Breastfeeding

If you’re here, you probably already know the numerous benefits of breastmilk for newborns and babies. It’s the perfect nutrition for your infant, tailored precisely to their changing needs. However, not all babies take to breastfeeding. Some babies struggle with learning to latch while others, most notably pre-term babies and those with fragile health, may have difficulty sucking. One common breastfeeding challenge is called tongue-tie, which affects nearly 1 in 20 newborns. What is tongue-tie? Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, restricts the range of motion of a newborn’s tongue, causing breastfeeding difficulties. Infants use their tongue to draw in the nipple and areola while breastfeeding. Tongue-tied babies may be unable to secure a successful latch because their lingual frenulum, the band of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is unusually short or tight. The following signs may indicate tongue-tie: • Tongue doesn’t stick out past gums • Tongue mobility is limited • Tip of the tongue may appear V-shaped or heart shaped when baby sticks it out What are the symptoms of tongue-tie? As you might expect, the chief symptom of tongue-tie is frustration. However, there are other signs that may indicate tongue-tie, including: • Chewing rather than sucking on the nipples • Inadequate weight gain • Unusually long feeding sessions • Fussiness during feeding Baby won’t be the only person suffering from tongue-tie. Moms may experience it as follows: • Painful breastfeeding • Sore or cracked nipples • Mastitis or engorged breasts What causes tongue-tie and how is it treated? Tongue-tie has been a source of medical mystery for centuries. To date, scientists are unsure exactly what causes it, but it does seem to be genetic. Furthermore, it affects male babies more frequently than females. There are two treatments for tongue-tie: frenotomy, a basic out-patient procedure in which the frenulum is clipped by a doctor, and frenuloplasty, which is necessary when the frenulum is too thick for a snip. The former rarely requires sedation, but the latter does. How does a breast pump ease the stress of tongue-tie? If your baby is tongue-tied, and you’re suffering as a result, you may be inclined to abandon breastfeeding. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on the health benefits of breastmilk. A breast pump allows you to have the best of both worlds. It prevents engorgement and mastitis while maintaining a healthy supply of breastmilk for baby. Talk with a lactation consultant and your baby’s pediatrician to get the best answers for your situation. Get in touch with Milk N Mamas Baby for the best advice on choosing a breast pump

Using a breast pump to provide breastmilk to a tongue-tied baby

If you’re here, you probably already know the numerous benefits of breastmilk for newborns and babies. It’s the perfect nutrition for your infant, tailored precisely to their changing needs. However, not all babies take to breastfeeding. Some babies struggle with learning to latch while others, most notably pre-term babies and those with fragile health, may have difficulty sucking. One common breastfeeding challenge is called tongue-tie, which affects nearly 1 in 20 newborns.

What is tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, restricts the range of motion of a newborn’s tongue, causing breastfeeding difficulties. Infants use their tongue to draw in the nipple and areola while breastfeeding. Tongue-tied babies may be unable to secure a successful latch because their lingual frenulum, the band of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is unusually short or tight. The following signs may indicate tongue-tie:

  • Tongue doesn’t stick out past gums
  • Tongue mobility is limited
  • Tip of the tongue may appear V-shaped or heart shaped when baby sticks it out

What are the symptoms of tongue-tie?

As you might expect, the chief symptom of tongue-tie is frustration. However, there are other signs that may indicate tongue-tie, including:

  • Chewing rather than sucking on the nipples
  • Inadequate weight gain
  • Unusually long feeding sessions
  • Fussiness during feeding

Baby won’t be the only person suffering from tongue-tie. Moms may experience it as follows:

  • Painful breastfeeding
  • Sore or cracked nipples
  • Mastitis or engorged breasts

What causes tongue-tie and how is it treated?

Tongue-tie has been a source of medical mystery for centuries. To date, scientists are unsure exactly what causes it, but it does seem to be genetic. Furthermore, it affects male babies more frequently than females.

There are two treatments for tongue-tie: frenotomy, a basic out-patient procedure in which the frenulum is clipped by a doctor, and frenuloplasty, which is necessary when the frenulum is too thick for a snip. The former rarely requires sedation, but the latter does.

