Many expecting parents are worried about the logistics of feeding their baby. Will there be enough milk? Is it going to hurt? How will I know if baby is getting enough milk? The questions and concerns are never-ending, especially for first timers. It’s not very often that those planning to nurse are thinking about what to do if they have TOO MUCH milk! But, believe it or not, this is a very real issue for many lactating moms and I was one of them.
When my baby arrived I experienced the initial slow flow days of colostrum and then when my milk came in, boy did it come! Many moms deal with engorgement which is painful but relatively short-lived. My oversupply of milk didn’t slow down after a week or even a month. I was soaking entire towels on one side while my baby nursed on the other. Aside from being a laundry nightmare, soaking hand towels wasn’t very practical for going out in public.
Surprisingly, in all of my research while pregnant, I never came across information on what to do if you have too much milk or were a heaver leaker. I wish someone had told me about this when I was preparing to nurse a newborn so I wouldn’t have been so lost in those first weeks. Instead of baking and freezing “milk maker” cookies (to boost supply) while pregnant, I would have been researching must-haves for dealing with oversupply.
The product that was such a game changer for me was the Milkies Milk Saver by Fairhaven Health. The Milk Saver allows you to save breast milk that is pouring out of the non-nursing side while your baby eats. Using a breast pump is not a good idea when you have oversupply (even though it might feel good when you’re engorged) because it just stimulates your breasts to make more milk so these are also a great way to start a freezer stash for future occasions when you want baby to take a bottle. Without ever pumping, I managed to store around 6 ounces of milk each day just using the Milk Saver. The best part about this product was that it allowed me to feed my baby without soaking through numerous breast pads and my clothes in the process.
I loved the Milkies Milk Saver so much that I brought it every where with me and then with my most recent baby I discovered their Milk-Saver On-the-go travel milk saver which was much easier to manage in situations like being in a restaurant or nursing in the car etc.
I’ve since been introduced to all of the Milkies line from Fairhaven health and also highly recommend their Milk Saver trays for storing 1 ounce frozen sticks of milk that make preparing the perfect amount of milk in a bottle so much easier. They also make milk storage bags, an organizer for your freezer and other products that support lactation like balm, pads, teas and supplements! Milkies is generously offering 15% off all Milkies products with the code BirthHour15 at www.fairhavenhealth.com.
Fairhaven Health is a sponsor of The Birth Hour. As always, all opinions and recommendations are our own.
Comprehensive & Evidence-Based Childbirth Course from The Birth Hour
I’m so excited to announce The Birth Hour’s signature online childbirth course. Know Your Options is THE most comprehensive online childbirth course in existence! In this course, 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!
If you are worried about navigating today’s birth system have maybe had a bad birth experience where your power was taken away from you in the past, we want to help!
But, despite doing your research, you’re still feeling overwhelmed and unprepared and that’s OK. We have totally been there too. There is still time to prepare and we are confident that we can help you achieve an empowering birth. This is our expertise and passion!
IMAGINE WHAT YOUR BIRTH WOULD LOOK LIKE IF…
You didn’t have to choose between an unmedicated birth and a hospital birth.
You’re informed in every single decision you and your partner make.
You feel empowered to speak up when it comes to how you labor and birth your baby.
Because THAT is exactly what this course will do: It gives you options so you can choose where and how to give birth based on all of the most up-to-date evidence based information available coupled with learning to trust your instincts and make decisions based on what is right for YOU.
What exactly do we cover? 12 Incredible Evidence-Based Modules + Bi-Weekly Zoom Calls
Module 1: Pre-Labor
Intro to decision-making & advocacy in birth.
What is evidence-based care, intro into increasing your odds of getting family centered care.
Last Weeks of Pregnancy.
Cervical exams: what they are, what they do/don’t tell us, when they are useful and when they are not.
How to tell the difference between labor and false alarms.
Module 2: Planned Cesarean
Gentle or Family Centered Cesarean. What is it?
Questions to ask your doctor to make sure you’re on the same page (includes free download).
Video of Gentle Cesarean.
Module 3: Early Labor
Overview of labor, divided into stages and phases. Normal variations of length of each stage.
Early Labor Coping Strategies.
Spontaneous labor: When to call your provider
Module 4: Induction
Why might your labor be induced?
How is labor induced?
What are some risks of induction, and how can you improve your odds of your induction ending in a vaginal birth?
Risks of induction/cascade of intervention.
Module 5: Active Labor
How can you cope with active labor?
