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Choosing the right breastshield for you

Did you know that breast shields ( flanges) come in different sizes? Many mummy experience inefficient pumping session, and the reason is usually because of wrong breast shield size. Many breast pumps ship with size 27mm or 28mm in Singapore; however, that doesn’t mean that everyone will fit that size (we don’t all wear the same sized shoes, after all). There are breast shields on the market ranging in size from 15mm to 36mm!

Follow this simple guide to determine your breast shield size but first thing first

Pump for 5 minutes, and then measure

It’s a common misunderstanding to measure your nipple before you start pumping, but you actually have to measure the nipple after you pump. The reason is simple. The nipple swells while pumping, and since the rate of swelling varies between women, it’s important to take this swollen measurement to select a comfortable shield size. Grab the shield that came with your pump, assemble it to the milk collection kit and then pump on a low setting for 5 minutes, so the nipple swells. You might even express milk while doing this (if this is your first time pumping, be sure to use the lowest vacuum setting to avoid any pain or discomfort).

Measure the diameter of the nipple at the base of the nipple

 

After your nipple has swollen, measure the diameter of the nipple at the base of the nipple. Be careful not to include any areola in the measurement. Gently lay a ruler onto the areola next to the base of the nipple so the measurement lines are visible when looking straight at the breast. This can be tricky so some women find that doing it in front of a mirror or using a smart phone in selfie mode is helpful.

Select a shield size 2-3mm larger than your nipple diameter

To allow the nipple to move freely within the flange while pumping and to avoid any pain or discomfort (or worse – blisters!) from rubbing, select a shield size that is 2-3mm larger than the diameter of your nipple. For example, if your nipple measures at 18mm, you would want to try the 20mm shield. It’s important not to go too large either because excess areola can be drawn into the flange, causing discomfort, pain, or even constriction of milk flow.

Signs your breast shield may be too small

  • Painful rubbing of nipple in flange.
  • Nipple not moving freely inside of flange.
  • Redness of the nipple.
  • Whiteness of the nipple and/or a white ring around the base of the nipple.
  • Little milk is being expressed.
  • General discomfort while pumping.

Signs your breast shield may be too large

  • Excess areola is drawn into the flange or even up and around the nipple. Note that a small amount of areola may enter the flange for some women; however, it should never be uncomfortable or painful.
  • Sensation of pulling and/or pulling pain.
  • Nipple is pulled to the end of the flange.
  • Shield falls from the breast while pumping.
  • Little milk is being expressed.
  • General discomfort while pumping.

Size that is just nice

  • A properly sized breast shield should be very comfortable.
  • You should barely be able to feel it while pumping.
  • Just a gentle tugging sensation on the nipple and nowhere else.
  • You should not see any excess areola being drawn into the flange
  • Should not feel a pulling sensation or pain while using your breast pump.
  • After your pumping session, your nipple should be free of any redness or whiteness.
  • Pumping should be pain-free

 

Additional factors impacting breast shield size

Although the above instructions provide a good indication of the size of breast shield you will need, there are few things to consider:

  • Every woman’s body responds differently to pumping. It is possible your measurements before pumping might change during pumping, therefore we suggest taking measurements of the swollen nipple 5 minutes after pumping.
  • Your measurements might be different throughout the day. For example, you might be fuller in the morning after going a few hours without pumping and/or feeding at night, warranting a larger size. You might also be smaller in the evening after consistent pumping or feeding throughout the day.
  • You might be larger at the beginning of a pumping session, and smaller after some milk has been expressed.
  • Your measurements might change after your milk supply is well-established (about 10 weeks postpartum).
  • One breast may need a different sized breast shield than the other.

However, you should not follow this guideline blindly because the info graphic merely relies on nipple diameter only. In addition to nipple diameter, you should also consider the following factors:

  • Check how your nipple moves while pumping.

The nipple should move freely and it should not rub the side wall of the flange. You may see a little bit of areola gets pulled, but not the whole areola. And your nipple should not hit the back wall of the breast shield.

  • Comfort

Even if you think you already choose the best breast shield size, but you feel uncomfortable / painful while pumping, that means something is not right. Try to size up or down. Nipple redness / or sore feeling after pumping is also an alarm that you may need to choose different breast shield size.

  • Effectiveness of pumping

If you feel you breast is not emptied after pumping, you may suspect that you don’t use the correct breast shield size (note: various factors can affect this, breast shield size is just one of possible reason).

  • Breast tissue / elasticity

Some women has a very elastic tissue so that the skin will get pulled easier. In this case, it is possible that pumping makes nipple get elongated so much until it hits the back wall of the flange. For this case, using breast shield with longer ‘tunnel’, or using smaller insert in bigger breast shield may help.

