The Birth Hour’s Know Your Options Childbirth Course!

Comprehensive & Evidence-Based Childbirth Course from The Birth Hour

I’m so excited to announce the VIP launch of THE most comprehensive online childbirth course in existence! We will take you from the final weeks of pregnancy through postpartum and newborn care covering all of the evidence-based information for all types of birth, no matter what you are planning!

Bigger-than-a-Bonus

pumped milk
Then, we’ve got you covered when you’re going back to work with an additional six module Back-2-Work Breastfeeding Course that you will get completely free as part of enrollment in the Know Your Options Childbirth Course!

Lifetime Access + MORE Bonuses!

Oh, and you get lifetime access to everything! I’ve actually already had a few mamas who are still in the trying to conceive phase sign up because they wanted to be sure to get in on the course while they can! The cart for this initial launch will only be open for a few days because we want to give really personalized attention to this first group of students!

A couple additional bonuses: the first 100 students to sign up will get a special gift in the mail from Earth Mama Organics AND anyone who signs up during this initial launch will have a guaranteed invitation to share their birth story on The Birth Hour… I’ve never done anything like that before and probably never will again but I really want to hear from you about how this course impacted your birth!

Go Here For All The Details!!

Tips for Pumping When You Go Back to Work

One of the biggest concerns for new moms after having a baby is whether or not the transition back to work will go smoothly. Worrying about the transition consumes an unfair amount of time that you should spend bonding and relaxing with your newborn. It is an added stress to worry about continuing to breastfeed and all that comes with arranging a pumping schedule and keeping up milk supply. The key to a successful transition is to create a plan and to find the breastfeeding cheerleaders in your life.

Create a Breastfeeding Plan

Much like a birth plan, writing down your key information and organizing the details of the transition is a big help. Here’s a template to address the major considerations you will encounter during the transition back to work. This includes a list of supplies to take with you, what to provide your baby’s caregiver, how to set up a pumping space at work, and how to talk to your employer about it. If you are aware of the potential obstacles, you will be able to navigate around them more easily when they pop up.

At Work Supplies Checklist

Pumping at work is sort of like camping. You want to make sure you have everything you need so you aren’t stuck without a tent in the rain – or without a set of nursing pads during an unexpected let down. Three weeks before you plan to return to work, make sure you have a full set up of supplies. An example of the things to gather:

  • Double electric breast pump
  • Extra set of pump supplies
  • Nursing pads
  • Pump cleaning supplies (i.e. wipes, soap, microwave steam bags)
  • Milk storage containers with lids
  • Milk storage bags
  • Manual hand pump (just in case your electric pump isn’t working or you have no power)
  • Cooler bag with ice packs

Every mom is different and some prefer to wear nursing bras and clothing designed for pumping, and some prefer to wear loose fitting or maneuverable clothes. It doesn’t matter what you decide to wear, as long as you can pump easily enough and you feel comfortable.

Breastfeeding Cheerleaders

These people are the ones that keep your spirits up when you’re feeling overwhelmed or are doubting your ability to continue nursing. They can be family, friends, other moms at a breastfeeding support group, a lactation consultant, or your doctor. Have their contact information ready in the event that you need a pep talk. It can be incredibly helpful to hear the stories of other moms who have struggled with breastfeeding — you can learn what they did to overcome the challenges.

Practice Makes Perfect

Your new routine will become second nature once you get started, but it may feel a little bumpy in the beginning. Practice using your pump in the weeks leading up to returning to work and start stocking your freezer with breast milk. Set up your pump like you would at work, imagining how you would store your pump and the milk you expressed after a pumping session. It is good to know in advance whether you will have access to an outlet, a sink, or a refrigerator so you can plan around it.

Don’t Plan to Pump in a Bathroom

The default pumping location used to be bathrooms, however, there are laws now that require companies to provide a private nursing space for mothers that isn’t a bathroom. While there are a few exceptions to the law, it is not too much to ask for a space that is NOT the bathroom. If your employer requests that you keep your pumping in the restrooms, kindly let them know that it is not standard practice anymore.

Going back to work can be a difficult transition for new moms, especially if you’re planning to pump throughout the day, however having a plan and a supportive team will make the transition smoother. Feeling confident in your plan to return to work will give you peace of mind. It is totally possible to have a successful back-to-work breastfeeding experience and we’re here to help you.

This guest post was written by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow helps you get a breastpump for free through your insurance. For more information about Aeroflow Breastpumps, go to www.AeroflowBreastpumps.com.

