Things to Make Breast Pumping Easier

Breast pumping is a wonderful way to continue to provide your baby nutritious breast milk while you are at work or away from your baby for a prolonged period of time. Because breast milk production increases the more that the baby nurses, breast pumping after nursing can also help struggling moms to increase their milk supply. Make your breast pumping sessions successful with these simple tips.

Acquire a Breast Pump that Works for You

We offers a variety breast pumps equipped with features to make pumping as comfortable and convenient for mom and baby as possible. Our models offer two pumps which allow you to pump both breasts at the same time, saving you valuable time and energy. The Affordable Care Act requires that most insurance companies provide breast pumps to new and expectant mothers. We accepts most insurance providers. By completing a simple form, we handle all the paperwork and you receive a quality breast pump that suits your individual needs.

Find the Proper-Size of Flange

Breast pump flanges, which attach to the breast and drain the milk, come in a standard size of 24 millimeters. Because there is no “standard” size of breasts when it comes to moms, you may have larger or smaller breasts that require a different size of the flange. An ill-fitting flange can decrease milk production or cause clogged milk ducts. Try the standard-size of the flange to see if it works for you. Your nipple should move freely in the flange, with a small amount of your areola being drawn in while pumping. If too much areola is being drawn in or the flange is tight on your nipple, a larger or smaller flange can make pumping more comfortable and more productive.

Establish a Pumping Schedule

Most babies require milk every three to four hours. In order to get the most out of your pumping sessions, establish a pumping schedule that mimics your baby’s needs by pumping at least every three hours. Begin in the morning, when breast milk production is at its highest, and continue to pump regularly throughout the day. Each pumping session should last between 10 and 15 minutes. Experts recommend pumping at least eight to 10 times a day for the best results.

Eat Healthy Snacks and Drink Lots of Water

Your body requires extra calories and water while breastfeeding. Eating a nutritious snack while pumping is a great way to get the extra calories and nutrients you need for healthy breast milk production. Pack a small bag with apple slices, string cheese or nuts and place it in your breast pump bag, along with several water bottles, to make healthy snacking easier.

Encourage Let-Down

Some moms have difficulty with milk let-down without their baby present. Encourage your milk to let-down by relaxing, placing a warm compress on your breast, gently massaging your breast in a circular motion and thinking about your baby. Many moms find it helpful to look at a picture of their baby during pumping away from home. Including a small picture in your breast pump bag can help.

Get Your Nursing Station Set-Up

Whether pumping away from home or after nursing your baby in the nursery, it’s important to set up a place for you to be you comfortable while you pump. A small blanket or cardigan nearby will help if you get chilly or feel more comfortable covering up during pumping. A good book can help keep you relaxed and occupied while pumping. Always sit in a comfortable chair with good support in order to prevent muscle tension or fatigue.

Tips for Moms Who are Increasing Milk Supply Through Pumping

We understand how challenging it can be to increase your milk supply or build up extra milk while still nursing your baby at home. Try pumping on the side that your baby didn’t nurse on, pumping for five to 10 minutes after each nursing session or pumping every three hours during the night while your baby is sleeping.

With the right preparation, you can continue to provide your baby breast milk after you return to work or for the babysitter while you are out through pumping. With our unique selection of pumps, moms can rest assured that they’ll find a fit and flow that’s most comfortable for her unique needs. We can help you gather the supplies and equipment you need so that you can relax and take care of yourself while you provide milk for your new little one.

Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

Read time: 3 minutes

TL;DR

  • Experts agree that breastfeeding your little one for the first year of his or her life will provide the best nutritional start, but different challenges can make doing so difficult.
  • If possible, experts recommend waiting until your little one is about two months old before introducing the bottle to ensure your milk supply is well-established and he or she has gained a steady amount of weight.
  • Though they seem similar, breastfeeding and bottle feeding require different tongue and facial actions, which can make it difficult for a baby who has been exclusively breastfed to figure out how to make the switch.
  • Combining breast and bottle feeding offers you the ability to go back to work or out for the evening while still providing your little one nutritious breast milk.
  • Using a breast pump can help you to keep up or increase your milk supply or, if you are unable to do so, introducing formula can help to ensure that your little one is getting the nutrition he or she needs.

