Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

Breast Pump Question: Finding the Right Size Flanges for Your Breastfeeding Comfort

Breast pump flange courtesy of MedelaMy breast pump flange doesn’t fit. What do I do?

If your breast pump flange is too big or too small, it may make pumping uncomfortable and also may affect how much breast milk you obtain. A well-fitting flange will enable your nipple to move freely inside the flange without rubbing awkwardly against the edges. It’s also important to wear the right size flange because it will help you collect the largest amount of breast milk you produce.

How can you tell if your breast pump flanges are too small or large? Some signs include if your nipples barely fit in the flange while you are pumping, or if one or both nipples are rubbing against the sides of the flange. These signs indicated that your flanges are too small. If you lose suction while pumping or if your nipple size is smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser then your flange may be too large. A flange that is too large can cause nipple abrasion and damage. In this case you will want to invest in a smaller flange. It is a good idea to check the flange sizes before you pump for the first time so you can avoid any nipple discomfort or damage.

Most pump companies have several sizes to choose from, so don’t worry if the flanges included with your breast pump are not a perfect fit. All pumps are sold with standard size flanges so you may have to contact the pump company to find out where to purchase the correct flanges separately. Typically the cost of the flanges are about $10 and well worth the investment.


Breastmilk Documentary: Go Inside the Lives of Five Breastfeeding Couples

Photo still from Breastmilk documentary courtesy of Aleph PicturesSure, you may know what it’s like to breastfeed your own little one, but do you ever wonder how women across the United States tackle everyday breastfeeding? Filmmaker Dana Ben-Ari joined forces with executive producers Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake (yes, of talk show fame) to capture the lives of five breastfeeding couples in the new documentary Breastmilk, shot in the US. Breastmilk was screened this past May in New York City and was met with warm accolades from critics. Director Ben-Ari focuses in particular on how mothers in professional careers balance breastfeeding with pumping in the office and other routine measures they take to continue nursing, as well as a mother’s struggle to find necessary support and encouragement in the face of feeling doubtful about continuing to breastfeed. These topics are sure to be familiar to many nursing mother’s own lives.

What can you expect from this documentary? An honest portrayal of how breastfeeding is not as easy as it seems and that real struggles exist for women who set out with all intents and purposes to nurse. We were delighted to see how couples interacted in the trailer—it’s great to see partners support one another while learning the breast milk ropes. The documentary’s main question seems to hover on the current CDC statistic that 85 percent of new mothers report a desire to breastfeed exclusively for at least three months, but only 32 percent end up seeing this goal through. Without judgment, Breastmilk seeks to expose what modern-day factors give new mothers the hardest time while upholding a breastfeeding schedule.

Check online to see if your town is screening Breastmilk (it has a limited theater run) if you’re interested in the documentary. What can you do to help encourage new mothers who might feel let down by their own breastfeeding experiences? Offer what resources you can: a lactation consultant’s phone number, your own breastfeeding knowledge, or even an online community you frequented for your most dire breastfeeding questions. Your support will help new moms feel empowered by breastfeeding rather than inadequate; Even if your friend or sister cannot make it past the three month mark nursing, it’s better to let them know how proud you are of them for trying to make the best health decisions for their babies.

Pregnant Women Concerns: A Global Look at Expecting

Have you ever wondered what moms-to-be across the globe pull out of their fridge at night to satisfy a pregnancy craving? Do you think that all pregnant women are concerned about spider veins, stretch marks, and sagging breasts? While pregnancy is a very universal condition experienced by most women around the world, different countries have notably unique questions and concerns when it comes to pregnancy. New York Times contributor Seth Stephens-Davidowitz combed through Google search data and made a very interesting infographic about the desires, wishes, and fears of pregnant women in different countries based on the most common search engine questions. His findings truly paint a picture of how pregnancy is experienced globally.

Pregnant women concerns: a global look at expectingWhat do you think the United States, Australia, Britain, and South Africa have in common when it comes to filling in this Google search: “How to ____ during pregnancy”? If you guessed “preventing stretch marks” or “avoiding stretch marks”—you’re right! Turns out that pregnant women from the listed countries are more body conscious than moms-to-be from India or Nigeria; this specific “how to” question does not appear once in either country’s top 5 most searched lists. The United States, Australia, and Britain mention stretch marks twice in their most popular searches lists while South African women focus more on morning sickness and sleep. Across the board, the question of a couple’s sexual relationship appears in the top 5 most searched lists. It’s clear that husbands and wives around the world value their personal relationships and put emphasis on maintaining physical contact throughout pregnancy.

