Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Been counting down the days the end of pregnancy to finally pop a bottle of your fav rosé and celebrate? But you might be wondering, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, we have your answer.

There’s a lot of misinformation about consuming alcohol while breastfeeding that gets moms asking is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding moms wonder:

Can I drink at all? Should I pump and dump? Could it harm my baby? 

Reasonable questions, and I’m here to give you some answers.

The general rule I use and many moms recommend is simple. If you’re sober enough to drive, you’re sober enough to breastfeed. But why?

Let’s dive into the research.

(Just as quick disclaimer that you can always check with your medical providers, though an IBCLC would probably be the most knowledgable on the subject. I am not a doctor and this is just my personal opinion based on my research and experience breastfeeding three babies.)

How much alcohol can transfer to breastmilk?

According to Kelly Mom, less than 2% of alcohol consumed by a mom reaches her bloodstream and her milk. The alcohol enters and leaves your breastmilk at the same rate it enters and leaves your blood.

But even if you’ve been drinking pretty heavily, the concern about breastfeeding while drunk is really more about whether you’re in a proper state to be parenting at the moment vs. the alcohol that you could be passing to your baby. The amount of alcohol that actually gets into your baby’s bloodstream is pretty minute. 

A Slate article breaks down the math for us. They figured if a 150-pound mom drinks 4 glasses of wine and then breastfeeds a 13-pound baby while she is at her drunkest point, her baby’s blood alcohol level would be 0.0038 percent. That equals about the same amount that would be in the mother’s bloodstream if she drank 1.5oz of Bud Light.

They point out that there are actually higher concentrations of alcohol in some fruit juices, due to fermentation than in the breastmilk of a tipsy mom.  

To pump and dump or not?

NO.

The only reason to pump and dump or even pump and save your milk would be for your comfort or to keep up supply while you might be away from the baby.

Because alcohol leaves your milk at the same rate that it leaves your blood, all the milk you produce while you are still feeling the effects of alcohol, or have alcohol in your blood, will still be present in the milk.

But that alcohol will leave the milk as it leaves your bloodstream. So just waiting it out is the only way to ensure there isn’t any alcohol in your milk if you are worried about that.

Reasons to worry about drinking and breastfeeding

A couple of things to keep in mind.

One factor to keep in mind when wondering is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding is the age of your baby. A newborn doesn’t have as mature of a liver and has a harder time breaking down alcohol. So if your baby is teeny or maybe premature and you have reason to believe that could be less tolerant of anything in your breastmilk, you can always be extra cautious and steer clear.

The other thing to think about is basically whether you’re drunk. Are you too drunk to be parenting? If you are, then you should probably steer clear of breastfeeding as well because you just aren’t clear or coherent enough to care for a baby.

That’s the reason most stick to the advice that if you’re sober enough to drive you can breastfeed. If you can drive then you are certainly sober enough to parent and feed your child. Plus, if you do have any lingering concerns over the alcohol transferring to your milk, then sticking to just one or two drinks can help ease your mind.

And just a reminder, if you a pregnant, alcohol goes directly to the baby and isn’t filtered out through the milk. Big difference there. As to whether it is ok for pregnant women to occasionally indulge is another topic, but chugging down four glasses of wine surely wouldn’t be a great idea during pregnancy.  

So, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding? The conclusion.

The bottom line is, it is ok to indulge moderately and still breastfeed your baby.

If you want to be cautious, just wait until you sober up a bit before nursing. No need to pump and dump unless you’re away from baby and need to for your own comfort.  

Of course, I am not a doctor and always advise moms to do their own research and/or talk to their pediatrician. For me personally, I have drunk alcohol while breastfeeding all three of my babies with no ill effects.

While the recommendations seem a bit mixed based on who you ask, the question of is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding is settled in my mind. The answer is… mostly yes. If you can drive, you can nurse.

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What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

Breastfeeding twins has been major accomplishment. I have reached my goal of nursing twins for two full years. This is what helped me get there.

The odds are stacked against many moms when they start their journey of breastfeeding twins, but after recently reaching the 2-year mark of nursing my twins, I’ve learned a few things that might make your breastfeeding journey a little easier.

These are the key tips that have been essential in my success in breastfeeding twins for over 2 years now.

A couple quick disclaimers though. I am not a lactation consultant, midwife, doctor, or have any professional credentials. I am just a mom who has breastfed a singleton and breastfed twins for a combined 6 years now.

