#TLBloves Giveaway- Share the Love

Humans have a deep need to connect with each other, forming bonds and experiencing love. But it isn’t always easy and sometimes it is downright confusing to be in relationship with others. With #TLBloves, we aim to provide families with community support through information sharing, narrative, and personal challenges, all free of judgment.

#TLBloves 2017 Giveaway Bundle includes items from Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes (our amazing Title Sponsor), Dressed to Deliver, Evenflo, Naked Nursing Tank, Nova Natural, and Silverette!!

 

The giveaway!

 

Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes, Title Sponsor

Indigo Willow logo

Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes is offering not one, but 4 of their exquisite pieces of breast milk jewelry to 4 lucky Leakies (one per winner). The Clair de Lune Breast Milk Ring (their most popular ring, featured in the Grand Prize), the Love You Infinity Breast Milk Necklace, a choice of any of their 5 Breast Milk Heart Charms, and a simple but beautiful Mini Breast Milk Pearl.

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1. The Clair de Lune Breast Milk Ring from Indigo Willow features a center breast milk stone made using a mother’s own milk and is perfectly faceted like a high-shine diamond. The stone is surrounded by a cubic zirconia halo and a filigree pattern and the scroll work in this ring is delicate and open for a very feminine feel. The base of the ring is a sterling silver coated with a high-grade, anti-tarnish rhodium plating for added protection.
Retail Value: $377

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2. The Love You Infinity Breast Milk Necklace is one of Indigo Willow’s signature pieces and features a few unique design details. The sterling silver infinity shape with hearts gives this unique necklace its name. It includes a high gloss breast milk pearl and your choice of one sterling silver Swarovski crystal birthstone. This necklace also features two sterling silver hearts in back to allow you to extend or decrease the length of this necklace.
Retail Value: $259

 

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3. The Breast Milk Heart Charms from Indigo Willow are made using a mother’s own precious breast milk and are finished with a sterling silver ring to allow it to hang freely from a necklace or traditional charm bracelet. Choose one of any of these 5 beautiful designs!
Retail Value: $179

 

 

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4. Simple and beautiful, this high-gloss pearl from Indigo Willow is sure to please. This little pearl is made using a mother’s own breast milk and is finished with a sterling silver bail and a ring to allow it to hang freely from a necklace.
Retail Value: $189

 

 

For more information, visit Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes

 

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#TLBloves 2017 Giveaway

From Top to Bottom, Left to Right: luxury bamboo Naked Nursing Tank, Indigo Willow Clair de Lune breastmilk ring, Nova Natural Wool Hood & Cuddle Doll & Rainbow Bead Toy, Evenflo Balance & Wide-Neck Bottles, Silverette nursing covers, Dressed to Deliver Birthing Gown & Nursing BabeCover

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Dressed to Deliver

Dressed to Deliver logo

Dressed to Deliver’s premiere product: the 3-in-1 Birthing Gown, was created with the birthing mother in mind! If you are already in your last few months of pregnancy you know what it feels like when your legs are swollen and most of your clothes feel so restricting & many fabrics make your skin itch! That’s why we created our 3-in-1 gowns from extremely soft and luxurious bamboo fabric that is so flattering, you can wear it as a maternity dress.

dressed to deliver birthing gown

Its empire waist allows comfort for your beautiful expanding belly. If you want to feel more like yourself and not a patient; if you want to comfortably and easily do skin-to-skin and be able to breastfeed immediately after your new bundle is born, without the clumsy mess of the hospital gown – then Dressed to Deliver’s Birthing Gown is a perfect OPTION for YOU!  Our gowns are hospital approved and allow for immediate skin-to-skin and nursing this with snaps on the shoulder that allows for easy access and if you need an IV it won’t get tangled up!
Retail Value: $65, but our Leakies can get theirs for $39.99 here! 

 

dressed to deliver babe cover

 

 

Our Nursing BabeCovers  are also a mom favorite since they are so versatile! Wear as a scarf, for nursing, as a carseat cover and shopping cart cover!
Retail Value: $35, but Leakies can grab theirs for $25 plus free shipping here!

 

 

Evenflo-Feeding-Logo

Designed to support healthy bottle-feeding without interfering with mom’s personal breast-feeding journey, we’ve developed a unique and intentional nipple shape to allow for a proper latch along with an adjusted flow rate that promotes a comfortable drinking pace for baby. These are key components for moms that will be breast and bottle-feeding. This gentle feeding system also comes with our patented Proflo™ venting technology that reduces the potential for colic, reflux, gas and fussiness. To help take the guesswork out of feeding your little one the Evenflo Balance + Wide Neck Bottles have molded measurement markers in both ounces and milliliters to provide and easy and accurate way to measure the volume of liquids without the risk of the measurements washing off.

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To help take the guesswork out of feeding your little one the Evenflo Balance + Wide Neck Bottles have molded measurement markers in both ounces and milliliters to provide an easy and accurate way to measure the volume of liquids without the risk of the measurements washing off. An added bonus is that you can pump directly into these wide neck bottles with the use of the Evenflo Balance + Pump Adapter (sold separately) for added convenience. Rest assured that our bottles are 100% free of BPA, polycarbonates, PVC and phthalates and are made of FDA approved food grade material.
Retail Value: $12.99 (3 pack)

 

Nova Natural Toys and Crafts

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Rainbow Grasping - Nova Naturals

 

The Rainbow Grasping Toy is an engaging cluster of rainbow beads serves as a grasping toy and a teething toy. The Brightly colored beads roll against and around one another on an elastic band. This wooden toy is finished with non-toxic stains, so it’s safe for your baby to explore with his hands or mouth.
Retail Value: $20

 

Cuddle dolls - nova Naturals

The Cuddle Doll‘s cotton body and wool stuffing make this the perfect first Waldorf doll for toddlers and young children. The  clothing is part of the rag doll, so young children don’t have to deal with dressing and changing their doll just yet. Large enough to cuddle close, but light enough to easily tote around, it’s the perfect doll for kids to fall in love with.
Retail Value: $36 (winner’s choice of color)

 

Baby's wool head - Nova Naturals

Baby’s Wool Hood – Wool baby clothing is especially good at keeping little ones warm because of the wonder of wool. This balaclava-style hood covers head, ears and neck and is just snug enough that babies can’t easily take it off. It also won’t slide into their eyes. This woolen garment is made by Ruskovilla Oy, a Finnish company deeply committed to quality and the environment at all phases of production – from raw materials to the finished garment. The organic wool is ethically produced in South America and the yarn is spun in Germany.
                                               Retail Value: $29

 

Naked Nursing Tank

Naked Nursing Tank logo

Naked Nursing Tank image
The Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank in black or white is made of super soft bamboo fabric that allows a mom to wear it during her entire pregnancy as a layering shirt, as well as during and after breastfeeding.

Retail Value: $40 (winner’s choice of color)

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IMG_7993-A pair of Silverette Nursing Cups
Silverette are small cups crafted out of pure 925 silver that fit over and help to protect nipples while breastfeeding. Silver is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial metal that also contains anti-inflammatory agents. It heals and prevents cuts, wounds, cracks, soreness, and infections.
Retail Value: $60

 

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The Recycling Program option which is the possibility to send back the Silverette cups to us after using them and convert them to a pendant with the child’s initial engraved.
Retail Value: $39

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Total Retail Value of the Grand Prize Bundle: $714

Good luck to everyone! Please use the widget below to enter. The giveaway is open from now through March 8, 2017. A big thanks to Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes, and also to Dressed to Deliver, Evenflo, Naked Nursing Tank, Nova Natural, and Silverette, for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women.

This giveaway is open to participants in the USA.

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#TLBloves – A Time to Focus on Love

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It’s time for #TLBloves!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day seeing it as a Hallmark holiday yet loving the excuse to celebrate and focus on love a little more while maintaining that we don’t need an excuse or a special date to show our loved ones we love them but still totally loving Valentine’s, chocolate, and flowers along with heart shaped pancakes and candlelight dinners but at the same time rejecting the commercialized pressure to even just HAVE romantic relationships and heart themed craft experiences for your kids.

