breastfeeding Tag

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.

How pumping is helping moms who can’t breastfeed weather the formula shortage

Not all mothers are able to breastfeed, and the formula shortage puts their kids at risk.

Milk N Mamas Baby has a history rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, and we’re avid proponents of breastfeeding when it’s possible. Breast milk is the healthiest food source available to infants; however, not all moms are able to breastfeed. A recent New York Times article spoke with moms whose breastfeeding plans were disrupted by difficult deliveries, illness, and other unavoidable challenges. The most vulnerable moms, those living at or below the poverty level, are often most reliant on formula due to demanding work schedules and environments that don’t support pumping on the job.

For moms who are dependent on formula to feed their newborns, the ongoing baby formula shortage caused by recalls and supply chain issues has become a nightmare. However, some nursing moms are stepping up to help fill the need by donating breastmilk to human milk banks or providing breastmilk directly to nonlactating mothers in their area via milk share programs.

What is a human milk bank?

Milk banks collect breast milk from mothers who produce more than their babies need. Banks screen, pasteurize, and test the milk to ensure it is safe for consumption, and then dispense it to nonlactating mothers. Many of the recipients of breast milk from human milk banks are preemies or medically fragile. For that reason, Lindsay Groff, Director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, told WFTV of Orlando, Florida, “If people can donate, now would be the time, because when we have more of an inventory we can look beyond the medically fragile.”

To learn about becoming a donor, follow this link to the Find a Milk Bank page on the Human Milk Banking Association’s website.

What is a milk sharing program?

Programs like Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies offer parents around the world a network for sharing breastmilk. These commerce-free spaces connect parents who can offer breastmilk with parents in need of breastmilk. While breastmilk banks are regulated and more regularly used by hospitals, milk sharing programs are peer-to-peer donations, and parents must rely on their own good judgment regarding donors.

Search “Eats on Feets” or “Human Milk 4 Human Babies” on Facebook to find a program near you and to learn about each network’s guidelines.

Want to pump breastmilk to help nonlactating moms?

If you’re a lactating woman, and you have a pump, you can donate breastmilk to your local human milk bank or provide milk directly to mothers in your community who may be unable to breastfeed. If you’ve got insurance, we’ve got pumps that are 100% covered by Tricare and most other provider health plans, including:

Give us a call to learn more.

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.

Which breast pump helps busy moms pump faster from anywhere?

We asked one of the busiest moms we know which breast pump she preferred.

Rosina Sigloch is a work-at-home mom with six kids ranging in age from three-months old up. With four girls and two boys, Rosina has seen it all when it comes to raising kids. She’s also had years of pumping experience, though she had been relying on manual pumps with her earlier children as breast pumps, at the time, were not covered by most insurance providers.

“I hadn’t used a breast pump in forever before my daughter. In the past, I always just had the hand pumps. When I found out I was pregnant this time, my sister-in-law told me that insurance companies cover pumps now. I have so much extra milk, I decided to go for it,” Rosina said in a recent interview.

Rosina’s mom Donna is a lead IBCLC/Nurse Practitioner who also has extensive knowledge of breast pumps. She sent Rosina all the pumps her insurance would cover.

“I’d seen an ad for the Willow,” Rosina said. “I thought, ‘That looks so cool! I can wear it without having the bottle!’ But it was really expensive, and I didn’t want to spend too much.”

When Rosina found the Elvie Stride, she was thrilled she could have the same benefits as the Willow but in a breast pump covered by her insurance.  “I love the fact that you can just put it on and go,” she said. “You don’t have to sit and wait to finish. I can just stick the cups in my nursing bra and go about my business!”

The Elvie Stride is a wearable bra covered by many insurance plans.

The Elvie Stride is 100% covered by Tricare for active duty military moms and mil-spouses and for civilian moms by many other insurance companies. In other words, you can apply your insurance breast pump benefit to the Stride and enjoy the benefits of a premium wearable pump without the premium price tag. However, this pump is only sold through select durable medical equipment (DME) companies, like Milk N Mamas Baby.

How does the Stride stack up in terms of other breast pump benefits, according to Rosina and other moms who have used it?

The Stride has great suction, and it pumps quickly.

“I wondered at first if this pump could actually have enough suction to work the right way,” Rosina mentioned. “It definitely did, even more so! I could have six ounces of breastmilk in less than ten minute. That’s super-efficient. The suction was really good and so quick!”