I also have included affiliate links to products and services I love, which means if you use my link and make a purchase I get a small commission at not extra cost to you.

I was a veteran breastfeeder

I need to get this one out of the way right off the bat. When I got pregnant with my twins, I was actually still nursing my daughter who was 2 at the time.

So not only did I have experience breastfeeding, but I had already successfully breastfed one child to natural term.

She finally weaned somewhere in the first trimester, though at that point we were down to only nursing 2-3 times per day. I was able to wean her fairly easily just by redirecting her to snacks, cow’s milk, and her favorite yogurt.

During those 2 years of breastfeeding, I learned most of the lessons that I’ll share here, and then those lessons were reiterated and strengthened during my journey with breastfeeding twins.

Though there were some new tricks I picked up, and tips that are a little unique for twins that I’ll share too.

Do your research

Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. I don’t think I have ever met a mom who didn’t have at least one stumbling block when it came to breastfeeding whether that was sore nipples, latch issues, biting, low supply, tongue/lip ties, or even pressure from family to quit.

While I’m sure formula moms face many challenges as well, breastfeeding presents its own set of challenges. Even if you and baby establish your breastfeeding relationship smoothly, chances are that you will need some sort of knowledge before giving birth so you are prepared.

There are a few resources that I LOVE and recommend wholeheartedly for learning more about breastfeeding.

Books on Breastfeeding:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book is from La Leche League (LLL), which is one of (if not THE) foremost organization supporting breastfeeding moms. It was created by breastfeeding moms who needed support, so banded together to create what they needed. 90% of what I learned about breastfeeding was from this book.

Mothering Multiples

La Leche League followed up the above with a book specifically designed to help mamas with multiples, as the title implies. This isn’t only about breastfeeding, but definitely goes over breastfeeding more than one baby.

Websites and Online Resources for Breastfeeding:

KellyMom

If I had to choose ONE single resource for moms to know about, it would be KellyMom. This website has an answer to just about any and every breastfeeding question you might have. Including, a section about breastfeeding twins or multiples.

La Leche League

The LLL website is a great resource for getting answers to your breastfeeding questions, but also a place to find local LLL groups so you can find in-person support from other breastfeeding moms.

LactMed

Have a cold and want to know if that decongestant is ok to take while breastfeeding? Head over to this website. This is a database of medications and their known or unknown interactions while breastfeeding. I always recommend checking this even if you have gotten a doctor’s advice because sometimes their info is out of date, while LactMeds should be the most recent info.

Online Courses for Breastfeeding:

Milkology: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class

This is an online course that is super affordable (only $19!). It was created by a mom of 3, and Certified Lactation Educator, Stacey Stewart. She has helped thousands learn how to breastfeed, and this course is an amazing resource to have at your fingertips.

Milkology: The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class

Because tons of moms go back to work after giving birth but still want to breastfeed, Stacey also created a course on pumping milk.

La Leche League for Moms of Twins/Multiples Facebook Group

It takes a village, right? This is my favorite breastfeeding group. Tons of other moms to tap into when you need support.

To tandem or not to tandem?

I planned on tandem nursing my guys from the very start, and I was tandem feeding them within the first day of their birth.

However, if you are first-time mom or have never breastfed any babies ever before, you might want to consider nursing separately until you get the hang of it.

Even though I was a pro at breastfeeding when I had my boys I DID take some time to nurse them individually before switching to tandem so that I knew they were good to go and had no problems latching on.

As soon as babies are able and you feel comfortable, I do strongly suggest tandem feeding when possible. Not only does this save time for you, but it also helps get the babies on the same schedule.

I never push or force my kids onto a schedule. Instead, I follow their cues and allow them to get into their own routines. The only thing I did to really encourage my boys to be on the same schedule was also trying to tandem feed. If one showed signs of hunger, I offered to both. Within a few weeks, they were pretty synced up.

The one product I think is essential for tandem feeding is the Brest Friend Twins nursing pillow. Some moms love the Twin-Z, but I love the structure and support of the Brest Friend. (Plus it has a pocket to store your drinks, snacks, remote, phone, whatever you need for those long nursing sessions.)

Protip on using the Brest Friend, have extra pillows for propping. You CAN use this pillow on its own, but I found that what was most comfy for me was to sit on a couch with legs criss-cross applesauce, a pillow or two behind my back and one underneath the Brest Friend to raise the height up a little. Propped like that I could Netlflix and Chill while nursing comfortably all day.

