Lactation

Breastfeeding? Going Back to Work? Here is What You Need to Know

If you’re like most working moms, you might be feeling anxious about returning to work after the birth of your little one. Adding pumping and bottles into the mix can seem downright overwhelming. You might be wondering how you will fit pumping sessions into your schedule or maybe you are concerned about maintaining your breast milk supply. Although it may be a challenge to adjust to your new routine, you can be successful and find balance with a little pre-planning. The following are some basic tips to get you started.

Supplies: There are some very handy supplies available to pumping moms. Try and stock up on these things ahead of time to relieve some stress when going back work.

  • Electric Breast Pump: Most insurance plans cover breast pumps. Call your insurance company and find out where to get yours. This can be done before you have your baby.
  • Easy Expression Bustier Hands-Free Pumping Bra by Medela: This bra is very convenient whether you are pumping at home or at work. It allows you to easily pump both breasts at the same time while giving you time to read a book, browse the internet or take a little "me" time while you pump.
  • Extra Breast Pump Supplies: Supplies can get lost or broken which is inconvenient when you need to pump, keep a few extras on hand:
    • Replacement Membranes
    • Connectors
    • Breast Shields
  • Breast Milk Storage Bags: You will want to keep a box of these on hand in your breast pump bag.

Maintaining Your Milk Supply: Are you concerned about your milk supply decreasing when you head back to work?  The following are ways to increase and keep your supply strong.

  • Eat good protein rich meals and snacks.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Try a supplement such as Motherlove More Milk Plus.  Take 2 capsules, three times a day.
  • On working days, make time to pump approximately every three hours.
  • During evenings, nights and weekends breastfeed your baby on demand.
  • Eliminate other things that could decrease your milk supply, such as:
    • Peppermint or Sage Tea
    • Decongestants
    • Parsley

Storing and Thawing: It is important that you know how to safely store and thaw your breast milk and that the person taking care of your baby knows too.

  • When pumping at work keep your bags of milk in the storage section of your breast pump bag with an ice-pack. If you do not have that kind of pump, bring a small cooler with you to store your milk.
  • Once home, place milk in the fridge. It is okay to keep in the fridge for 72 hours. If the milk hasn’t been used by then, put it in the freezer. Breast milk is safe to store in the freezer for 6 months.
  • Remember to always label each bag with the date, time and quantity.
  • When thawing or warming up the milk, never microwave it. This destroys the nutrients. Put the bag or bottle of milk into a bowl of very warm water.

If you would like to learn more about pumping and returning to work, come to our class PumpTalk 101 with Jan Kaste, IBCLC. This class is taught every first Thursday of the month at 3:30pm. It is $10. To sign up, contact our office 651-895-2520. Health Foundations Birth Center also offers lactation visits during the week and many other services to help with your breastfeeding needs.

The supplies mentioned above can be found on our on-line store, as well as our PumpTalk 101 Kit. This kit contains the pumping essentials at a great price! Get yours here.

Banana Bread for Healthy Lactation

This banana bread recipe promotes healthy lactation in nursing mamas. Some of these ingredients are known for increasing milk supply.  The milk boosting ingredients are highlighted. Enjoy warm with some butter!

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS Flaxseed Meal
  • 4 TBS Water
  • 1 ¾ C Flour
  • 1 ¼ C Oats
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 4 TBS Brewer’s Yeast
  • 1 tsp Ground Fenugreek
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ C Softened Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 C Sugar or ¾ C Maple Syrup
  • 3 Medium Mashed Bananas (the riper the better!)
  • 2 TBS Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ C Chopped Pecans or Walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 10-inch loaf pan. Mix dry ingredients together first then blend in all other ingredients. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the bread. Let cool and remove from pan.

Breastfeeding: How Do I Know My Baby is Getting Enough?

Breastfeeding a newborn is an incredible boding experience between a mother and her baby. One of the common worries for a mom is whether or not her baby is getting enough to eat. Unlike bottle feeding, the actual amount is unknown. This can feel concerning. Especially is the baby is fussy or not sleeping. Occasionally, due to milk supply or a poor latch, the baby may not be getting as much as they need. Thankfully there are things you can do to help if that is the case!

 Comforting Signs That Your Baby is Getting Plenty to Eat:

Wet / Dirty Diapers: Your baby should have on average 6 wet diapers and 4 stools per day. The urine should be light in color and mild smelling. By about day 5, your baby’s stool should have transitioned from meconium to yellow and loose.

Alert / Satisfied Baby: When your baby is hungry he will be active and alert, giving you cues to demand feeding. Afterwards, your baby should appear satisfied and probably sleepy.

Breasts Feeling Empty: Once your milk is in and your baby nurses, your breasts should feel empty at the end of the feeding. They may feel harder and full at the beginning and soft at the end.

Your Baby is Gaining Weight: Although there typically is slight weight loss in your baby before your milk fully comes in, around day 5-6 your baby’s weight should slowly start creeping up on the scales. Every baby is different but the goal is to have your baby at least back to birth weight by two weeks of age.

If your baby shows any of the above signs that he is not getting enough to eat, it is important to see a pediatrician and a lactation consultant.

At Health Foundations Birth Center, 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, Mama's Milk Hour, led by Jan Kaste, IBCLC. This group meets every Thursday at 2:30. It is free and open to the public. You have a chance to weigh your baby, nurse and weigh your baby again to get an idea of how much your baby is eating at each feeding. Jan is there for basic questions and advice.

 

Super Purple Lactation Smoothie

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Start your day with this yummy Lactation Smoothie! The ingredients chosen for this recipe are great for boosting your milk supply! If you are dairy free, you can add some almond milk or coconut milk instead of greek yogurt. 

1 Large Banana

1 Cup of Blueberries

1 Cup of Strawberries

1 Tsp of Flax Meal

1 Tsp of Brewer's Yeast

Drizzle of Honey

Handful of Spinach

1 Heaping Tablespoon of Plain Greek Yogurt

Combine all ingredients in your favorite blender, blend until smooth and ENJOY!

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.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

Via  food.com

As a new breastfeeding mom, you may be eager to find ways to increase and maintain your milk supply. What better way to do so than by enjoying a warm batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies fortified with ingredients to give your supply a boost!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 2-4 tablespoons of brewers’ yeast

Directions: 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix water and flaxseed meal and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • Beat butter with brown and white sugar.
  • Add eggs and mix.
  • Add flaxseed mixture and vanilla and beat.
  • Sift flour, baking soda, brewers’ yeast, and salt and add to butter mix.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and oats.
  • Scoop even portions onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Let cool and remove from baking sheet.
  • Recipe should yield 4.5 dozen cookies. Don’t enjoy them all at once!

Check out some other great recipes!

Recipe: Lactation Cookies

This yummy oatmeal cookie recipe is one of the many ways for breastfeeding/pumping mamas to maintain their milk supply!

Lactation Cookies Recipe by MilkinMamas

2 Tablespoons flax seed meal

4 Tablespoons water

1 cup butter, soften to room temperature

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour (all-purpose or white whole wheat)

3-4 Tablespoons brewer’s yeast

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flax seed meal and water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl or stand-up mixer, beat butter and brown sugar well.
  4. Add eggs and beat well.
  5. Add flax seed mixture and vanilla, beat well.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, brewer’s yeast, baking soda & salt.
  7. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mix well.
  8. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  9. Scoop by rounded tablespoons onto baking tray.
  10. Bake 12 minutes.
  11. Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Be creative and try these variations or additions:

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • flaked or shredded coconut
  • dried cranberries, cherries, apricots or raisins
  • white chocolate chips