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Pacifiers, dummie, binky, paci…whatever you call it, the pacifier is one of the most controversial baby items. Some people say, “Never introduce one!” Others swear it’s the best thing since sliced bread…

I’d like to start by pointing out that pacifiers have been so well marketed, and so frequently used that it’s an item we unconsciously assume we’ll just have to get in preparation for the birth of our baby. The good news? You don’t have to give your baby a pacifier if you don’t want to. If you are going to introduce one, try to limit the use and wait until your baby is between 6-8 weeks old.

Why is this?

Establishing your supply in the early months is supported best when baby has unrestricted access to the breast, has all of their needs met through breastfeeding and avoids any artificial nipples. This is because research shows how baby’s actual sucking patterns change when using a pacifier (Batista et al. 2019). This can lead to bottle preference and less breastfeeding. Which is not ideal if you want to breastfeed exclusively. Remember the pacifier was invented to literally replace what a baby does at the breast…seek comfort!

Also, if your baby is having difficulty with their latch or you have concerns that they are not effectively and efficiently draining the breast, then it is best to avoid any dummies  until you can figure out what is going on with the help of a lactation consultant (IBCLC) or breastfeeding counsellor.

Remember babies breastfeed for MANY different reasons other than hunger. Breastfeeding meets virtually every need they might have at any given time!

Does my baby have a “strong urge to suck”? It’s not uncommon for women to be told that their baby has a strong urge to suck so they should give their baby a pacifier. However when I talk to women about this advice they’ve been given, things start to stand out to me of the REAL REASON they are showing signs of this “strong urge to suck”. Here are some possibilities:

Your baby does not want to be put down. Human babies have the longest stage of infancy compared to every other mammal on the planet! Our childhood and adolescent stages are twice as long as other primates (Pulla, 2015). This means that they are in need of our comfort, touch and attention 24/7 for many years. You’re child has rapid brain growth and changes in the first five years. Your baby will want to be held all the time, they will want to breastfeed all the time and they won’t want to hang out by themselves. That’s not a baby who needs a pacifier, it’s a baby who needs a lot of cuddles and feeds.

The baby is not getting enough breastmilk. If your baby is what you would describe as a “constant feeder” who has a strong urge to suck ALL. THE. TIME. Then it’s important to make sure your baby is getting enough milk. When I am in a consultation with a mother who describes her day as “sitting on the couch and never getting up”, red flags appear next to her (well, in my mind not IRL ).  This is because your baby should have periods of time during the day that they are settled. If your baby is constantly at the breast it COULD be a sign that they are not effectively and efficiently draining your breast. If you have questions about this, read my article on how to know your baby is getting enough: CLICK HERE.

The baby is getting enough but needs extra due to growth spurt, illness, etc. so they are cluster feeding. Cluster feeding is a term that many of us are aware of but there remains a lot of misunderstanding of what cluster feeding is, and if it means the baby is hungry or just in need of some extra feeds (for whatever reason!) Is cluster feeding normal? Absolutely! However there are of course always exceptions to everything and in some cases, very frequent feeding coupled with unsettled behaviour MAY indicate a baby who needs more milk…not a pacifer! Here is how you can figure out if your baby’s cluster feeding is normal or not: CLICK HERE.

How do I “limit the use” of a pacifier? Always offer the breast first. Always allow your baby to breastfeed as frequently as they are asking for it. This is because the best way to ensure your milk supply will be established and you’ll be making as much as your baby needs. I will never forget a consultation I had with someone who said to me, “I know that I gave him the pacifier too much and that has affected my supply.” It is true that if you introduce a pacifier too frequently, then that means you’re breastfeeding less, so less milk is being removed from your breasts. If you remove less milk from your breasts…then you’ll make less! That’s how supply and demand works.

You might be now asking, “What about SIDS? I heard pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDS.” I have some good news people! So does breastfeeding on demand! If you are breastfeeding you do not need to introduce a pacifier to reduce the risk of SIDS. You’re already doing that by breastfeeding on demand 24/7. By breastfeeding your baby you are reducing the risk of SIDS by more than half (Thompson et. al 2017)! By breastfeeding exclusively for a longer period of time, you are increasing this protection against SIDS. Breastfed babies who are sleeping in the same room (or bed) as their mother will often wake more frequently to breastfeed. While exhausting for us, this is actually a REALLY GOOD thing as it is believed that this frequent waking to breastfeed and less likelihood of going into a really long deep sleep, is part of the reason breastfeeding is a protective factor against SIDS (McKenna, J. & McDade, T, 2005). Some of the other reasons researchers think this frequent suckling helps reduce SIDS include; baby being more likely to sleep in a prone position, increases arousal so baby wakes more frequently and less likely to fall into a deep long sleep and protective factors within breastmilk that decreases likelihood of infection (Red Nose, 2017).