 

Experts agree that breastfeeding your little one for the first year of his or her life will provide them the best nutritional start. Though many moms aspire to exclusively breastfeed their babies during the first year, different challenges can make doing so difficult. Combining breast and bottle feeding offers many moms the best of both worlds.

 

Reasons for Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

There are many different reasons to offer your little one a combination of the breast and bottle. These include:

  • Providing your little one nutrition when you go back to work.
  • Giving others the opportunity to feed your little one while you rest or are away for the evening.
  • Beginning to breastfeed when your little one has been given bottles in the NICU due to premature birth.
  • Allowing you to continue to provide breast milk for your baby during health complications or sudden life changes.
  • Giving you the opportunity to compromise if breastfeeding is extremely challenging without giving up nursing completely.

 

Ideal Timeline for Bottle Introduction

During the first six to eight weeks of breastfeeding, your body will adjust to making the perfect amount of milk for your little one based on supply and demand. Because of this, experts don’t recommend introducing a bottle or a pacifier during this time. If possible, wait until your little one is about two months old before introducing the bottle. This will ensure your milk supply is well-established and he or she has gained a steady amount of weight.

 

Introducing the Bottle to Your Little One

Many moms who have been exclusively breastfeeding for the first couple of months of their little one’s life may be surprised when they try to give a bottle to their baby for the first time and find that he or she won’t take it. Though they seem similar, breastfeeding and bottle feeding require different tongue and facial actions, which can make it difficult for a baby who has been exclusively breastfed to figure out how to make the switch. Try these tips for helping your baby adjust to the bottle.

 

Try Different Bottles

There are a variety of different bottles and nipples on the market. It can take several tries before finding the perfect one for your little one. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Additionally, check out the flow rate of the nipple. If you have a fast letdown, a slow-drip nipple will quickly frustrate your baby.

 

Wait Until Your Little One is Satisfied

It may seem strange, but it can be helpful to breastfeed your little one for a few minutes before trying a bottle. When your little one is screaming to be fed, he or she won’t be as willing to try something new as when their belly is full.

 

Try a Different Position

Many moms hold their little one in a “cradle hold” against their chest during breastfeeding. If you try to hold your little one in a similar matter for bottle feeding, he or she may be confused. Try holding him or her in a different position.

 

Ask for Help

By this point, your little one probably equates your face, smell and touch with food. If you’ve been breastfeeding for months, your little one won’t understand why nursing isn’t happening when you try to provide a bottle. Asking someone else to feed your little one a bottle can make the transition easier.

 

Choosing to Introduce Formula

If you go back to work, you can continue to provide your little one breast milk while you are away by using a breast pump. Using a breast pump can help you to keep up or increase your milk supply, so you can continue to breastfeed your little one at home. If you aren’t able to do so, you may need to introduce formula to ensure that your little one is getting the nutrition he or she needs.

Because formula tastes different than breast milk, your baby will need to adjust. If your little one is rejecting formula, try combining breastmilk and formula in the same bottle.

It’s important to remember that if you are feeding your little one formula, your milk supply will most likely dip. Breastfeeding or pumping as much as possible when you and your little one are together will help you to maintain your supply.

Combining breast and bottle feeding offers you the ability to go back to work or out for the evening while still providing your little one nutritious breast milk. Only you know what’s best for your unique situation and baby. Offering both may give you the”break” you need in order to reach your breastfeeding goals as your little one grows this first year.

Eating Healthy While Breastfeeding

Eating Healthy While Breastfeeding

You just spent nine months “eating for two,” and now that you are breastfeeding or pumping, you aren’t quite done yet. Your body is designed to make breast milk for your little one that is perfectly balanced in carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Moms who don’t eat nutritiously still provide their little ones with perfect breast milk because the body taps into its own reserves to make the milk. Unfortunately, while your diet won’t affect your little one’s milk, it will affect your own health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way for both you and your little one to get the nutrition you need.

 

How to Eat Healthy Without Affecting Your Milk Supply

Your body works hard to make breast milk for your little one. You will need to consume 400 to 500 more calories a day in order to provide your body with the energy to make breast milk. This increase in caloric needs is why you may feel extra hungry while you are nursing.

