Posts Tagged ‘breast milk’

When Baby Won’t Take a Bottle

Thursday, July 21st, 2016


One day when my son was about 6 weeks old, I left the house for a few hours and when I returned, the kitchen sink was full of various kinds of used baby bottles, tubes, shot glasses and baby spoons.  A baby boy who wouldn’t take a bottle was the guest of honor at the party that went on while I was gone.

I wanted so badly to make breastfeeding work for my son and I.  We struggled as soon as he was born with nursing.  He fought it and it was stressful and uncomfortable for me.  He couldn’t figure out how to latch and would just scream instead of drink milk.  Doctors required me to supplement with formula for 24 hours until he started gaining weight and I was devastated.

Fast forward two months from after he was born and he refused to do anything but breastfeed.

Since breastfeeding was such a struggle from the start, I was too nervous to offer my son a bottle or a pacifier until two weeks before my maternity leave was going to end when he was 6 weeks old.  There were many attempts by my husband and a few friends to get my son to take a bottle of pumped breast milk. They all resulted in him screaming.

Finally, a few days before I needed to return to work and bring him to daycare part-time, my son drank a few ounces from a bottle.  I felt hopeful.  The first two weeks that he went to daycare, I was so relieved that he cooperated.  Then, something happened.  He changed his mind.  He started refusing a bottle from all the staff at the daycare and screamed until I would arrive to nurse him.  We received a lot of advice, but nothing encouraged him to drink from a bottle.  Occasionally, he would drink almost an ounce from a daycare worker if they would sit him in a bouncy chair, sit behind him so that he couldn’t see them and offer him a bottle.  It was a tip we received from a lactation nurse who said that some breastfed babies do not want to be fed by anyone besides their mother.

I lasted 2 months of working and visiting my son at least two times a day at daycare, so I could nurse him there and return to work.  Morning drop-offs were torture for everyone as we knew what the day would most likely look like.  That stress went away when I left my job and became a stay at home mom.  The reality became that I could dump my pump and feed my son on demand once I was home with him all day.  Unfortunately, my schedule was still limited he turned a year old, because I needed to always be available at his bedtime and for other feedings.  But, just like with other baby bumps in the road, we survived.

My second baby refused a bottle also, so luckily I had practice and knew I would get through it.

Sarah Cole is a freelance writer and stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers who wanted nothing to do with baby bottles.


When To Dump The Pump

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.26.58 AMThere comes a certain time during a mother’s breastfeeding journey when she is ready to dump the pump.  I was ready to dump my pump as soon as I had my first experience using it.  The noises it made and the way it made me feel worked against the machine from the very start.  After 3 years, I continue to look forward to someday officially being able to dump the pump.

In the beginning, I desperately needed my breast pump to keep my supply up and to have bottles of breast milk to send to daycare with my son.  Once my son refused a bottle completely at around 5 months old and I became a stay at home mom, I questioned how much longer I would need to keep my pump around.  I occasionally used it just in case he ever cooperated and took a bottle. It also came in handy when he started sleeping through the night and I would wake up with more milk than I needed in the early morning hours.  I was very hesitant to dump my pump with my first child since it was my first time breastfeeding.  I didn’t use the pump after he turned a year old, but I still waited to donate the pump until I was completely finished nursing him.
Less than two years after starting my breastfeeding journey with my son, my daughter was born.  I received a new breast pump in the hospital and thought “here we go again”.  Luckily, my daughter was a great nurser and since I was not going to be working, I didn’t need a supply for bottles early on.  I did pump once in a while, so that I could try to give my daughter a bottle sometimes.  But, she refused bottles just like her brother.  I was dumbfounded and also somewhat relieved that I wouldn’t need to spend as much time with my pump.
Again, I wasn’t too quick to dump my pump.  A few cases of mastitis and several clogged ducts later, created attachment issues with my pump.  Even though my pump has been sitting in my closet and hasn’t been used in over 6 months, I am still afraid to officially dump the pump.  I’m pretty sure I will hang on to it until I am completely finished with breastfeeding, whenever that may be.
Sarah Cole stays at home with her two busy toddlers and has been breastfeeding for over 3 years.

Breastmilk and the TSA

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Breastmilk and the TSA

When my youngest was still breastfeeding, I took a trip for work that involved riding in jump seats of commercial airplanes. I had flown with my pump before, which was always interesting, but this was a new challenge: Was I allowed to take my pump (and expressed milk on the way home) in the cockpit with me? The answer turned out to be the same as for any other part of a plane: yes.

