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Why is Breastfeeding Important?

Why is Breastfeeding Important?

The benefits of breastfeeding have been well documented. Though it is most apparent during infancy, these benefits have enduring effects that promote optimal health throughout the life of the breastfed baby and his mother. Human milk is a complex, living substance with numerous disease-fighting and health-promoting ingredients; it is a complete infant support-system that provides both nutrition and protection. Breast milk contains immune molecules called antibodies that destroy germs. The mother's immune system makes these antibodies and they constantly adapt. When a baby or mother is exposed to a new germ, the mother's immune cells are activated and manufacture antibodies to combat that specific germ. These antibodies and disease-fighting cells will quickly appear in the milk and the mother will pass them to her baby at the next feeding. There are hundreds of human milk components that interact synergistically to both nourish and protect infants and young children. On the other hand, infant formula provides nutrition only: it has no benefit to the baby beyond basic nutrition.

Breastfeeding benefits women as well. Some of the benefits are long lasting and appear to remain with mothers for years after they have weaned their last child.

Benefits for Baby
  • Breastfed babies have fewer colds, respiratory infections, ear infections, and occurrences of influenza.
  • Breastfeeding is good for the digestive tract. Babies who are formula-fed are sixteen times more likely to have diarrhea than breastfed babies. Breastfeeding may protect against Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and celiac disease.
  • Exclusively breastfeeding for at least three months reduces the risk of juvenile diabetes (Type I) by up to 30%. It also reduces the risk of developing late onset or Type II diabetes.
  • Evidence suggests breastfed babies are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease as adults.
  • Breastfed infants have fewer childhood cancers and baby girls will have less chance of contracting breast and ovarian cancer as adults.
  • Because breastfed babies get sick less often, there will be fewer doctor and hospital visits and less money spent on antibiotics and other medications.
  • Breastfeeding for more than four months reduces the risk of hospitalization for a respiratory infection by 72%.
  • Even when a breastfed baby gets sick, the illness is usually less severe and lasts a shorter time than the same illness in a baby not receiving mother's milk.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding lowers the risk of food allergies, asthma, eczema, and skin rashes.
  • Breast milk contains high levels of certain fats that are required to support brain and nerve growth. Breastfed children have higher IQs, better developed neurological systems, and sharper vision.
  • Breastfeeding promotes strong attachment. The act of breastfeeding insures that a baby will be in his mother's arms many times every day; in fact a breastfed baby is touched and held almost twice as much as a formula-fed infant. Attachment is not a parenting style, but a biological necessity for normal mental health and optimal brain development.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop adult obesity. The longer the baby is breastfed the lower the obesity risk. Breastfed infants regulate their intake according to their caloric needs and actually control their mothers' milk production.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by 38%. One theory suggests that because breastfed babies sleep less deeply, they are more likely to arouse if having breathing difficulty. Breastfeeding's protection from infection may also help lower the risk of SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding results in earlier development of an infant's immune system.
  • Breastfeeding helps to develop mouth and facial muscles.

