Breastfeeding

Happy mother laughing while carrying a smiling baby on her back in a baby carrier next to the beach

What to know about breastfeeding during hot summer months

Breastfeeding moms want to enjoy summer fun, too.

After a long winter in confinement, a lot of new moms are touched out and stir crazy. They’re ready to escape with their little ones into the great outdoors. They want in on the fun, sweaty summertime activities: boating, beachcombing, biking, hiking. Good news! You can breastfeed on the go even during the hottest months if you take a few precautions.

Dehydration is a serious threat to babies and breastfeeding moms.

Your newborn’s small body puts them at greater risk of dehydration when temperatures rise. Continue to nurse them as usual to keep them hydrated. Breast milk contains electrolytes and other nutrients baby needs during the hot summer.

That being said, breast milk is nearly 90% water, which makes hydration extremely important for breastfeeding mothers even under ideal circumstances. When you’re having fun in the sun, you’ll also be sweating profusely. That can trigger dehydration and interfere with breastmilk production right when baby needs it most.

Rehydrate regularly with water, juices, and water-packed fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumbers.

Heat-related illnesses pose a real danger to moms and babies.

Because of the risk of dehydration during the summer, you and your baby are also more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, heat rashes, and heat exhaustion. Staying hydrated will help reduce the risk, so will seeking shade or even an air-conditioned museum or mall to explore during the heat of the day.

Find a cool place to hide out during the hottest times of the day.

This is not the time to skimp on sunscreen.

You do not want sunburn when you’re nursing a baby in the heat of summer. Can you even imagine? Treat your skin like the MVP it is. When you’re outside, slather on the sunscreen regularly and keep baby completely out of the sun under an umbrella or tent to prevent heat stress and sunburn. Check with your baby’s pediatrician regarding sunscreens for infants.

Avoid sunburn at all costs.

Breastfeeding and the bathing suit – what’s the deal with that?

If you’re worried about breast milk leakage, you can use a gel bra pad to stop milk flow. Better yet, if you’re sitting by the pool and not submerged in water, you could slip a wearable pump like the Elvie Stride into your swimsuit to catch any overflow and buy you a few minutes of not breastfeeding when you need them later on.

Try a wearable pump when you’re hanging out poolside.

Milk N Mamas Baby carries a wide range of breast pumps, including the Elvie Stride, the perfect pump for summertime freedom. Order yours today!

Joyful African Mother Carrying Baby Playing With Newborn At Home

How does breast milk compare to formula when it comes to nutritional value?

Breast milk is the gold standard in baby food.

Breast milk contains the perfect amount of nutrients for your baby while also being gentle on their developing digestive system. Nutritional health experts from the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine agree that in an ideal world, mothers would have the opportunity to breastfeed their babies for at least six months and then supplement breast milk with solids until they’re one or two years old.

Breast milk is a complete food source.

No other food source is as perfectly balanced as breast milk. Period. The combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates found in breast milk are exactly what a newborn needs and nothing else. Furthermore, breast milk is easier for newborns to digest, which means the nutrients in breast milk are easier for a baby’s body to absorb than the nutrients in formula.

Breast milk is completely customized healthcare.

It is impossible for science to duplicate the nutritional value of breast milk because breast milk is completely dynamic and unique. Not only are the nutritional profiles of breast milk different from one mother to another; they’re different from one mother’s nursing session to the next. That’s because saliva from a nursing newborn delivers information to the mother’s immune system about her baby’s nutritional needs. If your baby’s body is fighting off an infection, your body will deliver the best antibodies to resist the infection. Studies show that breastfed babies have fewer stomach, lung, and ear infections, and if they do get an infection while breastfeeding, it tends to be less severe.

The nutrients in breast milk give babies long-term health benefits.

Studies show that infants breastfed exclusively for six months followed by a year of breastfeeding supplemented by solid foods were protected against ear, throat, and sinus infections for the first SIX YEARS of their lives. How wild is that? Compared to formula-fed infants, children and adults who were breastfed as infants also appear to have lower risk of food allergies, asthma, eczema, diabetes, and obesity.

Pumping breast milk offers similar benefits to breastfeeding.

When you’re pumping, your body isn’t getting the input from baby to completely customize breast milk. However, breast milk remains a biologically perfect food source for infants, whether it’s pumped or provided directly from the breast. For mothers who want to give their babies all the advantages of breast milk but are struggling with breastfeeding, returning to work, or otherwise not breastfeeding exclusively, a comfortable, efficient breast pump offers a middle path.

Call or email to learn more about pumping and breast pumps.

Milk N Mamas baby is owned and operated by mothers who have been there and done that. We’ve worried about balancing our babies’ nutritional needs with the demands of returning to work. We’ve worried about how the decisions we made when they were little will impact how they turn out as adults. We’ve experienced all the stresses and concerns new moms (and not-so-new moms) deal with, and we’re here to help. If you’ve got a question about breastfeeding or pumping, get in touch today.

What’s the science on breastfeeding and mental health?

