Monthly Archives: January 2014

Breast Feeding And Milk Supply

Introduction To Breast Feeding And Milk Supply

Breast feeding and milk supply are connected in a profound way. How you breast feed affects your milk supply and your milk supply will affect how you breast feed. It’s this “two-way street” aspect of breast feeding that many new moms struggle to understand and that’s what we’ll be talking about in this article.

The Law Of Supply And Demand

help-milk-supplyThe law of supply and demand is an economic “law” that basically says that when there is a lot of supply of something it’s price will be lower and when something is rare the price will be higher. Gasoline prices fluctuate up and down due to the law of supply and demand. Ideally supply and demand should be roughly equal.

The same process is at work with breast feeding and milk supply. When there’s a lot of demand for the milk – meaning baby is breast feeding often - the body will work to produce more milk. The body’s goal is to match the amount of milk that’s being removed with the amount of milk that’s being created.

Breast Feeding Factors That Affect Milk Supply

There are many breast feeding factors that can affect milk supply. Let’s look at both increasing supply and decreasing supply.

Breast Feeding Factors That Decrease Milk Supply

  • Poor latch – this leads to poor milk withdrawal and damaged nipples which cause milk to be stored for a long time which leads the body to think it’s over producing and should decrease milk supply
  • Breast feeding on only one breast per breast feeding session. (This causes the breast that wasn’t breast fed on to go a long time before being drained – the longer milk stays in a breast the more likely the body will think it is over producing in that breast and begin to shut down milk supply there.)
  • Going more than 4-6 hours between breast feeding sessions. Even during the night.
  • Not completely removing the milk. This can be caused by a sleepy baby or a mom who is switching breasts before the first breast is empty.

Breast Feeding Factors That Increase Milk Supply

  • Breast feeding on both sides every breast feeding session.
  • Pumping both breasts immediately following a breast feeding session. When trying to increase breast milk supply it’s best to pump both breasts, following a breast feeding session until no more milk is flowing, then continue to pump for an additional 5 minutes. This additional pumping time, when the breasts are already empty, signals the body that the demand for the milk is higher than the current supply. The body should respond with increase milk supply.
  • Breast feeding every 3 hours – as measured from the start of one breast feeding session to the start of the next one.
  • Being sure to breastfeed at least once during the long stretch at night.

Other Things That Can Increase Milk Supply

  • Staying well hydrated.
  • Eating a sufficient amount of healthy calories each day – typically 500 additional calories are needed each day to produce breast milk. Dieting too hard and too early after giving birth can affect milk supply.
  • Taking an herbal supplement that increases breast milk supply. A recent study has shown Lactiful Supply Max to increase milk supply in 75% of women struggling with making enough milk. The average increase was 14.8 ounces of additional breast milk per mom per day. Read more about Lactiful Supply max hereClick for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Increase Production of Breastmilk

Increase Production Of Breastmilk With This Simple Step By Step Guide

If you want to increase production of breastmilk, you’ve come to the right article! Most breastfeeding or pumping mothers can increase the production of breastmilk by following this simple step-by-step guide. If you’re increasing production of breastmilk because you want to bank up a freezer stash of breastmilk before returning to work, the process is usually easier and you can skip step 1 and possibly steps 2 and 4. If you want to increase production of breastmilk because your milk supply is not currently meeting your baby’s needs, the process is usually more challenging and you should try to complete each step to the best of your ability. Let’s get started!

Step 1: If Your Production Of Breastmilk Is Low, Determine Why It Is Low (And Fix It If Possible)

If you do not have trouble with low milk supply, you can skip this step and the next one. However if you have struggled with making enough breastmilk for your baby, this section is for you.

There are many causes of low breastmilk supply and some are easy to correct (for example a bad latch is leading to poor milk withdrawal), some are difficult but possible to correct (for example a thyroid condition can be diagnosed and treated with medicine), some are impossible to fix (for example severed milk ducts from a previous breast surgery.

The first step to increase breastmilk production is to try to discover why your milk supply is low in the first place. The best place to start is with our overview article that covers 27 causes for low milk supply. Links from this article will take you to detailed descriptions of each cause and offer steps you can take to fix the problem.

Step 2: Consider Professional Help To Increase Production Of Breastmilk

increase-milk-supply-psychOften the fastest way to learn a new skill (and effective removal of breastmilk is most definitely is a skill) is to seek a person who is an expert to show you how it’s done. This cuts out a lot of trail and error mistakes as well as speeds up the learning process. For breastfeeding and pumping mothers, lactation consultants provide this expert level service right in the comfort of your own home.

A lactation consultant can inspect your pump for mechanical problems, watch your breastfeeding latch and positioning, teach you massage techniques and more. She can spot problems and provide a custom strategy for you to reach your goals.

Many lactation consultants accept insurance and your home visit may already be covered by your plan. To find a lactation consultant, ask at your hospital, WIC office or local Le Leche League leader.