Benefits for Mother

  • Breastfeeding enhances attachment. Every time a mom nurses her baby, she releases the hormone oxytocin. This hormone not only causes a mother to release her milk (the milk ejection or let-down reflex), but it makes her fall in love with her baby. It has been dubbed the "mothering" hormone.
  • Oxytocin also provides another of breastfeeding's great benefits: protecting women's mental health. Oxytocin down-regulates stress. The effects of constantly lowering stress during breastfeeding persist long past weaning.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breast cancer risk is reduced by 4.3 % for each year that a woman breastfeeds, and each additional pregnancy reduces the risk by 7 %-a decrease of as much as 60%. This benefit is dose-related and cumulative: the longer a mother breastfeeds, the lower her risk of developing breast cancer. The reasons for this reduced cancer risk are still unclear and complex, but new evidence points to the cycling history of mammary cells. The cycle of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weaning may be important for the health of the breast. Weaning completes the cycle. Lower estrogen levels during breastfeeding may contribute to the decreased risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. Women who do not breast feed have a 1.5-fold increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of osteoporosis. New mothers experience a loss in bone density during the early months of breastfeeding; but as their fertility returns, their bones act like sponges, absorbing extra calcium. This results in greater bone density and stronger bones. Women who do not breastfeed have a four times higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Breastfeeding helps mothers lose weight. Making milk for one baby requires approximately 500 hundred calories a day. Weight loss during the first year after birth is significantly greater in women who breastfeed as compared to those women who do not. The greatest weight loss takes place between three and six months post partum.
  • Women who breastfeed have a lowered risk of developing metabolic syndrome which is characterized by diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. A recent theory suggests that breastfeeding reverses changes that occur in a woman's body during pregnancy. These changes are increased fat stores, elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased insulin resistance. In other words, during pregnancy women develop mild metabolic syndrome. Breastfeeding can actually reset these changes.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months can delay the return of ovulation and reduce the chance of conception.
  • Breastfeeding moms experience improved sleep and relaxation. Evidence shows that breastfeeding women fall asleep more quickly and actually get more sleep.
  • Breastfeeding encourages normal uterine contractions that not only control post partum bleeding, but return the uterus to the pre-pregnant state more rapidly than in non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • Breastfeeding saves time. It is readily available, just the right temperature, and won't be contaminated or improperly mixed.
  • Breastfeeding mothers will miss fewer workdays because their babies are less likely to be sick.

Benefits for Dad

  • Breastfeeding is cheaper. The cost of formula is $1,200-$1,800 a year. Other costs of not breastfeeding are:
    • More doctors office visit and more hospitalizations.
    • More need for antibiotics and other medication.
  • Dads do not have to get up at night-although help is very appreciated, especially in the early weeks.
  • Breastfed babies' stools are less offensive than formula stools.
  • Dads feel satisfied knowing their baby is receiving the best possible food that will enable their children to achieve optimal health.

Benefits for the World

Breastfeeding is Green. Increased breastfeeding would decrease health care costs worldwide. The US could save $13 billion each year on medical costs if 90% of women nursed their infants exclusively for the first six months. This estimate is based solely on the decreased cost of the care of babies, and does not include savings for the decreased health care costs of the nursing mothers.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

 


See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

 

Copyright© 2013 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur.

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Overactive Let-Down

Overactive Let-Down

The ability to produce enough milk is a common concern among breastfeeding mothers. The lack of proper education, no role models, and the loss of breastfeeding as a cultural norm, have contributed to the myth that women might have insufficient milk supplies. When, in fact, almost all women are capable of producing adequate volumes of milk for their babies. But how much is too much? And what should you do if you have overactive let-down!

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Deep Latch Technique

Deep Latch Technique

FREE - New Mother's Breastfeeding Support Group!  Sign Up Now - Use Code FreeSG at Checkout!

In order to get milk from the breast, the baby must latch onto the breast. The word "latch" describes the way a baby takes the breast into his/her mouth. The better the latch, the more easily the baby gets mother's milk. The following "deep latch technique" can help your baby feed more easily. It can also prevent damaged and sore nipples.

Remember:It's not supposed to hurt to breastfeed. Sore nipples almost always mean your baby needs to be latched on more deeply.

We offer professional Lactation Consultations. Our team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants offer one-on-one, gentle, "hands-on" advice for all breastfeeding problems.

  1. Hold your breast with your thumb and index finger on the edge of the areola forming a "C" (football hold), or a "U" (cross cradle hold). Squeeze the finger and thumb toward each other to compress the breast. Keep your fingers off to the side forming "half a sandwich" or just "pinching an inch".
  2. When putting the baby to the breast, support your baby's head with one hand, thumb near one ear, third finger near the other ear, with the web of your hand at the nape of your baby's neck. Tip the head slightly backwards by lifting between your baby's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  3. With your baby's head tilted back and chin up, lift him or her to touch your nipple. The nipple should rest just above the baby's upper lip. Wait for your baby to open very wide, then "scoop" the breast by placing the lower jaw on first. Now tip your baby's head forward and place the upper jaw well behind your nipple. Keep your thumb pressing down to form the flattened sandwich as you place your baby's upper jaw behind the nipple. The lower jaw will be more deeply positioned then the upper jaw.
  4. Wait several seconds, then release your breast. If your baby's nose is buried deeply in the breast, tip the head slightly so you can see your baby's nostril while the nose still touches the breast. There is no need to continue pressing the breast with your thumb.

