Pumping 101: How to Pump Breastmilk for Your Baby

Pumping 101_YbreastThere are few things less bizarre about early motherhood than that first time you turn on a breast pump to express milk for your baby. But once you get past the awkwardness of your first time at the pump, you gain an appreciation for your body – your functioning breasts and hormones, an appreciation for this machine – just press a button and after minutes there is milk in a bottle?!, and an appreciation for your baby – a wonder, perhaps, how this little being transfers milk every few hours and is growing more and more plump from your precious food. Still, I know the look of bewilderment that first time.

Whether your baby is hours, weeks, or months old, there are a few universal tips that can help maximize your effort and make the process that much more enjoyable.

By |October 22nd, 2014|

Managing Expectations: What to Expect When Breastfeeding

Managing Expectations_YbreastAs a general pediatrician and lactation consultant in a busy pediatric practice, my days are often filled with the stories and tears of new mothers. After all, giving birth is the single most life-changing experience most of us will ever have. While rewarding, it can throw even the best of us for a loop. And, breastfeeding certainly isn’t easy. I get it! To succeed, it starts with the expectation.

That being said, I find that the moms who tend to have the most difficult time, and often the least breastfeeding success, are the ones with the most unrealistic expectations. Realistically, one should expect the first 3-4 weeks of breastfeeding to be challenging… to say the least.

I, myself, have been there and with experience and time, I learned that while breastfeeding can be very difficult—at first—once you catch your groove and get past the sheer exhaustion that having a newborn naturally results in, it is infinitely easier to attach a baby to your breast at 2 AM than it is to get up and make a bottle. The trick is having a bit of patience and perseverance until you get there.

By |September 15th, 2014|

Got Milk? Donating Your Milk to Babies in Need

milk bank donation_ybreastAll moms are well-known to be everyday superheroes, but it’s the select few who can use their superpowers to actually save lives. It’s those rare and envied moms of urban folklore, who boast a freezer stash of spare milk that can put their breasts to work for the good of humanity. Donor breastmilk is one of the most valuable resources in the NICU and unfortunately, it comes in limited supply. In the NICU, there are many risks that keep the staff and new parents awake at night with worry, but necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the biggest dangers.

NEC, an affliction commonly characterized by an underdeveloped and immature intestinal lining, is the second most common cause of mortality in premature infants and formula feeding is one of its greatest risk factors. Only breast milk contains the unique NRG4 protein, well-known for its ability to repair the young, immature and sometimes diseased gut. In cases where mom’s milk is unavailable, donor breast milk can truly make the difference between life and death.

By |September 12th, 2014|

The Truth About Toddler Formula

Todder Formula_YbreastCountless doctors have commented on the probiotic and immune-boosting nature of breastmilk, a live and unique food. Formula companies try to make baby formula just like breastmilk, but if you’ve ever read the list of ingredients on the back of most packages, you’ll see a base of cow’s milk with lots of added vitamins and minerals… and you’ll also see stabilizers, emulsifiers, and a host of other additives for shelf life, palatability, marketability, and caloric value. Unfortunately, infant formula could be considered the ultimate processed food.

Maintaining Your Career and Milk Supply: Pumping Through 13-Hour Days

Pumping at Work_EditedMaternity leave is up, and it’s time to get back to work (though I’d argue that caring for a newborn is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do!). The transition from stay-at-home mother of a breastfeeding newborn to high-functioning, schedule-keeping, pumping mama is never easy, but I’m here to remind you that it can be done. This is my story of how I worked 13-hour days, kept up with my career, and pumped enough to “breastfeed” exclusively (bottles of pumped milk count!).

When my first child was 12 weeks old, like many moms in the U.S., I went back to work. Lots of us work long hours, and as a floor nurse at a hospital, there was no getting around my 12.5-hour shift. With travel time, that meant I was often away from my infant for 13 or even 13.5 hours at a time, sometimes missing his entire waking day. Luckily, he woke to breastfeed at night and I could

Breaking Legal News: Lactation IS Related to Pregnancy

EEOC pregnancy and lactation_ybreastAstonishing but true, taxpayer dollars have been wasted debating whether or not lactation is a medical condition related to pregnancy. The courts actually debated the matter, and not for the first time, in EEOC v. Houston Funding II, Ltd. Thankfully, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently chimed in, providing a review of biology 101 and clarifying that lactation is indeed a condition that is related to pregnancy. The clarification was part of the EEOC’s long-awaited Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues.  After 30 years of silence, the EEOC issued their latest guidance on July 14, 2014, noting that the problem of pregnancy discrimination continues to harm U.S. employees and suggesting that employers take a closer look at their practices. The EEOC guidance makes it clear that lactating employees may be entitled to accommodation under both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which also provides certain protections to pregnant employees.

By |August 1st, 2014|

8 Tips for Getting Away Without Baby While Nursing

Gettin Away Without Baby_YbreastWhether it’s your first or fourth baby, you’re tired. And depending on your circumstances and/or level of desperation, you may finally be ready to get away… (gulp!) without baby. Luckily, with a little bit of advanced planning, choosing to breastfeed does not have to render vacationing a thing of the past. Whether for business or pleasure, here are a few tips to make your getaway while nursing a smooth one.

By |July 25th, 2014|

Abrupt Lactation Cessation: Guidelines for Safely Letting the Milk Run Dry

Abrupt Lactation Cessation_YbreastRarely by choice, there are unfortunate times when lactation cessation becomes urgent. During such emotionally charged times, it is imperative that mom remain acutely aware of her own breast health while seeking to halt lactation. Abruptly altering any prior milk expression schedule can lead to breast engorgement, which left unchecked can develop into mastitis. Below is a plan of action to bring milk production to an end while guarding against engorgement.

By |July 23rd, 2014|

Nipple Shields: Friend or Foe?

Nipple Shields_Edited

When baby isn’t latching or breastfeeding trouble hits, well-intentioned health professionals sometimes dole out the nipple shields. A nipple shield is a piece of flexible, nipple-shaped silicone that mom wears over her nipple while breastfeeding. Nipple shields allow the baby to grasp mom’s nipple with ease, but unfortunately, they can also lead to bigger breastfeeding issues down the line.

For starters, nipple shields can interfere with milk production and therefore baby’s milk intake. To breastfeed her baby, mom is dependent upon two hormones: prolactin and oxytocin. Simply put, prolactin prompts milk production and oxytocin triggers milk ejection. Prolactin is dependent upon frequent nipple

By |April 8th, 2014|

The “C” Word: Breastfeeding for Selfish Reasons

breastfeeding and breast cancer linkAs I sit waiting for the results, I pray for just one more year of good news. Given my family history—my mother and grandmother both had breast cancer—my annual mammogram is the one appointment that I never postpone. While it’s true that many factors play a role in breast cancer’s development, when it comes to prevention, breastfeeding is one of the best things a woman can do.

The empirical evidence is absolutely staggering. In the UK, cancer researchers found that the relative risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3% for every 12 months of breastfeeding and an additional 7% for each child born. Another study found that among women who had an immediate family member with breast cancer (such as a

By |March 27th, 2014|