World Breastfeeding Week 2017

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and I’ve really been blown away by all of the amazing collaborations, articles, events and general awesomeness surrounding this week and bringing awareness to Breastfeeding. Here are some of my favorite things from the week.

Facebook LIVE party for supporting moms and a HUGE Giveaway with Sarah Wells Bags! I loved how real Sarah is when she shares her journey of exclusively pumping for her first daughter and how it inspired her breastpump bags (be sure to check out the newest gorgeous floral design she just released for WBW!) as well as my chat with Sarah Wells at the end of this week’s podcast episode!

sarah wells bags

Awesome article about why this week matters!

Around 2,000 women came together to breastfeed their babies in the Philippines to promote the health benefits of breast milk. If you want to attend a Latch On event, you can find one near you!

This free WBW nursing guide including a Survival Guide for the first two weeks of breastfeeding.

This kickstarter to bring breastfeeding awareness around the country – you have to see the RV and their clever #putaboobonit campaign!

Some of my favorite episodes that talk about breastfeeding struggles: one, two, three.

 

Travel Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Travel Tips for Breastfeeding Moms Traveling without Baby

I absolutely love that the look of motherhood today is so varied and quite the mosaic. Women today have decided that they not only want a family but they also want a career, a higher level degree, time away with friends, their own business, solo trips abroad, and so much more. And I say, “Right on!”

One of the most exhilarating yet also daunting things for a new mama to do is travel without her baby while trying to also maintain a healthy milk supply. For many of us traveling for work is the first time we must leave our little one for an extended period of time. Whether you’ll be traveling abroad for work or to the next town over for a weekend getaway with girlfriends, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your trip and feel confident to  stick to your breastfeeding goals.

Before you leave

#1 Leave feeding schedule for your partner or caregiver

Detail even the tiniest of concerns you may have, as well as tips and tricks to help them sooth your baby. If you know that your little one needs to be propped up for 30 minutes after feeding, then let them know. If you want your baby to be fed in 2 oz. increments to avoid any waste of your precious milk, write it down. Be clear about your expectations so that you don’t feel a constant sense of angst while away.

Providing these details will allow you to enjoy your time away more and give you a sense of ease with the fact that the necessities have been covered. You’ve also allowed yourself time to review and think over the things you’d like done in your absence.

#2 Begin to document your baby’s normal feeding schedule

Write down the times they normally feed, whether or not they feed on one or both breasts, and if they are currently taking a bottle, how much they’re drinking at each feeding. Your baby’s caregiver can then use this as a guide for when to feed your little one and you can use it as an outline for yourself as to when to pump while away.

#3 Get the Gear

Cut down on carry-on luggage by investing in a breastpump bag that will hold your personal items (including your latptop!) as well as your pump and chilled milk.

If you’re traveling out of the country get a power adaptor! These can easily be purchased online. It’s also a great idea to have a few batteries packed with you as well. This will allow you to pump in the airport during a layover if the voltage is different than back home and not the one you’ll need for the country you’ll be visiting. It’s also a great backup in case you’re in a location with unpredictable electricity. Bringing along a car adaptor for your breastpump is a great idea as well!

# 4 Record a video of your baby nursing & bring a piece of your baby’s clothing 

You can play the video during your pumping sessions and smell your baby’s clothing while trying to get your milk to let-down. These physical mementos can really spark an emotional and physiological response that may help you when trying to relax and “perform” without your baby being present.

During Your Trip

photo via @thehappypumper

#5 Stay hydrated

As you probably already know, flying can really dry you out. Carrying a foldable water bottle or grabbing a cup of water at the airport coffee shop once you’re through security is a great way to remind yourself to stay hydrated. Also, once you’re on location and having a good time, a simple rule you can follow is for every glass of wine or alcohol you drink, you have a glass of water to go with it. Remember it’s best to wait between 1-2 hours per drink before pumping breastmilk for your baby.

READ MORE ABOUT KEEPING UP MILK SUPPLY HERE

#6 Shipping Milk Home

For moms traveling across the U.S. If you’re trying to figure out how to bring your milk back home, there’s this amazing company that will allow you to simply pack and ship home up to 72oz. per box of your milk straight to your front door!  Awesome right?! This is also a great option for a mama who’s going on a last minute trip and hasn’t had a chance to store up enough milk for the time she’ll be away. Simply pump, pack it up, and send it home to your babe! Be sure to check out the CDC’s guidelines for proper storage and handling of breast milk.