Tips to remember:

First, all babies have receded chins. If your baby's head drops forward, he/she cannot get the lower jaw correctly positioned deeply under the areola. This results in pinched, sore, blistered, scabbed, nipples and the possibility of poor milk flow.

Second, the deep latch can be achieved with any position of the baby: "football", "cradle", or "cross-cradle" holds, but it is easier if you sit up straight and use pillows to support you and your baby.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items

The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products
See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

Copyright ©2017 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 05/2010

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Low Milk Supply

Low Milk Supply

In the United States, concern about low milk supply is the most common reason given by women for supplementation and early weaning. Why do so many women in our culture lack confidence in their ability to adequately nourish their babies? Sociologists believe, that during the last century, the decline in breastfeeding contributed to the loss of knowledge about how breastfeeding really works, and how breastfed babies behave.

What Mothers Need to Know:
  • It is normal for women to feel that they don't have milk in their breasts the first days after birth. Frequent breastfeeding during this time will meet the new baby's need and cause the milk supply to increase rapidly.
  • A good milk supply is encouraged by frequent sucking and effective removal of milk. If milk is not being removed from the breast, the supply will not increase, but instead drop. If a baby needs more milk he will usually nurse more frequently which causes the hormone Prolactin to rise and the milk supply to increase.
  • New research shows that although almost all women can produce plenty of milk, some women need to nurse more often than others in order to meet their baby's caloric need.
  • A baby needs to be latched deeply onto the areola, not just the nipple, to effectively remove milk.
  • Human milk passes through the baby's stomach in 48-90 minutes. The breastfed newborn needs to nurse 8-12 times/24 hours, while the formula fed baby feeds only 6-8 times/24 hours. If a breastfeeding mother tries to feed her baby on a bottle schedule, her baby may not get enough food.
  • A baby will often need to be held, rocked, jiggled and bounced (just as in the womb) even after a good feed. Babies cry for reasons other than hunger. Don't worry about "spoiling" a newborn by holding him too much. If a baby's needs are met, trust is built and good self-esteem and independence will follow.
  • Young babies have a 3-hour wakeful stretch every day, during which they want to be at their mothers' breast the majority of the time (the marathon feed). This usually occurs in late afternoon/evening and is normal.
Possible Causes of Low Milk Supply:
  • Difficult or poor latch-on that leads to poor milk removal. If a baby cannot sustain attachment to the breast for more than a few sucks or if he is only on the nipple, he cannot remove milk and is not nursing well.
  • Early introduction of a bottle. If given formula, the baby won't need to breastfeed often and decreased breast stimulation will generally result in a decreased milk supply. If your doctor advises supplementing your baby, check with a lactation consultant for extra guidance in protecting and maximizing your milk supply.
  • Babies set their own schedule and some need to eat more often than others. Research indicates that a mother needs to be responsive to her particular baby's lead and not adhere to a rigid plan.
  • A sleepy, non-demanding baby. Make sure the baby is coming to the breast 8-12 times in 24 hours. Once weight gain is established, relax and follow the baby's lead.
  • Anything that keeps a baby from nursing vigorously (jaundice, prematurity, illness).
  • Augmentation and reduction breast surgery are both possible risks for a low milk supply. A lactation consultant can help devise a plan to maximize milk supply.
  • A woman who has absolutely no breast changes during pregnancy or during the first week after birth may be at risk for a low supply. Seek extra advice from a consultant.
  • Reduced breast stimulation as a result of: (next li Long Sleep... should be nested)
    • Long sleep stretches by the baby
    • A mother's busy lifestyle
    • Insufficient rest due to a mother's return to the workplace
    • Introduction of alternate baby foods
  • Hormonal contraception. Even the "mini" pill causes some women's milk supply to drop dramatically.
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive exercise and/or dieting
Ways to Increase Milk Supply:
  • Improve the baby's latch.
  • Increase breast stimulation:
    • Add more feedings and/or nurse longer. Wake the baby for feeds if necessary. Unwrap and undress to help waken.
    • Use a good quality breast pump (hospital grade) and follow most breastfeeds with a 15-minute pumping session. Be patient, it may take a few days or longer to see results.
    • While nursing on the second side, pump the breast the baby just finished (third breast pumping). This effective technique saves a lot of time.
    • Switch sides. When the baby gets sleepy, remove from the breast, burp and switch to the other side. Repeat until the baby won't nurse anymore.
  • Try herbal supplements: Mothers Milk tea, Fenugreek capsules (3 capsules 3 times daily), and Fennel seeds (crushed and made into tea, or just chewed). The effectiveness of these remedies is anecdotal, not research-based, but many mothers find it very helpful.
  • Eat a well balanced diet with lots of whole grains and increase your fluid intake.
  • Ask your OB/GYN to help you choose a non-hormonal contraceptive method.
  • See a lactation consultant for an in-depth evaluation and strategies for improving your milk supply.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe Reglan or Domperidone (Motillium). These medications are usually used for gastric problems but have a side effect of raising the level of the hormone that increases milk supply. Domperidone must be made by a compounding pharmacy.
Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