Have a plan for night feedings

When they were newborns I would also wake both at the same time to feed, but as time went on I let them each wake as they wanted to feed.

To make things easier for me, I had a sidecar crib, which is a crib without the front section attached to the bed so you can have the best of both worlds, bedsharing and separate space for the babies and you. So when one would wake I would grab him, latch him on, and then do the same when the other woke.

If both woke at the same time I would sit up in bed and nurse them tandem.

Deciding on where baby sleeps can be a bit overwhelming for parents. I choose to bedshare and/or use a sidecar because it is the safest option for me and my family, and it also means I get more sleep!

Here are a few resources for you to decide what might work best for you:

Sweet Sleep from LLL

A guide on co-sleeping from Mattress Insider

AAP sleep guideslines

Safe Co-Sleeping with Multiples from the Badass Breastfeeder

How to breastfeed twins in public

Unless you plan to never leave your home, you will at some point have to decide how you’re going to feed your babies while away from home.

Tandem nursing can be a bit awkward when you are doing it at home, let alone in public.

Some moms are able to manage tandem feeding in public right from the beginning. Some cover, some use the two-shirt method, and some just let it all hang out. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what you should do.

For me though, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to get it right without a pillow or something to help me prop the babies up. So when they were tiny infants I usually brought a bottle of pumped milk with me and if both were hungry at the same time, one would get boob, and one would get a bottle of pumped milk.

Once my boys were bigger and had better control over their heads and bodies, I just tandem nursed them wherever we were using the two-shirt method.

The one way I was able to comfortable tandem feed when mine were newborns was while babywearing. I used a size 8 woven wrap in a front wrap cross carry to wear both of them and was able to nurse them easily that way.

Know where to get support

I’m going to be honest. In my experience, pediatricians have not been the most helpful when it comes to supporting me breastfeeding. Many times they were poorly informed about the basics of breastfeeding mechanics and were very quick to tell me to supplement with formula even though I had an overabundance of breastmilk.

This isn’t to say to never take your pediatrician’s advice or to just ignore them, but be clear on where you’re most likely to get the support you need.

Most times this will be with the help of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). There are a few different certifications that can fall under “lactation consultant” or some variant of that phrase, but an IBCLC is like the gold standard of certification.

So when my doctor recommended I supplement with my twins, which I didn’t personally feel was necessary, I wanted to also get the backing of an expert to ensure I was actually doing the right thing. That’s when I sought out the opinion of the IBCLC.

Doctors generally have little to no training on breastfeeding, while IBCLC’s are basically specialists in that area. For me, the IBCLC’s recommendations trumped the pediatricians.

Your opinion might be different. You might also have a much different situation than I did. Maybe if my twins were premature and had complications I’d lean more heavily on the pediatrician’s opinion, maybe not. But the point here is not to tell you who to listen to, rather use your own judgment and do your own research on where you think you can get the best answers for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding twins is exhausting but so rewarding. I am so happy to have been able to nurse my twins this long. Hopefully, these few tips can help you do the same if it’s your goal.

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Supplies for Pumping at Work: What You *really* Need

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Going back to work after maternity leave can be so hard, but having the right supplies for pumping at work can help smooth out the process a little.

Prepping with the best supplies for pumping at work before getting back into the swing of things in the working work will make it much more likely that your pumping/breastfeeding journey will continue without a hitch.

A Breast Pump

This is THE most important thing you need to pump at work unless you plan to hand express.

Hand expressing is totally doable (plus something you might need to do in a pinch) and some moms find they get better production via hand expression, but most moms prefer to use a pump because it’s just easier.

AND did you know that most health insurance plans will cover a breast pump? Yes! With both of my pregnancies, I went through Aeroflow to get my breast pump and it was so easy.

All you do is head over to this link and fill out a few bits of information. They will then let you know which pumps your insurance will cover, and get you all set up. It’s very minimal work on your end. They take care of it all, and get you started with the supplies for pumping at work you need the most.

Which pump is the best?

Moms might differ on this, but in my personal experience and from what I’ve seen other moms say, the Spectra S2 is the best option if it is available to you. Compared to other breast pumps I’ve used, I found that it best mimicked the actual feel of a nursing baby, and had the best milk output.

