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Being a parent is all about adapting to changes and transitions. Milestones, as they are often referred to, are significant changes in your baby’s cognitive, developmental, and motor skills. From sleeping through the night to sitting up, milestones are exciting transitions for both a baby and parents. A significant milestone for exclusively breastfed babies is the transition into bottle feeding. There are many reasons why a baby who is exclusively breastfeeding may need to transition into bottle feeding. Paced bottle feeding is a technique that makes this change easier for both baby and mom.
Paced bottle feeding is a method used to help transition babies from breastfeeding to eating through a bottle. This technique mimics the flow of milk, similar to breastfeeding and can help ensure a smooth transition. As breastfeeding mamas know, the flow of milk through a breast is very different from that of a bottle. There are many bottles available to help transition your baby comfortably. However, using the paced bottle feeding technique can help your baby adjust to this new way of feeding.
This method allows your baby to drink until they are full, very similar to breastfeeding. By using this method, your baby may not finish the entire bottle right away. However, as you and your baby establish a consistent feeding routine, you will know how to adjust the amount of milk you are serving correctly.
The first step to beginning paced bottle feeding your baby is to find the right bottle. There are many different brands that market a “natural” feel or nipple to babies transition from breast to bottle. Truth be told, since every baby is different, finding the right bottle might be through trial and error. There are so many bottles available, and it may be overwhelming trying to find the right one. As with every new process and milestone, patience is a necessity. For my baby and myself, the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottle worked best for us. Not only did it have a nipple that resembled and felt like my own, but there’s also an anti-colic valve. It was also super easy to clean, which is a huge plus!
After choosing your bottle, it’s time to begin! Paying attention to your baby’s hunger cues is very important when paced bottle feeding. Your baby will show signs of hunger by smacking their lips, turning their head towards your chests (also known as rooting), or by straight up crying! Paced bottle feeding is centered around feeding your baby when they are hungry, rather than on a timed schedule.
When the baby is ready to eat, hold them in an upright position, at a slight incline, and offer the bottle to your baby. This can help prevent colic. You can try to lightly touch the bottle on the baby’s lips. Your baby may refuse but usually, if they are hungry, they will open their mouth and “latch” onto the bottle.
Once the baby is latched on, here’s where the paced bottle feeding method comes into play. By keeping the bottle in a horizontal position, the baby controls the flow of milk. Try alternating the flow, by not letting the milk reach the nipple, similar to the flow of breastmilk. Try to mimic a breastfeeding session as much as possible, switching baby to a different side and letting them stop for a break. Not only does this help the transition from breast to bottle, but the paced bottle feeding technique will help your baby recognize when they are full, which they will show signs of by maybe opening a closed fist, falling asleep, or giving up the bottle altogether.
Similar to breastfeeding, don’t expect your baby to gulp down a bottle in one sitting. Patience is vital when with this method, as not only is it a new process, but the goal is to mimic breastfeeding as much as possible, especially if you’re transitioning from exclusively breastfeeding to bottle feeding. It can be frustrating when your baby doesn’t take to the bottle right away. You may need to consider trying a different bottle or waiting for the baby to give those cues that they’re really hungry. If you ever have questions or concerns that your baby isn’t eating properly or enough, we recommend consulting your pediatrician or a lactation consultant.
There are many reasons why a mom should consider using the paced bottle feeding method to transition her baby to use bottles. For a mama that has to go back to work after being on maternity leave and has been exclusively breastfeeding, she may consider pumping breast milk to give her baby while she is away and transitioning to a bottle is necessary when the baby is left in someone else’s care.
Paced bottle feeding is also great for formula-fed babies. Since it’s more of a “baby-led” technique, this method helps avoid over or underfeeding baby. Both formula and breastmilk are extremely valuable. Not only do you want to make sure that the baby is getting enough nutrients so that they can thrive and grow, but paced bottle feeding also helps make sure that you’re not wasting any precious milk by over-serving the baby. You may have some instances where you’re over or under serving milk at first, but one of the many benefits of paced bottle feeding is that you establish a feeding routine that’s custom to your baby and eventually can figure out how much they need before they get full.
Paced bottle feeding can also help you understand your milk supply if you are breastfeeding. If you’re overfeeding your baby, it can be difficult trying to pump to make up for the extra milk. However, by allowing your baby to lead the process, you can have a better understanding of how much milk they need. This will help you pump the right amount since you produce breastmilk on a supply and demand basis.
Did you know that using the paced bottle feeding technique can also help prevent colic? Yup, you read that right! By using proper positioning, your baby will swallow less air while eating. Therefore creating less gas and discomfort for your baby, (and more sleep for mama!).
As we all know, breastfeeding is an intimate and unique experience between a mother and her baby. Dads, grandparents, and other caregivers may want to bond similarly with baby, and paced bottle feeding is a great way to do so. Since paced bottle feeding mimics breastfeeding, other caregivers can use this feeding time as their way to create a bond with the baby.
The paced bottle is a process that transitions your baby to achieving one of many future milestones. Understanding your baby’s cues and patience is a skill worth learning, the results and benefits are totally worth it. Paced bottle feeding helps establish healthy eating habits for the future and can also help others bond with baby similarly (but not exactly) to the way mom and baby bond while breastfeeding. Good luck and enjoy this and all the other milestones you will share with your baby!
Have some questions about feeding? Feel free to list them in the comments! Also, check out our Rookie Moms Facebook Group, it’s a great group of moms where you can share your experiences, ask for advice and even help out another mom!
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You warm up a four-ounce bottle of breastmilk, but your baby only drinks two ounces. Can you reheat the leftover breastmilk or does it have to be tossed? Breastmilk is liquid gold, and we totally understand how upsetting it can be to dump it down the drain!
Reusing and reheating breastmilk is generally not advised. However, there are a few studies showing that it may be safe to an extent, and a few authorities have said it is okay. Let’s break down the risks and safety measures concerning reheating breastmilk.
1. Bacteria in Breastmilk
When you pump, a small amount of bacteria ends up in your milk inside the bottle. Usually, these bacteria are so few, and due to proper storage in the fridge or freezer, they do not have the opportunity to grow.
Additionally, fresh milk can fight bacteria and remain relatively anti-infective. The longer you store the milk, the less bacteria-fighting power it has.
When you give your baby a bottle, bacteria from your baby’s mouth is now present. As soon as your baby begins sucking, the bottle is contaminated.
If these bacteria multiply, they can harm your baby. This is especially true if your baby is premature, suffering from a pre-existing medical condition, or has a weakened immune system. Warm milk is a breeding ground for bacteria.
2. Proper Preparation
The safety of reheating and reusing the breastmilk is dependent on how you prepare and store it.
You can prepare a bottle with fresh milk, meaning it has been at room temperature for less than four hours. Another option is using milk that has been in the fridge or frozen.
Babies do not require warm milk, yet most babies prefer it. You can give your baby fresh milk at room temperature and similarly, you can use milk directly from the fridge. If your baby prefers a warm bottle, check out these warmers that are quick and safe!
- Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer- The Kiinde Kozii’s design has your baby’s health in mind. It warms bottles up just a little slower, but only because overheating can destroy nutrients in breastmilk that you really want your baby to get.
- Munchkins Fast Bottle Warmer- Only one thing needs to be said for the Munchkin Warmer; it heats up a bottle in under 90 seconds. That means minimum time to listen to the hungry cry!
Most moms warm their refrigerated or frozen milk. Only use this milk if it meets proper storage guidelines and is not expired. This means it has been in the refrigerator for fewer than five days and in the freezer for fewer than six months.