Totally conflicted.

In the end though, my sappy, romantic side wins: it’s fun to see the whole world (sort of) celebrate love and it sparks that part of me that is encouraged that maybe the world is going to be ok because in the end it all comes down to love. That one day a brief moment to come back to and focus quickly on what really inspires me all year long and though I don’t need a commercialized day to celebrate and express my love to those that matter most to me, I appreciate the time when, for a heartbeat, the world seems to collectively agree that love is worth celebrating in the first place. I almost don’t even care that they’re trying to sell me something at the same time.

I’m a bit of an optimist too.

It’s true though, like most Holidays, Valentine’s can feel like an over-hyped, over-commercialized day based on one simple reason to celebrate: love.

There is value in giving intense attention to one specific area for a time. Such focused intention can strengthen a weakness, do the work required to heal hurts, build shared experiences, foster fresh energy, and create fuel to help sustain that area long after that time of focus is over.

And so it is with the belief that seasonal times of focus on a specific theme can be of great benefit for us and for our family, we’re pleased to announce that it is time for #TLBloves 2017!

#TLBloves focuses on what inspires us to connect beyond how we feed our babies, strengthening bonds with our other children, connecting with friends, deepening our partner relationship, and supporting each other in growing in loving themselves by providing them with information, support, and most importantly, community in action.

#TLBloves is a movement to talk honestly and openly about relationships and connection. With our partners, our children, and most of all, ourselves.

Humans have a deep need to connect with each other, forming bonds and experiencing love. But it isn’t always easy and sometimes it is downright confusing to be in relationship with others. With #TLBloves, we aim to provide families with community support through information sharing, narrative, and personal challenges. All free of judgment.

Following the inspiration of #TLBmoves and #TLBsafeKids, we are excited to share this new experience with you, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities, 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).

#TLBloves appropriately launches today, Valentine’s Day, and officially will run through March 7. Though a meaningful focus on how we connect with others is never really limited to a set of dates, we will be focusing on what inspires us all to connect beyond how we feed our babies, such as strengthening bonds with our other children, connecting with friends, deepening our partner relationship, and supporting each other as we grow in loving ourselves, all of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob community in action.

Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBloves, 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 sites, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, giveaways, and informative articles!

Let’s explore the depth and strength of love in our relationships together, with #TLBloves.

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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 six mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBloves experiences with us this for the next month.

 

Angela NavarroAngela Garcia Navarro

Hi, my name is Angela! I am a SAHM of 2 amazing kiddos, MJ and Athena. Bonding with my kids and loved ones in any way possible are so important to me. I am so passionate about breastfeeding because I know what it’s like on the other side wanting to have that special bond and connection with your baby but not being able to produce enough milk and have latching problems. Because I was unable to successfully breastfeed my son I was determined to do so when my daughter was born last April. And with the support of my husband I am going on almost 10 months EBF which is a HUGE mommy milestone for me! I am so grateful to have this opportunity to hopefully inspire others on their breastfeeding journey as well as help and learn myself how to strengthen bonds between loved ones! For an inside scoop of my unfiltered life follow us on Instagram.

 

Brianda TaylorBrianda Traylor

Hey everyone. I’m Brianda Traylor! I moved to Atlanta from Houston 3 years ago to be with my husband and start our family. We have a two year old daughter named Olivia and I am currently 35 weeks pregnant with her fraternal twin brothers, Owen and Benjamin. My husband and I enjoy going to car events and buying, modifying and selling old BMWs. A few days before Olivia was born my husband was in a serious accident that required an immediate spine surgery. (If you want to know more watch this.) Because of the stress of the situation my milk never came in and Olivia started to lose weight and was diagnosed failure to thrive. Her pediatrician wanted me to start formula but I knew I could do one better and give her donor milk. With the help with local mom groups and HM4HB I was able to receive donations and Olivia thrived only on donor milk and never had to have formula. It was a stressful time for our family and I’m happy to say everyone is happy and healthy now. I will be delivering these twin boys any day and I can’t wait to see what our nursing journey looks like! Thank you again so much for letting us be apart of this program <3

 

Kayla Nau headshotKayla Nau

Hi, I’m Kayla! My husband and I live in rural Ohio with out three sons ages four, two, and newborn. I have been in the Air National Guard for 9 years as a telecommunications and antenna systems journeyman, and I am a stay at home mom when not working for the guard. We strive to raise as much food as we can on our small farm, and live as sustainable and naturally as possible. I am breastfeeding my third child, and will be donating milk as soon as breastfeeding is well established. I am so excited to share a little insight to my life through #TLBloves and form new connections!!

 

Rachel Kirk headshotRachel Iglesia

I’m Rachel! I am a mother to 4 biological children (3 living, one angel), and a foster mother. I am married to a gentleman of the highest degree whom I lovingly refer to as “the Milkman”! We are a family that loves eating good food– be it from our own kitchen or other local establishments. I’ve been breastfeeding for the last 5 years straight and have also gotten formula feeding under my belt more recently with fostering. I write about my life as a mother at sherocksthecradle.com, post entirely too many food pictures on Instagram, and share random thoughts and stories on Facebook. I can’t wait to give you a little peak through the Window of my life via #TLBloves and share how my family loves and connects within our family and beyond!

 

Rebecca Zuick headshotRebecca Zuick

Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca Zuick and I’m the wife of 2.5 years to Alex and mom to Asher and Tobias, our angel baby. I’m from Florida but currently live in Texas and, even after almost 2 years, it is still an adjustment. Right now I’m a student, looking to finish my B.A. in Multidisclipinary Studies by the end of this year, and then completing the teacher certification program here. I’m also a nerd, bookworm, and caregiver to my husband who was medically retired from the army last year and our son who is still struggling with sensory issues and a possible autism diagnosis. Thankfully, Asher still breastfeeds, so we have that centering activity that he can turn to when things get too rough. Needless to say, there’s never a dull day around here! In 2015 I was blessed to be able to give birth to our youngest, Tobias, at 23 weeks and spend time with him before leaving the hospital. I love taking pictures of Asher and Alex, reading when I can find free time, and exploring other cultures through television and music. Someday I’ll actually be able to visit them, but the internet works just as well for now. I have a blog at thenerdymatron.com, which started off as an attempt to alleviate some of my stress through writing. I look forward to learning more about all of you wonderful ladies!

 

Jenna StevensJenna Stevens

I am Jenna, wife to Anton, and mother to Gianna, Athena, Evanora, and Oberyn. I also am a bonus mom to Jalen. I run a small home daycare and home school my middle daughter because she is Type 1 diabetic. My interests lie in politics, world affairs, and general interest insofar as motherhood is concerned. I have an amazingly supportive tribe of friends who have helped shape the person and mother I am today. Without them, I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to breast feed despite my previous breast reduction surgery. I strive for as natural a home as possible which, for us, means as fresh a diet as possible, no chemical cleaning agents, and open-ended, often wooden toys. I’d like to consider myself knowledgeable enough to know that I am always opening to learning new things and changing behaviors when new information is presented. 

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Meet our partners:

Indigo Willow logoIndigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes specializes in custom jewelry made using a mother’s own breast milk to commemorate her nursing journey. It gives her a tangible reminder of the time they spent nursing and bonding with her little ones. Indigo Willow offers many beautiful original designs.

 

Naked Nursing Tank logo

The Naked Nursing Tank was invented by a busy breastfeeding mom who needed easy access to her breast AND the ability to wear a sports bra for the extra support. The open-chest design allows a mom to turn every shirt in her wardrobe into a nursing shirt while keeping her tummy covered. Made from a bamboo blend, this tank can be worn before, during, and after a mom’s pregnancy, making it versatile and money conscious purchase. You’ll love the freedom and comfort this tank provides, and the ease at which you can breastfeed on demand, whether at the park, doctor’s office, or in the comfort of your own living room.

