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Blog - Breast Feeding

Breastfeeding Myths – Part 1

July 16, 2014

By: Renee Bowling RN, Certified Breastfeeding Educator

Nursing a baby can be one of the greatest experiences a mother can have, but can also be one of the hardest jobs she might undertake. Many of the following myths surround breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is painful:

Breastfeeding should never be painful. Yes, you will be sore for the first 7-10 days, but PAIN is never normal. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. The soreness in the beginning is due to hormonal changes and “repetitive motion disorder”. You do not have to wait till your nipples toughen up and build calluses like so many people say. Your nipple tissue is made to breastfeed and the shape of your nipple should look just the same after nursing as before. Nipple pain is generally attributed to a poor latch, but other factors like the baby’s mouth, tongue, palate and suck could also contribute to nipple pain. If you are experiencing more than just soreness, then seek professional assistance as soon as possible. We don’t want those painful nipples to become cracked and bleeding nipples and early help is critical. Nipple trauma and pain is NOT normal!breastfeeding, lactation consultant, breastfeeding help, breast pump

Using a breast pump is painful:

There should never be any pain associated with pumping. If you are having pain while pumping, then be sure the breast shields you are using with the pump fit properly and the suction on the pump is not too high.

Pumping is a good way to measure milk production:

A good efficient baby on the breast will always be better than a pump at getting the milk out. Pumping is a learned body relaxation technique. Some mom’s may not be able to get a good letdown with the pump that they would be able to get with the baby. Some pumps, especially the ones that the insurance companies are giving out for free, may not be that effective in milk removal. An evaluation on how the baby is doing on the breast and how much the baby transfers is always a better indication of milk supply than just pumping.

Breastfeeding causes weight loss:

While it is true that nursing burns a lot of calories, it is still how many calories the mom consumes and her level of activity that will help with weight loss. But those calories burned while nursing do add up! It is recommended that breastfeeding mom’s need an extra 500 calories in 24 hours. I do not recommend dieting because mom needs those calories for energy when getting up to feed a baby around the clock.

Breast size determines whether or not you will make enough milk for your baby:

Breast size is determined by fat tissue. Basically larger breasts have the more fat tissue. It is the glandular tissue in the breasts where the milk is made. Moms actually grow more glandular tissue with each pregnancy and nursing experience. So, small vs. large breasts does not matter in terms of milk production.

Breastfeeding causes restrictions on what mom can eat:

A breastfeeding mom needs a well-rounded, healthy diet. There are no restrictions on what mom can eat as long as there is not a strong food allergy in the immediate family. If so, then mom should avoid that food while nursing. So eat all the spicy foods, beans, onions etc… that you desire. All babies are gassy because the digestive tract is maturing, but a baby having prolonged periods of inconsolable painful crying is not normal. If mom thinks it is something she is eating, then she should keep a food diary and eliminate for 2-3 weeks the ONE food she thinks may be causing an issue, and then reintroduce that food again and see what happens.

Women who have had breast surgery or nipple piercings cannot nurse:

Women, who have had breast surgery, whether it is augmentation surgery where implants are placed, breast reduction surgery or nipple piercings can all nurse a baby. Generally breast implants and nipple piercings do not cause any issue with nursing or milk production. Women, who have had breast reduction surgery, need to be closely followed for adequate milk production and normal infant growth. They may be able to produce a full milk supply, or they may not, so close monitoring is required.

Find out more about Motherhood Center’s lactation consultants, breast pump rentals and breast feeding support, click here: Breastfeeding Support


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Breastfeeding and the New Health Care Reform

March 17, 2014

Medela Breast Pump RentalThe new Health Care Reform is helping to increase breastfeeding rates for mothers and babies. In order to assist women with breastfeeding difficulties, most insurance companies are covering multiple visits with breastfeeding specialists. If your insurance company does not have an in network breastfeeding provider, which is generally the case since most breastfeeding specialists are not part of insurance networks, then the insurance company will generally still provide benefits based on plan allowances. If the insurance company has no one in their network to provide specific medically necessary care, care is generally covered under in network benefits.

Our lactation consultant at The Motherhood Center is an RN and a Certified Breastfeeding Educator, and either one or both of these credentials are accepted by insurance companies. Lactation consultation services at The Motherhood Center require payment at the time of the visit. A receipt will then be given to mom with the appropriate diagnosis codes based on her and the baby’s breastfeeding problems that can then be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement. Also if a mom has a medical reason for needing to use a hospital grade breast pump, she may obtain an order from her pediatrician to submit to the insurance company along with her receipts from her payment for the rental charges. The Motherhood Center rents The Medela Symphony hospital grade breast pump.