We know a lot about the positive impacts of breastfeeding on short- and long-term infant health. But how does it affect mom? Megan Yuen and Olivia Hall, two scientists at the University of Massachusetts, have released a new report in the Journal of Women’s Health on the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal mental health, and it looks like breastfeeding has a mostly positive impact with a notable exception.

First, the good news: breastfeeding decreases risk of postpartum depression symptoms.

Of 36 studies on the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal mental health, 29 found that mothers who breastfeed have fewer mental health symptoms. In fact, 28 studies found that breastfeeding was associated with a lower risk of postpartum depression symptoms.

On the other hand, if your breastfeeding experience poses challenges, it can increase risk of depression and anxiety.

Journal of Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD explains, “To help clinicians personalize breastfeeding and mental health counseling, it is important to recognize that while breastfeeding is generally associated with improved maternal mental health, if can have negative mental health consequences if the mother experiences breastfeeding challenges or the experience does not meet her expectations.”

It seems like one of the biggest obstacle is our own expectations or, worse, comparing ourselves to other mothers or to some imaginary “ideal mother.” Mama, let’s be real with each other. Being a mom, in general, is hard work. It’s not as romantic as Mother’s Day cards make it out to be. Breastfeeding isn’t all cuddles. It can be difficult. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. If you’re just starting to breastfeed, keep these things in mind.

#1 Remember what you just did, mom.

Hey, lady. Please don’t forget that you just spent nine months making a whole other person. Your body is tired, including your brain and your heart. If you’re feeling tender and vulnerable right now, that’s normal. If everything, including breastfeeding, feels a little more difficult, it’s no wonder. Your body is recovering. Please be patient. Give yourself the time you’ve earned to recuperate without judgment.

#2 Set realistic expectations.

Here’s the truth. Breastfeeding can be a real challenge. Even though it seems like it should “come naturally,” it can be pretty difficult for new moms and their new babies to get the hang of it. However, most moms can successfully breastfeed. It’s mostly a matter of experimentation and practice. Expect that there will be some uncomfortable and even frustrating moments. Expect that you’ll also eventually have the sweet, memorable moment that you’re hoping for. Sometimes it just takes a while.

#3 Ask a professional lactation consultant for guidance.

Many insurance providers, including Tricare and many Aetna, BCBS, and Geisinger plans, cover up to six visits to a lactation consultant. If your insurance covers a lactation consultant, use that resource, mama! A professional will confirm what I’ve already told you (that it’s totally normal to not immediately ace breastfeeding) and offer some specific tips to make breastfeeding more enjoyable for you and your baby.

#4 Seek out a supportive community of mothers.

During the early stages, breastfeeding can take up a lot of time, keeping you stuck at home alone. That can take a toll on mental health. Many moms get depressed and begin to compare themselves unfavorable to “mothering norms,” which makes them feel even more alone. Whether you use an app like Peanut to connect with other moms, a Facebook group, or a weekly meetup at the park or a coffee shop, make time to let other mothers in your life. Having a community gives you a safe space to share your fears and concerns, and your mother friends will remind you that we’re all doing the best we can.

#5 Take time for yourself

Along the same lines, many mothers have talked to me about being “touched out,” and that’s a completely normal way to feel when you’re being touched all the time. Even though you love all the cuddles you get as a mom, you likely also need some time to be alone and enjoy not being completely responsible for another person’s care and nourishment. That’s nothing to be ashamed of or to feel badly about.

Take care of you, mama.

I founded Milk N Mamas baby after years of lobbying on behalf of mothers for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment. I believe that breastfeeding is valuable for babies and their mothers in most cases. It offers many health benefits for baby and mom, and it offers lots of mom some mental health protection when they need it most. But if it’s not working for you, pumping is a viable option that will allow you to provide the nutritional benefit of breast milk. Get in touch to learn more.

breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples

Can you breastfeed with flat or inverted nipples?

Breastfeeding with flat nipples is possible, but it can be frustrating.

Moms often wonder if their breasts are the right size or shape for breastfeeding. I’ve got a friend with small breasts who was worried about whether she would be able to produce enough milk. Her lactation consultant reassured her that breast size does not determine milk quantity (or quality) and that she had “perfect nipples for breastfeeding.” Who knew that was a thing? Friends with larger breasts have worried that their nipples were too flat for breastfeeding, but lo and behold, babies usually figure it out given a few days of experimentation.

Nipples come in every shape and size imaginable. It’s true that some make breastfeeding easier and others, like flat or inverted nipples, may create some special challenges for nursing moms and their babies just getting the hang of breastfeeding. However, most women can breastfeed successfully regardless of nipple shape.

Self-check your nipple protrusion.

Truly inverted nipples will flatten or retract into your breast when stimulated. You can check your nipple protrusion (or retraction) by squeezing gently on the edges of your areola with your thumb and forefinger. If your nipple stiffens and protrudes, your baby should be able to nurse successfully. If your nipple retracts, it may take a little extra time and effort to help baby latch onto your breasts, but it’s still doable in most cases.

