Let’s Talk Toilet Paper

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

I want to talk to you about toilet paper today or more appropriate to our discussion, the lack of toilet paper. During this time of pandemic, everyone is on the look out for toilet paper. I actually spent some time today reading all about toilet paper making and the factories that make toilet paper. Did you know that toilet paper is not a big money maker so stores only carry a small amount of it. Factories apparently already work 24 hours a day making toilet paper so there wasn’t a whole lot that they could do to ramp up their production.

Luckily for you breastfeeding mamas, your body is capable of ramping up the making of breastmilk when needed.

Today I want to explain to you the analogy of a factory when it comes to making milk. Let’s put this in terms of toilet paper factories for giggles. As we all go to the store looking for toilet paper and we don’t find enough(or any), we start to demand that the factories step it up and make more. So since there is a greater demand for toilet paper and the shelves are getting empty the managers of the factory approves some overtime to get that factory pumping out even more toilet paper than they already were. Things are trucking right along, people are happy that they have toilet paper again, possibly even more toilet paper than they need. Stores start having some left on the shelf as people finally learn that they don’t have to hoard it.

But then as the demand for toilet paper goes down the managers of the factories start to get a bit nervous about all of this overtime that they have approved so they start cutting back on hours and production. Some slacking starts to happen now that the crisis has passed. The workers decide that they just don’t need to work so hard now or make as much. Production cuts way back. Afterall, the store shelves look full.

Now, I want to change this analogy to milk-making. It is just like a factory. The more demand that there is for milk the more milk you will make. When baby starts to nurse more often, don’t take it as a signal that you are not making enough milk. Consider that the baby(manager) could be letting the workers know that they need to step up production because there is a need for more milk, possibly a growth spurt.

On the flip side of that, if baby starts sleeping longer, you get busy while out and about so baby doesn’t nurse as often, or maybe you are a pumping mama and just feel overwhelmed with all that pumping so you decide to skip a pump here or there, that is like telling your workers that the need has decreased so they can take a break.

Process of milk packing on factory 3d isometric vector illustration
Food vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

Low milk demand equals low/slow production, high demand equals faster/higher production. Full breasts make milk more slowly and drained breasts make milk more quickly.

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Engorgement

There are two ways to think of engorgement and I feel like it is important to understand the differences. If you have given birth in a hospital setting and have had IV fluids for an extended period of time, you could have a form of engorgement that stems from too much fluid filling the tissues of the breast from your IV. Or 2-3 days after birth when your milk transitions from colostrum to milk your breasts can become full, heavy and warm. They can be painful and hard as more milk is made than is removed at this point.

If you are experiencing excessive swelling that is keeping baby from latching well you can do what is called “reverse pressure softening” where you make a flower shape with your fingertips and form them over the areola (the dark part of your breast and nipple) and push gently in and back. Your goal is to gently move the fluid back and away from your nipple towards your armpits. This “softening” should allow some room for baby to be able to latch on. Here is a video you can watch on Reverse Pressure Softening.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW5rtTsR7os

Hand expression is always a great way to relieve some of the pressure so you will feel more comfortable and baby can latch better. Here is a video showing how to do hand expression if you need it.

https://med.stanford.edu/newborns/professional-education/breastfeeding/hand-expressing-milk.html

You can also stand in a warm shower, allowing the water to run over your breasts(avoiding direct spray onto the breasts) which can stimulate milk to flow out enough for baby to latch on once you are out of the shower. Pumping a little milk off just to comfort will also help baby to latch, especially hand expression. You really want baby to take what he wants and be the one to “empty”(although the breasts are never truly empty) the breast if possible as his nursing will start setting the stage for your milk production.

Soon the demand of milk will regulate the production of breastmilk through the frequency of feedings and the amount baby takes. But engorgement can sneak up on you if baby sleeps longer than normal or if baby is fed expressed milk while mom is away.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with engorgement from the La Leche League:

KellyMom.com has some great additional information on engorgement here including the use of cabbage leaves for engorgement. But beware that cabbage leaves are also suggested for helping to dry up milk so you want to just use them until you are comfortable. https://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/engorgement/

As always, if you have concern, fever, chills or reddened warm areas please check with your care provider. Engorgement can lead to mastitis if not corrected. If you feel that baby is not latching on appropriately or draining your breasts adequately, please reach out to a Lactation Specialist to determine how they can help.

