mobility easier for growing families. Our mission is to provide parents with products that are both fun and functional with an emphasis on durability, utility, and on-trend design. Each of the products that we offer also takes your child’s comfort and safety into consideration, making it a product that the whole family enjoys.

Joovy’s collection of products has grown to five categories: strollers, feeding, playards, walkers, bikes/trikes/toys and accessories. Its attention to innovative designs and high quality at an affordable price sets it apart from the competition.

 


The Vintage Honey Shop – We are a handmade teething & nursing necklace company in Nashville, TN. Our necklaces help keep mama from being scratched & pinched during feeding time and provide relief when teething! You can also wear our necklaces while wearing your baby as they provide a focal point for your baby, giving them something to play with and grab onto while being close to your heart. Check out their teething and nursing necklaces!

 

Chunkabuns – Like every great idea, Chunkabuns began with a mission in mind: to solve the Fluffy Bottomed Baby epidemic once and for all. Chunkabuns is the passion project of a cloth-diapering mom who struggled to find clothing that fit comfortably around cloth diapers while still looking good. After two years of research, redesign, and product testing, Chunkabuns is proud to offer a unique, quality solution for parents using non-disposable cloth diapers that will grow right alongside your baby! But that’s not all – they have also developed fun and inspiring shirts and other items of clothing for everyone in the family! Check out Chunkabuns tops here!

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Pump Like a Pro – Double Up

by Wendy Bell, CLE
Editor’s note: A big thanks to Snugabell for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank Snugabell on their Facebook page  for their show of support! You can also follow Snugabell on Twitter and Instagram: username @snugabell. Be sure to check out their special at the end of this article.

 

Breast pumping tips Snugabell PumpEase

 

Have you heard moms complain that they just don’t let down for the pump? Or they do, but they don’t get as much milk as they think they should?

These are pretty common complaints! Never fear, we’ve got you covered.

First, if your instinct tells you that there’s something bigger at play, connect with someone trained in breastfeeding support. (This starts at the grassroots with organizations like Breastfeeding USA and La Leche League, which offer trained volunteer peer counselors, then escalates to moderately trained pros like CLCs, CLEs, etc-, and the very best, top-notch support you can get comes from an IBCLC. Asking your OB, midwife, or any other provider may leave you with dated or incorrect info, so try and connect with someone who’s got breastfeeding-specific training.)

Next…if you feel like you’re doing ok with breastfeeding in general, but you’re just not getting along with your pump, you’ve got options! Check out our other tips – there are LOTS of ways to get into a good pumpin’ groove. One of the BEST ways to help your body let-down for the pump and (sometimes!) yield a little more milk is to pump on one side while your baby nurses on the other. Your baby will work that sweet suckling magic that gets your letdown going, which will carry over to the pump side. Tandem pumping and nursing is a great time to do a visualization (like we described here), so that you can repeat the same visualization and experience those same cues when your baby isn’t present and you’re pumping on both sides.

You’ve got all the benefits of the baby at the breast, AND your body is learning to get along with your pump. Win-win!

 

Pumping Pro Tip 5

To celebrate their SUPER exciting collaboration with Destination Maternity and A Pea in the Pod, Snugabell is sending PumpEase customers one of their fabulous Wet Bag absolutely FREE.  Details hereThe PumpEase design will securely hold your pump in place and is guaranteed to accommodate any breast pump on the market. The PumpEase bra like the one shown above makes multi-tasking a breeze for busy moms. Visit www.snugabell.com for more information about PumpEase

 

Breast pump
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Surviving Holiday Breastfeeding

by Star Rodriguez, IBCLC

 

Ho, ho, ho!  Merry Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice, readers!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!  There’s snow! (Unless you’re in a place that doesn’t have cold, snowy winters, in which case, can I spend mine with you?  Or mail you some snow, at least?  Like, maybe all of it?)  There’s cookies!  There’s a festive holiday air that we all love!

