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3 Essential Oils for Breastfeeding Mothers

What are essential oils?

Plants produce essential oils that protect them and lure pollinators to ensure their reproduction. These essential oils are composed of aromatic compounds that give flowers, leaves, and bark their fragrance. These aromatic chemicals can be captured for our use through distillation. 

How do they work?

Fragrant essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy. They may be inhaled or massaged into the skin to stimulate the limbic system, which plays a role in regulating emotions, memories, behaviors and even stimulates some unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing and heart rate. 

Three essential oils recommended for breastfeeding women:

Frankincense

Produced by the Indian Boswellia Serrata tree, Frankincense has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-depressive effects, making it ideal for women with tender breasts and tender hearts. 

Lavender

Lavender essential oil offers antioxidant and antimicrobial benefits, and the relaxing aroma helps to reduce anxiety while improving sleep. All of these benefits make it a go-to essential oil for weary and worn nursing moms.

Cypress

Derived from the medicinal Cupressus sempervirens tree, cypress essential oil can help fight infections and relieve cramps and muscle pains. Like lavender and frankincense, cypress also relieves anxiety.

Are essential oils safe for breastfeeding women?

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy cautions against using particular essential oils while pregnant. However, a high-quality essential oil such as DoTERRA used according to instructions should have no ill effect on breastfed babies and may offer mothers a natural way to soothe sore muscles and stress. Because babies are more sensitive to essential oil, it’s best if you use them in a warm bath or aromatherapy inhaler to restrict the effects to yourself and prevent direct skin-to-skin contact with your little one. Also, some women may have allergic reactions to essential oils, so consult your doctor before using.

Breast Pumping at Work

Tackling Breast Pumping at Work Like a Boss

Is your last day of maternity leave rapidly approaching and you have no idea how you’re going to tolerate pumping breast milk at work? Rest assured, mama — you’re not alone. Every working mom dedicated to feeding her child breast milk has walked in your shoes.

We’ll give you some tips to help ease your transition as you go back to work so your baby can continue to benefit from that liquid gold.

Know What You’re Entitled To

Not every boss is going to bend over backward to make sure you have everything you’re entitled to by law when you’re pumping at work. You may find yourself having to ask and fight for things your boss should provide you with. Stay fierce —your baby is counting on you for its nutritional needs and that’s far more important than playing nice at the workplace.

Create a Checklist

Maternity leave goes by shockingly fast. Before you know it, you’ll have to be headed back to your job. The time to plan, though, is before that happens.

A month before you return to work, make a checklist of items that have to be addressed before you go back. You’ll want to start a freezer stash of breast milk and discuss with your boss where and when you’ll be pumping at the workplace.

Closer to the date, you should ensure you have all the equipment you’ll need for pumping in a convenient bag you can carry to work.

Choose Your Pump Carefully

Before heading to the workplace, give careful thought about the kind of pump you want to buy. It should be portable, operate at more than one speed, be double electric so you can pump both breasts at once, not be too loud, and operate on a battery or power cord.

Write Out a Pumping Schedule

You can try to wing it instead of having a written plan in place. But you’ll likely find it easier to commit to a pumping schedule when it is in writing. It’s too easy to accidentally skip or push back pumping sessions if your schedule isn’t written down.

You don’t want to forget to pump for too long or you’ll face the possibility of engorgement, clogged milk ducts, and diminished milk supply. You should try to pump, even at work, around every three hours.

Try to Relax

Relaxing isn’t easy to do at work during normal circumstances. But when you add a pump, naked breasts, and potentially weird coworkers, it can get even harder to relax.

If you find yourself given a place to pump where you don’t feel comfortable, getting that let-down reflex can be a real problem. To help solve this issue, play some relaxing music on low while pumping or carry around a picture of your baby or one of their onesies that has that precious baby smell on it.

Take Some Shortcuts

Pumping at work can take up a good chunk of your workday, so you’re probably eager to not waste any more time than you have to. That’s why shortcuts can come in handy. Here’s one of our favorites for pumping breast milk at home or at work.