 

Nipple Ruler

We also found Nipple Ruler by pumpables.co

Simply print it out, fold along the line, and carefully cut out the circles.

The nipple ruler works on both US Letter and A4 paper sizes. Make sure you select “full size” or “100%” in your print menu (don’t “scale to fit”). You can also print it on larger sizes like US Legal or A7, but you might have to trim off the extra

 

At the end of your pumping session, use the circles to measure the diameter of your nipple at the base. You should select a size that is snug, but not constricting, around your nipple.

Here’s another Nipple Ruler we found from MayMom

If you have more questions or need further help with breast shield sizing, reach out to a Certified Lactation Consultant. In the long run, it’s worth taking the time to determine the breast shield size that’s right for you. You’ll benefit by maximising your pumping sessions so you can get back to what matters most – the little one you’re pumping for!

Reference
https://pumpables.co/measure/
https://spectra-baby.com.au/measuring-nipple-correct-flange-size/
https://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/article/143/breast-shield-sizing:-how-to-get-the-best-fit

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Top 14 Breastfeeding Problems Mummies Face

Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Because many mothers face a few challenges along the way, we’ve uncovered 14 breastfeeding problems you might encounter, plus solutions to help you fix your breastfeeding relationship with your babe. If these ideas don’t work for you be sure to seek out expert help from a lactation consultant,  a public health nurse, your midwife or your doctor.

PROBLEM 1: LATCHING PAIN

It’s normal for your nipples to feel sore when you first start to breastfeed, especially if you’re a first-timer. But if baby has latched and the pain lasts longer than a minute into your feeding session, check the positioning.

Solution:

  • Try to achieve an asymmetrical latch where baby’s mouth covers more of the areola below the nipple rather than above.
  • To reposition him, place your index finger inside baby’s mouth to take him off your breast. Tickle his chin or wait until he yawns so his mouth is wide open and seize your opportunity.
  • When he is correctly positioned, his chin and nose touch your breast, his lips splay out and you can’t see your nipple or part of the lower areola.
  • If baby’s position is correct and latching on still hurts, your nipples may be dry. Make sure to wear loose clothing and avoid washing with soap. Lanolin-based creams are good for applying between feedings.

 

PROBLEM 2: CRACKED NIPPLES

Cracked nipples can be the result of many different things: thrush, dry skin, pumping improperly, or most likely, latching problems. During the first week of breastfeeding, you may have bloody discharge when your baby is just learning to latch or you are just beginning to pump. A little blood, while kind of gross, won’t harm baby.

Solution:

  • Check baby’s positioning — the bottom part of your areola underneath your nipple should be in baby’s mouth.
  • try breastfeeding more frequently, and at shorter intervals. The less hungry baby is, the softer his sucking will be.
  • As tempting as it is to treat your cracked nipples with anything you can find in your medicine cabinet, soaps, alcohol, lotions, and perfumes are no good — clean water is all you need to wash with.
  • Try letting some milk stay on your nipples to air dry after feeding (the milk actually helps heal them).
  • You can also try taking a mild painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen 30 minutes before nursing.
  • If all this fails, try an over-the-counter lanolin cream, specially made for nursing mothers and use plastic hard breast shells inside your bra.

 

PROBLEM 3: CLOGGED/PLUGGED DUCTS

Ducts clog because your milk isn’t draining completely. You may notice a hard lump on your breast or soreness to the touch and even some redness. If you start feeling feverish and achy, that’s a sign of infection and you should see your doctor. Most importantly try not to have long stretches in between feedings — milk needs to be expressed often. A nursing bra that is too tight can also cause clogged ducts. Stress (something all new mommies have an over abundance of) can also affect your milk flow.

Solution:

  • Do your best to get adequate rest (you should recruit your partner to pick up some slack when possible)
  • try applying warm compresses to your breasts and massage them to stimulate milk movement.
  • Clogged ducts are not harmful to your baby because breastmilk has natural antibiotics. That said, there’s no reason why you have to suffer. Breastfeeding should be enjoyable for mom and baby.

 

PROBLEM 4: ENGORGEMENT/HIGH MILK SUPPLY

Engorgement makes it difficult for baby to latch on to the breast because it’s hard and un-conforming to his mouth.

Solution:

  • Try hand-expressing a little before feeding to get the milk flowing and soften the breast, making it easier for baby to latch and access milk. Of course, the more you nurse, the less likely your breasts are to get engorged.

 

PROBLEM 5: MASTITIS

Mastitis is a bacterial infection in your breasts marked by flu-like symptoms such as fever and pain in your breasts. It’s common within the first few weeks after birth (though it can also happen during weaning) and is caused by cracked skin, clogged milk ducts, or engorgement.

