Benefits of Breastfeeding

Help Support The Global Big Latch On

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For the past 8 years Health Foundations Birth Center has had the honor of being a site for supporting the Big Latch On. The Big Latch On is a global movement to raise awareness and provide support to breastfeeding mothers. This year we are very excited to be partnering with Blooma for this wonderful event. Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world.

Some of the goals of the Big Latch On are: 

  • Provide support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally.
  • Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
  • Make breastfeeding as normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increase support for women who breastfeed - women are supported by their partners, family and their communities.
  • Ensure communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services.

Last year the total attendance was 50,383 people! 

We would love you to be a part of this movement with us. This year we are participating on August 3rd starting at 10:00am. Please sign up here! We will be having snacks and handing out goodie bags. Blooma will be leading a Bring Your Own Baby Yoga Class right after the latch on.

Top Five Breastfeeding Essentials for the First Two Weeks Postpartum

photo credit: Meredith Westin

photo credit: Meredith Westin

Breastfeeding is a journey, both beautiful and challenging at times. To help ease the first two weeks of your postpartum we have put together a list of items that will hopefully make things easier!

Motherlove Nipple Cream: Nipple cream is essential, especially in the early days. Your baby will want to nurse very frequently. Even with a great latch, it takes some time for your nipples to get used to this. Put nipple cream on your nipples after each feeding. No need to wipe it off before feeding your baby.

Nursing Bra / Tank: You will want to have these before your baby is born. It can be helpful to get sized; after 36 weeks is a good time for this. During the first two weeks of postpartum you will find yourself living in your nursing tank!  It is easy and you don't have to put anything else on. Nursing tanks are supportive to your breasts and you can find ones that also support your postpartum tummy. I recommend having 2-3 of both nursing tanks and nursing bras.

Medela Hydrogel Pads: Hydrogel pads are a serious life saver for sore, cracked nipples. After about 24 hours your nipples will feel much better if they are cracked or very sore. In saying this, if you find yourself with very sore, cracked or bleeding nipples, be sure to contact a lactation specialist. It is normal for a little bit of soreness. If you are wincing in pain when it is time for a feeding, this is not normal.

Nursing Pads: Once your milk is in, you may find that your breasts are leaking milk. Whether you are nursing on one side and the other side begins to leak or if you have a let down when your baby is not feeding, you will want nursing pads in your bra at all times. There are washable and disposable options; get both.

Resources: I cannot stress how important good resources are during the early days of breastfeeding. Maybe it is your mom, sister or a good friend, someone to talk to on rough days, and someone with breastfeeding experience. Choose one or two people to reach out to for advice otherwise too much advice can be overwhelming. Never hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant if you need help with latch or have production issues. A great website to turn to is www.kellymom.com

A nursing station can be very helpful as well. You can prepare this before your baby arrives so it will be ready to go when you get home. Get a basket to set next to your bed and fill with snacks, water, a couple of diapers, wipes and a good book!

 

Boobs, Breastfeeding & Lactation

Breastfeeding a newborn is a beautiful way to bond, connect and nourish your baby. There are many benefits of breastfeeding. What aren’t often talked about are the struggles that can happen during the first few weeks postpartum. As you learn about your baby and your baby learns about you, there are some things that can ease the difficulties that may arise. Collecting these items and organizing support before your baby arrives is ideal.

Create a Breastfeeding Station

There are things we have found helpful for the breastfeeding mama to easily have on hand. This can be a basket that has the following items available and easy to access when you nurse your baby.

Good Nipple Cream: A good nipple cream is essential to help relieve discomfort of sore, cracked nursing nipples. This can be applied before and after breastfeeding and anytime in between. We love Motherlove Nipple Cream.  

Nursing Pads: No nursing mom wants to face the embarrassment of wet spots on her shirt from milk leakage, but it can happen to even the most prepared woman. The chances are reduced if you use breast pads, which when used properly can prevent uncomfortably soaked clothing. Choose from washable or disposable types, both of which can keep you comfortable and dry. 

Gel Pads: Medela makes a wonderful product called Tender Care Hydrogel Pads. They quickly soothe sore nipples and act as a barrier between your clothes and your skin so they don't rub and irritate further.

Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is important while breastfeeding.  Keeping water nearby during breastfeeding is a must! Becoming dehydrated can decrease your milk supply and also make you feel tired. It is estimated that over 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. 

Easy Snacks: While breastfeeding you need about an additional 400 to 500 calories a day — to keep up your energy.

To get these extra calories, opt for nutrient-rich choices, such as a slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a medium banana or apple, and 8 ounces of greek yogurt. Try to have protein with each snack to help balance your blood sugar which in turn will help maintain your energy and mood.