You don’t have to fully wash your breast pump after each use. When you’re at work, simply rinse it with hot water and put the removable pump parts that come in contact with breast milk in a large Ziploc bag, zip it up, and put it in the refrigerator. Then when you need it again in three hours, take it out and pump again.

You should always wash it at the end of the day though — you don’t want old milk on the pump the next day.

Be Ready for a Bumpy Ride

It doesn’t matter how ready you think you are for pumping while at work, you’re going to experience some hiccups. Maybe you’ll miss your baby far more than you anticipated while you’re at work or it won’t be as easy as you thought to carve out enough pumping time during your workday.

When the road gets tough, remind yourself that it’s worth every step. And if you can make it through the first week or two, you’ll start to fall into a routine and it will seem much easier.

When will my newborn finally sleep through the night?

If you find yourself waking several times each night to soothe your crying newborn back to sleep, you’re not alone. That may be small comfort, but it should offer some assurance that this is perfectly normal. While you may not be getting sufficient sleep, your little one is probably doing just fine.

How much sleep is your newborn actually getting each day?

The average infant sleeps 16-17 hours per 24-hour day. That may come as a surprise to a mom who’s getting four hours of sleep herself. You would be justified in asking when all this sleeping is taking place. Unlike older babies and adults, newborns sleep in short three to four hour increments scattered throughout the course of the day.

It’s easy to forget all the work those sleepy little bodies are doing. Your baby’s nervous system is rapidly developing as well as her senses. She’s getting bigger and figuring out how her body works. It may not seem like a big deal to a grownup whose body has done all the growing it’s going to do, but it’s exhausting, and she needs a lot of sleep to keep her strong and healthy.

Natural sleeping and nursing patterns are similar

During her first weeks, your baby’s body isn’t attuned to the normal day and night cycle, and she spends more time in REM sleep than in deeper non-REM sleep. Over time, she’ll begin to pick up on the cues that indicate when it’s time to play and when it’s time to rest, but even then, most breastfed babies will wake in the middle of the night for a feeding. That’s not a sign that your baby is malfunctioning. In fact, her natural sleep cycle is very similar to her natural nursing cycle.

A newborn should be nursing 8-12 times per day during the first month and 7-9 times per day by one to two months. That’s about every 1½  to 3 hours. In other words, your nursing baby’s daily agenda may resemble a cat’s: one continuous snooze interrupted just long enough for meals. Good for the baby, but exhausting to mom and dad.

Helping your breastfeeding baby sleep through the night

By the end of her first year, your baby’s sleep pattern will begin to mirror yours with nighttime hours and longer, consolidated sleep periods, but it is possible in some cases to help your nursing infant to sleep through the night earlier, according to a research study conducted by the University of Illinois.

In the study, one group of breastfeeding moms were instructed:

  • to offer a “focal feed” (between 10 PM and 12 AM) to their infants every night,
  • to gradually lengthen intervals between middle-of-the-night feeds by carrying out alternative caretaking behaviors (eg, reswaddling, diapering, walking),
  • and to maximize environmental differences between day and nighttime.

By the third week of the study, the infants receiving the special treatment were sleeping in significantly longer episodes than babies in the control group. By week eight, 100% of the treatment babies were sleeping through the night compared to 23% of the control infants. The morning after a long night’s sleep, the treatment infants nursed longer than the control group. However, the total milk intake over a 24 hour period was the same for both groups.

Until then, get your ZZZZs where you can, mom!

Breastfeeding stimulates the release of oxytocin from your brain, and oxytocin, also known as the anti-stress hormone, often makes moms feel drowsy and warm. Rather than resisting the urge to doze created by breastfeeding, take advantage of it. If it’s possible, follow your newborn’s model, and get in a nap after nursing. It’ll take the edge off of those sleepless nights.

If it’s not possible to squeeze naps into your daily routine, remind yourself that this too shall pass. Before long, your newborn will be sleeping soundly through the night, and those long, sleepless nights will be a distant memory.