 

Dressed to Deliver logo

Dressed to Deliver strongly believes that every woman deserves to feel comfortable, confident, concealed and beautiful – before, during, and after one of the most important days of her life! Every woman should choose to wear what makes them feel like the strong, competent, confident and beautiful mom that they are. Our hope is that our 3-in-1 birthing gowns provide you with the comfort and confidence to enhance your experience of labour.

 

Nova Natural logo

Nova Natural Toys and Crafts strives to inspire creativity by sparking the imaginations of children and adults with materials that allow them to learn and grow together. We connect communities by bringing people together to play, create and explore in families, neighborhoods and across the globe. A key goal is to practice sustainability by working with small businesses and artisans to supply families with heirloom quality, non-disposable toys that support healthy lifestyles in balance with the environment.

 

Uberlube logo

Überlube believes in focus and simplicity—not just in our products but also in how we do business. Rather than modeling our approach on the restaurant that serves 50 mediocre food options, we are focused on doing one thing right, every time: producing the best personal lubricant on the market. When you use überlube you are using a product that’s all about helping you feel and be your best, whether you are enjoying a romp with your partner, hitting mile 19 of your marathon, or putting on the finishing touches for an evening out. Simply put, überlube’s first job is to make you feel amazing. That’s why we say “feeling is everything,” and why we expect you’ll agree after trying our product.

 

Evenflo Feeding Logo

Evenflo Feeding’s Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is the perfect solution for moms with frequent pumping needs. Whether at home or at work, the Advanced  Double Electric Breast Pump delivers all the premium features and benefits mom requires and deserves. This innovative pump’s PerfectlyPure™ design is a closed system that prevents milk back-up in tubing, which helps to keep tubing clean and dry, protecting mom’s breast milk and making pump cleaning more efficient. Each pumping session can be personalized with the AdvancedControl™ technology, which creates 32 unique setting combinations of speed and suction for optimal control.

To help ensure a successful pumping session, it’s important to have a comfortable, correctly sized flange fit. The Advanced Double Electric Pump includes 3 different flange sizes from our AdvancedFit™ flange system to help ensure the best fit, with additional sizes sold separately. Evenflo’s PerfectPosition™ design includes a shorter nipple tunnel and higher bottle-to-flange angle that allows mom to relax in a slouch-free pumping position. The integrated bottle holders keep mom’s milk safe after pumping, providing an extra “hand” to protect her precious milk from spills.

Access to expert resources can help ensure a successful breastfeeding experience. Evenflo is excited to include the ultimate breastfeeding education with the purchase of your pump. Developed by our partner, Breastfeeding Expert Shari Criso (IBCLC, CNM, RN), mom receives digital access to two practical and proven programs she can access anywhere! Both Simply Breastfeeding™ and Breast Pumps & Briefcases™ have helped thousands of moms successfully breastfeed and continue breastfeeding while returning to work and are included with purchase.

 

Silverette logo

Silverette is the original silver nursing cup that has been crafted by fully licensed silversmiths in Italy since 2002. Silverette cups soothe and protect nursing nipples. They use the healing properties of silver to heal and prevent soreness, cracks, wounds and infections. They are natural, easy to use and effective. Just wear them on your nursing nipples between feedings and forget about them! No need to wash your nipples before latching and no creams or oils needed.

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Bottle-feeding Tips- A Bottle-feeding Overview for The Breastfeeding Family

by Amy Peterson

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

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Moms who breastfeed often feel afraid, or even sadness, at the thought of introducing a bottle. The truth is bottles are a tool, a useful tool, and they don’t need to be scary, even if you need to use a bottle in the early days because breastfeeding isn’t going well. If you think your baby is lazy, you need someone to evaluate what’s going on because it’s not laziness, it’s something we’re not recognizing. It is a sign of something else. In the meantime, pump your milk and feed your baby. The bottle can be a tool you use to protect your breastfeeding journey, not to end breastfeeding.   

It can feel overwhelming when it comes to picking a bottle for your breastfed baby. Many bottles claim to be “more like mom,” but that is a marketing gimmick. Babies are unique, and a bottle that works for one baby may not work for another, siblings included. Below are some tips that may help parents looking for a bottle for their breastfed baby.

Co-Branded Image Evenflo

Think of how a baby latches on the breast. There are many ways to evaluate if breastfeeding is going well. As it relates to picking a bottle, we specifically observe the baby’s mouth. It should open widely, resting the lips on the areola. The lips will roll out (flange) and be visible, with the corners of the lips sealing against the breast. Your nipple will reach far into your baby’s mouth. This is what you want to mimic with a bottle latch.

There are three predominant nipple shapes: narrow, gradually sloped wide, and classic wide.  Any shape is okay so long as your baby has a similar latch on the bottle nipple as on the breast. The right nipple for your baby should a) reach deeply into your baby’s mouth, b) allow the lips to open and rest on a portion of the base, and c) allow the lips to form a complete seal.  On a narrow nipple, let your baby latch and then wiggle it in deeper into your baby’s mouth so the lips are almost “kissing” the collar. On a gradually sloped wide, again, wiggle the nipple in deeper, then observe to see if your baby’s mouth remains opened widely rather than slipping to the tip.  On a classic wide, make sure your baby’s lips can rest on a portion of the base and form a complete seal rather than sucking on the nipple length like a straw.  

You will probably want to buy two or three nipples to try. Rather than reading packaging claims, look at the nipple. Ask yourself, “Will this nipple reach deeply in my baby’s mouth so the lips can rest on the base? (yes) Will this nipple shape help hold my baby’s lips open? (yes) Does it look like my baby will suck on this like a straw? (no)” Try different shapes until you find the shape that allows for a good latch for your baby.          

Start with a slow flow nipple. However, it is important to note that there is no industry standard for “slow,” and flow rates vary greatly between brands. It is also important to note that dripping is different than flow. Bottles that are advertised as “no drip” may flow very fast compared with other bottles that do drip.  With any bottle, you can control dripping by letting your baby latch on to the bottle before tipping it up so milk fills the nipple. You can’t control flow, but you can try different brands to see how your baby responds, and you can tip the bottle down and let your baby rest if he looks overwhelmed when swallowing Balancing Breast and Bottle lists bottle brands from slowest to fastest flow.  

The million dollar question—which bottle nipple is best for my breastfed baby—has no absolute answer. It all comes down to how your baby latches and swallows with a specific nipple.

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Amy Peterson is a mom of 4, IBCLC, Early Intervention coordinator, and retired LLL Leader. She works alongside a speech-language pathologist, and together they co-authored Balancing Breast and Bottle: Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals. They have also written a series of tear-of sheets available through Noodle Soup: Introducing a bottle to your full-term breastfed baby, Pumping for your breastfed baby, Pacifiers and the breastfed baby, and Bottle pacing for the young breastfed baby. Amy’s passion is helping others find fulfillment and confidence in parenting, regardless of feeding method. Visit Amy’s website at breastandbottlefeeding.com.
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Baby Feeding and Finding Your Village- The Importance of Community In Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals

By Jessica Martin-Weber

This post made possible by the support of The Village from Ameda, Inc.

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The US Surgeon General identified lack of support as one of the primary reasons families don’t reach their breastfeeding goals. Be that support in education about breastfeeding, support in health care, support in dealing with breastfeeding difficulties, support in social settings, and support related to employment environment, lack of support directly impacts breastfeeding goals.

For over 6 years, The Leaky Boob has been supporting families in their baby feeding journeys and we’ve seen exactly the impact support can have on breastfeeding goals. Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent be prepared.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent better advocate for themselves and their child.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent be informed.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent identify problems and know when and where to go for care.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent not feel alone.

That last point matters more than you might think. Breastfeeding can feel like such an isolating solo act, particularly in an unsupportive environment and support can go a long way in combating loneliness that some experience as part of their baby feeding journey.