The Stride is easy to use and clean.

In addition to being easy to use, The Stride cleans up easily. It’s even dishwasher safe. Rosina noted, “I can just pop the cups off, and they’re so easy to clean!”

This super modern breast pump is also ultra-quiet, smart, and customizable.

Elvie designed the Stride with noise reduction technology so that doesn’t draw attention when you’re out and about. The hands-free pump connects with the free “Pump with Elvie” app, which allows you to control your pump remotely while tracking your milk production. You can choose from ten intensity settings in both Stimulation and Expression modes for optimal comfort and efficiency.

“I’m really happy with my purchase and working with Krisi at Milk N Mamas Baby was great!” Rosina said.

It’s great to work with busy moms like Rosina, too!

Milk N Mamas Baby is owned and operated by women who have experienced the challenges and joys of balancing breastfeeding with work and family. We were lobbying for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment before the ACA required it, and our women-lead team continues to advocate for mamas like Rosina and their babies every day, one mother at a time. We’re here for you, too! Get in touch today for help picking out the right breast pump for you.

mother and baby exercising on a beach

5 tips for losing baby fat in time for summer

Hint: Don’t diet. It won’t help with baby weight.

Let’s start this by saying that you shouldn’t feel compelled to lose one doggone pound if you’re not up for it. You just brought a whole other human being into the world. Don’t feel like you’ve got to impress anybody with a swimmer’s physique this year. However, if your baby weight is making you feel uncomfortable now, the heat of summer definitely won’t make it better. In that case, try these five tips for losing baby weight without losing your mind dieting.

1. Set reasonable expectations and goals for post-partum weight loss.

Start by talking with your doctor about reasonable expectations and goals. Your body is in recovery, so adding the stress of intense dieting and exercise will only slow your recovery. Be compassionate with yourself. Set modest, attainable goals and back it up with a plan that you’re likely to stick to.

2. Breastfeed and/or pump regularly.

If you want to give post-partum weight loss a boost, breastfeed and/or pump. The old saying “I’m eating for two” continues to hold true for as long as you choose to breastfeed your newborn. Your body uses the fat cells stored up during pregnancy as well as caloric intake from your daily meals to produce breastmilk. Studies show that women who breastfeed exclusively for six months lose post-partum weight more quickly. They’re also more likely to attain their original, pre-pregnancy weight than women who don’t breastfeed or who nursed their newborn for fewer than six months.

3. Eat five to six smaller meals with healthy ingredients.

Diets that call for fasting and caloric restrictions often cause your body to convert more energy into fat stores. From your body’s perspective, you must’ve fallen on hard times, so it’s going to try to conserve your energy the best way it knows how. Instead of skipping meals, eat smaller, healthier meals more frequently. This is especially important if you are nursing. The more nutrients and vitamins you consume in your diet, the healthier your newborn will be.

4. Get some light exercise daily.

Spring is in the air, so you’ve got a few good months of perfect walking weather. Put that newborn in a stroller and take them out to see the world. Getting fresh air and light exercise will increase the flow of oxygen through your body and help you digest food more effectively, which helps with weight loss. You’ll also get more of that happy hormone serotonin, which will boost your energy so you can get another walk in later in the day. Little jaunts out into the world are good for you and baby, and a daily walk or two can get you to your weight loss goals one step at a time.

5. Avoid sugars and processed foods.

While skipping meals is a no no for new moms, skipping sugars and processed foods is a big HECK YES. Sugary and processed foods and beverages are full of empty calories, and they wreak havoc on your blood sugar level, which plays a critical role in your body’s fat storage. In addition, the human body is naturally disposed to crave sugars, and sugars trigger hunger, which can create a vicious cycle when you’re trying to lose weight.

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Milk N Mamas baby is owned and operated by women who have experienced the challenges and joys of balancing breastfeeding with work and family. Our company’s history is rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, including lobbying for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment before the ACA required it, and our women-lead team continues to advocate for mamas and babies every day, one mother at a time. To get the latest tips and news from our team, subscribe to our blog below.

 

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Give an Elvie Stride or other lightweight, wearable breast pump a try for times when you’re on vacation or headed to the office.

Should I reuse my old breast pump for my second baby?

Most breast pumps can be used for multiple pregnancies.

