Categories
Breastfeeding support and Information

Vacationing and Pumping

Taking your first vacation away from your little one? You may have questions about how to keep up your milk supply while you are away. Here are some tips:

1. Bring a portable, light, effective breast pump & extra pumping parts with you

2. Bring a hand pump as back up, especially if traveling on a long trip or to a place with limited electricity

3. Use storage bags – easier to travel with!

4. Make sure you have the right electrical adapter if you are traveling outside of the country

5. Pump when your baby would normally breastfeed

6. Store your milk safely, ask ahead of time if you’ll have access to a fridge or freezer & bring a cooler bag for transport– here are storage guidelines for your reference, https://www.ameda.com/milk-101-article/how-to-store-breast-milk-safely/

7. Know your airline’s rules about bringing milk back on the plane or plan to ship it back with a reputable milk shipping company

8. And, have fun & relax!

Written by:

Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC
Certified nurse-midwife, lactation consultant, OB nurse, educator, healthcare administrator, mother & wife

Categories
Uncategorized

COVID-19 Update

As we all continue to navigate the current global COVID-19 pandemic, Mothers Choice Products would like to share and re-confirm to all of our clients that our supply chains have been maintained and we are able to provide readily accessible products throughout Canada.  We continue to maintain stable inventory levels and do not foresee any disruption, delay or limited access of any of our products due to our frequent and focused communications, with our partners.  

Our team has also evaluated and confirmed with Ameda that there is a full supply of pump kits on-hand. This was critical information to share as we wanted to ensure that all of our clients could confidently encourage utilization of their pump kits with Ameda pumps. This is strongly recommended as it will maintain warranty status and ensure optimum pump performance and safety. Mothers Choice also has healthy inventory on hand to provide stable supply of kits. 

If you come across material sharing news counter to this, please let us know right away to ensure that we are all dealing with accurate and up to date information. 

To re-confirm, Mothers Choice Products has all Ameda pumps, HygieniKits, consumables as well as our Sterifeed bottles well stocked in our Canadian warehouse. 

Mothers Choice Products team is set up and working remotely, including our customer service and product experts that are available to ensure that you have the resources and support needed. 

Our communication and support may be mostly digital at this time but be assured we will continue to strive to provide the exceptional service Mothers Choice Products is known for. 

If you have questions, concerns or support related inquiries, please keep the following contact information handy: 

Phone: 
604.275.9221  
1.800.604.6225 
Hours: 8:30AM – 4:30PM PST 

Email: 

info@motherschoiceproducts.com 

Thank you from the entire Mothers Choice Products Team. 

We will get through this together. 

Categories
Breastfeeding support and Information

Why are the first weeks of breastfeeding so intense?

The first few weeks of breastfeeding can feel quite overwhelming. It’s a learning time for both you and your baby, each of you getting a feel for each other.

Your baby is slowly discovering how to breastfeed and find comfort outside the security of your womb. You are learning how to communicate with your baby and offer comfort and nourishment. 

Be patient with yourself and your baby; it will get easier, particularly once your milk supply becomes established. Having questions is normal. Trust your instincts, but also try to prepare yourself by understanding what to expect in the first few weeks. Below we’ve compiled some breastfeeding basics and tips from Day 1 to Week 6.

What to Expect

  • Your milk production grows from about 1 ounce (30 mL) to about 30 ounces (900 mL) between Days 1 and 40.
  • Most mothers start to make noticeably more milk starting around Day 3 or 4.
  • Your baby should be back to birth weight by 2 weeks. You can then expect baby to gain about 7 ounces (210 g) per week or 2 lbs (900 g) per month.
  • Most babies feed 8-12 times per day, but not at set times. They may bunch feedings close together for part of the day (cluster feed).
  • Your baby may want to feed again soon after breastfeeding. This is normal in the beginning.
  • By Day 3-5, baby’s black stools (meconium) turn first green, then yellow. You can then expect 3 or more yellow stools every day.
  • Also, expect 5-6 or more wet diapers a day by Day 5.
  • If your breasts feel very full, breastfeed more or express milk. This will make you feel better, not worse.
  • Most babies sleep for one 4-5 hour stretch each day. This may not happen at night, unfortunately.

Fun Facts

  • A baby’s stomach stretches from the size of a shooter marble on Day 1 to a chicken egg by Day 10.
  • Babies may take one breast at a feeding, or they may need to feed on both breasts. Let your baby decide.
  • Drained breasts make milk faster. Full breasts make milk slower.
  • Breastfeed only if possible. Avoid pacifiers and any other liquids

General Breastfeeding Tips

  • Breastfeed whenever your baby wants to. You’ll know it’s time when your baby’s head turns from side to side with an open mouth. Or when she puts her hand to her mouth.
  • Ideally, don’t wait until your baby fusses or cries. When upset, it’s harder to feed well.
  • Use a position that feels good for you and your baby.
  • Learn to sleep while you breastfeed. Practice during the day.
  • If breastfeeding hurts, get help. A small change in how your baby takes the breast may be all you need to feel better.
  • Find a mother’s group near you and spend time with other breastfeeding mothers. We are stronger together!

