14 Tips for Breastfeeding in the First 14 days

Updated October 3rd 2021

Breastfeeding can be completely unexpected. I encourage you to prepare in advance but you may still end up surprised by changes in your body or your baby’s behaviour. You may also come across unexpected challenges.

This is why I put together my top 14 tips for breastfeeding in the first 14 days. These are based on what I teach my clients and what I did personally (or wish I did!).

Don’t worry about schedules or routines in the early weeks. Newborn life is often unpredictable, just when you think you’ve figured them out, they reach a new milestone and change things up. Try to surrender and go with the flow, especially during the first few weeks. If you need a routine to thrive, try keeping some of the same activities daily.

These tips will help set you up for breastfeeding success.

Set up a breastfeeding station

A breastfeeding station can makes things so much easier and help facilitate a lot of these other tips. My recommendation is to have a “breastfeeding station” or a wheelaway cart that you can fill with a water bottle, healthy snacks and anything else you need while feeding your little one(s). It could be filled with wipes, burp cloths, a few diapers, cream and a onesie or two. You could also include breast pads, your pumps/extra flanges and a phone charger. Maybe you have some hair ties or headbands included to keep your hair out of the way. If you’re using a nipple cream add it to this cart.

No visitors

Setting boundaries for visitors or denying visitors is completely OK and can be very supportive for breastfeeding. This ensures you are always with your baby. This will help facilitate lots of skin to skin contact and help you learn their early hunger cues.

It can also reduce your stress levels. You don’t have to worry about anyone being around the baby or feeling like you need to be doing anything for these people especially if they are in your home.

Skin to skin

Spending time skin to skin means having your baby in a diaper on your bare chest. You can wear a bathrobe and just open it or be completely shirtless. Whatever you choose, you should be undressed from the waist up. Your baby should be in just a diaper. If it’s a little cool you can keep a light blanket over you both, making sure not to cover your baby’s head. 

Enjoying time skin-to-skin with your baby releases oxytocin which is the hormone that helps your milk let-down. In addition, this provides comfort and a safe space for your little one. Skin to skin helps regulate your baby’s body temperature and reduces stress in both your baby and you. A lower level of stress helps support milk production. Your baby is biologically wired to want to be close to you.  

You can also do skin to skin in a warm bath. This is another great environment to breastfeed your baby. Allow any attempt or opportunity your baby takes to breastfeed during skin to skin.

Rest

It’s important to rest after birth. Your body just went through an athletic event and you may have also had major abdominal surgery (a c-section is major surgery). You shouldn’t be trying to do anything besides resting and caring for your baby.

Plan ahead to have friends or family arrange a meal train for you. A general guideline that I love for postpartum is the 5-5-5 rule. Spend 5 days in the bed, 5 days on the bed and 5 days near the bed. This means you’re not cleaning, cooking, washing dishes etc. You are literally in bed, feeding your baby and spending time skin to skin with them. You can make trips to the bathroom (of course!) but there shouldn’t be anything on your to do list.

The second set of 5 days is about resting and napping when you can. You can move into a different room or spend some time on the couch but you shouldn’t be trying to go out with your baby. The last 5 days near the bed is still about resting and not doing much. You are still focusing on skin to skin, breastfeeding and rest but maybe now you’re moving around the house a little more. The chores should be left to someone else.

Laid Back Breastfeeding

Make sure you are relaxed and in a comfortable position. I work with parents all the time who are breastfeeding in very uncomfortable positions putting unnecessary tension on their neck, shoulders and back. If you ever feel awkward holding your baby to nurse, switch it up and try a new position. Use as many or as little pillows as you need. Sometimes larger breasts need pillows or rolled towels for support. Do whatever works to make yourself comfortable. I often recommend the laid back position for a comfortable latch.

This position uses gravity to keep your baby on your body and stimulates their natural instincts to breastfeed. It pairs beautifully with skin to skin.

I also cover this position as well as many others inside my self study prenatal breastfeeding course called The Breastfeeding Before Baby Program.

Hydrate

Breastfeeding makes you thirsty! This is due to the hormone oxytocin which is released when your baby begins suckling. Drink to thirst. Keeping a water bottle on your breastfeeding station or a couple around the house will help. Enlist your partners help (or the help of a close friend or family member) to help keep them full for you. Each time you nurse, take a drink. Keeping hydrated is important.

Eat

Your hunger increases while breastfeeding. The average amount of calories required for milk production ranges from an extra 450-600 per day! It’s important to eat. It’s not the time to cut calories. Despite what you may have heard, there’s almost no foods that are off limits while breastfeeding. Instead of worrying about what kind of food you’re eating, focus more on replacing any junk with whole foods. Foods that are full of protein, fibre, and fat will help fill you up and keep your blood sugar steady. Whole foods (like veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, meats) are also great sources of vitamins and minerals your body needs for breastfeeding and repair after childbirth.

I love creating balanced smoothies because they are easy and can be consumed one-handed while breastfeeding. Here’s a recipe for a filling smoothie and here’s a breakfast cookie recipe I created.

Feed on demand

Your baby is experiencing hunger for the very first time. They had 24/7 access to nutrition via the umbilical cord in utero. It’s normal for them to want to feed every 1-3 hours. Often, it’s on the lower end of that.

Newborns eat frequently and the best thing you can do for your milk supply and breastfeeding is to feed them on demand. This is known as responsive feeding and essentially, is feeding your infant whenever they cue they are hungry.

These early hungry cues include your baby starting to open their mouth and smacking their lips. Your baby will begin rooting and turning their head. They will begin to increase their movement (arms and hands moving) and start to become more vocal to eventual crying if they are very hungry. Crying is a late sign of hunger. It’s actually a distress signal and it can make for a very frustrating and difficult time trying to latch them. You baby will need to be calmed first before trying to latch them.

No swaddle or scratch mitts while breastfeeding

Newborns need their hands to breastfeed. Their hands help them get organized and find the nipple. They also help by kneading the breast to assist with a let-down. When a newborn’s hands are covered at the breast, it can make latching and feeding more difficult.

The same goes for when a newborn is swaddled at the breast. To get a deep, comfortable latch, your baby needs to be very close to your body. In fact, they should be touching your body. A swaddle prevents them from being able to be optimally positioned for a good latch and effective milk removal. You can’t do skin to skin if your baby is swaddled.

The swaddle and scratch mittens should be removed at every feeding.