Solution:

  • The only sufficient way to treat the infection is with antibiotics, hot compresses, and most importantly, frequent emptying.
  • Use hands-on pumping, making sure the red firm areas of the breast and the periphery are softened.
  • It’s safe and actually recommended that you continue breastfeeding when you have mastitis. Take paracetamol or ibuprofen (not aspirin) to relieve the pain, as instructed on the packet or by a pharmacist.
  • Keep breastfeeding or pumping frequently. Your milk is still safe for your baby to drink. Flowing milk will help clear any blockage and prevent further painful build-up. Stopping suddenly could exacerbate symptoms.
  • You may need to express any leftover milk after feeds.
  • Offer your baby the affected breast first. This may help your baby to drain it adequately. If this is too painful, start on the non-affected side to get the milk flowing, then switch.
  • Rest, drink and eat well. Make sure you’re having plenty of fluids and eating nutritious foods.
  • Massage the area in a warm bath or shower, or compress with a warm flannel or heat pack to help release the blockage and ease symptoms before feeding or expressing. Use a cool pack after feeds to reduce inflammation.

 

PROBLEM 6: THRUSH

Thrush is a yeast infection in your baby’s mouth, which can also spread to your breasts. It causes incessant itchiness, soreness, and sometimes a rash.

Solution:

  • Your doctor will need to give you antifungal medication to put on your nipple and in baby’s mouth — if you’re not both treated at the same time, you can give each other the fungi and prolong healing.

 

PROBLEM 7: LOW MILK SUPPLY

Breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand process. If your doctor is concerned about baby’s weight gain, and he is being plotted on the World Health Organization curves designed for breastfeeding babies, this may be the problem.

Solution:

  • Lactation Cookies or Lactation Muffins by Singapore Lactation Bakes will help you with more let downs. Combined with frequent nursing and hands-on pumping during the day can help increase milk supply.
  • Pump or latch when you are having let downs or when fuller breast after having the SLB lactation cookies or SLB lactation muffins helps to tune your body to make more milk.

 

PROBLEM 8: BABY SLEEPING AT BREAST

Baby is sleepy in the first couple of months after birth (hey, he’s been through a lot) so falling asleep while nursing is common. All that bonding makes baby relaxed!

Solution:

  • Milk flow is fastest after your first let-down, so if you want to increase efficiency, start off at the fuller breast, then switch to the other breast sooner, rather than later.
  • When you notice baby’s sucking slowing down and his eyes closing, remove him from your breast and try to stimulate him by burping, tickling his feet, or gently talking to him while rubbing his back, and then switch breasts.
  • As baby gets older he’ll be able to stay awake longer, so don’t fret.

 

PROBLEM 9: INVERTED/FLAT NIPPLES

You can tell if you have flat or inverted nipples by doing a simple squeeze test:  Gently grab your areola with your thumb and index finger — if your nipple retracts rather than protrudes, you’ve got a problem, Houston. Not really. But breastfeeding will be more challenging.

Solution:

  • Use a pump to get the milk flowing before placing baby at your nipple and use breast shells between feeds.
  • Once you feel like your milk supply is adequate, try using nipple shields if baby still has problems latching.

 

PROBLEM 10: PAINFUL/OVERACTIVE LET DOWN

Your breast is like a machine — when you let down, all the milk-producing engines constrict to move the milk forward and out of your nipple. Sometimes the working of these inner parts can hurt, especially when in overdrive. Some mothers feel a prickly pins-and-needles sensation and others just get an achy feeling.

Solution:

  • If this feeling of pins and needles goes beyond a mere tingling and feels more like a hundred little daggers poking your breasts, you need to check for a breast infection (yeast or bacteria). Sometimes this pain develops when you have an excessive amount of milk.
  • Try feeding baby longer on one particular breast and switching to the other only if you need to.
  • If the result is an infection (fever, aches, and chills may be present), you’ll need to get antibiotics from your doctor.
  • No matter how unpleasant it is for you, it’s still safe for baby to nurse.

PROBLEM 11: BABY WON’T LATCH

Solution:

  • Skin to skin is the way to go,”. It’s like a magical cure for the non-latching baby (and helps with other issues too).
  • Get naked from the waist up, strip baby down to just a diaper, and get yourself comfortable in a semi-reclining position with baby on your chest.
  • When your baby is ready, he’ll scoot down to the breast and latch on. (You many need to provide your baby with expressed milk in a cup or syringe until he figures it out, and pumping or hand-expressing during this time will also help build up your milk supply.)