When should you leave for your birth location (or ask the midwife to come)?
What should you pack, whom should you invite to be there, and how will you make your wishes known in labor?
Typical interventions upon arrival at birth location.
Module 6: Transition
How will you cope with the most intense phase of labor?
What pain medication options do you have?
Why might you need a cesarean during labor, and how can you reduce your risk of needing one?
Module 7: Pushing
How can you reduce your risk of tearing?
What breathing techniques and positioning are helpful in pushing?
What happens if your baby needs help getting out?
How can you best advocate for your preferences during labor?
Module 8: Baby’s First Day
What interventions might be offered to your baby in the first hours of life?
Immediate newborn procedures.
Hep B & Circumcision.
What is going on with the birthing person before and after the birth of the placenta?
How can you get off to the best start with nursing?
Module 9: Postpartum Recovery
What are the signs that a parent may be experiencing mood & anxiety disorders?
What are the essentials to have on hand for recovery after birth?
How can you plan ahead and make those first few weeks after birth easier on yourself?
Giving yourself time to heal and knowing when to call for help.
Module 10: Establishing Nursing
How to establish a robust milk supply.
Positioning and latching theory.
What tips and tricks can you try to make nursing as comfortable as possible?
What signs can you look for to know when things are going well or when you need to call for help?
Module 11: Bottle Feeding
What if nursing doesn’t work, or you don’t want to do it at all?
Choosing a formula and Safe formula preparation.
What is the best way to bottle feed?
How do you choose which bottles to use?
How and how much to feed.
What is paced bottle feeding?
Module 12: Newborn Care Basics
Why might your baby cry, and how can you calm them?
How do you decide where your baby will sleep?
How do you get your baby to sleep?!?
Newborn hygiene: diapering, bathing, dressing, nail trimming, snot sucking, etc.
PLUS Bigger-than-a-Bonus: Beyond the Latch: pumping, bottle feeding, going back to paid work + keeping your baby fed
Then, we’ve got you covered when you’re going back to work with an additional six module Beyond the Latch Course that you will get completely free as part of enrollment in the Know Your Options Childbirth Course!
This is an additional 6 Module Course designed to take the guesswork, worry, and stress out of maintaining your nursing relationship with your baby when you return to paid work.
We will help you:
Identify specific strategies for pumping, storing, thawing, and feeding human milk.
Troubleshoot ways to boost milk production.
Guide you in making plans with your employer, your baby’s caregiver, and your family.
Get organized with sample schedules and checklists.
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!
You’ll also get a thirty page Course Planner and Note-Taking Guide that you can print out to keep you and your partner on track throughout the course. All of the key takeaways from each lesson are included with space to jot down any questions you have along the way and make note of any essential info you want to remember down the road!
More than a dozen bonus downloads to help save you time along the way and get organized before going into labor—with everything from a hospital bag checklist to printouts for your fridge of who/when to call when in labor! After baby arrives, you’ll have even more invaluable bonuses as you prepare to soak up the 4th trimester with your new baby.
You may know that thanks to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, breast pumps are covered by most health insurance companies for free. But, you may also know that dealing with your insurance company for anything at all can sometimes be more work than it’s worth. That’s why The Birth Hour is proud to partner with Aeroflow Breastpumps to help you navigate this process.
3 Steps to Get a Breast Pump Through Insurance
Aeroflow Breastpumps has helped thousands of new and expecting moms find the perfect pump for her lifestyle. They offer all major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda and more. And the best part, they take care of everything – including getting all required paperwork, dealing with your insurance company, and explaining your options in order to get your free pump shipped straight to your door.
Step 1 – Fill out a quick form with your info
Head over to Aeroflow Breastpumps website and fill out their completely FREE and easy, Qualify through Insurance form. On this form you’ll be asked for your name, email, due date, and insurance information.
Step 2 – Get Verified
Aeroflow does all of the legwork for you by determining your level of coverage through your insurance carrier and verifying your due date with your care provider. You will be assigned a breast pump specialist and they can assist you through email, text, or by phone—whatever is easiest for you.
Step 3 – Choose your Breastpump
You will be sent a link where you can view all of the breastpump options available to you for FREE. Aeroflow carries all of the major pump brands including Medela, Spectra, Motif, Lansinoh, Ameda and more. You can narrow down your choices based on brand or certain features you’re looking for (double electric, manual hospital-grade, hands free, battery operated, etc). Your breast pump specialist can help by recommending the best breast pump for your lifestyle and breastfeeding goals as well!