Though there is no specific “breastfeeding diet” to follow, nutritionists recommend that breastfeeding moms try to get the following servings of food per day for optimal health:

  • 3 to 4 servings of healthy whole grains and complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes and oatmeal
  • 4 to 5 servings of whole fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, peas, apples and tomatoes
  • 1 or more servings of iron-rich foods, such as red meat and spinach
  • 3 servings of proteins, such as chicken breast, eggs, fish, turkey and lean pork cuts
  • 5 servings of calcium, such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese
  • 1 to 2 servings of healthy fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil and avocados
  • 2 to 3 servings per week of omega-3 rich foods, such as salmon and walnuts

Eating a well-balanced diet will help ensure that you don’t become deficient in any nutrients. Because your breast milk actually takes on the different flavors and scents of the foods you eat, some experts believe that eating healthy while you are nursing can expose your little one to a variety of different foods, which can make your baby more willing to eat a wider variety of foods when he or she is ready for solids.

Though your body is designed to continue to make breast milk even during times of famine or hardship, if you don’t eat enough calories or you avoid eating whole food groups, your milk can suffer over time.

 

Tips and Advice for Healthy Eating

  • Eat a small meal or a snack approximately every three hours to keep you from feeling hungry and to keep your energy levels high
  • Plan and prepare snacks ahead of time while your little one naps in order to avoid grabbing an unhealthy option when hunger strikes
  • Stash healthy snacks near the rocker where you breastfeed, in the diaper bag and with your breast pump in case you get hungry while nursing or pumping
  • Make a list of foods that seem to affect your little one and keep it on the fridge for easy reference
  • Don’t focus on counting calories; eat when you are hungry and stop as soon as you are satisfied because your caloric needs can increase/decrease depending on your little one’s hunger levels

Foods to Avoid

The good news is that you can relax on the dietary rules that your doctor gave you during pregnancy. This means that it’s now okay to occasionally eat/drink:

  • Coffee (try to drink right after nursing/pumping to avoid your little one getting too much caffeine)
  • Alcohol (try to drink right after nursing or pumping so that your body can metabolize it before breastfeeding again)
  • Soft cheeses
  • Shellfish
  • Sushi

Unfortunately, while most foods are no longer off-limits, you will quickly learn that your little one’s body can’t handle some of the foods that you eat. It typically takes anywhere from two to six hours for the foods you eat to make it into your breast milk. Your little one may because extra fussy, gassy or have diarrhea after you eat the following:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Spices
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwifruit
  • Pineapple
  • Melons

Weight Loss and Breastfeeding

After nine months of not fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans, you probably can’t wait to get your pre-pregnancy body back. It is possible to lose weight while breastfeeding, but it’s a good idea to not cut back until your little one is about two months old. By this time, your milk supply should be well-established and you can safely try to lose weight by cutting 200 to 300 calories from your diet each day.

A safe amount of weight to lose while breastfeeding is one pound per week. Avoid crash or fad diets that severely cut calories or food groups and promise large amounts of weight loss as these can harm the quality and quantity of your milk over time.

Being able to provide your little one breast milk through nursing or pumping is the best way to give your baby the best nutritious start in life. Eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and continuing to take your prenatal vitamin each day will give you and your little one all of the nutrients and vitamins you need for optimal health.

The Phases of Breastfeeding

The Phases of Breastfeeding

During each breastfeeding session, your body will naturally go through two different phases: let down and expression. Understanding each phase can help ensure that your baby is getting enough milk and that your body is making adequate milk for your little one.

Phase 1: Let Down

Once your baby latches onto your breast, he or she will begin to suck vigorously. This fast sucking will stimulate the nerves in your breasts, which signals the release of a hormone called oxytocin. The release of oxytocin will make the small muscles that surround your milk-producing tissue to contract. This contracting of the tissue will squeeze milk into your ducts. Let down typically takes two minutes to occur.

When your milk lets down, you may feel a small amount of pain or tingling in your upper breasts. Many moms describe it as a “pins and needles” feeling. You may see lumps form in the skin around your areola. This is milk that has filled up in the ducts.

Let down can also happen if your brain is mentally stimulated. This can happen by hearing the sounds of a crying baby, looking at a picture of your little one or by smelling a piece of your baby’s clothing. Relaxing and thinking about your baby can signal the release of oxytocin in your brain, which will cause your milk to let down.