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Postpartum Massage = New Mommy Massage

June 10, 2013

New Mommy Massage

Written by Mary Bratcher, The Motherhood Center










Postpartum care is an important part of the birthing process. In our culture it is often unfortunately overlooked, but when people refer to “the childbearing year” 9 months is pregnancy and the other 3 months are for healing, being honored, and enjoying your new family.
After birth it is important to make postnatal massage part of your recovery plan. Regardless of the type of birth you experienced ( vaginal. cesarean birth, vbac etc), a woman’s body must still undergo structural realignment. Post natal massage provides this as well as working to restore muscle tone in the abdomen and firm pressure to reposition the pelvis. Taking the time for postnatal massage will allow you to function your best while caring for yourself and your baby.


Other benefits include, but are not limited to:
  • relieves muscle tension and hastens bodily recovery
  • encourages pelvic and abdominal organs to return to pre-pregnancy positioning
  • Increases energy levels and reduces fatigue
  • aids the Uterus in returning to normal size
  • provides time alone and emotional support
  • relieves shoulder, neck, and arm tension for mother’s who are breastfeeding
Motherhood Center makes it easy for you to include postnatal massage as part of your “4th” trimester recovery period, and also offers other helpful services such as baby nurses/postpartum doulas, mom and baby yoga, lactation consultations, new mom support group and postpartum support products. Often a mother must take it upon herself to ensure she receives the emotional and physical support she will need following their pregnancy. Motherhood Center has representatives that are happy to help you set up a plan for support after your baby arrives, to keep you and your family happy and healthy.
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November is Premature Birth Awareness Month

November 13, 2012

by: Renee Bowling RN, CBE

November is Premature Birth Awareness month. In 2006, the Preemie Act was initiated by the Federal Government to improve the treatment and health of premature babies and to create programs to give families additional support. The March of Dimes has implemented an initiative called “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.” This initiative focuses on preventing medically unnecessary preterm deliveries and elective inductions and C-sections prior to 39 weeks gestation. On the Premature Birth Report Card just released by the March of Dimes, Texas scored a “D.” Texas’ premature birth rate is 13.1% with the goal being 9.6%.

Between 1981 and 2005, the rate of preterm deliveries increased almost 35%, with the largest increase being babies born between 34-37 weeks. Research and clinical experiences are showing that babies born just one week early, 39 weeks, increases their risk for morbidity and mortality.

Babies are categorized as:

Less then 34 weeks are called preterm

34-36 6/7 are called late preterm

37-38 6/7 weeks are called early term

39-41 6/7 weeks are called term

42+ weeks are called post term

Late preterm to early term infants can experience an increase risk of feeding difficulties, respiratory distress syndrome, large weight loss, dehydration, temperature instability, increased use of formula, unstable blood glucose levels, jaundice, infection and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. They are physiologically, neurologically and metabolically immature, even if they “look term.” More than 1/3 of brain volume develops during the last 6-8 weeks gestation, with huge growth occurring during the last 4 weeks.

Skin to skin contact with their mother is extremely important for these babies. That means a baby is in a diaper only and mom bare chested. They maintain their body temperature better, cry less, breast feed more and stabilize better. If taken away from mom they in act a “protest-despair” signal that is a survival response raising their stress hormones and will calm back down when given to mom. These babies were supposed to be carried by their mothers until 40 weeks, so they need intense skin to skin contact with them. Put them skin to skin against their mom with the baby’s chest, abdomen and legs closely flexed around mom’s body with unrestricted access to the breast. This is known as the biological nurturing position. They feel very secure and balanced when in this position.

Breastfeeding management needs to be closely monitored. We want to monitor for and decrease any health risks, be sure mom develops and maintains an adequate milk supply and continue observance to be sure the infant is growing adequately. Breastfeeding sessions should be reevaluated periodically so that changes to the feeding plan can be made based on the individual baby’s developmental stage and ability. The infants may lack feeding skills due to low energy stores and inadequate muscle tone. They may become too tired when nursing to obtain adequate milk transfer, have a weaker muscle tone and uncoordinated sucking swallowing and breathing ratio. They need to be able to maintain their airway, maintain a good latch and the vacuum pressure needed to transfer milk at the breast. These babies need a lot of practice opportunities at the breast, monitoring for signs of fatigue and milk transfer. Most of these babies will need additional supplementation until they are at their due date or several weeks beyond. There are various ways you can supplement babies. You can use a cup, syringe, supplemental nursing system, or specific bottles. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and is chosen based on that mom and baby. The feeding technique needs to be taught to mom and other care givers.