Oh, yeah, and if you’re a breastfeeding mom and baby, there’s some possible, holiday-related pitfalls.  In this article, I’ll address some of them.  Hopefully, some of these tips will help keep your holidays happy.

 

Help!  My baby is suddenly super fussy and nursing all the time!

So it’s the holidays, and you’re spending them with, well, pretty much everyone you’ve ever met.  Ladies with babies are extra popular at the holidays.  We all want to hold, kiss, snuggle, and love your babies…and then hand them back as soon as they are fussy.

With traveling, and new people, and being passed around, it is totally normal for your baby to get a little overstimulated and cry often.  When breastfed babies get upset, they enjoy nursing.  It’s comforting for them, and allows them to calm down, and settle.  And then they might fall asleep.  At the breast.  While you’re holding them.  And then they wake up the second you set them down.  And this cycle repeats for what seems like FOREVER.

This doesn’t mean you have to stay awake, half dead from sleep deprivation.  One of the easiest things to do in this case is let your baby fall asleep while nursing.  Then, keep cuddling your baby until your baby is in a nice, deep sleep.  It usually takes babies at least 10-15 minutes to get there.  After your baby is in that deep sleep, though, you can generally put them down and go sneak off for your own holiday enjoyment.  Or just go take a nap.  Whatever.

 

Help!  My baby seems to be nursing less!

Remember how we talked, up in the last few paragraphs, about everyone holding/kissing/snuggling your baby?  Well, sometimes, when babies are passed around, they get sort of distracted and stop thinking about eating.  If you’re wondering how that happens, remember the last time you were really, really busy.  Lots of stuff was going on.  Maybe you felt hungry once or twice, but as you got caught up in other things, you pushed it away and your hunger probably abated a little.

Well, that can happen with your baby, too.  Now, I’m not encouraging you to put this theory to the test by not feeding your child, but, at the holidays, it sometimes happens.  If you notice this has occurred, try to take your baby aside, somewhere quiet and less distracting, and nurse.  Be prepared for your baby to possibly cluster feed over the next night or day.  This is ok; it is your baby’s way of catching up after missed feedings.

In this particular case, the best defense is just making sure that you’re nursing your baby regularly at gatherings, though.

 

Help!  I’m nervous about breastfeeding in front of my family and friends!

Sometimes, you are the nervous one, who is worried about exposing yourself.  Sometimes you’re in a home that’s not incredibly breastfeeding-friendly.  Either way, this can make you feel very anxious about the holidays.

In this situation, there are many things you can do.  Some people just decide to not care, and nurse just the way they do at home.  Gathering up the confidence to do this often leads to a great experience for moms, and little to no negativity from the people surrounding them.  If you’re not sure that’s for you, try breastfeeding in front of a mirror and see how much really shows.  With your baby at the breast you may be more covered than you realized and after practicing in front of a mirror be ok with breastfeeding wherever you are.  However, not everyone will be comfortable with this, and that’s ok.

You can also use a cover or nurse in another room.  Covers have the advantage of not making you have to go away from where the action is.  Some babies don’t like them, though, and will pull them up so that they can see what is going on around them.  Some homes are warm, and the cover leads mom and baby to feel too hot.  Nursing in another room can reduce all of those negatives, but, again, you’re missing fraternizing with others, and that’s what the holidays are for.

I also, as with almost any nursing in public endeavor, recommend a cami under a regular shirt.  You pull the top shirt up, the bottom shirt down, and they cover pretty much everything, even your stomach.  See this video for how that can work.  Special breastfeeding tops make it easy too and and an Undercover Mama is a nice option as well.

You can also try making your holiday trips short, if possible.  Many moms can go to an event for 2-3 hours and just nurse before and afterwards.  That may allow you to get out without having to worry about nursing at all.

 

Help!  I have a sick relative insisting on handling my baby!

First of all, babies are not super delicate if they are healthy, full term newborns without any health issues.  As long as your relative washes their hands and uses sanitizer, doesn’t have something horrible like pertussis, and doesn’t get all up in your baby’s face, it will probably be fine.  Feel absolutely free to bring sanitizer with you and insist on its use if that makes you feel more comfortable.  This is your baby, and you can ask people to have good hygiene before touching.