It can take some time to get used to a breast pump, and it’s not uncommon for moms to get attached to the one they’ve already got. Fortunately, most modern breast pumps are built to be durable, and they’re usually tough enough to be used for multiple pregnancies if you’re cleaning, maintaining, and storing them properly. The same goes for hard plastic pump accessories like bottles and breast shields that are still in good working order. However, you should replace all silicone and soft plastic parts as they’re more difficult to clean and sanitize.

Open system breast pumps are not suitable for long-term use.

Closed system pumps are designed to prevent breastmilk from seeping into the pump motor. In open system breast pump, there’s no barrier, which means moisture, condensation, and breast milk can get into the interior of the pump. Because these interior components can’t be easily accessed and sanitized, they have the potential to breed mold and bacteria. As such, it’s best not to reuse open system breast pumps.

Most insurance providers do cover a new breast pump for each new child.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans are required to cover the cost of one new double electric breast pump for every pregnancy. However, policies may vary. Some provide new breast pumps each year or every other year. We can verify your insurance company’s breast pump policy easily if you’re not sure. Regardless, if you’ve paid for the insurance, you should definitely collect on the breast pump benefits. Even if you’re completely in love with your old reliable pump, there are good reasons to purchase a new one with your insurance credit.

Have a backup breast pump in case the old one quits performing.

Like all electronics, even the best breast pumps will deteriorate over time. That’s why most breast pump warranties only cover specific problems with the pump or the motor and only for one to two years after your purchase. If you love your pump, get a backup model for the day your old one begins to show signs of wear and tear.

Have a stay-at-home breast pump and a wearable breast pump for traveling.

You could also use your breast pump benefit to mix it up a little. Is your favorite pump the Medela Pump In Style that you use in the comfort of your own home? Give an Elvie Stride or other lightweight, wearable breast pump a try for times when you’re on vacation or headed to the office.

Order your new breast pump today!

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we have more than two decades of experience in the medical device supply industry, with specialization in breast pumps, pumping essentials, and breast pumping accessories. Our company’s history is rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, including lobbying for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment before the ACA required it. We’re here to help you whether this is your first or your fifth baby. Give us a call for guidance on breast pump insurance coverage.

newborn biting during breastfeeding

Help! My newborn is biting during breastfeeding!

Why do babies bite while breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding can be one of the most relaxing and gratifying experiences a new mother has with her baby. When you’re breastfeeding, your brain releases the “cuddle chemical” oxytocin into your system and your baby’s system, making you both feel lovey dovey towards one another. As a result of that chemically-induced lovefest, you probably won’t ever see that first bite coming. After all, how could a sweet, toothless like cuddle bunny do any serious damage to a strong, grown woman.

However, it’s bound to happen at some time, and when it does, oh, mama! You feel it, and it can make you question whether that little whippersnapper really has your best interest at heart after all. Don’t worry. A bite from baby isn’t a sign they’re out to get you. They don’t even necessarily mean it’s time to wean. In some cases, baby is simply experimenting with its body and finding new ways to get your attention. However, there are other reasons baby might take up nipple biting during breastfeeding, including:

  • Teething,
  • Overactive or forceful letdown,
  • Slow letdown,
  • Colds or ear infections, or
  • Distraction or boredom.

Is your baby teething?

While some babies are born with their first teeth, most begin teething around at around six months old. This can lead to an urge to chomp down on things. Chewing and biting help to relieve the pain caused by swollen, tender gums. Other symptoms that baby is teething include:

  • Irritability,
  • Drooling,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Rash on cheek and chin,
  • Raised temperature, and
  • Rubbing their face or tugging their ear.

Tips for helping teething babies

  • Talk to your doctor to see if a baby painkiller is in order to help alleviate your newborn’s pain.
  • Allow baby to chew on a cold, wet washcloth or cooled teething toy to soothe their gums.

Is your baby trying to control a forceful letdown?

During your first months of breastfeeding, your body is still learning how much breastmilk to make. In some cases, mothers overproduce breastmilk, which can overwhelm newborns who are, likewise, still learning the ropes of breastfeeding. Newborns may clamp down on the nipple in an attempt to control the rush of breastmilk. Other symptoms that you may have an overactive letdown include:

  • Gas,
  • Crying after breastfeeding sessions,
  • Frequent hiccups, and

Tip for helping babies cope with forceful letdown

Hand express or pump some milk before breastfeeding to curb the overactive letdown response.