Products to help increase milk


See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

Copyright©2017 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 01/06

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Raynaud's Phenomenon (Vasospasm of the Nipple)

Raynaud's Phenomenon (Vasospasm of the Nipple)

FREE - New Mother's Breastfeeding Support Group!  Sign Up Now - Use Code FreeSG at Checkout!

Raynaud's phenomenon is a term used to describe intermittent loss of blood flow to some extremities due to a spasm in the blood vessels (vasospasm). The most commonly affected areas are the fingers and toes, but it can affect the nipples as well. The constriction of blood flow causes a loss of color and severe pain. Raynaud's phenomenon is known to occur in up to 22% of otherwise healthy women of childbearing age, and is now recognized by many lactation experts as a treatable cause of painful breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding women with Raynaud’s phenomenon experience debilitating nipple pain that usually follows the feeding (although it can occur during the feeding) and may last for hours. When the warm mouth of the baby comes off the breast, the face of the nipple, or part of the nipple, will blanch white and burning pain begins. The nipple can go through several color changes (white, blue, red) and the entire breast may throb. Poor positioning and poor latch may cause nipple damage, nipple blanching and pain, and are thought by some to trigger the problem. However, the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon can occur even without improper breastfeeding techniques and nipple damage. Not all nipple vasospasm is Raynaud's Phenomenon and may fully resolve if the latch can be improved and the damage healed. Exposure to cold is also a known trigger in Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Treatment Options include the following:
  • If your nipples are sore and damaged, make an appointment to see a lactation professional who can evaluate your latch technique and help you to improve it.
    Lactation Consultations are offered at The Pump Station & Nurtury®
  • Prevent or decrease any cold exposure to your breasts. Heat will usually stop the vasospasm, which will increase blood flow to the nipples and help alleviate the pain.
    • Cover breasts and keep them warm. Even your warm hands can help.
    • While nursing, keep the opposite breast covered and warm.
    • Wear hand warmers inside your bra when going out into cold air.
    • Use dry heat when experiencing pain. Try a hair dryer or heating pad to warm breasts. Wet, warm compresses will help during use, but when removed, evaporation will occur causing cooling, and the pain can start again.
    • Massage olive oil, warmed between your fingers, into the nipple when it is burning. Press forward from the base of the nipple which helps blood flow forward into the nipple.
  • Don't smoke. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and can increase episodes.
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Check labels to make sure soft drinks don't contain caffeine.
  • Avoid vibration. Use a good quality breast pump that has a smooth, comfortable action.
  • Reduce stess. Try a post partum yoga class, a few minutes of meditation or a little nap when the baby is sleeping. Let others help with cooking and chores if at all possible.
Medication:
  • Nifedipine. (one 30 mg., long-acting tablet/daily). This prescriptive medication is a calcium channel blocker and vasodilator used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It has been shown to be very effective in quickly relieving the pain of Raynaud's phenomenon and might be the best course of treatment. Very little of this medication enters the milk so it is considered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be a safe option for breastfeeding women. Call your primary care physician or your obstetrician to discuss. Try Nifedipine for two weeks; if the pain returns you can go back on the medication.
  • Vitamin B6. Take 100-200 mg daily for 4 days, then 25 mg/day from then on. If pain free for 2 weeks, try weaning off altogether.
  • Fish Oil has been helpful to some women. A recent study suggests that a higher than usual dose (perhaps 12 g daily) is required to get results. Check with your physician.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products
Items Our Team Recommends
breast pain relief cold compress Lansinoh Breast Therapy
Lansinoh 3-1 Breast Therapy
soothe sore breasts with warm booby tubes
Earth Mama Booby Tubes
Easier pumping with Medela Breast Pump
Medela Breast Pumps
deep latch help with nursing pillow
Luna Lullaby Nursing Pillow
better deep-latch with back pillow
The Pump Station Back Pillow
get deep latch using adjustable stool
My Brest Friend Adjustable Stool

