Top 10 Tips on Being Productive While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding sessions can sometimes take up to 40 minutes.  With all the laundry and housework to do at home, as well as probably a full time job outside the house, and tedious life duties, like calling the cable guy, how can you possibly feel productive about all the tasks that need to be done when you’re stuck to the couch breastfeeding for huge chunks of your day?  Here are some ideas on things you can still get done, even with a baby glued to the boob.

  1. Learn to do the crossword with your weaker hand – and try to make it not look like your baby did the writing.
  2. Get in that phone call that you don’t really want to make, and then use the baby as an excuse to end it early.
  3. Work on your blog that you created, hoping to become the next Julie and Julia.
  4. Watch BH 90210.  Why?  If you have to ask, you’ve clearly never seen it.
  5. Drink a glass of water.  Staying hydrated while nursing is key – especially if you don’t like having orange pee.
  6. Play with your baby’s hair, and start planning new and inventive ways to style the few short hairs he/she has.
  7. Meditate.  Take this forced break to take a moment to breathe.  Or use it to plan how you’re going to survive dinner with the in-laws tomorrow night.
  8. Trim Baby’s nails.  You don’t need CPS wondering how Junior got all those cuts on his face.
  9. Pet the dog or cat.  They always enjoy a captive audience.
  10. Email your partner and ask them to bring home KFC.  After all, you’ve been too busy breastfeeding all day to make dinner.

Breast Pumps in the Work Place

Pumping at work is like being trapped in a candy store against your will: you’d rather not be held captive anywhere, but if it’s gotta happen, that’s a pretty great place to be.  There is not much in this world quite like having to strip half-naked, attach a plastic medieval-looking contraption to your bosom, while fearing that one of your bull-in-a-china-shop male coworkers could ignore your privacy sign and walk in at any moment.

Pumping at work is an opportunity to steal away for twenty (or so) minutes and be with Baby, even though you’re not actually with them.  Ideally, of course, you’d be nursing him or her yourself, but pumping in the back room, the office, or the ladies room, works as a lovely little reminder of the time you and Baby get to spend with one another.

So what do you tell your boss?  If they’re male, this is probably one of the last conversations they want to have with you.  Don’t ask them, like it’s an option.  Inform them that this is something you need to do and you have found the most convenient times of day in which to do it.  Pumping is a requirement for you, if you plan on continuing to breastfeed.  Don’t apologize for feeding your baby.  If your boss is female, they’ve either pumped before, know someone who has, or have no idea why you do it.  Regardless, don’t ask – inform – nicely.

How often should you pump?  As often as you want.  You may become uncomfortable for having a back-up of un-expressed milk and want to do it for that reason, or you may be worried that your supply will dwindle, so you’ll want to do it more.  To give you a general idea, some women in a 9-5 job will pump two to three times while at work.

It’s inconvenient and awkward, but it’s necessary and you’ll get the hang of it.  Think of it this way – it’s a perfect opportunity to sit and do nothing for a few minutes, and with a baby at home, that’s a rarity.

Bottle-feeding or Breastfeeding – What Will You Choose?

With all the decisions mothers face on a daily basis, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed. Advice is more abundant in our lives now than ever before and yet we still may feel alone and frustrated. If only we had a round table of experts at our beck and call – ready and willing to give us all the information we need to make the best decision for our little ones.

Thankfully, Pea in the Podcast has us covered.

One of the greater (and controversial) decisions we make is whether we will choose to bottle-feed or breastfeed our baby. If you are wondering what will be best for you, or even if you have already decided how you will feed your baby the following podcasts provide us with a wealth of information to help us along the way:

“All About Feeding: Breastmilk, Formula, Allergies and More”

Pediatricians and Lactation consultants will weigh in with facts and advice on breastfeeding and bottle-feeding alike.

“Well obviously breastfeeding is going to have some real significant advantages for moms, or for babies rather. We have to keep in mind that breast milk is a living, breathing product that contains hemoglobin and other things that help boost a baby’s immune system and even boost their intelligence.”

“Formula is nutritionally complete, there are some differences in infectious outcomes that we’ve seen breastfed versus bottle-fed babies but for those parents who can’t breastfeed they can feel reassured that the formulas that are available on the market today are actually quite complete.”

Also in this podcast are tips on how to overcome some of the challenges of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. You will get some insight on allergies – how to recognize these allergies as well as how to deal with them. You’ll also hear what other moms have to say about their decisions to breastfeed or bottle-feed and the joys and challenges that came along with their decisions.