The other popular search engine question Stephens-Davidowitz analyzed was “Can pregnant women ___?” The answers that appear in his infographic are much more indicative of how individual cultures perceive pregnancy in terms of what foods, pain medications, and activities are popular for the country as a whole. For example, Spain’s number one fill-in-the-blank to this query is “Can pregnant women eat paté?” This goose-liver delicacy is not nearly as popular in the United States or Britain, but interestingly both the US and UK mention shrimp (“prawns” is the UK term used) as a potential worry for pregnant women.

What are some other worries pregnant women have? Nigeria wonders if pregnant women can drink cold water, Mexico is concerned that expecting moms can’t wear high heels, and Singapore isn’t sure if moms-to-be can eat ice cream! I’m sure moms in every nation can reassure Singapore that ice cream is a pregnant mom go-to for cravings at any hour. For the complete list of Stephens-Davidowitz’s findings, click here.

Do you have any common worries that come from a country different than your own? Let us know what some of your own Google searches were for while you were pregnant, moms!

Common Pregnancy Questions: Is It Normal for My Nipples to Leak?

Common pregnancy questions: is it normal for my nipples to leak?Pregnancy changes—even if you’re pregnant and it’s not your first, there’s no telling what surprises your body’s going to unexpectedly throw at you. Any mom will tell you that no two pregnancies are alike. When you’re hyper-sensitive about your body’s changes and indescribable mood swings, the littlest occurrences can seem monumental. Your breasts will swell during pregnancy and seemingly become just as sensitive as you feel while watching a sappy movie. What about leaking nipples though—what’s going on? Is it normal for your breasts to leak while pregnant? We’re exploring common pregnancy questions and answering this one for you:

Yes, it’s completely normal to leak fluids while pregnant. Not all women experience this, but most notice a little leaking during the third trimester. Have you wondered what exactly you’re leaking? It’s called colostrum and is a precursor to breast milk. Colostrum is nutrient rich, low in fat, and full of antibodies—it’s perfectly engineered to be your baby’s first food and supercharges your little one’s immune system. Leaking colostrum means that your milk system is working and that breast milk production is underway.

Worried about leaking breast milk in public? Grab a pack of nursing pads and slip them into your bra as needed. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ll need a couple of pairs anyway. To prevent nipple stickiness or pain, make sure to use a lanolin-based nipple cream with your nursing pads for ultimate comfort. You might want to avoid wearing your favorite bras or tops if you’re leaking just so you don’t get stains from stray droplets. But again, it’s completely normal to leak before giving birth and you’re not alone.

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Night Weaning Breastfeeding Tips for Nursing Moms

Night weaning breastfeeding tips for nursing momsIt’s no secret that new moms don’t get a lot of sleep. When you first start breastfeeding, it’s clear that because your baby will feed every 2-3 hours, your sleep schedule forms around your baby’s needs. But what about when your baby reaches his or her first birthday and does not have to nurse as frequently? Many mothers who practice extended breastfeeding go through a night weaning phase with their little one. Night weaning does not mean that mom wants to stop breastfeeding completely—she’d just rather sleep through the night without waking to breastfeeding since the necessity is no longer there.

What’s the best way for mom to begin the night weaning process, and how long does it take for a toddler to effectively give up nursing at night? There’s no real time frame when it comes to weaning, so be prepared to spend a few weeks at least implementing the new no-nursing-at-night routine. Your new policy might not be met with smiles, too. Patience is going to be the key to getting your little one used to his or her new schedule.

We like this suggestion from Monica Beyer’s night weaning article: anticipate your little one’s schedule so you can alter it effectively and without causing a nighttime temper tantrum. Set an alarm to go off before your child typically wakes up to nurse and wake up your child to breastfeed at different points throughout the night. Spend the whole week following this nursing pattern and slowly make your breastfeeding sessions shorter and shorter. Then begin eliminating feedings altogether. Soon, your child will be phased out of the nighttime breastfeeding routine.

But what if your child completely resists your efforts to eliminate nighttime breastfeeding? It’s ok, your little one is just not ready to go without nighttime nursing, and that does not mean that anything is wrong. Wait a little longer (2-6 months) until you feel ready to try the process again. While this weaning process will inspire a few tears, it should not cause extreme amounts of stress or all-night crying fits.