To warm the milk, you can either run it under warm to hot water or let it sit in a bowl of warm to hot water. The water should not bring the milk to a boil as this will damage the nutrients and healthy bacteria. For the same reason, you should not heat milk in the microwave or oven.
Once the milk is warm, swirl it to mix in any fat and then test a drop on your rest for temperature. As long as the temperature feels fine, the milk is now ready for your baby.
3. What To Do with Leftover Breastmilk
You fed your baby but you still have some milk leftover and you hate to just throw it away. Is it safe to reheat or reuse later? This is where things get tricky.
Recommendations against Reheating Breastmilk
Most pediatricians and organizations advise against reheating or reusing breastmilk. Once the milk has been warmed and given to a baby, the risk for bacterial contamination is high. The CDC advises, “if your baby did not finish the bottle, the leftover breast milk can still be used within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding. After 2 hours, leftover breast milk should be discarded”.
Similarly, Today’s Parent states, “It’s not safe to reheat a bottle of breastmilk”. The thought behind these statements is reheating and reusing the milk it is not worth the risk to your baby’s health. You should dispose of all remaining milk within a two-hour period.
Other authorities further specify the situations in which you should not reheat milk. If your baby is sick, their immune system is suppressed. They are more susceptible to bad bacteria from milk with any contaminants. If the milk has been previously frozen you should not reheat it (or refreeze it). This is because the freezing process weakens the milk’s bacteria-fighting properties, resulting in an increased bad bacteria count.
Finally, if milk is clearly showing signs of spoilage, you should not reheat it or reuse it. Overall, this approach errs on the side of caution. If your baby has not finished the bottle, it is best to dump the remaining milk along with the contaminating bacteria down the drain.
Recommendations for Reheating Breastmilk
The lack of a sufficient amount of data regarding the reheating and reusing of breastmilk leads others to believe that it may be safe to offer previously warmed milk. It is important to note that these statements are in support of reusing milk but largely ignore or advise against reheating milk.
This is in part because of the time frame in which the previously fed milk should be used. Throw the bottle away if it has been out for 2 hours.
At room temperature, the bottle should not cool significantly within the two-hour window. Therefore, you should not need to reheat the milk. But is it still safe to use?
Expert Opinions About Reheating Breastmilk
Jan Barger, R.N., M.A., IBCLC states “it would seem to me that expressed breast milk, fed to the baby, partially consumed, and then refrigerated, could be used for one more feeding no more than four hours later. That’s probably fairly conservative,” concluding that bacterial contamination will cause the milk to spoil, but there is no way of knowing how long this will take.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine notes, “Once a baby begins drinking expressed human milk, some bacterial contamination occurs in the milk from the baby’s mouth. The duration of time the milk can be kept at room temperature once the baby has partially fed from the cup or bottle would theoretically depend on the initial bacterial load in the milk, how long the milk has been thawed, and the ambient temperature. There have been no studies done to provide recommendations in this regard. Based on related evidence thus far, it seems reasonable to discard the remaining milk within 1–2 hours after the baby is finished feeding”.
The common thread here is that too few studies have been done to conclude officially whether reheating and reusing previously used milk is safe or not. It would appear that as long as the milk was not frozen, your baby is healthy, and you use it within a one to two-hour period, the milk should be safe.
What Should You Do About Reheating Breastmilk?
In the end, what you do with your leftover breastmilk is up to you. There are advocates of, and studies upholding both opinions. If you are worried for any reason that your breastmilk may be harmful to your baby, it is best to toss it.
I want to start things off by saying breastfeeding is a different journey for every mother. There is no comparing one situation to the next! It is my hope that all mamas get the chance to have a long and happy breastfeeding journey, even if it is hard at first. One tricky situation that you might find yourself in is tandem breastfeeding. We are here to tell you all you need to know about it and hopefully make it seem a bit less daunting.
What is Tandem Breastfeeding?
Tandem breastfeeding is when you nurse two of your babies at the same time. It is common among moms of multiples, but may also be used by moms who have children close in age. When nursing twins tandem breastfeeding often means one baby on each breast. If you are tandem nursing two different aged children you may use tandem nursing in a couple of different ways.
Nursing is often the predominant nutrient source for your infant during their first year of life. This is why if you have another baby, you may still want to nurse your older child. Keep in mind, you may want to nurse your younger baby first. This will ensure that they receive an adequate amount of milk. However, if you are producing too much milk, tandem nursing may actually benefit you. You can tandem breastfeed your toddler to reduce engorgement when your baby is done nursing or in between sessions.
Another reason to tandem breastfeed is if you have a fast letdown. Some infants can struggle with a fast-letdown and have difficulty latching. A toddler may be better able to handle the letdown until it subsides at which point the infant may then be nursed.
Will I Like Tandem Nursing?
Whether or not you will like tandem nursing is largely dependent on your lifestyle and personality. Tandem nursing can be difficult, especially at first. You are learning to adjust to a new baby and will still be required to meet the nursing demands of your toddler. If you are nursing twins, you will have to manage the schedule and demands of two infants. Tandem nursing can be overwhelming in either scenario, but worth the struggle in the end!
Tandem nursing certainly has benefits. After a period of time, you will probably get your children on a regulated schedule and nursing will not be exceedingly time-consuming. Of course, there are innumerable health and emotional benefits associated with breastfeeding. There are also positive aspects when nursing an infant and toddler. You will be able to connect with both your children and your toddler and infant will be able to bond through nursing as well. In addition, continuing breastfeeding your toddler will help to sustain some semblance of your routine pre-baby, comforting your older child.
Many women find that nursing a toddler can be used to soothe them during difficult situations and provides them with an opportunity to sit, rest, and reconnect with both their children. There are pros and cons to tandem nursing, ultimately you will have to decide for yourself if you like it.
Some Things to Consider When Tandem Breastfeeding
Tandem nursing can have a variety of benefits beyond engorgement and letdown control. Tandem nursing can help bond your older child and the new baby. During a time when your toddler may be suffering from feelings of jealousy and detachment, nursing can be a beneficial way to soothe these anxieties.
In addition, studies have shown that children still receive health and nutrient benefits from breastfeeding beyond the first year. Nursing your toddler will continue to provide them with health and emotional support.
Providing Sufficient Nutrients to Your Newborn
When tandem breastfeeding, you may be concerned about providing a sufficient amount of milk to your newborn. It is important that your baby receives an adequate amount of breastmilk to sustain nutrition and weight gain. One of the ways in which this can be remedied is by always nursing your infant first, this will ensure that they are able to nurse for as long as they want and obtain as much milk as they want.
You may also want to nurse one child from each breast. This will ensure that your baby is receiving hindmilk and foremilk. However, if your newborn is able to empty one complete breast you should then put them onto the other breast to continue nursing.
Milk Production Concerns
Another consideration is milk production and if you will have enough milk to nurse two children. In most cases, the demand from both children will stimulate production. Nursing is regulated by supply and demand. When you are nursing more than one child, your body should respond to the increased demands.
Mama’s Well Being
The final consideration is the wellbeing of the mom. Nursing can lead to cracked and dry nipples, but as you have been continually nursing a toddler your breasts should be conditioned. You will likely not have to worry about nipple pain or soreness. Nursing also demands a great deal of the mother’s body. Be sure to get plenty of healthy calories and plenty of sleep.
Does My Newborn Always Need to Nurse First?