Learn how to hand express

Hand expression is a valuable skill for all lactating parents to have. It is not cost prohibitive because all you need is your hands! It’s been shown that hand expression increases breastfeeding rates when compared to pumping at 2 months postpartum.

Hand expression is useful in the first 24 hours after birth as it can help assist with the transition from colostrum to copious milk production and assist with colostrum collection. Hand expression is a valuable collection method even for someone with a pump because colostrum can get stuck in the tubing of a pump due to the small volume that is produced and it’s thick consistency.

To learn more about hand expression and how to perform this technique, click here. I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to the subject.

Have your pump flanges properly sized

Incorrectly fitting flanges can cause damage, make pumping hurt and negatively affect milk supply.

The flanges, also called breast shields, are the piece of the pump that actually goes on to your body. Your nipple should sit centered in the flange prior to starting the pump. It’s also important the pump flange is appropriately sized. Flanges are available in a variety of sizes. The difference between them being the diameter. Every body is different. The flanges that came with your pump may not be the ones that fit you. It’s best to measure the diameter of your nipple, add 3-4mm and purchase the flange size according to that new number. Your nipple should not rub on the sides of the flange. If it does, the flange is too small. If your areola is pulled into the flange or you see an air gap between the flange and your breast, the flange is too large.

For more information about your breast pump and the parts click here.

Use expressed milk to heal your nipples

Your own milk can be used to treat sore or damaged nipples. It’s a natural remedy to promote healing. I’ve seen it happen very quickly.

You can hand express a few drops right onto your nipple and allow it to air dry.

If you have deep cracks or open wounds, this method is not sufficient enough to heal them. It would also indicate something about the latch isn’t quite right. Connect with a lactation professional in this situation. Click on ‘book now’ under my services tab.

Prepare for safe sleep

Even if you’re not planning to co-sleep, prepare for safe sleep. It’s easy to fall asleep on the couch or in a chair with your baby and these are dangerous sleep environments.

It’s biologically normal for your baby to want to be held. It’s normal if they cry when you set them down. You are their safe space. They want to be close to you. Setting up a safe sleep space will help facilitate this as well as allow you both to safely get some sleep.

This means no pillows or blankets on the bed. No gaps around the bed that your baby could fall into. Your baby also cannot be swaddled.

Read more about preparing for safe sleep here.

Call a lactation consultant

It’s a good idea not to wait until you’re facing a challenge to call a lactation consultant. Many challenges and obstacles can be prevented when you’re informed about what to expect and you are supported in your decisions.

To recap…
  1. Set up a breastfeeding station
  2. No visitors right away
  3. Skin to skin
  4. Rest
  5. Laid back breastfeeding
  6. Hydrate
  7. Eat
  8. Feed on demand
  9. No swaddle or scratch mitts
  10. Learn to hand express
  11. Have your pump flanges sized correctly
  12. Use expressed milk to heal your nipples (unless they have open wounds)
  13. Prepare for safe sleep
  14. Call a lactation consultant

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Connect with other moms inside my free Facebook Group called Breastfeeding Mavens. It’s a great community of parents supporting each other. You’ll also receive support from me as well as access to exclusive free trainings on all things breastfeeding!

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To learn more about The Breastfeeding Before Baby Program, click the image

A Breastfeeding Specialist’s Guide to Packing Your Hospital Bag

Updated March 30th 2022

When I was pregnant and it came time to pack my hospital bag, I really wasn’t sure what to bring. I was delivering my baby at our midwife clinic. They had a beautiful birthing suite there that included a fridge for drinks and snacks.

I knew I needed a diaper and clothes to bring my baby home in. I knew I needed something comfy to wear on the ride home as we were only staying about 3 hours after delivery (very standard for a clinic delivery with midwives).

I knew I needed my phone and a charger so we could keep our families updated. We also had a playlist for labouring with relaxing spa-type music. I figured I should pack some underwear and postpartum pads (which I didn’t use because I went home in a diaper) but that’s really all I had on my list.

I didn’t have a hard copy of a birth plan because I thoroughly discussed my options with my midwives and made informed decisions prior to labour starting. They knew what my birth preferences were and so did my husband. If something were to “stray” from the “plan” they knew what my preferences would be. If you do have a formal birth plan, do bring a few copies with you.

I thought about it some more and after chatting with the midwives…

I packed a few more things. Because I had access to a fridge and was freely going to be able to walk around, move and eat during labour if needed, I packed coconut water and lots of organic juice boxes. The coconut water and juice boxes were to hydrate me and provide my body the quick energy I needed to get through labour. I also packed snacks to eat after birth. I packed allergen friendly granola bars (and ate the whole box of 6!)

I bought a nightgown specifically for this event. I did not previously own one but my midwives suggested one. They suggested one because they do not provide hospital gowns and not everyone labours naked. I thought for sure I would wear this nightgown. Long story short, I laboured in it for a little while but when I had the option of hydrotherapy (water to manage labour pains) I had to take it off. From that point on it stayed off and I laboured and delivered naked. The exact opposite of what I thought I would do.

I packed organic olive oil for perineal massage. This was encouraged by my midwives and we never ended up using it! I didn’t end up with any tearing so I didn’t need it after all but it was nice to have.

I packed organic cotton breast pads. I didn’t need these because I was heading home 3 hours after birth but if you will be staying longer, these will be especially helpful when your milk volume starts to increase around day 3-5. Again, because I wasn’t staying long toiletries weren’t really needed but I definitely suggest packing some if your stay will be longer than 3 hours. Think toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant (although I do prefer not wearing any immediately postpartum to allow baby to get used to and comfortable with your natural scent), makeup if that sparks joy for you. Hair elastics if you have long hair or a headband and a brush or comb.

For a longer stay I would suggest socks and slippers as well as a nursing bra/tank top and any additional clothing and underwear you or your partner may need.

What do you need to pack for breastfeeding?

I love answering this question and this is one of the questions that prompted this entire post. Essentially, YOU! That’s it. Honestly. Your body has been making milk since the second trimester. It’s called colostrum and is very thick and sticky. It might be clear in colour or it might be a deep, golden-yellow. It’s only produced in small drops because that’s all your baby needs at first.

Colostrum is THE PERFECT food for your baby and your body has it ready to go as soon as baby is in your arms.

