Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Should Know

We asked Family Physician how to prepare for this life stage.

  • What you need to know when it comes to breastfeeding

I am a Family Physician at UCLA and my practice is largely made up of new moms and babies. Everyday I see expectant mothers and have now made it a point during pregnancy to discuss nursing. I recommend taking a breastfeeding class before baby arrives and tell all expectant moms that many women find nursing more difficult than labor and delivery!

For moms that are nursing, I often try to watch mom feed during our first few visits and make sure to acknowledge how difficult it is and how wonderful they are doing. I struggled myself and sometimes a few cheers and helpful hints can go a long way. I do tell nursing mother a few tips I have gathered over the years of practice and after having breast-fed two of my own.

Things every breastfeeding mother should know:

  1. It is not easy: engorgement, mastitis and bleeding nipples are common.
  2. There is more to nursing than breast milk. At first it is tough, and it may feel like a chore. Many mothers report being anxious and do not enjoy nursing. The bond and enjoyment that comes from nursing may not be immediate. It is common for mothers to only start to enjoy nursing once their babies are 2-3 months old.
  3. Pumping can be helpful for moms who want to see exactly how much milk their babies are getting, particularly if their child is underweight.
  4. Be patient.  What works for one women may not work for you. Be open to trying unconventional nursing positions for you and your baby ( e.g., straddle) and understand it may take time. Lactation consultants are widely available and many will do home visits.
  5. Almost 75% of women produce more milk from one breast and it is more commonly the right breast
  6. Pre and post natal vitamins many not provide all of the nutrition your baby needs.
  7. All breastfed babies should be receiving a vitamin D supplement
  8. Eat a low FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) diet if your baby is fussy. Anything that can helps with gas, fussiness and irritability cand than can potentially result in more sleep is worth a try!
  9. You can burn over 1000 calories  a day by breastfeeding! Translation: this is not the time to go on a diet and cut calories!
  10. Women need to stop judging women: Do whatever works for you and enjoy your baby! Whether it be bottle feeding, breastfeeding, pumping or nursing. Motherhood has enough challenges and let’s eliminate the stress associated with feeding your baby.

No matter what – remember you are not in this alone. Always reach out to friends, family or your doctor for guidance and support if you need it.

At Lactation Lab, we give moms the ability to discover what is in their milk and how they can optimize it.  Using our easy-to-use home test kits, mothers can now learn about the nutritional content of their breast milk, improve their diet and nutrition, and safeguard against exposure to heavy metal toxins that could be harmful to a child’s growth and development.  We test specifically for the nutrients that are influenced by maternal diet. A mom simply collects 2-4 tablespoons of milk at home over a 24-hour period, freezes it and then mails it back to us. Lactation Lab then provides a detailed analysis of the nutritional content of the breast milk, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, calories, calcium, iron, key vitamins (Vitamins A, C and B12) and essential fatty acids including DHA. We also can test for the presence of environmental toxins such as arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury which can make their way into breast milk.

Behind Lactation Lab is hard science supported by academic research. Our unique and proprietary test kits were researched and developed at a top academic institution with one of the most advanced laboratories in the world. Once we receive the breast milk sample, it is analyzed and and graphed for comparison to normal levels found in breast milk (pulled from published data) and EPA-allowable levels of environmental toxins. Results are delivered as a PDF file with easy-to-understand, full color graphs, explanations of how the results affect your child and suggestions to optimize the quality of your milk. We also provide personal consultation to review the results.

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