Here’s the lowdown on breast pumps, breast milk, and the TSA. Keep in mind these tips only apply if you’re flying domestic; if your plans involve international travel, check out this helpful article.

First, these rules are the same whether your baby is with you or not–you don’t need to have your child with you to take a pump or expressed milk onboard. The TSA allows medically necessary liquids (this includes breast milk, formula, and juice for babies) in excess of 3.4 ounces through security, and it does not have to be in a quart sized ziploc bag. You are allowed to take a freezer pack as well to keep them cool.

However, if you have liquids that fit this category, you will need to let the agent know when you first start the screening process. You will send your belongings through the regular x-ray conveyor belt, and then after you have gathered your gear an agent will escort you to a separate area. They may ask to open your liquids, and then they will do an explosives check which is simple and fairly quick (they run a small square of cloth over the bottles and process the cloth for explosive material).  Plan to be at the airport a little earlier for this.

Keep in mind that you are still subject to the airline rules of one carry-on and one personal item per ticketed passenger, even if you are toting a pump or milk.

If you have your pump with you, you are not obligated to declare it to the screener, but you may want to give them a heads-up. I alarmed a young screener one time with mine. I think he saw an electrical box and tubing on the x-ray screen and assumed I had dastardly plans. He was even more alarmed I think once he found out it was a breast pump and not a bomb.

Finally, if you need to pump en route, some airports now have nursing lounges. I have personally found these to be more common overseas than stateside, but hopefully more and more airports will be on board soon (pun intended).

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

Top 10 Tips for Successful Pumping!

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

For many, many breastfeeding mamas a breast pump is an important tool in developing a successful breastfeeding relationship. Although with it often comes many questions and uncertainties. While I personally have virtually no experience with pumping or bottle-feeding my awesome sister-in-law, Megan, does! I asked Megan if she would share with us some suggestions for using a breast pump. Here are her Top 10 Tips for Successful Pumping:

When I got pregnant with my son I was a year into completing my nursing degree and would have to continue on with school once our baby was born. My goal was for baby to have only breast milk which meant that I would have to pump and that my husband would have to bottle-feed baby while I was at school.  My son is now 11 months old and I have been pumping since he was born. Here are a few tips I have learned during the past year of pumping.

1. Have the right equipment: Find a breast pump that is right for you. I personally like the Medela Pump Backpack. I am able to pump both sides at the same time which makes pumping go much quicker. I also always wear a nursing top under my clothes. That way when I do have to pump I feel more comfortable and am not as self conscious about lifting up my shirt. I also find that if I bring my nursing cover with me I am able to be modest about it and then can pump virtually anywhere there is an available outlet.

2. Find a comfortable space: When I first started pumping (as is the case when I first started nursing) privacy was very important to me. I wanted a place where I was by myself, could lock the door, and could avoid any interruptions. As time went on I realized that no one could see what I was doing and became more comfortable with it. I have even been known to pump in class! But in the beginning I liked the privacy of a locked room, and would even bring my e-reader to entertain myself.

 3. Stay hydrated! : It is just as important to keep hydrated when you are pumping as it is when you are nursing. I try to have a brightly colored water bottle at the nurses’ station so that it always catches my eye when I walk by it.

4. Pump Until You Are Empty: This helps with many things. First you are able to get the most milk out with each pumping time. The pumps try to mimic the sucking of your baby but there is no way for it to do that completely. So sometimes I try to give it a little help. This will also prevent clogged ducts.

 5. Get in the right mindset: I find that when I am pumping if I sit back, relax (which can be very hard during clinicals) and try to think of my son it will help my milk come in when the pumping begins. I try to think of him laying on his side and curling around me. The feel of his soft little skin against mine, and his little hands pulling on my necklace. By then my milk has usually come down and is freely coming out and filling the bottles.

6. Getting a good latch: This is just as important with pumping as it is with breast feeding. If the pump is not centered around your nipple you are not going to get as much milk out. Not to mention the fact that it is going to cause some soreness and pain. So once the pumping has begun you may need to pull it off and re-center it. It makes a funny suction sound but other than that it doesn’t hurt. 🙂

7. Start Early: I started pumping with my little one while we were in the hospital right after he was born. Many hospitals will provide a pump in the room for you, as well as all of the proper tools you will need to get started. Hopefully an on-staff IBC lactation consultant will be available to support you once you express your desire to breastfeed. However this is not always the case. So be sure to ask if these services will be provided when you do a tour of the hospital or are considering a hospital/birthing center to birth at. If you are doing a home birth prepare yourself by purchasing a pump and discussing with your midwife on proper usage. You can also attend a La Leche League meeting (even bring your breast pump along) for some guidance on pumping.