Practicing the skin to skin immediately after birth and allowing your baby to find the breast themselves (this is called the breast crawl) will help get breastfeeding off to a strong start. Hand expression is another skill you can learn to help maximize your success. You can get a head start on reaching your breastfeeding goals inside The Breastfeeding Before Baby Program.

In addition to the above, you may want to consider the following popular items as some can be left at home.

Breast pads

As mentioned above if you’re staying a few days (and sometimes you won’t know this ahead of time) breast pads will be helpful. When colostrum transitions and your milk volume rapidly increases, your breasts might leak. This is when breast pads can be great to have.

Nipple cream

I am asked all the time about nipple cream. I always go back to the research. Evidence shows us that if a baby is latched well (deeply) breastfeeding should not hurt. Mild tenderness or soreness is to be expected in the first few weeks but you should never be in pain. If you’re in a lot of pain, or your nipples are cracked or damaged, you need the support of a lactation professional.

While nipple creams are marketed to support nipple damage, the evidence for healing is weak. Hand expressing your own milk into your nipple is actually more effective at healing damaged and sore nipples. Your body also has a built in feature to help your baby find the nipple. The montgomery glands (bumps on the dark part around your nipple) secrete an oily substance that protects the nipple and smells like amniotic fluid. If you choose to bring a nipple cream, it should be unscented.

I believe you should feel confident. If having a nipple cream packed makes you feel confident, please bring one.

Breastfeeding Pillow

My first suggestion is always laid-back breastfeeding. If you deliver via c-section, you may want to sit up to feed in which case a breastfeeding pillow may be helpful to have. You also don’t need a pillow specifically for breastfeeding, you can use any kind of pillow to provide your body and your baby a little extra support.

Pacifier

This is not something you need to bring to the hospital most of the time. I say most of the time because premature infants as well those born before 39 weeks don’t quite have the suck-swallow-breathe pattern of breastfeeding figured out. These babies benefit from a pacifier. For a typical healthy full term infant, pacifier introduction should be delayed until breastfeeding is well established (which can take several weeks).

Formula

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine indicates formula supplementation should only happen after birth if medically indicated. As you read, your body started making milk for your baby in the second trimester. Colostrum is there. It might be clear (for some) but it’s there and it’s all your baby needs. Hand expressing will help colostrum transition to mature milk faster and is a great skill to have. You can perform hand expression in between feedings and collect the milk onto a clean spoon to feed back to your baby. You do not need to pack ready made formula in your hospital bag.

  • Diaper (for you and baby)
  • Baby wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • Couple of onesies
  • Outer layer depending on the season
  • Comfy clothes to wear home (track pants NOT jeans)
  • Slippers
  • Underwear
  • Postpartum pads
  • Peri bottle
  • Chapstick
  • Phone
  • Phone charger (a long cord!)
  • Nightgown/robe
  • Snacks and water
  • Olive oil
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Toiletries
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Deodorant
    • Makeup
    • Soap/shampoo/conditioner/cleanser etc (depends on your stay)
  • Hair elastics/headband
  • Brush or comb
  • Nursing bra or nursing tank top
  • Health cards/insurance
  • Birth plan
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To learn more about preparing to breastfeed before your baby arrives, click the image below.

What You Need to Know About Your Breast Pump

So you bought the pump, opened up the box, took a look at the manual and all those pieces and put it away. I get it. It can be overwhelming wondering how to put a pump together and sort out how it works. Or maybe you’re using a pump but wondering if you need to replace any of the pumps parts.

You might have purchased your pump before the birth of your baby or it might have been after you started working with a lactation consultant. Regardless of timing, you should understand how all the pieces fit together for optimal function, how to clean it and when to replace the pump parts. I will break it down piece by piece (pun-intended) so you have a clear understanding of the role each piece has because there are a lot!

Anatomy of a breast pump

When you buy a pump, it does not come assembled. All the pieces are separate with instructions how to put them together. The parts you’ll find in that box include:

  • Flanges (sometimes called breast shields)
  • Connectors (may or may not be required depending on brand)
  • Valves (duckbill or offset; depends on pump)
  • Membranes (may or may not be a part of the valve)
  • Back flow protectors (may or may not be required depending on brand)
  • Tubing (electric pumps have tubing)
  • Collection bottles
  • Collection bottle lids

All of these parts including their function and how often they need to be replaced are covered in much more detail below.

Before we dive into the details, what is a breast pump?

A breast pump is either a manual, electric or battery operated pump designed to remove milk from the breast. It works by stimulating the nipples and generating suction to remove milk and collect it in a collection container.

Hand Pump a.k.a Manual Pump

This is a pump that needs to be operated with your hand. You continuously squeeze a lever which generates the suction. These pumps are inexpensive when compared to electric or wireless pumps. Hand pumps are also a great option if you do not need to pump frequently. Another bonus is they do not require electricity you so can use them anywhere. The downside is that it’s a little more work for you as your hands are not free.

Single Electric

This pump would be an example of the graphic above. It’s an electric pump with just one flange. The upside is that because it’s electric, you can play with the settings to find what’s most comfortable and supports milk production. You also have the option of buying a pumping bra to be able to use this pump without having to hold it against your body the entire time. In the case of single mastectomies, a single electric pump can be a good choice.

The downside is that it will just take more time to pump if you need to pump both breasts.

Double Electric

This pump would also be an example of the graphic above. Electric pumps (even singles) are more costly than a hand pump. Double electric pumps can run several hundred dollars. This brings up the question of whether or not your breast pump will be covered by insurance. In the US, breast pumps are usually covered by insurance. Here in Canada, it depends. I have worked with parents that have been able to have their breast pump covered by extended health benefits. You won’t know until you ask. Check with your current benefits provider and see if reimbursement is covered under your plan. If it is, save your receipt. They will not cover a used pump, it will have to be purchase brand new.

Wearable/wireless/cordless/pump

These are some of the next generation pumps that you can wear right inside a nursing bra. They are often very quiet and great for on-the-go pumping. They even come with an app that allows you to track estimated milk volumes. For some these can be a great back to work option as you can freely pump while driving if ever needed.

Just like double electric, these pumps are also quite expensive. Because of the way they are designed, they are not meant for frequent pumping. They are also not a good option if you’re pumping to increase milk production. A double electric is more ideally suited in that situation.

Wearable pumps also do not allow you to see your nipple inside the flange. This can sometimes lead to nipple damage if you don’t first correctly line up your nipple with the arrow on the pump.

