Breastfeeding

Shot of pretty young mother with her baby in sling drinking coffee while working with laptop at home.

How does caffeine affect breastfeeding?

Worried about breastfeeding while enjoying the sweet, sweet energy of caffeine?

Let’s face it, if you’re a new mom, you haven’t been getting much sleep lately. In fact, a 2019 survey conducted by Sleep Junkie found that only one in ten parents gets the recommended 7+ hours of head-to-pillow time.

We have questions.

First, who is this one parent sleeping through the night, and what kind of pixie dust are they using on their baby? Second, can the other nine of us give in to the siren call of coffee first thing in the morning, or are we doing damage to our breastfeeding babies if we just say no to that sweet, sweet caffeine?

Relax, a little caffeine isn’t likely to harm your newborn.

Like most things, caffeine in moderation is relatively harmless, even if you’re nursing. According to board-certified lactation consultant Nancy Mohrbacher’s book Breastfeeding Answers, nursing newborns only consume about 1.5% of the maternal dose of caffeine when breastfeeding. The National Library of Medicine Drugs and Lactation Database finds that having 2─3 cups (about 300─500 mg) of coffee per day to keep your eyes open and your brain chugging along despite sleep deprivation is A-okay. The same applies to other sources of caffeine, though it’s important to note that sodas and energy drinks, for instance, have other problematic chemicals to consider like sugars and taurine.

But don’t overdo your caffeine consumption.

Some research indicates that more than 450 mL of coffee per day can lead to a decrease in breastmilk iron concentrations. This can result in mild iron deficiency anemia in some breastfed infants. Further, fussiness, jitteriness, and poor sleep patterns have been reported in infants of mothers who drink 10 or more cups of coffee daily. (For that matter, the mothers were probably feeling pretty jittery, too.)

When should nursing mothers avoid caffeine?

Some babies are more likely than others to respond negatively to caffeine. For example, breastfed infants three weeks and older showed no sign of stimulation even after their mothers had five cups of coffee. However, preterm and younger newborn infants metabolize caffeine more slowly. That means they may be more vulnerable to the side effects of caffeine like irritability and sleeplessness. Likewise, babies with other health issues may also be more vulnerable to caffeine, so consult with your physician before you start brewing that pot of black gold.

In the end, you’re most familiar with your baby’s normal temperament. If you see signs of unusual fussiness or wakefulness after you’ve had a few cups of coffee or soda, consider going caffeine-free for a couple of weeks to see if baby settles back down.

Consider pumping when your breastmilk is caffeine free to be on the safe side.

If you still don’t feel good about drinking caffeine while breastfeeding, you could always use your trusty breast pump to express milk when you’re caffeine-free. Caffeine levels peak in breastmilk one to two hours after consumption, so plan your pumping schedule accordingly.

You’ll sleep again.

Whether to coffee or not to coffee is ultimately your decision, mama. But one way or another, you will get a good night’s sleep again some day, and the coffee pot will be there waiting whenever you’re ready for it.

breastfeeding mom holding infant and using app on phone

3 free breastfeeding apps that can help overhwhelmed moms

Breastfeeding: there’s an app for that!

There really is an app for everything – breastfeeding included! Don’t believe it? Take a look at these three apps that nursing moms swear by!

Baby Feeding Log for iPads

Baby Feeding Log is a free, pared down breastfeeding tracker that can help overwhelmed moms keep up with feedings, sleep schedules, and diaper changes. You can even keep track of what breast you pumped from last!

Reviewer Chella says, “Exactly what I needed and nothing more. This app is just what I was looking for. A lot of other trackers are overly complex and too sophisticated. This one keeps it simple and is very easy to use. I especially appreciate the pause feature, as I usually do a diaper change in the middle of nursing to wake up my baby. I do, however, wish it had an option to add notes to a feed. Sometimes my baby is drowsy and doesn’t eat as vigorously as other times and I wish I could note this. I also could use this feature to note when medicine or vitamins are given.”