The Spectra S2 is also a hospital grade pump at a much lower cost than others. A hospital-grade means it is a closed system. In a closed system, the milk never goes into the machine, meaning it is actually considered safe for multiple moms to use the same machine as long as they use different or sterilized accessories.

I’ve also used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced (PISA), and the hospital-grade Medela Symphony. The PISA was fine. No complaints. The Symphony was excellent, but it is rather pricey and to be honest, I found the Spectra to get just as much milk out as the Symphony and at a much smaller price tag if you have to pay out of pocket.

All of the pumps discussed so far are electric pumps, meaning they plug into an outlet or a battery pack and electricity does the job for you. But a manual pump is also an option.

Manual pumps are super cheap, starting around $25 for most, and many moms actually get better output from a manual pump than an electric. But just like hand expression it can be a bit of a pain and lead to some pretty cramped hands, so it’s a personal call on what works best for you.

A Pumping Bag

This is not technically necessary for pumping at work, but it makes this so much easier.

You could always just throw everything into a regular bag, but if you can find a bag designed for pumping, it just simplifies everything.

I love this bag and wish it would have been around when I was pumping at work. It’s big enough to fit a Spectra S2 plus tons of accessories, a notebook or small computer, plus insulated pockets for pumped milk. It’s a pretty tricked-out pumping bag if I do say so myself.

But the biggest thing you need to keep in mind is having somewhere to store your pumped milk. The point of all these supplies for pumping at work is to ensure your liquid gold gets home to your little one. So be sure to pack some ice packs in a cooler bag if nothing else.

Milk Bags

You need somewhere to store your hard-earned milk! Milk bags are the go-to for most moms because of convenience.

Not only are milk bags easy to carry around, but they also are great for storing milk because they take up little room. You can also freeze your milk in breastmilk bags.

I love the Lansinoh brand bags (Target has a store brand that is similar) because they seem to be able to lay flat the best in the freezer. If you lay the bags flat in the freezer to freeze them you can stack them for easier storage.

If you’d like a more sustainable option, you can always just keep the milk in bottles that are reusable, or I also love storing my milk in mason jars (which also come with nipple attachments!)

Cleaning Supplies

If you have access to a microwave, an absolute necessity when it comes to supplies for pumping at work are the Medela steam bags.

All you have to do is throw your parts into one of the fancy little bags, add a little water and toss it in the microwave for the amount of time it says on the bag.

Et voila!

Your pump parts are sterilized. It is an AMAZING time and sanity-saving hack for pumping moms and I couldn’t live without this in my toolbox of supplies for pumping at work.

If you don’t have a microwave or a sink to wash the old fashioned way, I recommend these Medela cleaning wipes. They are awesome in a pinch.

 

Nipple Balm

This is your call, but I always liked having some sort of nipple balm, even if it was just coconut oil on hand.

Pumping shouldn’t hurt if you have the right setup, but sometimes just overuse of the nips with a teething or cranky baby can make your nipples a little sore. I love lanolin and also had a balm made from my placenta! (Yeah it sounds weird, but it was awesome!)

The right size flanges

What are flanges? They are the shield portion that cups your breast as you pump. Ensuring you have the right size is important for comfort AND milk production. If the size is wrong, it might not express as much milk as possible, causing your supply to dwindle.

Learn how to get the proper fit here.

I actually bought Pumpin’ Pals flanges (find the set for the Spectra on their website) because I heard other moms rave about them, and I now rave about them too. They are one of my favorite supplies for pumping at work that I recommend to moms because I definitely felt more comfortable with them and had more milk.

Pumping Bra

I actually never used a pumping bra as one of my necessary supplies for pumping at work, but I know a lot of moms swear by them.

Perhaps it’s because I just couldn’t find the right fit from the bras I did try, but it was just easier for me to wedge the breast shield between my bra and shirt, kind of like the two shirt method for breastfeeding.

If I were going to try another pumping bra, I’d like to give this on a go though.

Snacks and Water!

Breastfeeding and pumping can make you SO HUNGRY, and also zap some of your energy. Not to mention, it can be hard to stay hydrated while breastfeeding/pumping.

Be sure you always have a snack in your bag and a bottle of water.

While you’re sitting down to pump chug some water and have a bite to eat so you’re replenished and able to hop back into work a little more easily.