Silicone Pump

A silicone pump is a passive pump that suctions directly to your breast. The most well-known is the Haakaa but there are many brands on the market. While this pump can be a handy tool for many, it can also create a lot of problems for others. It honestly deserves it’s own post. For now, here is a great post by a lactation consultant on cautions around silicone pumps.

The Parts

Variations of these parts exist in all types of pumps. For the purposes of this post, they are based on the above graphic which comes from a double electric pump.

Flanges

The flanges, also called breast shields, are the piece of the pump that actually goes on to your body. Your nipple should sit centered in the flange prior to starting the pump. It’s also important the pump flange is appropriately sized. Flanges are available in a variety of sizes. The difference between them being the diameter. Every body is different. The flanges that came with your pump may not be the ones that fit you. It’s best to measure the diameter of your nipple, add 3-4mm and purchase the flange size according to that new number. Your nipple should not rub on the sides of the flange. If it does, the flange is too small. If your areola is pulled into the flange or you see an air gap between the flange and your breast, the flange is too large.

Connectors

Your pump may have separate connectors or the connectors may be attached to the flange. It really depends on the brand of pump. When they are attached, you need to be a little more diligent about cleaning than when they are separate. In the graphic above, the connector is attached to the flange. The flange and the connector are one piece instead of two.

Valves & Membranes

The type of valve your pump has will differ based on the brand of pump. In the pump above, the valve is an offset valve. This type of valve has a membrane attached to it. The membrane is a thin plastic piece that covers the valve. The milk flows through the valve, past the membrane and into the collection container. Duckbill valves are given that name because of their look. They are a hard plastic piece that resembles a duck bill. Duckbill valves do not require a membrane.

Back flow protectors

These are also a piece that may or may not be a part of your pump. These are typically made up of hard plastic pieces and a silicone or softer plastic piece. The silicone piece fits in between the two plastic pieces. This then attaches directly to the flange and the tubing. Black flow protectors prevent any milk from backing up into the pump tubing or into the pump motor. These are often a part of closed pump systems. A closed system means no moisture can get to the motor of the pump. This is also the type of system used in hospital grade breast pumps.

Tubing

Tubing is a part of every electric pump. Manual pumps generally do not include tubing because they are structured differently since your hand is the motor. Wearable or wireless pumps also do not include any tubing.

Collection bottles & lids

Usually the collection bottle that comes with your pump are the ones you will need to use. There are some where you can use another brand of bottle. It just depends whether or not it securely screws into the connector. You will also need lids that fit the collection bottle. If you plan to store the milk in the bottle collected (even for just a while) before using or freezing, it should be sealed with a lid. Wearable and wireless pumps have special bags the milk is directly collected into.

Replacing pump parts

When you start using a breast pump, you do need to be mindful of the care required. The pieces should be replaced overtime. The timeline varies because it depends how frequently you are pumping. If you are an exclusive pumper or are pumping at least 3 times per day, you’ll want to replace the pieces sooner than if you’re an infrequent pumper.

Here are the general guidelines for replacing parts on a single or double electric pump

  • Membranes: every 2 – 4 weeks
  • Valves: every 1 – 3 months
  • Backflow protectors: every 3 – 6 months
  • Tubing: every 6 months or if it cracks, becomes dirty or discoloured
  • Flanges: if they crack or become discoloured
  • Connectors: same as flanges
  • Collection containers: if they crack

Other Considerations

Cleaning your pump parts

You should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use and cleaning. The following general guidelines can be used for cleaning manual and electric pumps.

  • First take it apart
  • Rinse the pieces in lukewarm water to remove any milk
  • Wash them in hot soapy water in a clean dish pan (sinks can harbour bacteria)
  • Rinse them well in hot water
  • Dry with a clean paper towel or shake them off to remove excess water. They should air dry on a towel or a bottle drying rack
  • Store them in a clean container once they are dry
  • Wash and then dry the pan used for washing the pump parts

If you have a premature or ill infant, all pump parts should be disinfected once per day. You can do this by boiling them for 5 minutes after cleaning. For a full term healthy infant, sterilizing daily is not required. This link will take you directly to the CDC guidelines for cleaning, sanitizing and storing infant feeding items.

Can I buy a second hand pump?

While many people do choose to buy a second hand pump, it may not always be the best option. It can be difficult to determine just how frequently the pump was used. While you can replace just about all of the physical parts, the motor may or may not be in great shape. It’s also important to consider whether it is a closed system or not as moisture could have made its way into the motor if it’s not.

If it turns out you need to pump often and you’re using a second hand pump that was used frequently, the motor may not be up to the task. This could affect how efficient it is at removing milk which could begin to affect milk supply.

Still have questions after reading this? I offer virtual 1:1 consults for anyone with infant feeding questions

Alex Wachelka is a Lactation Educator and breastfeeding problem solver passionate about educating families.

Milk Boosting Berry Smoothie

Updated May 9th 2021

If you’re here, it’s likely because you feel your milk supply needs a boost. The most effective way to increase milk production is to effectively remove more milk. Milk production works on supply and demand. This means the more often milk is removed, the more milk is made.

Removing milk could be by your baby at a feeding or by a pump or by hand expression. What’s most important to consider is that the milk removal is effective. If milk is removed ineffectively, milk will be left behind in the breast. When milk is left behind, the body adapts and slows down milk production. When your baby is effectively removing milk because they have a good latch and you’re still concerned about your supply, you may start considering galactagogues.

There are foods and supplements (and medications) that can increase milk supply. These are called galactagogues. While there’s many products out there claiming to boost milk supply, it’s important to know galactagogues are not a “quick-fix”. Galactagogues will not stimulate a let down nor will they help empty the breasts. They need to be combined with an effective latch and frequent milk removal.

Ultimately any use of a “milk boosting” supplement should be discussed with and used under the direction of a lactation consultant or a herbalist. This is because some can interact with medications and be contraindicated depending on your medical history. For this reason, I chose to make this smoothie with milk boosting foods instead of herbal supplements.

This smoothie is made with milk boosting foods including moringa and flax seed. It’s also balanced nutritionally. This smoothie won’t send your blood sugar spiking because it contains protein, fat and fibre. This will satiate your breastfeeding appetite and prevent you from getting hangry.

One milk boosting ingredient I’ve included in this smoothie is moringa. Moringa is a tree native to India and often called the “tree of life” because it’s a superfood. It has a high iron content, rich in many different minerals and vitamins and has cultural use to increase milk production. Because it’s the leaves from a tree, when we talk about it’s safety, it’s similar to eating a green veggie.