“Breastfeeding: Tips, Hints and Advice to Make it Work For You”

In this podcast you will learn about the joys of breastfeeding:

“A woman would want to choose nursing for many different reasons. One is it is just fun, whenever a woman nurses there are hormones that are released into her bloodstream that are very, very relaxing and it feels good to nurse. It’s the natural continuation of the pregnancy.”

You will also learn about the challenges of breastfeeding:

“It’s not instinctive; it’s kind of a myth that all women know how to breastfeed, just like it’s a myth that because you are a man you know how to fix every car or to repair everything.”

Mothers and experts alike will weigh in with tips and advice on how to make breastfeeding not only work for you, but how to make it an enjoyable experience for both you and baby. You’ll also hear practical advice on getting back to work while continuing to breastfeed.

“Bottle Feeding: Whether It’s Formula or Breastmilk, How to Prepare for the Bottle”

If bottle-feeding is the right path for you, this podcast has it all. You’ll get a crash course in choosing the right bottles and nipples for your baby as well as an explanation of BPA’s.  You’ll hear the trials and errors of other mothers and the challenges that may come along with formula feeding including cow’s milk intolerance. (Note: This is also a rare occurrence in breastfed babies as well.)

“With formula feeding — like with breastfeeding — there are challenges, and one of the big ones is that a lot of babies are sensitive to cow’s milk protein. Of course, formula is made of cow’s milk, not human milk. You can’t predict who will have trouble and who won’t, but if you have a cow’s milk protein sensitive baby — and I did — after a couple of weeks you will definitely know it.”

You’ll also hear tips from mothers like you on how to make bottle-feeding easier.

“I would fill a bottle with tap water before we would leave home and just keep it in the diaper bag, and when it was time for her to eat, I’d put the formula in, shake it up, press the air out and feed it to her, and she was happy with that.”

Whether you are planning on feeding your baby formula, pumping your breastmilk, or choose a combination of breastfeeding and formula-feeding, this podcast will answer all your questions related to feeding your baby with a bottle.

Whether you are a new mommy or have been a mommy for a while, we can all agree that one of our greatest needs is support. We need to know that whatever decision we make for our babies we’ll have the right tools and encouragement needed to make it work. These podcasts are all about support – with experts and mommies like you ready with the information and encouragement you need to succeed in your journey of Mommyhood.

So when it comes to feeding your baby, what will you choose? What factors influence you (or have influenced you) the most in your decision to breastfeed or bottle-feed?  What have been your personal joys and challenges?  Listen to the podcasts and feel free to weigh in below!

Bottle-feeding vs. Breastfeeding: Pros and Cons

Among the many decisions every expecting mother must make, how we choose to feed our new little bundles is one of the most important. It probably seems everyone in your life has an opinion on this: your mother, your neighbor, your grandmother, your co-worker, your friend, your friend’s co-workers’ grandmother… and the list goes on. While advice and opinions on this matter may be well-intentioned, they can also tend to be overwhelming for a mother-to-be. Each mother must carefully consider both options and make an informed decision on what is best for her and her baby.

We have all heard the motto “Breast is Best”. It is plastered on our ob/gyn’s wall, in our pregnancy books and we even hear it on television. However, there are pros and cons for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding alike.

Breastfeeding

Pros:

  • Can create a unique closeness between you and your baby.
  • May help you lose weight faster – Breastfeeding burns up to 600 calories a day. Of course, a mother who is breastfeeding needs to consume more calories a day. Talk to your nutrition specialist about your diet so that you may optimize your weight loss while breastfeeding.
  • Helps the uterus to shrink faster and reduces bleeding
  • Decreases your risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and strengthens bone density
  • Enhances your baby’s immune system – There is nothing on the market that will match the natural antibodies found in your breast milk.
  • Reduces your baby’s risk of upper respiratory problems (asthma, allergies, etc.), chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc.), and SIDS
  • Babies who are breastfed are more likely to excel in school
  • Breast milk may be easier for your child to digest – Some breastfed babies spit up less often than their formula-fed peers. This, however, is not a hard and fast rule.
  • Content in breast milk changes to suit your baby’s changing needs – The colostrum milk (a thick, sticky substance usually yellow to orange in color) produced during pregnancy and in the early days of breastfeeding works as a laxative to help your baby pass his early stools. It also works as a “vaccine” to protect your baby from environmental viruses in his early stages of life. After about two or three days, your milk supply will change to mature breast milk (thinner, opaque to white substance).
  • Less expensive than buying formula – Breastfeeding is not necessarily “free”. Breastfeeding mothers must invest in nursing bras and breast pads to prevent leaking. However, on a long term basis, this is still less expensive than buying formula.
  • Available anytime, anywhere