Moms that deliver prior to term may experience a delay in their milk coming in and problems with building a full milk supply. It is very important for moms to maintain a good pumping program to build their milk supply. This should be kept up until the baby is able to take over this job completely on their own. This generally occurs at term or 2 weeks post term. Proper pumping routine and procedures should be taught to mom. Moms should be observed during a pumping session to assess proper pump use and techniques. If the baby is in the hospital for health reasons, mom should be encouraged to spend time with her baby. As soon as the doctors allow, skin to skin contact and breast exposure and practice should be initiated. Early implementation is shown to improve milk production and breastfeeding skills.

It is a very stressful situation for families when babies are born early. The work caring for and feeding these babies is very time intensive. It may be many weeks before the baby is able to breastfeed efficiently. A lot of support and information needs to be available to these families. I would like to wish all those going through these challenges the best of luck. We at The Motherhood Center are here to help! Give us a call at 713-963-8880.

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2012 Breastfeeding Conference: The Latest Research

September 24, 2012

by: Renee Bowling, RN, CBFE

Breastfeeding ConferenceI was extremely lucky to be able to attend a breastfeeding conference recently in San Antonio, TX. The 3 presenters included Dr. Thomas Hale, Dr. Jack Newman and Barbara Wilson Clay. They are considered to be some of the leaders in breastfeeding research and clinical care.

Dr. Hale is a clinical pharmacologist with Texas Tech University and runs the Infant Risk Assessment Center in Amarillo, Texas. He is also the author of Medications in Mother’s Milk, along with many other lactation books. He is considered a world expert on medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding. He is currently doing research on many different drugs and breastfeeding including Domperidone, which is a drug used to increase milk supply. He has an excellent website with information on depression medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding, nausea during pregnancy and much more. Health care professionals and patients can both contact The Infant Risk Center to get answers on medication safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

His lectures at the conference included:
• Control and Production of Human Milk – Medications that Increase Milk Production
• Anesthetic and Epidural Medications in Breastfeeding Mothers
• Antidepressant Drugs in Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers
• Managing various Diseases in Breastfeeding Mothers

These are just a few of the things he talked about that I would like to share with you.
• Mothers with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of postpartum depression
• Mothers who breastfeed get more sleep than mothers who formula feed. (My thought is that this does not happen in the very beginning.)
• Breastfed babies need 400 IU/day of vitamin D. There is no vitamin D in breast milk.
• Epidurals are systemically absorbed, so the level in mom’s plasma is the same level in the baby’s plasma. If you get an epidural, wait till you are at least 5 cm. There are less side effects and fetal sedation.
• The more Pitocin drug used (used to induce labor or increase contractions) the less oxytocin (hormone that causes the milk to let down) released the first 3 days.
• The breasts produce the same amount of milk around the clock.
• A graph on his website can be found to determine the length of time it takes to eliminate alcohol from breast milk, based on mother’s weight.
• Every ounce of formula used is one ounce of breast milk you will not make.

Breastfeeding Conference Dr. Jack Newman is a pediatrician in Canada that runs the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute, which is part of the International Breastfeeding Center. He has a wonderful website with client handouts on numerous breastfeeding issues, including latching. There are many videos, including one on which shows how to tell the baby is drinking milk from the breast. He also has a protocol to follow for mom’s who want to breastfeed their adopted infant.

His talks included:
• When the Baby Does Not Latch On – How Birthing Practices Affect Breastfeeding
• Hypoglycemia and Jaundice
• Late Onset Decreased Milk Supply
• Numbers on Demand – How Feeding Babies by the Numbers Is a Disastrous Approach