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D- The Dirty on Diapers

Every new mom asks herself the question, “Is my baby getting enough?”

Thankfully there is a solid way to answer this question beyond taking baby in for a weight check all the time. Dr. Marvin Eiger says in the book “The Complete Book of Breastfeeding”, that if you can answer “yes” to these questions then your baby is most likely getting enough:

Does you baby have 1-2 stools per day for each day of life up to day six and then 6 or more each day from days 6 on up? You can count them as 1 poopy diaper if the diaper contains at least a quarter size spot.

Remember in a previous post I said that input = output. That is just a quippy way to say that what goes in pretty much comes out. Color of the stools is important as well. Days 1-2 they will be blackish and tarry, days 3-4 brownish-blackish, days 4-6 brownish-yellowish and days 6 and beyond yellowish. If a baby over 5 days old is having dark stools and less than what is discussed above this is a warning that baby is most likely not getting enough milk.

The next question is, Does your baby have 6 or more wet diapers each day by the time he or she is 3 or 4 days old? In this day and age of disposable diapers it can be difficult to tell but they do come with a wet strip now that didn’t exist in the early days of disposable diapers.

Does your baby seem satisfied and content for an average of two to three hours between feedings? The two to three hours part can be difficult as babies don’t necessarily eat on a regular two to three hour schedule. I would focus more on whether baby seems satisfied and eats on average of 8-12 times in 24 hours.

Which leads to the question, Does your baby nurse 8-12 times in 24 hours in the first month or two, for ten to twenty minutes?

Is your baby’s skin soft and supple and his or her eyes bright and alert?

Did your baby regain birth weight by two to three weeks of age?

Is your baby gaining an average of 4-6 ounces a week, about 1/2 ounce a day?

Can you hear swallowing sounds when your baby is nursing?

Do your breasts feel fuller before a feeding and softer after?

These are all great questions to consider and to help you to determine if baby is getting what he or she needs. If at anytime you have concerns, I urge you to seek help from a Lactation Specialist or your pediatrician. It is very easy to get a quick weight check from your pediatrician.

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“C” is for Colostrum and Cluster Feeding

courtesy of Luiza Braun

“C” is such an important letter for us to discuss. Colostrum and Cluster Feeding can both put new parents into unknown territory.

First let’s dive in to colostrum…baby’s first food.

Colostrum starts being made during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. Unfortunately, many mothers feel like they don’t have enough milk right after birth but colostrum is available in similar quantities as a newborn’s stomach capacity.

Colostrum contains protective white blood cells that are capable of attacking harmful bacteria. It also “seals” the insides of baby’s intestines. This is so important! Colostrum is the perfect first food for baby. It is high in protein and low in sugar and fat. This makes it easy to digest.

Colostrum also stimulates the bowels which is so important for expelling meconium. Colostrum in frequent doses helps to dispel the excess bilirubin that contributes to jaundice. Colostrum has been called “liquid gold” and “baby’s first immunization”. My advice to new moms would be to nurse often in the early hours after birth, even though you may not feel like you are making milk. You are providing just what your baby needs.

If for some reason you need to feed baby by an alternative method, the best thing you can do is to hand express your colostrum and feed it to baby by spoon feeding, cup feeding, syringe feeding or another alternative.

Now on to cluster feeding

This is when baby eats frequently and close together. This common infant behavior can lead new parents to believe that their baby isn’t getting enough milk.

But it is normal for babies to breast feed often.

We tell parents that baby should eat every two to three hours but how that actually looks in real life can vary greatly. Baby may eat often, several times in a short span and then sleep for a longer stretch.

A common time for babies to cluster feed is in the evenings when prolactin levels are lowest. So if frequent feeding can possibly indicate that baby isn’t getting enough milk, how can we know if it is just cluster feeding? You will know by baby’s diaper output and weight gain. Input equals output so if baby is nursing enough and getting enough you will have adequate wet and poopy diapers. The best indicator is the poopy diapers. We will discuss tracking that in a future post.

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B is for Breast Compressions & Breast crawl

Using breast compressions in breastfeeding

Babies are hardwired to breastfeed. After birth babies exhibit over 20 neonatal reflexes that help with breastfeeding. Some of these reflexes move the baby to the breast and others help baby attach and get milk from the breast. Click on the link to read a great blog post by scarymommy.com and watch the video on the breast crawl. https://www.scarymommy.com/breast-crawl-newborn/

Breast compressions are an important thing for all new moms to learn.

