Last month, we hosted a Facebook Live on Breastfeeding and Breast Pumping FAQs with Linda Hannah, RN, MSN/Ed, IBCLC.
Get answers to your questions from how much milk should I be pumping, what is a normal milk supply, I have a fidgety baby, how do I get him to nurse for longer, breastfeeding during times of COVID and more in this live video recording with IBCLC Linda Hannah.
Brought to you by Lilu in partnership with Mahmee.
What are the top breastfeeding challenges that moms face?
- Pain around milk arriving, such as milk plugged ducts, blebs, blisters
- Anxiety and fear of the unknown
- Milk supply, especially around latching a baby in the first critical hours. Remember, breast size or nipple size don’t matter; medical conditions in both the mother and the baby might play a role.
- Concerns around pumping, like what pump to choose and whether single pumping or double pumping is better
The good news is that 99% of the time, there is a solution.
What do you wish more moms knew ahead of time that could aid in their breastfeeding journey?
The best education is having a voice. Have a friend, partner or a doula—someone solid who can ask questions and get answers. Having support, even if it’s digital, is important so you can ask questions and seek advice.
Having your voice heard, feeling valued and knowing your options is such an integral part of one’s breastfeeding journey.
What should moms know about breastfeeding and covid?
- We encourage women who have been exposed to get tested and to quarantine.
- Mom and baby should stay together if possible and breastfeeding unless CDC guidelines change.
- Masks should be worn when you are outside of your normal home environment. If there are new people entering your home, have them wear masks as well.
- Breast milk is the healthiest option for the baby, as long as you are healthy and well. Consider donor milk as an alternative.
What can moms do if milk takes “too long” to “come in”?
There’s no time clock for when milk comes in but there are averages.
- Massaging breasts can help the transition from colostrum to more mature milk.
- Keep an eye out for changes in milk. Quality, color, consistency and most importantly wet and dirty diapers.
- If the baby is meeting growth milestones and wetting and dirtying diapers, that’s what matters. Also, watch the baby’s overall demeanor.
If you’re experiencing a delay in milk coming in, these things can help:
- introduce a breast pump
- try the Lilu Massage Bra. Lilu uses a massaging technique that happens around the breast anatomy externally to help stimulate the alveoli glands to start producing the fluid that will then become breast milk.
- institute healthy nutrition, extra fluid volume (especially important for many moms who don’t feel hungry in the days and weeks postpartum).
- take herbal supplementation if needed
What is a normal amount of milk production and how do you know if it’s enough?
There is no such thing as great milk supply. Every mother has a different supply. Some moms have tons of leftover milk while other moms only have a little bit extra.
Some women produce 20 ounces per day, adequate for their infant, and others produce 50 ounces per day, adequate for their twin infants.
The only thing that matters is if you have enough breast milk to meet your growing baby’s needs and developmental milestones. For some, that’s 24 ounces a day and for others, it might be 27 ounces a day.
Things like herbal supplements, medication, pumping and proper latch help to secure adequate milk supply.
What are some of the developmental milestones to watch out for?
wetting and pooping appropriately
happy and content
gaining, growing, thriving
When should moms start pumping?
The short answer is that there is no right time. Some women never pump. It’s very variable.
If your baby is breastfeeding well for at least the first few weeks, you don’t necessarily need to start pumping; unless, of course, if you want to.
If you do decide to pump, make sure to pump correctly using the proper technique and the proper flange size for your nipple and breast.
Are there any tricks to getting a 5-month old to nurse longer?
At five months old, this is more social nursing. If you can, take your baby and nurse your baby in a quiet, dark room with fewer distractions.
Even though it’s only a few minutes at a time, it could be an adequate milk supply, as long as the developmental milestones (see above) are being met.
Is it safe to drink coffee and pump?
Three servings of caffeine, (coffee, some sodas and snacks) is usually not cause for concern. The thing to look for is whether you are symptomatic. If you are, even with 1-2 servings of caffeine, then you will want to make a change.
Also, keep an eye out for medication guidelines. In particular, if you drink alcohol, wait 1.5-2 hours before breastfeeding/pumping. If you’re feeling tipsy, you can pump milk and mark with an X, and dilute it with milk from your future pump sessions.