When I had my first baby, my breastfeeding supportive mom (community!) encouraged me to try a breastfeeding support group when I was having pain initially. As I walked in I felt uncomfortable right away but decided to give it a try anyway but by the end I knew it wasn’t for me. In fact, I was more anxious after that experience but not necessarily because of breastfeeding but rather it was a group that attracted families that felt frighteningly “crunchy” to me at the time (no lie, I’d probably fit in great there now). Personality and value differences made it not a good fit for me and that is ok. Unfortunately, at the time breastfeeding support was not so wide-spread and I ended up very alone and isolated in feeding my baby. Aside from my very supportive husband, neither my health care providers nor my friends were supportive or experienced with breastfeeding. Thankfully, my own mother was and though we were separated by more than a thousand miles, she continued to offer encouragement, information, and support. Just having that one experienced voice, even when her experiences were vastly different from mine, helped me in reaching my breastfeeding goals. Even with the support of my partner and my mother I felt alone in feeding my baby but I am so grateful for their support because I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been without them. Not every support community is right for every individual, even when they’re shared experience and common interest based communities. Which is why there is a wide variety of options and increasingly so. Different people are going to have different needs and ways they experience community.

Ameda cobranded 2017

To find a community that is right for you

Determine what you need. Just looking for clinical facts and information? Find encouragement being able to ask anything and everything? Inspired by hearing the stories of others? Love seeing images of baby feeding? Enjoy connecting in the day to day? Want it to be only about baby feeding? Need focused connection on a specific feeding related experience? Value feeding as what brings you together but want to share about anything and everything else? Figure out what works for you personally and look for options that fit your needs and personality.

Clarify your values. Is there certain language that you want to avoid? Is there a controversial topic that you have a strong position on that is a non-negotiable for you? Identify your personal values and have a clear understanding of them for yourself.

Recognize what you have to offer. Community isn’t just about getting the support you need, community works when everyone gives and receives. You have something to offer in supporting others, even if you don’t feel like it, your story matters and sharing it can make a difference for others.

Ask around. Breastfeeding rates continue to rise (2007 initiation rates were around 70%, in 2014 they were nearly 80%) so more and more people have at least some experience with breastfeeding. If you know someone that has had a baby, ask them where they found breastfeeding support, you’re likely to have better results than with just a google search.

Eventually I figured out what I needed in community, particularly in a baby feeding support community. A judgment-free atmosphere that supports people over methodology, embraces the wide diversity of feeding modalities and tools (exclusively from the breast, pumping, bottle-feeding, combo formula feeding, formula feeding, etc.), promotes information, and has an emphasis on the relational sharing of baby feeding experiences with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny was what I needed which is reflected in The Leaky Boob and the communities we partner with, such as this one.

Once we know that community makes a difference in reaching breastfeeding goals and in supporting parents in finding their confidence, it only makes sense that we would work to be community ourselves, supporting and encouraging each other along the way. It takes a village, after all, together, we are the village.

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JMW headshot

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, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.
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Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding

By Jessica Martin-Weber

This post is generously made possible by Bamboobies

bamboobies banner - 2016

All kinds of advice and myths abound when it comes to breastfeeding and preparing nipples for the experience or what to do when there is pain. Dire warnings and emphasis on getting a “good latch” can make it seem as though it is tricky, inevitably painful, and consuming. (Do you need to worry about your baby’s latch? See here for more on what to look for in a good latch and what to do if it is causing problems.)

But there’s good news! While some do experience nipple pain, many do not and for those that have pain, there is usually an answer and steps that can help resolve the underlying cause. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt but that doesn’t mean it won’t and it doesn’t mean that if it does it is your fault or that you did something wrong. Seeing a professional breastfeeding helper such as an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) may help identify the cause of the pain and find a resolution that will help you reach your breastfeeding goals.

Here are a few points on nipple pain in breastfeeding and tips for how to handle such pain. It is our hope that nobody goes through pain in feeding their babies but if you do, most of the time it doesn’t have to stay that way.

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Is it serious? Figure out if this is the type of pain that indicates an issue or is within the range of normal sensitivity with initial latch. If it lasts for 30 seconds or so and doesn’t bother you when you’re not breastfeeding or pumping then it is possible it isn’t serious and just an adjustment period while your nipples are a little sensitive. If it is toe-curling, swear-worthy pain that makes you hold your breath and try not to scream obscenities or toss your baby far, far away from you, then it is serious and you need to be seen by an expert professional breastfeeding helper. Any tissue damage, cracking, bleeding, scabbing, inflammation, bloody expressed milk, etc., will require proactive treatment and you need to see a health care provider. Keep in mind that if your pain tolerance is high, you may push through pain that is a warning sign that something is wrong, don’t wait too long to get help from a breastfeeding helper such as an IBCLC.

What is the cause? It could be a number of causes from baby’s physiology such as a high palate or tongue-tie (frenulum restriction) to your anatomy such as flat or inverted nipples, bifurcated nipples, or Raynaud’s syndrome (vasospasms), or from a pathology such as a bacterial infection or yeast overgrowth, to a damaging latch. Unfortunately sometimes the case is baby just needs to grow more and it will take time but there may be ways to improve things until that time comes and a breastfeeding helper should be able to help you with that.

What’s the treatment? Working with an experienced breastfeeding helper, once the cause is determined, the first step is to address the underlying cause. This may mean changing positioning and learning latch techniques (such as this “Flipple” technique for latching), a prescription to treat thrush or a bacterial infection, using a device to pull flat or inverted nipples out, a procedure to correct frenulum restriction, therapeutic suck training, and a number of other possibilities. We should start with the easiest to implement first, such as positioning and latch but an early diagnosis can mean resolving the underlying cause for the nipple pain quickly and getting back to reaching those breastfeeding goals.

How to heal? Pain, particularly pain that was ongoing for a while, usually means some tissue damage that’s going to need to heal and until it does, the pain will continue. Treating the underlying cause of the pain is essential for complete healing but there are ways to encourage healing even as the cause is addressed.

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Air drying is important for healing, as much as possible, allow your nipples to air dry before closing up your bra. Air is healing and having the area dry prevents bacteria and yeast from growing in a dark, damp environment. Additionally, rinsing them several times a day (not after each feeding but frequently) can also reduce possible irritation from baby’s saliva.

A good nipple cream, one that is plant based, breathable, and safe enough to leave on during breastfeeding can not only help with healing but can prevent chapping in the early days of breastfeeding as a preventative measure. Wiping off an ointment from sensitive and damaged tissue is painful and can cause further injury so picking one that is safe for baby to ingest in tiny amounts is ideal. Apply after every feeding after allowing the area to dry and pick nursing pads that won’t stick to damaged tissue and your nipple cream.

Your own breastmilk may help your nipples heal. Breastmilk is full of good things that can expedite healing, including stem cells! Be careful though, the sugars in breastmilk will feed a yeast overgrowth, making thrush worse.

Air and sunlight may help nipples healing from thrush as yeast thrives best in dark, damp areas. Make the environment hostile for yeast by exposing your nipples to sunlight and taking a probiotic and cutting out refined sugar.

Heat or cold packs can provide comforting relief, it’s personal, some will love these and others will find them uncomfortable for addressing nipple pain. For those with Raynaud’s Syndrome there is no cure or way to permanently resolve the problem but a heat pack like this one may help minimize the symptoms, apply immediately after feeding.

Cold shredded carrots in the bra (will stain!) promotes healing and is soothing. After breastfeeding or pumping, put shredded carrots stored in the refrigerator in your bra (if you don’t mind your nursing pad turning orange, they can help hold the carrots in place).

Protect the nipples with a nipple shield may be necessary. Nipple shields should be used with caution and hopefully with the guidance of an experienced breastfeeding helper such as an IBCLC because there is a risk of lowering milk supply with using a breast shield (not everyone experiences this, just a factor to be aware is a possibility), but they can be a good option for some to help with tissue healing for a short time.

Take a break if you need to. Sometimes damaged tissue just can’t heal until it has the chance to rest. Regularly empty your breast to protect your supply and have breastmilk for your baby, be sure that you’re using the proper flange size so as not to potentially cause more damage.

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What are your tips for preventing and healing nipple pain and tissue damage?

