Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Does frozen breast milk taste bad?

You might have noticed that after thawing your milk it has a peculiar odor. This does not mean that it has expired, but its taste might have changed a bit, becoming more sour. This does not happen to all moms, but if it does happen to you, it’s possible that the lipase enzyme is to blame.

Some babies don’t notice or don’t seem to mind the change in taste – while others reject it completely. If your little one is one of those who reject thawed or previously refrigerated milk, here are some guidelines that’ll help you prevent the change in taste.

Preparing milk for storage:

  • After extracting your milk, slightly warm it to a scalding point by putting it in a saucepan and heating just until you see small bubbles appear in the corners of the pan. Do not boil it.
  • When it reaches scalding point, remove the pan from the heat, let it cool down and then store it in portions of one or two feedings in clean, sterilized containers, suitable for freezing. NOTE: By scalding the milk, it might loose some of its properties, but it’ll help prevent the change in flavor.
  • If you are going to freeze your milk, store it at the bottom of your freezer and use it within two to four weeks.
  • Remember not to thaw in the microwave; it’s best to thaw in a container with hot water.

Steps for a happy and healthy weaning process

In different cultures the term weaning varies in meaning. However, in general terms, weaning begins at the introduction of the first solid food -as breastfeeding is no longer exclusive- and ends at the cessation of breastfeeding.

When solids are introduced, breastfeeding is still highly beneficial and recommended until your toddler is at least 24 months of age, but if you’ve decided it’s time to partially or completely wean your baby off the breast, the following steps can help make the process easier.

  1. Choose a peaceful time where your baby is happy, healthy and there are no big changes going on in your family’s life (moving to a new house, beginning day care, etc.)
  2. Talk to your pediatrician about formula recommendations. If you want your baby to drink breastmilk from the bottle, make sure you have an adequate supply stored.
  3. Prepare the bottle and present it to your little in a loving manner. Explain to him gently that he will receive his milk through the bottle from now on.
  4. If your baby resists drinking from the bottle, you can ask your partner or a family member for help. Your baby has learned to associate feedings with you, and may feel uncomfortable receiving it by other means at first.
  5. As your baby gets used to the occasional bottle, begin to feed him yourself.
  6. Continue supplementing breastfeeding with the bottle. Then slowly (or quickly) decrease breastfeeding every day until feeding him only from the bottle.
  7. Practice lengthening the time between breastfeeding, so your baby gradually gets accustomed to weaning.
  8. During this period, do not express milk unless you feel uncomfortable. If you eliminate only a few feedings each day, engorgement might not occur. However, if you speed up the weaning process, be sure to express some milk to prevent an infection.
  9. Breastfeeding works under the law of supply and demand, as soon as you decrease feedings, your milk supply will decline too.
  10. Try to introduce the sippy cup with a serving of water during the weaning process. Then gradually introduce milk in the sippy cup to prevent weaning your baby from the bottle later on too.

Remember that weaning may be a gradual or quick process. Listen to your baby’s cues. Some babies will be ready to wean even before their moms are ready. It’s normal to feel a bit of sadness or nostalgia, but don’t worry, these feelings will pass when you see that your baby is completing new milestones in his development. Just don’t forget to be gentle with yourself and your baby during the process.

Expressing breast milk

One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that you can express it, and still produce more! In most cases when your breasts fill up quickly, extracting it will help reduce and prevent engorgement. Plus, you can store breast milk to use it in a time when you can’t breastfeed.

“How do I express milk?” you might ask. There are two ways: you can do this by hand or with breast pump.

To express your milk by hand

  1. Wash your hands and prepare a clean and sterilized container to store the milk.
  2. Gently massage all the areas of your breast while watching a picture or video of your little one, as this helps stimulate milk production.
  3. Place one hand under your breast and the other above. Move down the hand you have above to reach the areola. Continue massaging the breast evenly until your let down reflex begins.
  4. Now, with your dominant hand, place your thumb on top of your breast and the rest of your fingers -from the index finger to the little one- under. Press all your fingers towards the edge of the areola, being careful not to squeeze the nipple. With repeated movement milk will start to come out.
  5. Repeat the above movement changing position of your fingers to extract milk evenly from all the milk ducts in your breast.

