Tag Archive | breastmilk

Breastfeeding a Toddler

Breastfeeding a toddler is hard work. Anyone who says a mother does it for her own benefit, has obviously never done it. Between the acrobatics and the tantrums because you don’t/can’t let them nurse exactly when they want to, it isn’t easy. These days, it seems that is all Peanut wants to do. I feel like I am breastfeeding a newborn again. A 26lb newborn, Yikes! Imagine pushing that out? Don’t really want to.

This was just this morning while trying to type out this post 🙂

It is, however, oh so worth it. If Peanut is upset or just needs a moment to reconnect, I just pop out a boob and all is good in the world again.

It is very useful for treating any kind of ailment.  Fall down and get a boo boo? Give it a breastmilk rinse. Stuffy nose? Squirt some breastmilk in there. Ouchy bug bite or sting? Yep, breastmilk. Pink eye? Ear infection? Burn? Breastmilk will fix it. The list goes on forever.

The nutritional benefits of breastmilk are fantastic as well. A toddler’s eating habits can be a bit erratic. Breastmilk helps fill in those gaps. From Kellymom :

In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:

  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 43% of protein requirements
  • 36% of calcium requirements
  • 75% of vitamin A requirements
  • 76% of folate requirements
  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% of vitamin C requirements

– Dewey 2001

Immune properties are more concentrated at this point as well. Yes, your kiddo will still get that cold from the child at the playground who sneezed on him, but it won’t be as severe or last as long. As soon as your little latches on, your bodies start communicating. His body tells yours that he was exposed to a bug. Your body starts producing antibodies and he starts receiving them the next time he latches on.

The longer you breastfeed, the more you and your little benefit.

Here in the states it is seen as some crazed parenting trend, but in reality, the normal weaning age worldwide is between 2 and 7 years old. If you are breastfeeding, be proud of it. Don’t let looks or words from others get you down. Know that you are doing what is right for you and your babe. The more we do it and don’t hide that we are doing it, the more normal it will become. Someone said on a thread I recently read, that breastfeeding needs to become as normal as walking your dog down the street. I thought that was great.

Our bodies are seriously awesome. It is still hard for me to wrap my head around sometimes. We grow a human inside our bodies and then are able to completely nourish them from our bodies. Can you say AMAZING?

Could you tell this face no more milkies? Not me.


Here is more information about breastfeeding past a year from Kellymom (seriously a fantastic resource).


*I need to make sure to include my disclaimer that if you formula feed that is okay too. Everyone has to do what is right for them. As long as your babe is thriving and everyone is happy, that is what matters.

World Breastfeeding Week-Understanding the Past, Planning for the Future

Today marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week. Yay! Be prepared for all things breastfeeding 🙂

World Breastfeeding Week started 20 years ago in an effort to educate and bring up the number of breastfeeders. It started with a campaign for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

“The BFHI [Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative] assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.” ~from BFHI USA

Here are those 10 steps (again from BFHI USA)

The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding

The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:

1 – Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 – Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 – Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 – Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 – Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 – Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 – Practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 – Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 – Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 – Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

If you want to see the complete history of WBW and the topics focused on each year, go here

Why does breastfeeding get so much attention?

Some may wonder why breastfeeding needs a whole week dedicated to it, but breastfeeding women need support. Breastfeeding is a learned behavior. Yes, some mamas and babies take to it no problem, but for others it requires patience and help.

Formula is shoved in our faces day in and day out. I had coupons and whole cans of formula show up in my mail box when I was pregnant with Munchkin and I had never expressed an interest in using formula. There are ads everywhere touting that formula is just what your baby needs.

Formula isn’t horrible (and neither are the mamas who choose to feed it), but the formula companies, well, they are rather horrible. New mamas are very susceptible to doubts. All those hormones flying around, not getting enough sleep, trying to sync with the new baby and balance the rest of life, all wear on a mama. Formula companies take advantage of this.

This is where breastfeeding support comes in. When mamas are experiencing these doubts, they need breastfeeding advocates there to support them. No offense meant to formula feeding mamas, but you haven’t experienced it. When I was having problems with Munchkin, I would get advice all the time from formula feeding mamas telling me to just give formula . That wasn’t the advice I wanted or needed.

Breastfeeding needs to be seen as normal as formula or bottle feeding. It is the biologically normal way of feeding our children. Formula is artificial, not normal. A baby’s GI system isn’t meant to digest artificial ingredients. Heck, our systems as adults aren’t designed to digest them either.

Breastmilk provides our babies with everything they need. It is chock full of vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, antibodies, and everything else their little bodies require for growing.

Did you know that if/when your baby is exposed to an illness that your baby’s body communicates with your body via mouth to nipple? By the next feeding, your body is already developing antibodies for them. Here is a really interesting article by Dr Jack Newman on antibodies in breastmilk.

Did you know that the composition of breastmilk changes according to your baby’s needs? The milk your newborn gets is different from the milk your infant gets, is different from the milk you toddler gets. Milk changes from the beginning of a feed to the end of a feed. The first bit of milk contains more water to quench thirst and then it becomes fattier to satiate hunger. Breastmilk also changes in composition from morning to night. You produce less at night, but it is higher in fat content to help baby sleep. It also produces sleep inducing hormones.