However, not everyone is ok with letting any sick person handle their baby, or, maybe your baby is immune compromised in some way.  The best thing that I have found for this is, “I’m so sorry.  My pediatrician is concerned about me exposing (baby’s name) to germs right now.  Let me hold (baby) for you, and you can take a look at her.”

You can also wear your baby.  I’ve found that, when baby is strapped to your breasts, people are a lot less likely to get too close or to ask to hold or touch the baby.

 

Help!  I have a lot of traveling to do!

Holiday travel by car, for me, would involve ten hours of driving, so I feel your pain on driving with babies.  Air travel is usually easier; look for nonstop flights, nurse your baby during takeoff, and try to get nonstop flights when at all possible so that you can minimize your time on the plane.  Arrive early enough to get through TSA, and I highly recommend a baby carrier for traveling through the airport.  If you are bringing pumped milk, know the TSA guidelines for pumped milk.

If you are driving, think outside the box.  If it’s a long drive, can you drive most of it during the part of the day or night that your child sleeps most?  Can you bring a support person to help entertain the baby?  Can an older sibling help?  Take as many breaks as you need, and allot for them in the time that you are driving.

 

Help!  My relatives give unsolicited breastfeeding advice!

I get questions every year from people basically asking me how to tell their relatives to back off.  They hear things like, “Are you STILL nursing that baby?”  “I don’t know why you can’t give a bottle!” “We used to give babies rice cereal in a bottle and they slept much better than yours does!”

First, remember that this is your baby, and parenting decisions are up to you to make.  Other than that, people handle this very differently.  Some moms just let it go in one ear and out the other.  Remember, most of these people legitimately are about you and your baby and are probably just unfamiliar with current research.

Some people will come equipped with research showing that breastfeeding is acceptable and a good idea.  Many of my clients use snippets from the AAP or WHO – “The AAP recommends nursing until at least a year” or “The WHO recommends nursing until two years old,” can both be good.  A simple, “My pediatrician thinks this is a good idea for us,” can also be a really great way to shut down opposition.

It may make you feel better to argue, debate, or reply sarcastically (and I will admit that there have been many times that I have done just that) but it’s rarely a great solution.  Although, this particular example has always amused me.

If you can pull off sarcasm that well, absolutely do.

 

 

Help!  My relatives keep trying to sneak my baby food!

Make your expectations clear when you first get there if you think this will be an issue. “We are not doing solid foods yet.  My baby only gets breast milk.  Please do not feed our baby.”  You can also mention allergies: “We are concerned about allergic reactions in our baby, so we are starting solids gradually and in a very specific way.  Maybe instead of feeding the baby, you can change diapers/take her for a walk/rock him/et cetera.”  Giving people something else that they can do with the baby is often the easiest way to get them to stop stuffing things in his or her mouth.

 

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 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, began her career helping women breastfeed as a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  Today she is a hospital based lactation consultant who also does private practice work through Lactastic Services.  She recently moved to the northern US with her two daughters and they are learning to cope with early October snowfalls (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support). 
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Medications and Breastfeeding

by Star Rodriguez, IBCLC 

This post made possible in part by the generous support of Rumina Nursingwear.

 

It can be really confusing taking medications or having procedures done while you are breastfeeding.  Most of the time, if you look at the package insert or online, most medications simply say that you should ask your doctor or not take them while breastfeeding.  Then you might hear something completely different from friends, or relatives, pharmacist, or from your doctor.  So what do you do?

Well, luckily, there are a bunch of fantastic resources for breastfeeding moms.

First, I want to tell you that research on breastfeeding and medications has come a long way in the past few years.  So your doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist may have outdated information.  I am not trying to say that you shouldn’t respect your provider or that they don’t know what they are talking about.  That’s absolutely not true.  However, the amount of breastfeeding patients or customers that they see is probably relatively small, so their continuing education is often focused elsewhere.  If you are wondering if information that you were given is correct, you have every right to research that yourself and then bring that information back to your provider so you can make an informed decision together.

