1. Why is it so important to get off to a good start when you begin to breast feed your baby?

When your placenta is delivered after the birth of your baby this is the function that puts the body in motion to change colostrum into breast milk. Prolactin is the milk making hormone and oxytocin is the hormone that lets the milk come out of the breasts. Prolactin levels are at their peak right after birth and during the first 2-3 weeks of life. You want to take advantage of this critical time period to lay down a healthy milk supply. After the first 3 weeks lactation becomes an autocratic system in the body where you take the milk out this day the same amount of milk will be made for the next day. The growing infant drives the supply and slowly increases it to his or her needs.  It is possible to increase your milk supply after the first 3 weeks but it may not be as successful.

  1. Why is colostrum so good for my baby?

Colostrum is called “liquid gold” or “immune milk” because of it’s amazing benefits to your baby. It has 10 times the infection fighting components than breast milk alone and breast milk has it’s own set of immune properties. Colostrum coats your baby’s mouth, esophagus, their stomach and intestines preventing germs from being able to penetrate into their system. It is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. You body will start to manufacture colostrum in your 20th week of pregnancy. Click here

  1. What are the benefits of skin to skin with my baby?

Skin to skin has so many more benefits than just bonding with your baby. During the first hour after birth and the first few days your infant should be placed skin to skin because it helps to maintain infant’s blood sugar and body temperature. Initially skin to skin can helps to stabilize an infant’s respiratory system. You can be your baby’s intensive care unit! Skin to skin helps to wake your baby for feeding and enhances breastfeeding. Your infant will cry less when they are skin to skin with you. It enhances gut health and immunity because baby is slathered in your skin flora. It reduces postpartum depression and of course enhances bonding. Fathers can and should also do skin to skin with their baby. 7 reasons to be skin to skin with your baby after birth

  1. When will my milk transition from colostrum to milk?

Colostrum is present in your breasts from 20 weeks of pregnancy until your milk “comes in” between day 2 and day 5 after birth. If this is not your first baby and you breastfed before your milk may come in as soon as 24 hours after birth. Click here for more information

  1. What details are involved in a good latch onto the breast?Baby-Breastfed

A few things to look for when your infant latches include a upper and  lower lip that flanges outward like “fish lips”. If your baby does not do this naturally you can manipulate the lower and upper lip to make this happen as it will increase your comfort while breastfeeding. You want your baby to latch onto your breasts only when they have their mouth wide open in what is called “rooting”. (they look just like a baby bird waiting on a worm). The lower lip has to connect to your breast first and then the upper lip and mouth come down on top of the nipple. The angle of your baby’s open mouth should be at least 100 degrees and preferably 110-130 degrees. An open angle of 90 degrees will cause pain and possible injury to your nipples. The picture to your right is a good latch with both lips flanged and an angle on baby’s mouth of 120 degrees. Click here

  1. How will I know if my baby is getting enough breast milk?

You will be the best judge of how your baby is feeding. Without a weigh scale you have to rely on your observations and infant’s behavior. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Is my baby staying awake and actively swallowing milk while breastfeeding? Does my baby rest well after nursing or does my baby continue to root around looking for more food? Is my baby having ample wet diapers? Is my baby having stools that are changing from black to brown to seedy and yellow. If you answered yes to these questions your baby is most probably getting enough milk from you. Weight is the absolute best indicator of breastfeeding management. My advice is to buy a 50 dollar scale off of Amazon to ensure your baby is gaining the appropriate amount of weight. Click here for more information

  1. Will insurance pay for a breast pump and a for a lactation consultant to come to my home?

In line with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA)  insurance companies by law are required to pay for a breast pump and lactation services for it’s clients. Some insurance companies are still not in line with the ACA because they are considered “grandfathered” out of providing these services. Within time this will change because they can’t stay “grandfathered” forever. When they make changes to a companies insurance benefits then they have to take on all the new laws, hence the ACA will have to be honored. The specifics of the ACA are not spelled out and differ from insurance company to insurance company. What that means is an insurance company does not have to provide a double electric pump, they may only provide a hand held single flanged manual pump. Call your insurance company and see what they will provide for you. Click here

8. Which pump do I choose?   There are multiple choices  with differing functionalities to choose from. Important things to look for in a pump are that they be a double electric pump to start. Battery capable would be a nice feature, less working parts to have to wash and rinse, a timer and a light are nice features.  The Spectra pump is the first hospital grade pump at retail prices. It has a built in light and timer, you can adjust the suction and speed at different levels, it has a nice carry handle and a well to carry a bottle. The blue one, Spectra 1 is battery capable, the pink one, Spectra 2 is not capable of running on a battery. Two different flange sizes are usually included with a pump. The Advanced Pump In Style from Medela is an old pump but a good one. The flanges need to fit appropriately to get the most out of your milk supply. In 2019 wearable battery operated breast pumps have been introduced. The Willow and the Elvie are the 2 most popular brands. You wear the pump under your bra and you control it through an app on your phone. The milk yields are not quite as large as they are with an electric pump but since the mother can wear it she may be able to pump more often and in the end have the same yield as she would get with a traditional electric pump.  Consumer Reports evaluates breast pumps here.