Breast Massage and Hand Expression

Had a baby?  Get to know your boobs!!!  Breast massage and hand expression are great skills for all lactating moms to learn.  Hand expression can help you get milk to rub into your sore nipples, express more milk than with just a breast pump, even get you out of a jam if you’re away from your baby and your pump!  There are many ways to do it; experiment and you’ll find what works best for you and your body.

Maya Bolman, IBCLC has a great video; as does Dr. Jane Morton at Stanford University.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Did You Know?…

  • Feeding your baby more frequently during the first week after birth can help increase your milk supply two months later!
  • California now has 61″Baby Friendly” birth facilities!
  • 80% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract. Breast milk coats the lining of your baby’s digestive tract protecting it from harmful microbes.  Human milk also has special growth factors that will help your baby’s immune system mature.
  • Businesses in the US with over 50 employees are now federally required to offer mothers reasonable time and space to express their milk.
  • Crying is a late sign of hunger.  By the time your baby cries you may have missed as many as 5 feeding cues letting you know that your baby is hungry.
  • Many early breastfeeding difficulties can be avoided. These include sore nipples, engorgement, mastitis, thrush, jaundice, and slow infant weight gain.
  • Most first time mothers spend more time educating themselves about childbirth (a one day event) than they do about breastfeeding, even if they plan to breastfeed for a year.
  • When fathers aren’t educated aboutbreastfeeding, mothers wean earlier.
  • “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life-” American Academy of Pediatrics.  The World Health Organization recommends that babies be breastfed for two years.  Both organizations suggest that breastfeeding should then continue as long as mutually desired by mother and her child.
  • 72% of women who planned to breastfeed for at least 6 months wean before their babies are 6 weeks old.
  • A recent study in Boston showed that of mothers who intended to breastfeed for at least 6months only 50% were still breastfeeding at the the end of one week.
  • Breastfeeding can save a family between $1000 and $2300 per year.
  • Questions? Concerns?  Call or email me today!
6 Things You Should Know About Newborn Sleep

6 Things You Should Know About Newborn Sleep

Another great article from Kim West, The Sleep Lady!…

When you’re expecting, you plan for everything. You buy 20 different bottles, get at least three flanges for your pump, make sure you have ALL the options for swaddle blankets, and stock up on cute onesies. But as much as you may prepare, there is nothing that can prepare you for the amount of sleep deprivation that you will likely experience during the first 12 to 16 weeks of your baby’s life.

Sure, while you’re pregnant, you are uncomfortable, which makes sleeping a challenge. I think that many moms fail to realize that this is nature’s way of slowly easing you into the world of your newborn. Let’s face it, it may feel like someone is tossing you into the sleepless pool with no warning, but your body has been preparing you for months, literally.

Now, I’m not saying that sleep deprivation is a good thing. It’s not.  In fact, a lack of sleep can definitely contribute to the “baby blues” and is not at all helpful if you’re dealing with Post Partum Depression. Unfortunately, your baby doesn’t know any of this.

You may have seen a recent article and news story highlighting a “new” method to help your newborn baby sleep through the night.  Interestingly, the parents admit that their baby was agitated and that using this method seemed to upset him. This SHOULD have made them take a pause and think about what a newborn’s actual needs are. In fact, stretching feedings may work for some babies, but for the majority, it just results in a lot of crying, which is stressful both for the parent and baby.


Six Facts You Should Know

Portrait of a mother with her newborn baby


Now, I’ve talked about why your newborn baby won’t sleep before, and if you’re expecting (or just had a baby-congratulations!), it helps to have a realistic perspective:


1. Newborns Need To Feed Around the Clock

Newborn babies have very small stomachs. This is not an exaggeration. It’s not until about 4 weeks that your baby’s stomach will be the size of an average egg, at which point she can eat between 2.5 to 5 ounces at a stretch.


2. Newborns Cry to Indicate a Need

While this need may not be food, it can be a dirty diaper, gas, reflux, or even that she simply wants to be safe and snuggled up with you. Remember, your newborn is not capable of self-soothing yet. She is relying on you to do that for her until she’s old enough to learn this skill, which usually happens between 4 and 6 months.


3. Sleep Coaching Does Work, Just Not Immediately

Newborn sleep is it’s own special study, and it’s very, very different from the sleep of a 4 to 6 month old. As a newborn, your baby is still figuring out the difference between night and day, and has not yet developed the ability to put herself to sleep.


4. Newborns Will Wake During the Night

This is normal and healthy. Sure, some babies are immediately able to sleep longer stretches, but most babies will wake to feed every 3-4 hours during the night, sometimes more if they are in the middle of a developmental leap or a growth spurt. Knowing this, it’s important that you figure out a way to get some sleep.

Many parents take shifts or sleep when baby naps during the day for the first 4 to 8 weeks. Ideally, split the night into two 5-hour stretches (mom taking the first 5 with baby and her partner taking the next portion of the night) so that you are not so tired.


5. Newborns Do Not Have a Circadian Rhythm

You may feel tired when the sun goes down, but your new baby doesn’t. That’s because newborn babies have not yet developed a circadian rhythm. This rhythm is what helps us sleep and wake at “normal” times.

Most babies begin this development around 12 weeks, but your baby’s circadian rhythm will not be fully developed until around 6 to 8 months.


6. It’s Okay To “Do What Works”

Does your newborn baby nurse to sleep? That’s perfectly fine. She will only nap in the swing? No problem. She wants to eat every 90 minutes during the day? Great. You really are not going to create any “bad” habits in these first few months. Do what works for you and your baby now, so that you can rest and your baby can get the sleep (and feedings) she needs.


Being a parent is a big, exhausting job. You are going to be tired, but remember, your body has been slowly preparing you over the past 9 months for this.  Keep in mind that this phase is temporary. It’s not going to be long before your baby is sleeping longer stretches, and taking naps on a schedule. So enjoy this time, as tiring as it is.


-Kim West, The Sleep Lady

Join a Moms’ Group!

Join a Moms’ Group!

2014-04-09 12.10.16

It’s so important to get to know other new moms when you have a baby.  Why?  You need the support!  You need to know that you and your baby are normal.  You need other moms with whom to co-commiserate, whether it’s about breastfeeding, bottle feeding, naps, pumping, going back to work or your in-laws.  Red Tricycle is a great website that lets you know what’s going on in the Bay Area, and they also have an article with links to get you connected to local moms’ groups.  Also, Berkeley Parents Network is the place to find out what’s what in the East Bay! So when you’re ready, get out there and enjoy yourself!