Copyright© 2014 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, without permission in writing from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 01/06
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Definitions of Breastfeeding Acronyms & Abbreviations

Definitions of Breastfeeding Acronyms & Abbreviations
  • BA/BS/BSN - Bachelors of Arts/Science/Nursing
  • CCE - Certified Childbirth Educator
  • CEIM - Certified Educator in Infant Massage
  • CIMI - Certified Infant Massage Instructor
  • CLE - Certified Lactation Educator
  • DC - Doctor of Chiropractic
  • IBCLC - International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
  • ICCE - International Certified Childbirth Educator
  • LAc - Licensed Acupuncturist
  • LCCE - Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator
  • LCSW - Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • LMFT - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • LMT - Licensed Massage Therapist
  • MA/MS/MN - Master of Arts /Science /Nursing
  • MD - Medical Doctor
  • MFT - Marriage and Family Therapist
  • MFTI - Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
  • MPA - Master of Public Administration
  • MPH - Master of Public Health
  • MSED - Master of Science in Education
  • MSW - Master of Social Work
  • PsyD - Doctor of Psychology
  • RD - Registered Dietitian
  • RN - Registered Nurse

Certified Lactation Educators (CLE):
We have certified lactation educators available by phone or email 7 days a week. We also have certified Lactation Consultants available for appointments. Our Pump Station library of educational handouts covers a variety of topics ranging from sore-nipples and engorgement, to dealing with thrush and mastitis. Our educators can assist you in finding the educational materials you need in our stores and on our website.

Store Locations & Hours

Phone: (310) 998-1981

Email: info@pumpstation.com

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics Continue reading

Breast Pumping Guidelines

Breast Pumping Guidelines
There are many reasons women pump their breasts to provide milk for their babies. Some are separated from their hospitalized newborns and must pump to provide the many benefits of mothers' milk. Others must return to the workplace but want their babies to continue receiving breast milk. Whatever the reason, mothers have many questions about the pumping process. Continue reading

Breastmilk Collection and Storage

Breastmilk Collection and Storage

How to Collect Breastmilk for Newborns

  • Wash hands well with soap and water.
  • Wash all the collecting bottles and breastpump parts that touch your breasts or the milk. Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher. Rinse carefully. Air dry on a clean towel. When soap and water are not available use Medela Quick Clean products. If your baby is premature or ill, the hospital may ask you to sterilize your pump parts.
    • Read the instruction book that comes with your pump and follow the suggestions. Sterilize your pump parts once a day as described.
    • Practice pumping when you are rested, relaxed and your breasts feel full. Once a day try to nurse your baby only on one side and pump the other breast. Or pump for a few minutes if your baby skips a feeding or nurses for only a short while. Read the Storage Guidelines chart to learn how to store breast milk. Be sure to use the right size breastshield so that your nipple fits comfortably. Medela makes different sizes of PersonalFitT breastshields to fit all nipple sizes, from small to extra large.