Pumping is like an entire job in itself mama, and hopefully, these supplies for pumping at work will make it just a little bit easier.

What are your favorite supplies for pumping at work? Let us know in the comments!

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Baby won’t latch, or won’t latch comfortably? These latching tips for breastfeeding are a great place to start troubleshooting your latch.

After breastfeeding my kids for a combined 6+ years, I’m sharing my best latching tips for breastfeeding so you can get a good start on your breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding might be natural, but it doesn’t usually feel natural right out of the gate. Like anything new, there’s a learning curve.

Not knowing how to breastfeed or having trouble getting your baby to latch is nothing to be ashamed of for new (or veteran) moms. You wouldn’t expect yourself to be a master chef when you’ve never even made toast before would you? The same is true for breastfeeding.

Learning to nurse your baby is a skill you learn just as your baby learns to nurse effectively from you. It’s a relationship that is built.

Ensuring that you have a rock-solid latch that allows baby to nurse efficiently, and is comfortable for you is key to being successful at breastfeeding. A good latch means less pain when breastfeeding, and also that baby is getting enough milk and emptying the breasts.

Ineffective latching can lead to sore nipples, and baby may not be emptying the milk that is in the breasts meaning they aren’t getting the milk they need in an effective way which could also hurt your supply over the long term.

Breastmilk production works on supply and demand. So if your baby isn’t nursing effectively, your body will believe that it doesn’t need so much milk and slowly dwindle your supply.

So let’s talk about the best latching tips for breastfeeding so you’ll be nursing like a champ in no time.

I am not a lactation consultant or medical professional. I am a mom who has now breastfed three kids for a total of over six years combined. With my second two, latching was a breeze. Both were nursing within minutes of birth.

But my first? She was a challenge. It took about a week for us to really establish a good breastfeeding relationship that was full of frustration. It was hard, but the tips I share below are what helped me to finally figure it out and build a strong breastfeeding bond with my daughter.

(I also may share some affiliate links if I recommend any products that I love. An affiliate link is just a referral link that if you use to purchase something I recommend, will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

1. Find the best position for you

Get comfortable. You’ll want to find pillows or other items to help prop you, your arms and the baby up to make it as easy as possible.

I love the Brest Friend pillow, and especially their twin model. (It even has a pocket for storing a drink, phone, remote, or even some snacks)

This article from Medela has 11 different positions to try to see which works best for you.

Many moms like football hold when first starting because it gives you a lot of control over the baby’s positioning. Getting set up properly is one of the most important latching tips for breastfeeding.

2. Make a nipple sandwich

You ever get a big juicy burger or mile-high club sandwich? Unless you get a good hold of that thing and smoosh it down a little bit, you’ll never fit it into your mouth to get a bite, right?

Same is kind if true for latching a baby.

To help baby get their mouth around and behind your nipple, you’ll want to make a nipple sandwich.

All you do is hold into your breast a few inches behind the nipple and squeeze down like you would when smooshing down a burger to take a bite. (This article has some good images to help you get the idea.)

This will help baby have a large area to latch onto.

3. Start with nipple on top lip

If baby is hungry, touching their lips or mouth will induce their rooting instinct.

Basically, rooting is baby looking around and trying to latch. For example, if a baby is nuzzling you and making a kind of fish face where their mouth keeps opening and closing, that’s rooting.

So when you place your nipple their top lip, if they’re hungry, they will go after that nipple.

Because it is on their top lip they must open extra wide and tilt their head up to try to reach it. This puts their face and mouth in optimal positions to get a nice big wide latch.

This tweak of starting with the nipple above on the top lip is a game-changing latching tip for breastfeeding.

4. Only latch when they open as wide as possible

You may have caught a theme here with the last few tips. The goal is to get a big and DEEP latch.

That’s why it is so important to make the target as easy to grasp as possible by doing the nipple sandwich, and then make sure the baby is opening their mouth wide by tapping the top lip with the nipple.

Your instinct might be to just latch them on however you can at first, but taking the time to really pay attention and ONLY allow them to latch when they open up wide will help you so much down the road.

Not only will then ensure the baby is latched on properly and able to nurse effectively, but it will be much more comfortable for you!

I know whenever I start to get nipple pain or tenderness, I go back to this. I start paying close attention to the baby’s mouth and make sure they are getting it nice and wide before I let them latch on.