How to Keep Breastfeeding When You’re Away from Your Baby

Some nursing women find themselves needing to be away from their babies for a period of time due to a trip, a military deployment, hospitalization, or many other reasons. A physical separation doesn’t have to mean the end of a breastfeeding relationship! If a nursing mother wants to keep breastfeeding, exclusively pumping during the separation can be a great way to maintain milk supply and keep providing milk for her baby even while she’s away. If you find yourself needing to exclusively pump for a period of time, here is how to do it.

Here’s what you need

Obviously, if you’re going to exclusively pump you’ll need a breast pump. Here are some details about what kind, and what else you’ll want to get.

  • Breast Pump – You’ll want to get a double electric pump if you’ll be exclusively pumping for any length of time. It’s possible but more challenging to pump exclusively with a single or manual pump.
  • Breast Milk Bags – You’ll need these to store and transport the milk that you pump.
  • Extra Bottles and Pump Parts – Since you’ll be pumping multiple times a day, it can be nice to have extras to use at each pumping session and wash everything in one batch.
  • Hands-free Bra – When you’re pumping multiple times a day, a hands-free bra can be a good investment, as it allows you spend the time you’re pumping doing other things besides holding up your breast shields, like working on a laptop, reading, etc.

Get yourself on a pumping schedule

When you’re with your baby, your nursing schedule is whenever your baby is hungry. However, when you’re exclusively pumping, you’ll want to put yourself on a pumping schedule.

You should aim to pump about as many times in a day as your baby eats. So, if your baby nurses about five times a day, you’d do five pumping sessions a day. However, if your baby tends to snack quite a bit and you’re not sure how often to pump, you can refer to these sample pumping schedules, which have schedules broken out by age of the baby.

How long should your pumping sessions be? That depends on how many of them you have. You want to aim for a total of 2 hours or 120 minutes pumping each day. So, for example, if you’re pumping six times a day, you would pump for 20 minutes at a time.

Your pumping sessions don’t necessarily have to be at the same time of the day that your baby would normally eat; it’s totally fine to reorganize your sessions around work or other things that you have to do. Just try to make sure that they are reasonably spaced out.

Getting the milk home

If you’ve been exclusively pumping while traveling, you’ll need to get your milk home somehow. Your two options are to ship it or take it with you on your trip.

If you decide to ship it, you’ll want to buy a styrofoam cooler and dry ice. You can pack your breast milk in the cooler – there are detailed step-by-step instructions here and ship it via FedEx or another shipping service. If possible, it’s best to ship your milk earlier in the week rather than later so it doesn’t end up sitting somewhere in transit on Sunday, when there’s no delivery.

The other option is to bring it with you when you travel. As with shipping it, you’ll need to get a cooler. If you’re driving, you can probably use normal ice as long as you replace it when needed. If you’re flying, check with your airline for guidelines on flying with human milk.

The good news is that being away from you baby for an extended period of time doesn’t mean that you have to wean. Exclusively pumping while you’re away can help keep your supply up so you can start nursing again when you’re together.

 


 

Article by Amanda Glenn.

Amanda has three kids and has spent a total of 44 months of her life hooking herself up to a breast pump. She blogs about exclusive pumping at exclusivepumping.com, and you can find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

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Caring for Baby around the Holidays

Don’t you just love the holidays? This time of years gives us a chance to reunite with friends and family and remember all the good times we had together. Unfortunately for new moms, the holiday season may not be quite as enjoyable. The holidays can be quite a busy time, and as the mother of a newborn, your stress level is probably already through the roof. Here are a few tips from Milk N Mamas Baby to help you get through this holiday season without spreading yourself too thin or sacrificing the crucial care and attention your new baby needs.

Let Someone Else Host

If you’re accustomed to hosting friends and family during the holidays, it can be hard to let go. Of course, your brand new baby needs attention more than your circle, and nobody will think any less of you if you abdicate your hosting duties during baby’s first year. When the party’s at someone else’s house, you retain the option of ducking out early if things get too hectic for you and the baby, plus you won’t have to worry about cleaning up after everyone else leaves!