Phase 2: Expression

After your milk has let down, you will enter the expression phase of your breastfeeding session. During expression, your baby’s sucking will slow down and you will hear him or her swallowing the milk. As your baby becomes satisfied, their sucking will continue to slow down. Your baby will naturally begin sucking in a “suck, pause, swallow” rhythm as the milk is expressed and their tummy begins to fill.

As your breast empties, your baby may start to fall asleep or may come off of the breast completely. Use this opportunity to take a short break and burp your baby before switching sides and repeating the process.

Your body makes milk based on “supply and demand.” It’s important that your little one remains at the breast through both let down and expression in order to empty your breast as much as possible. This will, in turn, signal to your body that more milk needs to be made.

Foremilk and Hindmilk

Though your body only makes one type of milk, its nutrition and fat contents vary throughout each nursing session. Foremilk is the milk that is released during the beginning of nursing, immediately following let down. It will immediately quench your baby’s thirst as it has a higher water content.

Hindmilk is the milk that comes at the end of the nursing session, during expression. Hindmilk has a high-fat content, which will help your little one feel full and satisfied (and help them develop those adorable baby rolls). If you don’t completely empty your breast before switching sides, your baby may not get enough hindmilk. Always finish nursing on one side before switching to the other breast.

Tips for Moms Who Pump

In order to provide the best milk for your little one and maintain your milk supply, it’s important to experience both phases during each pumping session. It can sometimes be difficult to experience let down when you are away from your baby. Be sure you have  a pump that makes the process easy, so that you can always be relaxed. The following tips may help:

  • Try to relax as much as possible.
  • Bring a photo of your little one to look at while pumping and a small article of clothing. Look at the picture, close your eyes and try to envision your baby.
  • Set your pump to a higher speed with less suction at the beginning of the pumping session. After your milk has let down, increase the suction and slow your speed. This will help mimic your baby’s natural rhythm and help empty your breasts.
  • Pump for 10 to 15 minutes per side, waiting until milk expression has slowed down or stopped completely.

 

Your body naturally goes through two phases during each breastfeeding session. By making sure that your little one remains at your breast through both phases of breastfeeding, you will ensure that your little one gets all of the nutrition that he or she needs and that your milk supply will be maintained as you continue through your breastfeeding journey.

Eight Ways to Use Your Nursing Pillow

Eight Ways to Use Your Nursing Pillow

Nursing pillows, also known as feeding pillows, can be a new mom’s lifesaver. Though there are different types, nursing pillows usually are U-shaped and are placed around your midsection in order to support your baby during feeding. Though the most common use of the pillow is for support during breastfeeding, you can get plenty of other uses out of your nursing pillow, making it a versatile must-have baby product.

1. Support Your Back During Pregnancy

If you received a nursing pillow as a baby shower gift, you don’t need for your little one to arrive to put it to work. The weight of your growing little one (and belly) can strain your back muscles during the last trimester of pregnancy. Use your nursing pillow for back support by placing backwards, so that it rests on your back rather than your stomach while sitting in your office chair or on the couch. The shape and size of the pillow make it the perfect support for your sore lower back muscles.

2. Bring the Baby to the Perfect Height for Pain-free Breastfeeding

Too many moms experience pain during the early days of breastfeeding. This is normally due to having an improper latch or muscle straining in the neck, back or arms. Your baby needs to be brought up to your chest and close to your breasts in order be able to latch properly.

A nursing pillow can be adjusted with straps or a folded blanket placed under the pillow in order to bring the baby to the perfect height for nursing and tummy-to-tummy contact, which can reduce the strain on your muscles and help you to focus on helping your little one latch properly.

3. Take the Pressure Off of Your C-section Scar During Healing

It’s a great idea to take your nursing pillow to the hospital with you. Not only will it help you while you and your little one are learning how to breastfeed, but it can help protect your sensitive scar if you’ve had a C-section. It will take several weeks for your scar to heal, which can make holding a squirming baby against it during breastfeeding uncomfortable.

Using a nursing pillow can protect your stomach while you heal, making nursing less painful. Place the nursing cover gently against your stomach during nursing. If you do take your nursing pillow to the hospital, consider buying a washable cover for it so you can clean it when you get home to protect your little one from any germs.