During the first few days to weeks your newborn should nurse first. Nursing your infant first will help to set your supply levels and ensure that your infant receives adequate nutrition. After birth you will be producing colostrum, a vital nutrient source for your newborn, so be sure to give them first dibs.
After a short period, you can nurse both children at the same time, one on each breast. You may also want to continue nursing the toddler after your infant, or maintain different nursing schedules in which they nurse at separate times.
What To Do if a “Weaned” Child Asks to Breastfeed Again?
Nursing a newborn can reignite a desire for nursing in a weaned child. Whether or not you choose to begin tandem breastfeeding with your weaned child again is at your discretion. It is also okay to comfort your toddler in other ways instead of nursing again. If you do so, be kind but firm and be sure to devote periods of time and attention solely to your toddler while your partner cares for the baby.
Alternatively, you can begin nursing your toddler again. It may be easier to nurse both children at the same time so that you are not burdened with an additional nursing session or sessions.
What Positions Are Best for Tandem Breastfeeding?
You can tandem nurse using the same positions that you find comfortable for breastfeeding a single child. Some positions you may want to try when nursing two children include:
- A football hold, in which each child’s body is directed under your arm and behind your body.
- A cradle hold, in which the baby is positioned across the toddler’s lap.
- A combination hold, in which one child is in a football hold and the other is in a cradle hold.
- The toddler leaning on you or kneeling while the infant is cradled. It is likely that your toddler is now adept at nursing in a variety of positions and will be able to acclimate themselves to the position of the newborn.
Tandem nursing can be a great experience and bond both you and your children in ways you never thought possible. If you are considering tandem nursing it may be beneficial to speak with friends who have tandem nursed or seek out those with the first-hand experience to determine if you may be suited to tandem nursing. Check out the Rookie Moms Facebook Group, where you will find a tribe of moms to ask for advice!
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A bottle sterilizer may seem like a frivolous gift to add to a baby shower registry, but newborns can definitely benefit from using a bottle sterilizer. They make it easier to sanitize bottles, bottle nipples, toys, and anything the baby may put into their mouth. Household germs and those from people around the baby can be harmful to little ones with weaker immune systems. This is especially true for premature babies, babies less than 3 months old, or babies who have been recently sick.
The best bottle sterilizers use steam to treat baby items. Some families choose to use the dishwasher, microwave, or hot soapy water to clean items. However, using a sterilizer will kill bacteria and keep everything safe for newborns.
Bottle Sterilizer Basics
There’s a difference between a clean bottle and a sterilized bottle. It is important to understand this so that you can make the right choice for you and your family!
Why Choose a Sterilizer Over Other Methods?
Using hot soapy water can clean bottles, but it isn’t a guaranteed way to kill germs and bacteria.
The dishwasher is another alternative as it uses hotter water for a longer time to clean bottles. Keep in mind, it also isn’t guaranteed to kill all germs that the baby can find tough to fight off. Without a bottle sterilizer, you can still sterilize bottles by placing them in boiling water for five minutes. Another method is to use the dishwasher if it has a sanitize cycle.
I actually think it’s more convenient to use a bottle sterilizer than running the dishwasher or using a pot of water. A bottle sterilizer is a countertop device that you place bottles, bottle parts, pacifiers, and other small items inside. You can even put your breast pump parts in the sterilizer! Then you just run the cycle which treats the items with steam killing all germs and bacteria.
Types of Bottle Sterilizers
Most bottle sterilizers use electric steam to sanitize but there are also microwave steam sterilizers that you can use in the microwave. The last type of bottle sterilizer uses UV light which uses light to kill germs, just like they use in hospitals and dentist offices. This method is great because it reduces the mess steam sterilizers can create.
There are a variety of bottle sterilizers on the market, which can make it difficult to choose. When selecting your sterilizer consider how many bottles you’ll want to clean at once, how much counter space you have, and if it would be easier to have an all-in-one device that dries and stores, or a simple unit that fits in the microwave when you need things cleaned.
Best 5 Bottle Sterilizers
1: Papablic Baby Bottle Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer
This is a great all-in-one bottle sterilizer because it sterilizes with high heated steam, dries your items, and is a great rectangular size to keep clean bottles stored in right on the counter. It’s also a great item for families with a newborn because it can sterilize breast pump items, bottle pieces, and pacifiers, almost like a tiny dishwasher for your baby items. In addition to these great features, it also has one dial with simple settings. There is no real need for instructions, simply place your items in, set it, and go about your day.
2: Gourmia Jr. Baby Bottle Sanitizer and Bottle Warmer
Electric sterilizers are also a good choice because they often have more than one function. As in the previous electric sterilizer that dried the items as well as cleaning, this sterilizer also has a bottle warmer. The sterilizer compartment can hold 6 bottles at once, or four bottles with the accessory tray for toys and pacifiers. The bottle warmer has several functions to warm slowly or quickly, and with everything in one unit it saves counter space. This is a great all around bottle sterilizer because of its design, function, and quality.
3: Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Microwave sterilizers are a good option for something simple and easy to use, without needing a separate appliance. They all have a similar design, a clear dome top with a tray for holding the bottles and the water. This one by Philips holds four bottles at once, either standard neck or wide neck. Items can be sterilized in as little as two minutes and are considered sterile for up to 24 hours if you don’t open the lid after sterilizing. Families often use this as a quick travel option for sterilizing on the go.
4: Dr. Brown’s Steam Sterilizer
Another great microwave sterilizer is this one by Dr. Brown. It has a simple design and fits four Dr. Brown bottles, but is compatible with other brands. The tray steams the bottles and is also useful for small objects like pacifiers. This specific sterilizer comes with a set of plastic tongs and is a solid, simple, microwave option. Microwave sterilizers are also a good beginner sterilizer, as their price point and design make it easy to navigate bottle sterilization for first-time parents.
5: Wabi Baby Touch Panel Function UV Sterilizer and Dryer
UV bottle sterilizers are a bit more expensive, as they’re more high-tech than the steam sterilizers on this list. The most recommended UV sterilizer is this one by Wabi Baby. The unit sterilizes, dries, and stores bottles which is great for counter space and keeping track of which bottles have been washed and are ready for use. The simple square design and touchscreen buttons give this a futuristic look. Choosing a UV sterilizer could be a good option for the family overall, as this unit can be used to sterilize pretty much anything, which makes it useful beyond bottles to clean cups, toys, and even devices like cell phones.
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Have questions about sterilizing baby bottles or any other baby questions feel free to leave them in the comments.
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Fenugreek and breastfeeding; these are probably two words you will hear side by side often during your breastfeeding journey. Many moms struggle with low supply. It can be frustrating trying to nurse a baby or to pump an adequate amount when you aren’t producing enough. Fenugreek has long been touted as a natural way to increase milk supply. Fenugreek is a herb that is considered a galactagogue, something that increases breastmilk production. It has been in use for centuries even though modern studies produce varying results.
If fenugreek does not sound like the solution for you or if you want to double up on methods, you can also try power pumping!
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a plant with small whitish flowers and your typical green leaves. It also produces small tan fenugreek seeds within its pods.
Indian and Asian cuisine, as well as Chinese Medicine, all use Fenugreek. The flavor, when added to dishes, resembles maple syrup. Interestingly enough, mothers who take Fenugreek supplements will also smell of sweet syrup.
Rather recently, Americans have started ingesting it for its many health benefits. Fenugreek can boost testosterone, help control blood sugar in diabetics, and is a galactagogue.
Breastfeeding mothers who take fenugreek pills or drink fenugreek tea often do so hoping it will increase their milk supply. The results are mixed. Some studies show that its role in milk production may be more psychological than physical.
