Jennifer – Pumping to Donate

In honor of World Pumping Day on January 27th, we are recognizing some of the incredible parents who pump or express milk. Here is our first interview, between team member Georgette and interviewee Jennifer V., who pumps to donate her milk. Check out her story below!

 

G- What were some of your goals when you first started your breastfeeding journey? Did you plan to be an exclusive pumper? If so can you tell us what lead to that decision? If not, will you share what lead you to become an exclusive pumper? 
J- My journey started off really hard to be honest. I had to start off as being an exclusive Pumper since both baby and I had major complications right after birth. She was rushed to the NICU and I was unconscious for hours due to Chorioamniosis (infection in the amniotic fluid, Pre-Eclampsia and bleeding out too fast for doctors to stitch me back up). Macy had severe trouble breathing and was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. She was sent to level 3 NICU immediately where she was put on a CPAP machine to help her breathe and given TPN via IV. After 2 blood transfusions I was allowed to go visit her but wasn’t allowed to pick her up because she was connected to so many wires and machines. The hospital I delivered at was very Pro Breastfeeding so they sent in a Lactation Consultant every day to work with me and help get me on a schedule. Every room had a Medela Symphony!
My goals are to hopefully reach 2 years since that’s what is recommended by WHO and the AAP. I’ll be happy if we make it to 18 months though.

 

G- What difficulties have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

J- When we got home I was still having lots of pain nursing her even though she had been checked for a tongue and lip tie so I figured it was just going to take time getting use to her latching on. After 3 weeks and multiple visits with the LC, we were nursing like champs. But sadly I just wasn’t making enough milk for her. I was still having to supplement at least 2-4 feedings with formula and she wasn’t liking that at all. I felt terrible, so I started looking into ways on how to increase my milk supply. I tried the lactation cookies and power pumping which worked a little but it wasn’t enough so my friend whose also an LC recommended me to try these particular supplements. Let me tell you those supplements work! They turned me into a cow within a few days lol. I now had a huge over supply! I could nurse my baby on demand and still pump an extra 20-40oz/day for my freezer stash! I knew I wanted to donate so I started looking into Human Milk 4 Human babies in my state. A friend from college had recently had a baby as well and introduced me to a mom who had recently adopted a baby and was looking for milk through Human Milk 4 Human Babies. I looked her up on Facebook and started a conversation. She was perfect in every way I could’ve imagined! The sweetest lady ever and was willing to drive to me to pick up milk for her son Rowan. Her goal was to have him on donor milk for the first month then she would switch to formula but I was looking into long term donation and since I had quite a bit of milk to give it was a match made in heaven.

I had major anxiety about giving away my daughter’s milk but I had to remind myself that she was always fed first no matter what. You don’t think you would be so attached to milk, but pumping is hard work and can be painful at times. After about 5 weeks my anxiety calmed down and we are the best of friends. Our babies have play dates and we get lunch when our schedules match. Rowan’s birth mom was very excited to hear that he’s still on donor milk. His adoptive mom is so thankful that I put in so much time for pumping extra milk for him. She didn’t have that special “connection” bringing him home from the hospital like she did with her 3 other kids and not being able to breastfeed made it harder to bond with Rowan. Having donor milk has allowed her to have peace of mind that her baby is getting the very best nutrition that he can have and not have to have something off the shelf ( not that there’s anything wrong with formula). Her original goal was 1 month but we are going 6 months strong now on all donated milk.

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On all of my bags, I write a special note of encouragement or something quirky to get a smile on her face and mine. I label each bag if I have ever taken a medication so that we know if baby is having a reaction such as Tylenol or antibiotics even Tums! I consider him my own baby as well. I check to see how he is doing and love to hear that he is doing well when he goes to the doctor for check ups. Another difficulty I have is recurring clogged milk ducts. I get them weekly even though I nurse and pump every 3 hours like clock work. My baby has been sleeping through the night since she was 5 weeks old so I set alarms in the middle of the night to pump. But having such an oversupply has given me lots of clogged ducts, so I take a vitamin supplement to help bust those clogs. I also had a pretty bad case of Mastitis around 5 months. Antibiotics and lots of rest helped me recover.

 

G- What do you wish others knew about pumping?