5. Bring baby to you

One of the biggest troubles I was having at first with my daughter is I kept leaning down to try to get my nipple into her mouth, when what I needed to do was bring her up to my nipple.

This might seem like a small change or something that shouldn’t matter much, but it does.

I think the motion of bringing the baby to you is kind of a cue to them to be ready to latch. Like it’s a clue that they need to be ready. I’m not totally sure that’s a true scientific thing as I’ve never actually seen why this is an important tip. It’s just my observation when doing it with my kids.

Bottom line, it works and is an essential latching tip for breastfeeding.

6. Get nipple in as deep as you can and don’t be too gentle

Another reason my daughter wasn’t latching well at first was because I was being too gentle.

As a new mom, you’re bit paranoid and want to be as gentle with your teeny fragile squish as possible, but in order to get the nipple into their mouth as deep as possible, you have to be a little forceful with it.

Have some common sense here. It’s still a newborn, you don’t want to hurt them, but you also need to be assertive when bringing the baby up to the nipple to latch.

If you are too slow about it or not confident in the way you put the nipple into their wide-open mouth, then they might latch a little early or not get enough of the breast into their mouth.

It’s like a dance. You have to lead them, and if you are not guiding them it won’t work. This is why it takes practice to become good at this with your little one.

7. Squirt some milk in their mouth to rouse them

Newborns can be really sleepy. In fact, sleep is what they do the most besides feeding.

Sometimes the newborn drowsiness makes it hard to get a strong latch from the baby.

What I was able to do to rouse her a bit and get her interested in nursing was to hand express a small amount into and around her mouth. This little smell and taste were usually enough to entice her to perk up and look for more.

When I realized I could do this it really helped me feel more confident in my ability, and is one of the best latching tips for breastfeeding.

8. Diaper change at night to wake sleepy newborns

Most parents would love for their baby to sleep without waking all night, but when you are establishing a breastfeeding relationship, nursing every few hours is essential.

That means sometimes you have to wake a sleeping baby.

While my daughter did NOT enjoy it when it was time to feed I would wake her by changing her diaper. This definitely got her up and raring to go.

So if you need to get baby awake to feed, but they are being a bit lazy or tired. Try a diaper change.

9. Consider whether nipple shields are a good option for you

After a day or two of latching struggles, a well-meaning nurse handed me a nipple shield.

I stuck that little piece of plastic to my nipple and bam! My daughter latched right on and started feeding. I figured the problem was solved for the time being, but it was just a brief help.

The thing about using nipple shields is you have to then keep using them, and they are not necessarily easy to use. I remember after that first visit with the nurse, I felt like I could never get the shield on properly or keep it on while getting back to latch. It was kind of a nightmare.

But I kept on trying with it because it worked.

Eventually, I grew frustrated and threw the shields out and just focused on latching the baby directly to my nipple.

Nipple shields also have disadvantages, like potentially inhibiting milk supply. This article lays out the pros/cons and when it might be a smart idea to try one or skip one.

10. Try finger feeding with a syringe

If you are really having trouble latching and need to feed the baby, consider finger feeding with a syringe until you master the latch.

When I was learning to breastfeed my daughter, she would get so frutrated and hungry that it was almost impossible to even try to get her to latch.

So what I did was pump a little milk and offer it to her via syringe while she was sucking my finger.

The reason to consider this kind of feeding if you are working on latching and need to supplement is that it mimics breastfeeding more than using a bottle. There’s no real likelihood of baby having nipple confusion with this method, and it’s less likely to impact your attempts at breastfeeding negatively.

You can also tube feed baby while finger feeding, or even try cup feeding. Here is more info on that.

11. See an IBCLC

If all else fails and you need help, see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or IBCLC.

This an important note to remember. Not all “lactation consultants” are the same.

There are many different ways to become certified as a “lactation consultant,” but the requirements for an IBCLC are much stronger. An IBCLC will, in general, be more highly educated, experienced, and skilled than other types of lactation certification.

This is not to say lactation consultants who have had other certifications can never be helpful, but the IBCLC certification is the gold-standard of certification in the field. So seek one out specifically if you are in need over any one else.

This includes pediatricians.

Unless your baby has some specific concerns that require your pediatrician’s involvement, I would not recommend taking their word as gospel on breastfeeding-related matters.

Your instincts may be to listen to your pediatrician on this, but in my personal experience, my kids’ pediatricians didn’t know as much as I did about breastfeeding and all I had done was read a few books.