So in a nutshell…don’t feel pressure to give your baby a dummy if you don’t want to! And if you do, just try to delay introducing it until your baby is at least 6 weeks old and always offer the breast first when your baby is unsettled. Remember that the pacifier was invented to take the place of the breast when women were not breastfeeding. Never let anyone make you feel guilty for breastfeeding “JUST” for comfort. Breastfeeding for comfort is just as important as breastfeeding for hunger, thirst or any of the million other reasons children breastfeed for! When in doubt…whip it out.

*One topic that is extremely important (yet really needs it’s own blog post!) is pacifier use and how it can cause malocclusion which is the misaligned of teeth. People may experience discomfort or difficulty chewing because of this, or require braces to repair irregular teeth. This is one (OF MANY) studies that shows a link between pacifier use and misaligned teeth (Costa et al. 2018).

References

Batista, C. L., Rodrigues, V. P., Ribeiro, V. S., & Nascimento, M. D. (2019). Nutritive and non-nutritive sucking patterns associated with pacifier use and bottle-feeding in full-term infants. Early Human Development,132, 18-23. doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2019.03.007

Costa, C. T., Shqair, A. Q., Azevedo, M. S., Goettems, M. L., Bonow, M. L., & Romano, A. R. (2018). Pacifier use modifies the association between breastfeeding and malocclusion: A cross-sectional study. Brazilian Oral Research,32(0). doi:10.1590/1807-3107bor-2018.vol32.0101

Mckenna, J. J., & Mcdade, T. (2005). Why babies should never sleep alone: A review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews,6(2), 134-152. doi:10.1016/j.prrv.2005.03.006

Pulla, P. (2017, December 10). Why do humans grow up so slowly? Blame the brain. Retrieved May 15, 2019, from https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/08/why-do-humans-grow-so-slowly-blame-brain

Red Nose (2017). Breastfeeding and the risk of sudden infant death in infancy. Retrieved May 15, 2019, from https://rednose.org.au/downloads/Breastfeeding-Safe_Sleeping-Information_Statement_Nov_2017_WEB.pdf

John M.D. Thompson, Kawai Tanabe, Rachel Y. Moon, Edwin A. Mitchell, ClionaMcGarvey, David Tappin, Peter S. Blair, Fern R. Hauck Pediatrics Nov 2017, 140 (5) e20171324; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2017-1324

The post Should I give my baby a pacifier? appeared first on The Milk Meg.

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I recently had a consultation with someone who has received some very outdated and simply incorrect advice from her health care professionals. Unfortunately what she was told is not uncommon for women to hear and I felt as though it was time for some Milk Meg MYTH BUSTING!!…

MYTH #1 Your baby should be able to go 3 hours between feeds.

REALITY: False! Women who make enough milk to exclusively breastfeed their babies will make about the same amount of milk in a 24 hour period. HOWEVER…every woman has a different storage capacity. This means that what we can hold at any given time will be different from woman to woman. It is because of this reason that some babies might have to feed more often to get the same amount of milk as the next baby.  Your best friend might be able to hold 75mls of milk at maximum capacity while your breasts can hold 150mls at maximum capacity! This is not about breast SIZE but rather the glandular tissue (where the milk is made and stored) in your breasts. Breast size has to do with fatty tissue, not glandular tissue.

Research through ultrasound has shown that there is a huge variation between women’s breasts in not only the structure and amount of glandular tissue (where milk is made and stored) but that the amount a woman can make is based on the infant’s appetite [2]. What does this mean? How frequently they breastfeed! Breastmilk production depends on different things working within your breasts: prolactin,  oxytocin, feedback inhibitor of lactation and of course the frequency in which your baby removes the milk. Whether or not your baby can go up to 3 hours is NOT in ANY WAY an indication as to whether or not they’re getting enough milk…it’s basic biology and science that shows us this.