Share with us in the comments, together we can support each other in reaching our baby feeding goals.

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JMW headshot

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, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.
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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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Breastfeeding Confession: I don’t love breastfeeding

by Jessica Martin-Weber

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

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As I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Sugarbaby, now 4, I had noticed a few women commenting online that they hated breastfeeding or at least didn’t love it. Not that they were stopping or refused to do it but that they didn’t have any of the warm fuzzy feelings they’d heard others talk about and they were looking forward to experiencing themselves. Often with their confession came the question: “does this make me a bad mom?”

My heart ached with them. I had felt the same.

I watched as some people responded making suggestions as to how they could maybe enjoy the experience more, or how it may take some time to get to that place, some sharing how much they love breastfeeding and are sorry the poster didn’t, and sometimes a few responding that they could relate. These women would respond that they were really struggling or felt broken, or questioned that maybe they didn’t love their child enough and that there was something wrong with them.

And again my heart ached with them.

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I was 35 weeks pregnant that week, preparing for a new nursling. Expecting baby #6, I was fairly confident that everything would be fine with breastfeeding. Not overly so, as I know each breastfeeding experience is different but there was no doubt in my mind that I’d be breastfeeding and that if there were any challenges we’d be able to work through them with our incredible support system. Still, there was this tiny part of me that wasn’t really looking forward to it. Maybe even dreading it a little. Which is almost heresy coming from the person that started The Leaky Boob.

Feeling for those women struggling I posted this status update on The Leaky B@@b Facebook page: 

“I don’t *love* breastfeeding. Nope, I don’t. It doesn’t give me warm, fuzzy feelings. I don’t look forward to sitting down with my nursling. I don’t particularly care for the sensation. But I breastfeed and I actively advocate and educate about breastfeeding. Why? Because I believe it’s the biologically normal way to feed a human infant. I don’t see myself as a martyr, just doing what I need to do to care for my children. I also don’t think this makes my a bad mom any more than the fact that sometimes I really hate making dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. Or changing diapers and doing laundry. What about you? Anyone else not “love” breastfeeding? What’s your breastfeeding confession?”

Responses started pouring in and in less than an hour there were close to 200 comments. The first 20 or so comments (I didn’t count, it could be a dozen or 50) are either people sharing they can relate, thanking me for such an honest confession because they felt less alone or freakish, sharing that it’s a love/hate relationship for them, the random “don’t like seeing people breastfeeding in public” (what’s that doing there?), the super excited ones that LOVE it and can’t relate, and the true confession of wanting to go out drinking (one brave soul shared that). Most of the 200 responses were from women grateful to hear my confession, thanking me for letting them know they weren’t alone and weren’t a bad mom for having these feelings. Then came the handful of comments saying that status was terrible and would discourage moms from breastfeeding. A few said that if they had seen that post when they were first breastfeeding and things were rough it would have made them want to quit. They asserted that we shouldn’t lie but we have to be selective with our words so as not to scare someone off. A few came down hard saying they were disappointed to see a post like that on TLB and called into question if I really support breastfeeding with posts like that.

I told my #4 nursling at the time that I didn’t like breastfeeding. Apologizing that I was gritting my teeth through her nursing sessions, I stroked her cheek and told her that even though I didn’t love breastfeeding I did very much love her and so she was worth it. Too young to understand, I felt my little girl sleeping in my arms and my chest tightened as the truth of my love for her surged through me making it hard to breathe. In that moment I vowed that even if I never loved breastfeeding I would focus on how much I love my daughter while she’s at my breast and I could take pleasure in how much she enjoyed breastfeeding even if I didn’t personally enjoy it.

Going into breastfeeding my 6th baby, my feelings about breastfeeding had changed, the skin-crawling, teeth gritting feeling was gone and while I still couldn’t say that I personally loved it I truly and deeply loved how much my baby loves to breastfeed. As her mother, there is an expansive satisfaction in making her happy that overwhelms even my own discomfort. She went on to breastfeed for 4 years and no, I don’t regret doing so. I don’t see myself as a martyr, just as a mother who, like most parents, has to give up some of my own personal comfort for a time for the benefit of my child. Though I’m not breastfeeding now, when I was, when my baby would grin up at me briefly letting go of my nipple, a little dribble of milk coursing down her cheek, I feel privileged to share and be the source of this moment she enjoyed so much. I will continue to support and advocate for breastfeeding and I will continue being honest about my own breastfeeding journey and feelings because in the long run we all need the kind of support to be who we really are if we’re going to grow.

I followed up with this that day on Facebook: (edited here)

“So sometimes breastfeeding isn’t an amazing experience, sometimes it is. We can be honest about our feelings with ourselves and with others and need to have safe places to do so. If that’s announcing loving the experience or sharing that it’s a struggle not enjoyed, it’s important to have that place. Even for me. Being brave enough to be honest enough to admit the hard stuff is where true support is found. When I first started breastfeeding and hated it deeply it wasn’t helpful to only hear how wonderful it was for everyone else. I needed to hear a balance of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I didn’t believe anyone actually enjoyed it, they just said they did it because it was expected. Today, 6 nurslings later, I’ve learned that it’s complicated and that’s ok. Everyone’s experience is different and nobody should have to hide it because what we need is to be honest, supportive, and real. Some things are going to encourage you, some are going to discourage you, either way, own YOUR experience.”

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What about you? Have you had times where even if everything was working fine, you just didn’t enjoy breastfeeding? Why do you continue?

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Jessica 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, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.
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The Joy of Giving 2016

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Everyone loves a good giveaway. They’re fun, enticing, and full of hopeful anticipation. Here at TLB we take delight in working with brands that care so much about quality, families, support, and seeing babies well fed. These companies not only see our community as a valuable resource for them, but each brand we work with is carefully vetted, selected for their commitment to value supporting families. With them, TLB gets to regularly experience the joy of giving to families through our giveaways and community support.

Which is why this holiday season we are extending the reach of that giving. The Joy of Giving giveaway brings together 32 brands that truly know the meaning of the joy of giving. With three different bundles (totaling $4306), one lucky winner will have the chance to give as well by selecting two of their friends that could use a little holiday cheer, and they will each receive a bundle!

But that’s not all. Not only are we offering this giveaway and giving you a chance to give, every item being given away in the Joy of Giving giveaway is also being donated to a nonprofit organization that supports families. And we need your help!  There are so many amazing nonprofits out there that we struggled to select just 5 of them for this opportunity, and it’s up to you to make the final selection. We are including a short description for each of the 5 organizations with a link to their website in case you would like to learn more about them. Once you’re ready, cast your vote for your favorite in the poll just under the descriptions! Our hope is that they will inspire us all to find new ways to give this season. Even a warm smile can lift a person’s spirits.

 

Happy Holidays, and good luck!

 

Everyday Miracles is built on the belief that every woman has a right to evidence-based prenatal care; that every woman should be empowered, supported and celebrated during pregnancy, birth and postpartum—regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. The work they do is inspired by the commitment, resilience and strength we see in the moms we serve every single day. Their mission is to improve birth outcomes and reduce health disparities by providing evidence-based education, compassionate and culturally competent support and a non-judgemental, caring community. Find them on Facebook.

Mothers Helping Mothers is a refuge in which Teens in need of support and guidance can receive mentoring and educational encouragement that offers empowerment in such a way that it promotes positive self-esteem while enhancing teen parenting skills. Serving teen mothers in the Columbus, OH area in need of a loving and nurturing environment during their time of pregnancy and beyond in both emotional and physical ways. Find them on Facebook.

Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle (PBBC), aims to reduce racial disparities in breastfeeding by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding as the cultural norm and optimal feeding method for mothers and babies of African Descent in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Their mission also includes providing culturally relevant breastfeeding, parenting, and nutrition education and information in a supportive group environment. The PBBC facilitates community learning with maternal child health and lactation specialists and experts; in addition to the development of peer leadership. Find them on Facebook.