How does a breast pump ease the stress of tongue-tie?

If your baby is tongue-tied, and you’re suffering as a result, you may be inclined to abandon breastfeeding. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on the health benefits of breastmilk. A breast pump allows you to have the best of both worlds. It prevents engorgement and mastitis while maintaining a healthy supply of breastmilk for baby.

Talk with a lactation consultant and your baby’s pediatrician to get the best answers for your situation. Get in touch with Milk N Mamas Baby for the best advice on choosing a breast pump.

overhead view of cute baby with pacifier sleeping on bed with teddy bear

Pros and cons of using a pacifier while breastfeeding

The purpose of a pacifier is right in the name. It pacifies, or calms down, an unhappy or complaining baby. That makes this inexpensive little tool quite handy for new parents, especially those who may have a colicky baby. However, many breastfeeding moms worry that giving baby a pacifier might lead to breastfeeding challenges or other health problem. What does science say?

The Big Picture

Sucking is an instinct for newborns, but it takes time to perfect it. Babies and moms need a few weeks of practice to get the hang of best latching positions and ideal sucking techniques. Babies use a different sucking technique when using a pacifier or a bottle than when nursing at the breast, which can confuse babies as they learn the ropes. Introducing a pacifier or bottle during the early weeks of breastfeeding can cause some bad nursing habits or nursing frustrations for baby. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting until baby is one month or older before introducing a pacifier to make sure baby has mastered breastfeeding.

Pacifier Pros

We don’t need a study to know that pacifiers give non-breastfeeding caregivers a tool for soothing newborns while mom takes a break. They also make travel, especially on planes and other public transportation, much more pleasant. You may be surprised to learn that there are science-backed benefits of thoughtful pacifier use, too.

  • Giving baby a pacifier at naptime and/or bedtime may reduce the risk of SIDS, according to the AAP.
  • A 2011 study of premature infants found that those who sucked a pacifier while listening to lullabies transitioned more successfully to oral feeding.
  • A 2016 study of pacifier-use after lactation is established did not shorten the duration of breastfeeding or reduce breast milk production.
  • A 2015 study found that pacifier-use can provide some relief for babies experiencing pain or discomfort related to colic, vaccinations, injury, medical procedures, or sickness.

Pacifier Cons

As with most choices we make as parents, whether to use a pacifier or not is complicated. Despite all the perks, they can be a breeding ground for germs. Weaning children from their binkies can be a huge emotional challenge if they’re very attached. Scientists have also found some potential medical problems related to pacifier use.

  • According to the AAP, introducing a pacifier too early can contribute to nipple confusion and lead to difficulties in latching. These issues can, in turn, create more serious problems for mom, like mastitis, and baby, like weight loss.
  • A 2013 study revealed that pacifier use, especially after six months, may lead to Acute Otitis Media (AOM), or ear infections.
  • A 2018 scientific review found evidence that pacifier sucking, especially long-term, can lead to orthodontic problems, most notably an anterior open bite and posterior crossbite.

Use pacifiers safely and thoughtfully for maximum benefit and minimum harm.

If you choose to use a pacifier, consider waiting until you and baby have gotten comfortable with your nursing routines. Keep the pacifier sanitized to avoid thrush and other bacterial infections, and choose a one-piece pacifier that is the proper size for your child to prevent the possibility of choking.

Caucasian blonde baby six months old lying on cozy knitted blanket at home Kid wearing green clothes

How breastfeeding protects children from obesity

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese children worldwide has increased ten-fold in the last four decades. The Pennsylvania Department of Health found that nearly 2 out of every 10 elementary school-age children in the state were considered obese during the 2017─2018 school year. Obesity should concern all parents because it’s related to other chronic health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Fortunately, breastfeeding can significantly reduce your child’s risk of obesity, especially when paired with other prevention strategies.

Exclusive breastfeeding provides the greatest protection against obesity.

The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months to gain the greatest overall health benefits provided by breastmilk. A recent study found that exclusively breastfed infants have a 31% lower chance of developing obesity later in life. However, any breastfeeding at all will provide some protection.

How does breastfeeding prevent obesity?

Breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for newborns, according to medical experts. Because it is created specifically for infants, it is easier to digest than formula and it provides exactly the nutrients your baby needs. In addition, breast milk is “controlled” by your baby’s appetite. Because breastfed babies are better able to regulate their food intake, they run a lower risk of obesity.

When does a newborn require solids?

Introducing solids or formula early increases the risk of childhood obesity and its associated risks later in life. It can also increase your child’s risk of developing food allergies. If you’re able to exclusively breastfeed your baby, she won’t need solids until she’s six months old.

Seek help when breastfeeding to get all the benefits your baby deserves.

The same study of Pennsylvania childhood obesity rates found that mothers who received support from profession lactation counselors were more likely to continue breastfeeding for the first six months. A lactation counselor can help you determine the best way to hold your baby and learn how to identify your baby’s feeding cues. She can also give you invaluable guidance and emotional support when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

We’re here when you need us.

For moms who have a difficult time breastfeeding or who must return to work, pumping can be a viable option to ensure that your baby gets all the nutritional and health benefits of breast milk. At Milk N Mamas Baby, our lactation experts can help you successfully navigate the early days of breastfeeding and pumping and ensure long-term success as well. We can help you choose a pump that maximizes both your comfort and your breastmilk production and offer tips to get you over the bumps. Give us a call today to learn more about the benefits of breast milk and how to incorporate pumping.

Home portrait of a newborn baby with mother on the bed. Mom holding and kissing her child. Concept breast feeding.

Natural remedies for cracked, sore nipples

If you’re a breastfeeding mom experiencing itchy, irritated, or even bleeding nipples, you’re not alone. A 2017 medical study showed that most moms experience sore nipples during their first months of breastfeeding. In a recent post, we talked about some of the common causes of nipple soreness and possible solutions.

However, there’s likely to be an adjustment period, no matter what you do, especially if this is your first time breastfeeding. A lanolin cream like the one in Medela Accessory Starter Set will soothe and rehydrate painful nipples. But if you have wool allergies, lanolin probably isn’t for you. Fortunately, there are some natural remedies for cracked, sore nipples.

Breastmilk

Your own breastmilk is full of antibodies that can prevent infection while relieving tenderness. It’s as easy as applying breastmilk to your nipple after a feeding and allowing it to dry. As wild as it may sound, one cure for sore nipples is breastmilk. Breastmilk contains antibodies that can prevent infection and soothe sore nipples. Gently apply breastmilk to your nipple and allow it to dry after each feeding.

Aloe Vera

A 2020 medical study showed that the anti-inflammatory and anti-infection herb aloe vera can improve nipple soreness considerably. It may even be more effective than breastmilk. An aloe plant is great to have in your kitchen anyway, as it can also help heal burns. Simply cut off a piece of aloe, slice the stem open, and apply the gel inside to your nipples. Allow to air dry as with breastmilk.

Olive Oil

Yes, there’s another ingredient in your kitchen that can help nipple soreness – olive oil. Actually, both olive oil and coconut oil have been shown to have positive effects on painful nipples, but olive oil appears to be slightly more effective. It’s also in more people’s cabinets, and it’s very affordable.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, which can reduce irritated skin around the nipples. It can also prevent itching associated with inflamed and aggravated breasts.

Saline Soak

Some soreness is normal, but cracks and fissures should be minimum. If your nipples have been damaged, a saline soak of ½ teaspoon Epsom salt to 1 cup of warm water can offer some healing support. Soak nipples for five minutes twice a day for up to three days for maximum relief. Be sure to rinse and air dry after soaking.

Take care of you

Getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and eating healthy meals are all important to keeping your immune response in peak condition. That’s half the battle. Preventative measures like wearing absorbent breast pads and comfortable nursing bras are also important. Need to talk to someone about nipple pain caused by breastfeeding? We’re here for you. Give us a call.

Young mom with cute baby boy, mother breast feeds baby on bed, natural tones

Must-have accessories for breastfeeding moms

We’re hoping you’re spoiling the new mom in your life with dinners that she doesn’t have to cook and cozy pajamas that she’ll have plenty of time to sleep in. While you’re spoiling her, make sure her necessities are stocked up. If she’s planning to breastfeed, we recommend these must-have accessories to make her life easier and more comfortable.