You Know You Have Plenty of Milk When

  • Baby is gaining weight well on breast milk alone.
    • 0-4 months: 7 ounces (210 g) a week or 2 lbs. (900g) a month

When to Seek Help

  • If breastfeeding hurts.
  • If your baby loses more than 10% of birth weight or after Day 4, gains weight too slowly.

Even when breastfeeding is going well, you may experience some of the following:

  • Your baby has fussy times – Most babies do.
  • She wants to feed again soon after breastfeeding -Most babies do.
  • She wants to feed more often – This adjusts your milk production
  • Your breasts no longer feel full – Usually at about 3-4 weeks
  • She wants to feed less often or for a shorter time – Babies get faster with practice
  • Frequent night feedings – Babies need to do this to get enough milk
  • She will take a bottle after breastfeeding – Babies like to suck, this might not be related to milk supply
  • You can’t express much milk – This skill takes practice

One thing that we can not stress enough is, be patient with yourself. Breastfeeding is natural but it’s also a skill, and like all skills there is a learning curve involved. You are not expected to know it all and there is no shame in asking for help and reaching out. Seek out the support you need.

Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding Products
Coauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers

Categories
Breastfeeding support and Information

How to get the “feel” for breastfeeding.

There are countless articles, books, and websites that explain everything you need to know about how to breastfeed. These instructions, however, often ignore the fact that breastfeeding is an interactive experience, dependent on the communication between you and your baby. It’s not a matter of placing Point A (baby’s mouth) over Point B (mother’s breast) and commencing breastfeeding. It’s much more like a dance that engages the whole body. Each breastfeeding duo sets its own rhythm and pace.

Instinct is still the key.

There are some things in life that are best learned by tapping into our left-brain, the analytical, rational hemisphere where logic is king. Then there is the right brain, a more holistic and intuitive way to learn. Some things you process best by intellect, others by experience. Breastfeeding falls under the latter.

Mothers and babies have physiological responses that draw them to each other, encourage them to look at each other, touch each other, and interact. Much of this behaviour is guided by the right side of the brain. We need to listen to and trust this more.

It’s time to take a right-brained approach to breastfeeding.

How exactly do you use a right-brained approach to learning to breastfeed? First, take some deep breaths and let go of those worries about doing things “wrong.” Instead of thinking of breastfeeding as a skill you need to master, or a measure of your worth as a mother, think about breastfeeding as an expression of you and your baby’s relationship. As you spend time with your baby, you’ll become more adept at reading their cues. As you hold your baby, they will become more comfortable seeking your breast.

Breastfeeding will flow naturally out of your affectionate relationship. And your body dynamics can make breastfeeding easier or harder. Here are some specific things you can do to help:

Watch for early feeding cues.

These cues could include turning their head when someone touches their cheek or a hand-to-mouth motion. Take note of when baby starts smacking their lips or putting their hands to her mouth. This is an ideal time to try breastfeeding.

Start with a calm baby.

One mistake that many women make is waiting until their baby is screaming to try breastfeeding. Do you learn best when you are upset? Probably not. The other reason to start with a calm baby comes down to physics. When a baby is screaming, their tongue is on the roof of her mouth. You will never get your breast in their mouth when their tongue is there.

Unfortunately, it may not always be possible to catch your baby in the early hunger stages (such as when you’re sound asleep!) and you will have to deal with an upset baby. Some babies go from slightly hungry to very hungry in the blink of an eye. Sometimes offering your breast will work to calm your baby. But if this doesn’t work, don’t force the issue. First, try soothing your baby by holding, swaying, rocking, or walking. Then try these suggestions:

  • Lean back in a comfortable position. Semi-reclined positions in which your back, neck, shoulders, and arms are well-supported are sometimes referred to as laid-back. breastfeeding. These may be the same position you use to watch your favorite TV show.
  • Lay your baby, tummy down between your breasts. Your baby can be either dressed or stripped down to her diaper. Then make your breast accessible. Your chest is a very calming place for your baby. She can hear your voice and your heartbeat. She can smell you and get the feeling of your skin. Talk with her and make eye contact to bring you closer to your baby.
  • Follow your baby’s lead. When a calm baby lies tummy down on her mother’s laid-back body, this triggers instinctive feeding behaviours such as head-bobbing and movements toward the breast. If she is lying between your breasts, she probably won’t need much help. Encourage her with your voice. Babies can’t understand your words at this age, but they can understand your tone of voice. And feel free to touch and stroke her as the spirit moves you.