Step 3: Let Your Body Know You Want To Increase Production Of Breastmilk

Your body’s goal with breastmilk production is to balance the amount of breastmilk that is being produced with the amount of breastmilk that’s being removed. Your body knows that too little breastmilk production can be harmful to your baby and it also knows that too much production can be harmful to you (such as plugged ducts) so your body wants production of breastmilk to be the same as the amount that’s removed.

help-milk-supplyYou let your body know that you want to increase production of breastmilk when you increase the amount of milk that’s attempted to be removed. I say “attempted” because initially (because your body is already in balance) you won’t get much, if any, additional breastmilk. So to increase breastmilk production be sure to attempt to remove milk more often.

If you breastfeed, breastfeed more often. Add an additional 1 or 2 breastfeeding sessions each day. This may mean waking baby and changing your schedule. Alternatively, you can add 1 or 2 pumping sessions each day instead of additional breastfeeding sessions.

Also if you breastfeed, be sure you are pumping each breast for an additional 5 to 10 minutes after baby has finished every time you breastfeed.

breast-milk-pumpIf you are an exclusive pumper, you’ll need to increase the frequency and duration of your pumping sessions. If you are currently pumping 5 times a day, increase to 7 or 8 times per day. Pump for an additional 3 to 5 minutes after breastmilk stops flowing. You may need to set an alarm and pump in the middle of the long stretch at night.

Increasing the demand you are putting on breastmilk removal will eventually cause the body to respond by increasing production of breastmilk. Remember the body wants to keep production and removal in balance so it will increase production to try to match the amount trying to be removed. To speed up this process, try the next step.

Step 4: Try An Herbal Supplement To Increase Production Of Breastmilk

lactiful-study-resultsCertain herbal supplements have been shown to increase the production of breastmilk. They work best when combined with the previous three steps, however some women find benefit from just the supplement alone. How effective are they?

A 2012 observational study showed that 75% of women who took the all-natural herbal supplement, Lactiful Supply Max increased their breastmilk production. Those moms who saw an increase, increased their daily breastmilk production by 14.8 ounces per mom per day. Learn about Lactiful Supply Max in 30 seconds by clicking hereClick for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Fenugreek and Milk Supply

What Is Fenugreek?

Fenugreek is an herb, just like more familiar herbs such as parsley or basil or dill. In the kitchen, it is most often used in seasoning traditional Indian dishes. Outside of the kitchen it is the most popular herb that is believed to increase breast milk supply.

How Does Fenugreek Affect Milk Supply?

Little cook

There is a legend about a goat farmer who accidentally mixed fenugreek with the hay he gave his goats. He was stunned when the goats began producing far more milk than they ever had before. He did some experiments and found that it was the fenugreek that increased their milk production.

Today fenugreek is the most widely known herb for increasing milk supply. It’s widely available as generic fenugreek in grocery stores as well as in milk supply boosting supplements in liquid, tablet and capsule forms.

weightlifter

Fenugreek can affect milk supply by helping the body to produce more milk, but in order for it to be most effective, fenugreek must be part of a larger process. The closest analogy is that of a bodybuilder. She goes to the gym often. She lifts weights and does cardio. She eats a high protein diet. Fenugreek for a breastfeeding mom is like a protein smoothie for a bodybuilder. It’s an important part, but if having a protein smoothie was the only thing the bodybuilder ever did, well she wouldn’t be a bodybuilder.

Fenugreek and milk supply have the same relationship. Fenugreek is an important part, but it’s far from the entire story.

Side Effects Of Fenugreek

The side effects of fenugreek tend to be mild. Most moms complain of gastrointestinal discomfort, such as upset stomach, indigestion, belly aches and diarrhea. Typically these symptoms decrease and stop altogether once the body gets used to processing the herb.

Some moms also notice that they begin to smell like maple syrup. This odor can present itself in both sweat and urine.

Finally, breastfed babies can also experience gastrointestinal discomfort of gas, fussiness, and diarrhea.

Fenugreek Quality And It’s Affect On Milk Supply

Fenugreek is a fragile food item and it’s growth, harvesting, drying, packaging and age can have a huge effect on its ability to affect milk supply. Here’s a quick look at how mass produced, low priced, generic fenugreek is brought to market:

Growth: Fenugreek is an “unimportant” crop so it can be grown on poorer soil or off season from “important” crops such as rice, beans and corn. It is artificially fertilized and mass sprayed with pesticides. Compare that to growth in fenugreek’s proper growing season, using organic farming methods.

Harvesting: Machine harvested which collects dead, dying and immature plants as well as mature plants verses hand picking on the best plants.

Drying: Mass drying at high temperatures with other types of herbs verses drying only fenugreek at the temperature that maintains the highest nutritional value.

Packaging: Cheapest packaging available verses more expensive opaque packaging which protects fenugreek from damaging light.

Age: Generic fenugreek is often exposed to months or years of 24 hour light sitting on the shelves at a local grocery store verses temperature and light controlled storage and prompt farm to customer delivery.

Is Fenugreek Alone Enough To Increase Milk Supply?

breast-milk-pumpAs you can see a mom who tries mass produced, generic fenugreek without doing or taking anything else often doesn’t see much if any increase in milk supply. It’s like our bodybuilder from above who doesn’t ever go to the gym and only takes the cheapest, protein smoothie she can find and then wonders why she doesn’t look amazing.