Flax seed is another ingredient I have added into this smoothie. It’s a source of protein and healthy plant based omega 3 fat and has some evidence that it supports milk production. I prefer to purchase whole flax seeds and grind them with a coffee or spice grinder as I need them. This ensures they remain fresh. Because they are a source of plant based omega 3 fats, they could go rancid if not properly stored. Keeping them whole and in the freezer optimizes their freshness. I grind about 1/2 cup at a time, keeping them in a glass mason jar in the fridge.

Oat milk is the base of this smoothie. Oats are also considered a galactagogue but more so when they are consumed in their whole form and not necessarily as a milk. I just enjoy the flavour of oat milk and it a great dairy free option.

Almond butter is included in this smoothie as a source of healthy fat and protein. Almonds are also a source of B vitamins, vitamin E as well as minerals.

When talking about eating for breastfeeding, it’s largely about nourishing your body. You are still growing a human being. They are just on the outside of your body now. No matter what you eat, your body will make the most nutritious milk for your baby. Some vitamins and minerals are prioritized in your milk supply when you are breastfeeding when means over time, your body can become deficient. Ensuring you are eating a variety of nourishing foods means your body is supported in addition to your milk supply.

Full disclosure is important to me. The below links are affiliate links; if you choose to purchase through these links I receive a small commission.  I only share products and companies that I believe in fully, and those I use in my own home.  I would welcome your support.

Let’s make this smoothie.

What you’ll need:
  • 1 ¼ cup vanilla oat milk (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 2 scoops Aura™ collagen powder (I prefer the Collagen Generator)
  • 1 scoop Aura™ vanilla vegan protein
  • ½ tsp moringa powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • ½ cup frozen berries
  • ½ cup frozen cauliflower (trust me, you won’t taste this)
Add everything to a blender and blend until smooth!

Depending on the consistency of smoothie you prefer, you may need to add more liquid or some additional cauliflower or ice. This smoothie makes an easy and fast breakfast especially when you’re a busy new mom. It’s also a great afternoon meal when you’re feeling hungry.

As I mentioned, milk boosting foods may help your supply but it’s most important to have frequent and effective milk removal. To learn more about milk production and learn ways you can maximize your production, enroll in Milk Supply Masterclass.

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Breastfeeding With A Nipple Piercing

Can I breastfeed with a nipple piercing? What if I used to have one? Will a nipple piercing affect my milk supply or my baby?

You might not have previously considered breastfeeding at the time you got your nipple pierced. Maybe now you’re thinking about breastfeeding or you’re about to have a baby and wondering if you need to take out the piercing.

When a nipple piercing is placed, it’s important to consider the possible implications it could have for breastfeeding.

The short answer is yes, most people who have had nipple piercings can successfully breastfeed but their breastfeeding experience may look different than they planned. This is because a nipple piercing will affect different nipples in different ways.

Most people who have had nipple piercings can successfully breastfeed but their breastfeeding experience may look different than they planned

The possibility of nerve damage

There is a possibility of nerve damage that could interfere with milk let-down and may cause pain. Your body will still make milk because the breast tissue is healthy but when your nipple is stimulated (by a suckling baby or a pump) the nerves do not tell your brain to let-down milk. This can also interfere with the feedback required to sustain milk production. This means in the first few weeks you might have a strong supply but a times goes on, you may find your supply decreasing. Every body is different. You won’t know how it will affect your body until you start breastfeeding. Overtime and over multiple breastfeeding experiences, sometime the nerves regenerate. They are reports however of some people experiencing nipple pain at the site of the piercing possibly due to nerve damage.

Generally, the longer the amount of time between your piercing and breastfeeding, the better the outcomes.

The possibility of scar tissue

With a nipple piercing, there is a risk of scar tissue that could block some of the ducts. This could affect milk production over time. If your nipple piercing scars shut, it won’t affect your initial ability to make milk but rather how much milk comes out of the nipple. If the milk cannot exit the nipple, there is a higher risk for plugged ducts and mastitis. What happens in these conditions is the milk sits in the ducts and coagulates. It creates a lump or a firm spot. It can quickly become inflamed and lead to an infective condition known as mastitis. With recurrent plugged ducts and an inability to exit the nipple, the milk making cells in that part of the breast may stop producing milk overtime. Your body will adapt to producing all the milk that can be removed. Ultimately, this may affect supply on that side only. Your baby may be fussier on the side with less milk and may prefer the opposite side (if you had just one side pierced). Every body is different. You won’t know how it will affect your body until you start breastfeeding.

Do you have to remove a nipple piercing to breastfeed?

If you do currently have a piercing, it is recommended you remove the jewellery before breastfeeding. The jewellery could rub on the baby’s hard palate (roof of the mouth) and make breastfeeding uncomfortable for them. Not to mention it could damage the soft tissue. In addition, if the jewellery were to come loose, it’s a choking hazard. Removing the jewellery will leave holes that are no longer plugged. It is very common to leak milk from these holes.

The possibility of leaking through the extra holes

When you remove any piercing, a hole is left behind. With a nipple piercing, two holes are left behind in an area where milk exits the breast. It is not uncommon to leak milk through these additional holes. The nipple itself has an average of 9 pores milk exits through. This number varies per person and ranges from 4-18 per nipple. When you remove the nipple piercing, there is now one large hole on each side of the nipple. Depending on the gauge of your piercing the holes may be relatively small or possibly much larger. This means, when your body has a let-down there is a possibility milk will also come out the sides of the nipple. If this happens when you are not breastfeeding (because you heard your baby cry) just wear some breast pads inside your bra. When your baby is breastfeeding, ensure they have a deep latch and are actively swallowing milk. For some babies, the extra milk can be challenging to manage if they don’t have a deep, effective latch. Despite the extra milk leaking through your nipple(s), you shouldn’t see any milk pouring from your baby’s mouth.

Will a nipple piercing affect my milk supply?

It’s unknown if your nipple piercing is going to affect your supply or your breastfeeding experience until you actually begin lactating. It’s important to understand the implications it might have and to have realistic expectations of what it means for breastfeeding. Our bodies are intelligent and amazing and many people can feed a baby on one breast alone. Other times, there is no impact to supply. It’s truly individual. If you’re concerned about what it means for breastfeeding, meet with a lactation consultant during pregnancy to discuss your goals and options. They will also create a plan for you and makes adjustments after you begin breastfeeding.