Medications moving into milk depend on several things, and, sometimes, even if they do, they do not enter the bloodstream of the baby.  Describing the hows and whys of that could literally take me twenty (probably boring to most people) pages, so I’ll cut to the more important things: how to tell what your medication is ranked, taking you baby’s age into account, resources for information, and supply issues from medications.

Drugs are typically ranked in L categories.  These categories are, as per Dr. Thomas Hale:

L1 – Safest.  These drugs either don’t reach the baby at all or have been proven to be safe in large studies.

L2 – Safer.  These drugs have either been studied to a lesser degree with little to no side effects on the baby, or, after taking the evidence into account, the likelihood of this drug being problematic to your baby is pretty remote.

L3 – Moderate.  This category is where most drugs start.  L3 drugs either have no studies done, or studies have been done showing minimal problems to the infant if the mom is taking it.  This is the category where it’s really a risk/benefit situation.  What are the risks of the drug in your breast milk versus the risks of feeding formula?

L4 – Possibly Hazardous.  We know that this drug can have adverse effects on the baby.  However, there might be some situations where use of this drug is justified.  For instance, if someone is in a life-threatening situation.  For the most part, though, we want to avoid these medications.

L5 – Contradicted.  You can’t use these while breastfeeding.  We know that they have significant, documented, negative impacts on babies.  If you have to take a L5, you cannot breastfeed while it is present in your milk.

 

Sometimes the classification of medications can vary based on where you are in your breastfeeding relationship.  In the first week of breastfeeding, due to the difference in colostrum versus mature milk, it can be a little easier for medications to pass into milk in greater quantity.  If you can avoid a drug during that time, you should.  However, maintenance medications, pain relievers used for surgical deliveries or painful vaginal deliveries don’t need to be avoided.

In the later stages of breastfeeding, after solids are introduced, most babies begin to take in a little less milk – and in the toddler stage, that often lowers again.  So if you are nursing in a later stage, some medications that were once not ok can be acceptable again.

So now that you have a basic idea about how drugs are coded, where do you find this all out? 

LactMed is a website that has a bunch of information about drugs and breastfeeding.  It doesn’t have the L classification, but it does talk about the drug’s potential effect on lactation.  For instance, if you look up Sudafed, it talks about how it might lower production of milk.  LactMed also has a free Android and iPhone app.  I haven’t tried out the app itself yet, though, so I’m not certain what, if any, differences there are.

Medications and Mother’s Milk  is a book that is updated every 2 years.  Many libraries have it, as do most pharmacies, hospitals, WIC clinics, and doctor’s offices.  It is written by Dr. Thomas Hale, and has a wealth of information on drugs and breastmilk, including the L classification.

Infant Risk Center is a website that has a bunch of information regarding pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the risks to infants of various things.  It is directly connected to Dr. Hale, who is the foremost authority on breastfeeding and medications.  The site itself can sometimes be a little difficult to find the specific information that you’d like.  However, Dr. Hale also has an app (it is a paid app, but it has a HUGE amount of information, so if you’re a provider, or you regularly work with breastfeeding moms, I can’t endorse it enough.  For the mom who is occasionally taking medication, it’s probably not necessary, though.)  The Infant Risk Center is also staffed Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm CST to answer questions about breastfeeding (and pregnancy) and medications, and the people working it are knowledgeable, helpful, and generally wonderful.

When looking at medications, it is important to consider whether they can impact supply.  For instance, as I mentioned, Sudafed can be problematic in that area.  Generally, if a medication is meant to dry something up, or impacts your hormones (like birth control), you should exercise caution in using it.  Before anyone worries, you can still take birth control.  You may want to use an IUD, the mini pill, or Depo Provera if you are not planning to use barrier methods.  With Depo or the Mirena IUD, I usually tell moms to ask to be on a month of the mini-pill first; some moms just have sensitivities to hormones, and those sensitivities can impact supply.  Depo can’t be removed once injected, and Mirena is expensive to place and uncomfortable to remove, so it is good to have an idea if you will react that way.  Also, hormonal birth control should not be started until at least 6 weeks postpartum after milk supply is established.

