6 Ways To Increase Milk Supply

 

Sometimes, establishing a strong milk supply can be a challenge. Here are 6 ways to help increase it :)

  1. Nurse Often and For as Long as Baby Wants To:
    Try to have baby nurse roughly every 2-3 hours, which is about 8-10 times in a 24 hour period; as you are breastfeeding, (and even just being skin-to-skin) the body produces amazing hormones like oxytocin and prolactin that help with bonding and milk production.

  2. Take Care of Yourself:
    Eat well, sleep well and increase your fluids. You will need about 1800-2200 calories a day while breastfeeding. Also, drink 6 to 8 glasses of water or herbal tea. Dehydration, fatigue and stress will decrease your milk supply.

  3. Pump After Each Nursing Session:
    Pump for at least 5 to 10 minutes after each feeding. Do this 8 to 10 times in a 24 hour.

  4. Increase Your Milk With Help: 
    Speak to your healthcare provider, naturopath or midwife about nutritional supplements like fenugreek, blessed thistle, brewer's yeast.

  5. Avoid Bottles and Pacifiers:  
    Until breast-feeding is well-established, try to restrict feeding to the breast. If you absolutely need to, use a cup, syringe or feeding tube.

  6. Check Your Latch: 
    If baby is not far enough on the Areola, he or she may not be compressing the milk ducts adequately. Assistance from a lactation consultant, midwife or doula is extremely helpful.


References:

http://www.nbci.ca/

http://www.lllc.ca/Information-sheets

http://www.cochrane.org/CD003519/PREG_early-skin-to-skin-contact-for-mothers-and-their-healthy-newborn-infants

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Sixth Edition. Mosby. Philadelphia. 2005.

Ehrlich, Steven D., NMD. Brewer's Yeast. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2011: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/brewers-yeast-000288.htm : Accessed June 14, 2012.

http://breastfeeding.about.com/od/milksupplyproblems/a/Brewers-Yeast-And-Increasing-Breast-Milk-Supply.htm

Postpartum Symptoms

As blissful as a new momma glow may be at times, there are some symptoms you may experience that feel downright strange!

Here are a few symptoms that are totally normal, but you may not have been aware of.

1. Sweating:

Remember that lovely glow during pregnancy? Well some of it was due to medication, extra blood flow and lymphatic fluid that support and protects you and baby. After baby is born, your body no longer needs it. The sudden drop in estrogen will cause a release of extra fluid during the day, and the rest soaks the sheets at night (yay) It can last about a month, and a bit longer if you are breastfeeding. Drink lots of water and have cooler showers.

2. Muscle ache:

It's tough work birthing a baby!

Whether it was a fast or slow birth, your body recruited many muscles and hormones to make it all happen. Massage, Epsom salt bath, gentle stretches ( once your care provider has given you the go ahead) all help immensely. 

3. Vaginal bleeding AKA Lochia:

Basically, it's like having your period for weeks. This is a normal process of discharge of tissue from the uterus after childbirth; It's starts off quite heavy, then changes over the subsequent weeks to a lighter colour and flow. Speak to your healthcare provider about exactly what to look out for.

4. Breast tenderness and engorgement:

When the body begins to provide milk to baby on day 5-7, the breasts can feel heavy, full and extremely firm. This can feel quite tender!

In the months leading up the childbirth, the milk ducts in the breast are producing milk. The first substance that is produces is called colostrum; it is a thick yellowish "liquid gold" that is rich in immune-boosting ingredients, that nourishes baby in the first 5-7 days.

5. Hemorrhoids:

Yep, I said it! It can happen anytime in the last trimester, and sometimes during the pushing phase of birthing. The veins around the anus bulge from the increased internal pressure. Witch Hazel pads, or a perineum bath, or even"padsicles" ease the discomfort. As you sit, use a donut-shaped pillow to reduce the ache.

Abnormal Postpartum Symptoms

Here are some warning signs you need to watch out for. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your practitioner immediately.

  • Pus-like discharge from your episiotomy and the wound has become hot, extremely painful and red.