Just because baby is cranky and wants to nurse frequently does not mean you aren’t producing enough milk. Babies go through growth spurts where they nurse more to tell your body to produce more milk. Babies also go through a period at the end of the day where they are cranky. They want to be held and to nurse almost constantly. They are taking in milk, but it is also for comfort and to help them unwind from all the stimulation of the day. The percentage of women who actually can’t breastfeed or don’t produce enough milk (due to things like IGT and PCOS) is actually pretty small. There are many places to get help if you are having problems, all you have to do is ask 🙂

Breastmilk is seriously amazing. I have a combined lactating experience of 35 months (between both boys) and I am still amazed that my body is responsible for growing and nourishing living beings.

Making informed decisions is the most important thing you can do for children and yourself. Make sure you have all the information. Don’t take just one person’s word for it. Your pediatrician/family dr/OB/GYN can’t possibly know everything there is to know about everything. There is a lot of misinformation out there, on most topics. Educate yourself as much as you can.

Remember, just because you didn’t/couldn’t breastfeed one baby, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do so with the next.

We need to Understand our Past so that we can Plan for our Future.


I linked up with the Breastfeeding Blog Hop this week. (see patch to the right) It is now being hosted by the wonderful ladies at Sisters N’ Cloth. Go check them out and read some of the other blog hop participants blogs as well. 

Amanda’s Guide to Pumping (Breastmilk)

I have been reading lots of breastfeeding and pumping threads lately on some breastfeeding groups on Facebook. Lots of new mamas and new pumpers. So it has inspired me to do a post regarding everything I learned during my 16 months of exclusively pumping(EP’g) for Munchkin.

This is my post about what started my EP’g journey https://amandasworldofmotherhood.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/how-i-became-a-cow/

Now for the tips(a lot of which can apply to breastfeeding in general):