There is also the very important point that has nothing at all to do with hunger which is that babies breastfeed for MANY different reasons. Babies breastfeed for thirst, hunger, boredom, pain relief, comfort…the list goes on! These needs to not happen on a schedule, including the need for food. If your baby is tired and would like to breastfeed to sleep, it doesn’t matter if they just fed 45 minutes ago! They will look for another breastfeed to help them relax and fall asleep. Research shows that there are actually components in our milk that helps our baby fall asleep [2]. So while the science of how our breasts make milk helps us to understand the physiological side of breastfeeding, it’s important to recognise that mothering THROUGH breastfeeding means that it meets their every need, at any given moment of the day. Schedules don’t apply here! For more on why the “feed, play, sleep” routine makes no sense for a breastfed baby, CLICK HERE!

MYTH #2 Your baby has to feed from both sides at every feed.

REALITY: No. This is completely false. Some babies will feed from both sides, some will not. There is no black and white when it comes to this! After your baby has finished one side and has come off, offer the second side. If your baby does not want it then that’s OK! Refer to what I’ve written above regarding the amount we can hold and how that is different between woman. Also, what our baby needs at any given time will change! One feed your baby might want one breast, the next they might want both! How do you know your baby has “drained” the breast? Usually a baby will have a feed, gradually fall asleep and then come off the breast. You can then burp your baby, change their nappy and then offer the second side. IT’S OK IF YOUR BABY DOESN’T WANT THE SECOND SIDE! Not a problem.

The only exception to this is if your baby is not gaining weight as expected and needs to have more breastmilk throughout the day. in this case I’d suggest “switch nursing” where you go back and forth between each breast (at least 3-4 times each side) during a feed.  This helps kick start your supply and is a great way to give it a boost. More stimulation, more milk is removed, more milk for your baby, more milk continues to be made! Have questions about switch nursing or increasing your supply? I have a whole category of blog posts on that topic just click HERE, or I’m available for individualised help and support HERE.

MYTH #3: Your baby should be breastfeeding for at least 20 minutes at every feed.

REALITY: Not true. Babies will breastfeed anywhere from about 5 minutes to 45 minutes. How long your baby breastfeeds for does not matter. This is not only due to storage capacity but also what is going on for your baby at that time. They might be going through a growth spurt, a be in pain or be cold! Your baby could be teething, on the verge of meeting a developmental milestone…all of these will cause your baby to do something…ASK FOR A BREASTFEED! And this breastfeed could last anywhere from a few minutes to almost an hour. Sometimes your baby might cluster feed, on and off the breast very frequently. You can read HERE to find out when this is normal, or not.

There is only one exception to this rule and that is if your baby is taking a LONG TIME to breastfeed at every feed. So your baby is on the breast for 1 hour or 1 1/2 hours every time. This is a big red flag that your baby is not removing the milk effectively and efficiently. If you’re never sure when your baby is “done” breastfeeding and you feel as though your baby takes a really long time to finish a feed then I do recommend seeking some help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

MYTH #4: You need to make sure your baby has “emptied” your breasts.

REALITY: Breasts are never empty. You will literally never be able to do this…it’s physically not possible. They will be as I like to say, “well drained”…but there will always be about 1/3 of your full capacity of milk left in your breasts even right after a breastfeed or pumping session. Your breasts are in a continual cycle of making milk as your baby is removing milk, doing the whole “supply and demand” cycle. One study found that an infant will remove 63%-74% of the available milk from the breast during a breastfeeding session [3]. Since your baby does not remove all of the milk and your body is in a continual state of making more milk, you can never be truly “empty”. As long as you are following your baby’s lead and feeding on demand rather then a schedule, you can be sure you are meeting your baby’s needs. There is a checklist that you can go through to make sure you baby is receiving enough milk. CLICK HERE FOR THAT INFORMATION!

MYTH #5 Your baby (or toddler) should be sleeping through the night right now.