Cons:

  • Increases your risk for breast infection or mastitis
  • Higher levels of jaundice are found in babies who are breastfed
  • Baby may get dehydrated easier
  • Risk of cavities in infants who are breastfed for over a year – Please note, however, that the risk of cavities is still higher for formula-fed babies.
  • Risk of rickets (vitamin-D deficiency) – especially in darker skinned babies
  • Not necessarily convenient – Although promotion for breastfeeding has made leaps and bounds over the years, there are few places in public that cater to the breastfeeding mother. Many mothers can end up feeling very frustrated over this severe oversight.
  • Must always be available for feeding or provide pumped breast milk if absent – After a long pregnancy and grueling delivery, a new mother needs her rest to recover. Newborns must eat every two to three hours for the first weeks of life. The constant caring for her newborn can leave an already tired mother feeling even more fatigued.
  • First weeks of breastfeeding may be very painful
  • Certain medications can interrupt breastfeeding
  • Your diet can have an effect on the baby

Bottle-feeding

Pros:

  • Allows father and other family members to bond with baby – This also allows the mother to get some much needed rest or “alone” time.
  • Sometimes more convenient – Once the bottle is made you can feed your baby anytime anywhere.
  • You don’t have to worry so much about your diet as it won’t affect your baby
  • Easier to monitor the amount of food your baby is eating
  • Some formulas provide vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies have to get through supplements
  • Since most formulas are richer than breast milk, frequency of feedings may be decreased

Cons:

  • Although nutritious on their own, formulas just don’t match the antibodies and nutrients of breast milk
  • You will have to strictly follow the preparation instructions – Unless you buy pre-made formula (which only lasts a few hours in the refrigerator once opened) you will have to go through the tedious process of boiling water for each bottle for at least the first six months.
  • According to your baby’s preference, you may have to warm up the bottle before each feeding – This is especially inconvenient while out and about.
  • Baby’s stomach may be more easily upset with formula as it is harder to digest
  • More expensive – Depending on the brand you choose, formula can cost between $50 and $200 per month.

There are so many decisions you have ahead of you with regards to yours and your baby’s well-being. You shouldn’t have to feel pressured to go one way or the other when it comes to whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby.  Every mother’s set of circumstances is different. Every baby is different. Choose which option is best for both of you and move on with this wonderful new phase of your life. Afterall, the most important thing you can give to your baby is your love and affection – and that isn’t hard at all!

Related Podcasts:

Trendy and Functional Breastfeeding Tops from MilkStars.com + Free Shipping Code

“A brand new clothing line designed from the ground up to strike the perfect balance between fashion and function.”

Milkstars is a line of functional, yet trendy, breastfeeding tops created by a brand new mom.  Featuring a functional structure that allows nursing mothers easy access when it’s time to feed the baby. These tops come in a variety of colors and styles and are made from soft rayon/spandex blend. This material not only gives these shirts a more comfortable fit, but also conceal the leaks and sweat stains common for new nursing moms. Visit MilkStars.com for more information.

During the month of April, get free shipping on any order at Milkstars.com.  Enter coupon code at checkout: PEAPOD

CNN Pediatrics Journal: Breastfeeding Saves Lives and Money

This can be a touchy subject in Mommy World, so I want to be careful…

There is a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, according to CNN:

If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year.

I don’t care for the way that’s written.  “If most new moms would breastfeed” sounds like scolding.  And since the CDC reports that only 74% of new moms even try nursing, it’s scolding a lot of loving and well-intentioned women.

Despite my problem with the tone of that statement, however, I have no trouble believing those numbers.  I have interviewed eleventy billion experts who say that while formula is indeed “nutritionally sound”, it’s not mother’s milk.

They call the first doses of mother’s milk your baby eats liquid gold.  Colostrum comes in small doses, but packs a huge punch.  Not only does your colostrum provide the exact things your specific baby needs for optimum health, it does a bunch of other things, like coat and seal your baby’s GI tract, decreasing eventual allergy risks.