The Carrying On Project provides carriers and more to low income and struggling military families to help encourage and facilitate bonding for service members who spend extended amount of time away from their children because of deployments, trainings, and other duties of service, as well as help the caregiver at home by providing them a way to snuggle and comfort the children who are left behind with a focus on families who are brand new to the military or our veterans who are awaiting medical support or compensation, including those living in halfway houses and group housing. They also work with veteran families, some who are left unemployable due to injuries, TBIs or PTSD, and more. Serving nearly 8000 families since their inception, collaborating with other organizations, TCOP distributes items for charity baby showers and need-based to help families that apply and need extra services. In addition to baby carriers, TCOP has supplied families requiring extra assistance with diapers, clothing, blankets, breastfeeding supplies, teething items, bottles, pacifiers, and more. Find them on Facebook.

Wichita Treehouse women come to The Treehouse as referrals from other social service agencies in Wichita. These moms have given birth in difficult circumstances, and have material, emotional, and spiritual needs. The Treehouse provides moms with: Parenting education, One-time free distribution of basic infant necessities (for eligible mothers), Thrift store (newborn to 16 youth clothing, basic supplies for infants and toddlers, etc. credit earned by taking classes), Extra assistance (up to 2 times a year for diapers or formula). The Treehouse continues to be able to serve moms and babies because of  financial, material, volunteer resources, and prayer from the entire Wichita community. Find them on Facebook. 

Prize bundle #1:

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Prize Bundle #1 Total Value: $583

You! Lingerie: Isis Blue Maternity and Nursing Set$50 value
Truly Irresistible! Fall in love with this smooth vivid blue color nursing bra featuring a seductive touch of lace, a true definition of ‘Luxurious!’ The gorgeously molded nursing bra is a great choice during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Lined with our signature Hot Pink 100% cotton for maximum comfort. Embellished with our signature Hot Pink satin bows. It comes with a matching brief microfiber with a touch of lace in vivid blue for a gorgeous YOU!

Smart BottomsConvertible Flannel Nursing Scarf, $39 value
Made with cozy flannel fabric, this scarf will quickly become your favorite cold-weather accessory! Snaps enable you to customize your coverage and compliment your outfit.

MommyCon: General Admission, $45 value
General admission to any 2017 MommyCon event.

Mollys SudsLiquid Laundry Detergent, $17 value
This free and clear, unscented formula is perfect for those with allergies and sensitive skin and it is baby laundry safe. You can count the number of ingredients on both hands – it does not contain the long list of harsh chemicals found in conventional brands. 50 loads, 50 FL OZ, Ultra-Concentrated. Works in all machines, including HE, and safe for septic systems. Work in all water temperatures, and hard/soft water.

Carriwell: Seamless GelWire Nursing Bra$50 value
The healthiest, supportive nursing bra ever made, the incredibly flexible Gelwire gives you the support you desire while still being soft and comfortable to wear. The Carriewell GelWire is the healthy option when you need support in your nursing bra and is approved by lactation consultants.

Nurture-Elle: Pleated Short Sleeve Top, $45 value
The graceful pleats are excellent at hiding the tummy and the slimming effects of the long sleeves will boost your confidence! Wearable during pregnancy as well. The subtle elastic band along the bottom of the shirt structures the top so as to add style, not volume.
Opening: SIDE SEAM ACCESS: To access the right breast, simply move the front fabric to the left and move to the right the inner layer. To access the left breast, simply move the front fabric to the right and move to the left the inner layer.
* All our breastfeeding fashions are created with a woman’s post-partum shape in mind. We have customized the bust lines to be 1 to 2 cup sizes larger.

Crane: Owl Humidifier$50 value
Crane ultrasonic cool mist humidifier provides up to 24 hours of whisper quiet mist to relieve stuffy noses, dry skin, dry cough and overall cold/flu symptoms. Does not require a filter.

Make My Belly Fit: Jacket Extender, $86 value
Babies bring change. Your jacket doesn’t have to! The BellyFit is an award-winning jacket extender for maternity and baby-wearing. It simply extends your own jacket.

BelabumbumDottie Nursing Pajama Set, $79 value
Belabumbum’s sweet and soft polka dot print pajama set includes a camisole with underbust pull-up nursing access and adjustable straps and a flattering pant with soft flat elastic waistband in 100% pima cotton jersey with lace trim.

MoveMamíNursing Sports Bra, $50 value
SHINE in the most comfortable and supportive nursing bra. MOVEMAMÍ is highly recommended by mothers and midwives around the world. Supportive, comfortable and stylish – the SHINE breastfeeding sports bra is designed to support a mother’s ever-changing body, both during and post-pregnancy. Each MOVEMAMÍ nursing bra comes with a pair of innovative BAMBOOB breast pads.

Preggo LeggingsBlack Out Moto Leggings, $50 value
Rock this biker inspired Black Out Moto Maternity Leggings and you’ll instantly look like a badass preggo babe. They are super comfy too with an adjustable waist and ribbed stretch cotton over the bump panels. Your ultimate go-to fashion maternity leggings that you can easily dress up or down with a tee or your favorite top.

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Prize bundle #2:

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Prize Bundle #2 Total Value: $626

Ameda: Purely Yours Ultra Pump$299 value
Our Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breast Pump is a closed-system, single-user pump intended to help mothers to safely and effectively express and store her milk when she is unable to nurse directly. The Ultra has updated features including larger, easy-to-use control dials and an easy-to-clean exterior finish.

Glamourmom: Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top, $59 value
Full structured built-in nursing bra into a long tank top that supports up to a J cup.

Woolino: 4 Season Basic Baby Sleeping Bag, $70 value
Woolino’s award winning 4 Season Basic Merino Wool Baby Sleep Bag will keep baby at a perfect temperature all year round. It is made of the finest Australian merino wool that is silky soft, hypoallergenic, and it has an unmatched ability to regulate baby’s body temperature. That means there’s no need to worry about which weight sleep sack to use, or whether your baby will be too hot or cold while sleeping – they’ll always be just right!

KangaCare: Rumparooz Diaper, $24 value
One diaper. 4 sizes. Fits babies 6-35+ lbs
The award winning Rumparooz One Size Cloth Pocket Diaper has been a revolutionary change to the face of cloth diapering. Kanga Care brand cloth diapers were the first cloth diapers uniquely designed with the now patented leak protection technology of dual inner gussets. Designed with simplicity, Rumparooz are as easy to use as a disposable diaper, but without all the chemicals, waste and high cost. The Rumparooz One Size Cloth Pocket Diaper is 4 diapers sizes in ONE diaper. The Rumparooz will fit most babies at any size between birth (size newborn, 6 lbs) up through potty training (size large, 35+ lbs). Each diaper comes with a microfiber 6r soaker. This unique soaker has 6 different size and absorbency settings to customize for your babies needs.

The Dairy Fairy: Ayla Pumping Bra, $54 value
A beautiful, comfortable and functional bra for the multitasking mom. Lacy and supportive, definitely not your granny-bra.

Twin Z: The One Z Pillow$60 value
One Z Pillow is a nursing pillow fantastic integrated back support that allows moms to nurse for hours a day in complete comfort. The One Z Pillow uses also include Tummy Time, Bottle Feeding, Support and Play Time!

Phoenix BabyGoTo 2-in-1 Infant Car Seat and Travel High Chair$60 value
The GoTo2-in-1 is the first adaptive system that allows parents to safely, cleanly and comfortably provide baby a safe spot at home and on the go. Designed with wide legs for stability, a safety lock to hold infant car seats in place, and mesh pockets to conveniently store feeding essentials, the GoTo 2-in-1 is a perfect alternative to a restaurant high chair or placing an infant car seat on a raised surface. With the 2-in-1, parents can safely keep baby up and away from pets, dirt and floor drafts. The 2-in-1 is tall enough to feed baby at a table and conveniently folds compactly for storage and travel.
Once a child is out of an infant car seat, the 2-in-1 can be used as a high chair, including a full 5-point safety harness. It comes with a case and easily fits in a car trunk or an overhead storage rack for easy travel.