    Working Moms

    • Working moms can help their baby learn to take a bottle once breastfeeding is going well. It is best to wait for 3 to 4 weeks to introduce bottles. If you are having problems breastfeeding, ask for help.
    • Begin to pump to store milk 1 to 2 weeks before returning to work. Many employed moms use the fresh milk they pump at work for feedings the next day. They refrigerate Friday's milk for use on Monday. Save your frozen milk for emergencies.
    • Pump 3x during an 8 hour work shift, or every 3 hours you are away from your baby. 10 minutes of pumping during breaks and 15 minutes of pumping during lunch with a good pump will help protect your milk supply. If you can't pump 3x, pump as much as you can during each day. Breastfeeding in the evening and over the weekend helps your milk supply and protects your special bond with your baby.

    Storing Breastmilk

    • It is normal for pumped milk to vary in color, consistency and scent depending on your diet. Stored milk separates into layers. Cream will rise to the top. Gently swirl the warmed bottle to mix the milk layers.
    • You can continue to add small amounts of cooled breastmilk to the same refrigerated container throughout the day. Avoid adding warm milk to already cooled milk.
    • Store your milk in glass or hard plastic containers, or in milk storage bags made especially for breast milk. The Medela Collection-Storage-Freezer (CSF) Bag is designed with two-layer construction to protect your stored milk. The bags come with twist ties for easy sealing. Place smaller bags inside a larger food storage bag to prevent accidental punctures.
    • Freeze milk in 2 to 5 oz portions. Small amounts will thaw more quickly. You will waste less milk this way and will avoid over-feeding. Liquids expand when frozen. Be sure to leave some extra room at the top of the container so the bottle or bag won't burst.
    • Seal containers tightly. Write the date on a piece of masking tape on the bag or bottle. Use the oldest milk first.
    • If you do not plan to use the milk within a few days, freeze it right away in the coldest section of your freezer. Do not place the bottle or bag up against the wall of the freezer.

    Storage Guidelines

    Breastmilk Storage (For Healthy Term Babies)
      Room Temperature Cooler with 3 Frozen Ice Packs Refrigerator Self-contained Refrigerator Freezer Unit Deep Freezer
    Freshly expressed breastmilk 4 hours at 66-72°F 19-22°C) 24 hours at 59°F (15°C) 5-7 days at 32-39°F (0°C) 3-4 months 6-12 months at 0°F (-19°C)
    Thawed breastmilk (previously frozen) Do Not store Do Not store 24 hours Never refreeze thawed milk Never refreeze thawed milk

     

    Defrosting

    • Thaw milk overnight in the refrigerator, or hold the bottle under warm running water to quickly thaw. You can also place the sealed container in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes to bring it to body temperature.
    • Thawed milk is safe in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Do not refreeze.
    CAUTION: Never microwave breastmilk. Microwaving can cause severe burns to baby's mouth from hot spots that develop in the milk during microwaving. Microwaving can also change the composition of breastmilk.

     

    Feeding Tips

    • Choose a slow-flow bottle nipple and limit feeding size to 3 to 5 oz of milk for babies younger than 6 months.
    • Remove the bottle nipple out of the baby's mouth periodically to let the baby catch his or her breath.
    • Pause to burp the baby when needed.
    • If baby seems fussy in between feedings it may be because of thirst. Offer 1 to 2 oz of milk. Babies 4 months or older can have a sip of water from a cup.
    • Avoid over-feeding. Offer a pacifier or teething toy to give your baby more sucking enjoyment after finishing a bottle.
    • Sometimes, babies do not fully finish bottles of breastmilk. Mothers wonder if they can re-refrigerate and re-use this milk. We have no information about whether or not this is safe to do. Please check with your doctor.