J- Pumping is Breastfeeding too! There’s nothing wrong with giving a bottle of pumped milk so you can have some “me time”. Self love is needed and you can’t be a good mom without taking care of yourself first. Exclusively Breastfeeding means a baby’s diet is solely breastmilk and no formula. Doesn’t matter if its straight from mom, pumped or donor milk.
Being a NICU mom is hard but pumping is not impossible. Take the baby’s blanket with you so you can have their scent. A picture or video of baby crying will help you pump more milk. It may take a few days for your milk to come in. Lastly, Breastfeeding doesn’t always come natural to baby and mom and that’s ok! It may take time and that’s perfectly okay.

 

G- How has Milky Mommas helped you?

J- I have loved learning so many tips and tricks when it came to breast feeding. You don’t always have to pump and dump either! Infant Risk, Mommymeds and LactMed have been a life saver for me. Having a community that has the same goals as you is amazing. We live in a world where moms are told to feed the baby in the bathroom or to stop after just a few weeks and that’s not what Milky Mommas is about. They’re all about empowering women and bringing us closer together. There’s always another mom who has gone through what you’re going through and it brings great relief to be able to get the support and help you need when you need it.

 

G- Have you discovered any pumping tricks you want to share with others?

J- No matter what you do, water is the best thing for your supply. Even if you’re not thirsty, force yourself to drink water to keep up your supply. No supplements, cookies or brownies are ever going to help if you don’t drink enough water! Lube your flanges when pumping with a little bit of coconut oil. Pump at night since your body makes more milk at that time. Definitely invest in a good hands free pumping bra and make sure your flanges are properly sized for you. If you have to exclusively pump for your baby while in the hospital, ask your nurse to bring you syringes for you to send your milk to baby. Even if it’s a few drops. That’s drops of precious liquid gold that your baby needs.

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Jennifer, and congratulations on your amazing gift and hard work! You are amazing! ❤

 

*NEW* Idaho Breastfeeding Protection Law!

Congratulations Idaho on joining the rest of the states, and passing a law to protect breastfeeding mothers from prosecution for public indecency for nursing or expressing milk in public. This is a HUGE victory for Idaho Mommas, and for all of us supporters nationwide. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2018.

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This law is really special because it specifies that mothers expressing milk for the purpose of feeding a child is protected. Pumping mommas- do your thing!

Idahoan Mommas – be sure to download our business-card-sized Breastfeeding Rights card. This simple tool can give you confidence while breastfeeding in public, and allow you to educate others on your (and their!) rights to breastfeed Anytime, Anywhere. Print, share, and keep a couple copies in your wallet to empower breastfeeding mommas you may meet!

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Did you know we have these Breastfeeding Rights cards for all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico? You can check out the full album to print and download your state’s card here.

Nurse and Pump on, Milky Mommas – you rock!

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Nationwide Nurse-In 2018 – {Free Printables}

Nationwide Nurse-In Scheduled at locations across the country Friday, April 27, 2018!

Find the info for an event in your state here!

In the United States, mothers have the right to breastfeed their babies ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. Period.

So why are we still being asked to cover? To go to the car or the bathroom? To “just pump” or “stay home to do that in private”?

We’ve created a simple tool to help YOU feel confident in your rights when breastfeeding in public. These FREE business card-sized printables will fit right in your wallet, so that if you’re challenged, you can present the card to educate and inform the public.

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Print these out for your milky friends and co-workers, for  your OBGYN or WIC office, or have extra copies with you to share with nursing moms you meet!  You can even take these files to VistaPrint or your local office supply store to have the cards printed front and back, with our sleek “I am a Milky Momma” design on the reverse side.

Every state is included in our album, as well as the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico!

Download the card for your state HERE: https://photos.app.goo.gl/lqlOv5i7hpEEunuw2

 

The info for this year’s Nationwide Nurse-In is below… check it out, and don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet other nursing moms and assemble to advocate for our rights!

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The 4th annual Nationwide Nurse-In brings attention to breastfeeding laws to help end discrimination and harassment associated with public breastfeeding and the workplace pumping needs of mothers.

This year’s event is particularly relevant given the ongoing executive action to repeal the ACA, which provides mothers with time and accommodations to express breastmilk at work. Mothers may again be dependent on state laws to provide workplace pumping time and accommodations. Unfortunately nearly HALF of our states do not have workplace pumping laws and even fewer have laws that provide adequate protections. This leaves many thousands of working mothers vulnerable! Without appropriate advocacy and protection of these needs, the ability of mothers to continue to breastfeed is compromised. This is a critical and costly public health issue; according to the CDC, low rates of breastfeeding add more than $3 billion a year to medical costs for mothers and children in the United States.