REALITY: It is the biological norm for breastfed children to continue to wake to breastfeed throughout the night, especially if you are bed-sharing. Why is this? Mammals by definition meet their growing child’s needs for comfort and nutrition by breastfeeding. Continuing to follow your babies cues that they would like to breastfeed overnight, ensures that your breastmilk supply is protected and is simply mothering through breastfeeding. Research shows that babies take up to 20% of their milk volume at night [3]. This is a huge percentage and shows just how important night-feeding is to keeping up your supply. Unfortunately most of the sleep training books and articles online do not mention this. I have written extensively about breastfeeding and sleep. There are also MANY reasons other than hunger that you baby ask for a breastfeed overnight. Breastfeeding meets every need your baby will have and this applies to night-time feeds as well! You can check out all of my sleep articles HERE for more information on what to expect with sleep as your baby grows and how to manage sleep deprivation

The main take home point here? Follow the lead of your baby (they will tell you if what you are doing is working for them or not!) and TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If someone gives you advice that doesn’t sound right then it’s probably NOT RIGHT! Ask to see the evidence for them to be able to back up what they are saying.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1571528/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19178785
  3. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/117/3/e387

The post 4 Myths that can derail your breastfeeding journey! appeared first on The Milk Meg.

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I have a bit of a history of photos being banned from my Milk Meg Facebook page. Remember back in the day when Facebook banned EVERY SINGLE PHOTO that included a breast? Even ones that happened to have a child latched onto it?! Well thankfully those days are over as they have officially changed their policy about this. So I was a bit shocked to receive this little notification when I just signed into my Facebook…

The “sexual” photo in question:

So according to Facebook if you have breastmilk squirting out of your breasts then you have “sexual activity” going on. Now look…Let’s not be idiotic here. Breasts actually are sexual sometimes and to ignore that fact is ridiculous. But SERIOUSLY Facebook?! I’m an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Part of my job is educating people on all things boobs and breastfeeding. This is an AMAZING photo by photographer Leo Carvajal which shows just how incredible our bodies are! Look at how many streams of milk are coming out of her nipple. We have anywhere from 4-20 holes in our nipples and this amount can be different between our own two nipples too!

I asked Leo what he thought of his photo being banned from my page and this is what he had to say, “I uploaded it myself to instagram and it got deleted after one day… i don’t understand why people are so afraid of looking at the human body, and I don’t understand who they are trying to protect by reporting it.” Yup, I couldn’t agree more Leo!

Leo Carvajal (the photographer of this amazing photo!)

What is the big freakin’ deal with this?! People just cannot accept this idea that sometimes boobs are just simply about feeding a baby.

So here’s my message to you Facebook. Let’s be apart of the CHANGE in regards to breasts within our society and when they are sexual…or not. You know, it might be helpful for you to think about vaginas in this regard too. When I was pushing a baby out of my vagina, it was not sexual. When I was breastfeeding my children or expressing some milk out of them, it was was not sexual. Just because a body part is sexual sometimes does not make it sexual ALL THE TIME. In 2018 Facebook has over 2.2 BILLION active monthly uses. Facebook actually has the potential to make some real social changes here and bring some awareness to when breasts are sexual, or not. The time is now.

-The Milk Meg. Meg Nagle, IBCLC

For more on Leo…

Website: https://leocarvajal.wordpress.com/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/leocarjaval

The post The photo that was banned from my Facebook page… appeared first on The Milk Meg.

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We’ve all heard the term, “fed is best” yes? That in order to be feminist and/or support infant feeding “choices” we also have to ignore that actually WHAT we are feeding our babies does in fact matter. Because we have to be able to head right back out into the work force and women need to have a choice in regards to infant feeding. It’s an interesting concept…to downplay the importance of what our babies are babies are fed and just focus on women’s choice, choice choice, without acknowledging how important the first food (breastmilk) is.  Well I call bullshit on this.

Feminism means that as women we should have choices just like men in regards to work, pay and legal rights such as owning property and voting. However this weird thing has happened where those of us who choose to stay home and breastfeed without pumping and being separated from our babies we must then be “anti-feminist”.  We say things like, “breast is best”, “informed is best” and reject this idea that “fed” is best and what we feed our babies doesn’t matter because we don’t want to return to work outside the home.  The term “fed is best” was coined to go directly against what the medical community (and SCIENCE) has been saying which is of course, “Breast is best”. So what does “best” actually mean?…

From Dictionary.com:

I’d say breastfeeding fits into this category. Why? Because breastfeeding is literally by definition the biological design of infant and child feeding. Now…I know this opens a huge can of worms…”What about people who identify as male but are born female? That’s going against the sex they were born with which is biology so you’re saying they are not best then?” Someone who identifies as male but is born a female (or visa versa) can live that life continuing to identify as whatever gender they know they are regardless of their sex (biology)…WITHOUT IT AFFECTING THEIR HEALTH.