  1. Make sure you are eating at least one hot, complete meal a day.       Yes this means a protein source, some veggies, a grain, etc. There are specific foods, herbs and spices that are beneficial to your milk supply. There are also some that are harmful. I will address some of these further down the list and provide you with some other resources.
  2. Make sure you are drinking enough water. Having a glass or bottle of water with you at all times and drinking while nursing/pumping is important. Drink to thirst. I can’t give you a specific number of ounces because everyone is different in their requirements. Too much water can be just as bad for supply as too little water.
  3. Learn about hand expression and breast massage. They are very useful tools to have. Massaging the breast while pumping will help you get more milk. It can also be useful while breastfeeding to help your little one get more hindmilk. Hand expression is useful if you forget your pump or if you are just feeling extra full and need to take some pressure off.
  4. Make sure you have an adequate pump. If you are an occasional pumper a hand pump or single pump should be fine. If you are pumping while at work or are an EP’er, you really need a double electric pump and a hands-free pumping bra. You do need to spend some money on a good pump. Back when I was pumping, I was using a Medela Pump In Style. It was a good pump and back then I would have recommended it.  Medela is no longer WHO(World Health Organization) compliant though, so for my own moral standards, I won’t recommend them. Hygeia is a good company as well as Ameda. They both make very good pumps from what I have heard. As for the hands-free bra, there are a few on the market. I used the Easy Expressions hands-free bustier. You can also fashion a hands free device out of elastic bands(I never attempted this) or you can use an old sports bra(you need something snug fitting) and cut a slit where your nipples are to insert the flanges of your pump through.
  5. Flange size is very important. The flange is that cone-shaped thing that fits over your nipple/breast. There are charts that show you how to properly size your flange. I personally felt that trying the different sizes wile pumping a few times was the most helpful. I finally settled on two different sized flanges. A different size for each breast. This allowed me maximum output.
  6. Sometimes the flanges can cause irritation. There is a lot of suction in those pumps and they can cause friction. You can coat the flange with olive oil to help with this. I kept a small bottle specific for this in my pump bag.
  7. Using heat on your breasts for 5 – 10 minutes before you start pumping will help with letdown. It also helps if you get a plugged milk duct. I grabbed one of my husbands tube socks, dumped a bunch of uncooked rice in it and sewed the end closed. Stick it in the microwave for a minute or two and you are good to go. It holds the heat nicely and for quite a while as well.
  8. If you are having supply problems you can try a power pump session. Pump for 20 mins, rest for 10, pump for 10, rest for 10, pump for 10. I usually did this as part of my before bed routine. You can also take a pump day or a pump-in. If you are nursing, do a nurse-in. Either way, lie in bed with your babe all day with lots of skin-to-skin contact. Watch movies, read books, soak in the sweetness of your little one’s long gazes and smiles. If you are pumping, pump every hour for 20 minutes. If you are breastfeeding, leave your breasts exposed and just let your little one nurse whenever it suits him. Let your significant other take care of you. He/she can bring you whatever you need and even take part in the baby bonding time too. These were great days. 🙂
  9. If you are away from your babe, have a picture with you or a video of your little one to look at while you pump. You can also try visualizing trucks full of milk, waterfalls of milk, etc. Visualization is a big help.
  10. Relax! I know it just isn’t that simple, but it is so important. Once I got my hands-free bra and was able to relax while pumping, my supply went up. I was no longer watching the clock. I could play with my babe, I could give him a bottle. I could watch TV or use the computer. I could read a book. You get the picture.
  11. Having a “pump station” that is all ready set up is a plus.That way you don’t sit down, set up and then realize you forgot something. My pump bag usually held the following :  a bottle of olive oil, a bottle of water,a burp rag for clean up, chapstick/lip gloss, a book/magazine, a nail file, my hands-free bra, a hair tie, and a snack. Oh, I usually had the baby’s nail trimmers in there too.
  12. Remember that pumping is a learned behavior. You’re body has to learn to respond to the pump. In the beginning you may only get a few drops. Don’t be discouraged, keep at it. You will start to get more.
  13. A nice trick to save on washing is you can rinse out your pump bottles and flanges and then put them in a ziploc bag in the fridge in between pumpings. Just wash once at the end of the night.
  14. I personally kept a notebook to keep track of when I pumped, how long I pumped and how much I was able to pump. It was a real boost for me to see my supply going up. I could also see what happened if I cut out a pump or if I ate something different, etc.
  15. Set small goals for yourself. Wanting to make it 3, 6, 9, 12 months is great, but setting shorter goals while pumping exclusively makes it seem that much more attainable. I would keep giving myself a goal of just one more month. If I was having a particularly rough time, I would tell myself just one more week. I kept going. I cheered for myself and made a  huge deal whenever I hit one of my pumping goals. It sounds silly, but if you are exclusively pumping it is a lot of extra work. It takes determination.
  16. One of the MOST important factors for success, is to have a great support system. Having a supportive partner is so crucial. You don’t need someone over your shoulder telling you to just go ahead and give formula. I know formula does have its place, I had supplement, but it’s damaging to your psyche when you are trying so hard to obtain the goal of providing exclusive breastmilk to your little one. Tell family members if they can’t be supportive, then they need to keep their opinions to themselves. Find a breastfeeding support group or your local La Leche League to join. Even though you are not directly breastfeeding, you will still be welcome.
  17. Oh, one last thing. Never quit on a bad day. You need to make sure you are in a positive place when you finally make that decision to “hang up the horns”.
  18. Ok, I lied about the one last thing. I have a few more to add. 🙂 Remember that pumping is not an accurate portrayal of how much milk you can or are producing. A baby will almost always be more efficient at removing milk from your breasts than the pump will be.
  19. Another sure fire way to boost your supply is lots of skin-to-skin time or kangaroo care. Invest in a wrap, figure out how to wrap it (there are lots of great video tutorials, even better if you know someone to personally show you) and wear your baby (in only a diaper) snug against your bare chest. Even if you are pumping, this sends the right signals to your body. Who knows, if you are an exclusive pumper, it may lead baby down a path where she will want to try nursing. 🙂
  20. If you are an EP’er because you can’t get your little one to latch for whatever reason, please don’t give up hope. If you are persistent you can get your babe to latch and breastfeed. I wish I had tried harder with Munchkin, but I didn’t know. I was so worried about how much he was taking in, I didn’t want to go back to the hospital with him if wasn’t getting enough. So I just kept pumping. There are so many success stories out there if just look and listen. I know an SNS (supplemental nursing system) is helpful in getting your little one to latch. Something I  wish I had tried. Learn from my mistakes! 🙂

Foods and herbs that can potentially hurt your supply:

  • Sage
  • Peppermint
  • Parsley
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

Foods and herbs that can help boost your supply(Galactogogues):

  • You can find teas specifically for a healthy milk supply at any health food store and sometimes even in your local grocery store.
  • Barley based drinks like Cafix are great as well. It tastes just like coffee.
  • Oats. Steel cut oats are best. They are pretty easy to make and you can add whatever you like to them. Fresh or frozen fruits are a nice addition.
  • Whole, raw nuts like almonds or cashews.
  • Green leafy veggies
  • Grains, like oats, barley, rice and quinoa.
  • Legumes like chickpeas(humus anyone?) and lentils.
  • Healthy oils and fats, like butter, olive oil and coconut oil.
  • Garlic and onions ( I add them to pretty much every dish I cook).
  • Ginger
  • Fenugreek – The most common one that you will hear about is fenugreek. It helps you to produce more milk. You start off taking one capsule, three times daily and then work your way up. The maximum dose is three capsules, three times daily. You will know you are taking enough when you smell like maple syrup. Not such a bad side effect. A not so good side effect is that it can cause gas in you and/or baby. So be on the look out for that
  • Blessed Thistle – Helps with let-down. You take it the same way as Fenugreek and is best when taken with Fenugreek.

For a more extensive list of foods and herbs check out these links:






Stanford University has some really great videos that I found very helpful.


Books I recommend

Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – LLL

The Breast Feeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk

The Nursing Mother’s Herbal by Sheila Humphrey

The Breastfeeding Book – Sears

I am sure I will add/edit this as I think of stuff I have forgotten(I haven’t pumped this time around).

If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment and I will be sure to address them. 🙂