Nationwide Nurse-In is partnering with Milky Mommas Inc. non-profit, a global community dedicated to helping women meet their breastmilk feeding goals by providing online support & current, evidence-based information. With the help of Milky Mommas, Nationwide Nurse-In is striving to help families through their entire breastmilk feeding journeys.

This event takes place across the United States at State Capitols and other law enforcement locations. This year’s theme is “Spread the Word!” Nationwide Nurse-In is working to educate as many people about the laws protecting mothers to nurse in public and express milk in the workplace. Nursing/pumping mothers and their allies are invited to attend and show their support and educate the public and government representatives.

Mothers & allies will be at their respective locations, nursing their babies and spreading the word about the laws that protect nursing in public and the workplace and advocating for adequate enforcement of these protections.

 

“Given the importance of breastfeeding on the health of mothers and children, it is critical that we take action to support breastfeeding. Women who choose to breastfeed face numerous barriers—only through the support of family, communities, clinicians, healthcare systems, and employers will we be able to make breastfeeding the easy choice.”

Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH U.S. Surgeon General

 

Meeting Milestones ~ {Free Downloads!}

There is no greater feeling than when you reach your goal, especially in breastfeeding. The early days can be so hard, and for some the trials don’t end there. It takes commitment, perseverance, and passion to continue breastfeeding in the face of challenges.

So lets celebrate!

We have designed this set of beautiful phone backgrounds to help you show off your breastfeeding achievements. Whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, combo feeding, pumping and nursing, exclusively pumping, chestfeeding, donating breast milk, feeding donor breast milk, you deserve to be celebrated! You’ve given your baby breast milk, and #everydropcounts.

So show off. You’ve earned it! Download these gorgeous images and update them as you persevere through the weeks, months, and years of your journey. You go Momma! ❤

Download the whole set here, or click to save individual images that celebrate your latest milestone.

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Check in with us again soon, as we start rolling out more fun free pretty things to celebrate YOU and your journey ❤

Black Women Breastfeeding – Jasmine

Today we’re hanging out with Jasmine! Thanks for celebrating Black HERstory month with us! Check it out ❤

 

What has your breastfeeding journey been like?

My breastfeeding journey has been challenging mentally but manageable physically.

I feel like that is the perfect way to say it. Breastfeeding can be challenging! Did the women in your family breastfeed?

My mother said she tried to nurse me for one day but was in too much pain from c-section recovery. Then she nursed my little brother for 3 months. My Aunt said she pumped for 6 weeks until her youngest was released from the hospital. My sister in law nursed both of her children for over a year, she is white.

 

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It sounds like you’re blazing a trail for the next generation! What made you want to breastfeed?

My sister in law was the first person I really noticed and learned about breastfeeding from. I think she sparked my interest in learning about it. I learned more about it in college because I’m a birth-kindergarten education major. I learned about all the benefits of breastfeeding in college child development courses mostly.

 

Its awesome that you have your SIL to support you! What is the biggest bf challenge you’ve overcome?

The biggest breastfeeding challenge I have overcome was when I had to put my son in daycare and they had such strict rules about the way they handled breastfed babies. My son cluster fed at home at random times. Sometimes he would drink 1 ounce at a time other times 2.5 ounces. They needed to feed him on a schedule and if he didn’t finish a bottle they would dump my precious milk and it was very hard to keep my supply up because I only produce what my son would eat and nothing more. I ended up having to change daycares that would meet our needs and it was very stressful.

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How frustrating! I’m glad you found a childcare provider who would support your breastfeeding relationship. Who are your biggest supporters?

My mother supported me all the way with breastfeeding she always sent anything she thought would make us more comfortable , whether it be nursing clothes, pillows, lactation tea & cookies. She was my cut man during the process.

My husband cooked all my meals and kept me comfortable, despite his uncertainty about me nursing in public he never discouraged me breastfeeding. Any decision I made regarding breastfeeding he supported the best way he knew how.

Supportive partners are worth their weight in gold! Tell us your favorite story about an experience with breastfeeding.

I don’t have a favorite story but I do remember always dreading going out in public with my baby because I was worried people would say something when I nursed him. So far no one has ever said anything to me or even seemed to notice when I nurse him. It made going out a little less stressful.

That is so common. Good for you for pushing through it! Is there anything else you’d like to share or encourage other moms?

I had to advocate for myself a lot during my breastfeeding journey. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. The more confident you are ,then more than likely, no one will even think to question you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all have to stick together. I wouldn’t have made it this far if I didn’t have some milk donated to me because my freezer supply diminished when I started taking my son to daycare and I couldn’t keep up by pumping. Just asking for 50 ounces every now and then helped relieve so much stress and increased my supply!