Get it at the Apple App Store.

Breastfeeding Tracker for Androids

We love this free app because, like Milk N Mamas Baby, it’s made by a mom for other moms! This Android-friendly app allows you to track breastfeeding, complementary feeding, sleeps, crying, weight, height and head circumference, pumping times, temperature and even arbitrary self-defined events like nappies or fever. Even better – you can sync with your partner, nanny, or grandparents to share vital information.

Reviewer Katie Garretson says, “After my second child was born, I was just plain tired and didn’t feel like I had the mental space to track feeding/diapers/everything else by hand like I did for my first child. This app has been worth every penny I paid. I went ahead and paid for all of the features, and I’ve used most of them already. I like that everything is editable, and that it tracks how long since the last feed from the beginning of the feed, which is what my midwives and lactation consultants said to do.”

Get it at Google Play.

Baby Daybook for Androids and iPhones

This free app has a few more bells and whistles than the previous two apps, including food logging, potty training, and health tracking, a timeline of your child’s day and a photo album, to name a few.

Reviewer Elliot Rivers says, “This app is awesome. I never rate anything but felt moved to rate this one for how much it has helped us keep track of the complexities of newborn-dom. We track everything in here. The Google Assistant integration, though, is the clear standout feature; logging data is hands free. (Even works with custom Google Home routines).”

Get it at Google Play or the Apple App Store.

woman breastfeeding baby on a beach

World Breastfeeding Week 2021: a celebration of the benefits of breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated each year from August 1 to August 7 in more than 120 countries. This year, the theme is “Protect Breastfeeding: a shared responsibility.”

Obviously, breastfeeding is a responsibility that should be shared within a family. While fathers may not be able to produce breastmilk, they can certainly help mothers by providing support, taking on other responsibilities that usually fall on the mother, and even feeding baby with a bottle at night so mom can get much needed sleep.

However, I think the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, the original founders of the annual celebration, may have had something bigger in mind. After all, breastfeeding isn’t just good for moms and babies. It’s good for society. Breastfed babies are healthier and have fewer medical problems, which reduces healthcare strain on communities.

That means that everyone should get behind moms who are breastfeeding. I’d like to see more local organizations that support breastfeeding, like farmer’s markets that offer coupons for breastfeeding and partially-breastfeeding women to ensure a healthy diet. I’d like to see more corporate efforts to protect this important service that mothers provide, like Target, whose breastfeeding policy received praise after it was recently posted on Facebook.

Being a mom under any conditions is both rewarding and exhausting. Likewise, breastfeeding has too many benefits for everyone to count, but it does take a toll on moms, who can feel “touched out” after a day of nursing. This week, pay special attention to the breastfeeding moms in your life and let them know you’re proud of them. Offer to lend a hand if you’ve got the time.

And if you’re the breastfeeding mom, I want you to know that I’m proud of you. Keep up the labor of love. You’re not just improving the health of your own child – you’re improving the health of your family, your community, and the world.

How does breast milk protect babies from COVID?

We already knew breast milk was an immune booster

We were telling you the health benefits of breast milk way back in 2019. It contains all the essential nutrients your baby needs to develop. It’s also rich in immune cells and reduces the risk of asthma and allergies, among other childhood and lifelong illnesses. In fact, one study we cited in that earlier post described breast milk as “required for optimal infant growth and development.”

You can’t get much better press than that. Or can you?

The news about breast milk’s health benefits keeps getting better

A University of Birmingham study released in 2021 found that immune cells called regulatory T cells are nearly twice as abundant in breastfed babies as in formula fed babies. In addition, the study found that bacteria that support T cells are more abundant in the guts of breastfed babies. Optimally-functioning T cells are critical today as they play a key role in immunity to foreign substances, includng COVID-19.

T cells known as “killer T cells” can target and destroy virus-infected cells. Scientists hope that they may help provide some immunity to COVID-19, according to a recent Nature article. While T cells can’t prevent infection, they can reduce the severity of it as well as reducing transmission.