  • A soaked sanitary pad every hour at rest/while lying down.

  • Passing clots of blood that are larger than a lemon.

  • A foul odor from your discharge.

  • You develop a fever that is 100.4 degrees F/38 degrees C or higher.

  • An urge to urinate very frequently.

  • You are not completely emptying your bladder.

  • Abdomen is tender to the touch.

  • Developing flu-like symptoms.

Source: Mayo Clinic Foundation

15 steps to Breastfeeding success

I was certain that nursing my little ones would happen effortlessly, but it didn't. Even after my second, at which point I was a Doula supporting many women through the first hours and days of latching, I still had challenges.

There can be many factors that challenge the whole process; assisted or medicated births, postpartum fatigue, etc., but here are a handful of tips that helped me achieve breastfeeding success and I hope they help you too.

  1. Attend a breastfeeding class before baby arrives: Learn some practical tips, meet families in the neighbourhood and get support for yourself and your partner.

  2. Whenever possible, be skin to skin with your baby, especially right after birth for at least the first hour. Did you know that if you put baby immediately on your chest after birth without too much interference, they will actually crawl and latch on to your breast? Most babies can do this within the first 10-20 minutes! watch here (It's a very informative video; baby latches at 4:40).

  3. Stay in bed for a week: Easier said than done, but try to create a sacred space where you can rest, learn baby's cues and begin a nursing routine.

  4. Try to stay relaxed: When you are calm, baby is calm, and vice versa. If Baby becomes upset, gently place him/her on your shoulders and soothe with "shushing" and rocking. And don't forget to take a deep breath for yourself.

  5. Get help early: If you are having a challenging time, don't wait; lactation consultants and breastfeeding clinics are a wealth of information, and can provide valuable tips for a good latch.

  6. Get comfortable and have everything within arms reach where you sit: Seriously! Find a comfortable place to sit: Snacks and drink? Check! Telephone and remote control? Check! ! Empty bladder? Yikes! Sigh...

  7. Try tummy to tummy: Proper alignment is key. If you have baby skin to skin then you will not only benefit from all the good hormones that get released from skin contact, but you will be able to ensure correct positioning...straight spine and no rotation at the neck.

  8. Consider your diet: Drink plenty of water, herbal teas and juiced veggies high in nutrients. Prep and eat meals high in healthy fats to support your hard working body. Breastfeeding burns up to 600 calories a day!

  9. Take your Time and slow your schedule downIt's a huge shift, but you will need time to breastfeed: it can take up to 30 minutes a session before baby is satiated.

  10. Be persistent: Don't give up too soon! Breastfeeding isn't always easy at first. It took me and my firstborn 3 months (yep!) before we were comfortable. With the right support, you will get the hang of it. 

  11. Massage breasts: Before nursing, apply warm towels and gently massage breasts in a clockwise fashion; this helps to stimulate the "let-down reflex" (the signal for milk to flow) learn here

  12. Latch on correctly if not try again: If baby isn't latched on correctly, you will feel pain and/or hear clicking or sucking sounds. It is important to deal with it right away. Unlatch baby from the breast by slipping a finger in the corner of their mouth to break the suction and try latching him/her on again.

  13. Take time to burp: Breastfed babies generally need less burping than bottle fed babies, but their tummies are new and still growing: take a moment before offering the other breast to gently pat out any possible bubbles.

  14. Use a breast pump after you nurse baby: Pumping after a feed with not only encourage a good milk supply, but will also provide extra milk for when you need partner or another caregiver to feed baby.