I hope this information helps you work with your health care provider to determine the best choice for you when you need medication.

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Did you have to take medications while breastfeeding?  Was it easy for you to find good information on them?

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 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, began her career helping women breastfeed as a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  Today she is a hospital based lactation consultant who also does private practice work through Lactastic Services.  She recently moved to the northern US with her two daughters and they are learning to cope with early October snowfalls (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support). 
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Fitness and Breastfeeding

by Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC

fitness, fit moms, fitness for moms, walking, breastfeeding and fitness

Moms can burn 500 calories a day while breastfeeding.  So that’s all you have to do, right?  Just breastfeed?  And the weight will all magically fall off and you will look like Giselle?

Breastfeeding can absolutely help you to lose weight, but many moms find that they need to embark on a plan of diet and exercise, too.  (And, just for good measure, please let me remind you not to begin a diet/exercise plan without consulting a medical professional and all that jazz.  Also, don’t rush into physical activity right after having a baby, take the time you need to really heal and adjust to having a new baby, pushing your body too soon could lead to further health issues.  Most moms find they need to wait at least 6 weeks, often closer to 12 weeks postpartum before they start exercising.)

BUT WAIT!  There are a lot of things that people talk about with diet and exercise and breastfeeding that make doing it seem…well, like maybe not the best idea.  So what’s the reality?  Can you safely breastfeed and lose weight?  Or exercise?

I am so glad that I just asked that for you.  The short answer is yes!  Of course!  But the long answer is addressed below, as we unmask three very common breastfeeding myths…

Myth #1You need to eat A LOT to make milk, and drink A LOT, too.

Ok, so here’s the deal.  When you are breastfeeding, you should eat to hunger and drink to thirst.  So, if you’re hungry?  Eat something.  If you’re thirsty?  Drink something.  You may find yourself ravenous, or you may find that your appetite has changed little.  Listen to your body’s cues.  There’s probably little to no need to shove extra food in your mouth or force yourself to drink excessive amounts.  In fact, over drinking water has been linked to a lowered supply.  You may find yourself thirstier, and if you genuinely feel that you need to drink, do it.  Just don’t force a specific amount down your throat in hopes that you will increase supply.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should rejoice and eat whatever, whenever.  Eating a mostly healthy and balanced diet is important.  Few of us are going to be able to eat perfectly all the time, though, especially with a new baby.  So I always tell my clients to continue to take a multivitamin, like their prenatal, throughout the breastfeeding relationship.  Moms probably need some extra Vitamin D, too.  (See this study for more information.)  Most moms can safely take 4000-6000 IUs a day.  This will not only help you, but can help to increase the Vitamin D in your breastmilk, too.  However, you should check with your doctor before increasing any dosages or starting any new vitamins.

Myth #2- You can’t cut calories while breastfeeding.

Not entirely true.  You probably should wait to diet until at least 6-8 weeks, and you shouldn’t go from eating, say, 2500 calories a day to 1500 overnight.  But as long as you have an established supply, decrease your calories slowly, and go no lower than 1500-1800 calories per day as appropriate for your body type, you can absolutely work on losing some weight.  1-2 pounds a week is a pretty safe range of loss, whether or not you are breastfeeding.

Some popular programs have developed breastfeeding options to help moms lose weight safely while breastfeeding.  Weight Watchers and My Fitness Pal both have breastfeeding options.

Myth #3Exercising while breastfeeding will make my supply lower/make my milk gross or sour!

Let’s talk about exercise decreasing supply, first.  If you are constantly working out to exhaustion (and you’re probably not.  I did P90X for about a month when I was in the third month of breastfeeding my daughter, and it didn’t fall into the exhaustive, supply-diminishing category,) yes, you may see some reduction in supply.  Regular, moderate exercise, however, might actually increase your production, although that’s not guaranteed.  Even high intensity exercise when it’s balanced well with adequate caloric intake, is fine and many mothers experience no trouble with high intensity work outs.