But wait – there’s more! Breast milk also passes on COVID-19 vaccine benefits

Early studies of COVID-19 vaccines excluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, which led many moms to wonder if they should risk getting vaccinated. However, new data is in from a study that explored the use of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in both groups of women. The news is good!

The study showed that vaccine-induced antibody levels were much higher than levels induced by natural infection with COVID-19 during pregnancy. Further, the researchers found that those same antibodies were transferred to babies from mothers via umbilical cord blood and breast milk.

“We now have clear evidence the COVID vaccines can induce immunity that will protect infants,” said researcher Galit Alter in an interview with U.S. News and World Report. “We hope this study will catalyze vaccine developers to recognize the importance of studying pregnant and lactating individuals and include them in trials. The potential for rational vaccine design to drive improved outcomes for mothers and infants is limitless, but developers must realize that pregnancy is a distinct immunological state, where two lives can be saved simultaneously with a powerful vaccine.”

Breast milk for the win – again

Naturally, we’re not surprised. We’ve known breast milk is a little bit scientific wonder and a little bit mother’s magic for a while. We just wanted you to know that the love you pass on to your little one when you’re nursing is a pretty big deal in the fight against COVID-19 and other preventable illnesses.

Will pumping help me lose weight?

What is the “ideal” weight gain during pregnancy?

It’s healthy for women to gain weight during their pregnancy. How much weight gain is normal depends on your weight pre-pregnancy. A woman with a BMI of 18.5-24.9, considered by the CDC to be “normal weight,” should gain between 25 and 35 pounds. A woman who was underweight before pregnancy should put on a little more. A woman who is overweight or obese should put on less.

Women who don’t gain enough weight many deliver an undersized baby, which can make breastfeeding more difficult. It may also put the baby at increased risk of illness and developmental delays. Gaining too much weight can lead to a larger baby, which can result in delivery complications and potential childhood obesity.

Where does the extra weight go?

About 7 to 8 pounds of your pregnancy weight gain is actual baby weight. The rest of the weight gain shows up in larger breasts and uterus, placenta and amniotic fluid, increased blood and fluid volumes, and fat stores. These fat stores, which can account for up to 8 pounds of pregnancy weight gain, are critical to breastmilk production.

Nursing and pumping both help to trim the fat

The “extra” fat that your body gains during pregnancy isn’t actually extra at all. Your body is storing up the main ingredient in healthy breastmilk. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that breastfeeding and pumping breastmilk both lead to increased weight loss after delivery. Your body is using up those fat stores to feed baby. Not only are you shedding the fat that becomes the milk, converting that fat into milk burns about 500-700 calories per day.

One study found that weight loss from one to twelve months postpartum was “significantly greater” in breastfeeding than in formula-feeding women. Another study found that breastfeeding or pumping could have long term benefits. Women who breastfed for more than 12 weeks postpartun were on average 7.5 pounds lighter ten years after their pregnancy than those who did not breastfeed.

How often should you pump?

If you’re exclusively pumping, you can expect to pump 8 to 10 times per day to start. Over time, you may be able to pump less frequently. However, more frequent pumping will lead to speedier weight loss.

Continue to eat healthy while pumping and breastfeeding

It’s normal to want to drop those pregnancy pounds, but remember that they’re the building blocks of your baby’s healthy future. Don’t rush weight loss. Allow your body a month or two to heal and to establish your milk supply. Consume at least 1800 calories/day of nutrient-rich foods while you’re producing breastmilk. By pairing a healthy diet with breastfeeding or pumping, healthy weight loss will come naturally.

Choose a comfortable, easy-to-use breast pump

Choosing a pump that fits your lifestyle and your body will make it easier to pump more frequently and over a longer period of time. At Milk N Mamas Baby, we provide moms with a wide selection of the most comfortable, innovative breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories on the market. Our in-house experts can help you identify the pump that meets your needs.