Breastfeeding (or not) DIRECTLY affects the health of both mother and baby. I’ve seen people argue that for those of us who are hard core “lactavists” arguing that breast is best must also be anti-gay, anti-trans, ant-choice, anti-feminist blah…blah…Well, I am none of those things. But I AM pro-breastfeeding. I can be pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-straight, pro-trans, pro-feminist…because those issues are not a health care concern. The concern in those categories is for mental health if people CANNOT live the life they know they need to live…You can be gay and be of optimal health. You can be trans and be of optimal health. You can get an abortion and be of optimal health. There are numerous evidence based research articles that show the risks of not breastfeeding... Here is a publication from the QLD government here in Australia that gives a great overview of the importance of breastfeeding for the health of both the mother and baby.

Plainly put the “all or nothing” argument is an illogical fallacy.

We can be feminists and still say “breast is best!”

We can be feminists and still acknowledge HOW we feed our babies and children matter.

We can be feminists and support women who bottle feed. That doesn’t mean we also have to ignore the science behind breastmilk. Research shows that statistically speaking MOST women can make enough milk. Statistically speaking MOST women do show the desire to breastfeed. Statistically speaking MOST women do want to at least try to start off breastfeeding. So let’s help them make it happen. Whether that’s breastfeeding exclusively, mixed feeding or pumping. Breastfeeding looks different to different people. I think that men and women should have the same rights which  by definition makes me a feminist. I also think that if woman wants to breastfeed and stay home with her baby she should be able to do that too. We don’t have to take on board “fed is best” to prove that we are feminist or that we care about women. We care about women, we care about human rights, we care about feminism, we care about choice…while also caring about infant feeding and infant health.

-The Milk Meg. Meg Nagle, IBCLC.

The post You can be a feminist and still acknowledge that breast is “best”… appeared first on The Milk Meg.

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I am constantly going on about how frequent night-waking (especially for breastfed children) is normal. The biocultural and biological norm. However I do also talk about how there are many different reasons that a baby’s night-waking could be deemed “abnormal”. Regardless of what is happening culturally around the child or what human babies do naturally, there will of course be situations where a baby is waking frequently because of a health concern. This is what Sarah realised with her little boy as time went on. So many symptoms that something just was not right and was outside what we’d normally expect for night-waking. While there are different causes of “abnormal” waking (for instance food intolerances or allergies), Sarah’s baby Henry ended up being diagnosed with sleep apnoea after a LONG, exhausting and frustrating journey towards answers. Her baby was waking frequently to breastfeed, not because he was just a normal wakeful baby wanting breastfeeds…but because he was actually having trouble breathing!

Sleep apnoea is a sleeping disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. While this sounds so scary and like something that should be quickly and easily diagnosed, unfortunately for Sarah and Henry this was not the case. Doctors told her he had a dairy allergy or that he needed “filling up” and were suggesting formula! It was also recommended to her to give him porridge in a bottle before bed! This is a PERFECT example of why people like me (lactation consultants) are SO frustrated and flabbergasted by the over-use of formula and this idea of “filling” babies up to decrease night feeds which squash normal infant behaviour and ignore what is actually going on in some cases…a medical condition. The recommendations to just “formula feed and fill up” are rife throughout many Western cultures. Sarah is very grateful to have been able to breastfeed Tom throughout their ordeal and explain in detail how it helped Henry (I’ll get to more on that later!)

From the start Sarah knew something was wrong but could not figure out was going on. She listed a whole series of symptoms that Henry was showing, these included:

  • From day 1 would arch his head and bend it back at the neck to help open his airway, including when sleeping.
  • Sarah said Henry would, “Wake with a ‘start’ and crying in a very upset manner. Again, every time. Not waking ‘naturally’ looking for food. I wouldn’t have thought this was odd if I was a first time mamma. Basically he never woke when he was hungry because he already woke with a sleep apnoea and I fed him to calm him. This way of waking also meant that no amount of patting, shushing or ignoring (don’t get me started on those people who told me to close the door and ignore him – potentially life threatening for babies with sleep apnoea!!) would help. He had to be picked up and rocked or b/f to calm. Towards the end, only b/f would calm him. And it would be an hour to feed to calm”.
  • Clicking when breathing. Like a valve click. Hard to describe.
  • Snoring like a drunk!
  • ‘Darth Vader’ breathing. Day and night. Awake or asleep.
  • Catching of breath with the clicking. As if the air was just stopped and trapped.
  • Indents under the rib cage. This is due to poor oxygen levels. We have seen it in our daughter when she has asthma so people may recognise it from that.
  • Constant cold and runny nose (to do with the infection fighting function of the adenoids and tonsils).
  • Stopping breathing. For longer than 10 seconds – then screaming/crying awake.
  • Disturbed sleep – see above!
  • While breastfeeding- often fussing at the breast. Coming on and off. I now realise this was because he couldn’t breathe through his nose. So similar behaviour to when they have a proper cold.