Last updated March 30th 2021

References:

Garbin, C., Deacon, J., Rowan, M., Hartmann, P., & Geddes, D. (2009). Association of nipple piercing with abnormal milk production and breastfeeding. JAMA, 301(24), 2550-2551.

La Leche League International (LLLI). (n.d). Nipple Piercings. LLLI.org. Retrieved from: https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/nipple-piercings/

Wilson-Clay, B., & Hoover, K. (2017). The breastfeeding atlas (6th ed.). Manchaca, Tex.: LactNews Press.

4 tips for plugged ducts

It can be common to hear about someone who experienced a plugged duct (sometimes called a clogged duct) while breastfeeding but what does that actually mean? And what do you do if you find yourself with a plugged duct?

Before jumping right to what to do, it’s important to understand a little more about breast anatomy. This helps you understand why what is happening in your body is happening and when I share the tips to helping relieve and prevent them, they will make more sense.

The (absolute) basics

To be able to understand what is happening when you have a plugged duct you should first understand basic breast anatomy. During the second trimester of pregnancy, your body is already preparing for breastfeeding by growing a network of milk ducts. In simplest terms, the milk ducts are tubes and they carry milk from the milk sacs (where milk is made) to the nipple. Milk then exits from multiple pores in the nipple. When milk cannot be removed (due to an obstruction) or sits in the duct for a long period of time it can coagulate. The milk ducts can start to narrow due to inflammation.

So what is a plugged duct/clogged duct?

In short, a plugged duct is a palpable lump in the breast due to inflammation. “Plugged” ducts is technically a misleading term. They should however be promptly looked after. If they’re not, there’s an increased risk of mastitis which is an inflammatory condition that can quickly become infective. If you notice a red, shiny streak on your breast paired with a fever, chills or body aches, these are signs mastitis which as mentioned, is a more serious concern because it can become infective.

Why did I get a plugged duct/clogged duct?

Plugged ducts can occur when milk flow is obstructed or milk is not being removed. They can happen for a number of reasons. Plugged ducts can happen:

  • If you miss a feeding or a pumping session
  • If you space out the time between feedings (whether intentionally or unintentionally)
  • If your baby isn’t effectively removing milk at the breast. This could be due to their latch or poor positioning at the breast
  • If you are using the wrong flange size when pumping
  • If you have an abundant milk supply
  • If there’s lots of pressure against your breast such as with a tight fitting bra
How do I know if I have a plugged duct/clogged duct?

Get familiar with your breasts. Regularly feeling your breasts after a feeding or in the shower will help you become familiar with their normal landscape and quickly allow you to recognize changes. You will be able to feel a firm lump or knot in your breast. The lump should be palpable which means you should be able to located the edges of it. A lack of symptoms is also helpful when thinking about plugged ducts. If you do not have a fever, redness on the breast, chills or body aches, that’s a good sign it’s more likely to be a plugged duct. When locating a plugged duct use the pads of your fingers to feel for the border of the plug so you know where it begins and ends. This will be important when you begin some of the massage techniques.

How can I remove a plugged duct/clogged duct?

There are several ways you can care for a plugged duct. With any of the methods, it’s always about reducing inflammation. My four personal favourites that I use with families are the following. These are not meant to all be used. Start with one method first. Using all of these at once can created unwanted inflammation in the breast and quickly escalate to something worse. If you have a plug that you would describe as stubborn, always reach out to a lactation consultant to they can get to the bottom of the issue with you.

BREASTFEED/REMOVE MILK

Breastfeed and remove milk as usual. The newest guidelines from The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine suggest there’s no need to try and “empty” the breast. Excess pumping can increase inflammation further.

GENTLE MASSAGE AND COLD

Gentle breast massage to move the excess fluid towards the arm pits to the lymphatic system can help. Use cold after milk removals. If you’re pumping, ensure the flanges fit correctly. You can also use a little bit of coconut oil to lubricate the flanges.

A great video about breast massage

https://www.mayabolman.com/videos/v/breastgymnastics

REDUCE INFLAMMATION

Reducing inflammation can include anti inflammatory foods as well as over the counter medications like Advil and Tylenol

How do I prevent a plugged duct/clogged duct?⠀

Frequent and effective milk removal are the keys to preventing plugged ducts from reoccurring. If you are frequently experiencing plugged ducts, go back to the list at the beginning. Can make any changes to your baby’s latch and/or positioning, the frequency of feedings, your bra type or pump flanges? If you have and you are still always experiencing plugged ducts, get in touch with a lactation consultant. You can connect with me HERE.

4 Signs Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk

How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?

This is probably one of the top questions I get from new parents. It makes sense. You can’t see the milk going into their body so how do you really know? The good news is, there are definitely a few signs to watch for that will tell you if your baby is getting enough milk.

1. Looking or listening for swallowing

When a baby is taking in milk, they have to swallow it. 4-5 swallows per feeding of colostrum is what we’re looking for. When milk transitions, and the volume goes up, we’re looking for a 1:1 ratio of suck:swallow after let-down has been initiated. But what are you actually looking for? When a baby swallows milk, you will see their jaw drop slightly lower and pause momentarily. You can also have a look at your baby’s ears or the side of their face as you may notice the bottom of the ears move when the jaw drops down. This is a swallow. You can also listen for a swallow. A baby’s swallow sounds like a soft “kah” sound.

2. Generally content after feeding

Your baby should be alert prior to feeding and generally more sleepy and content after a feeding. Every baby is different and not all babies experience a milk coma right after feeding which is why we pay attention to their behaviour. If they are no longer showing those early hunger cues and seem relaxed, you can take it as a sign that they are content after the feeding. Many babies will also have their hands in fists prior to feeding and then relax to a more open hand afterwards. Sometimes their arms get really floppy after feedings too. This is just another sign they are full and relaxed after a feeding.

3. Diaper output is age appropriate

Newborns produce a lot of wet and dirty diapers. During the first week, we look for 1 wet and 1 dirty diaper for each day of life. On day 1, or within the first 24 hours we are looking for 1 wet diaper and 1 dirty diaper. Baby’s first poop is called meconium and is very dark, sticky and tarry. After this, on day 2, we are looking for 2 wet diapers and 2 dirty diapers. The poop will still be dark but may resemble a darker green than brown. As the days progress, by day 5 your baby’s poop should have transitioned to a mustard yellow in colour and you should be seeing 5+ wet diapers and 3-4 yellow dirty diapers. If there’s so many that you’ve lost track, chances are your baby’s diaper output is appropriate. It’s always important to track during that first week because it’s a question all lactation consultants will have for you. The first couple of poops your baby has should be about the size of a toonie or larger.