PROBLEM 12: BABY IS CONSTANTLY NURSING

Solutions:

  • This may just be a perfectly normal baby. Babies have small stomachs and they really do need filling up frequently.
  • Imagine if you were asked to double your weight in the next six months, as an average baby will do. What would you have to do?
  • You’d eat a lot.” Some mothers also have less storage capacity in their breasts, so while they produce plenty of milk over 24 hours, the baby needs to eat frequently (it’s called cluster feeding) to get enough.
  • If the baby is otherwise gaining well, having at least two or three poppy diapers each day and your nipples are not sore, frequent feedings may just be the norm for your baby. If baby is not gaining well, speak to your paediatrician or family doctor.

PROBLEM 13: BREAST NO LONGER FEEL FULL

Solutions:

  • This usually happens somewhere from six to ten weeks and mothers are often concerned that their milk production has faltered for some reason.
  • In most cases it’s actually good news, It means your breasts have adjusted to meet the actual appetite of your baby.
  • Instead of filling up between feedings, the milk doesn’t start to flow until the baby is nursing.
  • Just keep an eye on your baby’s weight gain and diaper contents to be sure everything is going well.

PROBLEM 14: Ouch! BABY IS BITTING OUR NIPPLES

Solutions:

  • Most babies will try out their gums or teeth at some time
  • Try pulling the baby in close so that your breast blocks his nose and he has to let go to breathe, rather than trying to pull back which can make him clamp down harder.
  • If you’re alert when the baby is nursing, you may be able to catch the moment when he pulls his tongue back in order to bite down.
  • Be ready to stick a finger in the corner of his mouth and prevent him from chomping on you. Be gentle —he doesn’t mean to hurt you!

So there you have some quick breastfeeding problem-solvers that may help you past some of the common breastfeeding challenges. Still having problems? Don’t hesitate to seek out more assistance from some of the lactation experts in your community, who can tailor their advice to your situation.

Baked Avocado Fries

Print Recipe
Baked Avocado Fries
SUPERFOOD: avocado
Course Side Dishes
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dishes
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Cut the avocado into strips about 13mm thick. Place in shallow bowl and toss to coat with the flour.
  4. Whisk milk and potato flakes in a small shallow bowl. Stir together the bread crumbs, garlic powder and salt in a separate small shallow bowl
  5. Dredge the flour-dusted avocado in the milk mixture and then in the bread crumbs, pressing the avocado into the bread crumbs to coat each slice completely.
  6. Place the avocado slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes or until fries are golden brown.
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Am I a low supply mummy?

low milk supply

Am I a low supply mummy?

Am i a low supply mummy? I don’t think I’m producing much milk. Should I worry? This is the most common questions that many new mummies worry about. Most mummies are worried that their body isn’t making enough milk and thus, this is one of the most common reason given for giving up breastfeeding. However, the good news is that nearly all women are capable of making plenty of milk for their baby.

But first, let us show you some myth to determine if your milk supply is enough.

Ways to determine if you are a low supply mummy

  • baby taking full bottle after nursing session 
  • did not of leaking milk/ not having letdown feeling
  • feeling full / empty with your breast
  • the frequency / length of feedings
  • how much milk you pumped

These are NOT reliable indicator of to which if you have enough milk.

So, what are the correct signs? Our general thump of rule is as long as baby is pooping, peeing , sleeping well, not fussy and gaining weight means baby is getting enough. There are plenty of definitive signs that’ll let you know whether your baby is getting enough milk and if you are producing enough to meet baby’s demand.

Ways to determine if baby is getting enough milk

  • Your baby’s pooping. If you’re changing at least five diapers daily filled with large, seedy, mustard coloured poops, your baby’s getting enough milk. From around two to three months old, the rate would drop to one poop a day, or even one every other day, your baby is getting enough milk too.
  • Your baby’s peeing and its light in yellow color. If your baby has 6-8 very wet cloth diapers or 5-6 wet disposable diapers and 2-5 bowel movements per day (after the baby is three days old). To feel what a wet diaper is like, pour three tablespoons of water into a clean diaper.
  • Your baby’s content after feedings. Just like how you feel after a full meal, content and ready to nap. If your baby’s crying and fussing a lot after a full nursing, it could mean he’s still hungry (and/or that you’ve got a poor milk supply). Keep in mind, however, that he could be fussing for reasons unrelated to hunger etc colic. In general, if your baby’s active, alert, and healthy overall, your fine.
  • Your baby’s gaining weight. There’s no surer sign of good milk supply than a baby who’s putting on the weight. A weight gain of 120g to 200g on average per week indicates he’s getting enough milk.