Give us a call or email us today to learn more about our breast pumps and how to get one that is 100% covered by your insurance provider.

Is it safe to use marijuana while breastfeeding?

How legalizing cannabis changes our view of it

After years of debate, the U.S. House passed a bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level in 2020. It looks as if prospects for the federal decriminalization of marijuana may be just around the corner. For many Americans, this is a welcome change as medical marijuana has many benefits with few side effects. This may send the message that cannabis is safe to use while breastfeeding. However, evidence has shown that marijuana use can be harmful to nursing babies.

How does weed affect breastmilk?

Marijuana has more than 400 chemicals, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinal (THC), the plant’s main pychoactive component. When a breastfeeding mother uses cannabis, some of the chemicals get into her milk supply. According to a study conducted in 2018, more than 6 in 10 women who used weed had detectable levels of THC in their breastmilk samples up to six days after their last use. Another study found that it could stay in a woman’s system for as long as six weeks.

This is likely due to the fact that breastmilk is highly fatty, and both THC and CBD bind heavily to fats. While alcohol is dispensed from breastmilk at the same rate it leaves the blood, the chemicals found in marijuana tend to build up in breastmilk. In fact, the same report found that a mother could have eight times as much THC in her milk as in her blood.

How do THC and CBD affect newborns?

Very little human research has been conducted in recent years, so it’s hard to say with 100% certainty how THC and CBD affect newborns. A study of suckling mice exposed to cannabis extract showed decreased weight gain. A study of rats exposed to THC in utero found that exposure leads to lasting neurodevelopmental impairment. What these mean for human babies is hard to say.

However, THC does inhibit the production of prolactin, the hormone that controls milk production. Further, some studies have shown that babies exposed to THC may not nurse as long or as vigorously.

What does the CDC say about using marijuana while breastfeeding?

While data is currently limited on the effects of marijuana use while breastfeeding, the CDC provides the following guidance:

Data on the effects of marijuana and CBD exposure to the infant through breastfeeding are limited and conflicting. To limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding mothers should be advised not to use marijuana or marijuana-containing products in any form, including those containing CBD, while breastfeeding.

Talk to your doctor about using marijuana while breastfeeding

If you’ve been using marijuana medicinally, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about how to proceed while you’re breastfeeding. They will be able to advise you on possible alternatives or best use scenarios.

young mother breastfeeding baby on train

Here’s to strong women

May we know them

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’re proud to support the strongest women we know – new moms. You’ve carried another life for nine months, nurturing it and protecting it. You’ve endured excruciating pain to deliver your newborn safely into the world, and you sacrifice daily to give your children everything they need to grow up healthy, strong, and happy.

If you’re one of our clients, you’ve chosen to breastfeed because you believe it gives your babies the healthiest start possible. And you’re right.

However, breastfeeding can be a challenge. It’s not always a walk in the park. Even moms who have the opportunity to stay home while nursing experience ups and downs. It can be exhausting and frustrating to adjust to a new life with baby.

We know working moms who are faced with guilt and fatigue as they try to squeeze pumping into their busy schedule. Likewise, many of our clients are enlisted in the military. They face an endless round of responsibilities and regimens in addition to their role as mom. Nevertheless, they remain just as committed to nursing and pumping to provide their newborns the health boost offered by breast milk.

We are proud to know you, and you inspire us daily to go the extra mile: for you, for our own kids, and for all the women we come in contact with.

May we be them

We’re moms, too, and we’re also working women. We started Milk N Mamas Baby to provide a convenient, compassionate service to the hard-working women we admire. We started it because we believe in the power of breastfeeding to build healthy humans and healthy bonds between mothers and their children.

It’s not been easy to build a business from the ground up, but we’re strong women. We believe in this work, and we think it’s worth the long days. We hope you feel our enthusiasm and our commitment when you call us for support.