Sometimes when you are nursing your precious bundle they will start to drop off to sleep before you feel that they might be finished. Breast compressions can help to wake up a sleepy baby by giving him or her a bolus of milk to stimulate more breastfeeding. They can also help to more thoroughly empty the breasts which will in turn help to make more milk. Watch the following video to see how to do breast compressions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBrLYhABUlM

I am purposefully keeping these blog posts short if possible so that you won’t feel that you have to read through scads of words before coming away with something you can hang in your mental file folder.

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A is for Adjustment

I love to teach! One of my goals as a Lactation Specialist is to teach expecting parents, well, what to expect. Studies have shown that women who attend prenatal breastfeeding classes had significantly increased breastfeeding rates at 6 months. With both of my daughters they readily admit that a prenatal breastfeeding class would have benefited them greatly.

So since I love to teach I am going to doing posts here on the blog with the basic outline of my breastfeeding class. Although I do firmly believe that a hands-on class where you can participate and ask questions is the best way to experience this, I also know that some people just prefer to find an online way to learn or maybe just want some information at their fingertips.

I call my Prenatal Breastfeeding Class “The ABC’s of Breastfeeding”. There is so much information out there to get your feet wet with when it comes to breastfeeding that I was able to come up with something for every letter of the alphabet. I am planning on trying to keep my post short and succinct with this so that you won’t feel that you have a ton of things to wrap your brain around and remember but I want to at least touch on things.

We are finding that most moms want to know what issues they could possibly run into with breastfeeding rather than not knowing so I will be introducing some things that you may never even experience in your breastfeeding journey.

So after all of that I want to jump right in with the letter “A”

A” is for Adjustment

There are a lot of adjustments during this time. Your body needs to adjust to not being pregnant anymore, maybe you have some extra healing that needs to take place. Your sleep is most likely being interrupted and you and your partner need to adjust to being parents and adding a new family member.

Another adjustment is your milk. You may feel like you have no milk at first. That is because of the very important substance called “colostrum”.

Your baby doesn’t need very much of this “first milk” since his or her stomach is the size of a marble with a maximum capacity of 5-7 ml (about 1/4 of an ounce). It does not have the ability to expand to accommodate more milk yet so our body isn’t producing much yet, just what baby needs.

prenatal breastfeeding education
Photography by Stanley Ong

 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that your baby needs to be taking ounces of breast milk at this point. That could lead you to feel that you need to supplement with formula. But your body is producing just what baby needs. We will cover how great colostrum in when we get to the letter “C”.

By day 3 baby’s stomach has grown to the size of a ping-pong ball, holding about an ounce.

By days 5-8 baby’s stomach continues to grow and by day 10 and beyond it is about the size of a chicken egg, holding about 2-3 ounces.

Around day 3 your milk will start to “transition”, sometimes said to be “coming in” but technically you already had milk, it is just changing from colostrum and increasing in volume. Now you are going to have some adjustments of your own which we will cover in more detail when we get to the letter “E” and talk about engorgement.

That is all we will touch on for today. As I said, I don’t want to overwhelm you and give you too much to read through in one post. I will be back soon to move on to the letter “B”.

Feel free to leave any comments or ask questions. I will answer them to the best of my ability.

 

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Come learn with Me

Photo by Luiza Braun on Unsplash

I am super excited to be hosting my very first breastfeeding class. I am calling it The ABCs of Breastfeeding since I will be covering something related to breastfeeding for each letter of the alphabet. There are so many things to cover about breastfeeding and I want you to come away feeling like you were prepared for whatever may come your way as you start out on your breastfeeding adventure.

Join me Friday, November 22nd from 6:30-9:00 pm in the beautiful cozy space at 405 NE 3rd St., McMinnville, OR 97128. We will be up the stairs next to Union Block Coffee in suite 6/7.

I am keeping this class small, only 4 couples or eight individuals so that it will be an intimate atmosphere where we can discuss your individual concerns. I am planning on this being a hands-on class and hope to teach to each learning style represented in the class.

As I have talked with others and thought about the subject of breastfeeding education I am realizing that from the time we find out we are expecting a baby we start dreaming and planning for our pregnancy, delivery and even our nursery but we spend very little time preparing for how we will feed that baby. Education is such a huge investment into your breastfeeding relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding is natural and what your body was created to do but just like walking or riding a bike, there is a time of adjustment and a learning curve as two individuals (mom and baby) learn to do this amazing thing together.