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Thanks for checking in with Jasmine and our blog team today. Happy Black History Month! Or should we say- Black HERStory ❤

The Elephants

The sun beats down, dust swirling as pain surges through your body. Vulnerable and wounded, you’re unable to stand. Predators have left you torn, and vultures begin to circle overhead. Gathering strength, you try to stand but collapse again. The thunder of feet causes you to open your clenched eyes, lurching to awareness. Shadows pass over you as huge figures block out the light. Have the enemies returned? No. Allies have arrived.

Side by side, backs to you, your community encircles to protect you. No predator stands a chance against this impenetrable ring of females. Stomping, trumpeting, tusks brandishing, it is clear that no danger is a match for these fearless defenders. Rescued, relief washes over you as you rest and heal. When your strength returns, upheld by this sisterhood, together you march proudly home.

This is the scene as an elephant faces a predator, soothes an injury, or gives birth to her baby. Protected by a ring of others, elephants experience these life changing moments safely surrounded by their community. They guard each other, support one another, reinforce each other in weakness, and celebrate together in victory.

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Milky Mommas is built on the foundation of this Elephant story.

We encircle our sisters as they pass through the most challenging hours, days, and seasons of life. None of us is ever alone, no matter how grueling the trial. There is nothing as formidable as a community of women, committed to doing life together.

When you bring your baby home and feel completely overwhelmed? We’ve been there.

When you’re up at 3am with a child who just won’t nurse to sleep? Your sisters are up too.

When you reach an important milestone and nobody else understands? We get it.

We show up.
We protect.
We defend.
We stick around through the hard stuff.

We lock arms to protect the momma in pain.

We lift up the momma in the midst of trials.

We laugh, we mourn, and we celebrate- together.

 

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One of our sisters is in the midst of a dark season- something no woman should face. We will not let her face it alone. Please join us in support and love of this momma, as we walk with her through the darkness- as we surround her with protection, support, and love.

 

 

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Subscribe to this blog to be notified as we host this momma as a guest blogger. She’ll share her heart with us while she bravely takes on a challenge no woman ever should.

She is walking through the fire- please join us as we walk with her.

 

 

(Featured Image Credit – David Yarrow)

Black Women Breastfeeding – Queen-Tiffaney’s Story

In honor of Black History Month, we are featuring some amazing Black mommas here on the blog! Check out this interview with Queen Tiffaney 🙂

 

Hey Tiffaney! So, what has your breastfeeding journey been like?

My breastfeeding journey has been actually a wonderful experience! I haven’t had any cases of mastitis or low supply. I’ve been blessed, kept up my oatmeal and water intake, and my daughter and I have thrived well!

Thats amazing! Congratulations! Did any of the women in your family breastfeed?

I have a few older cousins and aunts that did breastfeed, but my mom did not. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers have passed away, so I honestly don’t know if they did.

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So if it wasn’t in the family, what was it that made you want to breastfeed?

I attempted breastfeeding my son who is 5 now, but I had little to no education about successfully breastfeeding. This time around my sister had exclusively pumped and my best friend had successfully breastfeed her son. I researched the entire 9 months I was pregnant, made Pinterest folders for breastfeeding, talked to other moms who successfully or unsuccessfully breastfeed, and I also joined maybe Facebook groups including Milky Mommas! This time I knew what I was doing, knew what negative signs to look for, and felt so much more prepared!

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Communities are so important for support, thats awesome. What is the biggest bf challenge you’ve overcome?

When my daughter was a month old, my kids dad decided he no longer wanted to be with me and left with no warning. I had no money for rent, bills were 2 months behind, and I had two kids to now care for alone. It was the hardest time of my life. I had seen nothing but darkness and tending to my beautiful daughter was no longer a wonderful blessing, but now a mistake and burden. I almost blamed her for his departure. My supply TANKED! I had to eat so much and drink so much water to keep up, and I honestly wanted to quit. Her smile no longer made my heart skip a beat. I felt like a failure to myself and my daughter. Breastfeeding was the only thing that kept us connected, it literally saved me and my relationship with my baby. I now would never second guess anything in my life!

Thats incredible! I’m sorry you went through that, but you’re amazing for pushing through it. Who are your biggest breastfeeding supporters?

My mom is my rock! Even though she didn’t breastfeed she’s such a great supporter. She has bought me so much to assist with breastfeeding, and even helped me buy a pump on the go.

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Tell us your favorite story about an experience with breastfeeding.