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Prize bundle #3:

joy-of-giving-bundle-3

Prize Bundle #3 Total Value: $733

Twin Z: Sleep Z Pillow$50 value
Toddler/Kid Body Pillow for children ages 3 and up that helps your child fall asleep by surrounding them with comfort. Results in less middle of the night waking!

Nurture-Elle: Pleated Short Sleeve Top$45 value
The graceful pleats are excellent at hiding the tummy and the slimming effects of the long sleeves will boost your confidence! Wearable during pregnancy as well. The subtle elastic band along the bottom of the shirt structures the top so as to add style, not volume.
Opening: SIDE SEAM ACCESS: To access the right breast, simply move the front fabric to the left and move to the right the inner layer. To access the left breast, simply move the front fabric to the right and move to the left the inner layer.

ThinkBaby: BPA Free Feeding Set, $40 value
Free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, nitrosamines, lead, PVC, PET,  Melamine and biologically harmful chemicals.The Complete BPA Free set contains: bento box, soup bowl, baby bowl, and a kids cup.
Made from highly sustainable materials.

MommyCon: Smash the Patriarchy T-shirt, $20 value
On Wednesdays We Smash the Patriarchy and invite you to join us by wearing this 100% cotton, heathery gray shirt in ia classic, unisex crewneck.

KangaCareLil Learnerz Training Pants$28 value
Lil Learnerz are here to help your toddler hit the next milestone – potty training! When your little one is ready to leave the diapers behind but still needs help and protection, Lil Learnerz will become that essential aid. Lil Learnerz look like big kid underwear and come in multiple fun prints and vibrant color combinations. Lil Learnerz are made with IMWET TECHNOLOGY™! This feature lets your toddler feel wet when they have had an accident. This helps them learn more about their body and aids in the potty learning process. Lil Learnerz are breathable and soft with a hypoallergenic layer that rests against your child’s skin. Lil Learnerz are also waterproof and can hold a heavy accident with no trouble. The inside is made up of an absorbent, dual layer, microfiber core. Lil Learnerz are easy to pull up and down by your little learner! Just like real underwear! Lil Learnerz are available in five sizes ranging from Extra Small to Extra Large. The Extra Small and Small sizes also feature side snapping release panels for easy-off in case of accidents with early learners.

Chimparoo: Soft Structured Baby Carrier, value $206
The Chimparoo TREK is the contemporary of the woven wrap, designed for those who desire an ergonomic and supportive soft structured carrier. Sporty and chic, down to earth and sophisticated, this carrier is for men and women with refined tastes, the nature lovers and the trend-seekers. It can hold up to 45 lbs and is easy to handle.

Ameda: Purely Yours Ultra Pump$299 value
Our Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breast Pump is a closed-system, single-user pump intended to help mothers to safely and effectively express and store her milk when she is unable to nurse directly. The Ultra has updated features including larger, easy-to-use control dials and an easy-to-clean exterior finish.

Snugabell: PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Bra, $38 value
PumpEase holds your breast pump flanges securely in place so you can read, text, eat, email, care for your child, or just relax while you pump your breastmilk – hands-free! You don’t need to fuss with awkward straps or adjustments; PumpEase is easy to use and looks great for moms who aren’t willing to forgo fashion for function.

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Every bundle includes (Total Value: $784):

Snuggle Me: Organic Cosleeper$140 value
USA Made Organic Cosleeping Infant Lounger for Babies. It is slightly raised and unpadded, which means when baby is laid on top of the cushion, the sides will gently pull in to give baby the sensation of being held.

Anna NaturalsBoobie Basket$33 value
The Boobie Basket includes all your nursing necessities – Nursing Mama herbal tea, All Smiles Aromatherapy Mist, and Nursing Mama Nipple Cream.

The Baby Booster: Baby Booster, $36 value
A lifestyle solution that helps support a breastfeeding mom’s daily diet.

Wear PACT: Camisole/Leggings/Hoodie, $100 value
All PACT apparel are super soft, sweatshop free, ethically produced, and part of a movement transforming the way apparel is made. Sure they’re (comfy, amazing) clothes, but they’re more than clothes. They’re an impetus for the best kind of change.

Lake Champlain ChocolatesPeppermint Hot Chocolate$12 value
Make it a merry and minty Christmas! This is holiday hot chocolate the way it should be — a refreshing blend of rich cocoa and cool peppermint, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Just the thing to warm everyone up!

MomzelleNursing Top$69 value
The cutest and most comfortable nursing hoodie on the market! Stay warm while nursing your little one. This lightweight hoodie offers easy and discreet nursing access and comes in four great colour combinations.

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: Gray Love Bear$40 value
The Gray Love Bear recordable stuffed animal kit includes a fluffy, gray-colored teddy bear, an attached 3×5″ yellow frame that holds your ultrasound photo, and a recorder to capture the sound of your baby’s heartbeat during an ultrasound. The gray Bear is 13” long, perfect snuggle size. My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear kits make excellent baby shower gifts or pregnancy keepsakes. Also available at many 3D/4D ultrasound studios. Patent pending.

SpectraS2 Breast Pump$250 value
Spectra S2 Single/Double Closed System Hospital Strength Electric Breast Pump. Includes back flow protection, hospital strength suction, single or double electric, nightlight, timer, adjustable settings, quiet, lightweight at 3.3lbs, dual voltage, stylish, and comfortable. This pumps suckling action helps moms initiate, increase, and maintain a milk supply.

Belibea: Nourish Cami$60 value
Made for the flexibility of a modern mom, our seamless stretch-knit Nourish Cami provides the convenience of wearing ONE garment whether nursing, pumping or reveling in the sweet moments in between.

Itzy Ritzy: Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf$25 value
Everyday scarf that is convenient to wear and use when nursing. Allows maintained eye contact and airflow for your baby. Cotton and polyester jersey knit blend with finished edges!

Luna Pads: Performa Lunapads$19 value
Performa is a brand new approach to washable menstrual pads. Featuring high-tech fabrics that absorb three times as much fluid than a regular disposable pad or tampon, Performa is the eco-friendly option for a more comfortable period.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from December 11, 2016 through December 21, 2016.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors who generously demonstrated their compassion for people by participating in this giveaway.  Their support of TLB, and all breastfeeding women, and beyond, is invaluable; don’t hesitate to visit them on social media and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

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Weaning Off Formula back to Exclusively Breastfeeding

by Shari Criso MSN, RC, CNM, IBCLC

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

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“Supplementation with formula does not have to be the end of breastfeeding and it may be very possible to transition to exclusively breastfeeding if that is your goal.”

First of all Amy, great job at making it to the 8 week mark! It is a big deal and something to be very proud of. From your questions it is clear that you’re just about exclusively breastfeeding but now we need to help you over that last hump.

What I tell all my clients is that if all you’re supplementing is 1-2 feedings per day of formula and breastfeeding the rest of the time, then in most cases you probably don’t need to do any at all! It is obvious that your body is quite capable of producing adequate amounts of breastmilk, however the continued supplementation will not give your body the opportunity to catch up. What you need to do is feed a little more frequently so that your body can kick inn and start to make more.

If all you’re doing is one or two supplemented feedings a days and your baby is gaining weight adequately, I would immediately start cutting out formula supplementation and begin to encourage your body to make more milk. Those few ounces that you have been supplementing can usually be made of with more frequent feeding or were not really necessary anyway, as many supplemented babies are over fed and encouraged to gain weight faster than they need to.

Typically, it is when I see moms that have been supplementing for weeks and weeks with very little breastfeeding that I am more concerned about the status of their milk supply and the need to build that up slowly by cutting back formula supplement slowly over time with careful evaluation throughout.

However, for you Amy, what I would recommend is to stop the supplementation, increase the frequency of your feedings, allow your baby to stay on the breast longer, drain the breast completely by switching sides multiple times during a feeding (feed both sides and then return to the first side again), do lots of skin to skin and wear your baby as much as you can, and basically let the baby guide you right now.