A few moms will notice an increase almost immediately, within the first two to three days, others may have to wait a week or two, and still, some never see an increase. You can use Fenugreek until adequate supply levels resume or long-term.
Is Fenugreek Safe When Breastfeeding?
Fenugreek is a safe substance to consume while breastfeeding. As they use it to flavor artificial maple syrup and you can find it in many cuisines, fenugreek is pretty harmless.
However, it does interact with some medications such as insulin and anticoagulants, so check with your doctor prior to taking it in any form. Take Fenugreek with caution if you suffer from asthma or diabetes.
Fenugreek is in the same genus as peanuts so use care if you have a peanut allergy or have had prior negative reactions to peanuts.
Possible Side Effects
Fenugreek regimens come with a few side effects. Some moms experience intestinal upset. Fenugreek has been associated with diarrhea, upset stomach, and nausea in breastfeeding mothers. These side effects may not only be present in you but in your baby as fenugreek passes through breastmilk.
Fortunately, in most cases, a reduction in the amount of fenugreek or complete cessation provides symptom relief.
Fenugreek and Breastfeeding; Do I Need It?
Determining if you need a galactagogue can be difficult. Most moms assume that they need fenugreek when this isn’t always the case.
If your baby is meeting weight goals set by your pediatrician while exclusively nursing, then your milk supply is probably fine. If your baby is not gaining weight, then you should meet with your child’s doctor or lactation consultant.
There are a few methods and factors that are not good indicators of milk supply. Often, supply levels change with your hormones during your monthly cycle.
Babies can go through cycles as well, and the frequency and duration of nursing rarely indicate supply. They may be having a growth spurt or just experiencing a particularly fussy phase. A baby that is nursing more frequently, fussing at the breast, or seems to drink slowly does not always mean your supply has dropped.
Finally, the feel of your breasts or the sensation of a letdown, or lack thereof, are also not good indicators of the milk supply level.
If you are pumping and not producing enough, or if your doctor has recommended trying to increase your supply, then you can consider fenugreek.
How to Use Fenugreek
Fenugreek comes in capsules, powdered form, seeds, or as a tea. The product you purchase should come with a dosing chart. In most cases, once you experience an increase in milk supply, it is safe to stop consuming fenugreek with no negative effects.
It is best to use Fenugreek in conjunction with other supply increasing techniques. This includes nursing frequently and on demand, reducing the use of pacifiers and/or bottles, and adding in pumping either directly after baby nurses or in between feedings. The removal of milk from the breasts signals to your body it needs to produce more.
Start off slowly by taking fenugreek and using supply increase methods. It is easy to go from having too little milk to having too much. Engorgement can return if you overdo it with your breastmilk production efforts.
Best Brands of Fenugreek
You can take fenugreek either in its pure form or blended with other herbs classified as galactagogues. Breastfeeding moms most commonly take fenugreek in the blended form, but if you would like fenugreek in the pure form we have provided you some of those options as well.
Pure fenugreek is often marketed towards the general population and may not target nursing moms directly.
Nutrigold Fenugreek GOLD – a top-rated, gluten-free, GMO-free, organic product produced in the USA
Nature’s Way Fenugreek – available at most supermarkets and free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Solaray Organic Fenugreek – organically grown and 100% vegetarian, produced without fillers.
Fenugreek Blends for Breastfeeding Moms
Fenugreek blends are typically created just for nursing moms. They include a variety of supply increasing herbs along with fenugreek and may even have additions like probiotics.
Pink Stork True Milk – this blend contains fenugreek as well as blessed thistle powder, milk thistle extract, goats rue powder, anise seed powder, and fennel seed powder. A powerful blend with some of the best-known galactagogues.
Mommy Knows Best, Blessed Thistle Herb and Fenugreek Seed – a pared-down blend that works quickly.
UpSpring Milkflow – A powdered drink mix with a mixed berry flavor containing fenugreek, carrot seed, beetroot, anise, and blessed thistle. For women, who have difficulty swallowing pills.
Fenugreek and Breastfeeding Final Considerations
If you decide fenugreek is for you, carefully review any drug interactions and/or allergies. It is best to discuss taking a fenugreek supplement with your doctor, pediatrician, or lactation consultant prior to starting.
When you take fenugreek, begin with a small amount and increase the dosage very slowly over the course of a few days to weeks. If you notice any symptoms, cut back or stop taking fenugreek.
With so many great brands on the market, you are sure to find one that will help make your nursing journey lasting and pleasant!
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Please reach out to our Facebook Group if you are having any struggles with breastfeeding! We are here to help and there is a whole tribe of mamas who have been where you are.
If you are wondering how long breastmilk can sit out or the best ways to store it, you have come to the right place. Breastfeeding can be a very rewarding journey, but it is not without challenges. Nothing can be more upsetting for a new mom than finding a bottle of breastmilk forgotten on the counter. As tempting as it may be to put it back into the fridge, you must throw it away if you have not properly stored it.
How long breastmilk can be left out depends on the condition of the milk prior to it being left at room temperature. In most cases, four hours is the ideal amount of time breastmilk can be left sitting out.
In this article, we will discuss best practices for breastmilk storage. This includes:
- How long breastmilk can sit out
- How to store breastmilk safely
- When to get rid of breastmilk
You work so hard to pump enough ounces; don’t let those vital nutrients go to waste by improperly storing your milk. These guidelines, if followed, will ensure that your milk is safe for your baby.
How Long Can Breastmilk Sit Out?
According to Experts; This Is How Long Breastmilk Should Sit Out
Breastmilk cannot sit out for long periods of time because of bacteria. When you express your milk, a small number of bacteria end up inside the bottle.
If you store the bottle properly, the bacteria will not have the opportunity to thrive and harm the milk. However, if the milk is left out for longer durations, the bacteria will grow and reach unsafe levels that can be harmful to your baby.
Even though it is best to freeze or refrigerate your milk immediately after you pump, fresh milk can be left out for a short period. Experts agree that four hours is the optimal amount of time fresh milk can be left sitting out.
If fresh milk will be used towards nourishing a healthy, at-home baby then it may be kept at room temperature for up to six hours says Mayo Clinic. However, if the room is particularly warm, this shortens the window. Four hours is the maximum duration of time that milk should sit out in a warm room.
Since milk is a “live food” like yogurt, it can withstand being unrefrigerated to a degree. If you forgot about that bottle on the counter, you may still be able to use it. Good news for new moms suffering through that exhausting post-partum haze!
How Long Should Breastmilk Sit Out If It’s Been Refrigerated
If you store your milk properly, either through refrigeration or freezing, these factors will affect the duration that it can be left out.
Previously refrigerated breast milk can sit out for up to four hours. After four hours, use it or throw it away. Once you warm this milk, it should not be put back in the fridge.
If you froze the milk, its lifespan depends on how frozen it remains. If you thaw milk out in the refrigerator but do not warm it up, you can then leave it out for 4 hours. You can also take the milk directly from the freezer, and leave it out at room temperature to thaw.
If you had thawed frozen milk and warmed it planning to feed your baby, but ended up not using it, this milk should be tossed. Some studies suggest that you can place it back in the fridge. However further research is necessary, notes the Mayo Clinic. Some experts suggest that if you warm up milk, you should discard it immediately. Others state that previously frozen, then warmed milk can survive in the fridge for up to twenty-four hours.
The good news is, if you happen to forget and leave that precious bottle of milk on the counter, you have a short window of time to return it to the refrigerator.