Looking for alternative nighttime breastfeeding weaning options? Check out this helpful illustrated book Nursies When the Sun Shines by author Katherine Havener; Nursies is a children’s book that helps introduce the idea of nighttime weaning and many parents have found success using it as a tool for their children.

What nighttime weaning tricks do you have to share with other moms? Let us know in the comments.

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Mother’s Day Gifts That Last: Homemade Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day Sugar Cookies photo courtesy of SheKnows.comMother’s Day is right around the corner, and we hope your plans include plenty of relaxation and pampering from your partner and children. Want some ideas of ways you can celebrate together? We’ve looked high and low (and across many Pinterest boards) for great ideas that celebrate you, the mom, without excluding you from all of the creative fun.

What mom doesn’t want to indulge her sweet tooth on Mother’s Day? This adorable (and fuss-free) cookie recipe is perfect for little cooks to try. By combining two of our favorite Mother’s Day staples—thoughtful cards and sweet treats— has a sugar cookie recipe that doubles as a Mother’s Day card! Follow the instructions to help your children make the perfect cards you’ll love to read and eat.

Now that spring’s here, is there a better way to spend time together as a family than by heading outdoors and soaking up some sunshine? Crafty Texas Girls shared this adorable sidewalk chalk photo gift with her two girls (that’s actually a Father’s Day gift) but you can stage your own imaginative scene before capturing the moment. Frame your favorite photo as a daily reminder of your fun Mother’s Day celebration with your family. We like the idea of spending Mother’s Day enjoying your family’s company and printing photos (or other photo keepsakes, many stores have a laundry list of affordable options) after the fact.

If your little ones are too young still to make Mother’s Day gifts on their own, have this easy-peasy salt dough recipe ready for dad so you can make handprint and footprint keepsakes. From The Imagination Tree, this baby-friendly craft is the perfect gift for any new mom and contains only three ingredients. If your partner’s feeling extra crafty, let him know that he can add food coloring to the dough to make a rainbow of baby handprint and footprint molds that are perfect gifts. Parents know how quickly babies grow up, so what better way to capture their newborn stages than with these molds?

What are your Mother’s Day plans? Let us know what kinds of crafts you plan on creating with your family in the comments.

Leading Lady Fan Paula Garcés

paula-garces-with-babyNew mom Paula Garcés is not only a doting mother to her son, Antonio, and older daughter Skye, but is also a popular Colombian actress best known for her roles in the Harold and Kumar movie franchise, popular television series including Devious Maids and Warehouse 13, and appearances in many of TV’s successful dramas like The Sopranos and CSI: Miami. Married to Antonio Hernandez in 2002, Paula and her husband welcomed their first child Antonio in November 2013. Paula wore Leading Lady nursing bras and tanks after delivering and “swears by” our nursing collection to provide the comfort and style she needs for successful breastfeeding. Thanks for being a fan, Paula and Toñito! Paula blogs for Mamas Latinas and People’s Moms & Babies. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for new mom updates from one of our favorite celebrities.

Best Breastfeeding Positions for New Moms with Larger Breasts

Best Breastfeeding Positions for New Moms with Larger BreastsBreastfeeding isn’t as simple as it may seem to some moms-to-be, and our lactation consultant Amy is here with advice for the best breastfeeding positions for women with larger breasts. She shares her thoughts on different ways to hold your baby while nursing to achieve the best breastfeeding latch:

While there is no right or wrong way to position a baby at the breast, there are certain breastfeeding positions that may be easier for a new mom to master. For your first days breastfeeding, it is very important to find a position that is both comfortable and gives your baby the best latch. Football hold has been a favorite of mine when I am assisting new moms, especially those with larger breasts. Make sure to position the baby on one or two pillows or a nursing pillow so he is level with your breast. He can either lay under your breast, on his back with his head supported by your hand, or you can lay him on his side and have him latch like that.

Cross-cradle or modified football hold is also a good breastfeeding position if you want to achieve a deep latch. My least favorite position is cradle hold. Cradle hold may be the most natural position to hold an infant, but definitely not the best when latching an infant to the breast. I recommend that new moms start with football hold or cross-cradle before switching to cradle so you can focus on perfecting your baby’s latch. Once you are confident and the baby starts to latch more easily, the cradle and side-lying hold may work out very well for you.