Nursing Bras and Pumping Bustiers

A comfortable nursing bra is a must for nursing mothers. They provide support for tender breasts as well as easy, discreet access for breastfeeding babies. They also offer coverage and prevent leakage when nipples leak. If you’re pumping, you should also invest in a hands-free pumping bra like the Medela Easy Expression Bustier or the Simple Wishes Pumping Bra.

Tip: Wait until later in your third trimester to purchase a nursing bra or bustier. Your breast size will peak at around eight months and remain at that cup size for several months postpartum.

Nursing Pads

Nursing pads absorb leaks between feedings, keeping your bra and your nipples drier. This prevents irritation and promotes air flow to tender skin. Pads also provide a soft barrier to prevent your bra from rubbing sore, bruised nipples.

Tip: Medela Washable Nursing Pads can be tossed in with the laundry, saving on the cost of constantly replacing pads.

Nipple Cream

During the first few weeks of breastfeeding, it’s common for nipples to become more sensitive. Nursing can cause the tender skin to dry out, to become cracked and itchy, and sometimes to bleed. Over time, your body gets used to the new conditions, and your nipples will heal. During those first few weeks, though, a good nipple cream can ease your pain and speed up recovery.

Tip: You can get a 12 oz. tube of Medela Tender Care Lanolin for Tender Breasts PLUS disposable nursing bra pads, breastmilk bags, and more in the Medela Accessory Starter Set.

Totes

In some cultures, mothers stay in bed with their newborn for the first month or more to give both time to get to know one another and adjust to their new life together. That’s not the way here, though. Moms are up and at ‘em earlier than ever, and if that’s your plan, plan to be carrying a tote or two along with your new bundle of joy.

Tip: You can pick up stylish cooler bags, breast pump bags, and even bundles of bags in a variety of colors and patterns from Milk N Mamas Baby when you purchase your breast pump.

Portable Pump

If you’re going to be an on-the-go kind of mom, a portable pump is a must-have accessory. We love the hands-free Elvie Stride if you’re planning to pump while traveling, but it’s also great for pumping around the house, at work, or running errands. We’ve even seen women wearing the Stride on ski slopes!

Tip: If you’ve got an FSA/HSA card, you can use your funds to purchase a portable pump like the Stride or the lightweight BabyBuddha®  to compliment your normal use pump.

Pick up everything a breastfeeding mom needs at Milk N Mamas Baby

From pumps to accessories, at Milk N Mamas Baby, we’ve got everything you need for a comfortable breastfeeding and pumping experience. Give us a call to get started.

Tired mom breastfeeding baby

What to do about sore nipples from breastfeeding

If you’re a first-time mom, there’s a solid chance you have or are experiencing nipple pain during and even after breastfeeding. This isn’t speculation. A 2017 medical study revealed that being a new mom naturally predisposes you to some amount of nipple pain. Believe it or not, that’s actually good news. It means that the pain is likely to go away with time and experience.

Why are first-time moms more likely to experience sore, cracked nipples?

If parenting was a video game, the cool kids would call you a noob. You’ve never done it before, so there’s no reason to believe you and baby are going to get it exactly right from day one. Even if a lactation consultant spoke with you at the hospital, there’s a good chance you were so goofy with exhaustion, you missed some of the tips.

Breastfeeding seems like it should be easy and natural, so you may feel embarrassed that it’s not happening as organically as you’d imagined. To make matters worse for a boob noob, people often feel uncomfortable talking about breasts and breastfeeding in our society. You may feel awkward bringing the conversation up, or you may not know who to ask for guidance. In either case, you end up suffering in silence, which can actually aggravate nipple pain.

Don’t forget that you’re also exhausted from nine months of pregnancy and then however many hours or days of labor and delivery. Honey, if you came out of all that a natural born pro at breastfeeding, well, that would be pretty impressive. You absolutely should be feeling tired during those first months and being tired makes everything a little bit harder.

What are some of the main causes of nipple pain and are they fixable?