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Boosting my milk production

All through pregnancy, your body has prepared itself for the moment you begin breastfeeding. As soon as your baby is born, you are ready to begin! But the let-down reflex (when milk production is released) may take a while after birth to stabilize. To help stimulate your milk production at home, practice the following tips:

  • Bring your baby close to your skin. Skin to skin contact helps release prolactin and oxytocin, hormones that aid in milk let-down.
  • Apply a warm moist towel to your breast a few minutes before breastfeeding.
  • Make sure your baby is well positioned and that the latch is adequate.
  • Seek a nursing position that is comfortable for both of you.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, allowing your stomach to expand and slowly collapse.
  • Play soothing music.
  • Try to breastfeed your baby every 2-3 hours (during the day) during the first months, instead of following a rigid schedule with long periods between meals. Breast milk production abides by the rules of supply and demand, the more you breastfeed the more milk you produce.
  • If you can, avoid using formula to continuously produce milk.
  • Consider extracting milk with a breast pump between meals, as long as you’re not too tired.
  • Join a lactation support group. This groups provide support, help, and great tips that help make breastfeeding easier.
  • Make sure to rest whenever you can, and eat well. Exhaustion and a low-calorie diet can interfere with your milk production.
  • Drink lots of water and liquids to stay hydrated. Fluids aid in milk production.
  • Avoid smoking, surrounding yourself with secondhand smoke, consuming alcohol, or drugs. These substances can affect milk production and they are also harmful for you and your little one.
  • Finally, remember that the milk you produce will vary according to your baby’s needs and the number of times he feeds.

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Tips for successful breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a learning process that requires patience and practice. Experts recommend you try to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible, since this will help your baby feel calm too. Likewise, as long as you and your baby are comfortable, feel free to choose to breastfeed standing, sitting or lying down.

If you choose to sit, you can try different breastfeeding positions, such as the cradle hold (baby positioned in front of you with his head resting on your forearm), cross-cradle (baby in front of you, but held with the arm opposite to the feeding breast) or in a football position (as if you were carrying a football on your side). Whatever positions you choose just make sure that your baby’s whole body is close to yours. Continue reading

The great benefits of breast milk

Breast milk is a great gift of nature and a universal aspect of motherhood. Not only does it provide adequate and personalized nutrition for your little one, but it also helps to strengthen the emotional bond between you and your baby; it provides complete nutrition in every way.

The composition of breast milk is ideal for babies, since it reduces the risk of acquiring diseases and infections, and contains all the nutrients that a baby’s brain requires! By consuming your milk, the eyes, heart, intestines, and virtually every other organ in your baby’s body receives the benefits to work at their full potential. That is not all, breast milk contains antibodies and prebiotics that allow a good digestion and protect against gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. It also prevents ear infections, pneumonia, meningitis, the development of allergic reactions, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and more. That’s just wonderful! Breast milk also helps promote bonding and helps with physical development, as breastfeeding contributes to the appropriate growth of your baby’s jaw and facial muscles. Continue reading

My diet while I am breastfeeding

During breastfeeding, it’s important to take care of our diet and eat a variety of nutritious foods. However, is following a special diet necessary?

According to nutrition experts, a perfect diet is not required. You just need to find a nutritional balance that helps you and your baby get the necessary nutrients. Likewise, don’t try a low-calorie diet; you will need lots of energy to produce milk. In fact, one of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it can help women lose the weight gained during pregnancy! Furthermore, following a good diet will help you produce more milk and feel good when nursing.

You are probably wondering if there are any food restrictions -and luckily, there are no forbidden foods! However, each baby is different and what affects your little one may not affect others. It is widely known that the foods that cause more discomfort are gas producers, such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and others, including food that affects the flavor of milk, like garlic, onions, and some spices. You don’t have to avoid the consumption of these foods, just pay attention to what you eat and if you notice a pattern of cramping, gas, or some discomfort in your baby that doesn’t stop, consult your pediatrician. He or she will most likely recommend avoiding the consumption of certain foods to see if any changes occur. With this in mind, you will be able to verify your baby’s reactions when you eat specific foods.