Safely Storing Your Milk
Our Favorite Glass Containers
In order for your breastmilk to remain healthy and safe, it should not sit out and also should be frozen and kept in a suitable container. You can store milk in glass, plastic, or freezer bags.
Glass jars with leak-proof lids are an excellent way to store milk. Mason jars are the most common glass option. Using glass means your container is washable and you can use it over and over.
Mason jars are a stackable, space-saving choice for your fridge or freezer. As they are not plastic, you don’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into your baby’s food.
Bottles That Connect Directly to Your Pump
Plastic bottles or containers are also an option. Sometimes, the plastic bottles will seamlessly attach to your pump. After you express milk into the bottles, you can cap them and place them directly into the fridge or freezer. Be sure to select BPA free bottles to keep the milk safe for your baby.
- Tommee Tippee with Nature Electric Breast Pump- Tommee Tippee bottles make it a breeze for pumping moms. They have both a manual and electric pump, and you can pump directly into bottles or breastmilk bags. Many bottle brands have a set like this or you can use them with a universal adapter!
Plastic breastmilk bags are like bottles. You can pump milk directly into them, then you can seal and store them. These bags remain standing or can lay flat, making them convenient for small freezers. However, unlike bottles or glass, most bags are not reusable.
- 100 Count Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags– These bags are popular and it is no surprise since they are pre-sterilized with a double lock zipper. You won’t have to clean up any messes from leakage because these bags are so strong.
Label & Date
No matter the storage container you choose, be sure to label and date all breastmilk while it is still sitting out. On the label place your name, the date, and the quantity in ounces. By dating your milk, there will be no estimating the expiration date.
It’s helpful to store milk in small amounts, typically 2-3 ounces, especially for newborns. By dividing the milk into 2-3 ounce portions, you will waste less. Any milk that you heat or your baby does not finish should be discarded.
A final consideration when freezing milk is to leave an adequate amount of room in the container. Liquid expands when frozen. If you do not have enough room in your container for expansion, the bottle could crack, rendering the milk unusable.
When to Dispose of Your Milk
It is important to feed your baby fresh milk and to dispose of milk when it becomes unsafe. Expired milk should be tossed. Milk’s lifespan depends on how you store it.
Use milk that is in the freezer within six months. Keep your milk in the back of the freezer rather than in the door. In a deep-freeze freezer milk can last up to twelve months, but six months is still ideal.
Freshly expressed milk kept in the refrigerator is usable for up to five days. However, it is best to use refrigerated milk within 3 days. If you pump and do not have a fridge available, you can keep milk with ice packs in a cooler for up to twenty-four hours.
How the Quality of Breastmilk Changes When It Sits Out
When you store your milk for a long time the quality can change. Over time milk kept in the freezer will decrease in Vitamin C. Additionally, breast milk is constantly adapting to meet the needs of the baby. Milk that was expressed six months ago may not suit the nutritional needs of your baby as well as freshly expressed milk.
Enjoy the Journey
If you store your milk in a clean glass or plastic container, follow the guidelines about when to refrigerate or freeze it, and dispose of it at the proper time, your milk will be safe and healthy for your baby. Breastfeeding is no easy task; keep up the good work!
Other Breastfeeding Articles You May Find Helpful:
Warm It Up Mom! [A Quick Guide] to the Best Bottle Warmer for Babies
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Breastfeeding, while (for some reason) a controversial practice, is also a fact of life! For many new moms, breastfeeding can simultaneously be an amazing bonding experience as well as a painful, exhausting, and downright bizarre practice. Whether you are looking for some wisdom from experienced moms or just want to laugh about it so you don’t cry, here’s 75 inspirational, hilarious, or relatable breastfeeding quotes.
75 Breastfeeding Quotes that will Give You All the Feels
- Children don’t just get milk from breastfeeding, they get our energy too. -Stephen Gaskin
- Don’t cry over spilled milk. Unless it’s breastmilk, in which case, cry a lot. -Unknown
- There are three reasons for breast-feeding: the milk is always at the right temperature; it comes in attractive containers, and the cat can’t get it. -Irena Chalmers
- Nursing gives you superhuman powers. How else could I be doing all this when I’m usually a sleepaholic? -Gwen Stefani
- Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day. The reality is that almost all women can breastfeed, have enough milk for their babies and learn how to overcome problems both large and small. It is almost always simply a matter of practical knowledge and not a question of good luck. -La Leche League
- Accomplish one small thing a day. Maybe it’s cleaning that counter, maybe it’s writing one thank-you note. Don’t make the task too difficult. For the rest, you’re healing a uterus; adding millions of cells to your baby’s brain (though it might sometimes feel as if they are being siphoned off from your own); developing his liver, heart, and lungs; boosting his immune system; and maintaining the integrity of his intestines … you’re a busy lady! All while sprawled comfortably on the couch. Multi-tasking raised to an art form! -La Leche League International
- Breastfeeding reminds us of the universal truth of abundance; the more we give out, the more we are filled up, and that divine nourishment – the source from which we all draw is, like a mother’s breast, ever full and ever flowing. -Sarah Buckley
- Human milk is like ice cream, penicillin, and the drug ecstasy all wrapped up in two pretty packages. -Florence Williams
- Something as simple as better breastfeeding could save a million children a year. -Anne M Mulcahy
- I feel like a milkmaid, but it is worth it. -Miranda Kerr
- As a breastfeeding mother, you are basically just meals on heels. -Kathy Lette
- While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby. -Amy Spangler
- My opinion is that anybody offended by breastfeeding is staring too hard. -David Allen
- The natural power of breastfeeding is one of the greatest wonders of the world. It is about real love, it is about caring for and celebrating the wondrous joy of nurturing a new life, it is about enjoying being a woman. -Anwar Fazal
- There is no substitute for mother’s milk. -Martin H. Fischer
- Human milk is not just a food; it also complements the immaturity of organs in infants. -Peter Hartmann
- Breastfeeding is amazing; you can actually feel your stomach shrink with every feed. -Melanie Brown
- Breastfeeding is nature’s health plan. -Author Unknown
- Mother’s milk, time-tested for millions of years, is the best nutrient for babies because it is nature’s perfect food. -Robert S. Mendelsohn
- They do say breastfeeding is nature’s lipo. -Ana Ortiz
Selma Blair couldn’t be more correct with this breastfeeding quote:
- We all have nipples. I don’t care who I offend; my baby wants to eat. -Selma Blair
- A little child born yesterday a thing on mother’s milk and kisses fed. -Homer
- It seems as if every month brings another study showing that breast milk is what Ponce de LeÃn should have been searching for. -Nicholas Day
- Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby and the earth. -Pamela K. Wiggins
- A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three. -Grantly Dick-Read
- So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. -Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Speaking the Truth about Breastfeeding
- Nursing does not diminish the beauty of a woman’s breasts; it enhances their charm by making them look lived in and happy. -Robert A. Heinlein
- The days are long, but the years are short. -Gretchen Rubin
- A baby nursing at a mother’s breast… is an undeniable affirmation of our rootedness in nature. -David Suzuki
- I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament. -Alanis Morissette
- If we wear our nursing covers backwards like capes, then everyone can see we’re breastfeeding superheroes. -Cassi Clark
- My body, my life, became the landscape of my son’s life. I am no longer merely a thing living in the world; I am a world. -Sarah Manguso
- The moment she had laid the child to the breast both became perfectly calm. -Isak Dinesen
- Everything has changed, and yet, I am more me than I have ever been. -Iain Thomas