Here is some information he shared:
• Babies should never leave the hospital with a nipple shield, because almost all babies will latch when mom’s milk comes in, or by 2-3 weeks
• The Montgomery glands on the areola secrete a smell that encourages the baby to latch
• Babies can pick out their own mom’s breast pads even when there is no milk on them
• Heel sticks for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are not accurate. If the baby is showing symptoms of low blood sugar, a plasma level should be drawn. If a baby is truly hypoglycemic the best thing to give them is:
1st: colostrum
2nd: Pumped milk or donor milk
3rd: An I.V.
4th: Formula
Healthy full term infants born after a normal pregnancy and delivery, and who are not showing clinical signs of hypoglycemia do not require routine monitoring of glucose levels.
• Breastfed babies who have jaundice are babies who are not nursing well, and should be called “Not enough breast milk jaundice”
• Sleepiness associated with jaundice is more likely to be related to a decrease in calorie intake than to the jaundice itself
• “Most exclusive breastfed, well gaining babies are slightly jaundiced and this is normal. What is not normal is the absence of jaundice in formula feed infants. The breastfed baby is the norm.”
• When babies spit up breast milk, it coats their digestive track and protects it.
• Babies respond to milk flow, not the amount of milk in the breast.
• “Breastfeeding poorly 12 times a day is no better than feeding poorly 8 times a day”
• “Nursing Strikes” may actually be caused by a reduced milk supply

Barbara Wilson Clay is a lactation consultant in private practice in Austin, Texas. She helped found the Mother’s Milk Bank in Austin, and is a researcher, and author of many lactation books and educational material, as well as an active lobbyist with the Texas Legislature promoting breastfeeding as a health policy issue.

Her lectures included:
• Tricks of the Trade – Rousing the Sleepy Newborn
• Breastfeeding Management of the Late Preterm and Small for Gestational Age Infant
• Nipple Shields: What is the Evidence Basis?
• Lactation Case Studies: Breastfeeding Management of Infants with Special Feeding Issues

Here are some of the things she shared:
• “There is no sale by date on breastfeeding”
• Keep the baby skin to skin to increase breast focus
• When doing paced bottle feeds, give 3 swallows and then stop and allow for a breathing break. If milk is dripping out their mouth, then the flow is to fast.
• Medicaid covers donor milk and no one is turned away from the milk bank due to lack of ability to pay.
• A baby who has lost greater than 7-8 percent of birth weight will conserve energy by sleeping and is a red flag for failure of milk production. They need to be evaluated on the breast and improvements with nursing need to be made at this time.
• The most common reason for lactation consultants to use nipple shields was to help the less than 35 week baby latch and breastfeed
• Promotion of fast growth in small for gestational age infants by nutrient-enriched formula increases the risk of high blood pressure and obesity in later life. There are no advantages of using nutrient-enriched formula with regard to intellectual development.

I hope you enjoyed me sharing with you just some of the great information I received!

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Schedules and Your Baby

August 29, 2012

by: Kimberly Bowman

Along with everything else to fret about, scheduling is one of the top issues where the typical breastfeeding and formula feeding moms differ. This is largely due to the reasoning behind on-demand nursing which entails feeding the baby anytime she desires. On-demand feeding is particularly beneficial in the first several weeks post-partum when you and mini-me are working together to establish your milk supply and pack on those fantastic rolls of baby fat. This baby-led schedule almost never follows your pre-parent days and nights. While this is good for starting off breastfeeding but not so good at increasing your level of sanity, it is important to remember that it, like a million other things, is temporary. Let yourself get through the first six weeks of life as you knew it having changed drastically and forever before you start worrying about schedules.

Once you are through that initial period of adjustment, and the first two growth spurts at three and six weeks, you can start thinking ahead. As with adults, each baby has an individual personality. Though there are similarities among infants, each new person comes with their own ideas about how they wish their days (and nights) to go. You are the one who is supposed to be in charge but in a bit of foreshadowing, you will find that baby’s opinions are not always as easily swayed as you would like.

You will begin to see the initial pattern of your baby’s chosen schedule within a few weeks. Working with that as a basis you can begin to affect the changes that will make a difference for you. Guarding your baby’s intake and weight gain is the primary thing to remember when scheduling. Any schedule that risks a baby’s ability to thrive is not a reasonable one. By keeping a regimen loose enough to accommodate growth spurts and comfort at the breast you will keep yourself and baby happy. Once any blips on the radar pass, get back to the routine quickly and consistently.

As your baby grows, using the same reasoning behind scheduling can be used for discreet nursing of an older child and sleep routines. Recently, a study of babies through their first several years found a connection between routines at a very young age and decreased anxiety further on. We hear all the time that toddlers thrive on routine, but they are not the only ones. While spontaneity is nice, having some predictability in life is comforting and you will find yourself seeking that comfort more and more as you and baby grow together.

