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Necessary for some, damaging for others "Topping-up" is the practice of giving your baby some "bonus" breast milk or formula via bottle after breastfeeding sessions. ⁠ ⁠ While it is incredibly helpful and necessary in some instances, it can create milk supply issues. ⁠ Situations in which bottle top-ups may be recommended include:⁠ - Preterm babies ⁠ - Babies who are unable to take in enough during breastfeeding (in the case of tongue-ties, IUGR or small for gestational age babies)⁠ - Low milk supply caused by hormonal or medical issues ⁠(Insufficient Glandular Tissue, low prolactin levels, and history of severe postpartum hemorrhage, for example) - Baby has been unable to gain adequate weight⁠ ⁠ Like an Insurance Policy for Breastfeeding Parents like to give bottle top-ups because they like the "insurance" that a bottle feed provides. During breastfeeding, we have no way of knowing how much baby has taken in. Sure, you can keep track of your baby's poops, pees and

Lactation consultant coverage should be the norm. Infant feeding support should be widely available and fully covered by government-funded health care and employer-funded insurance plans. We aren't quite there, but there ARE options! There are certainly publicly funded clinics that provide physician and IBCLC infant feeding help. The cost for visits to these clinics is covered by Alberta Health Care. Private lactation professionals, like myself, may also be an option.   Publicly-Funded Lactation Consultant Coverage If you are in Alberta, Canada, and are wondering about your options for infant feeding support, then this post is for you! I believe that individualized infant feeding support should be widely available and fully covered by government health care and employer/private insurance. For now, the coverage can be a bit

What is a "Normal" birth anyway? C-Sections ARE normal birth!! As a labour & Delivery nurse, I HATE it when people say, "oh, she had a normal birth". There is nothing more frustrating. Vaginal deliveries and c-sections are all "normal" births. Childbirth is unpredictable and there are many factors at play: - the size and position of your baby - the size of your pelvis - underlying health issues (diabetes and blood pressure issues, for example) - previous delivery experiences - length of your labour (long labours, stress, sleep deprivation all affect the hormone cascade and reduce coping abilities and labour progress) - the goals of the birthing person   When it comes to c-sections, many things are true, and some of those things may seem contradictory: - They can be planned; - They can be unplanned and done in emergent circumstances. - Some people choose to have a c-section due to anxiety around vaginal birth; - Some people experience

It is important to be aware of potential risks for feeding complications as early as possible. This way, you can be mentally prepared, and have support systems and strategies in place before you encounter possible issues. Unfortunately, Insulin resistance and Diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational) can be associated with low milk production for breastfeeding parents. If you fall into this category, fear not! Diabetes and insulin resistance are just one piece of the puzzle. Work with your doctor and an IBCLC to prevent and manage low supply. People with diabetes can sometimes experience a delay in their milk "coming in", as well as a lower overall production. People who take insulin (vs. those who manage through diet alone) are at a higher risk. Why does this happen? Insulin is required for overall blood sugar regulation. How that plays into milk supply, though, is

Why are we so obsessed with milk supply? When it comes to milk supply, our society often has a “more is better” mentality. The truth is, a freezer stash of milk is not a requirement. It can be difficult to determine if you have a low supply, especially when hormones and anxieties are running high, sleep is running low, and you’re recovering both physically and mentally from your baby’s birth. If you are worried about your milk supply, it is important to reach out for help as soon as possible. An International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) can help you determine the cause of low supply and provide strategies to help you meet your feeding goals. Honestly, the best way to increase your supply (and have a better overall infant feeding experience) is to get meaningful and individualized support! Low milk supply can be caused by MANY factors. An individualized assessment

Many cannabis products are available on the market. They can be used for a variety of reasons, a few of which include anxiety, sleep, chronic pain, and good ol' recreational fun. What happens if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, though? It isn't ethical to do double-blind studies on the effects of any kind of substance use on pregnant or breastfeeding individuals. However, based on studies of people who were already using, animal studies, and on cannabis itself, we can gain a lot of knowledge. Here are some quick facts: - THC (the substance that produces a "high") definitely DOES cross the placenta to enter the baby's bloodstream. It also very easily crosses into breast milk. There can actually be up to 8 times as much TCH in breast milk than in the blood! - THC gets stored in fats in the body and is slowly released back to the bloodstream: if you