Every time the kids and I eat out my son says “Is sissy going to eat your chest?!”

Oh my gosh thats awesome, kids say the craziest stuff! Especially in public!  Last question- Is there anything else you’d like to share or encourage other moms?

I tell new mom’s “never doubt your body!”. Our bodies are amazing and they never let us down!! When in doubt latch, latch, latch!!

So true. Just keep nursing 🙂 Thanks for hanging out Queen-Tiffaney!

World Breastfeeding Week 2017

World Breastfeeding Week is here! We’ve been doing a few things all week long to celebrate.

First, we released this mosaic, made up entirely of our members’ submitted photos. If you zoom in, you’ll see mothers nursing babies, mothers nursing toddlers or preschoolers, mothers pumping, some photos of pumped milk, milk baths, and so much more. This mosaic is a love letter to our membership. We love you ladies!

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Second, we are offering an exclusive new apparel design, created for Milky Mommas, which is not available anywhere else! Check out this order form doc to order your shirts, hoodies, onesies, or bags in our gorgeous Word Cloud Momma design! The order will be closing soon, so don’t wait!

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Third, we have released several new advocacy graphics. Take a scroll through these lovely women and babies, we hope you feel empowered!

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Fourth, our founder Christine has created this set of graphics to help us ask for the support we need from our families, communities, employers, and healthcare providers. Feel free to download and post those that apply to you, in order to start a discussion with your loved ones about breastfeeding support.

Last but not least, many of our mommas are attending Big Latch On events in their areas. Are you? What are you doing to celebrate this week? Tell us about it in the comments!

Mastitis

This document is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in Milky Mommas. If you think you’re having a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Mastitis is the clinical term for breast infection.

Whenever a lactating woman experiences flu-like symptoms, she should consider the possibility of mastitis, contact her provider, and begin measures to treat / prevent mastitis.

Symptoms of mastitis include:

  • Localized tenderness of breast
  • Localized heat or red streaks on breast
  • Fever
  • General sick feeling
  • Sometimes nausea and vomiting

Common causes of mastitis are:

  • Infrequent feedings or scheduled feedings
  • Missed feedings
  • Poor milk removal due to latch issues
  • Illness in mother or baby
  • Oversupply
  • Rapid weaning
  • Plugged ducts and/or blebs
  • Pressure on the breast that restricts milk flow (like tight clothing)
  • Cracks in the nipple that allow bacteria to enter and infect breast tissue
  • Maternal stress and fatigue

How is mastitis diagnosed?

  • Mastitis is usually diagnosed based on symptoms.
  • Lab tests and diagnostics are not routinely needed or performed for mastitis unless there are repeat infections.
  • Your OB or PCP can diagnose and treat mastitis.

How is mastitis treated?

  • The most important step is frequent and effective milk removal (at least every two hours).
  • Breastfeed as frequently as possible, starting on the affected breast.
  • If it hurts too much to start on the affected breast, it might help to start on the unaffected breast and switch sides as soon as letdown happens.
  • Position the baby at the breast with chin or nose pointing to the blockage to help drain the affected area.
  • Gentle massage may also help remove milk. Massage should be directed from the blocked area toward the nipple.
  • After feeding, pumping or hand expressing may help remove more milk and speed recovery.

Should I continue to nurse if I have mastitis?

  • Yes! Frequent and effective milk removal is key, and nothing is more effective at removing milk than a baby.
  • Mothers who can’t continue breastfeeding when they have mastitis, for whatever reason, should pump or hand express at least every two hours because stopping cold turkey leads to a greater risk of abscess than continuing to feed.

What should I do while recovering?

  • Rest. If possible, take baby to bed for a nursing vacation.
  • Hydrate. It’s important to drink plenty of clear liquids to help your body produce plenty of milk to flush the infection.
  • Ask your provider if an NSAID may be right for you, to relieve pain and inflammation.

Do I need antibiotics?

  • It depends. Contact your provider at the first signs of mastitis and ask what they advise.
  • If symptoms are mild, many breastfeeding experts advocate treating conservatively at home for the first 24 hours.
  • If symptoms do not improve in 12-24 hours or you are acutely ill, experts agree antibiotics should be started.
  • Your HCP will help you decide which approach is best for you and your circumstances.

What kind of at-home treatments may help relieve mastitis symptoms and hasten recovery?

