Breastfeeding Information

A Case for Using Galactagogues as a Last Resort for Increasing Milk Production

One of the most common questions I receive by email or Facebook message from mothers seeking breastfeeding support is, “What can I take, eat, or drink to increase my supply?” The Internet contains countless articles, blogs, advertisements, and testimonials about using galactagogues to increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers. A galactagogue is a food, drink, medication, or supplement that is ingested by the mother with the intention of increasing the amount of milk produced. The concern I find with answering this type of inquiry is that most of the time, mothers are looking for a quick and easy way to boost supply, when there may either be an underlying problem related to milk production that needs to be addressed, or the mother may already have an adequate milk supply.

Breastfeeding Twins and More

There it is: One beautiful beating heart on the ultrasound screen… and then you see another. Whether you knew it was a possibility or not, the moment you discover you’re having more than one baby is life-changing.

What is Vitamin D?

Did you know that “Vitamin D” is not really a vitamin? It’s actually a steroid hormone produced in the body after direct exposure of the skin to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation in sunlight. Both the vitamin D that your body produces and the vitamin D from supplements must be changed by your body several times before it can function properly. Vitamin D manages the amount of calcium in your blood and other body tissues, helps cells all over your body communicate properly, and assists your immune system in functioning effectively (Vitamin D Council, 2013).

Probiotics and the Breastfed Infant

Probiotics are sometimes referred to as “beneficial bacteria.” Bacteria, you say? Yes. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms, like bacteria and fungi, in and on our bodies than there are human cells (Arthur & Stein, 2013). However, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass due to their small size, in comparison to human cells (NIH, 2013). The world of microorganisms that exists within the human body is called the microbiome. Microbes exist in nearly every part of the human body, from the gut and digestive tract, to the nose and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, and even on the skin. Some of these microorganisms serve an essential purpose, helping us to maintain a healthy system by helping to digest food and absorb nutrients that would otherwise be unavailable, and synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K. Other organisms (such as yeast) are present in and on our bodies normally, and an overgrowth of these organisms can cause unpleasant symptoms and illness. Read More

Tandem Breastfeeding

Tandem breastfeeding two children at once is something I never expected to do, and I certainly never imagined breastfeeding three (you only have two breasts after all; how would that even work?). But somehow I ended up nursing 21-month-old twins and a newborn. It sounds a little crazy to me now, too, but in the moment it was the right choice for my family. Most people don’t anticipate breastfeeding two (or more!) children at the same time, but there are some wonderful reasons to give it a try. target="external"

Book review: The Science of Mother Infant Sleep: Current Findings on Bedsharing, Breastfeeding, Sleep Training, and Normal Infant Sleep

The Science of Mother-Infant Sleep is a compilation of recent research on such topics as bedsharing, breastfeeding, sleep training, and SIDS. The academic tone of the book is likely better suited to health-care professionals, although parents who would like an in-depth analysis of research without a lot of opinion-based commentary would also find The Science of Mother-Infant Sleep helpful. The text provides a thorough summary of the topic, and the references that follow each chapter make it easy for the reader to investigate the topic in detail.

Research and Evidence-Based Mother-to-Mother Support

Breast is best” is a standard advocacy mantra, but what does the research and evidence actually say? In reality, breastfeeding is just normal - it doesn’t confer magical properties and make babies and mothers superhuman. What research actually shows is that when a baby isn’t breastfed, the baby is at higher risk for acute and chronic health conditions1.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a form of depression that develops following childbirth and impacts functioning to various degrees depending on severity. Onset is usually from the first few weeks postpartum up through the first year. Postpartum depression and a condition known as the “Baby Blues” may be confused. The differences between the “Baby Blues” and PPD are the duration, intensity, and severity of the symptoms. Approximately 80% of new mothers experience what is known as the “blues” (with symptoms such as lack of sleep, exhaustion, and a roller coaster of emotions), usually due to a hormonal imbalance. However, these symptoms typically peak around two weeks and then disappear. Some mothers react more strongly than others to the changes in hormone levels, be it post-partum or even post-weaning.

Exercise during the Breastfeeding Years

For Aimee Teslaw, making time for cardio, Pilates, yoga, biking, dog walking, swimming, and playing outdoors with her children is important for a healthy lifestyle. So is breastfeeding. Aside from the occasional plugged duct, she says exercising hasn’t negatively impacted her milk supply. Teslaw, a Breastfeeding USA member in Barrington, IL, said she isn’t a lifelong athlete but began exercising in college and continues to work out both on her own and with her children. “I love exercising as much as I love breastfeeding!” she says. “It’s all part of my personal wellness plan.”

Understanding Your Fertility while Breastfeeding

As you journey into motherhood, bonding with and caring for your new baby, the thought of another pregnancy may be distant. Whether or not you want more children in the future, the time to think about your fertility is before or soon after giving birth. Considering options and determining what best meets your personal circumstances can be overwhelming. This article discusses your fertility while breastfeeding and provides links to additional online resources. It is a starting point, which we hope will inspire you to continue this important conversation with your health-care provider and/or your partner.