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Summer Maternity Dresses for Every Occasion

Now that spring’s in full bloom, we’re sure that doctor appointments and your baby’s due date are not the only important events scheduled on your planner. With graduation parties, bridal showers, weddings, and even family picnics on the horizon, now is a good time to get your maternity wardrobe in order. Sporting a baby bump doesn’t mean missing out on fashionable warm-weather outfits—we’ve combed through many cute maternity clothes to bring you the perfect crop of options for casual, semi-formal, and formal events you may attend this spring or summer. Dressed up or down, our maternity picks will keep you cool and comfortable without sacrificing style.

For your daytime picnics or family get-togethers…

Coral maternity maxi skirtComfort and breathability are key during daytime events, especially if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside. Try to pick maternity clothes made from cotton, linen, or other lightweight fabrics so you won’t overheat in direct sunlight. We love this coral pregnancy maxi skirt that features a fold-over front panel to accommodate your baby bump. Paired with a simple tee or a cami, this skirt is perfect for a casual summer event. Toss on a jean jacket if it’s a cooler day or you’re in the shade.

Maternal American Scoop Neck Maternity DressThis maternity dress is a cute daytime maternity staple that can be worn to company picnics, graduation parties, or a friend’s bridal shower or any occasion that’s a little dressier. Wear with your wirefree molded seamless nursing bra for maximum comfort and coverage without skimping on support or the smooth look you love. And bonus, this striped maternity dress is the perfect length to wear with flat sandals or wedge espadrilles depending on your preference! Seraphine Maternity Dress

We also love this above-the-knee purple maternity dress for company parties or patio brunches, especially worn with this cropped white cardigan. It’s always a good idea to bring a light sweater out if you can, because unforeseen weather changes can unexpectedly force your party indoors and into air conditioning.

For formal summer events…

Seraphine Maternity DressAre wedding bells ringing all summer long for your friends, cousins, and co-workers? From May until September couples rush to say “I do” while the weather’s nice enough for an outdoor reception. Your highest heels might not seem appealing depending how far along you are (and what kind of pain tolerance you have), but choosing the right dress starts with knowing which fabrics will look classy and keep you cool. Opt for maternity dresses like this lace overlay dress in a beautiful dove gray. The sleeves are made entirely from a soft stretch lace and will keep you covered and cool whether you’re indoors or outside. Wear our Scalloped Lace nursing bra (available in wirefree or underwire) underneath; the neckline will perfectly accommodate the scoop neck style and our nursing bra will keep you supported from ceremony to the dance floor.

Seraphine Maternity DressWe also picked this royal blue, silky stretch fabric maternity dress for its convertibility features. This formal maternity dress hits just above the knees and is generously cut so your bump and you have room to breathe. You have the freedom to twist, drape, and knot the wide shoulder panels into a number of different styles, so this maternity dress is a great option if you have quite a few weddings to attend! Whether you wear it as a halter dress or a Grecian-inspired one shoulder number, you’re sure to feel comfortable and beautiful in this elegant maternity dress.

Stay comfortable and fashionable in your Leading Lady bras, moms-to-be!

Can I Pump Colostrum If My Baby Is Having Trouble Nursing?

Can I pump colostrum if my baby is having trouble nursing?I’m a mom-to-be and this will be my first time breastfeeding. What if my baby has trouble nursing in the beginning, can I pump my colostrum so my baby doesn’t miss any important nutrients?

If your baby is nursing well after delivery, then there will be no need to pump colostrum in the early days. If your baby was born early or not nursing well for other reasons, then it may be necessary for you to pump your colostrum so baby can still reap its nutritional benefits. Packed with protein, antibodies, and vitamin a, colostrum is the perfect first food for your baby. It’s also low in fat and will be thicker than regular breast milk when you pump—so don’t worry; it’s supposed to carry a yellowish hue! That’s how colostrum got the nickname “liquid gold” and it lives up to its title.

The most effective way to pump colostrum is hands-on pumping, which is a combination of using a hand massage and an electric breast pump. Because colostrum is thicker than your typical breast milk, pumping might take more effort to express fully. But don’t be discouraged, each time you pump in the first few days you will see a little more colostrum!

Have another breastfeeding question? Let us know in the comments and we’ll bring you the answers you need!


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