#7 Stick to baby’s feeding schedule

Follow your previously created feeding log to determine how often you should pump. Even if your baby only fed on one side during your feedings at home, it can be very helpful to your milk supply to pump on both sides while away. Be sure to use a double electric or hospital grade pump, which provides the proper suction strength and stimulation needed for milk expression while not also feeding at the breast.

GET A FREE BREASTPUMP THROUGH YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE

#8 Try and plan for moments of calm and still in your day

This may not be possible for all of your feedings, but allowing yourself to take time and just relax or meditate can help you mentally and physically while away from your baby. Many mamas have difficulty letting down and filling bottles when in the midst of stress and work. A way to combat this is by meditating or doing simple relaxation exercises that help you reconnect and feel grounded while away.

When you are back home

homebirth pictures

#9  Take a nursing vacation

Try and plan for a day or two of home time with your baby after your trip away. Use this as a nursing vacation where you do unlimited skin-to-skin and feeding on demand. Take long herb baths with your baby resting on you and carry your baby in a carrier, so that your hands can still be free. This will help to give your milk supply a little boost in case you’ve noticed a dip while away.

#10 Let go and practice self care

Fully embrace the time you spent away and carry no guilt for the choice you made. It’s not selfish to invest in yourself, your business, and your friendships. Every mother deserves time away and support to mother in her own unique way.

The tips I shared here are from lessons I learned personally while traveling away from my own little one while maintaining my breastfeeding goals, as well as my role as a Lactation Educator Counselor supporting other mamas who live global boundless lives. I hope they support you in your breastfeeding journey and encourage you to mother in the way that’s most natural to you.

 

This guest post was written by Anjelica Malone. Angelica is a Lactation Educator Counselor and Breastfeeding Coach. She’s passionate about helping women incorporate breastfeeding into their lives, instead of allowing it to take over their lives. Anjelica is the mother of two little island-born girls and now resides in Seattle, Washington. Anjelica grew up traveling the world with her family and now loves sharing the experience of travel with her husband and kiddos. You can follow her adventures via the hashtag #AGlobalTribeOfWomen and learn about how to live a more conscious and globally-minded life at AnjelicaMalone.com.

A Guide to Dealing with Low Breast Milk Supply

My Personal Experience with Low Milk Supply

My postpartum journey was very difficult. It was an extremely emotional time for me.  My feelings of pure bliss were exaggerated by intense fatigue and all the guilt and grief from not being able to exclusively breastfeed my baby.  Now having an eight month old and being able to use my experience and perspective I am happy and proud of our breastfeeding journey and all the hard work and time I put into maintaining breastfeeding.  I have learned a great deal about breast milk supply.

What Causes Low Breast Milk Supply?

There are many factors that can contribute to low milk supply; a premature baby, an ineffective latch, lip or tongue tie in the baby, prior nipple piercings or trauma, and breast augmentation can all impact supply.  Additionally, medical conditions like Hormonal Disorders (PCOS, Thyroid Issues, Diabetes, Hypertension, Luteal Phase Defect), Hypoplasia/Insufficient Glandular Tissue, and flat or inverted nipples can all be contributing factors to breast milk supply. 

I felt so upset about not having enough breast milk and in those first days really desired an understanding of why my body wasn’t able to make enough nourishment for my baby.  It felt like the lactation consultants and doctors I saw truly didn’t care about explaining or figuring out why my breasts weren’t producing enough milk.  I was able to do research to develop a better understanding of possible causes for low supply but was never diagnosed with a particular condition.  

breastfeeding problems

Tips for Increasing Low Milk Supply

There are many lactogenic foods that can help boost supply.  Fortunately, most of the foods are easily accessible and relatively easy to add to your meals.  I found many helpful recipes for lactation cookies and smoothies online that included multiple ingredients known to increase supply.  At the local farmer’s market I found sprouted fenugreek and alfalfa.  The sprouts were easy to add in a salad or snack on by the handful and helped maintain my supply.  

Many herbs are known to help increase supply.  Fenugreek is a popular supplement and is readily available in capsules. Dosage recommendations vary for fenugreek and I was instructed by a lactation consultant to take four capsules three times a day (beware! This herb upset my stomach).  You should also note that consuming large quantities of Fenugreek creates a maple syrup like smell on your skin.  