  15. Engage with baby: This is a really great time to chat with baby, read stories, sing songs.

BREASTFEEDING

Best for baby
Reduces incidence of allergies
Economical - no waste
Antibodies - greater immunity to infections
Stool inoffensive - never constipated
Temperature always correct and constant
Fresh milk - never goes sour in the breast
Emotionally bonding
Easy once established
Digested easily within two to three hours
Immediately available
Nutritionally balanced
Gastroenteritis greatly reduced
From a publicity leaflet by the TIBS support group, Trinidad.

references:
www.llli.org/nb.html
www.breastfeedinginc.ca
www.nbci.ca
www.breastcrawl.org/breastfeeding-facts-for-feeding.shtml
www.breastmilkcounts.com/let-down-reflex.php

 

 

 

How to tie a wrap

Awesome photographer, Mira and gorgeous models, Ai-Linn and Logan were kind enough to help me demonstrate the art of baby wearing. Ai-Linn is an expert and has been wearing both her children in all kinds of carriers for years. We suggest that you try this over a bed or soft surface the first few times or until it becomes second nature. Also, talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about safe carrier options. The wrap that Ai-Linn is using is called the moby wrap but we also like the Boba and the Mamankangourou.

1. Place the (center) label of the wrap in front of your abdomen, and wrap around waist.

 

2. Cross the fabric behind your back and bring the free ends up and over your shoulders. Hold both ends in front of you and tuck in.

3. Pull down slightly to remove slack and raise the front part with the label to your chest.

4. Cross the front free ends around the waist to the back and then bring the ends back to the front.

wrap4.jpg

5. Tie in a double knot in front or side of hip.

6. Hold baby up on your shoulder and place baby's legs one at a time through each side of the "x". 

7. Spread the fabric wide across the baby's bottom, back and shoulder.

8. Tuck baby under the second half of the wrap and spread across their body.

wrap8.png

9. Pull the center piece of fabric with the logo over the baby's back, ensuring a snug fit across their entire body, the fabric should be tight enough to hold the baby's entire weight without sinking.

voila!


Benefits of Baby Wearing

image.jpg

 

I loved carrying both my kids! I felt confident, knowing that they were calm and happy. Their needs were being met without needing to cry. Baby wearing is not only functional and versatile, but also a great way to assist baby's transition from womb to the outside world; It helps to regulate their own systems, by hearing their caregiver's heartbeat and being rocked by their movements.

Here are some more benefits to this hands-free way of carrying baby

Your baby will cry less: In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers revealed that wearing baby for 3 hours a day reduced an infant's crying by 43% overall and 54% in the evening hours. 

Your baby will interact more: As your baby develops, it will love being at a height where it can see and interact with the world in front of them.

It allows you to do more:Multitasking is a possibility when your hands are free to do more, like tend to the needs of siblings, do chores, etc. You will also have the freedom to go places (hiking, TTC) a bulky stroller cannot.

Baby learns more: When babies are fussing less, they are spending more time in a calm, alert state, thereby enhancing their visual and auditory alertness.

It creates a stronger parent/child bond: Cuddled in a carrier is a great way for baby to create a strong attachment with their caregiver through familiar smells and sounds, whether it be Grandpa, Dad, Mum, etc.

It encourages successful breastfeeding: Baby's early feeding cues are noticed sooner. When Baby is near their source of milk, they will nurse more often, and gain more weight.

Better sleep: carried babies fall asleep more quickly and sleep for longer periods of time.


Newborn appearance


Those cute little bundles of joy can vary greatly in apperance; from wrinkles to birthmarks to pointy heads. Alas, have no fear! Below, is a list of various normal ways that baby might look like.

• Vernix: 

A white, thick coating that forms from baby's oil glands to protect their delicate skin while growing in the womb. Vernix is full of immune properties, and helps with thermoregulation, so consider  delaying the first bath a couple of days and instead  massage this natural moisturizer into their skin . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15592296

• Colouring: 

It might be alarming to see baby turn from a purplish to a dark red, but as baby begins to fill its lungs with air their colour will normalize. You will notice that the hands and feet may stay blue for a few days, as the rest of the body is pink; this is because their circulation is focusing on keeping the vital organs (core) nice and warm. You might notice a slight yellow tinge to the skin or the whites of their eyes; this is called jaundice. Their liver is working hard on removing the extra bilirubin (a normal breakdown of blood cells) as it passes through the stool. The Doctor or Midwife will monitor this to ensure that baby is processing it efficiently. it appears 1-2 days after birth and usually disappears by week 2.