Contrary to popular beliefs, no, you CANNOT spoil a newborn! How many of you have been guilted into not responding to your baby's cries because "you're creating bad habits" or "you're holding them too much", and (my personal favorite), "they need to learn to self-soothe". These are all so wrong! Research on child development tells us that babies don't even have the ability to understand cause and effect until about 9 months of age. They are biologically unable to connect the dots and realize that their cries will elicit a response from you. They are simply and innocently trying to have their needs met. Letting a newborn cry it out at this early stage won't teach them to solve their problem on their own: they are still developing the ability to do this. Why do babies cry? Crying is the main way that your baby communicates with you. Usually, they have a

Why are parents choosing infant formula from Europe? European formulas (not approved by Health Canada or the FDA and imported from third party websites) market themselves as superior to what is available in North America. They claim to have "healthier" sugar sources, and an extensive list of banned or restricted ingredients. However, upon further research, European infant formulas, while well-made and nutritionally adequate, are not superior to what is available in North America. Sugar sources, whether corn-syrup solids or lactose (both of which are available in North American-made formulas) all break down into glucose in the body. Lactose is often preferred, as it is said to have a lower glycemic index and be a longer lasting source of energy than corn syrup. However, both will provide the high sugar content needed (40%!) for babies' growing brains! As for the EU's restrictions: most North American formulas already abide by these rules! Infant formula is

(feature image by Taylor Magee @thatndgirl) Congrats on your new baby! Enjoy postpartum! See you in 6 weeks! Good luck! You may have heard this after you delivered your baby. And yes, it's true.  Typically, your follow-up with your doctor occurs 6 weeks after delivery.  A LOT can happen over those 6 weeks of postpartum recovery.  You may feel that you transform physically, emotionally, and mentally during that time. (Note: Your baby will be seen within 2 weeks, and, if you have midwifery care, you will be seen sooner and more frequently than with an obstetrician.  This is not the fault of obstetricians: we simply do not have enough care providers to provide everyone with early and frequent postpartum follow-up.  If you are experiencing any complications or concerns, you must visit the emergency department, or urgent care). Ice your Undercarriage Postpartum flow: Yes, you will continue to require pads (or 'Depends') for weeks after your

There are so many options for managing labour pain, and for optimizing labour progress!   You may be exhausted and tempted to stay in bed, but it is beneficial to get up and work with your body! Utilize your support person to provide things that will bring you any amount of comfort at this time. Note: if continuous fetal monitoring is indicated during your labour, it MAY limit the options for position changes and movement. That being said, you can and should advocate for yourself to find solutions and compromises with your health care team!     Position Changes and & Movement Standing, swaying, walking, squatting, even getting on all fours! Position changes and movement can help support labour progress, get gravity working for you, and even help with pain management. A birthing ball is your friend!   Touch & Massage Never underestimate the power of physical touch to comfort and support a labouring person! Massaging the back, shoulders, neck, and even

Breast Pumps.   How do we feel about them? Just "super", right? Pumping has become so commonplace on social media and parenting blogs that most parents purchase their pump prior to even having their baby.  Marketing companies have positioned the breast pump as a necessity in the world of infant feeding.  Is it really so necessary? While a breast pump is a SUPER handy tool, it certainly isn’t required in the way car seats or cribs are.  Sure, pumping is great for expressing and storing milk for other care givers to feed the baby, for when you are returning to work, or if you just want a night out. Many people need to pump in order to boost milk supply, if their baby is in the NICU, or if their baby is working on correct latch and sucking skills. ⁠ ⁠ Daily use of a breast pump can be a drain. I have never heard a

Welcome back to my "5 Random Facts

I have piles of ideas for social media posts and blog entries.  I decided to compile them into a series of "5 Random Facts".  Stay tuned for more random facts on Labour & Delivery, Prenatal Preparation, Postpartum life, and more!  In the meantime, cozy up and enjoy the first entry on Infant Feeding! 1. Infant formula used to be made from cow’s milk, malt flour, and wheat. Doctors would adapt the recipe based on additions they felt the baby needed.  They would give that recipe (or “formula”) to the parents to prepare at home.   Do not attempt this today!  Today’s infant formula is heavily researched, highly safe when prepared correctly, and provides all of the main nutritional requirements for healthy growth.     2. Your breasts are generally more “full” first thing in the morning because the Prolactin hormone peaks at night It is a cruel act of mother nature that this hormone loves the nightlife. It

This collection of information was taken from a series of social media posts on @milkbud.lactation.prenatal from February 2021 Formula is reliable and safe for times when breastfeeding is not going well and support is not feasible or attainable.  Formula is also safe Formula has saved the lives of millions of babies. But, formula companies have used MANY sneaky and unethical marketing tactics to convince mothers that their milk will never be sufficient. They have made parents think that problems exist when they don't and they rely on their ability to make parents feel inadequate and doubt their abilities. How many parents out there have bought formula "just in case?". Those purchases alone have put billions of dollars into the pockets of corporations. As much as I despise large corporations who prey on parents' insecurities, I also FULLY SUPPORT your choice to formula feed! If this is your chosen method of infant feeding, you deserve