So I hope you will join me, if not in this month’s class then in an upcoming class as I seek to support your breastfeeding experience through education and encouragement.

You can reach me through my Contact Me page here, through email at mamabeelactation@gmail.com, message me on Facebook at Mama Bee Lactation or through Instagram at Mamabee_lactation.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have and can even schedule a private breastfeeding class if you desire.

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The ABCs of Breastfeeding

I love to teach. I have been homeschooling my children since my first was in first grade a very long time ago. So the opportunity to teach breastfeeding classes to expecting parents is especially exciting to me. I will be hosting my first class on Friday, November 22nd from 6:30-9:00pm. We will be meeting at 405 NE 3rd St. suite 6/7. You can contact me through my webpage, emailed at mamabeelactation@gmail.com or find me on Facebook at Mama Bee Lactation

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Motif Duo Breastpump Review

Choosing a Motif Duo Breast pump

A Guest post by Health Coach Megan Heidt

Motif Duo Double Electric Breast Pump Review

Breast pumps.

Which one should you get?

There are so many options on the market nowadays, and I know for me it was hard to know which one to choose.

I probably should have sought advice from people like my mother (who has given birth twelve times and has breastfed and pumped for many of those children), or my sister who had just given birth to her first child and was using a Medela breast pump at the time.

But no, I wanted to be independent and make my own wildly uninformed decisions.

-Typical me-

I read reviews on all the breast pumps that my insurance covered and ultimately chose the Motif Duo Double Electric breast pump. Overall I have been pretty happy with this pump and here’s a breakdown of why.

  • It is super small and lightweight! The pump itself it about five inches long and weighs less than a pound. It has a sleek, smooth design that makes it easy to slip into a pump bag or even a large pocket if you had to.
  • It is battery powered and comes with a charger which plugs into an outlet. I’ve found that it only takes 1-2 hours to fully recharge and the charge lasts for about 2.5 hours of pumping, which means I can go about five pump sessions before I need to recharge. I love that this pump doesn’t have to be plugged into an outlet when I use it, which makes it great for pumping on the go.
  • It automatically shuts off after 30 minute of pumping, which is great if you’re like me and occasionally fall asleep while pumping in the middle of the night.
  • The pump itself is very quiet. It makes a low, vibrating sort of hum, much less noticeable than the whirring sound that the Medela Pump In Style Advanced makes.
  • It has a backlit digital display on the front which includes a timer (so nifty for when it’s 3 AM and you can’t even remember how long you’ve been pumping), which mode the pump is in (massage or expression mode), what level of suction the pump is set to, and the battery level.
  • It has 10 different levels of suction which you can adjust and set your preferences in the pump’s memory mode. I like this because the Medela pump the toggle to increase suction has no numbers or discernable levels, you just turn a blank knob until it feels right. With the Motif’s digital display I know exactly what level I am at and where it should be in order to get the best results.
  • The pumping system has backflow prevention. With some pumps, if you fill the collection bottle up too much, the milk can get backed up in the valve and be sucked up into your tubing (I’ve totally done this before). But the Motif has a rubber diaphragm outside of the collection bottle in the piece that connects the bottle to the tubing, preventing milk from ever getting into the tubing.

Whether your purchase this pump on Amazon or get it through your insurance, the Motif package should include:

  • 1 – Double electric breast pump
  • 1 – Maylilly Tote (if ordered through Aeroflow Breastpumps)
  • 1 – 12 Volt Power adapter
  • 2 – 21mm breastshields
  • 2 – 24mm breastshields
  • 2 – 27mm breastshields
  • 2 – 180 mL milk collection containers, cap, cover, disc
  • 2 – Nipples
  • 2 – Valves
  • 2 – Connectors and diaphragms
  • 2 – Tubing and tubing connector pairs

I was blessed to have a hospital-grade pump rented for me to use while I am at home for the past month or so, but when I am out and about I use the Motif pump since it doesn’t tether me to an outlet while I use it.

So far my only complaints about this pump are:

  •  Replacement parts are more expensive than, say, Medela parts.
  • The pump does not automatically change from Massage mode to Expression mode. Many a time have I been distracted while pumping only to look down at the display and realize that I have been pumping in Massage mode for fifteen minutes instead of switching to Expression mode after 2-3 minutes. The Massage mode is gentler and is supposed to mimic the quicker, shorter sucks a baby initially does when breastfeeding, and this mode is of course much less effective at pumping out milk.