As for how hungry he is, treat it as a growth spurt. In my online breastfeeding program “Simply Breastfeeding,” I have an entire chapter on growth spurts and what to do when your breastfed baby is going through one. These are times during the breastfeeding journey when you actually are not making enough and it is very NORMAL! These are times when you baby is growing and your body is attempting to catch up with your baby’s needs for more milk. The only way that it can do that is to respond to your baby’s signal of hunger, which is what happens when they start feeding very frequently. During these times, allowing your baby to nurse as long as they want and as often as they want for a few days is the answer. With frequent and “on demand” feedings, your body will kick in very quickly and start to get the message, “Oh…MAKE MORE MILK!”

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Regardless of the reason in the beginning or whether the initial supplementation may or may not have been necessary, it does not mean that you need to continue doing it indefinitely. For most mothers it is a lack of understanding about how much their baby’s need to be eating, how much and how fast they need to be gaining, and how the body responds and makes more milk that causes them to continue to supplement unnecessarily and eventually add more formula which further decreases their breast milk supply. What may start off as a true need under certain circumstances is then replaced with an issue that has been unknowingly created and unnecessarily continued.

Another important thing to understand is that babies should not be weighed weekly. This is huge! When moms and dads ask me, “How much should a baby be gaining every week?” The answer I give is somewhere between 4-8 ounces per week on average. The key point here being, ON AVERAGE. That means, under normal circumstances you are not bringing your baby in every single week to weighed. This is because one week you may only have a weight gain of 2 ounces and you are going to think something is wrong. Then the next week your baby is going to gain 10 ounces cause they had a growth spurt. This is why weighing your baby every week and monitoring so closely can cause you to think your baby is not growing appropriately and cause unnecessary supplementation.

The best way to monitor that your baby is doing well is to keep watching for those wet and poopy diapers, looking out for all the signs that I talk about in my DVD program on how to make sure your baby is getting enough milk, and weighing your baby monthly.

So after a month’s time you’ll go back to weigh the baby, you divide that gain by four weeks, and now you can say to yourself, “Okay, did they gain somewhere between 4-8 ounces a week on average?” If the answer is yes then you’re pretty much in the right spot. Babies grow at their own pace and we cannot be too rigid with this. Breastmilk is just too important to sacrifice that quickly. Just as a baby that truly needs to be supplemented must be addressed and few for their well being, your breastmilk supply and breastfeeding relationship is critical to their short and long term health and must also be protected and supported appropriately.

I recommend that you go back and watch my program and pay particular attention to the chapter on growth spurts. Work with your pediatrician and treat this time just like you would a normal growth spurt. With the right support, patience and understanding of what is normal, I believe you will be on your way to exclusively breastfeeding your little one in no time!

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Find more from Shari supporting your parenting journey including infant feeding on Facebook, or her classes at My Baby Experts©

Thanks for EvenFlo Feeding, Inc.’s generous support for families in the their feeding journey.

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Shari Criso 2016

For over 23 years, Shari Criso has been a Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, nationally recognized parenting educator, entrepreneur, and most importantly, loving wife and proud mother of two amazing breastfed daughters. You can find her on Facebook or her own personal site.
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Seven Points To Know About Breastmilk Supply Issues

By Jessica Martin-Weber

This post is generously made possible by Bamboobies

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For the most part, if you decide to breastfeed, the experience will be: have boobs, feed baby. A process that has worked long enough to get us to this point in civilization, as mammals, generally speaking we will produce enough milk for our young. If everything is working normally, our breasts are going to make the milk our babies need. Lactating after giving birth is, for our species, normal, like breathing.

Which is well and good. But for as normal as it all may be sometimes there are issues with breathing and sometimes there are issues with lactation. Sometimes those issues are related to milk supply.

Before you worry about it or before you tell someone else to worry about it or not to worry about it, there are a few things that may be helpful to know. This is all just the tip of the iceberg, we’ll have more on this topic in the future but for now this is just a quick overview of breastmilk supply issues and not intended to be health care or replace medical care. If you are experiencing any problems with your supply, please see your healthcare provider and an experienced, professional skilled breastfeeding helper.

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1. Supply issues are real. Though biologically speaking it is normal to produce milk for our young, the fact is some will experience issues with supply. While they aren’t as common as it may seem, supply issues aren’t made up, they really do happen. Dismissing the concerns about supply can actually cause more supply problems as it may lead to feelings of isolation, failure, pain, grief, anger, and depression. If someone is concerned about their breastmilk supply, getting help is the right thing to do. They may discover that there is no evidence of supply issues and they can let go of their worry or they may find there is in fact a problem and take steps to address it to adequately care for their child(ren).

2. There is more than one type of supply issue. Often when talking about supply issues people assume it is low supply or not producing enough milk. Low supply is indeed a very concerning issue but it isn’t the only supply issue that may be experienced. Pumping supply, oversupply, and temporary supply issues (ovulation/period, illness, pregnancy, separation, etc.) are other supply issues that may present challenges for breastfeeding families. From poor weight gain to recurring mastitis to not reaching breastfeeding goals, the effects of supply issues cover a wide range and all of them matter.

3. Don’t borrow supply issue trouble. Yes, supply issues are real but before stressing about or trying to fix a supply issue, it is important to know if there is one (see related: Help, My Milk Supply Is Low, Or Is It?). This can be difficult to do if we don’t understand normal human lactation or normal baby behavior. For example, if you heard that I was pumping up to 24 ounce every pumping session at one point and you pumped 1-4 ounces in a session, you may think you have low supply (tip: this wouldn’t mean you have low supply- this means I had oversupply, one I manufactured to pump enough to skim the fat off to feed my very sick baby with two holes in her heart). Or if you found that your baby was extremely fussy and wanting to breastfeed every 30 minutes suddenly and you didn’t know what cluster feeding was and that it was common for babies to increase their feeding sessions during times of rapid growth, you may fear that your breasts suddenly weren’t making enough milk. Understanding the range of normal in human lactation is crucial!

4. There are multiple reasons for supply issues. Physiologically speaking, most breasts should have everything necessary to make plenty of milk (statistically less than 2% of breasts are equipped for adequate milk production) though there are some theories that this number is increasing. But a lack of milk making tissue isn’t the only cause of low supply. Other reasons for low supply include, but are not limited to, fluids in labor, tongue tie (frenulum restriction), high palate, hormone imbalance, diabetes, gut health, scheduled feedings, retained placenta, excessive pumping, ineffective sucking, health issues, some medication, early sleeping through the night, and the list goes on.

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5. Supply issues can create other issues. Yes, even perceived supply issues can create other issues. Confirmed supply issues even more so. Postpartum depression, anxiety, mastitis, gas, poor weight gain, breast tissue damage, unwanted and unnecessary supplementing, early weaning from the breast, etc. Those encountering issues with supply need more support and care on both a social level and from health care professionals.

6. Supply issues aren’t all doom and gloom. For starters, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to feeding our babies. There are ways to address supply issues including methods to boost supply, supplement at the breast, train baby to suck more effectively, and reducing oversupply. Identifying the type of supply issue, the cause, and then the most effective methods for improving the supply issue (i.e. skin-to-skin helps low supply, decreasing pumping duration and frequency helps oversupply, hands-on-breast compressions and proper flange sizes can help pumping low supply, and magnesium can help temporary low supply caused by fertility cycles) along with supplementing techniques to encourage breastfeeding (i.e. paced feeding and at the breast supplementing) may all work together to turn things around.

7. There is support for supply issues. I often hear from breastfeeders with supply issues that they feel broken and alone. Supply issues can directly impact a parent’s confidence, causing them to question their competency in parenting when the most elemental aspect of parenting, feeding the child, is so difficult and overwhelming for them. While it can feel lonely when you’re dealing with supply issues, we don’t have to be alone. From social media groups to in person breastfeeding support groups to specialized breastfeeding helpers in the healthcare field, there is support for those experiencing supply issues. Working with a breastfeeding helper such as an IBCLC may help resolve the issue more quickly.

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Jessica 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, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.

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