• Molding: 

Baby may appear to have a bit of a pointy head! All normal! The skull bones gently overlap to form  this shape as it passes through the birth canal. The head will begin to return to a rounder shape just a few days after birth.

• Milia: 

Milia are small white bumps that appear on the nose, chin and forehead. These are oil glands. When they form in the mouth and gums, these are call Epstein pearls.

• Stork bites: AKA Salmon patches.

Stork bites are caused by cluster of immature blood vessels, which usually fade or  disappear by age 2. These red patches are sometimes pink, found on the forehead, eyelids, back of the neck, top of the lip. They are most visible when baby is crying.

• Mongolian Spots: 

Dark blue to purple in colour, they can look scary as they can be mistaken for bruising. Found usually on lower back to buttocks region, and are more commonly found  in African-American and  Asian babies, but can be found in dark-skinned babies of all races. They are a concentration of pigmented skin cells. Within the first four years of life, they are a distant memory.

• Lanugo: 

Baby's shoulders, back and forehead might be sporting some extra hair! Meaning" wool" in Latin, Lanugo is there to anchor the vernix to the skin. This soft hair eventually goes away within the few weeks.

• Port Wine Stains: 

These flat, red, pink or purple birthmarks. They do not go away. This is due to a high concentration of capillaries( tiny blood vessels) Usually found on the neck or head, they may be large or small and do not change colour or disappear. Port wine stains can grow and become darker, and bleed if the blood vessels break.

 • Newborn breast swelling: 

AKA "Witches milk" This can occur in both boys and girls around the third day of life. The breasts may simply swell or leak the milky substance. This is due to mothers hormones, and dissipates within a few weeks. Avoid massaging the breasts, as this can injure the tissue and cause infection.

 Swollen genitals: 

Depending on the number of weeks that the baby was born (gestational age) premature girls have a prominent inner labia and clitoris, whereas a full-term girl has a larger outer labia.
Girls can have a small amount of white discharge or blood from the vagina in the early weeks of life. Don't panic, like I did; this is a normal response to mother's hormones. The appearance of a premature boy's scrotum may be smooth, flat and testicles may be undescended. Full-term boys will have descended testicles and ridges in the scrotum.

 

 

 

 

10 things to consider about postpartum recovery.

 

 

The first few days and weeks following Baby's arrival can be a joyous, yet overwhelming event. Here are ten things to keep in mind, to help ease the transition into your new roles as parents.

  1. Accept/ask for help: My type A personality prevented me from asking for help with the first kiddo, but part deux, I accepted the meals brought to the door and the offers of cleaning dishes.

  2. Prepare and freeze your favourite meals: Strolling down to the kitchen to cook a meal will be the last thing on your mind! You will be hungry all the time, so having some healthy snacks and hearty meals prepped ahead of time will remove the hassle.

  3. Your body will ache: It's a lot of work welcoming a baby into this world! Your may feel fatigued and ache all over! Apply light stretches to neck and shoulders as you sit with baby, or calf stretches as you change baby's diaper. Drink more water, or herbal tea throughout the day, and when possible, get a massage :)

  4. Your partner can have postpartum depression too: Check-in with your partner; Stress, and adjustment to their new role can be just as difficult. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032702000125

  5. Breastfeeding can sometimes be challenging: Hang in there! Attending a breastfeeding class prenatally can decrease the stress, as well as having a lactation consultant visit you, postpartum to give you some pointers.

  6. Create a postpartum retreat in your home: In many cultures, new mothers stay in bed for days to weeks to rest, heal and bond with baby. By establishing clear boundaries around visitors, this will allow the ever so important time to bond.

  7. Take some time with your partner: Even if it's just a 15 minute stroll around the block together, the connection is so valuable.

  8. Connect with other mums: This helps to avoid a sense of isolation. It can be so comforting to know that you aren't alone.

  9. Get outside with baby:(Even if it's just the back yard) A change in scenery and some fresh air can be rejuvenating. 

  10. Hire a postpartum doula: They will help ease the transition into parenthood by giving you practical tools.