Share your concerns with a lactation consultant.

Stress is an even bigger obstacle to successful breastfeeding than nipple shape, and worrying about your nipple shape is just another stressor. Most health insurance plans, including TRICARE, provide new mothers with at least some access to a lactation consultant. Take advantage of this resource. An expert will be able to put your mind at ease and reassure you that your baby is getting sufficient breast milk. If your nipples are flat or inverted, a lactation consultant will be able to give you specific advice tailored to your unique breastfeeding circumstances.

Hand express before breastfeeding.

When your breast is engorged with milk, it may become hard, and your nipple may flatten as a result. Hand-expressing or massaging your breast before nursing sessions softens your breast. This makes it easier for baby to latch on.

Try the Hoffman exercise to stimulate a flat or inverted nipple.

The Hoffman exercise is a technique created specifically to help women with breast abnormalities such as long, short, flat, inverted, and cracked nipples breastfeed. A 2020 study found that the method was a successful intervention for mothers who were struggling with nursing as a result of breast abnormalities. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Place the thumbs of both hands opposite to each other at the base of the nipple.
  2. Pull the thumbs away from each other gently but firmly, both up and down and sideways.
  3. Repeat up to five times a day.

The Hoffman exercise can be done during pregnancy to prepare the nipples, and it can be used throughout breastfeeding, offering mothers a safe, simple and painless treatment for flat or inverted nipples.

Use a breast pump to help draw out a flat or inverted nipple.

If hand expressing and the Hoffman exercise are not quite enough to draw out your flat or inverted nipples, the suction from a breast pump may do the trick. Use your breast pump for a minute or two before breastfeeding to prime your nipple and draw it out for baby.

Breast pumps are covered by most health insurance plans.

A breast pump can be a lifesaver for a mom with flat or inverted nipples. It can help to draw out your nipple, and if you decide that breastfeeding is not for you, you can still give your baby most of the health advantages by pumping. Not sure which breast pump would give you the greatest advantage? At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’ve all experienced the challenges and the joys of breastfeeding and pumping. We’re experts at the benefits provided by each of our breast pumps. Feel free to reach out to us with your concerns if you’d like advice on choosing a breast pump that will help with flat or inverted nipples.

The latest science on COVID vaccinations, pregnancy, and breastfeeding

The latest science on COVID vaccinations, pregnancy, and breastfeeding

While effective vaccinations for COVID-19 have been available since winter of 2020, reports show that younger women, especially those ages 18–39 years are most hesitant to get vaccinated. In some cases, women are making the decision to remain unvaccinated because of unfounded rumors about vaccination effects on fertility or pregnancy. What does the latest science say about COVID-19 vaccinations, fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding?

Do COVID-19 vaccinations cause infertility or menstruation complications?

Of the more than 72 million women who have been vaccinated, fewer than 200 reports of menstrual-related adverse events have been reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Several studies have been conducted into vaccinations and fertility, and to date, there has been no scientific evidence to that COVID-19 vaccine has harmful effects on female fertility.

Do COVID-19 vaccinations cause pregnancy complications?

To date, scientists have found “no biological reason to expect that mRNA COVID-19 vaccination would have adverse effects either preconceptionally or during pregnancy and while lactating.” A recently released report on the safety of receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy found no increase in pregnancy loss or harmful neonatal outcomes, such as preterm birth or small size, among vaccinated women compared to women who were not vaccinated.

However, the severe results of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy have been extensively reported. Viral infections among unvaccinated pregnant women are associated with more severe illness, increased risk of intensive care unit admission, death, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Furthermore, COVID-19 in pregnancy is associated with increased risk of the pregnancy specific complications, like pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, and stillbirth. According to recent data released by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, nearly 20% of the most critically ill patients with COVID-19 in England are unvaccinated pregnant individuals.

Do COVID-19 vaccinations boost infant immunity to the virus?

Yes. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy builds antibodies that protect you from COVID-19, and evidence suggests it may also protect your baby. That’s because the antibodies your body makes after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are found in umbilical cord blood, which transfers protection to your infant in utero. Similarly, when vaccinated women breastfeed, they pass on some of the vaccine benefits to newborns.

Does breastfeeding offer benefits to babies during the pandemic era?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “The benefits of breastfeeding and nurturing mother-infant interaction to prevent infection and promote health and development are especially important when health and other community services are themselves disrupted or limited.” In other words, there’s no better time than right now to breastfeed your baby. If you’re vaccinated, your breast milk offers extra protection against COVID-19 in addition to all of the other benefits of breastfeeding.

 

You’re the best protection your baby has.

As a mom, protecting your little one is your big thing. We know all about it here at Milk N Mamas Baby, and we’re here to help in whatever way we can, whether that’s providing medical resources to help you make sound decisions or providing support when you’re beginning your breastfeeding journey. Need help finding a breast pump? We’re here for that, too. Give us a call or email today.

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.