What causes low supply?

increase milk supply singaporeIn a breastfeeding relationship, mom’s body responds to baby’s demand. The supply and demand equilibrium between the mummy and baby can break down sometimes, causing a supply issue.  The situation can be compounded by:

  1. Supplementing. Nursing is a supply & demand process. Milk is produced as your baby nurses, and the amount that she nurses lets your body know how much milk is required. Every bottle (of formula, juice or water) that your baby gets means that your body gets the signal to produce that much less milk.
  2. Bottle preference. A bottle requires a different type of sucking than nursing, and it is easier for your baby to extract milk from a bottle. As a result, giving a bottle can either cause your baby to have problems sucking properly at the breast, or can result in baby preferring the constant faster flow of the bottle.
  3. Pacifiers. Pacifiers can affect baby’s latch. They can also significantly reduce the amount of time your baby spends at the breast, which may cause your milk supply to drop.
  4. Nipple shields can be a useful tool in some cases, but hey can also reduce the stimulation to your nipple or interfere with milk transfer, which can interfere with the supply-demand cycle.
  5. Returning to work. Being separated from their baby for long periods of time, as well as the stress associated with re-entering the work force can make it difficult for moms to maintain their supply. The article Returning to Work has information about how to deal with these challenges.
  6. Scheduled feedings interfere with the supply & demand cycle of milk production and can lead to a reduced supply, sometimes several months later rather than immediately. Nurse your baby whenever she is hungry.
  7. Sleepy baby. For the first few weeks, some babies are very sleepy and only ask to nurse infrequently and for short periods. Until baby wakes up and begins to breastfeed well, nurse baby at least every two hours during the day and at least every 4 hours at night to establish your milk supply.
  8. Cutting short the length of nursings. Stopping a feeding before your baby ends the feeding herself can interfere with the supply-demand cycle. Also, your milk increases in fat content later into a feeding, which helps baby gain weight and last longer between feedings.
  9. Offering only one breast per feeding. This is fine if your milk supply is well-established and your baby is gaining weight well. If you’re trying to increase your milk supply, let baby finish the first side, then offer the second side.
  10. Health or anatomical problems with baby (including, jaundice, tongue-tie, etc.) can prevent baby from removing milk adequately from the breast, thus decreasing milk supply.
  11. Mom’s health (uncontrolled anemia or hypothyroidism, retained placenta, postpartum hemorrhage…), previous breast surgery/injury, hormonal problems (e.g.PCOS), anatomical problems, medications she is taking (hormonal birth control,sudafed…), or smoking also have the potential to affect milk supply.

Identifying and targeting your problem areas can help you bring your supply back up to baby’s demand.

Boosting Your Milk Supply

Here’s the golden rule you got to remember: Baby drinks more, you produce more. 

  1. Getting into the right position. A good latch will ensure that all your milk gets from your breast to your baby effciently and pain-free. Your pain and baby’s lack of swallows indicate a problem and the first suspect is latch or position. A lactation consultant can help you check and see if your latching correctly. Check out how to latch here.
  2. Go hands-onEncourage milk letdown and flow by applying warmth to your breasts, shoulders and upper back before nursing. Breast massage and compressions also help.
  3. Demand Feeding Many mummies find success with demand feeding. You can either nurse-in with your baby to bed with you; nurse and cuddle all day long! Have your partner bring you food, drinks, snacks and allow you to relax so you can bond with your baby. Latch at the slightest signal of baby wanting to nurse regardless how long and how frequent it might takes The extra nursing and the the skin-to-skin contact tells your body to make more milk.
  4. Use good pump. Use a high quality pump after each feeding (or as often as possible). This helps “empty your breasts” completely, sending the signal out for more milk production. (Do note that you cannot “empty your breast’ as your breast is constantly producing milk, pump as much as you can is good enough.)
  5. H2O Yeah! Stay hydrated.Keep a bottle of water near the area you breastfeed and drink while your baby does. A warm cup of  lactation tea will help you relax, and produce even more milk, which makes for more pleasant and effective nursing sessions. 
  6. Power pumping . The powe pumping sessions work like a charm as it mimics cluster feeding thus encourages your body to make more milk.
  7. Pumping between feedings as often as you can can help to build up your supply even more
  8. Rest Rest Rest and more rest, while this is not easy, have your partner take care of your baby for a few hours and have a good sleep works wonders. If you your exhausted, how do you produce milk?
  9. Do NOT be stress. STRESS IS NO1 MILK KILLER

Galactagogues

Despite your best efforts, sometimes your supply still needs a boost.

  1. Food.Here is a list of galactagogues that we have compiled that might give you an idea what to get your hands on.
  2. Medications.Your doctor might also prescribe certain medications to help with lactation. Metaclopamide, domperidone, and the antipsychotics, sulpiride and chlorpromazine work by blocking dopamine receptors. This would results in higher prolactin levels and can increase milk supply.
  3.  Singapore Lactation Bakes’ BAKES. We recommend our very own lactation bakes series. They come in cookies, muffins and even pancake mix. Our bakes contains some key ingredients that can help BOOST your breast milk supply. The key ingredients to our bakes are Rolled Oats, Brewer’s Yeast, and Flax Seed and yes there are options to add other herbs that were known to boost milk supplies that you can consider adding to. Read more informations about our lactation bakes here.