Cloth or Small Towel: Have this handy for when your baby spits up or you need to catch milk leaking.

A Good Book: Reading is one of my favorite things to do while nursing. With my first baby, I finished many books in our marathon nursing sessions from the rocking chair. Clever pillow arrangement allows your hands to be free, or think about a book holder. Set up a little table right next to your rocking chair, have a basket of snacks on hand, set the book in a book holder, and you only need one hand to turn the page! You can also read in the side-lying nursing position – just prop the book on a pillow behind baby.

Support System – Good Support is Essential

Educate Your Partner: It is important for your partner to be educated about the ins and outs of breastfeeding so that he or she can help you in your breastfeeding journry.

Breastfeeding Friends: If you have friends that are breastfeeding, surround yourself with them. Keep their phone numbers handy for questions and encouragement.

Your Mom: Sometimes mothers can be a great support during breastfeeding, especially if they breastfed themselves. However, don’t feel guilty if you need to tell your mom that you would rather not talk about the subject if you find it stressful. 

At Health Foundations, our lactation consultants and postpartum nurses are here to assist you with any and all questions you have related to breastfeeding your new baby. We also have a group called Mama’s Milk Hour that meets every Thursday at 2:30. Our group is led by a lactation consultant and is a wonderful way to connect with other moms. This group is free and open to the public. 

If you are pregnant and just beginning your search for prenatal care, contact Health Foundations to schedule a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our beautiful Birth Center. We are here to serve you at every stage.

Is Breastfeeding An Effective Form of Birth Control?

Breastfeeding Baby

If you’re a new mommy and have passed your postpartum period of pelvic rest, you may be wondering how effective breastfeeding is as birth control. While you and your partner may be eager to be intimate once again, you are likely not looking to add another baby to the family anytime soon. Fortunately, exclusive breastfeeding is actually a highly effective method of birth control during the first six months postpartum and sometimes even beyond. Here’s how to make the most of your lactational amenorrhea.

What is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method?

Lactational amenorrhea is the term used to refer to the natural period of infertility that occurs after giving birth when a woman is breastfeeding her baby and is not menstruating. This period of infertility occurs because the hormones necessary for milk production actually suppress the hormones necessary for ovulation. Consequently, the Lactational Amenorrhea Method refers to when a couple uses exclusive breastfeeding as a form of birth control. You may be wondering just how effective simply breastfeeding your baby can possibly be at preventing pregnancy. The answer to that question is very effective, if a few important criteria are met. 

In order for the Lactational Amenorrhea Method to be as much as 98-99.5 percent effective, the following factors must be present:

  • Your baby must be 6 months or younger
  • You must be breastfeeding on demand during both day and nighttime
  • Your menstrual cycle has not yet returned
  • Your baby must be exclusively breastfed with no formula supplementation or introduction of solid foods to his diet

Even after six months of age, moms who frequently breastfeed their babies and who have not had the return of their menstrual cycle are only 6 percent likely to become pregnant.

What Factors will Affect the Return of My Fertility?

Although the average time for nursing mothers to experience a return of their menses is 14.6 months, there are a number of factors that may cause you to become fertile before then. These factors known to impact fertility include:

  • The introduction of solids to baby’s diet
  • A reduction in the number or duration of nursing sessions per day
  • Your baby beginning to sleep through the night
  • Regularly pumping in lieu of breastfeeding

Every woman is different and experiences sensitivity to hormones to varying degrees. Overall, the amount of time your baby spends at the breast each day will be the biggest factor contributing to the duration of your lactational amenorrhea. If your period has returned, breastfeeding is no longer impacting your fertility and you should not rely on this method for birth control. 

Can I Increase the Length of my Lactational Amenorrhea to Prevent Pregnancy?

Yes! There are several simple ways that you can attempt to maximize your lactational amenorrhea while breastfeeding. These include:

  • Continuing to breastfeed on demand past six months. Aim to put your baby to the breast at least every 4-6 hours, day and night.
  • Cosleeping to increase night nursing. Fertility hormone production is highest during the nighttime hours making night nursing a primary factor in preventing the return of fertility.
  • Delaying solids until 6 months and offering the breast before each meal.
  • Using nursing to comfort your baby.
  • Offering breastmilk exclusively. Do not supplement with formula.
  • Skipping pacifiers and postponing the introduction of bottles until necessary.
  • Keeping your baby close to encourage frequent nursing by babywearing.
  • Nursing lying down for naps and at night.

Using breastfeeding as birth control is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy during the first six months postpartum and even beyond under certain circumstances. Most importantly, your baby will enjoy the limitless health and emotional benefits of exclusive breastfeeding during this critical time in her development. For questions about lactational amenorrhea or for anything related to pregnancy and natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center.