- If you have milk, you have milk, and if they’re hungry, they’re hungry. -Salma Hayek
- Breastfeeding is an unsentimental metaphor for how love works, in a way. You don’t decide how much and how deeply to love you respond to the beloved, and give with joy exactly as much as they want. -Marni Jackson
- I’m an advocate of ‘indiscreet’ breastfeeding – the more that people see babies at the breast, the more normal it will be. -Dr. Jack Newman
- Breasts are a scandal because they shatter the border between motherhood and sexuality. -Iris Marion Young
- It’s something that is not necessarily instinctive. There are messes and there are different techniques and styles. -Tatyana Ali
- Imagine that the world had created a new ‘dream product’ to feed and immunize everyone born on earth. Imagine also that it was available everywhere, required no storage or delivery, and helped mothers plan their families and reduce the risk of cancer. Then imagine that the world refused to use it. -Frank Oski
- When you hold a child to your breast to nurse, the curve of the little head echoes exactly the curve of the breast it suckles, as though this new person truly mirrors the flesh from which it sprang. -Diana Gabaldon
- An honour! were not I thine only nurse, I would say thou hadst suck’d wisdom from thy teat. -William Shakespeare
- Breastfeeding does not have to be hard. Breastfeeding is natural. With rare exceptions, it becomes hard only because of all the interference caused by the medicalization of birth and unsupportive culture. Animals breastfeed instinctively with no need for supplementation, classes, or support. We as humans also have these instincts. We have become so disconnected. Breastfeeding my children has been one of my greatest joys in life, and I am filled with sorrow when I imagine how many mothers and infants haven’t been able to experience this because of misinformation. -Adrienne Carmack
- Breastfeeding is a gift that lasts a lifetime. -Author Unknown
- The influence of bottle-feeding makes many people think that ‘nipple sucking’ is breastfeeding. It is not. If the baby sucks his mother’s nipples as he would a bottle teat, it damn well hurts. -Gabrielle Palmer
- The whole human world is born from the womb of mothers, and if we can’t make the motherly act of breastfeeding free from stigma in such a world, then it’s an insult to our very existence as a species. -Abhijit Naskar
- If anything else woke up every 45 minutes during the night demanding to see my wife’s breasts, you kill it. -Ryan Reynolds
- Mother’s milk is soul food for babies. The babies of the world need a lot more soul food. -Ina May Gaskin
- Mother knows breast. -Author Unknown
- “After we got home from the hospital, I didn’t shower for a week, and then John and I were like, ‘Let’s go out for dinner.’ I could last only about an hour because my boobs were exploding. When the milk first comes in, it’s like a tsunami. But we went, just to prove to ourselves that we could feel normal for a second.” -Emily Blunt
- We should understand the mother and child as a mutually responsive dyad. They are a symbiotic unit that make each other healthier and happier in mutual responsiveness. This expands to other caregivers too. -Darcia Narvaez
- It sucks the life out of you. -Kathleen Reed
- Does breast milk come in chocolate? -Author Unknown
A Super Hero Breastfeeding Quote
54. “If we wear our nursing covers backwards like capes, then everyone can see we’re breastfeeding superheroes.” -Cassi Clark
- “The feeding schedule surprised me a lot. If you kind of do the math, you’re kind of breastfeeding for 10 hours a day total. It’s very loving and sweet, but it’s not easy. It’s hard to work your entire day around getting her the nourishment she needs because [babies] are just little animals.”-Chrissy Teigen
- “Breastfeeding is not sexual, it’s natural.” -Candice Swanepoel
- Don’t bite the boob that feeds you. -Unknown
- Breast milk is better than any udder milk! -Author Unknown
- Mother’s creed: Breastfeed. -Terri Guillemets
- Do not nurse a kid who wears braces. -Author Unknown
- Who fed me from her gentle breast And hushed me in her arms to rest, And on my cheek sweet kisses prest? My Mother. -Anne Taylor
- “Love as powerful as your mother’s leaves its own mark…To have been loved so deeply… Will give us some protection forever.” -J.K. Rowling
- There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one. -Uknown
- Biologically, they’re not made for sexual things; that’s what we’ve done to them. -Alyssa Milano
- Breastfeeding is a natural “safety net” against the worst effects of poverty. If the child survives the first month of life (the most dangerous period of childhood) then for the next four months or so, exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward canceling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence…. It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into which it was born. -James P. Grant
- My attitude is, if someone sees a little somethin’ somethin’, don’t look if you don’t like it. -Kourtney Kardashian
67. I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it. -Art Williams
- My birth instructor said this… The breast is like a muscle you haven’t used yet. ‘Remember taking up a new sport?’ she asked… ‘Remember how much the new set of muscles you used surprised you by aching so much?’ Well, she said, that’s what it’s like to use your breasts, for the very first time, for the purpose they have been awaiting all your life. -Julia Glass
- “Such advice (re: breastfeeding and HIV positivity) reflects the Western prejudice that artificial milks are innocent until proven guilty, whereas breastmilk is guilty until proven innocent.”- Unknown
- We have to stop leaving all the decisions to the so-called decision-makers, but take matters into our own hands; realise that each one of us makes a difference, and that if everyone who cares, acts in a way that is ethical…..then the world would be changed very fast. -Jane Goodall
- “If breastfeeding is sexual then a bottle is a dildo.” -Author unknown
- “Whoever said ‘there’s no use crying over spilled milk’ obviously never pumped six ounces and accidentally spilled it.” -Author unknown
- “Bosoms, are for bedrooms and breastfeeding. Not for any occasions with dignity.” -Kathryn Stockett
- There must be reasons why we men are so hipped on breasts as if we’d all been weaned too soon. -Günter Grass
- I make milk. What’s your superpower? -Unknown
If you are struggling with breastfeeding or figuring out this whole motherhood thing, you are not alone! Join us over at our Rookie Moms Facebook group.
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The ketogenic diet, more commonly referred to as the Keto diet, is currently a popular weight loss technique. Many women desire to get their pre-baby body back after giving birth. However, they would also like to continue nursing. Begging the question, is going on the Keto diet while breastfeeding safe?
What is the Keto Diet
The Keto diet is similar to the once highly popular Atkin’s diet of the past. It is based on a low-carb, high-fat intake and promises to put your body in a ketogenic state when strictly adhered to. We are here to talk about the compatibility of the keto diet alongside breastfeeding, but first, you must understand the diet itself.
What is a ketogenic state? Also known as ketosis, it is when your body uses fat stores for energy rather than glucose, the result is ketones in the blood. Ketosis is a naturally occuring metabolic process, though in today’s day and age it is not one that our body frequently relies on.
When your body does not have enough insulin or blood glucose, it begins to break down stored fat for energy. A buildup of ketones, or acid, results. The Keto diet works to try and force your body into ketosis, so instead of using glucose from carbohydrates, you have ingested your body must break down stored fat.
Oddly enough, ketosis is most commonly seen transpiring in diabetic patients who are not using it as a dietary exercise. When too many acidic ketones build up in the blood your body can enter ketoacidosis, which can be lethal.
The glucose, or sugar, your body typically breaks down for energy comes from starchy foods (carbohydrates) such as pasta and bread and sugars found in fruits and yogurts. These glucose molecules either provide your body with energy or are stored for later use.
When you cut out the foods that naturally contain glucose, your body has to look for an alternative energy source. Your body will then turn to break down stored fat, and this is the foundation of the Keto diet.
The Keto diet tries to limit carb and sugar intake to around 5%, with 75 % of your diet composed of fats and the remaining 20% composed of proteins. By starving your body of glucose you are trying to coerce it into ketosis.
