Weaning Baby Pt. 4

Sorry for the delay on last month’s final blog. I’ve learned over the years to listen to my insides when I need to focus elsewhere. I strive to be transparent with all of my clients as a doula, and I plan to practice the same ethics with my blog.

So, last month we discussed various topics and incidents that take place with weaning a baby. Today we will simply talk safe breastmilk storage, and I will be listing all of my resources for last month’s topic.

Breastmilk Storage

·      It can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 hours

·      It can be stored in the fridge for up to 8 days. Be sure to keep the breastmilk stored in the rear of the fridge where it stays consistently cold. Storing them in the door can shorten its lifespan.

·      It can be stored in the freezer (again, away from the door) for up to 3-4 months, as well as a separate deep freezer for up to 6 months.

Breastmilk has a tendency to carry a metallic smell/flavor after it has been stored. This does not mean the milk has gone bad. The active enzymes (that help baby break down the milk) will break down the fats, often resulting in what parents describe as an off smell or flavor. To avoid this, you can bring breastmilk almost to a boil, let it cool down, and then store it. This process is called scalding the milk. When breastmilk goes bad, it smells putrid, I promise you will know when its not suitable for baby.  

You can store the milk in multiple containers. The most commonly used are the plastic bags. These are great for marking dates, and not taking up too much space in the freezer. Some parents prefer glass or hard shell containers. Keep in mind that milk follows similar rules to other frozen liquids. You will want to leave enough space for the breastmilk to expand when frozen. Be sure to store all breastmilk according to date, oldest first and newest last. Try and make the effort to store it that way, that way anybody can take the liberty of thawing and feeding.

When thawing breastmilk, keep it in the container and immerse the whole container in hot water. Be sure to swirl the milk to combine the fats and reduce any hot spots, and test the temp on your wrist before giving to baby. It’s ill-advised to use a microwave to thaw breast milk. A microwave oven heat kills many of the living immune cells that help fight disease, you are also risking hot spots in the milk that can burn baby’s mouth. Once milk has been completely thawed it can be refrigerated for the next 24 hrs. and then must be discarded.

Weaning Your Baby Resources

http://www.workandpump.com/

http://www.modernmom.com/f0263948-3b3d-11e3-be8a-bc764e04a41e.html

http://kellymom.com/ages/weaning/wean-how/depression-and-weaning/

http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/pumping-and-breastmilk-storage.html

http://www.lalecheleague.org/faq/weanhowto.html

Weaning Baby pt. 3

Now, for the later stages. Introducing solids is an exciting time for parents. By now baby is sitting up on their own, giggling, and even making demands. The timing of the introduction of solids varies for every baby, as well as every mother. Weaning a baby with solids is helpful, because it is an entirely different feeding process for baby, in comparison to bottle/breastfeeding. This way instead of refusing the breast and fighting baby to take a bottle, you can offer a new experience to share with mom, or whomever is feeding them at the time. This practice is often referred to as “don’t offer, don’t refuse.” Once you and your little one establish a rhythm with this, you can begin to utilize breastfeeding as a soothing technique. Maybe a tender intimate moment before naps and bed, or a nurturing moment after a bad spill at the park. This is often how mothers reestablish and/or continue the connection with their older children after bringing new babies home. Some of us can’t even fathom what it would be like still breastfeeding a five-year-old, or even a three-year-old. Oddly enough, a great deal of moms feel this way until they have found the love for these moments with their babies that is the pure joy of making the right decisions for you and your little ones. I commend mamas these days for offering encouragement and not judging other mamas for their choices. These decisions only grow into greater issues in the future, and we need to be able to feel confident that we have our children’s best interests at heart.