And, Aeroflow has free shipping on all pumps!
Getting a Breast Pump Through Insurance – FAQs
Getting a breast pump for free through insurance may seem too good to be true and if you still have some questions, here are some of the most frequently asked questions we see.
When will I get my breastpump?
It depends on your insurance company. Some plans require that you wait until 36 weeks to receive your pump while others allow it to be shipped right away. Aeroflow will find out this information and can let you know!
Do I need a note from my doctor?
Nope! Aeroflow will contact your care provider to verify your pregnancy and due date. They take care of everything!
Will I have to deal with contacting my insurance provider?
Nope! Aeroflow takes care of everything and you will never have to speak to your insurance company. If for some reason your insurance company isn’t serviced by Aeroflow they will give you instructions on who can help you.
What about breast pump accessories and resupply products?
When you go through Aeroflow, they will recommend supplies and accessories that will benefit your pumping experience and they will also determine whether select supplies and accessories are available for free under your insurance plan. My favorite part is that Aeroflow will contact you at regular intervals after baby arrives to send you free replacement parts!
Is it possible to upgrade my breast pump beyond what I qualify for through my insurance?
Yes! After your insurance information is verified, Aeroflow will send you a link that is personalized based on your coverage. It will show you which pumps your qualify for free and which ones you can upgrade to for an additional fee.
I’ve heard that some insurance companies also cover the cost of maternity compression garments. How does that work?
Yes, you may also qualify for free maternity compression garments like compression socks, maternity support band, and a postpartum recovery garment. Aeroflow will check your insurance information automatically to let you know! PLUS breast pump resupply products ranging from new bottles, tubing, and flanges to duck valves and pump membranes.
This is a topic many parents forget to prepare for and then are in full on panic mode when their 3-month-old refuses a bottle and the breastfeeding mama can’t even get one night out with friends or struggles with returning to work. So we’ve created a free video for you all about this topic! You’ll definitely want your partner to watch this one too because often they are the one giving a bottle while you grab a quick shower! Click here to watch!
Buying maternity clothes is so different than any other type of clothing you buy because you know you’re only going to wear them for a short time. Yet, many maternity clothes are actually MORE expensive than your regular clothes. This time around I knew I wanted to mostly focus on clothes that would be comfy for my pregnancy (all during hot Texas weather months) and still be useful for postpartum.
My Requirements for Maternity Dresses
Comfortable for pregnancy
Unexpected Bonus (can hide bump in early pregnancy!)
These are the brands and dresses that I am loving the most! I’ve been so surprised by how many more options there are than there were 5 years ago when I was expecting my son. I’ve got some great coupon codes for you here too!
My favorite item from Loyal Hana is the Cybelle dress which I have in navy but it comes in a million colors. The flowy-ness of this dress is pure perfection—even at 21 weeks, I can still get away with looking like I’m not pregnant so if you are trying to keep pregnancy under wraps at work or elsewhere this is the perfect dress. It’s lightweight and breathable and has very discreet zippers for nursing (genius!). Oh, and did I mention, pockets! They also have lots of nursing-friendly tops that I have my eye on. They are actually offering 15% off your entire order with code TheBirthHour15 so hop on over and check out their options. Find them on instagram @loyal_hana.
This small business is hitting on all of my requirements and they take the comfy one to the next level! I’m absolutely obsessed with this dress (the v-neck will be perfect for nursing). I have it in dusty rose but I want it in every color! I also love this tunic —looks so cute on my bump but will also be so flattering postpartum. Finally I know it’s not in the dress category but these leggings are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn and the only under-the-bump leggings I’ve ever found to be cute (aka no weird muffin top bulging). They are also offering a 15% off code BIRTHHOUR if you want to check out their entire collection. I have a feeling I’ll be getting a few more items before the end of my pregnancy. Find them on instagram @matronsaint.
Ok, this company is so cool! Humble Hilo not only sells beautiful handmade and unique Guatemalan textiles, they also have an amazing social mission. When you buy from them, YOU get to choose to support projects in child nutrition, education and literacy for women, and microfinance loans for women to start their own small business. They have adorable shoes for kids and adults, gorgeous bags and my new favorite item, the hilo dress (with pockets!!) I have the noche pattern and can’t wait to get the matching mini dress (launches this week!). I love the pattern options for hiding stains (and baby spit up). They are offering 10% off with code THEBIRTHHOUR and you will want to check out their entire site and instagram @humlehilo.