8. Know your rights: As a breastfeeding mother, I am protected by law and am not allowed to be penalized in any way for missing time at work or in class for pumping. Time spent pumping does not count as my lunch break at work nor does it count as a break from class. Make sure that you know the rules and regulations  regarding breastfeeding in your state are so you can exercise your rights.

9. Make it a priority: I know this is hard! You get to work and things start to get busy and before you know it 4 or 5 hours have passed and you don’t know where the day has gone. In this case it may be helpful to set an alarm for yourself. In the beginning I had to pump every 3 hours or I would start leaking on my scrubs. And many times I had to say “I can’t help you now I have to pump but I will help you in 20 minutes when I am done”.

10. Introducing a bottle: This is different for everyone and is entirely up to the family. I was told by our childbirth educator, who is also a certified doula, to wait until our baby was 3 weeks old and had passed his first growth spurt to introduce a bottle. That is what we did and it is what worked well for us, but what works for one does not always work for everyone else.

What helped you be successful with using a breast pump? Would love to hear some more tips from our readers!

-Sarah and Megan 🙂

Starting Solid Foods with Baby

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The introduction of solid foods into your baby’s diet can be an exciting time! Like with many milestones with baby, it is fun to experience something new together and enjoyable to see baby’s reaction to the experience. However it can also be a somewhat confusing time as well. Unlike physical milestones, such as rolling over, crawling, or cruising, that are driven by baby’s own development, feeding baby relies on a external source (parent or caregiver) to guide the process.

How do I know my baby is ready for solid foods?

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and La Leche League all recommend an exclusive breast milk diet until a baby is at least six months old. However there is no “magic age” as to when to start solids. Optimally the process of introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet, will be initiated by following their own readiness cues. Some readiness indicators include:

  • able to sit up well by him/herself
  • has develop a pincer grasp
  • increased frequency in breastfeeding (unrelated to other factors such as teething or illness)
  • seeming less satisfied or satiated by breast milk
  • has lost the tongue-thrusting reflex

One common misconception is that when a baby starts grabbing at other’s food he/she is ready to start eating food. Grabbing at objects is more of a physical and cognitive milestone, than an expression of nutritional need. Around five to six months old babies become more adept at using their hands and become more engaged and curious about their environment. Additionally one important way babies explore their environment is through their senses which includes putting objects in their mouth. When my first son was about six months old he grabbed a piece of food out of my hand and put it into his mouth. A well meaning family member said “get that baby some food…he’s hungry”.  And I remember thinking “but he’d grab a dirty sock out of my hand and put that into his mouth too”.  🙂

What do I feed my baby?

Just as it is important for young children and adults to eat whole foods, it is equally important for babies to eat whole foods! While jars of commercially made baby food can be convenient in a pinch, you might reconsider reducing or perhaps eliminating them from your baby’s diet all together. They are heavily processed resulting in a depletion of valuable vitamins and nutrients as well as flavor. Additionally they are expensive and produce an excess amount of packaging. A mashed avocado or banana can be a simple, nutritious and delicious first food to “prepare” for your baby. Steam, pureed carrots or sweet potato are another great option. Or if the readiness indicators as listed above are present, you might consider skipping pureed foods all together and go straight into finger foods, encouraging baby to self feed. Sticking with low-allergen whole foods in their purest form as possible (no added spices, flavoring, etc) will be easiest for baby to digest as their gut/body gets accustom to new foods. Also it is generally recommended to go slow and only introduce one or two new foods at a time so any possible food reactions can be easily detected.

How does introducing solids effect breastfeeding?

One important factor to consider is that the introduction of solids is the very beginning of the weaning process. This is one reason why delaying solids is a common practice among breastfeeding mothers. Another common practice is to breastfeed baby right before giving him/her food to ensure he/she is still getting a bulk of their nutritional needs met through breast milk. Another consideration to be aware of is the potential impact of introducing solid foods on a mother’s milk supply and/or menses. For some women the introduction of solids into baby’s diet initiates ovulation, particularly if baby is suddenly nursing less frequent or efficiently. Generally the transition to solids begins with more exploration of foods rather than actual consumption of food in quantities that would replace a nursing session. Gradually over time solid food will replace the nutrients and calories in breast milk.

Most importantly try to keep meals with baby stress free and fun for the whole family. Not only are you establishing important life-long patterns of eating for baby, you are also teaching him/her the social fundamentals of foods.

What was your baby’s first food experience like? Any tips to share when it comes to transitioning to solids? Would love to hear from you! 🙂