Is your baby trying to encourage a more forceful letdown?

On the other hand, some mothers have a slower letdown response, which can be caused by mastitis, stress, illness, pain, medications, previous breast surgery, or any number of other factors. If your letdown is slow or inhibited, your newborn may chew to encourage a more forceful letdown. If your baby is struggling with a slow letdown response, they might show all of the same symptoms as a forceful letdown, but they may also have fewer soiled diapers.

Tip for helping babies cope with inhibited letdown

Supplement regular breastfeeding sessions with pumping sessions to help stimulate milk flow.

Does your baby have a cold or ear infection?

Breastfeeding requires babies to learn how to alternate between breathing, nursing, and swallowing. If baby’s nose is stuffy from a cold or ear infection, they’ll have a hard time managing these tasks. For reference, think about the last you tried to eat a hoagie with a stuffy nose. Not so easy, right? If your baby is suffering with a cold or ear infection, they’ll show signs other than biting your nipple, which may include:

  • Fever,
  • Refusing milk,
  • Runny nose,
  • Discharge from ears,
  • Cough,
  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Irritability,
  • Face, chin, or upper chest rash.

Tip for helping babies with a cold or ear infection

  • Use a warm compress on your newborn’s ear to reduce ear infection pain.
  • Continue breastfeeding to ensure baby is hydrated and getting antibodies from your milk that may help alleviate illness.
  • If baby has a fever or symptoms do not go away within 48 hours, visit your doctor. Antibiotics may be necessary.

Is your baby bored?

Babies are curious little busybodies, and they get bored easily. They’re also just learning how much control they have over their environment and the people in it – that means you. Sometimes baby is biting to see what happens. Sometimes, they’re bored. If that’s the case, your newborn has probably had their fill of breastmilk, so it’s safe to gently detach them from the nipple by using your finger to break the suction.

Whatever the cause of your baby’s biting, avoid a dramatic response as it could encourage more of the same. Yelping with either frighten or intrigue babies, which could lead to worse biting. Laughing is a definite no no as babies love to make mommy happy, and as far as they know, biting is something you enjoy.

A biting baby doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to wean.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for up to six months, about the time that babies begin teething, followed by the introduction of foods or infant formula thereafter. The longer you feed your baby breastmilk, however, the greater the protection they receive from illnesses like ear infections as well as long-term diseases like asthma and diabetes.

Just because baby is biting doesn’t mean it’s time to wean them. It just means you’ve got to deal with any underlying causes and teach baby proper breastfeeding etiquette. The best way to do this, regardless of the cause of the biting, is to gently break baby’s latch and end the breastfeeding session when they begin to bite. If baby seems interested in continuing to nurse, you can try again after a few minutes; however, end feeding time each time baby bites in order to discourage the habit.

Some mothers have more sensitive nipples, and some babies are more aggressive biters. In those cases, you can still provide your newborn with the health benefits of breastmilk by pumping. Give us a call to learn about the wide variety of pumps available and which one might be right for you.

baby constantly crying after breastfeeding

Why does my baby constantly cry after breastfeeding time?

Am I breastfeeding wrong, is my baby colicky, or is it something else?

Some babies are mild-mannered and generally seem pleased with the world they find themselves in. Other babies, not so much. It’s not that they’re bad-tempered, but they do appear to have strong feelings about things. You’d think that a full belly would leave a newborn in a state of bliss, and many babies do pass out with a milk-drunk grin on their faces. However, some babies launch into crying jags as soon as they’ve finished breastfeeding. That leaves frustrated moms asking questions like:

  • Am I breastfeeding my newborn wrong?
  • Am I producing enough milk to satisfy my baby?
  • Is my baby colicky?

Or even:

  • Is this baby trying to drive me crazy?

It’s a reasonable suspicion. A crying baby can certainly put everyone in the house on edge, and over time, chronic criers can leave moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, and even neighbors feeling helpless.

So what’s behind all those tears? Pediatricians recognize a few specific reasons your newborn may be inclined to tears after breastfeeding:

  • Gas,
  • Acid Reflux, and
  • Food sensitivities and allergies.

We’ll look at each more closely below, but let’s begin with the more generic explanation for a chronic crier: colic.