I love the basics bundle option from Storq and these are my more form fitting maternity clothes this pregnancy. They are solid, basic and comfy for every day wear but can also pass as dressy when needed. I also have a couple dresses outside of the bundle and the first time I put on this dress and this dress I literally said out lout “damn!” because I thought I looked so sexy! And that’s really saying something because this was during the beginning of my pregnancy when it’s not totally clear whether you are pregnant or just ate too much pizza for lunch. These two dresses are super stretchy but don’t have ruching so they aren’t obviously maternity wear and could be worn post pregnancy as well. I’ve worn the long sleeve one to a wedding and the tank on several date nights with my hubby. Also super happy to report that they just announced that all new products they make will come in sizes 0 through 2X/22 (going up to 3X/26 in the Fall). They created 15 codes for 15% off when you use THEBIRTHHOUR at checkout. Find them on instagram @storq.
Did I miss any of your favorites? Share in the comments!
Finding out that I was expecting twins was definitely the biggest (and best) surprise of my life. Those emotional weeks after the big ultrasound reveal were filled with lots of plan changes of both the birth and life variety, yet there were two constants for me: I wanted a vaginal, unmedicated birth and I wanted to breastfeed my babies as long as possible.
Preparing for Breastfeeding Twins
With lots of preparation, an amazing care team and some good luck, we welcomed our healthy, full term twins Tobias and Elena in December 2015 after a short, peaceful and drug-free labor and delivery. It was amazing to finally hold the children I had longed for in my arms, but after a bit of a snuggle they let it be known that now that they were earth side they were hungry! Thus began my 14 month journey with having both breasts out, pretty much all of the time.
Four Things I Credit for Our Successful Twin Breastfeeding Journey
Despite the constant nudity, our experience was overwhelming positive. Peering back in time through the milky, poopy, joyful, teary haze that surrounds the first year of Toby and Elly’s life, four key components contributed to our twin breastfeeding success: protection, organization, nutrition and hydration.
Protecting Our Twins Breastfeeding Space
Feeling safe seems to be a primal prerequisite for successful lactation. For me stress, anxiety or pain negatively affected my ability to produce milk for my babies. Essential to my emotional safety was establishing a strong support network early on. My mom was able to come to stay for 6 weeks postpartum and helped so much with my older son, cooking, cleaning and getting babes latched. After she left I had an inner circle of friends who I felt comfortable asking to come for a couple of hours to pass me babies or just sit with me and chat while the twins nursed.
During this time I also paid a lovely lady to help with cleaning and laundry when things got out of hand which they did, often. I view this investment as invaluable. I recommend that expecting twin mamas budget in advance for a postpartum doula or a cleaning lady for the first few weeks at least. Having this network in place prevented me from getting lost in the moments when I felt overwhelmed: of course those moments happened, but I knew who to call when they did. Accept help when it’s offered and if it’s not offered, ask.
Getting Organized for Breastfeeding Twins
Researching and consulting with my midwife during pregnancy helped me to feel prepared and to have the necessary supplies on hand for when the babies were ready to eat, most importantly: nipple protection cream, a good quality electric pump (don’t forget you should be able to get one for free through your insurance) and a large C shaped breastfeeding support pillow. We were so fortunate to be able to hold our twins skin to skin as soon as they were born. My midwife helped to get both babies latched on and nursing, and showed my partner how to support me to get babies nursing at the same time.
In the days immediately following the birth, she was also able to watch the twins nurse and to verify that they were latching well with no physical barriers to success. She encouraged me to protect my nipples with lanolin cream before and after every feeding; keeping my nipples from cracking made things more comfortable for all three of us, and helped to prevent mastitis (infection of the milk duct) from developing.
Logistics and Schedules with Breastfeeding Twins
I am naturally a pretty laid back go with the flow type of person—our kids are always teaching us and my twins got me organized! My first son breastfed on demand which worked well for us, but I didn’t think that I could keep up with two babes on two different schedules. From the beginning I chose to always feed both babies at the same time so if one baby needed to eat (usually my son) but the other was sleeping (usually my daughter) I would gently wake the sleepy one to top off as well.
This system worked well for us and at their one week appointment with the pediatrician the twins had both gained weight—putting on ounces for the win! At 4 weeks I began to pump at the same time every day. This helped to establish my supply and I felt safer knowing that I had a backup stash in the freezer if I needed to step out for a few hours—no one wins when mama feels chained to her babies.