Finding parental confidence in any form   Confession time As a maternal healthcare provider and mom advocate, I am fearful to admit this.  My career choices, first as a Labour and Delivery nurse and now as an IBCLC, have definitely not reflected my personal life choices. I have never experienced the desire to be a mother.     With full confidence, I can tell you that I have never uttered the phrase, "when I have kids

The right support can help you achieve your infant feeding goals Article originally published in Modern Mama Baby Guide Fall 2020 “My mom couldn’t breastfeed, so I won’t be able to.” “I wish I could breastfeed but I can’t because I’m taking an antidepressant.” “I just delivered an hour ago, I don’t have any milk yet. Let’s just give formula until my milk comes in.” “I have breast implants so I won’t be able to breastfeed.” “My baby isn’t latching [20 minutes after delivery], he must not want my milk.” I have been a Labour and Delivery for the past 10 years and have heard the above FALSE statements so many times. I frequently see parents who spend months researching and planning for the labour and delivery process, have a birth plan, have made goals for their labour, and have some knowledge about induction, medications, and pain management strategies. Unfortunately, I find that many first-time parents have

‘Every surge brings your baby closer’ ‘It’s not pain, it’s power’ These statements are all examples of positive birth affirmations. Affirmations are one method used for focus and pain management in labour. You know what also works for focus and pain management? An epidural. My point here is that both the “natural” birthing world and the medical world have incredible knowledge and methods to offer. So why are these “worlds” at such odds with one another? Medical Interventions vs. “Natural” methods: It’s time to come to terms Very often it is about judgement and guilt than about providing truly informed care, and I am tired of it. The medical world is based in science and does SO MUCH to give you the best chance of having a healthy and safe delivery. The so-called “natural” world of doulas, lactation consultants, and midwives, offers so much time, trust, relationship- and support-based care. Both realms have so much

Top Breastfeeding Myths Debunked   As an IBCLC, I am so tired of hearing and reading all of the lies about breastfeeding. I’ve written about this before: Corporations love to make us doubt ourselves and our bodies so that we buy their products Breastfeeding is hard.  If it were easy, companies wouldn’t be able to sell formula, pumps, creams, tools, etc that promise to be the answer for your infant feeding woes. Sometimes tools can help the process, but there are no magic solutions for feeding issues.  It all takes work, patience, support, and time. I’ve discussed 5 popular myths in this post, but honestly, I could write 50 pages of lies I’ve encountered over the years.   Myth 1: Women cannot produce enough milk for their infants in the first few days Truth: Almost all mothers produce enough milk for their babies.  Sometimes the problem is that the baby is not effectively transferring the milk

Think back to those early days of dating your partner. You would sit over dinner and wine and discuss your life goals, families, friends, education, current events, and politics. You would cuddle and watch movies and bask in the new, romantic love.   Now think to back the early days with your baby (whether it was years ago or yesterday).  The conversation most likely included lengthy discussions about the consistency, color, texture, smell, and frequency of your baby’s defecation patterns.   There were days when you would have DIED if you farted in front of your partner and now, farts and poops are the absolute center of your universe!  My, how things have changed.   I’m a nurse and it is widely known that NOTHING grosses out a nurse! So settle in, shit’s about to get DETAILED!   The facts:   For the first 5 months of life (until solid foods are introduced into the diet), breastfed babies poop more

Having a baby in the time of Coronavirus: What you need to know, and what you should expect Pregnancy is a beautiful time.  Your growing body and growing baby should be nourished and celebrated.  While everyone will tell you to relax and enjoy the moment, it is human nature to worry.  It is also human nature to share every speck of information about every possible thing that could happen - whether it is true or not.  In fact, one simple Google search will result in about a million different scare tactics.  Covid-19 has produced a lot of anxiety for expectant women and families in 2020.  Many recent clients have expressed concern about the unknown factors of the virus, hospital visitor policies and potential risks of being in the hospital itself. I want to dispel some myths and perhaps ease the minds of expectant families.   Breast milk: Ready-made protection Throughout history, breast milk has been the

Finding parental confidence in any form   Confession time As a maternal healthcare provider and mom advocate, I am fearful to admit this.  My career choices, first as a Labour and Delivery nurse and now as an IBCLC, have definitely not reflected my personal life choices. I have never experienced the desire to be a mother.     With full confidence, I can tell you that I have never uttered the phrase, "when I have kids