And, in fact, your milk evolves with your baby.  When you nurse, you and your baby are interacting on a biological level.  Your baby’s saliva on your skin is telling your body “Hey, Mom, I need a little more of this and a little less of that.”  The composition of the milk you make changes in response to that.

Mother’s milk is a designer product!

Formula is nutritionally sound.  But it’s not a designer product.  It can’t be.  It would cost a jillion dollars if it was!

You also can’t underestimate the value of early nursing to the cognitive and emotional development of your baby in a way that has nothing to do with milk.  The closeness, the skin-to-skin contact, the actually physical connection you make with your baby on a sometimes exhaustingly frequent basis encourages healthy attachment.  I’m not talking about the mother-infant bond, here.  You and your baby will be bonded no matter how you choose to feed them.  Attachment is a much broader concept that includes all aspects of child development.

Nursing encourages secure attachment beautifully.

This is not to say formula fed babies cannot be securely attached!  My daughter was combo-fed (formula and human milk) and is quite securely attached.  Nursing moms can also be insecurely attached to their babies.  Every mom and baby are different.

It’s just that nursing is one nice and effective way to foster secure attachment.

I’m so very glad the article doesn’t go much further into the scolding area of this debate.  One of the study’s authors, Harvard Dr. Melissa Bartick, says:

Moms shouldn’t be blamed, because they receive mixed messages and often lack support from the moment their babies are born.

Ain’t that the truth!  And…

(Bartick) says the biggest priority should be to improve maternity care practices. Bartick refers to a 2007 CDC survey of hospitals and birthing centers, which scored each facility to determine how well it complied with recommendations meant to encourage women to breastfeed.

According to that survey, Bartick says, “U.S. hospitals scored a 63 – that’s a D.”

Hear, Hear!  I am all about improved maternity care!

The point I’m trying to make out of all of this meandering is this.  We all know breast is best.  Blah blah blah.  We’ve heard it until we don’t even hear it anymore.  But the fact is, mother’s milk is superior to the nutritionally sound alternative of formula for so many reasons.

So for the 26% of you who aren’t even thinking about trying it…why not just consider — just consider doing it for a few days, a least until your baby has a body full of colostrum?

You can do anything for a couple of days, right?

That is my challenge to you…<3

Related Podcasts:

Benefits of Breasfeeding: Weight Loss?

Just found a very interesting, in-depth article about the benefits of breastfeeding at babycenter.com. The article, which is reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board, is organized into sections that describe each health benefit in detail. Among the commonly-known facts, there are few interesting pieces that some people might not be aware of. For instance – did you know that breastfeeding helps you lose weight? And not only does it help you slim down, but it may protect against obesity later in your baby’s life.

Of course every piece of good news comes with a dose of reality. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “breastfeeding leads to the release of hormones which enable your uterus to return to its normal size. However, breastfeeding alone won’t bring down your weight.  You need to combine it with a sensible diet and a moderate exercise program.” Getting in some exercise shouldn’t be too much a problem for new moms -I’d recommend investing in a good stroller and take your baby out for walks when the weather is nice.

Read more about the benefits of breastfeeding at Baby Center.

Find more information about breastfeeding and bottle feeding in our free podcasts:
Breastfeeding Tips and Hints: Advice to Make It Work For You
Bottle Feeding: Whether It’s Formula Or Breastmilk, How To Prepare For The Bottle

5 Pregnancy & Baby Apps For iPhone

You’ve seen the doctor and you’ve read every baby and pregnancy book out there. What next? Who says you can’t have a little fun with this incredible nine-month long journey. Use these iPhone apps to help keep track of all of your pregnancy details from date of conception to the birth of your newborn.

1. Pregnancy Tracker


Keep track of your baby’s development – and your fast-growing belly – week-by-week, read the latest posts from the WTE message board community, get daily tips for each day of your pregnancy, and more!

  • Due-date calculator
  • Week-by-week details on your baby’s amazing growth and development
  • Weekly baby illustrations
  • Updates on your changing body
  • Slideshow of your belly pictures
  • Countdown to your due date!

2. NineMonths – Contraction & Movement Timer

Ninemonths is an app that will come in handy towards the end of your pregnancy because it tracks movement and contractions.  From their website: “Designed under the supervision of a board certified OBGYN Dr. Herbert S. Coussons. Our goal was to build an extremely simple to use application that computes results in a form that can be read directly to your medical team. Clinical beta testing has produced fantastic results and we are excited to release NineMonths to all mothers/fathers to be.”