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The Importance of Breastfeeding Support

April 5, 2012

By: Stephanie Duhon

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that moms exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months, but preferably longer. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more moms are achieving that goal in the United States. In 2011, 14.8 percent of 6-month-old babies were exclusively breastfed in the U.S. That’s an increase of 4 percentage points since 2007.

But despite growing evidence of the benefits of breast milk for babies and increased efforts to offer support to moms, that’s still a small number and a recent study out of Scotland suggests increasing that percentage is not as easy as it sounds. According to the report, published in the journal BMJ Open, researchers interviewed 36 pregnant women and a significant other about what it would take to breastfeed exclusively and why the ones who stopped choose to do so. The report says some of the women said breastfeeding wasn’t the bonding experience they were expecting and was much harder than expected, while others said they lacked a support system.

I can definitely relate to women who planned to exclusively breastfeed and yet still struggled. While breastfeeding is indeed natural, it is far from easy for most women. Breastfeeding takes a lot of time, practice, commitment and support. I learned that I could be doing everything “right” and still encounter problems.

My daughter was born in September 2010 and I fully intended to exclusively breastfeed her for at least 6 months. I know the benefits of breastfeeding and was excited to be able to offer my daughter the very best. I took a class, I read up on nursing and what to expect and had access to an amazing lactation consultant. I knew going in that it may be a bit difficult at first, but I was terribly disappointed when breastfeeding turned out to be much harder than I expected. My daughter didn’t latch well and it took her a long time to nurse. Despite nursing for what seemed like forever sometimes, she was not gaining sufficient weight. Per doctor’s orders, I had to supplement her with formula because her weight was too low. I pumped, I took supplements such as fenugreek to increase my supply and I dealt with painful clogged ducts because my daughter wasn’t properly draining my milk supply. I was devastated and thought I was doing something wrong. Renee, the amazing lactation consultant at The Motherhood Center, was extremely supportive and showed me different nursing positions and helped me figure out how to effectively use the breast pump. Unfortunately, I was never able to get my supply up completely, so I had to supplement breastfeeding with formula, but with the amazing support of Renee, as well as my husband and friends, I am proud to say that I overcame some of the other early obstacles and was able to successfully feed my baby girl at least some breast milk for the first six months of her life.

The key aspect I learned from my experience is not to be afraid to ask for help. Women go through many emotions after having a baby and when you combine the hormonal changes, lack of sleep and commitment of breastfeeding, it can become overwhelming very quickly. The Motherhood Center has wonderful resources to help moms reach their breastfeeding goals. In addition to lactation consultants, TMC offers hospital grade breast pumps to rent and has a large variety of breastfeeding supplies, such as nursing tanks and bras, nipple cream, My Brest Friend nursing pillows, nursing covers and more. Experienced staff members can help you determine what you need and can also help you figure out the proper size of nursing tank or bra, which as many moms know can be difficult to figure out!

One thing that some people may not know is that The Motherhood Center also helps local businesses offer support to moms! You may have heard of some offices having a pumping room for moms. These rooms are invaluable for moms who need to pump at work. It gives them the opportunity to pump in private and not have to spend the 15-20 minutes pumping at their desk, in the bathroom or closet or in their car. Breastfeeding experts say to successfully pump, you have to be relaxed so your milk can let down. That’s hard to do if you are worried about someone entering the room mid-pump!

TMC founder Gabriela Gerhart says moms who have support from their employers not only have an easier time exclusively breastfeeding, which can cut down on medical costs because of the health benefits of breast milk, but they are also more productive because they don’t have to worry about finding time and space to pump during the day to feed their baby.

Are you an employer who wants to learn more about creating a pumping room? Call us at 713-963-8880 and ask us about our corporate membership and how we can help you help nursing moms at your office.

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No Need to Panic Part III: Plugged Ducts

April 2, 2012

by: Kimberly Bowman

If you notice a hard lump in your breast while breastfeeding do not burst into tears and call the oncologist. Instead, let your baby finish his calm nursing session and check for the lump’s perimeter. Have you noticed feeling run-down or any flu-like symptoms? If the answer is yes, take your temperature. If you have an elevated one, you may have mastitis and you will need to see your doctor for an antibiotic prescription. Do this without delay and read my previous post Anti-Antibiotics? Let it Go When Facing Mastitis.