May we raise them

Whether you’re a mom nursing at home, a mom pumping breastmilk on her lunch break, or a mom in the military, you’ve got our admiration. More importantly, you’ve got the admiration of all those little girls you’re helping raise. You’re showing them all the things that are possible for strong women. Here’s to you, mama!

Mother and Newborn Baby

Milk n Mamas Baby Pump and Breastfeed Schedule

Pump and Breastfeed Schedule – An Average Day

There is so much to learn when you become a new parent, and at times it can seem overwhelming. That’s because as it is with your newborn, everything – and we mean literally everything – is new. That’s not to make it sound as though it’s too much, as it’s anything but, yet there is a learning curve involved with certain things. 

One of those is feeding, which along with sleep is about the most important aspect of a newborn’s life. There are a lot of new Moms out there trying to put together a breastfeed schedule and work in some pumping at the same time. Like most other things with a baby, routine is key, so Milk n Mamas Baby is going to lay out what could be a typical day for you. Just keep in mind that if you need to do things differently, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Every baby is different as are his or her needs and norms.

Breastfeeding Comes First

The first idea you should keep in mind if a breastfeed schedule is something you desire is that direct feeding should take priority over pumping. We’re going to start the day at midnight, since every new parent knows that the difference between day and night doesn’t really exist with a newborn. When they’re up, they’re up, and when they’re hungry, it’s time to eat! Therefore, you should plan on breastfeeding your newborn every 2-3 hours throughout the day including at least once at night. For sake of this breakdown, let’s say that you feed your newborn at 3 a.m. 

Give Yourself Time to Pump

If it typically takes you about 30 minutes to breastfeed your child and then to complete the burping routine, you probably could use a break. Following the set example, let’s assume that you need to breastfeed your baby again at 6 a.m. If you’re finished at 6:30, then your first pump of the day should come at around 7 a.m. That 30 minutes between the completion of the previous feed and the pumping is an important aspect of the breastfeed schedule, as your body will need time to regenerate milk.

Remaining Pumps For the Day

Assuming your breastfeed schedule continues in form, you’ll be feeding your child every three hours throughout the day. Therefore, if you feed your child at 9 a.m. and again at noon, you should pump after the noon feeding. That would mean you’d pump at around 1 p.m. The rest of the day should follow the same pattern, with your final pump coming after your 9 p.m. feed. Overall, pumping three times in a day is about the maximum that most Moms can handle.

Overall Considerations

A breastfeed schedule is going to make life easier, but when to pump when breastfeeding a newborn is going to depend somewhat on your personal circumstances. Trust your instincts, but remember that breastfeeding always takes precedent, and if your baby gets hungry during “off” times he or she should be fed. 
That said, like everything else these days, you will most likely work towards and achieve a successful breastfeed schedule, and we look forward to working with you on providing all the feeding supplies you need.

Mother holding cute baby in bandana

The Best Breast Pump Brands of 2021

Breastfeeding is a natural part of raising babies. While some mothers decide to exclusively breastfeed, others may breastfeed only occasionally or not at all, in which case they’ll need to rely on pumping to build up stores of breast milk for each feeding. That’s better than relying on formula to feed your child the nutrients they need, and a breast pump allows you to meet the needs of your growing child.

If you’re a mother that doesn’t have the time during the day to breastfeed your child, especially if they spend the day with a caretaker, a breast pump makes feeding easy because anyone can step in while you take care of whatever else you’ve got going on. A breast pump can also give you flexibility during nighttime feedings or in the afternoon if you’re unavailable for a feeding, and they can also relieve engorgement when you’re out and about.

Best Breast Pump Brands – Types

While just about any breast pump can relieve pressure and help you build up your child’s personal store of mother’s milk, pumping in 2020 has come a long way from the contraptions that have been used in years past. In general, the best breast pump brand will have many options and models for you to choose from. After all, not all breast pumping needs are singular, and sometimes one breast pump works best in a certain scenario that would be wholly inappropriate for another.