When Supplementing is Necessary

You’ve tried everything but your supply still doesn’t meet your baby’s demand, it might be necessary to supplement.

Here’s the golden rule is: offer breast first! Always empty your breasts before offering more nutrition. Even the tiniest amount of breast milk has a huge variety of health benefits and not forgetting nursing more encourages your brain to produce more ( remember the latch more produce more rule?)

The most important thing to understand is this: You are not a failure. A healthy breastfeeding relationship is more than just nutrition nor the milk! You do not need to be full breastfeeding to be a full time mom. It’s about the beautiful bond between your precious little one and you. Supplementing is just another way to enjoy time with your baby.

Sources:

  1. Poor milk supply  http://www.whattoexpect.com/poor-milk-supply-breastfeeding.aspx
  2. Increasing Low Milk Supply http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/low-supply Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

  3. Increasing your milk supply Increasing Your Milk Supply by Anne Smith, IBCLC

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Sore Nipples

nipple pain after breastfeeding

Sore Nipples 101

Ouch! Breathe. It’s not that painful… but when the baby starts to latch, OUCH! Many mummies, including myself, have had the experience of having sore nipples while breastfeeding. It is a frequent complaint from mummies, and some assume it’s an inevitable part of the nursing experience. But lactation experts agree that pain is a sign that something isn’t right.

It is common to feel some discomfort when the baby first latches on, especially in the first days after birth before the milk has come in. This type of soreness will usually ease up after the first few sucks, especially after the milk lets down and flows freely.

Babies are born with a strong sucking reflex, but they have to learn the mechanics of breastfeeding. At the same time, you are learning the mechanics of positioning, supporting the breast, etc. While some babies seem to come into the world knowing just how to breastfeed correctly, more often it is a learning process for both of you.

Nipple soreness will usually begin during the first few days of nursing, will peak on the fourth or fifth day, and then ease off each day after that. Soreness should lessen greatly on days 7-10, and by the time the baby is 2 weeks old, nursing should be pain-free.

What are the causes of sore nipples?

Difficulty latching on

This is by far the most common cause of sore nipples. A good latch should feel like tugging and pulling but not painful.  A poor latch from a baby is when the baby has to pull or suck your nipple hard into her mouth.  Your nipple is then too far forward in the baby’s mouth and it pinches your nipple against her hard palate, causing pain.

For breastfeeding to be comfortable, your baby needs to have the entire nipple and part of the breast in his mouth. The nipple needs to be near the back of her mouth where the palate is soft. This good latch is more likely to happen if the baby latches on with his head tipped back so that her chin is pressed into the mother’s breast and her nose is away from the breast. Of course, every baby and every breast is a little different, so you may need to adjust the positioning to find what works best for both of you. If your baby doesn’t gape to take in your breast, don’t pull your nipple out. Instead, break the suction by gently inserting your finger into the corner of her mouth and above her tongue. Take her from your breast and start again.

 

Here’s a video from NHSChoices

Tongue-tie
If your baby has a tongue-tie, her tongue will be attached to the bottom of her mouth. If she can’t move her tongue much, she may not be able to draw full feeds from your breast. The signs will be that she can’t latch on well to your breast and keeps slipping off. She will be feeding often, but not putting on enough weight. See a doctor to check for treatment recommendations.

Adjust without unlatching
If your baby latches on, and it hurts, you’ll know something is wrong. Sometimes mothers are advised to stick a finger in the baby’s mouth, unlatch him, and start over. The problem with this approach is that it’s very frustrating for the baby: every time he starts nursing, he’s taken off the breast. Some get so frustrated they refuse to nurse or begin clamping down on the nipple. It also puts you at the risk of more nipple damage if the baby latches on incorrectly repeatedly.

What you can do is to adjust when the baby is latching,

  1. Wait for the baby to open its mouth by tickling the baby nose with your nipple.
  2. Count to 10 for the baby to readjust.
  3. If you still feel tight and the position is wrong, flange the baby’s upper and lower lips out and hold the baby’s jaw for about 10 sec.
  4. Holding down the jaw for about 10 seconds is to make sure the baby’s jaw is in the position and doesn’t go back up.

Feed as soon as you spot a hungry cue
A very hungry baby isn’t going to have much patience and may try to grab at your nipple, causing more pain. Feeding the baby as soon as he seems hungry will make it easier to work on getting a good latch every time.