The Keto diet has been known to contribute to short term weight loss, but ketosis is notoriously hard to maintain. Many of the foods you can eat on the Keto diet are filling, so you won’t feel as if you are depriving yourself. However, your food choices are still limited.
Meat, fatty fish, cheese, butter, cream, and eggs are predominant foods advised in the Keto diet and good things to eat while breastfeeding. In addition, those on the diet can consume nuts and seeds, avocados, healthy oils, low carb veggies, and some condiments.
Commonly Recommended Foods:
- Meat: ham, steak, chicken, bacon
- Fatty fish: Tuna and Salmon
- Cheese: Unprocessed cheddar, mozzarella or goat
- Butter and cream
- Eggs: Omega-3 eggs
- Nuts and seeds: Chia, walnuts, almonds, flax
- Healthy oils: Avocado oil, EVOO, or coconut oil
- Low-carb veggies: Green veggies in addition to onions, pickles, and tomatoes
- Condiments: salt and pepper
Foods to avoid include mainly carbs or foods with high sugar content. This includes natural sugars such as those found in fruits. Carbs and sugars are often found in starchy foods or processed foods as well.
Commonly Not Recommended Foods:
- Beans: kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Sugary foods: candy, soda pop, ice cream, sweets
- Grains & Starches: bread, pasta, cereal
- Fruit: all fruit, though some allow small amounts of berries
- Root Veggies: tubers, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes
- Unhealthy Fats: mayonnaise and vegetable oils
The list of allowable foods is quite generous for the Keto diet. This means you should not have trouble creating meals, snacks, or finding options at restaurants. However, many people find that the initial switch to a low-carb/high-fat diet can be a shock to their system.
Additionally, it may be hard to maintain this style of eating for long periods. Maintaining ketosis does not allow for occasional “cheat days” like many other diets. Some side effects of the Keto diet include “Keto flu”, fatigue, muscle loss, bad breath, smelly urine, and digestion issues.
The Toll Breastfeeding Takes on Your Body
When you are breastfeeding your body is producing food for another human being. It is understandable then that your body burns more energy and requires calories.
When breastfeeding, you need approximately 200-500 additional calories each day. This is based on a 2000 calorie diet and will vary based on your weight, height, and activity level.
This caloric increase is especially true in the early stages of breastfeeding when as your baby’s only nutrient source you are likely nursing eight to twelve times a day. As your baby grows and is able to eat more solid foods you will nurse less and will likely need to consume less extra calories.
If you are eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, the addition of extra calories should not cause you to gain weight as they will be burned off by making breastmilk and breastfeeding. It is quite common for women to find that breastfeeding actually helps them shed the pounds despite consuming a few extra calories.
If you do try to cut calories to lose weight, it could affect your milk supply. During this time, nourishing your baby is the most important thing. If your body senses that it is fighting for energy due to a lack of calories from food it will try to preserve itself. In most cases, this means cutting back on breastmilk production.
Are the Keto Diet and Breastfeeding Compatible?
It is understood that it is not beneficial to go on an extreme diet or try to cut calories while breastfeeding. But the Keto diet emphasizes a large intake of high-fat foods even if it does exclude carbs. Therefore, it may seem like breastfeeding and the Keto diet may be compatible.
Furthermore, there does not seem to be any evidence that low-carb diets affect milk supply or quality. However, most lactation consultants and pediatricians would not recommend anything other than a balanced and well-rounded diet during breastfeeding.
The high-fat foods recommended by Keto are quite filling and may cause you to eat less throughout the day and not obtain your caloric intake goal, leading to a decrease in milk supply. Another factor affecting production is hydration. Ketosis can be dehydrating for the body due to the release of ketones in the blood and their expulsion through urine.
Overall, the Keto diet does have some health risks not directly associated with breastfeeding. If not followed closely and advised by a nutritionist or physician the Keto diet may increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Eating copious amounts of high-fat foods may raise cholesterol levels. One study cited low-carb diets as a link to higher risks of dying from cardiovascular conditions, cancer, and all other causes. Not to mention the initial unpleasant side effects and havoc the Keto diet can have on your system for three to four weeks.
What’s the Verdict on Keto and Breastfeeding?
It remains to be seen if dieting and breastfeeding are compatible. Making drastic changes to your diet while breastfeeding may not be the best idea, especially if there is a chance it could affect your milk supply for your precious little one. If you are considering trying to lose weight while breastfeeding it is best to consult a physician.
Please keep in mind that your body did an incredible thing; grew a beautiful tiny human! Now it is doing another incredible thing and providing all the nourishment that tiny human needs. So, I totally get wanting to “get back to normal” but you should also know that you are more than good enough just the way you are.
If you are looking for some mamas to share your journey with, please reach out and join us over at the Rookie Mom Facebook Group!
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Breastfeeding can be really tricky and isn’t quite as “natural” as everyone describes it to be. And sometimes, your milk doesn’t come in the way you want it to or seems to suddenly be decreasing. This might leave you frantically searching for solutions to get your milk levels back up. Relax mama, everything will work out and every mama & baby’s journey is different. However, one thing that helps a lot of moms increase their milk supply is lactation cookies.
Do I Need Lactation Cookies to Increase Milk Supply?
First of all, you don’t need to do anything and sometimes our bodies just make the decision for us. However, if you are concerned the first step is to contact a professional Lactation Consultant. They will be able to talk you through everything and help you figure out the next steps.
Most of the time, new mamas are actually worried about nothing and their milk supply is just fine, but it is so hard to know on your own! If your supply is in fact low, things like skin-to-skin contact or more frequent feedings will typically do the trick.
Diet is also often an issue when it comes to milk supply. This is where lactation cookies come in because they can help to supplement the nutrients you need. They have the high-quality fats and grains that you need.
Reasons My Milk Supply Might Be Low
The answers are not always so clear, but here are some things that might be going on.
- Poor Latch: Breast milk production is based on supply and demand. If your baby is struggling to latch properly then your breasts are not being emptied, and your body doesn’t know to increase production. A lactation consultant will be able to help you with this!
- Not Breast Feeding Enough: Just like above, you have to keep in mind breast milk production is based on supply and demand. If you are not breastfeeding enough, your supply will likely decrease. Having a schedule really helps with this!
- Your Little One is Growing: During growth spurts, it can take a minute for your body to catch up. You can check out a growth spurt timeline here! Your baby will likely want to feed frequently, and if you let them your milk supply will increase.
Do Lactation Cookies Work to Increase Milk Supply?
Different things work for different moms. This being said, it does not hurt to try out lactation cookies. After all, it’s an excuse to eat a yummy cookie!
Many moms swear by lactation cookies and they do usually work quite quickly. It is important to eat them every day and have a little bit of consistency if this is a method you are depending on. Not to mention, these cookies are packed full of vitamins and nutrients that new moms need.
They also have Galactagogues in them, which is what makes lactation cookies work to increase milk supply. Galactagogues, like fenugreek and blessed thistle, are herbal substances that increase lactation.
These ingredients will help boost your milk supply and so will the ingredients listed below, all of which are commonly found in lactation cookies.
Brewers Yeast contains lots of B vitamins and protein, which will help to keep your energy up and is good for your nervous system. It is also good for your skin, hair, and eyes which comes in handy postpartum. Brewers yeast is a fungus commonly used in alcoholic beverage brewing and to make bread.
Zinc is the magical ingredient for breastfeeding found in wheat germ.
Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber? Yes, please! Flaxseed contains both of these things and will help to regulate your digestive system.
Oats are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are good for your immune system and anti-inflammatory.
Best Lactation Cookies to Increase Milk Supply
This perfect mix of rolled oats, black sesame seeds, flax and brewer’s yeast makes for a perfect snack and will boost lactation. They are delicious, but still low in sugar and high in fiber. Not only do they offer bars jam-packed with nutrients for nursing, but they also make bars for a healthy pre-natal and post-natal snack. I love that these are not just lactation cookies, but really beneficial for mama’s health too.
You have some great flavors to choose from, like Blueberry Coconut, Chocolate Banana, and Maple Walnut.
UpSpring Milkflow Lactation Cookie
These rich, double chocolate chip cookies are yummy and will help with your low milk supply because they have both Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. Upspring Milkflow cookies are nonGMO and contain no artificial ingredients. They are packaged individually making it easy to toss some in the diaper bag when you are on the go.
Keep in mind fenugreek can cause some babies to become gassy, so you should pay attention to your baby when you start eating these and be sure it isn’t upsetting their tummy.
The Fertile Goddess Company Cookie Mix
If you don’t want something prepackaged but are not up for cooking something from scratch, check out this cookie mix! It is the only lactation cookie mix that is USDA certified organic. Plus, it contains whole-grain oats, oat flour, brewer’s yeast, and flaxseed which all help to support mamas who are lactating.
Lactation consultants recommend trying things like this cookie mix rather than herbal supplements, as side effects are much less of a risk.
Milkmakers Cookie Bites
Who can resist cookie bites? There’s something about sweets being tiny that makes them even more irresistible than normal-sized treats. Milkmakers Cookie Bites come in a couple of delicious flavors, like chocolate salted caramel and oatmeal chocolate chip.
These cookies are free of fenugreek, so a great option if you feel your baby reacted negatively to that ingredient in another cookie. Instead they contain other key ingredients like Flaxseed and Brewers Yeast. These also come in little individual serving size packets making them easy to bring along wherever you go.
Boobie Bars were created by a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, so you know they have got all the good stuff in them! It is packed full of the milk-making herbs you need, and just one a day will help support lactation.
These have Tumeric in them, which you don’t see in many of the others, but has tons of health benefits. They also contain coconut oil and are vegan and non-GMO!
We’ve linked the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip flavor, but there are lots of other options available.
MilkBliss Soft Baked Cookies
Last but not least, we bring you MilkBliss Soft Baked Cookies to help increase your milk supply. Jessica, the founder & creator of MilkBliss, is a mom herself and has experienced the unpredictableness of breastfeeding.
She eats her cookies daily to steady her supply. These cookies are made of whole rolled oats, Brewer’s Yeast, and Flax seed. As well as, they are all-natural and non-GMO.
Have More Questions?
Whether you will be whipping out your baking sheet or purchasing prepackaged cookies to increase milk supply, know you are not alone. So many mamas struggle with low supply, in fact, it is one of the most common reasons that moms stop breastfeeding. Please reach out to our Rookie Moms Facebook Group if you would like to speak with other mamas!
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Breastfeeding is a unique and amazing experience that a mom shares with her young baby. For first time moms, there is an infinite amount of questions during pregnancy and right after birth. I remember when I was almost due, trying to figure out how breastfeeding worked. Does it come out in one stream? What will it feel like? One question that remained in my mind right up until it was time to latch my baby for the first time was, “will I be able to breastfeed with my flat nipples?”
Shortly after I gave birth, the hospital’s lactation consultant came in, and I voiced and showed her my concern. I learned that not only are my nipples flat, but they are also inverted. This means the nipple itself turns in, instead of a typical nipple that pokes out. My situation wasn’t unique, and the lactation consultant assured me that it was indeed possible for me to breastfeed.
It’s Possible to Breastfeed with Flat or Inverted Nipples!
Why? Well, unbeknownst to me at the time, as a first-time mom, babies don’t latch solely on the nipple. In fact, a proper latch is when the infant takes a good portion of the breast into their mouth, including the areola. As long as your baby gets a good grip here, flat nipples shouldn’t be a hindrance when breastfeeding.
Although flat or inverted nipples don’t prevent you from breastfeeding, they can add difficulty to an already anxiety-inducing task for a new mother. Pain, discomfort, and new sensations can be overwhelming for a newly breastfeeding mother. Thankfully, there is a way to relieve a good amount of the initial discomfort that you experience the first few times you’re breastfeeding a new baby.
2 Methods That Will Help You Breastfeed with Flat Nipples
The Nipple Shield
The nipple shield. A godsend in the form of a small, silicone, transparent device! While a new mom is adjusting to the demanding feeding routine of a newborn, a nipple shield is an excellent choice. It will provide a safe and comfortable barrier between baby’s gums and your nipple. For those with flat or inverted nipples, a nipple shield also helps “train” your breast. It provides a mock nipple for your baby to suckle, which also doubles as a mold to help draw out your nipple.
A Couple of Drawbacks
As great and miraculous as a nipple shield sounds, there are some drawbacks to using it. First and foremost, it’s easy for both mom and baby to become dependent on it. This happened to me; like clockwork, when feeding time came around, my nipple shield was right at my side. It took me almost three months before my son and I were completely weaned off of the shield. Another downside to using a nipple shield is the amount of maintenance it needs. Like any bottle, you will need to clean the nipple shield properly after every use. This will help to avoid milk blockages or worse, mold. Nonetheless, these drawbacks aside, a nipple shield is a great resource to help a mother with flat or inverted nipples adjust to the new routine and experience of breastfeeding. Check out our article all about the pros and cons of nipple shields here.
Using a Breast Pump
To reiterate, it’s not impossible to breastfeed with flat or inverted nipples. If a nipple shield isn’t for you, there are other ways to help draw out your nipples. You don’t need to wait until your nipples are drawn out to begin breastfeeding! However, to ease discomfort from breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples, you can take it upon yourself to speed up the process of drawing them out. One method that other mothers and I have found helpful is to use a breast pump. If you don’t have one already, be sure to check with your insurance as many times you can get a pump for free!
Not only can you use the breast pump to store up milk for another time, but using it can help draw out flat or inverted nipples. To avoid messing with my milk production, I would pump only after directly breastfeeding my baby. This helped accelerate the process of drawing out my nipples, and as a bonus, my milk production went up (a win-win), since my body thought that my son was nursing more.
Toughing it Out to Breastfeed with Flat Nipples
If you’re willing to stick it out without the methods above, then your little one will need to properly latch during feedings. Here is a method to ensure they are latching properly. With clean hands, place your thumb at the top of your breast. Place your four other fingers under, making a “C” shape with your hands. Gently press to widen your breast and latch your baby accordingly. By doing this, it makes it much easier for baby to latch on to flat or inverted nipples.
For any new breastfeeding mother, and even a seasoned mom who’s having a different experience this time around, I strongly suggest meeting with a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are amazing resources that are available to answer any breastfeeding-related questions. Trust me; there’s nothing they haven’t heard. Lactation consultants are relatively easy to find, and your pediatrician, hospital, or local health department should be able to refer a few.
Breastfeeding is a learning experience for both baby, and a new mom and patience is key. If you’re apprehensive about breastfeeding due to flat or inverted nipples, don’t despair, it is possible! Whether using a nipple shield, breast pump, or toughing it out, remember to enjoy this beautiful bonding experience!
Breastfeeding can be tough. If you are looking for some mamas to go to for advice, head to our Rookie Moms Facebook Group!
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