Types of breast pumps include double-electric breast pumps, single-electric breast pumps, battery-operated breast pumps and manual breast pumps, though the one that’s best for you depends on your precise need. The best double breast pump allows you to pump both breasts at the same time, allowing you to get more milk out of your pumping sessions, while the best electric breast pump may be a bad call if you’re commuting or you don’t have access to an electrical outlet. Even a manual pump may be the best option for you if price and weight is an important consideration.

Best Breast Pump Brands – Closed or Open?

After choosing a type, the next consideration is whether you want a closed-system pump or an open-system pump. Closed-system pumps separate the milk from the machine via a barrier, while open-system pumps lack this barrier, sending milk throughout the system and into the bottle. Closed systems tend to be more hygienic and easier to clean and sterilize, though they also tend to be more expensive.

Best Breast Pump Brands – What To Look For

While 2020 certainly has no shortage of breast pump options, the best breast pump brand for you depends on your specific needs. Weight, noise, access to an outlet, hands-free operation and cost are all important considerations, and just one is enough to make what looked like a good option a no-go if one of your important criteria aren’t met.

The good news is that breast pumps are often covered by insurance, so cost is manageable to a certain extent. That said, you may need an extra pump at the office or in the car, so if you’re buying your second or third pump, cost may be an important consideration.

The Best Breast Pumps

Forget about specific brands, here are the best breast pumps for various uses:

The best breast pump for working moms is the Spectra S2 Breast Pump.

The best portable or battery-powered pump is the BabyBuddha Complete Kit.
For more breast pump suggestions, please visit our breast pump page.

Mother holding child

Does Insurance Cover Breast Pumps? An Overview

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Breastfeeding is a wonderful, healthy, and bonding way to nourish your newborn, and some mothers will extend the period of breastfeeding well into infanthood. That’s mostly because of the enormous health benefits that breastfeeding provides that simply cannot be replicated with any formula, but in many cases, it’s also a wise economical decision given that synthetic formula can be quite expensive, especially over time. However, that doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is free, as there are costs involved relating to equipment.

The central component of breastfeeding, at least as your child gets a bit older and you want to get ahead of things a bit, is the breast pump. Breast pumps can carry a bit of a cost, but a lot of new mothers out there are likely asking themselves, “Does insurance cover breast pumps?” There are several possible answers to this question, but Milk n Mamas Baby will work through this situation below by way of some recommendations of how you should proceed to find your answer.

 

Work Ahead

If you’re expecting and you plan on breastfeeding, it’s best to check with your insurance company before the child arrives to find out what you need to know about your coverage. Yes, this only adds to an already-long list of things to do, but the last thing you want to deal with when caring for an infant is haggling and working through red tape. Instead, contact your insurance company to find out:

 

  1. What types of breast pumps are covered, if any;
  2. How long breast pumps are covered;
  3. How the ordering and claim process works; and
  4. When you should make that order.

Unfortunately, dealing directly with your insurance company may not lead to the result you desire quickly, so you may need to keep digging and working

 

Work With a Renowned Equipment Provider

If you’d like to avoid all of this red tape as you look for your answer to the question of whether or not insurance covers breast pumps, you can work directly with a nursing equipment provider who deals with this sort of thing every day. One such provider is, of course, Milk n Mamas Baby. We provide only the best breast pumps that the market has to offer, and we work not only with insurance companies, but also with expecting and new Moms to make sure that they get the breast pumps and other equipment they need to provide their little ones with their much needed and vital nutrition.

The answer to the question, “Does insurance cover breast pumps?” is actually a simple yes in most situations, but getting to that yes can take some work. If you have it in you to deal with insurance bureaucracy and achieve the desired result on your own, take the step recommended above. If you don’t, then all you need to do is contact Milk n Mamas Baby and we’ll take care of this process for you so you don’t have to worry. Go ahead and take a look at our product offerings, but if you have any questions about our breast pumps, how to have them covered or any of our other products or services, feel free to contact us at any time.