Use your milk to heal cracked, bleeding or blistered nipples
Express a little milk onto the nipple and let it air-dry there.  Apply an ice pack just before you feed the baby to temporarily numb the nipple as you latch the baby on. One piece of good news: breastfeeding nipples generally heal very quickly once the cause of the damage (such as a latch problem) is resolved.

Thrush

If your nipples are sore after a spell of pain-free feeding, and you feel burning, shooting or stabbing pains in your breasts, you may have thrush on your nipples. Thrush is a fungal infection that sets in when organisms that naturally exist in your body spread out of control.

Your doctor can prescribe an antifungal treatment for you and your baby. If you have thrush on your nipples, it will also be in your baby’s mouth, whether or not you can see it. You’ll both need to be treated at the same time, so you don’t keep passing the infection between you.

Dermatitis or eczema

If your nipples are inflamed and itchy it may be a sign of dermatitis or eczema. This can be caused by creams, lotions or soaps that irritate your skin. Swimming in chlorinated swimming pool water can also sometimes cause sore, itchy nipples. Wash your breasts with plain water alone, and see your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve.

Teething
If your baby has tender gums due to teething, she may change the way she feeds. If her tongue isn’t down and forward enough to take in a big mouthful of breast, she may end up biting your nipple. Help your baby to gape and keep her tongue forward by touching her lips to your nipple and then moving her quickly onto your breast as she responds. Older babies sometimes keep their mouths open but pull their tongues back after they have gaped, so you’ll have to move fast.

Breastfeeding during pregnancy
Your nipples may be tender if you are breastfeeding and pregnant again. Your nipples may only feel tender in the early days of your pregnancy, or they may only feel sore towards the end of your third trimester. If your nipples get really sore, you can try using a purified lanolin ointment or cream to soothe them.

Soreness from your bra or breast pads
If your nursing bra is too tight, it will put pressure on your already sore nipples. Some breast pad traps air and often will cause your nipple’s condition to worsen. Choose breast pads from natural materials which will help your skin breathe.


How to make yourself feel better

Have a towel on standby

Once the baby is done nursing you will want to gently dry your breast of any leftover milk. Gently clean the nipple and dry it. Breast milk is a great healer but it’s best to keep it dry to keep any form of bacterial away.

Air your nipple

Bring down your bra flap, use a nipple shell or even using a hairdryer on a low setting after each feed.

Apply modified anhydrous lanolin

After nursing, apply lanolin cream to help ease off some of the soreness. Surface dampness can contribute to soreness and cracking if the nipple remains moist after nursing, the same way your chapped lips get worse if you lick them. Applying lanolin can help keep the skin soft and pliable, which helps breaks in the skin heal without forming a hard scab which will break open each time the baby-nurses.  Don’t use soap on your nipples as it can dry the skin. Bathing with clear water is all you need to keep your nipples clean.

Use Nipple Butter

Nipple butter helps keep your nipples soft and supple. It also helps to moisturise and heal your sore nipples.  It’s completely safe for the baby, so keep it with you at all times.

Breast Pads

Some breast pads and plastic linings in bras don’t let your skin breathe and they trap the moisture. Choose pads made from natural materials. I like to use disposable ones as I feel that they are cleaner and I can just change and feel fresh at any time of the day. Be sure to put a couple of sets of breast pads in your diaper bag and you can change your breast pads on the go!

Nursing bra

Getting a comfortable bra will help you improve your breastfeeding experience.  If your nursing bra is too tight, it will put pressure on your nipples and cause pain. Try wearing a bigger bra.

Gel Pads

Have one set in the fridge! So that after an intensive feeding, you can put them on for some cooling relief it brings!

Don’t Give Up

I promise it will get better! It’s about learning together with your baby. Before you know it, you will be feeding like a pro! It always makes me sad when mothers quit nursing because of soreness. The long-term benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the short-term pain. It really is worth hanging in there – ask any nursing mother, and she’ll tell you she’s glad she didn’t give up when the going got rough.

 

Reference

Teresa Pitman Jul 8, 2011

BabyCentre Sore Nipples, February 2013

Breastfeeding Basics, Anne Smith, IBCLC September 2013

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Power Pumping

increase breast milk

Power Pumping

Although mother nature had made it a point to have babies and breasts work on the principle of supply and demand, many breastfeeding moms still worry about their milk supply. Some mummies however despite their best efforts, experience issues with low supply. Period when babies is experiencing growth spurt will certainly add-on to the stress to most mummies worrying about their supply.

Pumping often does help with the increase of milk supply as they stimulate the brain to “produce more milk”  however, despite regular pumping session, many mummies make not see results as quickly as they had hoped.  There is another way of pumping that might help this group of mummies – Power Pumping.