One aspect of weaning baby that often gets overlooked is the hormonal changes that come with reducing milk production. Prolactin,  and oxytocin  work in tandem to produce and bring milk down. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone brings on feelings of calm and comfort, it works as a bonding agent for you and baby. It is hypothesized that any abrupt stop of breastfeeding can cause an influx in your hormones inducing feelings of sadness, depression, and even irritability. Some mother's will be more susceptible  to depression then others. This can be due to past history of mental illness, it could just be the current circumstance. Some ways to reduce the emotional drop would be to gradually decrease your feedings. Try and plan as far ahead as possible, removing one feeding a week and replacing with hand expression. Any sign of depression or change in normal behavior should be addressed. I have pasted a link below to a bonus blog of mine that will cover how to address depression and knowing your options

Weaning takes patience and persistence, similar to teaching your body to produce you are now conditioning it to stop producing. The frustration often arrives when bay becomes frustrated, and mama is exhausted from the changes in her body. Remember to give yourself and baby a break every once in a while, that comfort you exchange will help nurture your experience. Find joy in letting baby taste new flavors, and have a camera ready, those moments can be absolutely priceless. 

Next week we talk storing breast milk basics, in addition to my list of resources for this month's topic!

Here's a bonus link to my latest blog featured with Stork Maternity Consulting. Here I address the steps you can take to get help during times of emotional turmoil:  http://storkmaternityconsulting.com/blog/your-new-identity-mom

Weaning Your Baby pt. 1

Since we kicked off this month with World Breastfeeding Week, I thought we should expand on how breastfeeding looks in the later postpartum months. These next few weeks will include topics on weaning baby, working and breastfeeding, as well as storing breast milk. These are things many don’t really even consider, even after the immediate arrival of their new little one(s).

Weaning a baby from the breast is a mother’s personal decision. I know I stress this in almost every blog I have posted, but mothers often allow the pressures of other people’s opinions to shape their choices for their own baby. It is important for every mother to know that she has the right to make every decision for her baby (within reason, of course, and in times of potential health risks). I also would like to point out that this decision (while it should be discussed with your partner) is solely up to mom, as it is her body.

There are various reasons why babies are weaned off the breast. The most common instance is the six-month mark, when it is recommended that you introduce solids. This process can take place earlier for mamas who have to take meds which are not safe for breastfeeding. Other moms may have to return to a full time job, and some mamas just don’t feel comfortable enough doing it, and have found more joy in bottle feeding.  

How does this process look in the earlier stages of infancy? Starting to wean this early can often seem very tedious. However, it is important that you remain as patient as you can with this change. Baby will often challenge anything unfamiliar to them, especially a substitute to their favorite thing ever.

We will start by discussing the process for mamas that have to go back to work and want to continue giving baby breast milk. You will want to start preparing for this juncture at least 4 weeks out, maybe more (if you can). In order to increase supply and begin storing breast milk, try pumping once each morning. The morning is a prime time to pump, as that is when you have the most milk. The following week, start by replacing baby’s least favorite feed with a bottle. If baby refuses the bottle, it’s likely they can sense “their boobs” nearby. See if dad or grandma (etc.) will take them and try feeding. You will also want to replace that feeding with a pump session, this will help maintain your milk supply for baby, and will help build up your storage supply in the freezer. Your goal is to have baby used to exclusive bottle feeds in the afternoons while you’re away. You will have to work out a pumping schedule with your workplace in order to continue offering baby breast milk exclusively. This is very common in this day and age, and shouldn’t be an issue. One thing to keep in mind while pumping is where you are doing it. Try to arrange your pump session in a place that you are most comfortable. It is important that you remain relaxed during pumps in order to be as efficient as possible with your milk production. In addition to a pump schedule, you will also want to work out a system for storing the milk until you get home. Most, if not all, offices have access to a freezer, I recommend freezing your supply and labeling it at work, then toting it home in a mini cooler so it doesn’t thaw. Remember to date and initial your breast milk supply so as to not confuse it with another mama’s in the office. Any daycare/nanny/partner should have complete access to your breast milk through the frozen supply you will have built up by pumping instead of feeding. If it’s not too confusing for baby, you could keep your nightly feeds together on the breast and continue to use these moments as incentives for baby as they mature.