At 8 weeks we were ready to start a feeding schedule. I consulted with my midwife to make sure we were setting appropriately timed feeds and then began to be more firm with feeding times. My partner supported us a lot in this transition—walking and soothing babies until feeding time arrived etc. In just a few days we settled into the schedule of feed, burp and into their crib, with very few complaints and more sleep for everyone. The more comfortable and relaxed I was the better things flowed.
Feeding Station and Breastfeeding Positions with Twins
I set up a cozy feeding corner in our bed and had it stocked up with snacks, water bottles, iPod with podcasts cued up and my ever faithful C pillow. The position that worked best in the early days was for me to settle into the feeding nook with pillows propped up behind me and the C pillow wrapped around me.
Then I would have someone pass me the first baby and get him or her latched with their head in the center of the pillow and their legs in the crook of my left elbow. Then I would have someone pass me the second baby and we would latch him or her with their head also in the center and their legs in the crook of my right elbow. I marked their first initial on the hand that corresponded to the side they were feeding on so I would remember to alternate them, which is important for neck safety.
Learning to Breastfeed Twins without a Helper
As they got stronger and I gained confidence, I would place them both on the bed with enough room for me to wiggle in between them with the C pillow wrapped around me. Then I would scoop up one with my left arm, get them latched using my right hand for support, then reach down with my right arm to scoop up the other one, and get them latched using my left hand for support. It takes practice but I got to be a pro!
A supportive partner makes all the difference for the night time feeding productions. By the time the babies were sitting up independently, around 5 or 6 months, the C pillow wasn’t crucial and we could feed by side lying for one with the other draped on top, and by the time they were crawling they would just pull down my shirt and go for it on their own!
Nutrition for Mama When Breastfeeding Twins
In order to produce enough high quality milk for two growing infants it is essential to eat high quality food, regularly and lots of it! I followed the Brewers diet for twins during pregnancy, which incorporates high protein and low sugar. This eating plan is strict but for breastfeeding I made it even more so. My first son was fussy and didn’t sleep well, and some research I did indicated that gluten and lactose in breast milk can be major gas culprits causing discomfort for newborns.
I was willing to try anything to maximize my sleep and minimize the twins’ discomfort—my diet for breastfeeding was high protein, no lactose and no gluten . I stuck to it firmly for the first 6 months and my twins definitely slept better than my first baby, so it was worth it in my book! I had lots of high protein snacks ready to grab between feeds: nuts, hard boiled eggs, hummus. My sweet friends brought over lots of meals and snacks in the early months which was a life saver. I recommend setting up a meal schedule before birth and if people ask what they can do for you tell them honestly “feed me and feed my family”! Your loved ones will be glad to have a specific way to support you.
Drinking enough water when you only have to hydrate yourself can be a challenge. When you have to hydrate for three, the quantity of liquid intake needed can seem ridiculous, but it is so necessary in order to lactate efficiently. A rule that worked for me was that if the twins were drinking, I was drinking. I had a water bottle in our feeding corner and did my best to pound back a full liter at every feed. Adding lime or other flavors and drinking coconut water helped to keep it interesting. My midwife gave me a recipe for a lactation boosting oatmeal drink which I liked so much that I drank it almost every day.
Oatmeal Drink to Boost Breastmilk Supply Recipe:
Soak a cup of whole organic oats and a dash of cinnamon in 2 liters of water overnight.
Strain in the morning and mix in a tablespoon of honey.
Eating and drinking for three takes creativity and commitment!
“Success” When Breastfeeding Twins is Different for Everyone
I define my breastfeeding relationship with my twins as successful because it was emotionally and physically safe for everyone involved. My babies got the nutrition that they needed to grow strong, and nursing was connection time for us. I certainly do not feel that breastfeeding is the only way to achieve success in nutrition and bonding. If exclusive formula, exclusive breastfeeding or a mixture of the two is what works, I encourage mamas to follow their intuition and to do what feels right for their optimum mental and physical health and that of their babies.
By the time my twins were 14 months old, I no longer felt present and joyful while breastfeeding. Resentment started to creep in, so the three of us talked about it, said goodbye to that phase of our time together and we stopped breastfeeding, ready for the next adventure. Spoiler alert—it still involved a lot of poop. If breastfeeding your twins interests you, research your options, make sure you are protected, organized, nourished and hydrated and go for it—it IS possible and can be so very beautiful.