4. Your baby is gaining weight

This is a clear sign that milk intake is enough. What is most important though is that your baby is sticking to their own growth curve. The growth percentiles are not report cards. A baby in the 50th percentile is not doing poorly nor is a baby in the 95th doing better than others. This is just simply comparing their size and weight to other babies of that age. Humans are different sizes. It’s normal! We’re not all supposed to be the same size so the same goes for babies. Your doctor/pediatrician should be using the World Health Organization growth velocity charts. These charts take into account infant growth and development from all over the world and use the growth of a breastfed baby as the norm.

The new growth curves are expected to provide a single international standard that represents the best description of physiological growth for all children from birth to five years of age and to establish the breastfed infant as the normative model for growth and development

The World Health Organization

If you can see or hear your baby swallowing for a few minutes each feed, they seem content afterwards and are producing lots of wet and dirty diapers while gaining weight, your baby is getting enough milk.

If all the above are happening BUT you’re in pain or breastfeeding is not enjoyable or doesn’t feel sustainable, always reach out for support. Lactation consultants are detectives; always working to get to the bottom of every feeding issue. They are trained specifically in the area of human lactation and are the specialists when it comes to infant feeding.

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Last updated March 5th 2021

References:

Campbell, S.H., Lauwers, J., Mannel, R., & Spencer, B. (2019). Core Curriculum for interdisciplinary lactation care. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Newman, J. & Pitman, T. (2014). Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

3 tips to get a better latch, NOW!

Updated July 26th 2021

I’ll start by saying there is tons of information online that references “a good latch”.

The hospital staff might have said to you “he has a good latch”. The new parent blog you read said “Be sure to get a good latch”. You see posts on Instagram that say “A good latch shouldn’t hurt”.

Before I tell you how to get a good latch, let’s talk a little about how to know if it’s not a good latch or rather, not an optimal latch.

What if it doesn’t really hurt but you’re still not sure if it’s a good latch? How do you know?

So first, if there’s pain the latch needs to be checked. If you’re tensing up, curling your toes or holding your breath as you latch your baby because of pain, it’s not a good latch. You should get help for that, asap.

If breastfeeding is comfortable and you’re pretty sure your baby is drinking milk but your nipples are coming out flat or misshapen (meaning they are not round anymore) there’s room for improvement.

When your nipples come out of your baby’s mouth as a different shape, this means the nipple is not reaching to where it should. The nipple is being compressed against the hard palate.

A parent breastfeeding a toddler

If your baby’s chin is not touching your breast or if their nose is ending up buried in breast tissue and the only way for them to breathe is for you to hold down your breast tissue with your finger for the whole time…it’s not a good latch. That one is usually a quick position adjustment. 

Lastly, if milk is leaking out of the sides of your baby’s mouth while they are drinking or if they are making slurping or smacking sounds, it’s a poor latch. There’s an issue with the seal they are creating on the breast and this also means you should get support.

Ok, so how do I get a good latch?

A good latch can mean the difference between a comfortable breastfeeding experience or a painful one. While pain can be common during breastfeeding, it indicates your baby’s latch can be improved as I mentioned above.

There are a few adjustments you can make to help relieve the pain and reposition your baby for a more effective latch. Especially if you’re waiting to see a lactation consultant, hours feel like days when the latch is wrong. I know because I was there too.

So here are 3 things you can do right now to get a better latch.

1. Relax and Get Comfy

Make sure you are relaxed and in a comfortable position. I often work with parents who breastfeed in very uncomfortable positions putting unnecessary tension on their neck, shoulders and back.

If you ever feel awkward holding your baby to breastfeed, switch it up and try a new position. Use as many or as little pillows as you need. Sometimes larger breasts need pillows or rolled towels for support. Do whatever works to make yourself comfortable. I often recommend the laid back position for a comfortable latch.

2. Watch Your Baby

It’s easy (especially in the very early days) to want to scroll through your phone, place a few online orders or watch a movie when you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has a learning curve for both you and your baby. While you’re working to perfect your latch, tune into the feed and watch your baby.

Your baby’s tummy should be facing yours and their ears, shoulders and hips should be in alignment. An easy way to remember this is “nose and toes” should be pointing in the same direction. They should also be very close to your body, touching actually. Any gaps can make getting a comfortable latch more difficult.

You also want to watch them so you can latch your baby when they open wide like a yawn. This will ensure the entire nipple gets into their mouth and all the way back to the soft palate. You can always tickle their lip with your nipple to encourage the wide gape.

When your baby gets ready to take in the nipple, they should lead with their chin. More of their bottom lip should be covering the areola than the top. This is known as an asymmetrical latch. It encourages the nipple to point to the roof of the mouth which assists with getting a deep, pain free latch.

3. Bring Your Baby to The Breast

Bring your baby to the breast, NOT the other way around! Please, do not stretch and pull your breasts towards your baby. Bring your baby to your breast. If you’ve followed tips 1 and 2, you should already be in a position where your baby is at your breast. If you are still finding yourself stretching or pulling yourself towards your baby, adjust your body again, and then attempt latching.

I hope this provides you with some more clarity.

If you’re still struggling with latching, join my community of other breastfeeding parents, going through the same things you are.

This is a safe space to ask questions and support each other. We talk about all things postpartum, breastfeeding and babies!

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References:

La Leche League International. (n.d). Positioning. La Leche League International. https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/positioning/

Newman, J. & Pitman, T. (2014). Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

How to Hand Express

How to perform this Press, Compress and Release method to collect milk

Updated June 27th 2022

Hand expression is a valuable skill for all lactating parents to have. It is not cost prohibitive because all you need is your hands! It’s been shown that hand expression increases breastfeeding rates when compared to pumping at 2 months postpartum.

Hand expression is useful in the first 24 hours after birth as it can help assist with the transition from colostrum to copious milk production and assist with colostrum collection. Hand expression is a valuable collection method even for someone with a pump because colostrum can get stuck in the tubing of a pump due to the small volume that is produced and it’s thick consistency.