  • Nurse, pump, and/or hand express as much as possible (at least every two hours)
  • Rest and hydrate
  • Your provider may recommend an NSAID to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Hot shower
  • Moist or dry heat, whichever feels better
  • Epsom salt soak
  • If inflammation is severe enough to inihibit milk flow, it may be helpful to apply ice for a few minutes before nursing or pumping
  • Gentle massage or pressure from behind the clogged area toward the nipple (use in moderation because massage can make inflammation worse)
  • Stroke gently from behind the clog toward the nipple with a comb or plastic bristled brush
  • If you have a visible bleb or milk blister, notify your provider and ask what s/he would advise

Which antibiotics are commonly prescribed for mastitis?

  • Dicloxacillin
  • Flucloxacillin
  • First-generation cephalosporins
  • Cephalexin
  • Clindamycin
  • If an antibiotic is needed, your provider will prescribe one that’s appropriate for you.
  • Breastfeeding compatibility can be verified at http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm, via the MommyMeds app, or by calling the InfantRisk hotline Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, CST, at 806-352-2519.

How soon should I start to feel better?

  • Improvement is usually rapid and dramatic.
  • If symptoms don’t resolve in several days with appropriate management, including antibiotics, you should call and notify your provider.

What can I do to avoid mastitis in the first place?

  • Feed on demand.
  • Get a good latch.
  • Learn to hand express so you can always empty your breasts, no matter what the circumstances.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of milk stasis (milk that is not leaving the breasts). Check for lumps, pain, or redness.
  • If you notice any signs of milk stasis, be quick to completely empty the breast, increase the frequency of feedings, and rest and hydrate.
  • Call your healthcare provider at the first signs of mastitis and ask what they advise.
  • Practice good hand hygiene.
  • Disassemble and wash pump parts thoroughly between uses (may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours) and air dry.

Source: The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

Additional resources:

This document is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in Milky Mommas. If you think you’re having a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Growth Spurts

“Normal” Behavior During Growth Spurts.

Is your baby…

  • Inexplicably fussy?
  • Nursing around the clock?
  • Waking more often at night?
  • Slapping, head-butting, unlatching and relatching, pinching the breast?
You may be experiencing what is known to many mothers as a “growth spurt” or a collection of “frequency days”. Rest assured that this is a very normal part of a having a rapidly growing baby! Growth spurts typically last anywhere from 2-3 days to a week and often are gone as suddenly as they appeared.

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Why does baby ask to nurse more during a growth spurt?

Breastfeeding works on a demand, supply system. Babies communicate with your breasts by nursing more frequently, fussing at the breast, latching/unlatching repeatedly, head-butting the breast, etc. Frequent emptying and additional stimulation of the breasts creates a “demand” that your breasts fill with a greater “supply” of breastmilk.

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When do growth spurts occur?

Growth spurts often occur a pattern, though it can vary from baby to baby and remember that babies don’t keep track of calendars. Growth spurts often occur at weeks 1, 2, 4 and months 2, 4, 8 and 12. Growth spurts can be early OR late. Remember that baby’s growth may not be entirely physical and that babies need fuel for developmental leaps, emotional growth and just for comfort during these tumultuous times of their young lives.

How can I best cope with growth spurts

Make nursing comfortable, don’t watch the clock
Many mothers find that creating a “nursing nest” and making a plan to hunker down and nurse on demand helps to pass the growth spurt as smoothly as possible. Gather water, snacks and good books for yourself and spend time with baby skin to skin with unlimited nursing and throw out the clocks. For mothers with older children, preparing “busy bags” (little kits of simple toys, books, something that can keep them happy for a while), temporarily borrowing a “mother’s helper” (pre-teen, auntie, grandma, etc. that can offer a separate set of eyes on the older children) or nursing baby in a sling or baby carrier can keep things running smoothly.

Accept help!
Remember all of those well meaning friends and relatives who said, “I’ll do anything you need! Just ask!” Assign them a task. Something as simple as picking up dinner and dropping it off at your door can be a huge help when baby is feasting at the breast buffet.
Turn to other nursing mothers for support.
Every nursing dyad experiences growth spurts. Talk with mothers who have had the same experiences who you know will offer support and commiseration instead of judgment and suggestions that can sabotage a breastfeeding relationship. Lean on your fellow Milky Mommas, check out a local La Leche League meeting or call a LLL leader (http://www.llli.org/webus.html?gclid=CMeDhpn6wbgCFSdp7AodlScAbg). Scan the board and read up on some other mothers who are dealing with the same frustrations.
Remember that this too shall pass
Growth spurts often are over within a week. The round the clock nursing sessions often give way to a few days of sound sleep for younger babies. Enjoy the reprieve!
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