To be effective at increasing milk supply fenugreek must be:

  • A high quality fenugreek – because cheap fenugreek may not have enough strength to be effective.
  • Must be combined with other milk supply enhancing herbs – a successful bodybuilder will not just drink protein smoothies – instead her entire diet is focused on her goal. In the same way fenugreek must be combined with other milk enhancing herbs, such as goat’s rue and marshmallow root for maximum effectiveness. For instance, the herbal supplement Lactiful Supply Max has a 8 milk-boosting ingredients, including fenugreek.
  • Must be part of a pumping and breastfeeding regimen that lets the body know that it needs to increase milk supply. If we were talking about a bodybuilder, this is the part where she goes to the gym. By exercising, she changes her body and in the same way, increased pumping and breastfeeding tell the breastfeeding mother’s body to increase milk supply. Orders of Lactiful Supply Max also include a step-by-step process to help moms communicate to their bodies that milk supply needs to be increased.

In conclusion, while a few moms will see benefit from just taking fenugreek, most moms will need to make fenugreek a part of a much larger effort to increase milk supply. For more information on Lactiful Supply Max and increasing milk supply see the 30 second introduction to LactifulClick for more articles about how to increase milk supply

What is Nipple Confusion?

Definition of Nipple Confusion

Nipple Confusion means a baby is having difficulty latching correctly to the breast after being exposed to artificial nipples, such as those found on baby bottles or pacifiers.

What Age Is Nipple Confusion Most Common?

Nipple Confusion is most common in breastfed babies that are given artificial nipples in the first 6 weeks, but can occur in babies 3 months old or older. The older a baby is and the more he has figured out breastfeeding, meaning the baby (and the mother) know what a good latch feels like, less likely baby will become confused by the introduction of an artificial nipple.

Why Does Nipple Confusion Occur?

Nipple Confusion occurs because human nipples and artificial nipples are fundamentally different.

  • They have a different feel
  • They are shaped differently
  • They release milk (from the breast), formula (from a bottle) or nothing (from a pacifier) in different ways
  • They require different tongue placement

So when a newborn or young baby who isn’t yet a breastfeeding pro is introduced to a either a bottle nipple or a pacifier or both, the baby must learn a new way to hold the nipple in the mouth and new tongue placement. The more frequently the nipples are switched, the longer it takes for baby to get used to any of them and the more “confused” and frustrated baby will become.

The Effects of Nipple Confusion

Nipple confusion is caused by introducing baby to artificial nipplesBreastfeeding can be a real challenge with getting the right hold, supporting baby in the right way, getting a perfect latch, and encouraging baby to trigger let downs. When a baby is introduced to artificial nipples too early, and begins to suffer Nipple Confusion the baby may forget how to latch correctly or may have become too lazy (from the easy flow of a bottle) or too tired (from hours of sucking on a pacifier) to breastfeed effectively.

When this happens baby often begins to reject the breast by refusing to latch correctly or maintain the latch or by being very fussy at the breast. When this begins to happen many parents reintroduce the pacifier to calm the baby or give the baby a bottle for nutrition. This leads to poor milk removal from the breast which begins the breast shut down process. Once on this path most babies become exclusively formula fed.

How to Avoid Nipple Confusion

The simplest way to avoid Nipple Confusion is to not introduce any kind of artificial nipple to the baby until breastfeeding is very well established:

  • Baby has a perfect latch
  • No nipple soreness or pain
  • Good milk supply
  • Good weight gain by baby and following a growth curve
  • Baby is at least 6 weeks old, preferably 3 months old

After these are all met it is generally considered safe to introduce an artificial nipple. If introducing a bottle nipple to give breast milk or formula, it’s best to select a size zero or newborn size so that baby doesn’t not develop flow preference. A baby with flow preference will begin to reject the breast because it doesn’t flow as fast or as easy as milk from a bottle.

How to Correct Nipple Confusion

If your baby is exhibiting signs of Nipple Confusion you are at significant risk of losing your milk supply and needing to exclusively formula feed your baby. Here’s the steps to correct nipple confusion:

  1. Stop giving all artificial nipples – if this is not possible, for instance if you are away from baby for extended periods and a bottle must be given, choose a size zero or newborn size nipple that is shaped as close to your nipple as possible and have the caregiver latch baby to the bottle in much the same way you would latch to the breast.
  2. Insist on perfect latches when you breastfeed. Be prepared that it may take up to 10 minutes of trying to get the latch right before you get a perfect latch. Just keep in mind that baby is having to relearn this skill because of the nipple confusion.
  3. Breastfeed as often as possible. Practice makes perfect.
  4. If your milk supply has begun to suffer as a result of the nipple confusion, be sure to add one to two additional breastfeeding session and one to two additional pumping sessions. Consider taking a supplement that boosts breast milk supply, such as Lactiful Supply Max.

It is possible to re-establish a good breastfeeding relationship with a baby who has nipple confusion, however it will take a lot of work and dedication. Click for more articles about how to increase milk supply