Other galactogogues include Blessed Thistle, Goats Rue, and Moringa.  These herbs are a bit harder to find but are all are available on Amazon.  I followed recommended dosages included on the products.  Several brands of herbs like More Milk Plus and Mommy Knows Best are widely renowned for their effectiveness. I was able to see some results using the Mommy Knows Best supplements. I found several excellent tinctures and herb blends at Local herb shops.  Mrs. Patels sells fenugreek bars, teas, and other treats to support milk supply. I splurged and tried the chocolate fenugreek bars and they made a slight difference in my extremely low supply. Many of the herbs and tinctures I have taken have a pretty harsh taste and a little chocolate helped get the medicine down.  

What to Avoid

There are also things that I had to be intentional to avoid while breastfeeding with a low supply. Foods that negatively affect supply include peppermint, spearmint, parsley, sage, and oregano. Other things I was mindful of included getting as much rest as possible, keeping a close eye on my health, avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine, and being under too much stress all impacted my supply. I don’t smoke cigarettes or regularly drink alcohol but both are known to interfere with the let-down reflex. I also did not start taking my regular birth control pills because they contain estrogen, which is known to decline milk production. Medications like Antihistamines, decongestants, and diuretics all decrease breast milk supply as well.

There are prescription drugs that can induce lactation. Reglan and Domperidone are known to increase supply. Reglan is documented to have adverse side effects of depression and involuntary body movements. The use of Domperidone is very controversial in the United States and is not currently approved by the FDA. The use is widespread and well documented in other areas. A great resource is the podcast Breastfeeding Outside of the Box and one of their episodes covers Domperidone.

Pumping Like a Pro

lactating mom at work

I hate pumping, and I don’t know anyone who enjoys it. In the early months I was pumping around the clock every two hours after putting baby to breast.  Pumping was very grueling and uncomfortable.  It was upsetting for me to pump because my baby was very fussy in those days and I often had to hold her while I pumped.  A hands-free pumping bra was essential.  I used the Simple Wishes Pumping Bra but wish I knew about the Dairy Fairy Pumping Bra.  The Dairy Fairy bra can be used as a hands-free pumping bra and a regular bra so no need to change in and out throughout the day.

Slanted Flanges were a gift I received from a friend and did make a slight difference with my pumping output and comfort.  I found out about nipple cushions a bit too late, but have heard rave reviews about how they do wonders for making pumping more tolerable and increase milk pumped.  I rented a Medela Symphony hospital grade pump but would love to have tried Spectra Pumps because they are the most affordable hospital grade pumps around.  

Before I pumped I always started with a warm compress. A creative Lactation Consultant recommended I use a disposable diaper and fill it with hot water to warm my breasts before I pump, this worked wonders and held more warmth than a washcloth. While pumping I always did breast compressions and saw a difference in my output. For one dreaded week I did power pumping which increased my supply significantly. I always did power pumping first thing in the morning (around 5am) when milk supply is at its height and would pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, and finish with pumping for 10 minutes. I was instructed to do power pumping for no longer than a week; many moms are able to see a big difference in supply in a few days.  

Tips for Supplementing and Maintaining Breastfeeding Relationship

After all my work, the doctors still pressured us to supplement with formula. The baby had lost 11% of her birth weight by the first week and they stressed us out until we gave in and supplemented with formula. There were techniques that helped us with this transition including using the Paced bottle-feeding method. In combination with the Como Tomo slow flow bottles our baby was able to take her time eating so when she returned to the breast she wasn’t too upset/fatigued by the slow flow at the breast.  

Similarly, using the finish at the breast method helped to maintain our breastfeeding time. The method focuses on feeding the baby a supplement similar to an appetizer so that the baby isn’t overly hungry or upset when it’s time to breastfeed and there may be a slow let down or flow of milk.  

I tried using the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to work on maintaining our latch and stimulate a let down.  I was never able to master using the SNS, but know that it is a miracle worker for many moms. The Lact-Aid is a similar device that I was never able to try.

I hope this information is helpful to others as they use their resiliency and perseverance to create a breastfeeding relationship with their baby. I found that surrounding myself with supportive people, allowing myself space and time to grieve, and creating realistic short-term goals all helped me get through the process. I spent as much time as I could enjoying my baby. In retrospect I wish I would of spent less energy on feeling sad and angry about my supply and more time cuddling my tiny miracle. My thoughts and heart are with everyone dealing with this challenge.  

This guest post was written by Emma Gomez, listen to her birth and breastfeeding stories.