4. Bring Relief from Episiotomy Pain

If you had a vaginal birth, you may have experienced vaginal tearing or received an episiotomy. The stitches can make sitting for long periods of time pretty miserable. Sitting on your nursing pillow can relieve the pressure from your stitches while you heal.

5. Support During Bottle Feeding

Bottle feeding can also strain your arms and neck while holding your little one to feed him or her. Laying your baby on the nursing pillow will relieve this pain. If you are returning to work or want to go out for the evening, other family members can also use your nursing pillow to feed your little one a bottle. The routine of using a nursing pillow can help your little one adjust to others feeding him or her.

Pumping will allow you to continue to provide your baby breast milk if you are unable to nurse him or her while you are away. Most insurance companies will provide a breast pump at no cost to you. Contact your insurance company or fill out this form to see which breast pumps are offered through your provider.

6. Help to Relieve Your Baby’s Reflux

Many babies experience reflux or colic, which can cause him or her pain after eating. Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when the milk your little one drank comes back up his or her esophagus, causing pain, spitting up and vomiting. Propping up your little one on your nursing pillow after eating can help prevent reflux from occurring,

7. Help Prop Your Baby Up During Tummy Time

If your baby dislikes spending time on his or her stomach, they are not alone. Many babies cry during “tummy time,” which can make it miserable for both you and your baby. Spending time each day on their stomach, however, is necessary to help your little one to develop their muscles, strengthen their neck and prevent plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, from occurring. This condition may occur if your baby spends too much time on their back.

To use your nursing pillow during tummy time, place your nursing pillow on the ground with a few toys in front of it. Place your baby gently on the pillow on their stomach, with his or her chest resting on the nursing pillow. Stay with your baby to ensure they don’t slip off and can breathe properly during the exercise.

8. Provide Support While Your Little One Learns to Sit

Between four and six months of age, your baby will begin to develop the muscles and strength necessary for him or her to sit up on their own. Your baby will love the new freedoms and views that sitting up will bring. While your little one is learning to sit, a nursing pillow can provide support and prevent them from hitting their head hard on the ground if they should lose their balance. Help your baby to sit up and then place the nursing pillow around their legs to keep them safe while they perfect this new skill.

With so many different uses, your nursing pillow will soon become one of your favorite baby products. Try using it in a new way in order to get the most out of your nursing pillow.

Are High-Suction Breast Pumps Always Better?

The suction strength of your breast pump is an important factor when deciding which pump is for you! You might be thinking, “The more suction, the better!” However, there are many factors to consider when determining which pump will be the most safe, comfortable and efficient.

Fact or Fiction

It’s a common misconception that the higher the suction, the more efficient the pump. Ideally, a breast pump will express the most breast milk possible while remaining safe and comfortable while pumping.

Companies who market “hospital-grade” suction or “extremely high pump vacuum strength” do not highlight that excessive suction can actually cause more harm than good. Studies have shown that too much suction can actually cause breast tissue damage.

A better criterion for choosing your breast pump is efficiency. An efficient breast pump will have the proper combination of comfort, suction strength and cycling speed to closely mimic the way your infant nurses.

Suction v. Speed

The vacuum pressure, or suction, is typically measured in units of milligrams of mercury, abbreviated mmHg. It can also be measured in units of kilopascals, or kPa for short. Most breast pumps have a range of suction, measuring from the gentlest suction to the strongest suction setting.

The speed that the vacuum is applied to a breastfeeding mother’s nipple, is often referred to in units of cycles per minute, abbreviated cpm. Or in other words, the cpm is a unit which measures how quickly the pump sucks over a given time period (one minute).

Flange Fit

If the breast flange is too small, the nipple cannot move freely in the nipple tunnel the way the breast pump was designed, lessening the efficiency of milk expression. A too-small flange can also cause pain as the nipple rubs against the side of the breast flange. If the flange is too large, the nipple and areola get sucked into the flange causing pain and lessening the likelihood of pumping until your breast is emptied.

Efficiency is Key

The most efficient breast pumps are pumps which mimic the natural way that your infant nurses. An infant’s typical nursing pattern is an initial quick and shallow sucking pattern to stimulate the letdown of breast milk, followed by a slower, deeper sucking pattern to express milk once letdown occurs. The breast pump which can successfully mimic your infant’s sucking patterns in both speed and suction, will be the most efficient breast pump for expressing your breast milk.

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