Next week we will discuss weaning baby off breastfeeding as well as breast milk, how to assess the right formula for baby, and avoiding engorgement and clogged ducts in the process.

 

 

Breastfeeding Support Resources

I hope you enjoyed my first blog series this month! Next week I will begin a blog series on Babywearing! We will be addressing the benefits for both mama and baby, it's use in a more clinical practice, as well as how to find the best carrier for your family. I have listed some resources for my previous blog series. I often find myself checking and re checking sources when I read informal blog topics, so to make it easier for those that do - here they are:

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/strategy3-professional-support.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/promotion/

http://www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/benefits.asp

"Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding" by Jack Newman, Teresa Pitman

 

The Importance of Breastfeeding Support, and How to Decide What Works For You

Last week we talked about the physical changes in our body that supports the nature of breastfeeding. This week we talk about how the process of breastfeeding begins. 

Mothers produce colostrum in the beginning stages of baby’s life. Colostrum is a highly nutritional substance that helps prepare baby’s system to digest. It is low in fat, and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to keep baby healthy. Women begin producing this in the late stages of pregnancy in preparation for the first feeding. It comes in small doses (measurable in teaspoons), yet it is highly nutritional and maintains baby until mother’s breast milk comes down. Colostrum will also help baby pass his/her first stools, which can help prevent jaundice. Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for baby, it helps in mother’s recovery as well. By stimulating your nipples it helps shrink the uterus, and prevents the potential postpartum hemorrhage.  It also burns calories and can help in losing your pregnancy weight.

Breast milk will take time to come down. The time can very between 3-7 days; every woman is different. For some women this can seem alarming, or make them feel inadequate, but truly it is completely normal. In the first week, baby will do what is called cluster feeding. Having baby at the breast as often as baby wants will help your body to produce the amount of milk necessary for baby. The first few weeks can seem very agitating, with thoughts that you are not providing for your baby, or that your milk is not enough for baby. The truth is, your body and baby are developing a system for the best possible breast milk ever. By allowing your baby to be at the breast, the stimulation will bring your milk down in the amount your baby needs.

Your body takes cues from your baby and it's demands. Finding a schedule with your baby's feedings will be helpful in reducing the stress of making breastfeeding work for both you and baby. Next week I will fill you in on the many resources in support of breastfeeding, and how you can use them to best benefit your experience. 

The Importance of Breastfeeding Support, and How to Decide What Works for You

Preparing for a new baby can be exciting and daunting all at once. It’s hard not to hold yourself to a certain standard before baby even arrives. Luckily, there is a slew of information out there to help you prepare for this exciting change in your life. Take breastfeeding for example: the general consensus regarding breastfeeding is that it is the best and most natural way to feed your baby. While that may be true, we have lost sight of how challenging it can be. Over time, we have developed an entire industry to supporting breastfeeding mothers. I’m going to take you through the general facts of breastfeeding, how it can benefit both you and baby, and how to master it.

Unlike our animal counterparts, human babies are born physically and neurologically underdeveloped. Breastmilk has a highly nutritional blend that benefits both baby’s mental and physical growth. You will notice a change in your nipples during pregnancy. Those little bumps on your areola will swell a bit, those are the Montgomery Glands. These glands are highly important in the process of breastfeeding. They secrete an oil to keep the surface clean, in addition to tracking your baby’s digestion needs. When your baby’s saliva comes in contact with the Montgomery Glands, they send a message to your body to produce certain nutrients for baby. They even alert your body of your baby getting sick, sending a message to your white blood cells in order to produce antibodies for whatever illness your baby contracted. According to the Center for Disease Control, breastfed babies are less likely to develop diseases early in life.

Pretty wild huh?! Our bodies have all the right mechanics to support the health of our offspring. We even gain information biologically through kissing our babies on the forehead-that is a whole other blog topic. It really does offer another perspective on a mother's intuition. 

Next week I will cover coping with the first few days after delivery. I vow to stay diligent in posting, give or take the normal bumps in life's road. Thank you for participating, and I look forward to keeping the conversation going!!