What is Power Pumping

Power pumping is basically mimicking the frequent feeding of a baby experiencing a growth spurt.  The longer and more vigorous suckling motion during these times helps trigger the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland which will then translate it into “baby needs more milk, please produce more!” message to the brain. Power  pumping which are also sometimes called cluster pumping is a routine of  pumping in a series of 10 minute sessions – 10 minutes pumping, 10 minutes off – over the course of 1 hour, 1-3  sessions each day.

 

Power pumping

Using this routine alone or in combination with other measures to increase supply – latching/pumping more often, use of galactagogues etc may slowly build up milk supply over time.  Many mummies may find that the milk they collect at first to be very little during these sessions but their supply catches up with the baby’s demand after some time. So, how much milk you collect is not so much of an importance during such sessions.

You may not see much milk during the actual power pumping routine but that’s okay, it’s all about the supply and demand and this is stimulating your breasts to make more milk. This routine not meant to replace your normal pumping routine; rather, it’s designed to enhance your milk supply within an established routine. For example if your normal pumping routine is at 12 pm and 3pm, you can add a power pumping routine at around 1.30pm.

When can I see result

Some mummies see results as soon as the next 48 hours while others take as long as a week to see the increase in supply. Do not be dishearten if yours takes a little longer. Perseverance and determination is the key to a successful breastfeeding journey.

Tips on Power Pumping

Pumping can be very stressful and boring but the  good news is that Power Pumping can be done anytime ( I love to do my routine when my baby is sleeping) . By now all mummies who are pumping and latching will know that the main key to make the session better is to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.

Here are some tips that could help you through these routines.

  • Using a breast pump – hand expressing / manual pump is a no go as this requires 1 hour of constant pumping. Do use an electric pump as they are generally more effective, especially where the pump is designed to mimic the suction of  a baby. if you can, buy a hands free pumping bra or bra clip it will really help too.
  • Keep a stopwatch / set alarm in your phone – to keep track of the time
  • Have a cup of water nearby – Key of producing milk is drinking water isn’t it?
  • Make yourself very comfortable – sit at your favourite sofa/ couch as you will be in the same position for quite some time
  • Set yourself up with some entertainment. – My favourite method is pumping when I’m watching korean drama. I pump when the show is on and rest when commercial is on. But a book or simply using your phone might do the trick too.
  • Latch one one side pump on the other – Research shows that the best way to boost supply is to nurse at the breast often.

Pumping During Night Feeds

Another frequent questions that mummies ask is if they should pump during the night feeds. 

As prolactin levels are at the highest during night and pumping routine at night-time will help push prolactin level up, pumping around the clock is certainly good if you can do it. But another key to higher milk production is getting enough rest. Getting adequate sleep is important to your overall health and well-being.  

So, the trick is to be flexible in balancing the two. Sleep at every opportunity in the daytime, and if it is time to pump but you have a chance to take a nap and really need it, choose the nap instead of pumping.

If at all possible, try to plan for at least one pumping session in the middle of the night.  If you don’t plan a night-time session but you do happen to awaken in the middle of the night, use that opportunity. If nothing else, the sedating effects of oxytocin being released while pumping will probably help you get back to sleep when you are done.

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68 foods that boost milk supply.

food to increase breastmilk

Boost Milk Supply

Most mummies will have this main concern and  worry while breastfeeding “will I make enough milk for my baby?” Well, mother nature has works her magic on our body and do you know that our bodies are designed to make copious amounts of milk even if we’re not really trying? The supply and demand nature of our supply and baby will usually work out on their own without us really trying. There are, however, some mummies who are struggling to make enough milk for they baby and perhaps you are one of those mothers…

A mother with low milk-supply issues will usually  try just about anything to increase their milk supply.  There are some food and herb that will help increase milk supply. You probably also know that certain foods and herbs called galactagogues can help increase milk supply. Fenugreek, oat meal, flaxseed  is probably one of the best known herbal galactagogues used by breastfeeding moms

But do you know that apart from Fenugreek, oat meal, flaxseed, there are more food that can help boost?  Singapore Lactation Bakes has compiled a list of  68 foods that might help you increase your milk production.

slb lactation food chart

What you should try to include in your daily diet:
  • Oatmeal with either honey, banana, strawberry, blueberry or milk. Change the flavors everyday and keep it interesting as you wouldn’t want to get sick of it easily
  • Tons of water!! staying hydrated is one of the most important part of keeping your supply going
  • Lots of carrots into your lunch and dinner
  • Green papaya ( I love green papaya soup yumz)
  • Avocado! we need some good fats so how about some Avocado milk shake?
  • Papaya milk bee hoon ( I love xin wang’s papaya milk bee hoon )

Well here are some tips and I hope it helps you too.