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Is extended breastfeeding for me?

Deciding when to stop breastfeeding is a very personal issue. You and your child know the best time to stop, nobody else does. Even though your baby is probably already an expert at eating solids and breast milk is not the primary source of nutrition, it continues to provide energy, vitamins, and antibodies that strengthen your child’s immune system. Furthermore, breastfeeding remains a great source of comfort and security. Despite the fact that children’s excessive dependence due to breastfeeding has been criticized, research has shown the opposite. You may continue breastfeeding to reassure your baby when sick or altered, after a fall, or just because you want to keep doing so. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years or beyond.

Dealing with criticism

People always seem to have an opinion about everything; breastfeeding during the first year, or even after 6 months, is not an exception. Don’t let criticism affect you. Breastfeeding is a natural act full of tenderness and love! The best indicator to know that you are right is your own instinct and your partner’s support, but not the views of others. Likewise, if you feel that breastfeeding doesn’t affect your child’s social growth or interfere between you and your partner, just keep on doing it.

Experts suggest that when your child begins to talk, you can create a secret word that only you and your baby know. In that way, when he wants to be breastfed, your little one can say this word. You can also decide to only breastfeed at home, that way your child will know that when you are out he will drink milk out of his own bottle and not from mom’s breast. Don’t forget to listen to instinct and think about what is best for you and your little one. You’ll hear some unsolicited advice or opinions from family or close friends. Listen to them and thank them for their concern. Use your sense of humor to lighten up the conversation, and remember that, at the end of the day, you will decide what is best for your little one!

What to do when breast pain occurs?

Breastfeeding for the first time is something entirely new! It’s an experience that takes practice and requires technique, patience, and perseverance. Moreover, even though it is completely natural, that doesn’t mean it “comes naturally” for everyone –it requires learning for both you and your baby. It is so new and different that you may even experience some pain and strange feelings at first. Don’t worry, that’s completely normal. As time passes by, you’ll notice it’ll get easier. At first, when you start breastfeeding, you may feel cramps in your lower abdomen; that is mainly due to the contraction of the uterus as it gets back to its normal size. Now, despite being aware that breastfeeding may hurt, you shouldn’t feel any pain after 30 to 60 seconds as long as your baby suckles correctly. If you keep feeling pain after one minute, stop breastfeeding for a moment and then change your baby’s position. Just remember to wait until he stops sucking before removing him from your breast. Don’t forget to gently run your fingers over his gums to get him to release your nipple. This way you can prevent hurt and sore nipples. When you change your baby’s position, make sure that your areola is completely in his mouth and he is not just grasping your nipple, because this may cause you a lot of pain.

Now, if you feel pain in your breast for any other reason aside your baby’s grasp, it can be due to the following causes:

  • Mastitis: an infection that presents itself with flu symptoms, including fever and fatigue, as well as sporadic chills and inflammation, red swollen body parts, and hot, hard or sensitive breast areas.
  • Yeast infection: burning sensation or deep pain in the breasts or nipples that surge during or after lactation, and which doesn’t stop after changing your baby’s feeding position.

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What to do if breastfeeding is not for me?

Although the major medical associations recommend breastfeeding as the best choice of exclusive feeding for the first 6 months of life, this is not always the best option for all moms. In this case, there are commercial formulas that provide adequate nutrition for infants and can meet your requirements since they contain the following advantages:

  • Comfort: The father and other relatives are able to help moms in sharing the responsibility of feeding the baby.
  • Flexibility and convenience: Mom can have more freedom to go out and transfer the responsibility to another caregiver, allowing her to plan ahead and organize her time.
  • Time: The formula digests slower than breast milk so you have more time between each feeding.
  • No dietary restrictions: Mom doesn’t have to worry about the type of food she consumes.

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