I would rate this pump 4 stars!

Overall this is a great little pump for mamas whose milk supply is established and need an option for pumping at work or on the go.

Check out https://aeroflowbreastpumps.com/ to see if this pump is right for you and if you qualify for insurance coverage.

M. Heidt

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Tongue Tie…Is that really a thing?

Breastfeeding comes with its own challenges which can be from latch problems or even from tongue tie problems

I have nursed 6 babies and I must admit that I had never heard of tongue tie. If it is real thing how could I have not heard about it? Well for one thing I really didn’t have a lot of breastfeeding problems to prompt me to get any help or look for answers. I remember some times of excruciating nipple pain but it was short-lived so I just powered through it. Not a good idea if the pain doesn’t go away but I had never even heard of a Lactation Consultant or any other kind of breastfeeding specialist to go to.

As I started out on my journey to become a breastfeeding specialist I began to hear about this thing called “tongue tie” or Ankyloglossia. One of the first classes I took was on this subject and early chiropractic or bodywork for a newborn. Shortly after that one of my daughters had a baby with breastfeeding issues. As she looked into it she found out that her baby not only had tongue tie but also a need to see a chiropractor who was well versed in babies and practiced CST (craniosacral therapy). Along came my next grand baby a couple of months later and he, too, had breastfeeding issues which were diagnosed as a tongue tie. He also benefited from craniosacral therapy.

So began my fascination with all things “tongue tie”. I wanted to learn all I could about it so I could be better armed with information if my clients had this issue with their babies.

To answer my own question….”Is that really a thing?”…Yes it really is a thing. So why are we just now hearing about it? In my personal opinion and from snipets I have heard, I believe it probably was a problem in the past and possibly dealt with in some manner or another and mamas just dealt with the pain. But as breastfeeding fell out of favor from the introduction of bottles and formula it just wasn’t seen much anymore and just faded into the background. Also breastfeeding education and specialists were pretty rare. Even today it is difficult to find a pediatrician who knows much beyond the basics of breastfeeding.

More moms are choosing to breastfeed now and as they run into problems they are looking for answers. People are out there now who are studying the problems and finding answers. Some of the experts in the field are Dr. Lawrence Kotlow DDS, Richard Baxter DDS and Dr. Bobak Ghaheri MD. Some good websites to visit on the issue are https://airwaymatters.blog/, https://www.drghaheri.com/ and https://www.kiddsteeth.com/.

I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Dr. Ghaheri this weekend. I learned a ton. Some of the things that I learned that I want to highlight on this issue are that nipple pain and poor weight gain aren’t the only indications for intervention, some babies can compensate for their tongue or lip tie but that can cause negative downstream effects, untreated tongue- tied babies are 300% more likely to be exclusively bottle fed at 1 week of age, Ricke(2005) and that just because a baby can stick their tongue out doesn’t mean there isn’t a tongue tie. The issue of the tie is the elevation of the tongue and how that relates to breastfeeding.

If you have stuck with me this long, you must have a reason for reading this so let’s talk about the breastfeeding problems that can be associated with a tongue-tied baby.

Poor quality latch, falls asleep prematurely while nursing, slides of the breast, colic symptoms, reflux symptoms, gumming/chewing/chomping on the breast, pacifier problems, low milk supply, nipple damage(cracked, creased, bleeding), severe pain, poor/incomplete drainage of breast, mastitis/thrush, vasospasm, infected nipples, poor weight gain, baby’s lips are dark(like lip liner) while the edge of the lip is white which indicates baby is using his lips to hang on

Will your baby or you experience all of these symptoms? Not likely. Does having one or more automatically mean there is a tongue or lip tie? Not necessarily. But it does give an indicator that you and your baby need some additional help beyond your pediatrician. Seek out a breastfeeding specialist or IBCLC. They can help you figure out if there are other problems first before referring you to the appropriate ENT or pediatric dentist for help.

So besides researching the topic and being convinced that tongue tie is real I also have the real life experience of two of my grandchildren having a tongue tie. They both had the revision done and are thriving. There are after-care exercises and they are super important to do to keep the site from reattaching but it is doable and the short amount of time to do them compared to months and months of pain-free breastfeeding your precious baby are well worth it.

Breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding time between mama and baby

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