Raise your hand if you’ve heard that your baby won’t drink your milk if you have been exercising, because lactic acid will build up and sour your milk.  The entire premise for this was one study with a whole lot of issues. Further studies have not been able to replicate this, and have, instead, pretty clearly shown that babies don’t refuse the breast after exercising.  Anecdotal evidence, while not “official,” shows that many breastfeeding mothers experience quite the satisfied customer in their breastfed baby following even intense work outs.

One thing you do need to worry about while breastfeeding and exercising is wearing a supportive bra that isn’t too tight.  Some sports bras can be really, really binding.  You want to avoid that, obviously, to keep from having issues with plugged ducts and the like.

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Have you heard any other breastfeeding and fitness myths?  Did you lose weight or become more fit while nursing?  Let us know in the comments!

 

 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, began her career helping women breastfeed as a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  Today she is a hospital based lactation consultant who also does private practice work through Lactastic Services.  She recently moved to the northern US with her two daughters and they are learning to cope with early October snowfalls (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support). 
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Pumping 201- working, exclusively pumping, volume, and weaning

Breast pump, Hospital grade breastpump

Hygeia EnDeare

by Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC
Previously, in Pumping 101, we talked about some basic pumping tips.  In this article, we’ll look at pumping when you return to work or school and pumping exclusively, either by choice or for a health condition. Hopefully, these tips will help anyone facing these situations to successfully provide breastmilk for their child(ren).  Just like before, if a certain situation applies or doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip to or past it.  

 

Working

This is probably the most common reason that I see for pumping.  Although we touched on it a little in the last article, we’ll go a bit more in-depth here.

First, know that federal law provides all overtime eligible workers (so, typically, anyone on an hourly salary) with the right to pump at work.  You are required to be given a private place that is not a bathroom to pump and reasonable amounts of time to do it until your baby is a year old.  If your state has a better law than the federal one (and you can find breastfeeding laws by state here) then employers have to go by that instead of the federal law.  Most moms should pump for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours.  To build up a store, I usually tell mothers that they can pump one time a day when their milk first comes in.  If moms do this fairly regularly in the beginning, even the mom returning to work at 2-4 weeks can have a decent store built up.

Most women pumping in the workforce should be utilizing at least an electric, double sided pump.  If you are pumping for twins, a hospital grade pump may be worth your while since you are pumping for two.  Pumping breaks aren’t usually very long, so you want to pump quickly and efficiently.  However, some women find that their schedule makes it difficult to take full 15-20 minute breaks at a time.  For those mothers, a swing pump or hand pump might work better, just because they can be taken out quickly without a lot of set up required.  For instance, some of my clients have been waitresses that have limited time some nights to pump, law or not.  Those clients sometimes find that using a hand pump for five minutes at a time can help.  Since this does not pump as efficiently and probably will not empty the breast, you will probably need to pump more often than every 2-3 hours, and I always advise that you do pump with a good electric pump at least once a shift.  If you are part time and working 4-5 hour shifts, you may be able to get away with just hand pumping as long as you are nursing often at home.

Many moms wonder how much milk to leave when they are away from their babies.  This can be a hard question to answer.  Some babies will eat as little as possible while separated from their mothers (and will make up for it when they are with their mommy by nursing more often), but some will want to eat more often – usually because they miss mommy and are comforted by her milk and sucking.  It’s good to remember that from 1 month to 6 months, your baby’s stomach is around the size of a strawberry and holds 2-3 ounces at a time.  Most babies will take in around 25 ounces a day until 6 months.  Therefore, store milk in 2-3 ounce increments, use slow flow nipples, and instruct your provider in baby led bottle feeding.  To get a rough estimate of the amount your baby will need, divide 25 by the number of times the baby nurses in a day, and consider about how many feedings your baby usually takes in during the time you will be apart. Most people will try to ensure that they have a couple of extra 2-3 ounces bags per day, too, just in case.