Colic

To say that colic is causing a baby to cry isn’t very helpful to moms because colic is a catchall term that loosely translates to “chronic crying on the part of a newborn.” In other words, baby is crying all the time because baby’s a chronic crier. Not very useful, right?

However, there is a clue about your crying baby in the Latin root of the word: colon. In other words, if you have a colicky newborn, you have a baby who is probably suffering from pain in their abdomen. Let’s look at some of the reasons your newborn may be experiencing abdominal pain after breastfeeding.

Gas

We’ve all been there. Gas pain is not for sissies. You and I both have decades of experience with gas under our belt, so we know the feeling when it comes over us. It’s not so painful or scary because we’re used to it. Your poor baby is having their first experience of it, and it’s probably both painful and scary. Gas pain is more common among bottle-fed babies as they tend to swallow more air. However, even breastfed babies swallow some air during feeding time, so they still need a good burping after each feeding.

If you suspect gas might be the culprit, try this after baby’s next feeding:

  • Hold baby upright after feeding to burp.
  • Pat gently from the base of the back upward to work out gas bubbles.

Acid Reflux

This is another ailment that most adults have experienced but newborns have not. Imagine feeling acid reflux for the first time and not knowing what’s causing the pain. You’d be crying, too. You and I know that acid reflux is what happens when the contents of your stomach are pushed into your esophagus. To your baby, it just feels like they’ve swallowed fired.

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as its more serious form is called, causes spitting up in addition to crying, and it’s not uncommon in babies younger than one-year old. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, nearly 8 in 10 infants have daily acid reflux by the age of 2 months. However, by they time they’re 12 to 14 months old, most children have outgrown GERD symptoms.

If you suspect acid reflux might be causing baby serious or chronic pain, talk with baby’s pediatrician about the symptoms as GERD can have more serious side effects like:

  • Weight loss and
  • Esophagitis

GERD can also lead to complications beyond the esophagus, such as:

  • Coughing and wheezing,
  • Laryngitis, and

Food sensitivities and allergies

About one in 100 exclusively breastfed babies develop allergic reactions to food proteins in their mother’s milk, according to research conducted by The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. The most frequent culprit is cow’s milk protein found in human breastmilk when mom has been indulging in dairy products. It’s important to note that this allergy occurs more frequently in infants consuming cow’s milk-based formula, which contains far more of the offending protein, than in breastmilk, where these proteins only show up in trace amounts. Occasionally, babies have allergies to eggs, nuts, peanuts, soy, or wheat as well. If an allergy is the cause of your baby’s suffering, they may also have signs of blood in their stool. In that case, head straight to the pediatrician.

If you suspect food allergies may be causing your baby pain and grief, let your doctor know and try these strategies for determining the guilty allergen:

  • Keep a food diary to determine if there may be a connection between your diet and baby’s crying.
  • If you find a food that seems connected, try an elimination diet (after talking with your doctor) to see if the change improves baby’s mood. Eliminate only one food at a time so you’ll know exactly which culprit is the offender.

How do I know if my newborn’s crying means they’re hungry?

Feeding a crying baby is often the go to for a tired, frustrated mom, but if one of the above issues is the problem, more breastmilk won’t help. So how do you know if baby’s crying because they’re hungry? Look for these additional signs:

  • Baby is moving fists to mouth or sucking on hand,
  • Baby is alert and active,
  • Baby is nuzzling or seeking your breast,
  • Baby is smacking lips or opening and closing mouth.

When baby is full, you’ll see these signs:

  • Baby releases your nipple,
  • Baby begins chewing on nipple or playing rather than feeding,
  • Baby relaxes, opening fists.

Share the joy (and frustration) of breastfeeding with a partner.

Whatever the cause of your newborn’s tears, a colicky baby can cause frustration, depression, and exhaustion – as if new moms aren’t tired enough. If you’ve got a baby who seems to cry all the time, don’t be afraid to ask for more help from your partner, family, or friends. Pumping breast milk gives the people who want to help you a chance to take over some of your baby’s feeding sessions, which will give you a chance to rest, and you’ll need it if your baby is a chronic crier.

Need help choosing a breast pump? Milk N Mamas baby is owned and operated by women who have experienced the joys and the challenges of breastfeeding, including colicky babies. We have more than two decades of experience in the medical device supply industry, and our company’s history is rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms. We’re here to help in whatever way we can, from deciding on a breast pump that meets your needs to filing your claim. Call today to speak with one of our representatives.