How he slept ALL the time…with his head leaning backwards to help open his airway.

It took 8 months before Henry was admitted into a sleep clinic and a proper diagnosis was done. After spending a night at the clinic they were sent to an ENT. Sarah explained, ” We were referred to an ENT specialist. They put a camera up his nose which showed the offending adenoids COMPLETELY blocking the airways. He was referred for surgery, as it was carried out, they found that his tonsils were also enlarged so they got taken out too.”

Sleeping at the clinic.

Throughout the she was told to give him formula, fill a bottle with rice cereal before bed, try to get him sleeping through the night…however Sarah and her husband listened to their instincts and knew that formula and rice cereal were not the answer. Sarah said, “We didn’t ever give formula because I knew in my heart that there was something wrong. He wasn’t hungry!! He wasn’t ‘trouble’! He was in obvious pain or scared when he woke up. We were told at one point to give him formula that was cow’s milk protein-free during the milk allergy testing phase. It still sits in he cupboard unopened. Both my husband and I felt that was not right for any of us and if we’d switched it would have made zero difference! And they described the formula as pretty horrible tasting ‘but he’d get used to it’.”

Sarah identified breastfeeding as being so helpful throughout…both pre and post surgery!  Sarah wrote:

  • Breastfeeding was the ONLY comfort he has had that has physically helped to alleviate the stress of he sleep apnoea.
  • Some nights he had been attached to me for hours on end helping to calm down and manage the apnoea.
  • Post surgery – breastfeeding indicated to the doctors that his airways were clear and no problems eating. Aided in helping him off the iv sooner.
  • Comfort!!!! As I could see the monitors, nurses confirmed his vitals stabilised when I was able to breastfeed him in recovery.
  • 24+ hours post surgery – he has fed normally and will continue to even though he can’t take solids very well because of the pain.
  • He is finally coming off the breast naturally after feeding!

Breastfeeding following the operation.

One thing that really stood out to me from Sarah’s story was something she mentioned almost as an afterthought…”Being listened to and supported by health care professionals was PARAMOUNT. And also listening to MYSELF!  I could have been persuaded to give him formula if I hadn’t listened to my instincts. Formula would have made zero difference ‘to help him sleep!’ – as you know. But easily a tied and frustrated mamma may have given in and it would have been in vain.” Sarah knew in her heart that formula, rice cereal and withholding night-feeds was NOT the answer for her son. Instead she found doctors who listened to her and followed her motherly instincts on what was best for her child.

If you suspect that your child’s night-waking is NOT normal, due to a medical condition or possible food intolerances, seek help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant while also working with your GP or specialist. Continuing to breastfeeding during these times is not only important to both mother and child but can help pre and post surgery for many different reasons. Sarah said Henry is now 19 months old, still breastfeeding and finally, sleeping through the night, “It has been a long old journey but finally he is getting the much needed sleep he needs”.

Remember, breastfeeding is not just about the milk but also brings comfort and security to the child while encouraging optimal recovery following surgery. In most cases breastfeeding can continue while you work through the diagnosis process.

#keeponboobin’

Meg

{For individualised help from Meg, click here.}

The post When frequent night-waking is not normal. Breastfeeding a baby with sleep apnoea… appeared first on The Milk Meg.

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I just read an article and let me tell you, I had to actually take some time to stop myself from screaming at the computer. This article claimed that they had all of the steps you need to take to make the “best recipe” for breastmilk. This is not only completely misleading, it’s in my opinion dangerous and just annoying. We are BOMBARDED with information 24/7. We hear all sorts of things about how to make the healthiest milk and most of them are just plain wrong and all it does is confuse people.