Pediatricians are generally not trained on lactation, breastfeeding, infant nutrition, etc. If they are, they are many times out of date on their information.

I don’t want to discourage you from getting your pediatrician’s thoughts, but I would also seek out the opinions of an IBCLC who has specialized training on this topic. When my pediatrician recommendations went against my instincts, I conferred with an IBCLC, and I’m so glad I did.

These latching tips for breastfeeding should help get you on the right start with your breastfeeding journey, mama. Have any of your own latching tips? I’d love to hear them! Share in the comments below.

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We could talk about the health benefits for mom and baby which most people point to, but there are other reasons to consider why breastfeeding is important.

Breastfeeding is a complicated topic in mom culture today. While we are in a sort of renaissance when it comes to breastfeeding with breastfeeding rates on the rise, formula feeding is still the norm, and extended breastfeeding is a rarity.

The gains we have made with breastfeeding rates is surely due to pushes from moms, organizations, and places like hospitals to encourage moms to breastfeed. Plus, moms have more access to information and support than they have in a long time.

However, we are also in a time when everyone wants to be sensitive to respecting each mom’s choice to feed their baby as they see fit and to refrain from shaming moms for making a choice that is not the same as our own. Inevitably most posts about breastfeeding end up with at least one mom commenting about how not all moms can breastfeed and formula feeding is ok.

We are muddling our way through promoting a dying art that also happens to be widely viewed as the healthiest choice without making the majority of moms feel inferior or less-than. This is not an easy task. How do you tout the benefits of breastfeeding without making moms who use formula feel like they are wrong? It’s complex and takes a gentle hand, which most of us don’t have quite frankly.

I have been guilty of being insensitive to formula feeding moms’ feelings. It wasn’t on purpose. I feel like I was in the right at the time, and while I might have technically had the correct information, the way I shared it wasn’t always kind.

But it is still essential to continue to talk about breastfeeding and advocating for all moms who choose to breastfeed to be fully supported. Here is why breastfeeding is important and needs to continue to be encouraged for moms who want to.

Breastfeeding is Cheaper

While this number can vary widely, and of course there are intangibles like the time it takes to breastfeed/pump, but when just doing straight math using averages, you can figure out how much cheaper breastfeeding is.

According to this article, the average yearly cost of formula feeding is $1,733.

Perhaps for some moms that number isn’t a huge one, but what if you have a baby that requires a more expensive variety of formula? Or multiples?

Nearly $2,000 a year is a huge number for a lot of parents right now, and while there might be *some* costs associated with breastfeeding and/or pumping, it is much lower than the cost of formula.

Equality for Moms Depends on It

In many ways, it was actually formula which helped moms find more equality in this world, and more specifically in the workplace.

With the ability to have their children more easily fed by someone else, moms were able to leave their children for longer periods of time. Of course, wetnursing was an option for some, but not all, and many moms might not feel comfortable with this option.

We are in a new era now though. As long as there are moms who desire to breastfeed, we must ensure they are able to do so, and that their work does not interfere with their ability to provide nutrition for their children.

Obviously, the more women who feel empowered to demand their rights on the job are respected when it comes to breastfeeding, the more likely we are to protect those rights and win more. And when women’s right to breastfeed/pump are respected on the job, it is much easier for moms to be able to continue to breastfeeding after returning to work.

This is an issue for all women in the workplace whether they breastfeed, use formula, or are even moms at all.

In order for women to succeed in the workplace for many years now, they’ve had to assimilate into a male-driven culture. But this environment is one in which women are only respected and praised for conforming to male expectations.

This is why breastfeeding is important for us to have true equality. We should be respected and valued for all that we bring to the table, including experiences and qualities that are unique to womanhood and motherhood.

It is Better for the Environment

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, without pumping or using bottles, then you are producing exactly zero waste.

By now you’ve probably seen the floating garbage islands floating around our oceans? Pretty gross, right? Reducing our use of plastic and consuming more, in general, is essential for cutting down on the waste.

Pumping can produce waste as well, but there are more eco-friendly options for milk storage and even in bottle choices out there. Milk can be stored and even frozen in mason jars, and you can even get nipples that attach directly to the jar. (These would also be a great option for formula mamas too!)

The health benefits of breastfeeding are well documented for both baby and mama, but there are many reasons why breastfeeding is important.

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