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  • Hack the first week of Breastfeeding: the power of skin to skin and hand expression

    Are you expecting your new tiny soon? Or maybe you are reading this blurry eyed from your hospital bed at 3am? As a lactation consultant, I want to emphasize just how important the first week postpartum is for establishing your breastfeeding relationship and milk supply. The early days can be so precious but also be so overwhelming as you recover from delivery. Feeding a tiny human around-the-clock can be stressful and when latch isn't happening it can leave you feeling defeated and hopeless. Latching can take a few days or weeks to master but there are two skills that you can master right away to soothe baby and feed baby. The two biggest hacks and powerful practices are: skin-to-skin and hand expression. To hear more watch the video from Dr Bergman below. Hand expression on the other hand is something you can do with your body to fuel your growing tiny with colostrum and milk. It is using your hand to manually squeeze out colostrum or breastmilk. Hand expression allows you to collect drops of colostrum to feed your baby before milk thins and transitions to a texture that can be removed easily with a breast pump. In the early days squeezing this milk out can be your safety net for your milk supply. In the early days when your breast are drained it early and often it will create more prolactin receptor sites. In short draining early and often with baby + your hands means you ensure a large milk supply for breastfeeding journey. Here's how to hand express: - Have a clean container ready to catch the colostrum. - Massage your breast gently to stimulate milk flow. -Standing in front of a mirror to do this can help you learn what works and catch the milk easily as it flows while you are learning. - Form a C-shape with your thumb and fingers around your areola. Press back towards your chest wall. - Gently compress and release around the areola using a rhythmic motion. - Rotate around the areola to express from all angles. - Switch breasts as flow slows. I recommend hand expressing for 5-7 minutes after feedings in the first days and weeks. Every drop counts! Save the colostrum to give as a extra snacks. This is perfect for those times just before a feeding to calm them down to latch or as a little dessert after their big meal. Breastmilk can sit out for 4-5 hours room temp so hand express into a cup or syringe and you will have snacks on hand at all times. I know the newborn period is exhausting. But staying close through skin-to-skin and hand expression is the best hack and way to start a breastfeeding relationship! If you need a list of supplies check out this one on my AMAZON SHOP Xo Aubri

  • Haakaa Pump: Pros and Cons of the Popular Breastfeeding Helper?

    I’m often asked about various breastfeeding tools and gadgets. One I get asked about repeatedly is the Haakaa Pump. This simple, inexpensive manual pump has become uber popular on social media and among nursing mothers. For good reason it's ease of use and ability to collect milk from the opposite breast while feeding tiny is a great way to save milk. However, is it right for you? Here are some pros and cons to consider: Pros: • Inexpensive. The Haakaa pump only costs around $20-30 which is similar to other hand held manual pumps. • Lightweigt/portable. It’s small, made of silicone, and easy to on-the go as a busy mom. • Easy to use. Roll the flange back, squeeze the bulb and the power of suction does the work. No tubes, power sources, or complicated settings. • Catches letdown/leaks. The Haakaa can catch the milk flow "letdown" from the opposite breast while your baby nurses, providing relief and avoiding waste. • Collect milk. The ounces caught with the Haakaa would often be lost to a nursing pad or bra. The biggest perk is the haaka can catch milk that can be saved for later. This milk can be used to relieve engorgement or stock your milk reserve. Cons: • Not designed for regular pumping. The Haakaa only works through suction and the flange fit is one size fits all. This is why it is best suited for occasional milk collection and not meant to replace a standard manual or electric breast pump. Due to the variable suction and flange fit the amount collected is not consistent. •Risk of spilling. Because it uses an open design with no lid, milk can spill out if knocked over or suction is broken from a flying tiny foot or feisty hands. • Requires some skill. You’ll need to find the right suction level and angle for your breasts. It can take some practice. • Can’t empty breasts fully. As a "manual pump", the Haakaa won’t empty your breasts as thoroughly as another standard manual pump. This goes back to the flange fit and varied suction. • Easy to overuse. Some moms end up useinf it every single feeding and this frequent use can create an oversupply. TLDR: The bottom line is that the Haakaa can be a very useful tool for breastfeeding moms when used appropriately and in moderation. But it shouldn’t replace a standard manual pump or personal electric pump if you need to establish supply or pump regularly. As with any breastfeeding tool, follow instructions and speak to a lactation consultant if you have any concerns. I hope this gives you some useful pros and cons to consider before purchasing a Haakaa pump! Let me know if you have any other breastfeeding questions. Xo Aubri

  • Breastfeeding Without Clocks: Tuning in to Your Baby's Rhythms

    Let Your Baby Time Their Feeds, Not the Clock. Not a fancy app. Or your timer. When it comes to breastfeeding, it's easy to get caught up in timing each session and trying to stick to a specific schedule. There is literally a plethora of baby feeding schedules online *insert eye roll*. But the truth is, you should let your baby time their own feeds based on their subtle hunger and fullness cues. This can feel like guess work in the beginning when you are just learning your baby. So lets demystify what you are looking for in a feeding session. The biggest clue or "timer" is if baby is actively feeding or are they passively feeding? You will see certain behaviors for each category. Here is a look at those cues: Signs Baby is Actively Feeding (still hungry): - Tense shoulders,flexed arms, hips, knees, and curled toes show baby is working to get milk. - Steady suckling motions with their mouth and rhythmic flexing and extending of the jaw. - Chest pressed closely to yours in a feeding posture. - Hands and mouth actively working at the breast. - Gaze focused on your face or breast, not wandering. - Soft caas or swallowing very couple seconds -Strong suction or pull felt on your nipple Signs Baby is Passively Feeding (getting full): - Shoulders, arms, legs, and toes start to relax or extend - Suckling and jaw motions become slower, less rhythmic. - Eyes may close or gaze starts to wander. - Chest and body posture turns away from breast. - Less interest in latching back on if they unlatch. - Sucking is like a flutter or light in pattern (less suction is felt) - No longer hearing any swallows when baby is sucking Learning these rhythms overtime... The best way to learn these cues is to room in with your baby at the hospital and after returning home. Once you are home this may mean you are more intentional while feeding. Make sure to tune in at the beginning of the feed to take a mental snapshot of baby when they start feeding. This allows you to identify when active feeding becomes passive feeding. Or even whip out your phone and take a video and let technology work for you ;) . Then at the end of the feeding grab your phone to take a video or photo. You can take those two snapshots and compare for the active and passive feeding cues. The more you tune in at feedings the easier it will be to recognize and answer is baby done feeding? Remember the signs will evolve as your baby grows, tuning in to their personalized timing is key! Trust your intuition and follow baby's lead rather than the clock! No two babies are the same. If you're struggling to read your baby's cues, don't hesitate to meet with an IBCLC. An expert can help assess feeding effectiveness and timing. You've got this, mama! xo Aubri

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