Another possibility is that your answer to those questions is no and you are experiencing plugged ducts. By finding the edges of the lump you will be able to sufficiently massage it while nursing and apply warm compresses to help relieve any discomfort. It is safe for your baby to nurse while you cope with plugged ducts and will also help. Also gently massage the area while in the shower as the warmth and pressure can help clear the duct. Watch your symptoms for any increase in severity. Plugged ducts, and your susceptibility to them, are often pre-cursors to mastitis. They are a clear sign that you are overwrought.

When mom is overwrought, everyone in the family loses. Make sure your partner is aware of your situation. Extra rest and vigilance will keep you out of the doctor’s office but we ultimately have to take responsibility for trying to be in more than one place at a time. Knights in shining armor are super rare these days. If you want to be saved, you must rescue yourself. You only have two hands and one head. Use them in coordinated ways that enable you to get reasonable things accomplished while staying healthy. Putting yourself first ensures that everyone else gets a place in line for their dose of mommy.

Previous Posts:

No Need to Panic Part I: Breastfeeding Issues

No Need to Panic Part II: Blebs

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No Need to Panic Part II: Blebs

March 25, 2012

by: Kimberly Bowman

Blebs are another common, but potentially panic-inducing, effect of breastfeeding. They appear on the nipple and look like white blisters. They are, in fact, small amounts of milk in the tissue and can be painful but are not worrisome. You may get them, you may not.

The worry returns again to the ever-present subject of proper latch. When nursing the baby, make sure her mouth is open yawn-wide, point your nipple towards her nose and pull her towards you. Do not lean forward otherwise you will end up with a tremendous backache. After she is latched on, check to see that her lips are flanged out like a fish. While 10 seconds of pain is OK, any longer and the suction needs to be broken and another attempt should be made. Improper latch can not only cause you increasingly worse discomfort, but will affect your milk supply as well. The part of the breast that needs to be stimulated for the brain to receive signals to make more milk are located in the areola which is compressed comfortably when the nipple is far enough in the back of the baby’s mouth.

When you notice blebs, continue nursing. Deny your inner primate and do not pick them. We all know that the picking temptation does not wane with age or maturity, but it will not help. Instead, soften them with a warm compress or olive oil. This will help in removal. You may see a bit of hardened milk. As you rise to the challenge of proper latch, protect your nipples with a salve like Lansinoh. This product is pure and safe for baby while providing protection for you. Do not use antibiotic creams.

Finding strange, blister-like bumps on your breast is just one more adventure. Like other bumps, blisters and strangeness that greet us as we move through life, they are part of the experience. You can be sure they are worth it. Just about all of it is.

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No Need to Panic: Breastfeeding Issues Part 1

March 12, 2012

by: Kimberly Bowman

There you are, breast-pumping away while reading People. Ok, so it was The Economist but you were wishing it was People. When you glance down to revel in the collection of your one woman milk factory, you notice that the milk is a bit orange and there is bright red blood at your nipple. Bright red blood is generally not a welcome sight outside the body. Orange breastmilk, for that matter, isn’t in the realm of welcome sights either. In this situation however, it is likely that there is nothing to worry about.

There are many reasons why blood can present in breastmilk. The most common is ruptured capillaries close to the surface in the nipple. Vascular engorgement will cause the “rusty-pipe” look to milk as mentioned above. The changes that breasts go through during pregnancy and the increased blood flow can cause this phenomenon. First time mothers are the most common sufferers and generally they experience this in both breasts. Nipples that have become cracked can also be a source of blood. Latch is always the key to successful breastfeeding and getting your nipple far enough back in your baby’s mouth will prevent it being compressed against the hard palate instead of the soft one. Remember, it is breastfeeding, not nipplefeeding.

Another reason, though less common, for blood in breastmilk can be intraductal papillomas, caused by fibrocystic breast disease. These benign lumps are located in the milk ducts and cannot be felt. This generally occurs in only one breast and resolves on its own.

While it can be downright frightening to see blood in your breastmilk, think of the simplest explanation first. The small amount of blood will not harm your baby and you are encouraged to continue pumping and breastfeeding. Should this condition last for more that two weeks after birth, consult your doctor and a lactation specialist about the next step.

When you embark on any journey in life, one of the most important things you must take along is your sense of humor. While we discussed blood in breastmilk here, the fact is that we’re still talking about boobs and that is funny. There are plenty of things in life to cry about. Make sure you are really dealing with one of those things before you start shedding the tears. First, laugh out loud at your rusty pipes. Then pay attention, give it some time and proceed with caution.

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