Baby’s latch needs some work. Your baby is new at this, too, and may need a little help. They need to be able to grasp enough breast tissue for your nipple to be positioned deep in their mouth.

1.      Make sure baby’s mouth is open wide and their tongue is cupped and forward before they latch on.

2.      Make sure their lower lip is fanned out and not tucked in.

3.      Try a few different positions like “The Football” and “The Cradle” to see if that helps improve baby’s latch.

 

Baby is super duper hungry and nursing vigorously. Crying is a late stage of hunger (as any woman who has ever experienced “hanger” knows), and once a baby is crying, they’re more likely to suckle in a way that can be less comfortable for mom.

Be on the lookout for early warning signs of hunger including:

1.      Puckering lips,

2.      Sucking on hands or fingers,

3.      Moving head side to side.

Then, feed baby before they take it out on the nipple.

 

Baby is hanging out on the nipple after they’ve finished nursing because it’s comforting.

Babies are so cute it can be hard to say no to comfort suckling, but this can lead to nipple pain, so be strong and just say no anyway.

 

Pulling baby’s mouth away from the breast without breaking the suction first. This can cause damage to your sensitive breast tissue.

1.      When possible, allow baby to finish nursing and release naturally.

2.      If you must detach the baby while they’re nursing, break the suction by pressing down on your breast near baby’s mouth or by gently pulling down on baby’s chin.

 

Tight bras and drying soaps.

Since your breasts are especially sensitive now, keep them comfortable with a properly fitting bra and soaps and detergents that don’t aggravate your skin.

 

Mother Nature’s sore nipple elixir

As wild as it may sound, one cure for sore nipples is breastmilk. Breastmilk contains antibodies that can prevent infection and soothe sore nipples. Gently apply breastmilk to your nipple and allow it to dry after each feeding.

The other part of the equation is time and practice, just like with anything else. For most moms, getting the hang of positioning baby, anticipating baby’s needs, and taking care of your own needs will eventually lead to a pain-free, pleasant breastfeeding experience.

The pumpkin spice news breastfeeding moms have been waiting for

Autumn is officially here, and that means it’s pumpkin spice season. While motherhood often means sacrificing things you love (like that tenth cup of coffee if you’re breastfeeding), one thing you don’t have to sacrifice this October is the flavor of fall. We all suspected there was magic in pumpkin spice, and it turns out, we weren’t wrong.

Pumpkin boosts breastmilk production

“Galactagogue” is one of our favorite words around here, and not just because it’s fun to say and sounds like a comic book villain. According to the National Institute for Health, “Galactagogues are synthetic or plant molecules used to induce, maintain, and increase milk production.” We’ve covered a few of them in past blog posts, and The Great Pumpkin falls into that celebrated food group, too.

How pumpkins benefit breastmilk

  • Pumpkins have antioxidant and antibacterial agents that improve the immune system of moms and babies.
  • The bright orange glow of a pumpkin marks it as a food rich in health-boosting nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin A, and potassium, and it’s a low calorie source of fiber.
  • Studies show that eating pumpkin and other galactagogues is significantly correlated to increased milk volume.

But it’s not just pumpkin that’s good for milk production…the spices are, too!

That’s right! Cinnamon is a traditional herbal treatment to enhance milk production. Cinnamon falls into a class of plants called “nervine herbs,” which means herbs that help reduce anxiety. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, stress can impact milk production, so add a little cinnamon to your pumpkin to ease stress-causing anxiety.

Like cinnamon, ginger has a long history with breastfeeding moms. It many areas, it’s still given to women after childbirth to stimulate milk production. Research is underway, but at least one study has already returned some promising results, so throw a pinch of ginger in that pie!

Happy pumpkin spice season, mamas!

It was a long summer, and I think most of us are good and ready for fall. It’s time to rest and recuperate. Go ahead and enjoy a little hibernation, mama bear, and indulge in that pumpkin spice magic. You deserve it.

If you’re headed out and about to the coffee shop for your favorite fall brew, you’ll need a fashionable bag, and we think this Sarah Wells version is perfect for the fall! Pick yours up today while you’re here.beautiful breast pump bag for fall

 

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.