    Your Milk Supply and Your Baby's Needs

    • We used to think that mothers needed to make more and more milk as their babies grew. Scientists now know that a healthy milk supply remains fairly constant over the 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.
    • During the early weeks, babies eat very frequently and grow very quickly. By Day 10, babies should recover any lost birth weight. For the next few months, little girls should gain about an ounce a day, and little boys slightly more than an ounce.
    • Around 3 to 4 months, a breastfed baby's rate of growth begins to slow down. Continuing to gain weight rapidly after this time may contribute to obesity later on. This means that the milk supply established in the early days will continue to satisfy the baby until it is time to introduce solids at 6 months.
    • By the end of the first week of life, women who are breastfeeding one baby normally make between 19 to 30 oz of milk each day. Infants between 1 and 6 months of age normally drink an average of 19 to 30 oz a day. (Daley, Owens, Hartmann, 1993.) An average size "meal" for a baby is between 3 to 5 oz of breastmilk. Formula is harder to digest and less well absorbed. Formula fed babies may need larger feeds. Consult your doctor for advice.
    Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
    To see a more comprehensive list of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, visit Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products
      Collect milk with your own Medela Breast Pump


    See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

    References:

    Butte N, Garza C, Smith E, Nichols B: Human milk intake and growth in exclusively breast-fed infants, J Pediatrics 1984; 104:187-194.
    Daly S, Owens R, Hartmann P: The Short-Term Synthesis and Infant-Regulated Removal of Milk in Lactating Women, Experimental Physiol 1993; 78:209-220.
    Dewey K, Heinig M, Nommsen L, Peerson J, Lonnerdal B: Growth of breast-fed and formula-fed infants from 0-18 months. The DARLING study, Pediatrics 1992; 89(6):1035-1040.
    Dewey K: Is breastfeeding protective against child obesity? J Human Lactation 2003; 19(1):9-18.
    Hamosh M, Ellis L, Pollock D, et al: Breastfeeding and the Working Mother: Effect of Time and Temperature of Short-term Storage on Proteolysis, Lipolysis, and Bacterial Growth in Milk, Pediatrics 1996; 97(4):492-498.
    Lawrence R and Lawrence R: Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, 1999.
    Quan R, Yang C, Rubinstein S, et al: Effects of Microwave Radiation on Anti-infective Factors in Human Milk, Pediatrics 1992; 88:667-679.
    Sosa R, Barness L: Bacterial growth in refrigerated human milk, Am J Dis Child 1987; 141:111-115.
    Stock J, Morhbacher N: The Breastfeeding Answer Book, La Leche League International, 2003.

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    Donate Mother's Milk Bank

    Donate Mother's Milk Bank

     

    If you have an abundance of milk and would be willing to donate this life saving gift to the Mothers' Milk Bank, there is currently a desperate shortage. If you can help, please contact the Mothers' Milk Bank. Information is listed below.

    REQUIREMENTS
    Donor milk banks receive milk from lactating mothers who have been carefully screened for health concerns and communicable diseases, similarly to the way blood banks screen donors. Additionally, milk bank donors must:

    • be non-smokers
    • not consume excluded medications or alcohol within the specified exclusion period

    If you are eligible to donate blood, then you probably meet the criteria for donating milk.

    Interested in donating? Click Here for More Details!

    The Mothers' Milk Bank, located at Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA, is a licensed tissue bank that has been providing milk banking services for over 40 years. Since 1974, over 10,000 donors have provided over 3 million ounces of milk to help babies survive and thrive. Last year our volunteer mothers donated over 507,000oz. of milk to babies in 13 states!

    All milk banks are not created equal. Mothers' Milk Bank is non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, and a charter member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) Many milk banks sell donated milk to for-profit companies that process and distribute the milk. To guarantee that you are donating to a non-profit milk bank, make sure that they are a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).  HMBANA Milk Banks are committed to:

    • Maintaining non-profit status
    • Providing community service
    • Offering reasonable prices
    • Ensuring the highest quality
    Location Contact
    Mothers' Milk Bank
    Valley Medical Center
    751 S. Bascom Ave.
    San Jose, CA 95128
    Toll Free Phone:(877) 375-6645
    Website: mothersmilk.org
    Facebook: Facebook.com/mothersmilkbanksj

    More Resources

    La Leche League International

    Northwest Mothers' Milk Bank

    Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast

    Mothers' Milk Bank Austin

    Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas

    WakeMed Mothers' Milk Bank in Raleigh, NC (serves New York State)

    Mothers' Milk Bank of Ohio

    Mothers' Milk Bank Colorado

    Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank

    Find More Milk Banks at Human Milk Banking Association of North America (includes locations Canada)

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