→Research shows that almost every component in breastmilk is actually not changed by the mother’s diet, with one of the only exceptions being fatty acids [1].←

This is because our bodies are actually brilliant at survival! We have been around (as what we know as the modern human species) for around 200,00 years. Our ancestors were here 6 million years ago. And we have evolved in a way that allows us to nourish our babies, toddlers and small children with our milk without having to rely on a perfect diet to have the perfect composition. Why is this?…

Historically we have not had food security (we went through feast or famine for most of our history as humans) and of course millions and millions of people around the world still live like this. Our bodies are designed to be able to nourish and grow our offspring without needing to spend thousands of dollars on supplements, relaxation CD’s for milk supply, lactation cookies, teas and having a perfect diet.

→So what do we need to do instead? These two simple steps…← 1. Eat real, whole foods as much as possible, including those filled with good bacteria (fermented and cultured foods). 2 Drink some water.

Oh, AND just so you know:

Yup you can drink coffee… After spending a collective total of a decade (plus) of breastfeeding my three boys…coffee was my happy place. Will is affect some babies? Yes. If you drink a cup and your baby acts unsettled then don’t drink coffee. However, luckily for us caffeine loving mamas, research shows that for the vast majority of women, having a cup or two of coffee per day will not affect their babies…or the nutrient status of the milk. Caffeine is categorised as Lactation Risk Category L2 (safer) [2]. If I couldn’t have had a cup of coffee or two while breastfeeding I think I would have actually died. Here is a photo of me surviving, drinking coffee.

Mmmmmmm coffee!

Yup you can eat broccoli, onion, garlic and whatever other spice or vegetable they are telling you to avoid…This one really gets my knickers in a twist. Do you think that in a place like India (where they use heaps of spices, onion and garlic in cooking) suddenly stop eating these foods once they are lactating? Definitely not! WHEN EATEN IN MODERATION and/or as they were eaten by us during pregnancy, they are highly unlikely to affect our babies. Did you eat a huge pile of broccoli and cabbage and noticed your baby had increased gas? Don’t do that tomorrow then. Just eat 2 pieces of broccoli and a small pile of cabbage instead. Of course if you overdose on one of these foods it has the ability to upset your baby. But that’s with any type of food, medication or drink. Have a colicky baby? Don’t cut out onion, read this article here for guidance.

NOPE, exercise has nothing to do with it…Another thing this article said was that exercising encouraged good breastmilk quality and production. Um…I don’t know about you but between breastfeeding, not sleeping, barely having time to pee or eat or poop without an audience…exercise was not my priority for a long time. And there is absolutely NO RESEARCH WHATSOEVER that shows exercise is vital to having high quality breastmilk. Because again let’s be logical here…we’re busy. We’ve always been busy since the beginning of time. If exercise was a key component to making perfect milk then we’d have died out as a species looooooooong ago.

My message to exercise.

NOPE, a bowl of oatmeal and spices will not support milk supply…How great would it be if this was actually true? I could just show up to people with a bowl of oatmeal and cinnamon to increase the “quality” of their milk! You could eat 3 bowls of oatmeal per day and fill every meal with spices…the composition of your milk will still be the same.

NOPE, lack of sleep will not affect your supply or your milk quality. If that was the case then all of us sleep deprived mothers who have not slept in ten years would have been dried up and started formula feeding. We all want more sleep, we all dream (day dream of course because w’re not sleeping so we’re not for real dreaming) about more sleep, and talk about wanting more sleep…but it is not going to affect the quality of our milk. (Head here if you want some more info on all things sleep)

Breastfeeding (and not sleep) with Mini The Milk.

NOPE, you don’t need to spend 1,000 worth of supplements to make nutritious milk. Just eat real foods. Drink some water throughout the day. Use some common sense. Keep it simple. We don’t need to complicated this. Eat real, whole foods as much as possible including healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, fermented soy products, fish, meat and eggs). As recommended to every single human being on earth, regardless if they are lactating or not…don’t eat junk. We’re not that special just because we happen to be breastfeeding. Sorry, but it’s true! And I don’t know about you, but it actually brings me some comfort knowing this.

The End.

Keep On Boobin’! 

Meg Nagle, IBCLC

  1. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/99/3/734S/4577501
  2. Hale T. Rowe H (2017) Medication and mother’s milk, New York: Springer Publishing Company.

{I hope you feel better now about the quality of your milk! If you are concerned about the VOLUME of your milk and that you have low supply, please contact me.}

The post How can I make my breastmilk rich and nutritious? appeared first on The Milk Meg.

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