Breastfeeding during the Holidays

Your baby needs to eat on a regular schedule and missing feedings can be bad for your health, potentially leading to blocked milk ducts or even mastitis, a painful infection of the breast tissue. But what’s a new mom to do when baby’s usual feeding time falls during the family meal or some other inconvenient time? The short answer is simple: feeding your baby should be your priority, no matter what time of year it is. It’s important to stick to a schedule, even if it means leaving the room for a bit while your family does other things. Most likely, they will understand and encourage you to do whatever you must to take good care of their newest family member.

Set Boundaries and Stick to Them

Before you set out on any holiday adventures, you and your partner need to get on the same page about boundaries related to how much contact family members should have with your new baby. Your family will no doubt be excited to meet your new addition, but if baby starts to get fussy, it might be a good time to reinforce those boundaries. If the little one is getting overstimulated, it’s probably best that you politely let your family know it’s time to give mom and baby some space.

The holidays can be a lot of fun but they can also be tremendously stressful, even without a new baby in tow. We hope that these tips will help you manage that stress so that you and your baby can have a joyous holiday season. Of course, accessories like nursing bras and automatic breast pumps can go a long way towards reducing your holiday stress. Before you close your browser, don’t forget to take a look at the range of products we sell here on our site at Milk N Mamas Baby. We’ve got lots of convenient products that can make your holiday season easier to manage, and you may be able to get some items for free through your health insurance. From all of us at Milk N Mamas, we wish you Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year!

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Top Reasons to Breastfeed

When you’ve got a baby on the way, you probably have a million questions. It’s only natural to jump on the internet and do a little (or a lot of) research. When it comes to breastfeeding, you can find plenty of different information out there, so who should you trust? Here at Milk N Mamas Baby, we think it’s important for moms to get good information about breastfeeding; that’s why today, we’d like to share some facts straight from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the top reasons why breastfeeding is good for babies.

  • Babies who are breastfed for at least 6 months are less likely to be overweight and have a reduced risk for childhood obesity.
  • A 40% reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus has been reported in those who were breastfed as babies.
  • Breastfeeding imparts a long-term positive effect on weight control and feeding self-regulation which is carried into adulthood.

In addition, The University of South Carolina reports the following benefits to breastfeeding:

  • Breast milk is more easily digestible for babies than formula.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Breastfeeding helps develop and strengthen a baby’s immune system and can reduce a baby’s risk of developing allergies later in life.
  • Mother and baby are able to bond more effectively during breastfeeding, and it improves the mother’s self-confidence.
  • Nursing helps mom lose weight after pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding costs less than buying formula.
  • Drinking breast milk can help a baby sleep better (which means more sleep for mom as well).
  • Breastfeeding aids in proper development of a baby’s gastrointestinal tract and may make them less likely to develop intestinal disorders like Ulcerative Colitis.

Of course, these are just a few of the many benefits of breastfeeding, so if you’d like to know more, be sure to talk to your doctor about whether or not breastfeeding is right for you and your baby. And if you’re in need of breastfeeding supplies like a hands free breast pump, take a look at the tabs on our page which contain information about our stock of baby breast pumps, respiratory devices, and more. You can even order a breast pump online and in most cases, totally free of charge, through your health insurance.

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we carry all the latest breast pumps, including the Medela and Spectra lines of breast pumps. These pumps are engineered with lots of mom-friendly features that will make your breastfeeding journey easier and more comfortable for you. They’re also portable, light weight, and can be powered with adaptive batteries, internal batteries, AC adapter, or even the optional car adapter, which is perfect for busy moms on the go. If you’d like to be hands free when pumping we have plenty of options for you! Why wait, head over to our convenient insurance signup form and begin your order process today. We are here to streamline the entire order process for you! We confirm your insurance coverage, assist you in obtaining a prescription from your healthcare provider and make sure you get your insurance covered breast pump prior to the arrival of your new baby.