You may be thinking, “Well, MY baby eats/ate WAY more than 3 ounces at every feeding!”  And your baby may have been an exception.  However, a lot of babies are simply overfed by faster flowing bottles or are wanting more milk or to suck out of comfort.

 

Exclusively Pumping Moms/ Moms Separated from Babies

There are many reasons to exclusively pump.  Some moms have babies with issues that cannot latch. Some moms have a history of sexual abuse that makes latching difficult.  Other moms simply prefer to pump rather than latching.

In the colostral phase, when your body is producing small amounts, using hand expression can really help out.  Hygeia has some really awesome hand expression cups that I love (and a great article on hand expression), but you can also express into a small cup or spoon.  Babies take in a very small amount at birth (their stomach size is that of a marble) and colostrum is sticky and can cling to pump parts, making you feel like you’re not getting a lot.  Moms who are pumping should pump about 8-12 times a day (or the amount of times a baby typically nurses.)    You should pump for 15-20 minutes.  Some women can decrease their amount of pumps after awhile, but most have limited success when they pump under 7-8 times a day.

I prefer to have exclusively pumping moms use hospital grade pumps.  You can buy them, but they are quite expensive.  Renting is often a better option.  They can be found for rental in many drug stores, and many WICs also have them.  WIC can be a great pump resource, and lots of women are WIC eligible even if they aren’t aware of it.  Hospital grade pumps have the best control on suction and speed.  Do not assume that cranking up the suction and speed will get you the most milk.  You should start on a low to medium setting and play with it to see what your body responds to best.  Regardless, a double sided electric pump is pretty key to an EPing mom.

If you are pumping for a preemie or a baby with health conditions that might compromise immunity, be sure to ask your child’s provider how they prefer for you to store your breast milk.  Otherwise, many moms use reusable bottles, ice cube trays, or plain zippered storage bags to store their milk.  It can be less expensive than purchasing the breastmilk storage bags themselves.

Another good idea is to get, or make, a handsfree pumping bra.  You can buy some neat ones including PumpEase hands-free pumping bra or a Rumina Pump and Nurse tank or you can make your own by cutting slits into a sports bra.  The handsfree ones have the advantage of being able to be quickly snapped on and off.  They also tend to be prettier.  That sounds like a silly reason, but can be helpful, especially if you are pumping when you intended to actually nurse your baby.

Exclusively pumping moms can sometimes find that they have some chapping of the breasts.  Sometimes this is from the flanges sticking to the skin.  This can be alleviated by using something to lubricate the flanges.  My favorite thing to use is olive oil.  You can also apply lanolin to your nipples between pumpings to help the chapping.  The lanolin used in breastfeeding products will not need to be washed off of the breast when you pump.

 

Weaning Off Pumping

If you’ve been pumping for your baby for some time for any reason and you decide you want to stop, it can be confusing as to how.  Unless there is some medical reason, you never want to stop pumping “cold turkey.”  This can lead to engorgement and sometimes plugged ducts and/or mastitis.  There are a few ways you can stop pumping.  You can cut out a session at a time, every few days (usually, I say every 2-5 days.)  You can also decrease the time spent pumping in all of your sessions.  For instance, if you pumped for 15 minutes every session, you might decrease it to 12 minutes each time, and then, in another 2-5 days, decrease it further.

Please keep this is mind: not all of these time frames will work for all women.  Some may need to decrease more slowly; some can decrease more quickly.  Pay attention to how you feel.  You don’t want to compromise your health by trying to wean too fast.

Some women find that using cabbage leaves, peppermint, or taking over the counter cold or allergy medications can help to dry up their milk more quickly, if you are weaning altogether along with weaning from pumping.

 

 

 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, began her career helping women breastfeed as a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  Today she is a hospital based lactation consultant who also does private practice work through Lactastic Services.  She recently moved to the northern US with her two daughters and they are learning to cope with early October snowfalls (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support). 
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