3. Baby Tracker: Nursing

New moms, listen up! Looking for a quick and easy way to keep track of your nursing sessions? This iPhone app will save you time and trouble with a timer and log to keep track of your nursing session details.

4. Foods to Avoid When Pregnant



As we discuss in our nutrition podcast, what you eat during pregnancy is very important. Use this handy iphone app to help you make the right nutrition choices for you and your baby.

5. Pregnancy Calendar

Keep track of your weight during pregnancy, get week by week pregnancy progress updates and even create a birth plan! This app helps you prep everything you need for your trip to the birthing room: medical information, what you want to bring, people to contact, etc.

Breastfeeding Twins: All Your Questions Answered

Those of you out there expecting twins…Congratulations! You are in for a wild ride! I have long had a little twin envy, and it doesn’t really subside with age lol. But some of you soon-to-be multiple moms who want to nurse may be scared that you won’t be able to do it…that it will be too much for you.

Those fears are not unfounded.

Twins sometimes have to spend time in the NICU, because they’re born early or they’re tiny after sharing a cramped womb with their brother or sister. That time apart can present a real challenge to your nursing relationship.

You might also worry that you won’t make enough milk, or you won’t be able to juggle two babies, literally. Those are very valid concerns. But you can do it. You really can, mommy!

I talked to a twin mom who had been nursing for 13 months. Her name is Jennifer. Her babies had an action packed beginning that included two weeks in the NICU. But Jennifer was determined to breastfeed them. She has advice for you on things like positioning and supply, but mostly her story is about letting you know you can do it. She starts her story in the NICU…listen to Jennifer’s Story Of Breastfeeding Her Twins. This is not to say you should feel like a terrible mom if nursing doesn’t work for you and your babies. That’s not the point of this post. The point is, for moms who really want to nurse and everyone is telling them they shouldn’t even try, Jennifer and I are here to tell you to tell them to stuff it. After all, even Brad Pitt thinks a woman nursing twins is sexy. ;)

Where do you begin? Well, at one of the most helpful sites I found when my baby was an infant, KellyMom.com.

And, of course, if you’re pregnant with twins, you will want to hear what our expert in twin pregnancies has to say, and what my good friend Aimee’s experience was like. It’s all in our Pea in the Podcast: Twins and Multiples.

-Bonnie

Melamine Found In American Infant Formula

It has killed at least six babies in China. Probably more. It has made at least 300,000 sick. Melamine can cause kidney stones and even kidney failure, and now traces of the industrial chemical have been found in America’s most popular infant formula brands.

That’s the kind of story that makes a mommy’s blood run cold.

OK…breathe. This story is not China’s story. Yes, traces of a potentially toxic substance have been found in infant formula here, but not in anywhere near the amounts found in Chinese formula. Medical experts and the F.D.A hope to reassure you that if you’re using formula, it’s safe. I spoke to one of those medical experts today, and we’ll have more on that in a bit.

First, what in the world is melamine? Well, it’s a chemical found in plastics, industrial cleaners and many other things. The F.D.A. has much more on melamine here.

In China, The F.D.A. says infant formula manufacturers laced their products with melamine to hide that they were nutritionally deficient. The melamine made it appear the formula contained more protein than it did. Unfortunately, they put so much in that babies started to get sick. Babies died.

Baylor College of Medicine Pediatrician Sara Rizvi says that is nothing like what has happened here. In the U.S., Investigators found minute traces of melamine. The suspicion is it may have come from contact with melamine containing substances during the manufacturing process. No one really knows for sure. They’re trying to find out.

But Dr. Rizvi urges you not to panic. She has no reason to believe formula will make your baby sick. She says don’t change brands and don’t switch to something nutritionally inferior. Just use what’s been working for you and your baby, while paying attention to the news (and this website).

Listen To What Dr. Sara Rizvi Has To Say About Formula And Melamine

A note…traces of melamine have been found in samples from all three of the big infant formula manufacturers in America. They are Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson, makers of Similac, Good Start and Enfamil. They make 90% of all the formula produced here.

If you’re worried about this — or anything else related to your baby — Dr. Rizvi says to talk to your pediatrician. They want you to! That’s what they’re there for.

For everything you need to know about breastfeeding and bottle feeding, please listen to our Pea in the Podcasts on those subjects on the home page.

-Bonnie