Play while you learn to breastfeed.

Rather than worrying about doing things wrong, focus on your relationship with your baby and think of breastfeeding as a part of this larger whole. Breastfeeding often flows naturally from this attitude. Sometimes your baby may try to take the breast even when they’re not really hungry, just to try out this new behaviour. Practice times are good and will help them breastfeed better when they are hungry. Try out different latching and breastfeeding positions and feel out which ones work best for you and your baby. Remember, instinct is key, trust it.

Adapted from the book Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC

Related Products

Categories
Labour Support

What is a Labour Tens Machine and how does it work?

The pain experienced during labour is different for every woman and can vary pregnancy to pregnancy. Preferences on how to manage that pain also differ, and each expecting mom will have her own ideal plan. Researching the available options is an important step in preparing for your labour.

What is TENS for Labour?

If you would prefer to avoid drugs or other medical interventions and are opting for natural labour pain relief, a TENS machine may be just the thing for you. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. The machine itself is a small box with a clip on the back that you can attach to your clothing. It releases little pulses of electrical energy.

How does a TENS machine work?

women on exercise ball with TENS pads on back

Leading out of the box are four wires connected to sticky pads. Ideally, your birth partner will place the pads on your back for you. Put one pad on each side of your spine, at about bra-strap level. The remaining two pads should be placed further down your back, near the base of your spine. The pads are covered in a gel to help the electrical pulses pass through your skin more easily.

There are dials that allow you to adjust and control the frequency and strength of the pulses. There’s also a boost button for you to hold in your hand and press when you want maximum output from the machine to help you with a difficult contraction. Always follow the instructions that come with your TENS machine.

How does a TENS machine reduce pain?

There are several theories on what makes a TENS machine effective. One is that the electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. Another is that the pulses stimulate your body to release its own natural, feel-good substances, called endorphins.

It’s most likely that various factors interact to make TENS work. It may give you a feeling of control over your contractions, it may help you to feel less anxious, and it also may provide a distraction from your contractions.

When and how should I use TENS?

TENS seems to work best and give you the most effective pain relief when you start using it at the very beginning of your labour. TENS machines are available to rent or buy, so will be able to use it at home before you transition to the hospital (if you’re having a hospital birth).

It generally takes about an hour for your body to respond to the electrical impulses by releasing endorphins, so start using it when you’re getting regular contractions or backache. You may find your machine works better at relieving your back pain rather than abdominal pain.

Start with the controls at their lowest settings and gradually turn them up as your contractions or back pain gets more intense. You can use the boost button at the peak of your contractions for a little extra relief.

What are the advantages?

  • It’s portable and non-invasive.
  • It’s under your control.
  • It’s easy to use.
  • You can keep moving while using it.
  • You can use it for as long as you want and then take it off. There are no lasting side-effects.
  • It’s safe for your baby.
  • You don’t need an anesthesiologist, doctor or midwife to administer it, so you can start using it as soon as you want to.
  • It can be used for a home birth.

What are the disadvantages?

  • You will need someone to help you put the pads on.
  • It may only help in the early stages of labour.
  • It may be difficult to find a TENS machine in your area. (http://www.motherschoiceproducts.com/) you can purchase or find a store.
  • It may have to be removed if your baby’s heart has to be monitored electronically.
  • If you want to use a birthing pool or have a bath, you can use TENS before you get in the water, but not when you are in the water.
  • It can make it more difficult for your birth partner to massage your back, which can be an effective form of pain relief.

Useful tips

· Don’t give up right away if you think your TENS isn’t doing anything. It usually takes at least an hour of using it for your body to build up endorphins in response to the stimulation.

· Take the pads off every three hours and reapply the gel to ensure good contact with your skin.

· Keep mobile. Moving around during labour helps women feel more in control and should, therefore, enhance the effect of TENS.

· If you don’t feel like it’s helping you, take it off and don’t feel bad. You’ve lost nothing. All other forms of pain relief, both medical and non-medical, are still open to you.

Where do I find a TENS machine?

You may need to call a midwife clinic to track a TENS machine down. Or if you are lucky enough to have an obstetrical physiotherapist in your town, try calling her office. Your doctor or midwife should be able to help you track one down; ask for their help during a prenatal appointment.

Once you find a TENS machine, the midwife will show you how to use it during your labour. Prices will vary but generally hang around $100. You can usually find TENS machines at midwife clinics, select pharmacies, or online.