Hand expression can also be used prior to the birth of your baby. Provided your midwife or OB/GYN has cleared you, hand expression can be used as early as 37 weeks gestation to collect colostrum in advance of baby’s arrival. The reason you need to be cleared to do this is because the nipple stimulation can lead to early labour for some (thanks to oxytocin) and so, it’s not recommended for everyone. Always consult with your care provider.

Why would you want to collect colostrum prior to your baby’s birth?

Collecting colostrum while pregnant can be very helpful if you’ve previously struggled with breastfeeding or milk production. This ensures you have some additional nutritional support if your baby is having troubles effectively latching.

This is also a supportive technique if you have gestational diabetes as your baby can become hypoglycemic at delivery and having the extra colostrum on hand will support their blood sugar. If you’re expecting multiples it can be helpful as well. If you’ve had prior breast surgeries and are unsure how it might impact milk production, collecting beforehand can be invaluable.

Colostrum collecting before birth requires collecting and saving the colostrum in feeding syringes that are 1mL – 5mL. You can freeze the syringes. They should then be placed in a container or bag labelled with the date and your name. It might also be helpful to add your health card number to them. You can then bring the frozen colostrum to your birth.

Whether you are collecting colostrum prior to delivery or expressing milk after your baby’s birth, the method is the same.

The Method of Hand Expression
  1. With clean hands find a comfortable position, ideally resting with your back and body supported and massage the breasts in circles, working towards the areola. This will help stimulate the flow of milk.
  2. Either doing this yourself, or with a partner, the milk collection container should be placed underneath the nipple. A small cup, spoon or syringe will work to collect the colostrum.
  3. Your thumb and index finger should be placed on the breast about one inch above and one inch below the nipple. Your hand will create a “C” shape or a “U” shape. It’s important to measure from the nipple because areolar size varies significantly.
  4. Press your fingers back towards the chest wall (your rib cage), gently compress the breast tissue (squeezing, bringing your fingers together) and then release the compression. Repeat this over until you begin to see colostrum* or mature milk depending on which stage of milk production you are at. Go back and forth between sides. *if you’re expressing colostrum, hold the compression for about 3 seconds before releasing
  5. It’s important you always remain relaxed as it can take a few compressions before you see milk. In addition, you should always feel comfortable. If there is any pain or discomfort, you should adjust what you are doing until you are comfortable. It may also be helpful to have your baby nearby this will increase the release of oxytocin which stimulates milk let-down. The entire process may take 20-30 minutes.

If you are collecting colostrum PRIOR to your baby’s birth, you would perform hand expression twice a day for about 10-15 minutes and you would save the colostrum in feeding syringes which you can freeze and take to your birth. 

Grab my free colostrum collection guide

and set yourself up for breastfeeding success! This free guide includes access to a FAQs video as well as a video demo of hand expression.

Hand expression is just one of the topics covered in my prenatal breastfeeding course The Breastfeeding Before Baby Program. This program is designed specifically for pregnancy. Investing in a prenatal breastfeeding class before your baby is born helps get breastfeeding off to a strong start and can save you time spent online in the long run.

Alex Wachelka is a Lactation Consultant passionate about educating families and supporting you to feed your baby.

References:

Campbell, S.H., Lauwers, J., Mannel, R., & Spencer, B. (2019). Core Curriculum for interdisciplinary lactation care. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

La Leche League International. (2020). Hand expressing. La Leche League International. https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/hand-expressing/

Newman, J. & Pitman, T. (2014). Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

4 Ways to Help Your Distracted Baby Feed Better

updated October 16th 2021

Your baby has been nursing well for the past 12-15 weeks when suddenly,  you notice your baby becoming more distracted when they are nursing. Every sound seems to catch their attention, the dog walks by or someone new comes into the room. All of these events will cause your baby to stop nursing and have a look around. If you previously nursed in public, you may notice your baby is having a very difficult time now.

Latch on, pull off, latch on, pull off…

It can be very frustrating nursing a distracted baby. Around 3-4 months babies become much more aware of the world around them. Suddenly they are paying more attention to the room they are in, the sounds they are hearing in and outside the home. They may latch on and pull off only to latch on again, maybe feed for a minute and then pull and become frustrated because they are no longer drinking milk. This makes feedings difficult and may be misinterpreted as weaning when it’s not. Babies younger than 18 months typically do not self wean.  

When distracted feedings happen, your baby will nurse for a shorter period and may nurse more frequently at night to make up for the calories. This is completely normal and the night nursing is beneficial for your milk supply. It’s also a quiet, calm, distraction free environment.

So what can you do about those distracted daytime feedings?

1. Offer the breast frequently

This may mean prior to your baby cueing especially if they are alert as they are staying awake for longer periods at this age. You want to provide many opportunities for them to latch and drink milk especially when the feedings are interrupted by their own curiosity. ⠀

2. Minimize distractions

Head into a room, preferably one where you can darken the environment by pulling a shade or drawing the blinds. This will shut out the distractions and help create an environment where your baby will effectively nurse. You can also take advantage of the nighttime feedings. Nighttime nursing is still very much needed (and normal!) by this age group and often, they will do some of their best feeding because they are sleepy. Side lying position is wonderful for night time nursing, especially if you co sleep. A semi reclined breastfeeding position is also great for night time.

3. Try motion

Using motion such as rocking or swaying your baby while nursing them might help to reduce the distractions. You can use a carrier or a sling and walk around and nurse them while they are in it.

4. Skin to Skin

Skin to skin acts like an amazing re-set button. It is so helpful when feeding a distracted baby. This will not only help calm your baby but help encourage your baby to latch. Skin to skin also releases oxytocin which helps your milk let down. Not all older babies will respond well to this so experiment and do what works best for your baby.

Here’s another option your baby may respond well to. Clipping a toy or a pacifier clip to your bra strap to keep them distracted but at the breast so they continue to feed.

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References:

Bonyata, K. (2018, Jan 1). The distractable baby. Kellymom.com. https://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/distractible-baby/

Campbell, S.H., Lauwers, J., Mannel, R., & Spencer, B. (2019). Core Curriculum for interdisciplinary lactation care. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

La Leche League Canada. (2015, Dec 17). Thursday’s tip: Breastfeeding the distracted baby (6-12 months). La Leche League Canada. https://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tip-breastfeeding-distracted-baby-6-12-months

Newman, J. & Pitman, T. (2014). Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.